A Little ACCOUNTABILITY Goes a LONG Way!

JigSaw-partnershipA good accountability partner can make a major difference in one’s job search. I have seen many job seekers flounder because they launch their search efforts before they are totally prepared for the unique adventure ahead.  The power of partnering comes in to play when two well prepared job seekers come together to hold each other accountable for the activities and time management involved in productive search efforts.


THIS Week’s Session, Thursday, December 13th… Developing your personal ACCOUNTABILITY partnerships


bob-maher-4587-editYou can call this coincidence if you want, I did for a while until I saw it happening over and over, and the people using the accountability partner were giving them the credit for their success. Or you could call it peer pressure … but whatever you call the ‘fuel.’ The resultant energy cannot be denied… it works.

Too many times, we fall victim to distractions from the job search. The trap of sleeping late, watching TV, and playing on the Web can ensnare us. With no one but ourselves to hold us accountable for our job-search goals and plans, time can just slip away. It’s so easy to lose balance between personal needs and wants and our job search.

The other end of the spectrum is becoming a “job search-aholic.” For many of us, our identity is tied up tightly in our career, while others need a job right away just to make ends meet. No matter how great the need or desire for a new position, conducting a job search 24/7 non-stop can actually be a detriment to a successful campaign.

Once burnout sets in and enthusiasm begins to wane, how can you be at your best when you interview or even network?  The buddy system is an ideal way to protect against burnout while keeping on track!

3 GREAT Reasons You Need An Accountability Partnership

A partnership can be you and one other person, like how we start at DFWCareerpilot…or it could be a group of 3 or more like minded individuals. We start with each grouping being facilitated by a skilled and experienced facilitator.  Having had a lot of experience with facilitating accountability teams and partnerships over the years, I offer the following reasons why such activity will boost your individual job search efforts…

1) Someone to bounce around ideas with… It can be productive when you’re stuck and not sure how to proceed on an idea or maybe with a target organization—or an individual you’re having trouble connecting with.  Sometimes you just need that extra little push. Connecting with someone who does understand is a big deal.

2) Someone to share accomplishments with… Did you research and identify a great opportunity? Land that big interview? Get your first offer?  An accountability partner is the perfect person to share those exciting times with.

As Corporate citizens, we are used to being on productive teams, surrounded by resources, and encouraged to succeed.  However, as job seekers, it is easy to lead a very isolated existence and appropriate resources are not always available.

3) Someone you can stay accountable to

Again, it’s really rewarding to have someone to tell when you have accomplished specific goals and/or tasks. Or on the flip side it’s nice to have someone there if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed and they can bring you back to reality. It’s great to know you have someone there that is counting on you to take action!

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The ‘Dark Ages’ in The JOB Market

roadsign-banner2Pick your favorite cliche’ … “It’s always darkest before the storm…” or “Red in the morning, sailors take warning…” or, “When life hands you a lemon, make and enjoy some fresh lemonade!”  Career transition history shows that the ‘Dark Ages,’ the time between Thanksgiving and early January is horrible for actual job placements… but a terrific time for pro-active networking!  WHY??


THIS WEEK’s Session: Thursday, December 6th… Embracing the HO-Ho-holidaze in The OTHER Job Market: Our introductory session overviewing the 12 Step process, STARTING during the holidays!… a great place for new-comers to start!


chalk1Conventional wisdom is that company’s speed up their hiring to use up year-ending budget dollars.  Nearly forty years of ‘reality therapy’ has shown me that company’s…

  1. have a challenge in scheduling interviews through the holidays, and,
  2. due to less actual hiring, relax their ‘guard’ considerably in the screening of potential new hires, thus…
  3. are more ‘open’ to relaxed, pro-active networking (can you spell holiday spirit?)
  4. New Year optimism, and fresh budget dollars, make January through to ‘the kids coming home for summer break’ the most active hiring time period!

So, if you have finally come around to embracing the OTHER job market, or if you’re at least willing to ‘kick those tires,’ then the job market’s ‘Dark Ages’ is the time to do it!

