Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top Story on Yahoo! (SEP 22, 2009)

LONDON (Reuters) – In a pinstripe suit, silk tie and polished shoes, David Rowe has all the trappings of a successful London city worker, except for one stark difference -- he is wearing a sandwich board that says "JOB WANTED."

As he walked down Fleet Street, home to legal firms and investment banks, the 24-year-old history graduate showed the human face behind the "lay-offs" and "recession" headlines.

"The first 20 paces are the hardest, you feel very conspicuous, but you just steel yourself to get on with it," he said, starting a slow trudge toward the Law Courts before turning toward St Paul's Cathedral.

Image and Story Courtesy of Reuters

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"But I can't think of any results..."

You don't have an excuse anymore! CareerCorps has created a simple Microsoft Excel 'Results Tracker' available for FREE download. Now, you'll finally be able to track your results at work, and when it comes time to update your resume, you'll be adequately prepared :)

The Results Tracker can be downloaded here:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Do good, get a job.

If you're unemployed and executing your job hunt plan during normal business hours (9-5 Monday thru Friday), that leaves you with plenty of time in the evening and on weekends to volunteer for a charity and attend charity events. The volunteer aspect is important because it allows your soft and hard skills and abilities to shine through. Thus, you'll get to know some pretty incredible and like-minded people. Most importantly, they'll likely have their guard down in that environment, so you'll be able to develop authentic relationships, where you otherwise might not be able to. People like people who do good and are like-minded. When the common question of "What do you do for a living?" pops up (as it inevitably does), you'll have your opportunity to pitch your value proposition and determine if there are any hiring opportunities on the horizon.

Are you being kind with your time, volunteering your skills and abilities for common good, and attending charitable events?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Should I get an MBA?

Should I go back to school and get an MBA?

If I had a nickel for every time I heard this question, I could probably raise enough capital to acquire Monster and CareerBuilder. To this question, I say, "Check your motives."

* Is there a specific MBA program you're interested in and is it aligned with a burgeoning market? Do you have interest in creating your own program (Sustainability in Transportation & Logistics, Marketing via Social Media, etc.)?

* Do you plan to look for synergies with other like-minded students and consider entrepreneurial opportunities and impactful real world projects?

* Do you plan on joining and leading student organizations and associations?

* Do you plan on getting to know your professors outside of the classroom, picking their brains, and leveraging their networks?

* Do you plan on being involved with the alumni network upon graduation?

If you answered "yes" to each of the aforementioned questions, then my answer is unfailingly, "YES! Go back to school and get an MBA." However, if you're going back to school because you can't find a job and your motive is simply to "get that piece of paper" and a "bump in salary", CHECK YOUR MOTIVES.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cooking a steak and NOT eating it...

Imagine driving to the supermarket, scouring the different cuts of meat, selecting and paying for a $15.99 cut of meat, driving home, marinating the meat, and then cooking it...only to throw it away in the garbage without ever taking a bite. Where am I going with this?

I advise all of my clients to develop a job hunt plan. Not all of them do it. Those that do, are excited at first, but then the excitement wears off when they realize how difficult it is to execute that plan. Sadly, this is where most fall off the wagon and revert to their more comfortable ways. Sales isn't for everyone. But this isn't about Sales. This is about SURVIVAL. You have a mortgage/rent to pay. You have a family to support. You enjoy leisure activities and recreation - and it costs money. Not selling yourself, is not an option. MAKE THE SALE! Pick up that phone and contact the hiring manager. Walk-in unannounced.

Whatever you do, don't get caught up in negativity and complaining. Your life is a direct reflection of the conversations going on inside of your head. Replace, "I won't ever get hired," with, "I am the best damn (insert title here) in this town and I will get hired this month!" Say it over and over and over. Then, move a muscle and EXECUTE that plan.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bicep Curls vs. Cheese Curls

If you supplement your workout with poor eating habits, it is counterproductive. Why on earth would I spend 30 minutes in the gym working out my biceps and then go home and eat a 10oz bag of Cheese Curls? It just doesn't make sense.

