Top 3 Weekly Job Search Tips

January 21, 2010

First up is How to Build a Powerful Executive Network by Meg Giuseppi. This really is an excellent post. Her blog is focused on the senior level job searcher, but the advice applies to anyone. Here’s an excerpt:
You probably hear it all the time if you’re job-hunting. Networking is the best way to identify and position yourself for new job opportunities.

Reconnecting with your existing network and connecting with new people can help you tap into the “hidden job market” of unadvertised positions and new opportunities created around your unique promise of value.

It’s okay to circle back to your neglected network and re-build. You also need to cast a far-reaching net to connect with people at your target companies. Read the rest here.

Next is a short video featuring Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com on Boomers using social media. This video has some interesting facts: For example, 12,000 people are turning 50 years old every day and 8,000 are turning 60 every day. That’s a bit staggering, isn’t it? And most of those people have been using computers in their jobs for years, so they are very proficient online.

The drop off seems to be around 67 – 68 years old where going online is not as comfortable or familiar. One big difference, Jeff notes, is that this demographic knows how to write, and not just in 140 character bytes (OMG!) Pretty interesting.

Lastly is a short post by Jason Alba (again!) with his 5 Second Elevator Pitch.

I think it was Liz Ryan who called this a “bumper sticker” (great concept).
In LinkedIn they call it a Professional Headline.
Some call it a tag line.
It is the bite-sized value proposition… I might get bored listening to your poorly-crafted 30 second elevator pitch, but I can’t help but digest your 5 Second Elevator Pitch.

One of my favorites is from Carol Fletez, who is an IT professional in the D.C. area. Look at how fantastic her 5 second pitch is:

Helping Companies Migrate from Mainframes to the Future!

This might not mean anything to you but I used to work in a mainframe environment. Mainframes are cool and powerful, but many times you feel like you are in the bedrock era. Carol’s very simple phrase… Helping Companies Migrate from Mainframes to the Future! … is just clever! It brought a grin to my face, and immediately I assumed she has an expertise in legacy systems and new stuff, and marrying the two. Anyone who has been around mainframes will know what this means.

Guess what? She also has this sentence on her email signature – she is getting that branding in multiple places (as she should).

What is YOUR 5 Second pitch?

Which one of the three is your favorite?

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
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Weekly Top 3 Job Search Tips

December 28, 2009

As we approach the New Year and New Decade, joblessness does not celebrate the holidays. So here are the top 3 job search tips (or what I think are the best of the blogs/articles I’ve come across this week.)
I hope you had a terrific Christmas and all my best for prosperous, healthy 2010.

1. First up, a short post from the WSJ’s Laid Off and Looking blog, Using the Holidays to Network.

While contacting recruiters during the week between Christmas and New Years may seem like a wasted effort, there are plenty of other ways you can build up connections for the job search. Attending holiday parties or speaking with family and friends about your search can help build your network during this time, writes WSJ’s Sarah E. Needleman. It’s also a great time to reconnect with contacts with a quick holiday card.

Here, Ms. Needleman shares advice on job hunting over the holidays.

With the holidays here, you may be inclined to put your job-search efforts on hold while you celebrate. But career advisers say laid-off professionals should keep at it—as “bah hum bug” as that may seem—because the season offers some unique opportunities to boost your odds of success.

Besides, “your bills aren’t taking a break,” says Jeffrey Garber, founder and chief executive officer of 360Jobinterview.com Inc., a virtual career-coaching company made up of more than 300 human-resources executives. “Make this week work for you.”

Start by accepting invitations to holiday parties or get-togethers, says Randy Block, a career-transition coach and consultant in Boyes Hot Springs, Calif. If friends you don’t often see invite you to a gathering at their home, try to attend. You’ll be exposed to people you haven’t met before—and you never know where a job lead might come from.

But don’t hand out your résumé or bring up your job search while engaging with party-goers, asserts Mr. Block. “That’s a turn-off,” he explains. “It’s not about you.” Instead, he recommends asking people about their careers and employers. “The idea is to build relationships,” he says.