Using JOB BOARDS Efficiently

All job databases, regardless of type, look and feel, operate on the same premise – the job seeker enters specific criteria to generate a resulting list of matching positions. It is recommended you actively search a variety of sites, both generic and niche, to determine which sites yield attractive positions for you.

To Implement this Search Strategy, some sites offer very detailed criteria, while others offer very general criteria. There are some commonalities that are fairly consistent from site to site. These commonalities, along with specific strategies are outlined below:

  • Boxes with multiple selection choices– These boxes allow the job seeker to select multiple choices at one time by holding down the control key on the keyboard as each selection is made.
  • Keyword boxes – most sites offer a field in which to type keywords. This is a powerful option to refine searching. Never fear “advanced search” option.

Some strategies for maximizing this tool are:

  • Quotation marks – placing quotation marks around specific words will generally cause the search engine to return jobs containing that exact phrase.
  • Skip Using Common Words – omit words like as, a, an, of.
  • Lower case letters – as a rule of thumb, lower case letters are more universally accepted on the Internet than upper case letters. If in doubt, use lower case letters.
  • Periods – generally periods are not found in job titles on the Internet. Use vp not v.p., or cfo not c.f.o. If you have extra room in the keywords search box, adding the title formatted with the periods can’t hurt.
  • Root titles – entering root titles will also source jobs with the same titles that have prefixes.
  • Asterisk * For Sourcing Multiple Forms of Words – using * after a root word will generally return words which contain a variation of that root word.

Now, to solve the dysfunctionality of keyword filters, NETWORK YOUR WAY to an attractive opportunity instead of simply applying for it!  Once invited in to the process, your resume will get actually read more frequently.  Learn to embrace this approach to the OTHER job market!

Job Search Agents

Job Search Agents continually look for jobs based upon specified criteria, and notify the candidate by email when matching jobs are found.

Precious time – this is what Job Search Agents save candidates. Instead of having to regularly remember to visit job boards to search for new jobs, candidates simply can visit these sites once.

The majority of sites allow candidates to set up more than one Job Search Agent. Entering a job title in the keywords criteria is one of the best ways to set up an Agent. If the titles of a specific job vary, it is best to set up a separate Agent for each title.

Taking the 5-10 minutes to set up a Job Search Agent can ensure a regular flow of potential opportunities, and free candidates up for more important activities such as networking.

Company Research

Generally, there are two types of Company Research related to a job search:

  1. Creating a list of companies to target for your search
  2. In-depth research on a specific company of interest, perhaps in preparation for an interview.

In-Depth Research on a Specific Company:

  1. Start with the corporate website
  2. Look up the company in business directories for corporate profiles on websites such as Hoovers or Vault.
  3. Search the local newspaper, business journals, or magazines for recent news.
  4. If it is a publicly traded company, search EDGAR for their SEC filings.
  5. Use a search engine like Google or Yahoo.

Industry Research

With respect to Industry news, set up electronic news alerts via email based on keywords on the topic of your choice. The majority of news alerts are free and most will send alerts to your cell or PDA as well. There are four main types:

  • Industry-based
  • Company-based
  • Product-based
  • Person-based

People Research

Recruiters and companies often perform quick internet searches on their candidates and you should also consider researching potential contacts as well as researching those on your interview team.

To research an individual:

  1. Search the company’s website especially if you’re seeking background information on an executive.
  2. Use Zoominfo to search for an individual.
  3. Use a search engine like Google or Yahoo.
  4. If you’ve created an account with an online networking community, try searching for the individual there.

Results from these searches can help you make a connection or discussion point.

Protect Yourself Online

In any job search, it is important to circulate a resume. However, job seekers need to minimize privacy issues related to resumes and personal data while still maintaining appropriate exposure to employers.

It is important to understand that employers, commercial job search sites, and resume databases vary widely in privacy practices and controls. Learn to choose a quality job search site and resume database with good privacy practices. And discriminate between valid job search-related email and other offers and unhelpful maybe even fraudulent solicitations for your resume or personal data.

