Tag: job search
Ever get that call from a former colleague or someone you recently met at a conference asking for that “cup of coffee?” It is typically a code name for a job search, and I believe we should all be saying yes and be willing to support others in their quest.
But this post is not speaking to those of us taking the call – it is speaking to the caller.
Yes caller- I mean you- and how you may do a better job preparing for those coffee meetings so they are productive for both. It surprises me how often I meet with people who are uncomfortable with or unsure how to make the most of our meeting. Here are some suggestions for you to consider to make the meeting productive:
1. Have a target list of companies of interest in the industries you are pursuing.
When I meet with people that come to the table with a target list it helps me think of people I know to connect them to. These people may not be in the exact companies you list, however they will most likely be in the same industry. If you are a generalist that can cross industries that is great, however keep in mind that this list will help trigger new connections for you, which is why it is so important to prepare one.
2. Research the LinkedIn network for who you are meeting with to identify potential contacts of interest.
Connect on LinkedIn if you are not already connected and read through the contacts and make a list of who would like to connect to. We all know LinkedIn relationships vary across a spectrum, so the more names you identify the better your odds are of meeting more people.
3. Have jobs you are applying for handy with explanations for the feedback you are getting.
This could provide an opportunity for coaching and also prompt further discussions about potential opportunities.
4. Have an idea for how you may be able to help the person you are meeting with.
This one may go without saying, however many people do not do this . Even if the person you are meeting with says they cannot think of anything in the moment, I have been impressed with people that say that they have thought of a few things on their own (which may be handy in the future).
There are so many positive outcomes that can come out of a job search. What are some of the best (and worst) experiences you have had from requesting or agreeing to a cup of coffee?
Debbie Brown is a Senior Sales Executive in Analytics, Software and Services . The majority of her career has been spent managing people and teams in software and services provided to the HR industry. Debbie enjoys sharing leadership best practices and as an avid reader is always happy to share great book recommendations. You can connect with Debbie on Twitter as @DebbieJBrown.
During a recent career coaching session with a client, I realized that much of the advice that he had been given was, in my humble opinion, not so very good. In fact, the advice was desperately bad.
For instance, my client said that a friend told him that he should not wear a suit to an interview because it would make him look desperate. The word desperate came up a few more times. The same friend told my client that you should never admit that you have been laid off from your job, even if is true, because that would make you seem desperate. And last, my client asked if reaching out to prospective employers, without seeing a job posting, would make him look desperate.
My advice about the suit. If you own a good suit, wear it to an interview. Dress up. Polish your shoes. Trim your facial hair. Be clean and neat. You want to make a good impression. Dressing well helps make desperately good first impressions.
My advice about admitting that you were laid off from your job. Tell the truth. There is no shame in having been laid off. The vast majority of Americans know at least one person (a friend, relative, neighbor) whose job has been eliminated. Explain that your job was eliminated, stay positive about your former employer, and move on to explaining why you are interested in their job opening. Doing so will make you seem desperately honest and focused.
And last, my advice about reaching out to prospective employers. Do it! It shows initiative and drive not desperation, in my book.
I am curious. Do you agree or disagree with my advice? And what crazy career advice have you heard and disagreed with?
About the author: Judy Lindenberger is the President of The Lindenberger Group, an award-winning human resources consulting firm, located near Princeton, NJ. They are experts in career coaching, customized training workshops, online training programs, mentoring, 360-degree assessment and feedback, HR audits, employee handbooks, and more. Learn more about them at www.lindenbergergroup.com.
Photo credit: iStockphoto
One of my favorite things to do to pass time when I travel is observe people and strike up conversations with total strangers. And it has often worked for me in several ways, be it on my flight when I travel, while at the bus stop or when I am at places that I have never been before.
Strike up a conversation
I know some of us may not be comfortable talking to strangers and it is just the way we are. But I understand that I am making myself approachable and likable to the other person by making a small friendly gesture, an eye to eye contact, a smile, talking about the weather or probably sharing a story or experience about me which somehow relates to them. This can help them open up their mind, start a conversation and share something that is of common interest.
