Tag Archives: job boards

Get your job search tools sharpened!

So, you have your workspace and basic job setup well in place. Now you have to start sharpening the tools at your disposal and create some structure:

Resume:

  • If you have not updated your resume and have done a good once over to make sure it is relevant, articulate and compelling… do so now!
  • Have someone you feel would be an impartial judge critique
  • Proofread it again… and again!!
  • If you are looking for positions that have distinctly different “flavors” (e.g. Manager vs. Individual Contributor) make sure you have a resume that is laser-focused on each area instead of one that shows you as more of a generalist unless it makes sense to do so (you may be targeting smaller, start-ups where a jack or jill-of-all-trades may be more desirable)
  • Same as above for cover letters, have one for each instance ready. Your process will become much more streamlined and efficient  if you can keep the “customization” of covers to a minimum

Job Boards:

  • Make sure your new resume and covers are synced up to your job board profiles
  • Create job agents. These are automated searches the job boards will do for you based on your desired jobs and keywords and email you on a daily or weekly basis
  • Dead horse beating time: LinkedIN is a JOB BOARD too! Get an account if you haven’t yet. If you do, get your profile updated and start connecting. I should be on their payroll!

Goal Setting:

  • Figure a reasonable amount of jobs you want to apply for per day. Don’t fire off resumes willy nilly to every job that remotely looks like a fit. Then again, make sure you are applying enough to make it a numbers game – odds go up the more places that see your resume. If you are doing 6-8 hours a day, I would set a reasonable goal of 5-6 applications a day. This will give you the proper time to research the company and role to see if it is something you truly would like to do. It also lets you craft a well thought out, brief cover letter since you already have the templates
  • Network, Network, Network! Sort of like the equivalent of Location, Location, Location in real estate. Folks, this is your quickest path to your next job. Job boards serve a purpose but they are a supplement to networking. One of the most effective tools in your “swiss army knife” is the people you know. They will know someone or someone who knows someone who needs you!
  • Follow the 50-25-1 rule. What does this cryptic sequence of digits mean? This is a good networking rule of thumb for job seekers (active or passive.) On a weekly basis, you need to do:
    • 50 Networking emails
    • 25 Network phone calls
    • 1 Face to face networking meeting (one-on-one or group), this can be an office meeting, a lunch, a dinner or quick cup of coffee at your place of choice…they all count!

I know these sound like rigorous goals. However, the more process-oriented, organized and disciplined in your job search you are, the quicker you can quit.

There is one other side benefit of all this work. Can you guess?

OK, I won’t keep you waiting. Don’t think of yourself as unemployed, think more like you are an athlete who is doing off-season training. The job seeker who maintains a work-like schedule and mindset will interview better and have a much easier transition back into the workforce. Make sense? Good!

NOW GET TO WORK!

Job Search Central, Day 2

controlThe first thing that you want to make sure of is your pay situation in your new job. Of course, in this case that means unemployment insurance. If you qualify for UI make sure you know the process and contact info in your area. It varies state to state, and with the economy as it is the Unemployment offices are overwhelmed by claims. Make sure you have a couple hours dedicated to opening your claim on the phone, and a half a day + if you go to an office.

OK, now to set up Job Search Central:

Workspace:

Unless you live alone or nobody else is home during the day, try to establish a workspace that is private and quiet. Have your desktop organized and if this is a place you also do other work (paperwork, bill paying, etc.), make sure that is put away when you are in job search mode. Only paperwork relevant to job searching should be around, everything else is just going to be a distraction. If you prefer to print things out instead of keeping folders on your laptop, make sure you have some color coded manila folders for things like: job descriptions (one for ones you have applied to, ones for consideration), resumes, cover letters, references, etc.

Work Day

Figure out how many hours you are going to dedicate toward job searching and stick to that. Where it is taking a little longer to find jobs these days, I suggest a minimum of 4-6 hours. I also suggest that you do no more than 8 hours either. It will become too much of a drain and you may start to lose steam. While you are unemployed, take advantage of having a couple hours to catch up on reading or doing something fun during the day.

You also want to try to do your hourly work all at one time and minimize interruptions and breaks except for lunch. Set a firm start time and COMMIT to it! If you set 9 am, then you have until then to check email, Facebook, ESPN, etc. but after 9 those pages should leave your browser and not come back until your work day is done. (OK, you can look on you lunch break, but no more than 1 hour!)