The same goes for job hunting. If you supplement your agressive job hunt strategy with a boring black-and-white resume - and that's it - it is counterproductive. You've worked your a** off to set appointments with hiring managers this week - why in the world would you want to convey a sub-par representation of yourself as a first impression??

It's time to develop a first-rate pitch package for yourself. Google "sample press kit" (or some derivative thereof) and view the results. This should give you a good baseline to start from. Don't be afraid to be different. Take some professional photos of yourself (put up an ad for a "test for print" photographer on Craigslist; they're FREE). Write an interesting article about something in your industry, print it out, and include it. It doesn't matter if you are "published". You've got to think outside of the box here. Print a list of your 3 favorite business books, highlighting your 5 favorite quotes from each book. If you volunteer, create a "Volunteer Addendum" with pictures and a synopsis of your volunteer work. The possibilities for your pitch package are endless. Get creative, and start mass-producing your package NOW!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Is your personal brand desirable or detestable?

According to Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry, co-authors of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters, "The New VALUE Table™ represents the base elements of your personal brand." These are the tenets, as they relate to the Employer's Value Requirement and Your Quality That Counts:

Employer Value Requirement: Create new intellectual wealth for my company; add to my intellectual assets
Your Quality: A consuming desire to make something new; to cut a new path rather than take a road

Employer Value Requirement: High-energy enthusiasm for the job, regardless of the hours worked
Your Quality: Work is a game - an integral, vibrant part of his or her life

Employer Value Requirement: Not only is money not the most important issue - it's beside the point
Your Quality: Internal pride to leave a "legacy signature" on their work, rather than strive for a paycheck

Employer Value Requirement: Enduring performance
Your Quality: An ability to stay and finish the race, because not finishing is inconceivable emotionally

Employer Value Requirement: "Think around corners" to solve problems creatively
Your Quality: Having an inner voice saying, "There's always a way."

Employer Value Requirement: Bring up-to-date professionalism into every fray
Your Quality: Contain a desire to grow professionally - to become the best person he or she can be; invest in themselves

Employer Value Requirement: Ever-increasing contribution
Your Quality: The key to inner pleasure is recognized as making an individual contribution

Employer Value Requirement: Identify and develop values for your company
Your Quality: Instinctive grasp and exploitation of today's real value; the intangible capital of brand image, staff talent, and customer relationships

Employer Value Requirement: Challenge the status quo
Your Quality: Willingness and courage to speak the truth when you see a conflict

Enjoy :) Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Being passive and unstructured will set you back.

If you've been unemployed for a while now and haven't managed to secure any job interviews, it is likely because you're being too passive and unstructured in your job search approach. Consider the following definition (Dictionary.com):

campaign (noun) - a systematic course of aggressive activities for some specific purpose

Two words jump out of this definition: "systematic" and "aggressive". Take a good, hard look at your current job search campaign and find the holes. Some people will have more holes than others. If your campaign is riddled with holes, start filling them. Develop a plan. Do a resumé makeover. Devise and internalize a 30-second sound bite and value proposition that you feel comfortable giving over the phone. Pick up the phone and dial. Track your progress. And remember, the more tools you use and the more aggressive you are, the more contacts you'll make and the higher your probability of success.

Create forward momentum today. It's never too late.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

YOU Inc.

You are no longer a person in this economy. You are a product, competing for shelf space. It's time to think in terms of features, benefits and value.

What are your features? What are your benefits? What is the value you deliver? If you are an IT Project Manager, your features would be the unique knowledge you have about specific technologies (award-winning Agile software development). By leveraging that knowledge, your employer will be able to realize benefits (i.e. competitive advantage in the industry). Finally, the value you deliver would be your direct or indirect contribution to the bottom line (delivering completed projects ahead of schedule and under budget).