Life is quite often like this. Every day we meet someone who wants to know about somebody or who knows somebody that we want to know about. And as an HR professional who loves to network, I always keep this in mind. Not just to connect with others with an ulterior motive but to learn something new, some experience that I never dealt with before or probably help each other out by sharing experiences that help us grow as a person.
Stories help you build connection!
I know of an incident that happened not to me but to one of my close friends while she was on her journey from Dallas, Texas to Tampa, Florida. As it turned out, the two hour journey helped land her a job when she got talking to a lady sitting next to her. Fortunately for her
that random person on that flight was a recruiter. She sparked up a conversation seeing the PHR Prep book in the hands of that recruiter. This helped her understand that the lady was an HR professional and they started talking about job searches and interview processes in different companies. She indicated that she is looking for a position in health care industry. Unfortunately, the recruiter was a headhunter in the financial industry.
But to her surprise when my friend got back home, she received an interview call from another recruiter who happened to be friends with the lady she met on the flight. And my friend got that job. How cool is that?
I am sure they might have felt much more comfortable talking to each other in a casual manner rather than sitting in an interview room across each other or at a crowded networking event.
So start striking up conversations and build connections, you may never know who knows who!
Have you had any experience like this? Would love to hear from you!
About the author: Nisha Raghavan is the author of Your HR Buddy blog and a co-host of DriveThru HR. A former HR Generalist with extensive experience in Talent Management and Development, she specializes and writes about Employee Relations, Organization Development and how companies can keep their employees more engaged through Employee Engagement Initiatives. Her experience in the corporate world was as an HR Deputy Manager at Reliance Communications Limited, India.
It's common sense (well it should be anyway!) that job seekers shouldn't bad mouth former employers on a job interview.
However, when you're looking for a new job, there's always a good reason for it and you should be honest — in a professional way. I'm not talking about getting into an hour-long drama explaining how tired you are of the office politics.
I read an article where the author stated you should use the following reasons to explain why you want to leave your current employer:
- Seeking new opportunities
- Looking for more responsibility
- Interested in career advancement
Don’t get me wrong – these are very viable reasons to look for a new gig. But they've been around for eons and are ultra cliche! Everyone who doesn't want to talk about the fact that they hate their boss will use one of these reasons. If one of these reasons are legit for you, skip the cliche and just provide an example. For instance, share an experience about why you're ready to tackle new responsibilities and how it will add value to an organization.
Unless the person interviewing you has just fallen off of a turnip truck or is on their fir
st day of the job, they’ll want to know more. It's best if it comes from you rather than having the interviewer make an incorrect assumption about you or your work.
And what if you really are leaving your job because you hate your boss. Is it best to be honest? Well, we'd like to think we could be because there is a laundry list of bad bosses out there. But, like it or not, perception is reality and you'll be judged way too harshly if you were that honest. In this case, my suggestion would be to think of the second biggest reason of why you want to leave your position and go from there.
The most important thing to remember is to be your real, unscripted self.
Photo credit: stock.xchng
About the author: Kimberly Roden is an HR pro turned consultant and the founder of Unconventional HR. She has 25 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR and business leader. Her hands-on and innovative approach allows her to create and deliver HR solutions to meet business challenges and needs by managing human capital, talent acquisition and technology.
In the world of job seeking and resume writing, gaps in your employment history can make recruiters question you several times and think many times over before offering you a job. Everyone is aware of this and employment gaps are big stress factors for job seekers today.
Despite the fact the economy is recovering, job hunting is still a full-time job for many people. Job seekers quickly realize that they are at their most vulnerable point in life, and anything in the resume that sticks out will only cause more fear and stress for them. This stress can make them think illogically and differently from their usual pattern.
In many cases, it is the resulting panic of an applicant seeing a job gap that causes the most problems. There will always be certain uncalled and unplanned events in a person’s life. These events, like sick or dying relatives/family members, maternity/arrival of a baby, and layoffs, can bring about a big gap in your resume. Such gaps can surface no matter how hard you work, how responsible you are, or how diligently you plan your life. The key to overcoming such gaps is to not let it hurt you when you are searching for a job.