2. Dan Schwabel is one of the top writers and bloggers on Personal Branding and he works for EMC corporation on their social media efforts. He and a colleague are offering a free e-book on 100 Job Search Tips from Fortune 500 Recruiters compiled by EMC recruiters around the globe. Check out his post and download the book. Did I mention it’s free?

3. Meg Giuseppi seems to be a regular here and this week is no exception. Her excellent post for executives, Top 10 Executive Job Search Trends for 2010 is a must-read. Here’s an excerpt:
If you’re dipping your toes into a job search for the first time in more than a year or so, you’re probably overwhelmed by all you need to do today to land your next gig.

Things have changed . . . a lot.

While certain “old” job search tactics, such as networking, still yield great results, many new ones are evolving that should be added to your job search toolkit.

Embrace these new strategies — personal branding, building online presence, leveraging LinkedIn and Twitter, and many others — or get left behind others who are embracing them.
I’ve compiled a list of the 10 (actually 11) most important strategies to learn and leverage, in my latest post over at Executive Career Brand, 2010 Top 10 Executive Personal Branding and Job Search Trends.

Read here for the rest of this post.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
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Top 3 Job Search Tips of the Week

December 20, 2009

It’s time for the top 3 job search tips this week I’ve found from the scores of blogs and articles I read and pass along. Also, I will be looking for your votes on which is your favorite. Feel free to forward this link to your friends in transition.

1. The first is a post from the blog Interns Over 40 on How Older Workers Can Find Work by Eve Tahmincioglu. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s a good idea to concentrate your job search on growth industries, advises Jeri Sedlar, who moderates a group on boomer social networking Web site eons.com and is the author of “Don’t Retire, Rewire!” Some areas to consider, she notes, include energy, health care, government and education.

But no matter what job you go for, you have to start believing in yourself and get across how great you are to a prospective employer, she stresses. “Imagine you are sitting on a shelf in grocery store,” she recommends. “Why would someone want to buy you? Should you be repackaged?”

Repackaging means updating skills or learning new ones, and being prepared to walk into a room with enthusiasm rather than despair and desperation. That doesn’t mean you have to go for a four-year college degree or go get your MBA. Experts suggest taking a few courses at a community college or online.

Start letting everyone you know you’re looking for a job, including former co-workers, friends and family. And make sure you have that two-minute elevator speech down so you can articulate what you’re looking for clearly and concisely. “Don’t just hand someone a resume,” Sedlar says.

There are a host of Web sites out there that offer job listings and job-seeking advice. In addition to AARP.org, which lists a host of companies that are older-worker friendly, Jim Toedtman, editor of the AARP Bulletin, recommends these sites as a good place to start: retirementjobs.com, seniorjobbank.com, retiredbrains.com.

We’ve all heard so much about the aging of the work force and how older workers will someday be in the driver’s seat when it comes to employment. Unfortunately, the economic climate today has put a squeeze on many 50-plus workers, Toedtman says.

And things probably won’t change drastically, he says, “until people develop portable skills and until employers value experience.”

2. Next up is another from the WSJ’s ‘Laid Off and Looking’ blog.
I have been highlighting the latest trend in recruiters using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to find candidates – here’s another major corporation doing just that.

By the time a job opening is posted, there’s already a virtual pile-up of hundreds of resumes. And while it’s still a worthwhile strategy, John Campagnino, senior director of global recruitment at consulting firm Accenture, suggests that job seekers take time to build relationships to break into the firm once positions open up. Mr. Campagnino advises to “focus on social media and where you can, make personal connections through an employee,” because “one of the things that you don’t want to do is just send [your resume] to a Web site and hope for the best, especially if there aren’t specific openings.”

Here, Mr. Campagnino talks about Accenture’s recruiting strategies:

Where does Accenture find candidates that are not applying to official openings?

We are sourcing candidates via social networking venues. They need to be out there on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, [and] Twitter because that’s where many corporate employers look to source quality candidates. It’s not only being out there so companies can source them directly, but it’s also being out there to build their own network in the market.

