Tag Archives: networking

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!

Good article on Twitter Applications for Job Searching

I came across this article, and thought it was relevant to the discussion of using Twitter for job searches. This showcases some Twitter 3rd party apps that help in using the service for job hunting. I have heard a lot of good things about Twellow.

Keep your suggestions coming!

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.

Networking Sites Reader Suggestion: Xing

networkreadersFirstly, thanks everyone for their feedback on this discussion. I got quite a few responses and wanted to share of couple of the reader’s inputs.

Sarah, who works as a recruiter in the healthcare/medical device industry suggested I check out Xing.com. She observed its model was similar to LinkedIN® but had a generally positive view of it as a complimentary resource to LI. I had heard of Xing before but never really spent much time on it, so I  revisited.

Sarah’s assessment was right on. It has very common features to LI, I would say the interface is a little bit more flashy. It has all the requisite connection processes plus company and job information. It was launched in 2006 and claims 7 million users. I didn’t research the revenue information, but comparing the growth trajectory of their database vs. LI they are about on par (LI had 8 million by end of 2006 and launched in 2003.) LI now has 41 million users. I don’t think Xing will experience that kind of growth given that LI was kind of the industry leader but also can’t count them out as evidenced by the MySpace and Facebook dynamic. They have a bare bones free plan like LI, and a premium membership as low as $5.95/month if you commit to a 2 year membership.

Next post will be my standard review of Xing and another suggestion to Zoom Zoom a Zoom!

Yes Social Networking Does work!

Here is an article from The New York Times that demonstrates the power of Social Networking in job searching. My neighbor Brian Karbel who works at HubSpot (a fantastic product BTW if you are looking to beat your competition in search engine rankings, drive traffic to your site and generate more inbound leads, I can’t speak as eloquently as he can on it so call Brian!) was a subject of the article so I know first hand that this does work!! Check it out.

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.