Remember that being out of work for a period of time does not mean you cannot keep yourself busy. Keeping busy means more than just staying at home and watching TV or playing sports. It means staying involved with your profession. This can help cover up the job gap and helps you re-enter the field where you work. It also keeps your knowledge updated and skills sharp.
Here are some tips to help you active in your profession and busy without a job:
- Take classes on subjects related to your profession.
- Volunteer in a related organization or mentor others.
- Attend semi
nars and read trade journals and other publications in your field.
- Write literature about your subjects within your field of work. You can write for papers or magazine publications or even post them on blogs.
- Look for consulting projects/assignments to supplement your knowledge. You could end up gaining full-time positions as a result of a project.
If you have been working as a freelancer during the job gap, make sure you add the necessary details in your resume. Write down the assignment or project dates, functions, client names, and other relevant information. In short, treat your freelance work as you would treat a regular job.
If you have a large job gap to deal with, you could try experimenting with a functional resume or a chrono-functional one instead of a traditional chronological resume. Remember, however, that some employers and recruiters red-flag such resumes because they suggest that the applicant is trying to hide something. Chronological resumes are universally preferred because recruiters can easily read them and get the necessary information about an applicant.
Above all, remember to keep your network of contacts active before you need them as they can be very helpful in your search for a new position. Gaps happen. Prepare for them now.
About the author: Maggie Larson is a master’s level career counselor and an internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International. She was also recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors. You can check out her site at ResumeIndex.com
Photo credit: iStockphoto
This is the 4th post in our Women of HR series focusing on career. Read along, consider the advice and we invite you to comment with insights of your own.
You have a job, so you’re not really worried about your digital footprint.
You received so many invitations to join LinkedIn, you finally built yourself a profile. Now, if you could only remember your password! People keep talking about social networking and personal branding, but you are too busy to keep up with all of that; you’re working.
Don’t be complacent. A job today is no guarantee of a job tomorrow.
A CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes provides some sobering statistics: more than a third (35 percent) of American companies are operating with smaller staffs than before the recession. Thirty-six percent of companies will hire contract or temporary workers in 2012 and this percentage has been inching up every year since 2009 when it was 28%. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive late last year, says 27% of companies will hire temporary or contract workers in Q1 2012.
An M Squared poll of independent consultants suggests a temporary (or “flexible”) workforce is a permanent change. Fifty-five percent of independent consultants surveyed expect their revenue will increase in 2012. Could an outside consultant accomplish your job? If you don’t generate revenue (sales) or create product ideas, your position could be outsourced.
You don’t have to just sit around and wait for 36 percent of companies hiring contract workers to equal 50 percent. Act now to own and manage your professional reputation.
You should always act as if you may be facing a job search. If you are an expert in your field, other people should know it. Grow your reputation and stretch your network beyond the walls of your office or company. If you do not, you will face a big challenge should the time come when you need to either market yourself as an independent contractor or find a new job.
If you’ve poo-poo’ed social media, consider these four uses for tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to assist you being prepared:
- Demonstrate your expertise. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can easily make a habit of sharing useful information via links to posts or articles you read. It’s not difficult to contribute to conversations in all of these networks, which will help you cultivate an aura of expertise (assuming you are, in fact, an expert). When you do enter the social media fray, you may be surprised by how quickly you can become part of a community of other leaders in your field.If you play your cards right, before you know it, colleagues will be looking to you as a mentor and calling you an expert.
- Expand the network of people who know, like and trust you. You no longer need to rely on your brother-in-law or neighbor to introduce you to someone who could potentially hire you. Social networking broadens your network to include new mentors, colleagues, and contacts from around the world and right next door! We all know the best opportunities come via networking and a TIME Business article hits the nail on the when it compares job searching to throwing paper airplanes into the galaxy. In the article, Gerry Crispin, principal and co-founder at CareerXroads, cited surveys suggesting “… At least 28% of all hires came from employee referrals, although (Crispin) suggests the number may be even higher.” Don’t leave your network to chance. If you don’t spend time online expanding your network how will you effectively identify mentees? If you’re not up-to-date and cutting edge with your skills, how will you help those coming along behind you?
