Archive for December, 2010

Jobhunting while working: a few final thoughts

December 30, 2010

I like to think of jobhunting while still employed as one aspect of career development.  The strategies that make you an effective networking and professional person are those that the successful jobhunter uses.  Who can find fault with:

  • looking your best every single day?
  • taking on new assignments in order to learn one more new thing?
  • joining a brown-bag discussion group?
  • solving a problem for an important client?
  • going the extra mile for a customer?
  • posting a book or product review online that relates to your line of work?

These are actions that reflect on you favorably, whether as an employee or as an applicant for another position. Energy and enthusiasm are sought-after traits in just about any situation.

The opposite of all this activity is lethargy.  I have seen this in the workplace when people have given up.  They have given up being noticed, being complimented, possibly even given up getting a new job.  And guess what – they are right. They won’t be noticed.  They won’t be promoted.  They might end up being declared nonessential.  And you know what happens after that.

So keep your energy high, wear your professionalism proudly.  Keep expanding your knowledge, your skills, and your network.  You never know when wonderful opportunities will present themselves.

I wish you all a very happy and productive new year.  Thank you for sharing your comments, for letting me know via email that you read this blog, and for subscribing.

Let’s hope for a continued economic recovery for 2011, including full-time employment for all you talented people out there.  Let’s keep in touch.

Christmas Reflections from a Blogger

December 24, 2010

It’s Christmas Eve, the presents are wrapped, the cooking is – well – organized.  The vaccuuming didn’t happen because who is looking at the floor?  I see by my blog stats that many people are at their computers searching on those usual terms about effective resumes, gifts for job hunters, and tips for interviews.  It is business as usual for unemployed people.

I would love to tell you to sign off, take a break, enjoy family, friends, and whatever holiday you observe, but I know that’s not your life right now.

So – use the holiday!  Visit with people, let them know what you are looking for (and be brief about it), tell a funny story or two, and ask a question.  Don’t be a sadsack, don’t be grouchy, don’t waste this opportunity.  Let your optimism show. Say positive things about 2011.

Force it if you don’t feel it.

Say Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and most especially Happy New Year.

This is a lovely and magical evening for me, my family, my tradition, and my memories.  I wish you the best, and most of all, a blessed and successful 2011.

Jobhunting while working: about those references

December 18, 2010
  • I could lose this job if the boss found out. He hates disloyalty.
  • We’ve had a personality conflict from the beginning; I can’t use her for a reference.
  • They all see me as just average.  I’d rather give my volunteer job as a reference.
  • Everyone who knew my work has retired or changed jobs.

Yes, it’s challenging to come up with appropriate references for each position. There are things you can do to minimize the above-mentioned obstacles.

The boss doesn’t know you are looking.  Most applications have the option of indicating that you do not wish your current employers to be contacted.  Interviewers will doubtless honor that, although casual information exchanges may take place.  You cannot control this.  It’s awkward and potentially dangerous.  There are those who will terminate you upon hearing this news, so you are right to be apprehensive.  If this is the case, you are doing the right thing by job-hunting.

She doesn’t like me.  I can’t give her name. A human resources representative wants to talk with an immediate supervisor.  As long as you include a supervisor from a previous job as well as a colleague or two (or a project manager) from your current situation, you might be able to sidestep this obstacle.

They don’t see me at my best . I suggest you provide not only your present supervisor but also the leader at your volunteer job, the one in which you exhibit a passion and skillset that are not called for in your present paid position.  It seems okay to mention that this is why you are seeking change – the opportunity to work with enthusiasm and commitment.

My best references have all moved on.  Track them down and give the names and new contact information. It should be added that you need to stay in touch with your references and remind them of the relevant highlights of your work.

This is a sticky situation, fraught with career peril.  But please do not let the awkwardness keep you from pursuing new opportunities.  If you would like to talk about your unique situation with a career counselor, feel free to contact me by visiting my website ( or by leaving a comment.  If you have found an effective way to handle the reference question while employed, I hope you will share it with other readers.

We interrupt this blog…wikileaks!

December 10, 2010

Yes, I know, I’ve promised a few more thoughts on conducting the job search while on a job from which you’re trying to escape.  And they are coming.

But I need to weigh in on the wikileaks scandal, wherein classified documents have been posted on the internet for all to see.   Advice is swirling around the would-be bearer of a federal security clearance.  A  university here in the Washington D.C. area is cautioning against even visiting the wikileaks site to glance at those documents not intended for your eyes.  The local press has columnists who are also warning against this.

Not a word has been said by any Defense agency or contractor, no one who conducts security checks has uttered a public word.

Is this fair?

Possibly not, but neither is the hiring process.

I have no idea if the wikileaks site is being monitored to see who visits it (duh!), but it is not worth the risk to those who hope to enter federal service.

The clearance process as we understand it from anecdotes is filled with rejections based on innocent-enough actions that look odd to someone.  A young person I know was unclearable because of some recreational drug usage a year or so ago.  Another unclearable person takes a prescribed drug for anxiety when flying.  Please understand that we don’t know if a visit to a controversial site could hurt your chances.

Do you really want to risk it?

Jobhunting while working: how do you do it?

December 2, 2010

When a client faces the reality that it is time to change jobs, the thought of exploring, networking, and scheduling interviews looms large.  How can you be discreet and effective?  How can you dress for an interview without attracting undue notice?  If your boss finds out, could you be fired?  How will you handle a request for references?

For the next few postings, I plan to address this topic.  But I can’t do it alone.  I need your input.  Please add your experiences, so that other readers can benefit from your experience.  There isn’t any ironclad rule here, just what works for you.

I’d like to start with clothing.  In most cases, people tend to dress more casually than they would for an interview. Haven’t we all seen someone show up at work freshly coiffed, tell-tale navy blue, shiny dark shoes, a faraway look?  It is so obvious it’s painful.

There are two ways to avoid this I’ve got an interview look.

  1. Take annual/personal leave, go home and change clothes.  If you’re dressed as usual in the office, a new haircut won’t be noticed.  Or schedule your interview for first thing in the morning and come in late after scheduling some sudden leave.  Leave the blazer in the car, put on a more casual top and shoes.
  2. Start now, before anything is scheduled, to upgrade your office attire.  Suits, shoes, jewelry can all become part of your new image.  It will be a challenge to keep up this new look, but it might do good things for your reputation where you are.  And it’s true – you never know who might drop into the office.

I happen to prefer the second option.  It seems to me that you are putting forth a new you, one who is ready to advance in the world.  As the old cliche goes, you are ready to bloom where you are planted.

What have you done in such a situation?  How might you answer questions about why you are dressed that way?

We all look forward to reading your comments.