Work Attire

OK, think me crazy but I believe if you take job searching seriously you need to feel like it is a regular job. Don’t work in what you rolled out of bed in. You dont need to put on a suit (unless that’s comfortable for you), and even jeans are OK. Just think if you were going to be going out in public and what you would wear that day.

Atmosphere

If you want to put on some soft music in the background, that’s cool. No headphones though, because you WILL need to be working the phones and headphones hamper phone activity. And absolutely NO television or computer games. If you IM with people a lot, try to minimize that activity unless necessary. You can put a status: “job searching from 9-12, available 12-1”

Next time, we will get into getting the tools you need for the job in shape, daily metrics, and making job boards and networking sites work for you!

Setting up “Job Search Central”

searchcentralYes folks, job searching is serious business and needs to be treated as a job itself. Today, I am going to talk about the basics to start setting up your “job search office.”

First you need to start with some administrative tasks and then move to the more specific searching tactics. When you first find out you have this new “job”, some of the actions you need to take:

  • Make sure you have agreed on severance and your pay/severance has been properly settled (commissions and some bonuses may be not be settled at time of separation)
  • Make sure you have the proper paperwork to go on COBRA if you choose to do so (it is cheaper than it used to be)
  • Analyze your 401(k) if you have one. Make sure you have the proper information to log on to access your account. See how it is performing and understand how long you can leave it in the employer’s account if it is performing well. If you want to remove it from you ex-company’s plan, Fidelity offers rollover IRA’s for 401(k)s so that you are not penalized for withdrawal
  • Notify any personal contacts who used your company email that you have left and not to send email to you there  because it will dump into a catch-all account and you don’t know who will view it
  • Contact your network (LinkedIN, etc.) to let them know you are no longer working there and to please keep their eyes open for positions that may suit you. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you are a little behind the game but you can catch up and obviously didn’t listen to my earlier post of social networking!
  • Review your resume and get it updated, spend some quality time on it so it reflects what you really want in your next job, I have many tips on this blog
  • Upload your updated resume to job boards. I recommend you should be on at least Monster and CareerBuilder. Technical folks need to be on Dice. Make sure all your contact information is current and your “years of experience” in your key areas of expertise are updated.

I know these things seem obvious but sometimes the stress and shock of being out of a job  can hinder your path to moving on to the job search.

Congratulations, you have got a lot done on your first day and that much closer to leaving this job! 🙂

OK, next post we will start to talk about the “game plan”.

What about Twitter?…and free coffee!

twitterpostSome people have noticed that when I was blogging about social networking and job searches, I conspicuously left out the 3000lb elephant in the room (3000lb bird?), Twitter. Well it actually was a conscious decision (as opposed to most of the decisions I make when I am unconscious) due to the fact I am a Twitter neophyte. I really don’t know the full power of Twitter and how to fully realize its benefits.

I have an account and do tweet, but my purpose is for candidate marketing and searches, plus promotion of my blog. I know many people do use Twitter for getting the word out they are looking for jobs so I know there are many aspects of how I use it that could apply to the job search side, I just don’t know quite how yet. So I am going to put the burden of proof on you –  my network savvy readers, to tell me if you have experience in this arena and share those ideas with the community.

So click here to send me your entry. I will post the 5 top and let the community decide on who is best. The best entry will win a $5 Starbucks card. Hey, it’s better than nothing!

Xing, Yawn, Zoom

yawnWell, I had a chance to explore Xing some more and while the prima facie evidence looked promising, I have to say I was not super wowed by it. The site is clean and fairly easy to navigate once you get going. It has all the requisite information points that you would expect although I found it more rolodexishly utilitarian. One reader commented on the difficulty of blog hosting on there. Aside from posting a blog link, there was no ability (that I could easily find in the freebie version) to do an RSS feed of your blog. If you are a job seeker who blogs on your specific subject matter expertise, I would find this irritating. Overall, it’s a big neutral for me. If you have the time to set up and research who is on there with the freebie edition, go for it. Otherwise I wouldn’t invest too much time. The other thing is it seems to me that it is more of an international site than US Centric as LI is. That may be where it’s membership base may be strongest if you are looking to network outside the USA for a career.