- Learn information you wouldn’t otherwise know. No doubt there are conferences and events you might like to attend, but can’t swing the travel or the time. It’s likely someone is “live tweeting” the events. If you join Twitter, with a little know-how, you can find and follow all the best information and learn what people are saying without ever leaving your home or office.
- Get hired and attract opportunities to you. Whether it’s a job opportunity you were not even seeking or a contract you need to land to pay your bills, creating a meaningful digital footprint can make the difference between being on the inside, or being outside and looking in. Results don’t happen overnight, though; don’t wait until you desperately need an online presence to try to create one. Start now. You won’t be sorry.
Are you convinced? These are just are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasons you should consider creating your online presence. Take it one step at a time and be sure to let me know when your first unexpected opportunity lands in your lap!
Photo credit: iStockphoto
About the author: Miriam Salpeter, author of Social Networking for Career Success, is a CNN-named “Top 10 job tweeter” and contributor to U.S. News & World Report’s “On Careers” column. Quoted in major media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and NBC news for her cutting-edge career advice, Salpeter is an in-demand writer and speaker regarding job search and social media. Follow her on Twitter (@Keppie_Careers), Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.
This is the 3rd post in our Women of HR series focusing on career. Read along, consider the advice and we invite you to comment with insights of your own.
In January, the Wall Street Journal posed the question “Is the Paper Resume Dead?”
As it turns out, the answer is “No.” Using information from HR recruiters and managers, as well as tracking sales of high quality paper stock at Staples, the author concluded that a paper resume is still a necessity, especially at places like career fairs.
Anyone job searching these days has experienced the online application. Some companies no longer even want a resume – they just want your application. But I’ve spoken to candidates who have been called for interviews and been caught off guard when asked for their resumes. Sometimes the online application is available to certain employees in the company, but not necessarily the ones doing the interviews.
It’s a confusing time to be in HR and experience the transition from paper resumes to employees who have a social media presence – perhaps even a brand!
On the one hand, we are advised to thoroughly research our candidates, perform background checks, and look into their past experience as a strong predictor of future performance. On the other, we’re advised not to let many things a candidate has posted on social media influence our hiring decision, given the possibility that the information posted is inaccurate or discriminatory. Further complicating the matter is our current employees, who, if they are involved in the recruiting and hiring process, love to Google and research the candidates as well.
Employees and job candidates also suffer from the same confusion.
Last week, I noticed a surprising post from a seasoned employee and resume coach. He posed a question on LinkedIn, ranting about a performance review that was only a “Meets Expectations” rating. While this employee said all of his supervisor’s comments were favorable, he was completely angered that the overall rating wasn’t an “Exceeds Expectations” as it had been in the past.
When he discussed the 4 page rebuttal he was in the process of preparing for HR, he received almost 25 responses – most of which advised him against posting about his employer in the first place. The question is now closed, but it is not deleted which means that his rant is forever out there for all to see – including future customers, clients and employers.
A professional paper resume – and a professional online presence – are both necessary.
When caught up in the heat of the moment, it feels good to just let loose. If we can stop and ask ourselves “Is it true?” and “Is it kind?” before we post it on line, we may be able to develop an online presence that it complements, rather than competes, with our well-written resume.
A paper resume may “make or break a bid for a job” and an online presence may make or break a career.
First impression thoughts and opinions are an unsightly reality of the society we live in. I’m writing this post because I believe it’s relevant for women to remain continually aware of how much they can and cannot control.
I follow a fun blog called Corporette that’s geared to women in the corporate world and it has decent fashion ideas and advice. Recently, there was a post called Diamond Rings and the Working Girl. The article was about what size diamond ring is appropriate to wear in an office and what about wearing diamonds on a job interview?
I posted the article on my Facebook page with a comment, “Regarding wearing diamonds to an interview: DON’T. I don’t recommend any rings. Strand of pearls or necklace, a watch if you wear one and that’s it.”