How important are social networks to your hiring strategies?

We are making our people the number one source for talent, and we just kicked off [the emphasis on social networking] over the last six months. My intention is to take our number today of 25% [directly-sourced employees] and bring it over 40% in the next two years. If people are trying to get into a company, the best way is through your internal contacts.

If someone is recommended by an employee does it get his or her resume to the top of the pile?

You’re always at a distinct advantage being represented by an employee. We have a pretty sophisticated system — it auto-matches and prioritizes employee referrals above everything else. When a recruiter comes into [his or] her office, the top listed people are always the employee referrals.

When job seekers get in touch with someone at the company, what’s a common mistake?

There’s no excuse today for not having a good level of understanding of what any company does. If you are going to reach out to an organization [we] should have a reasonable expectation that the [you] would understand the work that we do.

3. And finally a whimsical yet fascinating look from Thom Singer’s ‘Some Assembly Required’ blog at the things that have changed in the last decade (it is the end of the decade, you know!)

What’s next?

This decade is coming to an end.

It came in with all the attention on Y2K and is going out with our world forever changed. Many things, big and small, have morphed our society: The terrorist attacks on 9-11, the mass adoption of cell phones, and the changes in communication due to social media are just a few things that have impacted the ways we live.

Trends come and go. Products and services rise and fall in their impact. Everything has been changing since the beginning of time.

New York Magazine has a current list of the things that have gone obsolete from our lives in the last ten years. This includes:

The Rolodex – We all have databases and cell phones where we keep our contact information.

The Answering Machine – Voicemail in our phones has replaced the need for a separate machine.

The Lickable Stamp – Self adhesive rules the day.

Foldable Paper Road Maps – Three letter: G-P-S.

Cathode Ray Tube Television – Flatscreen TV’s outsell the old style now.

Incandescent Light Bulb – Already banned in Europe for environmental reasons, will soon be phased out in US.

Paid Pornography – They claim everyone gets their porn for free.

Smoking in Bars – Hmmm, I guess that depends on where you live.

Fax Machine – It was just a fad. A 25 year fad, but gone none the less (we all use email and PDF).

Hydrox Cookie – What? I didn’t even notice, but it is true…. one can only find Oreo Cookies now. I loved the Hydrox. RIP.

Cassette Tape – Now with it’s distant cousin the 8-Track.

French Franc – Euro.

Floppy Disc – I remember when thumb drives appeared, now they are king.

Phone Book – One just arrived on my porch last week. They had merged the white and yellow pages into one, as there is no advertising in it any more. Hello Google.

Polaroid Photo – Don’t count Polaroid out just yet, they are looking at releasing some new products.

Bank Deposit Slips – Ummmm I still use these.

Subway Token – I live in Austin, this city has avoided any real mass transit for decades, so I have no idea.

Interesting list of things that have gone away (or almost) in the last decade, but it makes me wonder what we will be talking about having had its time gone by in 2019.

Think about it. The phone book? Who would have guessed that this staple would now be a joke thanks to the internet and Google. Could Google be yesterday’s news tomorrow?

The hot social media properties of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others could vanish as fast as they arrived when something new comes along.

Maybe the internal combustion engine could be gone in a decade as new ways to power transportation are discovered and fine tuned.

If the recession does not end, maybe jobs could become obsolete (okay, that was a joke)

I believe that the speed at which products and services appear and get wide spread adoption is increasing. The “new new” thing is coming… but what it it?

What is next?

Which is your favorite this week?

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
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Weekly Roundup of Top 3 Job Search Tips

December 13, 2009

It’s time for the top 3 job search tips this week I’ve found from the scores of blogs and articles I read and pass along. Also, I will be looking for your votes on which is your favorite. Feel free to forward this link to your friends in transition.

1. First up this holiday season is a short but relevant article from Heather Huhman’s blog, 4 Tips for Making the Most of Holiday Job Hunting. Heather focuses on entry-level job seekers.

