Tag: job search

Has your career plateaued? Now is the time to leverage your functional expertise!

getajobAs a recruitment marketing practitioner, I talk to dozens of professional and personal contacts every day.  Regardless of the topic at hand or the relative success of the individual, I’m surprised by how frequently the conversation turns to career burnout.  I can think of at least three conversations I’ve had in the past month with seemingly successful professionals with a solid career trajectory.  Each of them said some version of the same thing, that they had “been doing the same thing for too long” and were “ready for a change”, but they simply can’t afford to walk away from a good job and start from scratch.

My suggestion?  Look for jobs outside of your traditional career path by leveraging your subject matter expertise in a completely new field.  Let me elaborate:

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Looking for a job? Three words: "Act as if"

For the most part this blog has been about recruiting strategy.  I’m going to start writing more about job search tips, since most of the people I interact with on a daily basis are job seekers, not recruiters.  Hope you find it helpful.

My overaching theme is to be aggressive.  Whenever I speak about the job market and/or job search strategies, I always reference the scene in Boiler Room when Ben Affleck’s character tells the new traders to “Act as if”.  I can’t quote the scene because it isn’t suitable for all audiences, but the gist of his message is to act as if you are the absolute sh*t, the absolute best at what you do.  Get the message across that you are so good at what you do, they can not afford NOT to hire you.  Of course this is only going to work if you are actually good at what you do, but if you are, don’t be afraid to show it.  The late stage of the interview process is one of the few places you can actually blow your own horn, and most prospective employers want somebody who knows they are good and are not afraid to get things done.

Just don’t get carried away, because confidence can easily translate into cockiness.  Humble confidence may sound like an oxymoron, but it is the best mindset to be in when entering an interview.  Just think to yourself “I’m really good at what I do, and I will be better as I learn more.”

Then you just need to back it up.

Forget the job search. Start a business today for $10.

For the first time in a long time, I’m considering working full-time for somebody else.  This is primarily due to the pending acquisition of my company’s largest profit center, but I also want to get off the farm and actually work with people for a few years.  Most people want to quit their office job and start their own business, while I (as usual) am moving in the opposite direction.  As I assume the role of job seeker, I thought I’d share some insight into just how easy it is to start an internet business.

I’ll go on record as saying internet businesses have the highest potential ROI of any business.  You hardly have to invest anything beside time, and you need very little else than a laptop and an internet connection.  Depending on what type of internet business you want to start, most of the components you need are freely available.  Here’s what I recommend:

1) Skip the hosting and web design.  Get a free blogger account and a $10 domain name.
Blogger blogs usually have a URL of something like myblogname.blogspot.com, but you can easily point any domain name at your blog, changing the URL to myblogname.com (or whatever).  Although this is technically blogging software, you can edit it so it looks like a “normal” website.  All of your content will already be optimized for search engines.  Get a domain name from GoDaddy for $10, then map your domain to Blogger.  Boom, no other payments for a year, until you have to renew your domain name.

2) Are you selling content or products?
Most websites are selling one of two things; content or products.  If you are selling content, you are most likely going to be blogging, generating traffic, and monetizing that traffic by selling advertisements on your website.  Use Blogger’s interface to plug in Google AdSense ads on your pages.  Use color combinations and positioning to make them non-intrusive yet still likely to be seen and clicked.  AdSense ads are usually pay-per-click, which means you earn revenue from Google for driving clicks to their ads.

If you’re going to be selling products, the approach is a bit different but can be done just as easily with the Blogger + custom domain approach.  Here’s a sample eCommerce T-shirt selling website I started as a demonstration.  This site acts as a search engine optimized store front for products I created with a free CafePress account.  Again, this is just a demonstration site, but if I were to drive users to it I would earn $5 for each T-shirt I sold, with no inventory to maintain.

Alternatively, you can use your new website to post information about products you actually possess, and use a free PayPal account to process orders.

3) None of this matters unless readers/customers can find your website. 
The best free (besides the time investment) methods of driving traffic is through search engines and social media.  You can read my blog or hundreds of others about how search engine optimization works, and once you master the basics you should be able to get some hits.  The other thing I recommend is blogging about your product/industry/knowledge (lucky your new website has a built in blog), then share links to your posts on social networks like facebook, twitter, and linkedin.  Those links will, I think, be spidered by search engines, and you’ll receive direct traffic from them as well.

Most people think you need thousands of dollars to start a business, but you don’t.  You just need a good idea and $10.

Four steps for finding a job

I’ve been getting quite a few calls from friends, their parents, relatives, neighbors, etc., asking me for job search tips.  As we all know, the current job search environment is quite competitive.  Here is a quick list of job search advice, by no means comprehensive:

1) Update your resume and your LinkedIn profile.  In my opinion, volume “self marketing” is the key to getting the word out about your availability.  To effectively do this, you must first have a cohesive message, which in this case, is your resume and professional profile.  Chances are, you haven’t updated your resume since you last looked for a job, and you now have a lot of relevant experience that you need to capture.  Do the same on your LinkedIn profile, and Facebook too.  When you update your status on these social networks, an update will be sent to your contacts, which should jump start your networking efforts.  An effective yet simple approach is to update your LinkedIn profile, then send a message to contacts in your email address book, as well as your LinkedIn and Facebook contacts.  A message like the sample below would suffice:

I am currently seeking new job opportunities, and I wanted to reach out to you to let you know what I’ve been up to.  Please take a moment to look at my updated LinkedIn profile, and let me know if you (or anyone you know) may have a job opportunity that aligns with my expertise.  Please let me know if I can repay the favor!



Your Name
Your Email

2) Post your resume and create job alerts.  Once you’ve updated your resume(s), post it on a few job boards.  I highly recommend posting it on Monster.com, since Monster’s resume database seems to be the most popular with recruiters.  If you are in IT, post it on Dice too.  I also recommend posting your resume on Craigslist, first removing all contact info (name, phone, email).  This will position your resume to appear when recruiters large and small conduct a search on any/all of those websites. 

All job boards offer some sort of job alert function, often called a job agent.  These allow you to save your job search criteria, and register to receive email alerts of new jobs.  Once you start receiving these agent emails, you can simply click a link in your email and go directly to new job descriptions.  Ultimately the best candidate gets hired, but it never hurts to have your resume submitted early.

3) Don’t depend on recruiters to “find you a job”.  This isn’t really what most of us do.  Most of us are paid a fee, by the employer, for finding them talent they can’t find on their own.  If you are a good candidate for a particular role, you’ll hear from us.  That being said, it is wise for job seekers to register with any staffing agencies in their niche for current and future openings.  Just be aware that our focus is not on placing every candidate.  It is on filling every job requisition we have.

4) Network Network Network.  This has become cliche, and anybody that has been networking unfruitfully will cringe when they read this, but it’s true.  Networking is the absolute BEST way to learn of unadvertised job opportunities.  You have to remember, companies are getting flooded with applicants, many of them unqualified, each time they post a new job.  I imagine this is leading them to network for referrals (more than normal) from their current employees, vendors, clients, etc.  You don’t necessarily need to know somebody at your target employer, just somebody that has some sort of contact with them, no matter how random. 

To network, start with the easiest methods and work out from there.  Connect with previous employers and colleagues on LinkedIn, and let them know you are available.  Engage them in conversation.  Join groups and connect with people you may not “know” in real life, but that you now share the group with.  Email or call people you know who have a good job, and ask them about their company.  People may know of the perfect lead for you, but may feel uncomfortable talking with you about your job search.  Break the ice and ask for help.  That’s networking.