I received well over 50 comments and most of the comments were from intelligent women who vehemently disagreed with my comment. The women were saying they wouldn’t work or interview with a company that made hiring decisions based on what type of jewelry they wore or what their marital or financial status might be. And that companies should do a better job of educating hiring managers.
They were missing the mark. I was not referring to unethical companies, untrained hiring managers or even jewelry – it’s deeper than that.
Perception is reality so why not make the first impression of you be your real power: your experience, your accomplishments, what you know and how good you are? Control the focus of the interviewer so it stays on YOU without distractions. Wear diamonds and even a wedding ring on an interview and here’s an example of an interviewer’s possible interpretation or first impression (conducted by a human being who will have subjective thoughts and biased opinions creeping into his or her mind) :
- Diamond engagement ring.“Will probably need time off for the wedding and honeymoon.”
- Diamond ring with wedding band.“Wonder if there’s a maternity leave in her future or little kids at home?”
- Gigantic diamond ring with wedding band.“Hubby must earn a good living so she doesn’t need this job. Probably high maintenance who will whine or quit if she can’t have her way.”
This is not about shifting company culture or its leadership, it’s not about training our leaders to make employment decisions solely based on skills and experience, it’s not about whether you work for a family-friendly company, and it’s not about hiding who you are or being disingenuous. This is my point:
You have the power to outsmart and control what society has created in human nature by circumventing unfair judgments that others may make about your lifestyle or character.
Put this particular gender issue behind you by taking control. Don’t bellyache about wanting to be judged solely on your skills and abilities and then leave yourself wide open for a critique that can be 100% off base. If your personal life (married? children?) is none of your interviewer’s business then keep it that way during the interview.
Is this fair? Of course not. Is this real? Yes. Will you ever know about it? Nope. Get the job on your own merit, keep the focus on YOU and wear your bling after you’re hired.
I hope that you’ve realized this isn’t about jewelry or big boobs or surrendering. It’s about successfully and positively controlling how you are perceived by others.
If you are a job seeker looking for career advice, I have one word of caution, “Take what you need and leave the rest behind.”
There is plenty of great career advice out there but what concerns me is when career advisers just go too far.
I recently read a post from a well-known blogger who implied that a job seeker may have ruined a chance at an offer after the hiring manager saw that she was driving an old and dirty truck. There didn’t appear to be any other facts listed and when I challenged the blogger with a follow up question, I did not receive a response. My take away from this post was that job seekers should be sure their image was well-represented by driving a nice car. Seriously?
In the social media universe there is no shortage of self-proclaimed gurus, experts, and authorities who are happy to tell job seekers everything they need to do in their job search if they want to land your next gig. They will ask, “What’s your brand?” (I uber-loathe the word ‘brand‘ – and ‘uber‘ - for that matter) and “Do you have an elevator speech?” (What? Why can’t we just call it what it is - whichis the answer to the question, “Tell me about yourself.”)
A job loss, no matter how or why it happened, is emotional. In addition to the loss of income, the kick to a person’s confidence can leave a job seeker feeling vulnerable and susceptible to bad advice – and that’s what scares me.
Here is what I ask of you:
If you are a job seeker, please really take the time to be honest with yourself. Know your true strengths and weaknesses. Seek out solid, practical and logical advice that will help you address and even talk about your weaknesses. Learn how to maximize your strengths on your resume and when you interview. Network with other job seekers both in and outside of your industry or occupation, attend face to face meetings, and learn new job search methods and creative ideas from others. Ask these folks to review your resume – it helps! Choose what you read, use common sense, and do your homework before you take any career advice. Remember, some of these posts are written for marketing purposes without factual evidence.
If you’re blogging about careers and job searching, please be empathetic to your reader. Wear the shoes of the unemployed who have not chosen this path. You have no idea how vulnerable someone might be so can you please keep the ridiculousness to a minimum. I know that you have a business to run but please don’t push the envelope just because you can. It’s not the right thing to do.
Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments. What advice do you have for job seekers today?