Now, take this thought process and think in terms of a targeted marketing campaign, utilizing creative advertising and publicity to get the word out about you. This is what companies do to sell their products. This is what you need to do to sell yourself. Otherwise, you'll sit on the shelf and collect dust.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Your 'interests' are boring.

There is no absolute authority when it comes to resumé writing. Especially, when it comes to the controversial 'Interests' section of the resumé. I used to think the 'Interests' section was unnecessary filler ("fluff"), as do many professional resumé writers. Then, I spoke with a job hunter who had been offered an interview when the hiring manager read the 'Interests' section of his resumé, and said, "I see you're a big Steven King fan. So am I!" Evidently, this section of your resumé could be the best rapport-building tool available! Which leads me to my main point: If you're going to include an 'Interests' section in your resumé, be specific and authentic, so that the person reading it can relate to you at a deeper lever, if they share a similar interest.

For example, instead of writing...

"Travel, reading, and spending time with my family."


"Backpacking in mountainous regions of South America and documenting rare wildlife on my travel blog."

"Reading Robert Ludlum novels in my hammock and choreographing complex fight scenes in my head."

"Making s'mores with my two sons and watching them get chocolate all over their face."

Statements, such as the aforementioned, are authentic and can create a heightened bond with the reader of your resumé, which could be exactly what you need to get in the door for an interview.

Monday, June 22, 2009

John Moses has the right idea!

Looking for examples of good personal branding? Look no further. Here is a stellar example of what you should do if you are currently seeking employment. This subtle micro-site is clean, impressive, and really gives me an idea of what John Moses is all about. John has differentiated himself from the pack by bringing to life the persona behind his paper resume.

Visit John's micro-site.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why you should care about job fairs...

Job Hunter A: Today, I submitted my resume for 4 job openings I found on Monster.com. I didn't hear back from any of them. I also followed up with my uncle's friend, Tom, who said there might be an opening at his company in the next 3 months (they've been on a hiring freeze lately). If I can muster-up the energy, I may get suited-up and drive into town to drop off a resume or two.

Job Hunter B: Today, I met face-to-face with 30+ hiring personnel in the Healthcare, Insurance, and Information Technology industries. I was able to deliver a compelling value proposition to each person I met, as well as hand-off my personal branding portfolio, containing my resume, work samples, achievement addendum, letters of recommendation, and awards I've won. I also collected business cards from each person I came into contact with. I plan on adding them to my growing database of hiring contacts, and following-up with personalized emails to each. I was even able to set up 1 interview on the spot! Additionally, there were 3 other interactions I felt really good about, which could lead to interviews and eventual employment.

Which job hunter would you rather be?

Visit JobExpo.com for upcoming job fairs in your area.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

When did we move to Seattle?

In lieu of the recent rainy weather in New York City, I decided to write a blog post in honor of a friend of mine in Corporate Sales (B2B). This friend LOVES to go out and solicit new business when it is pouring outside. Why? He has a competitive advantage. Here's his rationale:

1) When it rains, a person's natural inclination is to stay inside and keep dry. "Today is a good day to take care of administrative paperwork." Have you heard this before? In all likelihood, his competitors are following suit.

2) His clients are more likely to be accessible for a meeting, as they are less likely to be taking long lunches, leaving early, sitting outside with coffee and co-workers, etc.

3) Most importantly, when visiting clients on rainy days he regularly hears, "I can't believe you came out on a day like this!" Talk about exemplifying persistence.

So, what does that mean for YOU? Use inclement weather to your advantage in your job search. While other job hunters are keeping dry indoors and pecking away at their computer keyboards, get out there a solicit for a new job. Chances are good you'll get time in front of a hiring manager. If you encounter issues getting in to see your hiring contact, and you need to get past a "gatekeeper", you could always use the following line: "I came all the way out here in the pouring rain to see Mr. Jackson. I'm soaking wet. Can I please meet with him for 5 minutes?" Regardless, at the end of it all, you'll be remembered as persistent. Furthermore, in your follow-ups, you can say, "I was the guy/gal who came out in the pouring rain to see you last week." Play it up. Another little trick-of-the-trade.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Biking Billboard Queen!

