Archive for the ‘networking’ Category

The job of jobhunting (4)

September 9, 2014

The fourth element of the jobhunter’s day is one which can draw on the activities of the three previously-discussed realms.  I refer to your social activities.

Social needs no definition.  It is that people stuff.  Networking.  You are supposed to do it, many of you love it, most of you fight it.

This is the realm of truth-in-cliche: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

You can become better connected, starting today.  Improving your people quotient really must be part of every job seeker’s day.

Go where the interesting people are.  That might be in a class, at a coffee shop, at a clean-up-the-park day, at the gym.  Or at the pool or your back alley.  Meet someone new or reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in some time.  Just once a day.  

Actually, social activities can permeate the entire day of the successful job seeker.  As you are reading up on happenings in your field, you could be reminded of someone you know who would like to read this article.  Contact that person now!

As you are filling out a job application, you might think of that casual acquaintance who works at that firm.  You could contact him or her and ask a question.

There is little room for depression or inactivity in the life of a job seeker.  You’re so busy preparing for the new opportunity (yet to be determined, I know), that after all that conventional activity, the academic research, the creative projects and the socializing, that you will realize that you have taken steps on the structured path toward tomorrow.  Your knowledge, your availability, your involvement and your network will support you and make you a keen candidate for that next opportunity.

Here’s a final thought from Harper Lee:

If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.

So how are you spending today?





The job of jobhunting (3) – what’s new?

September 2, 2014

I’ve been thinking about how a jobhunter can spend the day being effective and positive.  I’ve previously written about being conventional and academic, meaning doing obvious things like posting on job boards, responding to ads, and keeping up one’s skills and knowledge.

So what else is needed?

Creativity now comes into play – every single day.  I suspect that this part of the job search is the primary reason people seek career counseling.  Without it, you will get what you have always had, and you probably don’t want that.

Creativity means – following impulsive thoughts, paying attention to your dreams, reading something different, doing something really unusual in your community, acknowledging your intuition.  Here’s where you allow those scary thoughts about what you’ve always wanted to do.

Do you see the connection between what you seek professionally and random ideas?  Probably not, but – please trust me – a connection may come to you.

Here’s an example of the randomness (and effectiveness) of creative thinking:

Yesterday I listened to a story by a friend.  She goes to an exercise program for women, and there she heard a story about an acquaintance (age late 50s) who recently lost her job and was facing a long, difficult search.  The next day my friend heard another tale of woe from someone in a private school who needed to hire a new (……… – it doesn’t really matter).  Lightbulb flash!  Same field, two different stories, two workouts at the gym.  If my friend had not gone to work out that day, if those two acquaintances had not also gone to the gym … the magic would not have happened.

Yes!  My friend, a wonderful networker, connected the dots, put one person in touch with the other, and magic happened.  The job seeker went to the school, applied for the job, and was promptly hired.

Moral of the story:  Go where the people are.  Share your creativity.  Don’t confront anyone with your need, but rather share it.  Most of all, get out of the house, get out of the doldrums, and let creativity lead you into unexpected connections.

The Job of Jobhunting

August 29, 2014

If you are looking for work, what does your current workday look like?  How do you spend your time?

I want to suggest something I’ve learned after listening to hundreds of people who were searching.

Think about a combination of conventional, academiccreative, and social approaches.


What is the conventional element of the job search?

It is what you already know.  Job listings, employment services, headhunters, classified ads.  These conventional techniques have worked for a long time and they will continue to be effective.  Most people will acknowledge that they have gotten at least one job this way.  I know I have.  Find an ad that sort-of-kind-of matches your experience, submit a resume, and wait for a phone call. Sometimes it works.  So please continue to put some time into conventional job search techniques.  I’d suggest an hour or two a day at the most.

But wait!  It doesn’t always work, and it doesn’t always produce a great work opportunity for you.  I’ll be exploring other elements of the job search in the next few postings, so stay tuned.

Reunion musings, anticipation, thoughts…

April 24, 2014

I’m now about a month away from a trip back into time – to the 50th reunion of my college class.  And I’m questioning many things about this occasion.

To go?  Of course!

Will my friends be there?  Some will.

Will I recognize people?  I will if the nametags are printed in large letters.

Will I feel like an underachiever?  Yes, some of the time.  Other times, I can hold my own.  Or I can remind myself that it doesn’t matter any more.

Will I be surprised by the directions taken by others?  Undoubtedly.

Will anyone be surprised by me?  I don’t know.

If any reader out there has attended a 50th college reunion, I would love to hear from you.  Was it worth it?  General impressions?  Advice?

Meanwhile, Oberlin class of 1964, here I come!


Resolution Update: How are you doing?

February 3, 2014

We’re a month into 2014.  And at the end of last year, I proposed three resolutions for you job hunters out there.  Time to ask:

How are you doing on the first one?

Keep in Touch.

So, what does your calendar show?  Any lunch dates?  Coffee?  Walks around the lake?

How about emails or phone calls to set up a get-together?  Scheduling is often not easy, but it is a priority for successful people.

Please take this reminder as a nudge to get going.  Keep active, keep connecting, keep in touch.  Your next job is worth it.