Some key tips:

  • Look to see if the site is a member of the International Association of Employment Web Sites. Members are required to adhere to certain requirements.
  • Read the privacy policy paying attention to the length of time the resume will be stored.
  • Make sure the resume can be deleted.
  • Omit references on your resume to protect their contact information.
  • Avoid responding to vague offers.
  • Keep good records.
  • Pay attention to business affiliates.
  • Limit personal information and protect your Social Security number.

“Making Waves” in The OTHER Job Market

chalk1If you don’t understand the interactive nature of networking, now’s the time to learn. To be an effective networker, you need to be willing to serve as a conduit, sharing information, building relationships based on trust and reciprocity, leveraging existing relationships to create new ones, and following through to create ways to stay in touch to continue giving.  Remember, networking is a contact sport!

Those who don’t fully understand the process, who use people for information and never build the relationship, or return the favor, give networking a bad name and lose credibility in the eyes of others. Networking is about building trust and respect, not tearing away at it!

Lack of awareness regarding the effectiveness of networking. Most people in a job search spend too much time canvassing the open job market, the market everyone gets to see through job posting boards and recruiters.


NEXT Session:  Thursday, October 25th… Implementing Your PMP:  Creating waves in your networking efforts!  Start with the “low hanging fruit” to develop your skill and confidence.


bob-maher-4587-editTo “embrace the OTHER job market” is to understand that, if 70+% of actual placements come from personal networking, then 70+% of your job seeking time and efforts should be committed there to optimize your desired result…your next right employment!

Here are some of the illogical ‘excuses’ I hear a lot of…

I don’t want to ask for a favor. Many people think that when you network you’re asking someone for a job. But this is not the goal of networking. When you network, you never ask for a job. You ask for information about an industry, company, or position.  (A.I.R. = advice, information, and referral activity!)

Not comfortable talking to people they don’t know. Sixty percent (60%) of the population consider themselves shy. This perception leads to less networking. If the prospect of speaking to someone you don’t know is overwhelming right now, start to build your network by talking with people you do know such as friends, family, neighbors, or your doctor or dentist.

Fear of rejection. Many people fear that if they ask for information the other person might not be willing to talk to them. While it is true that not everyone will agree to meet with you, many people will extend help to you and you have nothing to lose by asking.

If they can lead you to others who can help you gain necessary information for your search, your network will grow in a steady, comfortable way.  And at the same time, your confidence and comfort will be growing.  And as your confidence grows, “listen” for the anticipated jobs (PRE-requisition) and the opportunities for undefined roles…

Learn to embrace this OTHER Job Market… but the pathway to IT is through your comfort level in identifying and pursuing the unpublished, or hidden marketplace.

Far fewer explore the hidden market; the actual jobs that are never posted, but instead are filled through connections, internal endorsements, and post-interview placements into a better fitting role.  The odds of finding a position through the smaller, hidden market are greater than those in the open market.

I want to do it on my own. When you’re selected for a position, it’s because you have the skills to support the needs of the position. You showcase your individual accomplishments and differentiate yourself from the competition. But in order to tell your stories to the right person you need to cast a wide net. You leverage your network to find the right audience, not to get the job.

Uncomfortable talking about yourself. Many of us were raised to be humble and not to brag. Networking and interviewing requires that you talk about yourself and your accomplishments.

Consider the use of the ‘third-person’ when discussing your own merits.  When you talk about your skills, you’re not bragging. It’s only bragging if your discussion contains false hyperbole.

Concerns about others knowing your business. Feeling too proud to tell people you’re in a job search? Examine the cause. Have you assumed that networking is asking for a job? Next, examine the consequences. If you fail to incorporate networking as a method of search, it may take you much longer to find a job.

Expecting things to move too quickly. Networking is an ongoing process. Like a child, your network needs time to grow and you need to nurture it along the way. You must pay attention to your network to keep relationships strong. Many contacts are not able to lead you to the person capable of making a hiring decision.

You must constantly “stir the pot” to effectively network.  Maintain consistent, and in-sync presentation of all your personal marketing collateral materials within your network… and it will in turn take care of you.  Nurture your network, build toward ‘top-of-mind’ awareness of your potential candidacy.

YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT: A LinkedIn Primer

chalk1Networking is a primary means of finding and landing  that next right employment opportunity. Social Media is an internet phenomenon that has become a very important tool for job seekers to use in their networking efforts. It is an extraordinary method for self-marketing. In fact, I like to call it your “GPS for Efficient Networking Activity.”

CAUTION:  USE TECHNOLOGY to save time and access information, but NEVER allow technology to replace person-to-person networking and relationship building. NETWORKING is a (very personal) contact sport!


THIS WEEK’s Session:  Thursday, October 11th, 8:45 AM at The Egg and I:  A LinkedIn PRIMER:  TASK#1, Evolving Your Profile


Pilot OnboardThe “top three” social media sites for job search are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is the most used social media site for business and professionals. Thus, it is an excellent site for job-search purposes. Recruiters and the more sophisticated companies use LinkedIn to source potential candidates for their open positions.  Facts about LinkedIn…

  • LinkedIn is a business networking tool, not a social networking site
  • Over 500 million LinkedIn users and trending up
  • Approximately I million new users added each week
  • Close to half of all LinkedIn users are in the U.S.
  • Executives in every Fortune 500 company are users
  • It is estimated that 85% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent
  • Recruiting services is one of the major sources of revenue at LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn offers both free and fee-based services, but you do not need to pay to effectively use this networking tool

LinkedIn is like a multi-faceted “diamond” for networkers.  In fact, it might be helpful to see the multiple functionalities of LinkedIn in three “tasks.”  Your TASK#1 Is to have an account and create a high impact Profile that is in sync with your resume.

Already you need to make an important decision.  Will you be using LinkedIn to PUSH your message outward, creating visibility for you availability?… or using LinkedIn to PULL people to your KEYWORDS?… or, my favorite, using both approaches together.

TASK#1: Having a LinkedIn Profile that “fits” your use of social media, including a Headline and SUMMARY that allows you the best of PUSH and PULL marketing tactics…

YOUR HEADLINE…

BUSINESS ANALYST: Operations Accounting | Database Administration | Financial Analysis | (more if space allows)

 YOUR SUMMARY…

(Start by copying and pasting from your resume… then personalize by putting the nouns back in and adding KEYWORD accomplishments…)

I am a resourceful and productive Business Management professional with over twenty years of diverse and progressively responsible experience in a fast paced dynamic environment.  My proven strengths lie within the areas of accounting and administrative assistance.  I am used to the dynamic demand of operations accounting, customer service, database management, data collection and analysis, and prioritizing workload.   I’ve been reviewed consistently for having a pro-active attitude, focusing on the customers and their needs.

Managers seem to value me as a detail-oriented, critical thinker who thrives in a team environment with diversified stakeholders and clientele, focused on personal development and process improvement. Proficient within proprietary and other systems, as well as Microsoft Excel.

OPERATIONS ACCOUNTING: I was promoted to continue previous retail billing duties with the addition of commercial billing duties for commercial and retail platform.  I coordinate with customer service and manufacturing to obtain information related to customer’s account and orders.

DATABASE ADMINISTRATION: I’ve prepared detailed invoices per customer contract for commercial accounts, including credit allowances to customer as required by account contract.  I have also assisted with individual account budgets, providing data input of pricing, cost, VAR information.

FINANCIAL ANALYSIS:  I prepare detailed invoices, including credit allowances to customer as required by account contract.  This requires knowledge of customer contracts, pricing list, invoice discounts and rebates when applicable.

Available for immediate contact at phone# and email address

***

TASK#2 is to learn the various functionalities that allow you to find new connection, grow and focus your network, and find useful information.

  1. Join LinkedIn groups and post comments
  2. Post relevant content in groups
  3. Post questions
  4. Promote events in which you are involved

 TASK#3 is to exploit the JOBS and job seeking functionalities.

PLAN Before You’ll Need a Plan

Compass-seaLWhile involved in ‘the challenging waters’ of career transition, the same chaotic, jobless, trying times are very productive times. Don’t waste them by floundering with lack of focus and direction, falling into the dark, depressive attitude of distractions and, worst of all, inaction…

When we are employed, we tend to function under the guidance of our employer’s business plan, or, more specifically, our job description. Our ‘routine’ is defined by:

  • Personal accountability to a labyrinth of responsibilities, some structured— some not structured at all—but all contributing to productive work activities…
  • We create productivity and efficiency with our sense of time management…
  • And as ‘top talent’ professionals, we often take initiative, make process improvements, and contribute to the Company’s growth.