Here’s the hard numbers I would rate it at:

Value of “free feature” vs. having to pay for account upgrades: 2
Ease of setting up a an account: 4
Ease of Navigation/accuracy of searches: 3
Depth of contacts: 2
Value Groups feature on site: 1 (for US based folks looking for jobs in US)
Spam factor (do you get a lot of spam from company to upgrade, etc.): 3
Overall Job Seeker value:
2.5

OK, on to the next topic: Tom Blue, CEO of Lead 411 wrote me suggesting ZoomInfo. By the way Lead411 is a nice little application for lead generation and marketing management. ZoomInfo was actually one of those ones on the cusp of my sites to see.  It is a site for businesses to find key management personnel and company information, pressers, etc. all in one central repository, used primarily by head hunting recruiters and sales people for lead generation. I pretty much use the free version as my baseline reviewing criteria and was amazed how many times ZI could not even find the company I was searching for when I pretty much gave it almost everything in the search fields. I also found that it confused company information many times. Personnel with the same name would be associated with companies they did not work for but had an employee of that name. Links to web articles for the wrong person of the same name too. For this reason I decided it may be a little frustrating for job seekers, but once and a while you do uncover some useful nuggets there.

So there you go. Let me know if you have had similar experience or you disagree with my observations, love to hear the feedback.

Bill Meirs is the Managing Principal with the Church & Palfrey Group, a search firm specializing in Technology and Sales Searches. Bill has 11+ years experience in corporate and agency environments. He frequently consults companies and individuals in the areas of talent acquisition, recruitment process improvement, recruitment advertising and branding, resume writing, and salary negotiation.

5 Networking Sites to See!

siteseeMost of you know the major social networking sites (Facebook®, LinkedIN®.) Well, there are a few out there you may not know about that are starting to emerge as viable networking places (membership, hits, growth, etc.) even though they may not be what you would think as a social network. If you aren’t on or visiting these, you should check them out and get on at least a couple. By the way, I am not compensated in any way by listing these sites, these are unbiased opinions I am rendering. I have put a short description and rated them on certain criteria important to me on a scale of 1-5 (1 being the worst, 5 being the best.) These are in no particular order.

  1. Plaxo. Has been around a while. Started out as a web based contact management site but has morphed into more of a true networking one.
    Value of “free feature” vs. having to pay for account upgrades: 4
    Ease of setting up a an account: 4
    Ease of Navigation/accuracy of searches: 4
    Depth of contacts: 4
    Value Groups feature on site: 3
    Spam factor (do you get a lot of spam from company to upgrade, etc.): 5
    Overall Job Seeker value:
    4
  2. Spoke. They market more to the B2B crowd, but for the job seeker truly using networking, it is a powerful resource to get directly to your potential boss.
    Value of “free feature” vs. having to pay for account upgrades: 3
    Ease of setting up a an account: 4
    Ease of Navigation/accuracy of searches:4
    Depth of contacts: 4
    Value Groups feature on site: 3
    Spam factor (do you get a lot of spam from company to upgrade, etc.): 5
    Overall Job Seeker value:3
  3. Jigsaw OK, so Jigsaw doesn’t fit in the classical definition of social networking site (if there is such a thing), but it meets my criteria in that you put your info up there and find info on others. It is a definite business lead generation site more than a job seeker one, but like Spoke, it has its value to savvy job seeking networkers. It’s like an old fashioned business card swap. You actually earn points (and thus access) to other peoples’ direct contact info (phone number email, etc.) if you contribute to the site’s database of contacts. The bad news is that the “free” component is pretty limiting, which isn’t great for people out of work.
    Value of “free feature” vs. having to pay for account upgrades: 1
    Ease of setting up a an account: 4
    Ease of Navigation/accuracy of searches:4
    Depth of contacts: 5
    Value Groups feature on site: 1
    Spam factor (do you get a lot of spam from company to upgrade, etc.): 3
    Overall Job Seeker value:3
  4. GoBig Network I personally love GoBig. Again, not a classic social networking site. They were built with the start-up entrepreneur in mind and that’s what the site is geared to (start-ups seeking funding and funders seeking investments), but they list jobs with these companies that pay in money and promises (equity). If you like the start-up environment and are not risk averse, this could be a treasure trove.
    Value of “free feature” vs. having to pay for account upgrades: 5
    Ease of setting up a an account: 5
    Ease of Navigation/accuracy of searches:5
    Depth of contacts: 4
    Value Groups feature on site: 3
    Spam factor (do you get a lot of spam from company to upgrade, etc.): 5
    Overall Job Seeker value: 4
  5. You tell me! Is there one that you feel is great from a job seeking, networking perspective that you want to share?I know there are ones I don’t know about, maybe they are for a certain industry and that’s OK. Send me the website and I will review. I will post the ones I like in the near future.