Resolved …. Goals for the new year

December 30, 2013

Resolution #3: Set goals for the new year.

Remember SMART goals?  You may have encountered this phrase in management classes or on the job training.  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.  (I’d give attribution here, but I have no idea from whom this has been lifted.)

I’m not quite clever enough to work in fun and variety into Smart.  So how about this ?

FAVES,  as in my favorite things.  Fun, Attainable, Varied, Enterprising. and Social.

What if the pursuit of a goal were fun?  Like a rendez-vous with a friend or a trip to the theater.  Or a new volunteer job as an usher.  Think about whom you would meet!

What if the goal were attainable?  Not getting skinny, but down 10 pounds by spring.

What if the goals were varied?  A walk or a swim or a workout DVD or gardening every day.

What about enterprising?  Drafting more effective status updates on social media and doing them more often.  Writing a book or movie review.  Offering to tutor some students in a subject  that you happen to know.

What about Social?  For some, that’s the easy part, for others it is a headache.  But for all, it is an essential skill for a successful person.  Be in touch.  This was discussed more fully in Resolution #1, a posting two days ago.

Somewhere in the FAVES goal is something you won’t mind working on.  Do it.  And have fun becoming a more effective job hunter.

Have these three goals in a series been helpful to you?  Have you found something you can engage in during the new year?  I hope so, and I hope you will post a comment about changes you are making.

Meanwhile, I wish you a wildly joyous and exciting new year, doing more of what you love to do (yes, even on the job).  I’m planning to be busy, productive, and happy in 2014.  Join me!

Resolved … Give!

December 27, 2013

Resolution #2:  

Give information:

  • I’m linking you to an article that reminded me of our last conversation.  Hope you like it.
  • Here’s the name of the customer service rep for the restaurant chain.  She’d love to hear from you.
  • Have you read this book on networking?  It is filled with some new ideas.

Give support:

  • How are your kids doing?  I know the holidays can be rough when someone is unemployed.
  • I have an extra ticket to the show.  Would you be free to join me?
  • You’ve survived the first month on the job!  How do things look now?

Give recognition:

  • You were the first person who complimented me on my writing.  I’ve always appreciated that feedback.
  • You gave me a second chance after I acted really unprofessionally.
  • I know you had a hand in planning this presentation.  All the details were taken care of, leaving us free to focus on the content.

Watch for the third and final resolution in this series, which can help you approach your 2014 job search a bit more focused, a lot more effective.

Resolved … for 2014

December 26, 2013

Are you looking for a job?  Are you looking for a career shift?  Read on…

As a career counselor for many years (I’m embarrassed to say how many), I have heard success stories that center around a few ideas that would make productive New Year’s Resolutions for you.  This series of three will be completed by January 1 so you will be ready to approach your job quest with a few specific goals in mind.

Resolution #1:  Keep in touch.

This includes the nice people you used to work with, courteous people who interviewed you and chose someone else, former neighbors, your second cousins, the former dog walker, the dental hygienist, a favorite professor.

The beginning of the year is a great way to get in contact once again.  A note or a call that begins “I’m taking advantage of the new year to get in touch, find out what you are doing these days, and (I hope) get together sometime soon.  Are you free for lunch on Friday?”

Please don’t turn this meeting into a monologue about yourself and what you are looking for.  That contact will feel used and abused.  You are to listen more than you speak.  You are truthfully just catching up.  You might remember to share a positive memory of your previous encounters.

Will it be productive?  Hard to say, much too early to say.  And not everyone will want to have lunch or coffee with you.  But some will, and you will have taken steps to turn yourself into a more effective networker.

Read this blog tomorrow to learn about Resolution #2.

Got Twenty Minutes?

September 5, 2013

I hope the answer is yes, because I’ve come across something you are going to love.  A Career Development Facilitator (a whole new credential) named Nakia Madry has posted a presentation on using social media in the job search.  Here it is:

So worth it.  Believe me, I don’t appreciate wasting my time.  Please don’t send me links to cute yowling cats or babies and dogs howling together.  This is different.

Ms. Madry analyzes the possibilities and dangers in Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  She’s clear, very pleasant, and uses graphics and examples effectively.

Looking for a job?  Take twenty minutes and sit down with this link.  I think you will be glad you did.  We can all learn something here.

Status Updates – always a new opportunity

May 6, 2013

What effective use do you make of the status update in social media?  I’m speaking of that opportunity to let us all know (briefly) that you are still alive.

For an unemployed person, this is a golden opportunity.  I think you should keep telling us you are doing something fascinating with your time.  Try something like this:

  • Just finished an online course in basic proofreading and am ready to tackle a new project.
  • Am currently processing registrations for the regional (…..) conference.  Hope to see you there!
  • Participating on a committee for the neighborhood block party.  We are currently looking for a sign language interpreter for the afternoon.

These statements seem to be vastly preferable to the following, which I often see:

  • I’m unemployed – anyone have any leads for me?
  • Hoping to be in touch with a recruiter in the field of engineering.

What about you?  I’d love to hear about status updates that resulted in someone reaching out to you in a productive way.