This Week’s Session, Thursday, August 2nd, 8:45 AM, at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison… Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan


chalk1So, why not recreate all that with OUR OWN PLAN, a Personal Marketing Plan, to move toward job satisfaction, commitment, and appropriate compensation, for the rest of our careers… including any current, short term job search?   But, before looking at what such a Personal Marketing Plan would look like, let’s review the PREPARATION Portion of the 12-step Process Model (on the left).

If an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services. Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!

And, employed or not, Modify and improve your Personal Market Plan’s implementation model as needed… As you move through your career transition or ‘job search campaign,’ make adjustments as you would a business model.

BRANDING Yourself In The OTHER Job Market

Your “market-tested” RESUME TEMPLATE can now serve as the basis of your correspondence templates. Become familiar with the AUTO TEXT and MAIL MERGE applications within MS Word to create efficiency in the editing of your templates to meet the needs of specific opportunities that you are marketing yourself to.

Now it is REALLY beginning to feel like YOU are market-ready… but, THE Careerpilot encourages you to be totally prepared before you do. Let’s not forget to be prepared for the digital face of the job market…

 LinkedIn Task#1: INITIATING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

The Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of using social networks to recruit top talent and for job seekers to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves. While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.

Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts… Where to begin? The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions… LinkedIn.

INITIAL RESEARCH:  To Create Focus

 Make a concerted effort to research trends and target organizations of geographies, industries, and functions that interest you. Access market research reports, the Internet, your own network… start with the resources with which you are already comfortable. Develop your research awareness and abilities.

Begin to assemble your INITIAL Target Organization List.  Start your list of companies and industries that are attractive to you. Your targets are companies that utilize the functionality and RESULTS that you can bring to the table. A great start is to consider industrial trends in the marketplace that point to an organization’s need for your services.

 INITIAL CONTACTS List

 Make a list of coworkers, bosses, customers, suppliers, associates, external consultants, etc. Make a list of family, extended family, friends, relatives of friends, neighbors, people you know from special interest groups like bowling or bridge, church contacts, former classmates or alumni, and professionals like your doctor, dentist, or hair stylist.

Surviving and Thriving in “The Sea of Unwashed Faces”

AjustDaSailsIn the traditional marketplace, potential employers seem to have the upper hand… but like the ol’ half full glass of water, remember that from the employer’s view available top talent seems like a sea of unwashed faces, too.

So what is it that the job seeker can control to make THEIR face stand out…network to and interview with the true decision maker… BE the chosen one?


THIS Week’s Session: Thursday, July 12th at The Egg and I…

Embracing The OTHER Job Market


bob-maher-4587-editStanding-out in the “sea of unwashed faces” becomes the simple matter of adjusting ones sales when in the challenging waters of career transition.

Create an expectation of who you are and what you can do for your next employer by clearly positioning and targeting your collateral materials, both written and verbal.  When stating your career objective, clearly state your appropriate work and make an offer of your services.

Here are some tips on becoming a valued partner…

Walk the talk.  Nothing speaks louder than results…. From the recruitment perspective, the best indicator of one’s potential for success is one’s prior experience and results gained.  A partner helps others within the organization achieve their goals. And results require actions, not just words. The better the results you get, the more likely you are to be invited on to ‘the team.’

Deep knowledge. You must have a true understanding of every aspect of the business, how all the moving parts work together, the obstacles ahead, and intimate knowledge of the competition in the marketplace. In other words, you’ve done your homework and understand your potential employer’s need.  And you must be able to articulate your understanding to anyone involved in the decision-making process in a manner that demonstrates that you truly get it.

Two of the many ways of accomplishing this image are to…

  1. Keep a file of relevant articles to share with key decision-makers, take advantage of the approaches that email and social media have to offer… create and maintain top-of-mind awareness.
  2. Further, create a set of ‘white papers’ that express, from your knowledge and experience, your perspective on relevant issues to your Profession or industry of choice.