Not getting any bites on Monster, CareerBuilder, or HotJobs? Try following in the footsteps of Peggy Greco, the Biking Billboard Queen! According to CNN Money:

"Peggy Greco, 53, is an out-of-work private duty registered nurse in Hobe Sound, Florida. To broaden her network, and get some fresh air, she printed a t-shirt with her Web site and contact information and began wearing it on bike rides in her area.

Even though she hasn't gotten a job offer yet, Greco says she has gotten a few calls so far - and lost about 5 pounds."

(Photo & story courtesy of Peggy Greco and CNN Money)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Your 'Objective' probably stinks.

In all likelihood, you've written a poor cookie-cutter 'Objective' statement at the top of your resume. I'm not trying to be harsh, I'm just being a realist. Consider the following before-and-after examples:

Before: "Experienced Business Analyst looking to utilize my skills and abilities to enhance company operations, while being challenged in a dynamic environment and afforded the opportunity for advancement."

After: "The self-proclaimed "World's Best Business Analyst" is the perfect fit for the Sr. Business Analyst position at Corps Systems. On average, I deliver completed information systems 12 days ahead of schedule, $8,250 under budget, and earn a 98.2% end user satisfaction rating. I'm eager to parlay these results to Corps Systems."

Does your 'Objective' look like my 'Before' example (above)? If so, humor me (and every prospective HR person who'll read it), and change it NOW. If you have trouble identifying success metrics from your own experience, you'd better start paying closer attention to your results going forward. The most important take-away here is that you understand that the employer doesn't care about what you want in a job - especially in this economy! They want to know what you can bring to the table that will benefit them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lean on Uncle Sam in these tough times...

Here's a money-saving excerpt from an article published on Monster.com:

"If you pay for job counseling or to have an agency match you with an employment opportunity, this expense is generally [tax] deductible. Of course, if you are reimbursed by an employer or anyone else, you cannot deduct these fees."

The above-mentioned money-saving tip can be validated in IRS Publication 529. Read the whole Monster.com article here. In a nutshell, don't hesitate to enlist the assistance of a professional to help you find employment - it's likely their services are tax-deductible.

Save your receipts and save money at tax time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Your resume is a failure if you don't do this...

I'm astounded by the fact that 100% of the resumes I receive (pre-revamp) contain long bulleted lists of job responsibilities, and maybe one bullet allotted to an achievement or result. Consider the following before-and-after bullet point examples:

Before: "Tasked with signing new business by reaching out for referrals, hosting info seminars, and cold calling"

After: "Signed a team-high $170,000 in new business in Q1 2009, which resulted in 5% year-over-year growth, despite a lagging economy and fierce competition"

EVERY BULLET should stress an achievement/result, with additional information to put things in context. Is your resume filled with achievements and results?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How Do I Start Networking?

Here's an awesome 1:15 YouTube video clip of the guy who inspired me to get out there and network, Keith Ferrazzi. While you're at it, check out some of his other videos on YouTube. He is THE networking guru. In fact, his book Never Eat Alone is a business classic. I encourage you to pick up a copy and indulge.

Are you networking and building your contact database at an optimal level?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

HOT jobs with surprisingly HIGH salaries!

This was a great article on the Yahoo! homepage yesterday, entitled "Jobs That Are Red Hot Right Now: Some Professions See High Demand, Possible Shortages"...


Among the jobs listed are:

Actuary ($84,000/yr)

Nurse Practicioner ($74,000/yr)

Physician Assistant ($62,000/yr)

Financial Planner ($61,000/yr)

Cardiac Sonographer ($56,000/yr)

Have you considered a lucrative career transition into an in-demand profession or industry experiencing worker shortages?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Shareholder Advantage...