Bill Meirs is the Managing Principal with the Church & Palfrey Group, a search firm specializing in Technology and Sales Searches. Bill has 11+ years experience in corporate and agency environments. He frequently consults companies and individuals in the areas of talent acquisition, recruitment process improvement, recruitment advertising and branding, resume writing, and salary negotiation.

Two-Face book

networkFBObviously I am not the first to weigh in on the pros and cons of using social networking sites like Facebook ®, etc. I was actually late to the party getting on FB because I thought it was more for the much younger crowd, but it has become quite a useful tool for me to re-connect with people and also to get the word out about my business and blog and has yielded rewards.

I am much less an “open networker” on FB than on LinkedIN®, since LI is strictly business focused. I don’t accept friend requests from I people I don’t really know. I keep my info fairly private.  Even though I try to be as private as possible on personal info, I still need to be cautious as to the content that I have up on FB. I still treat it like a business site, but with more of the “after work at the bar with co-workers” flavor. I proudly post about family and the stuff going on personally.

I don’t need to go into too much detail on why you need to be careful as to what you post about yourself and what your friends post about you. Just know that even if you keep your profile exclusive to just friends, prospective employers who are good at finding info on FB will be able to find an avenue to get to that information.

My best advice is not to post any photos that could call your character into  question. The picture of you doing keg stands from a party back in college is an example. Although most employers understand that everyone had their indiscretions during college, unless it is clearly obvious there is some time between now and when the incriminating picture was taken, err on the side of caution. This is not going to solve the problem completely. Most of you know that friends who have pictures on their site that you are in can “tag” you within the pictures. Simply meaning they can indicate within the picture caption and by mousing over your face in the picture your complicity in bad behavior. In your settings you can control this to ensure that you are if you are tagged in someone else’s FB site, you can remove it.

Other things to keep in mind if you choose to be more public about your FB profile and are job searching:

  • Try to be as apolitical as possible – if you have causes that are near and dear to your heart, that is fine but if there are things that would paint a picture of you being particularly hardcore in any political direction you may want to think twice about being so open. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but that also includes the people who may be hiring you for a job so remember that while they can’t explicitly say they don’t want you because of your political views, it still may happen
  • Try to optimistically flavor your FB postings. If you are currently employed, don’t use it as a profane soapbox about your current boss or company. Focus on the good things in life and your ambitious, upstanding character who has an incredible work ethic
  • Don’t be afraid to put it out there that you are looking for a new career (unless you are currently working and this could jeopardize things in your current job of course.) Be specific on what you are looking to do. Try to briefly underscore the skills you have. Often times, friends and friends of friends may see this and think of you for an opportunity in a particular job or industry you never thought of, but you may be very qualified for and could be a job you end up loving
  • If you have a blog about something in which you are a subject matter expert, make sure you push the posts to your FB page
  • Have a handy link in your profile to your resume
  • Network, Network, Network. See who your friend’s friends are and if you see someone who you know works at a company you are interested in, ask them for an introduction
  • See if there are any groups out there that would benefit your search (people who do the same job or worked for the same company as you) You can find members there to network with

There is so much more information out there. Here is a link to an article from Slate that I found pretty comprehensive.

Next post we will talk about the top 5 “social business networks” you should be on that you probably never heard of.

Bill Meirs is the Managing Principal with the Church & Palfrey Group, a search firm specializing in Technology and Sales Searches. Bill has 11+ years experience in corporate and agency environments. He frequently consults companies and individuals in the areas of talent acquisition, recruitment process improvement, recruitment advertising and branding, resume writing, and salary negotiation.