Listen well. Everyone loves to feel that they have been heard and understood. One attribute of leadership is being known as a good listener. And if you can reiterate and articulate what has been said, you will be valued as a partner in the decision-making process.

Remember, as a job seeker, NETWORKING is your way to share knowledge, ‘branding’ yourself as a valued resource.  It is also your best source of confirming the subjective information you seek to supplement your research of factual information about a potential employer.

Big picture thinking. Having a strategic vision requires you to see all areas of the business, internal and external.   This is a valuable trait well beyond the C-suite.  If you only have a deep understanding of one area, you are more likely to be tactical in your decisions, rather than strategic.

You must be able to foresee problems from the stakeholders’ perspective in order to offer the most highly valued and comprehensive solutions.

Tying all of this together, the best way to be treated like a valued partner is to act like one. The more you demonstrate your value, the more you will become recognized as the new go-to person in the organization.

Banging On The Screen Door

chalk1The term “third party recruiter” goes by many names, including contingency agencies, executive search firms, retained search firms, employment agencies, headhunters, recruiters, and temp agencies.  These all fall under the umbrella of the “staffing industry.”

Contingency Agencies are paid by the company after the agency’s candidate is hired…their sourcing process is a paperwork mill.

Retained Search Firms custom locates candidates for a company and are paid upfront or on a progress basis (retained basis). Their sourcing process is often more focused and conducted on a more personal level.

Employment Agencies are contracted by companies to find candidates for temporary or permanent positions.  Often their sourcing and screening activity is conducted in parallel to Corporate recruiting efforts.

Temporary (Temp) Agencies find candidates to fill temporary jobs and “temp to perm” positions.  This includes the Lease2Perm TECHNICAL firms.


This week’s session, Thursday, June 28th at The Egg and I: An exploration of the third-party world of recruitment


bob-maher-4587-editIn embracing The OTHER Job Market, a successful professional seeking their next appropriate employment will learn the technique of using the services of a third party recruiter.  Our goal is to understand their world, from THEIR viewpoint, in order to optimize the effectiveness of our efforts looking for work.

HOMEWORK for this week’s session…

The American Staffing Association (ASA)

TEXAS specific statistics… Third-party recruitment statistics in Texas

As promised here is more of my list of things you should take into consideration when working with staffing agencies.

  1. Working with a staffing agency does not guarantee placement in a job.  It’s one of many techniques to use in your job search.
  2. Staffing agencies do the initial screening, saving the employer time and money… they are an extension of the employer’s recruiting and screening process.
  3. Don’t abdicate the tasks of the job search to a recruiter who is busy working with lots of job seekers.
  4. Reducing or stopping your networking efforts once you start using a staffing agency is a huge mistake.
  5. Approximately 79 percent of staffing employees work full-time according to the American Staffing Association (ASA).
  6. Recruiters have contacts in the business community which only extends your networking outreach.
  7. Employers that experience an unexpected increase in business may favor hiring temps before hiring permanent workers.
  8. Companies are using staffing agencies to “test drive” the performance of a temp before offering a permanent position.
  9. The ASA notes that 12 million Americans will work at some point during the course of the year in as a temp or contract employee.
  10. Temping is not a step down.  It’s money, connections, a resume gap stopper and an opportunity to get your foot in the door.
  11. Signing up with a staffing agency is usually quick and easy, much of which can be done online.
  12. While actual titles may vary, there are basically three functions within any one staffing firm: those that identify and bring in the actual job orders, those that identify and initially screen potential applicants, and those that administer the firm’s process.
  13. Network with your LinkedIn connections to learn more about the right staffing firms to use; use more than one agency. “Reach out” to at least two firms each week within your Personal Marketing Plan.
  14. Check the phone book or Internet for a list of staffing agencies; also use the Internet to find additional information…CAUTION: There is no directory of the ‘good ones.’ THAT is a matter of your personal relationship with them.
  15. Schedule an appointment with a staffing agency representative.  Dress to impress, show your smile and give a firm handshake.
  16. Make sure your resume has been professionally critiqued before you submit it to a staffing agency.

* more to follow *