If there is a particular company that you've targeted for employment, and you've done all you can to learn about the company, it may be time for you to step your game up. If you don't already have a Scottrade account, set one up, and buy a couple shares of stock in the company. You'll officially be a 'Shareholder' in the company, and can involve yourself at a much deeper level than an outsider looking in.

For example, many companies have quarterly Investor Conferences (simply check the 'Investor Relations' section of the company's Web site for upcoming dates). Attending the Investor Conference is a great way to make Executive-level contacts (CEO, CFO, etc.) and learn about the financial status and strategic direction of the company. Further, they'll usually staff people in the Investor Relations department, whose job it is to keep investors happy and provide any and all information to Shareholders. This is your goldmine for contact information and working your way inside the company.

Give it a shot. You'll be surprised how easy it is to get in through the back door.

Have you become a Shareholder in a company and conducted reconnaissance work?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Inspiration going into the weekend...

This excerpt is from 'Working Girl' by Julie Z. Rosenberg, and exemplifies the same out-of-the-box thinking I promulgate. Enjoy!

When looking for my first job out of college, I followed the advice of a mentor who told me that advertising was a good place for smart English majors to start their career. I immediately decided to look for a job on Madison Avenue. This was in 1993. The job market was wretched that year, though I realized that plum jobs at top agencies were always hard to come by, I knew I'd have to be creative to get an advertising job without experience or connections.

I didn't go to the classifieds, rather, I started reading the advertising column in the business section of The New York Times. One day while perusing the industry notes, I noticed something beautiful. A job opportunity waiting to happen.

"John Follis is leaving Follis/DeVito/Verdi over 'philosophical differences' and is opening up his own shop."

Perfect. I figured that the renegade executive needed to staff up his new agency - pronto! I immediately called 411 (this was before information was readily accessible on the Internet) but his number was not yet listed. I was only able to get the former agency's name and so, by default, I wound up faxing my resume to the remaining DeVito/Verdi. Upon receiving my resume, the president called immediately. We set up an interview for the next day. I was hired within the week.
Wow. Follow Julie's lead.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You don't hire me, I hire you!

I've been waiting for a long time to see something like this: SusanHiresABoss.com. I can already hear the conservative-minded community hemming and hawing about this. You know, the supporters of the traditional business hierarchies, which are falling apart faster than the glaciers in Alaska. "You can't do that!" or "It'll never work!" The joke is on YOU. You can do it and it will work.

Yet another example of a job seeker thinking AND acting outside of the box. It will work. I can say that with the utmost confidence. Go get 'em Susan!


Green-Collar Job...

I always welcome ideas that have a low barrier to entry, are realistic, make for a decent living, and offer the autonomy each and every one of us desires (Who wants a boss breathing down their neck all the time?). I stumbled upon 'Be A Green Irene' the other day, and it knocked my socks off. I hope it does the same for you.

Here's the Web site: http://beagreenirene.com/

Here's the opportunity: "Our Eco-Consultants are independent business women and men who work from their own home or office and are distributors of our Eco-consulting services and an array of green products. Green Irene is a Direct Sales company that gives you an opportunity to make a part-time or full-time professional income doing something you can be proud of doing. We have designed Green Irene to give you freedom and flexibility so you do not have to buy inventory, meet any minimum sales quotes or recruit others to sell."

Have you considered a career shift to the rapidly-growing "green" industry?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Emily needs a job (.com)...

In the same vain as TwitterShouldHireMe, Emily Benner has created her own blog, EmilyNeedsAJob. The only recommendation that I have for Emily is that she update her blog regularly with job search successes, failures, and feedback on what worked and what didn't work. Go Emily!

To view Emily's site, visit http://emilyneedsajob.blogspot.com/.

Are you thinking outside of the box like Emily?