If you’re searching for an internship or entry-level job this holiday season, here are some tips to help you be as effective as possible:

1. Attend holiday parties. Holiday parties — whether hosted by friends/family or your professional association — are great opportunities for networking. Be sure to remain professional! You should have fun, but note your primary goal is to connect with people who might be able to help with your search.
2. Send holiday cards. Mentors, hiring managers, etc. — they should all receive holiday cards. Be sure to handwrite personal notes inside each one. Applied for a position but haven’t heard back yet? Drop the hiring manager a holiday card wishing them seasons greetings — and remind them why you’re a great fit.
3. Don’t take a holiday from your search. December is prime time to be searching for a job, so don’t put your hunt on hold! In fact, you might find hiring managers more willing to conduct informational interviews over coffee.
4. Complete a short (but intense) “winter internship.” Not everything stops during the holiday season, so this might be your chance to complete a 2-3 week internship at the company of your dreams. Most organizations don’t advertise for these positions, so make a proposal and send it in!

This post is part of the Career Collective effort founded by Miriam Salpeter and Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter.

2. Meg Giuseppi’s Executivecareerbrand.com always has some great advice – I particularly liked this article: Resume Lingerie and 10 Other Guerrilla Job Search Strategies. What’s not to like about an article that has ‘lingerie’ in it? Here’s an excerpt:

Are you having a tough time landing an executive job?
Maybe it’s time to consider shaking things up and innovating an unconventional search campaign to position yourself above the crowd.

Yesterday I took an eye-opening Reach Personal Branding teleseminar, “Job Search Secrets Revealed”, featuring Guerrilla Job Search Gurus Kevin Donlin and David Perry of Guerrilla Job Hunting.

David and Kevin guarantee that, because most people don’t use guerrilla tactics, you’ll blow the competition away.

2. Get a subscription to ZoomInfo’s FreshContacts.
They boast a database of 45 million professionals at 5 million companies. Start compiling a list of key decision makers at each of the companies on your list.

3. Zig when everyone else is zagging.
With the average job search today taking 28.5 weeks (the highest since they started keeping data in 1948), you can’t do what everyone else is doing. Realize that in job search, you’re in the middle of a sales and marketing campaign.

4. Resume Lingerie or Guerrilla Resume.
Create a resume that captures attention and, just like lingerie, is designed to tease them into what’s possible – a one-page, highly-charged, full-color branded resume.

On the lefthand side, place 3 or 5 (always an odd number) logos of current/past employers, universities attended, snapshots of awards, etc. People are drawn to graphics. They prefer to look at pictures instead of read words. They buy based on emotions.

3. For all the frustration involved in the search, there is often a silent partner that is there emotionally for you. Here’s a timely article from the WSJ’s Laid Off and Looking blog on ‘Saying ‘Thanks’ for Support from a Spouse’ by Christopher Janc. Here’s an excerpt:

To the spouses and partners of those that are currently out of work: Please keep in mind that what your significant other needs right now is support. Being unemployed and looking for a new job in this market is far more stressful than many are willing to let on. Pressure from family members only makes the situation worse. I was unaware of how anxious my wife was about our situation until I received the offer letter from my new employer. The lifting of 10 months of fear and stress showed on her face almost immediately. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized just how supportive she had been.

So I thank my wife for being there for me. For encouraging me to go to the golf course when she could see the stress starting to build. For tolerating my little side projects like this blog. For trusting me to approach the search the way I wanted, and for not nagging me on the occasional days I decided to simply hang out and do nothing until noon.

Which is your favorite?

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1


Weekly Roundup of Top 3 Job Search Tips

November 13, 2009

Each Friday, I’ll be posting the top 3 job search tips I’ve found from the scores of blog posts I see and will pass them along. Also, I will be looking for your votes on which is your favorite. Feel free to forward this link to your friends in transition.

 

So, here are my top three this week:

Meg Giuseppi’s blog Executive Resume Branding has the The 20 Most Common LinkedIn Mistakes

Here’s an excerpt:

You probably know by now that LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool for personal branding and executive job search.

