Accountable To Whom And For WHAT?

happynewyearsmalltolargeThe leading cause of long job searches is low marketability or like-ability…Rather it is the lack of ACCOUNTABILITY to appropriate time management and regular implementation of productive activities.  That said, what are YOU going to DO about it?

At the end of the day, the significant developmental issue, here, is to develop your own sense of SELF-Accountability… it really doesn’t matter whether you do this as part of a team, or part of a partnership, or even by yourself if you have the prerequisite knowledge, self awareness, and DISCIPLINE.


This Week’s Session, Thursday, January 3rd at 8:45 AM… UNDERSTANDING The OTHER Job Market…An exploration of why activity in this parallel marketplace is critical to overcoming common challenges of job search in the more traditional marketplace.


This is not for the feint of heart.  Most job-seekers miss the accountability of time management and commitment to specific, result-oriented activities that employers instill in you.

TOP TIPS: Creating EFFECTIVE Accountability

Create a Goals Worksheet/ TEMPLATE… You’ve heard the cliché “What Gets Measured Gets DONE.” Very true for jobseekers who put themselves ‘out there’ on their own.  Work SMART at your job search PLAN…

Specific time and activity goals for each process prep and implementation step. Measurable goals so that progress can be analyzed and diagnosed  Actionable goals that allow you to ‘own’ your job search accomplishments   Realistic goals that are attainable on an average, weekly basis… and keep them Timely.

Have goals that are time-specific to keep you moving FORWARD!

  • Choose your PARTNER or TEAM Members wisely… your sense of accountability is built when you can be open and honest with each other during your scheduled sessions. There’s no room for negativity.
  • Have a set STRUCTURE of what will occur during each session. I encourage each meeting to start with a brief practice of verbal collateral, followed by a reporting of last week’s ‘numbers.’  Identify obstacles to your progress, requesting specific ‘help’ as appropriate.  Commit to next week’s numbers.  Close with an open and frank discussion aimed at removing obstacles… including action plans!
  • Keep your Group’s Membership and attendance consistent. Remember, these sessions can be effective with anywhere from 2 to 10 Members.
  • Create a hard copy binder with a tab for each Member… contents should be everyone’s tracking sheet, current resume, and a business card (several might be useful). Each Member is in this TOGETHER.
  • Generate a sense of TEAMSMANSHIP… Give yourselve’s a NAME. Create some sort of reward system for the week’s most contributive or successful Member.
  • Build EARLY SUCCESS by inviting a skilled and experienced facilitator for your first few meetings… then carry-on with a personal accomplishment of helping each other with resolution and action plans to overcome all obstacles.
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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.

IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES…And Turning Them into INTERVIEWS

Compass-seaLIf you are not absolutely clear about what you want as that NEXT STEP in your career, envision an ideal position that will value you for the main characteristics and experiences you want to be hired for.

Since you need to be concise and clear when developing your Personal Marketing collateral materials (resume, BIO, verbal communication, and your LinkedIn profile),  it’s important to figure out what you best offer in your next position, so you know exactly what skills and experiences to highlight.

Make FIT happen!


NEXT Session:  Thursday, November 1st…Turning Opportunities Into INTERVIEWS: A HOW-TO look at turning research and target organization networking into INTERVIEWS!


Ready+aim+fireRESEARCH: Analyze Your Target Industry

Once you know what you want to do, your next step is identifying where you want to be—think industry, city, and companies. Then, research your industry and key trends affecting it now: Read relevant industry news articles, research companies, and analyze job descriptions you’re interested in.

SELF-Assessment: Find Your Fit and Focus on CAREER Objectives

With your knowledge of your target industry, it’s time to figure out how you fit in (or want to). Identify, describe, and refine your key selling points with your end goal in mind. Then, craft them into 4-6 bullets, shooting for statements that are vivid and that clearly illustrate what you bring to the table over anyone else.

Ask Yourself

  • What is the intersection of your ‘value proposition’ and what your target industry, or specific Company, needs?
  • What are your most impactful areas of experience, knowledge, or skill?
  • What critical problems are you well suited to solve?

Pay Attention to the Nitty Gritty

As you begin to think about the type of career transition you want to make, what IS the next appropriate employment for you… start out by documenting what you already know to be true about your professional self.

  1. Give specific attention to what you spend the most time doing, those functional details of your work that have the greatest impact on your employer’s success, and, especially, what are you uniquely providing that gives value to your role?
  2. Take notes about when you’re feeling particularly unmotivated or unenthused about your job. Write down the tasks that bring you down as well as those that get you excited.
  3. It may seem like a tedious exercise, but if you stick with it, patterns will start to emerge. And it’s in teasing out these patterns that’ll help you build a picture of the role that’s right for you.

Schedule  Informational “Interviews” With Key Contacts

In addition to being introspective, it’s also important to get out there and start becoming your own best CAREER Coach, learning about satisfying next steps, the career moves you’re interested in.   And what better resource than the very people already in, or connected with, those you seek?

As an active job seeker, especially in the first few months of a job search, networking your way to one informational interview per week is essential to your campaign’s success.  This may sound like a lot, but initially quantity is more important than quality as you want to get a sense of a wide variety of roles in different industries based on the results of your introspection.

The more people you speak with, the more you’ll be exposed to fields you might wish to pursue. With that said, you don’t want the person on the receiving end to feel that way—so always make sure to come prepared and send a thank you.

“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.

Taking Digital Footsteps

roadsign-banner2Just as the competent sailor must select their destination in order to have a successful voyage, so must the productive and efficient job seeker know what is a right work opportunity to identify, proceed toward…and secure!  While this seems like an incredible over-simplification, mere ‘common sense,’ it is knowledge that eludes most unemployed people.  You see, when you’re employed you tend to assume that your employer will help you to navigate those ‘next steps’ in your career.


Thursday, August 30th… A LinkedIn PRIMER: Task #2 and 3: Conducting an organized and efficient “campaign” using LI functionality


bob-maher-4587-editAh, but when you’ve lost your job, your fellow employees, and your employer… WHOA… the rules seem to have changed!

While a sailor’s journey could be defined by its destination, his success is determined by the course he selects, and, most significantly, having an appropriate ship to make the passage as smooth as possible.

In Steps #1 and #2 of our 12-step process we learn to assess (know the features of our ship) and set our objective (select our destination and course) so that we can develop a GREAT Resume, one that allows our future employer to help navigate our journey, thus we embrace the OTHER job market!

Many people are confused about their career direction. That’s okay. You can leave your overly-broad branding on LinkedIn until you figure out what you want to be when you grow up — at least for this job search!

Read LinkedIn profiles to spot job titles, job descriptions and specific responsibilities that sound like a fit for you. Now, brand yourself for the jobs you really want — not every job you’re qualified for:

  • Freelance Travel Writer and Editor
  • Sales Manager for Pharma/Neutraceuticals
  • Office Manager/Bookkeeper Seeking Overbooked CEO to Support
  • Startup Marketing Manager with Press Contacts

Your LinkedIn branding is important because it tells the world how you see yourself.

Everyone else will see you the same way the minute you stand in your power and tell us “Here I am!”

Just what IS a right work opportunity for YOU?

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 *