In case you don’t, get busy immediately building your branded profile, connecting with people, expressing your executive brand, and leveraging LinkedIn to full advantage.

But don’t make these 20 mistakes:

BUILDING YOUR PROFILE

1.  Not personalizing your LinkedIn public profile URL.
Many people leave the default mess of letters and numbers at the end of the URL. Change that to “yourname” or as close to it as you can come, as I did with mine – http://www.linkedin.com/in/megguiseppi

2.  Not including a photo.
Branding and career marketing are about creating emotional connections. People believe content more when it’s accompanied by the author’s photo. An online profile with no photo is a missed opportunity to reinforce your brand and engage people.

3.  Not adding links to websites or web pages.
Include links to your website, blog, VisualCV, Twitter or other online profiles, so people can get more on-brand information about you and see what else you’re up to.

4.  Not having a searchable professional headline that brands your unique promise of value and resonates with your target audience.
Make sure your relevant key word phrases show up in your headline so that recruiters and hiring decision makers sourcing top candidates by searching LinkedIn will find you.

5.  Having no (or only 1 or 2) recommendations.
Solicit recommendations that reinforce your brand and the best you have to offer.

For the 15 other tips and rest of her post, click here.

Next is Dawn Jordan’s post in the Wall Street Journal’s Blog, Laid Off and Looking – authored by a series of guest bloggers describing their job search efforts and thoughts. Here’s her post in it’s entirety:

Last week a friend told me about the most unlikely place he found a job. It was during his child’s swim meet when a fellow parent casually asked what he did and where he worked. That impromptu poolside conversation turned into a new job for my friend.

His story segued into a conversation on unconventional sources for job leads. It also motivated me to try something different. Since then I’ve been asking people “What was the most unlikely place you found a job?”

They’ve answered with stories ranging from encounters during dog walks to waiting in line at Starbucks. Some of the stories were about situations in which I’m unlikely to find myself. But even those answers produced three tangible benefits.

First, it put people at ease. I wasn’t asking for a favor. I was showing an interest in them, giving them an opportunity to talk about themselves. This two-way sharing generated a stronger connection than my usual approach ever had.

Second, the question fired up their creative thinking. It got them out of the passive listener role and most of their answers were interesting and helpful. Before I could even ask, most offered additional suggestions about professional organizations, job boards or, best of all, names of people they would contact for me.

Here is the real gem in all of this. Asking people about their own experiences evoked empathy, support and action. They instantly remembered their own anxiety during their job search. It elicited a quicker, stronger, and warmer response than I’ve experienced before.

The takeaway of this experiment is the optimistic reminder that I never know when or where opportunity may strike. The real challenge might be recognizing it.

Fianlly, I love this post from Seth Godin, Hammer time

While not specifically about job search, his lessons on our background and our filters and biases point out how we need to adapt to changing situations. Amen.

Hammer time

So, if it’s true that to a person with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, the really useful question is, “what sort of hammer do you have?”

At big TV networks, they have a TV hammer. At a surgeon’s office, they have the scalpel hammer. A drug counselor has the talk hammer, while a judge probably has the jail hammer.

Maybe it’s time for a new hammer…

One study found that when confronted with a patient with back pain, surgeons prescribed surgery, physical therapists thought that therapy was indicated and yes, acupuncturists were sure needles were the answer. Across the entire universe of patients, the single largest indicator of treatment wasn’t symptoms or patient background, it was the background of the doctor.

When the market changes, you may be seeing all the new opportunities and problems the wrong way because of the solutions you’re used to. The reason so many organizations have trouble using social media is that they are using precisely the wrong hammer. And odds are, they will continue to do so until their organization fails. PR firms try to use the new tools to send press releases, because, you guessed it, that’s their hammer.

It’s not just about new vs. old. Inveterate community-focused social media mavens often bring that particular hammer to other venues. So they crowdsource keynote speeches or restaurants or board meetings and can’t figure out why they don’t have the impact others do.

The best way to find the right tool for the job is to learn to be good at switching hammers.

Which is your favorite?
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