Month: January 2017

101 Ways to Find a Job – Way #6 Talking

6-talking

I entitled this article talking instead of networking because as soon as you say the ‘n’ word, people freeze. To some, it’s the same feeling as being in school and the teacher announcing a pop quiz. Dread, nerves, and anxiety take over.

So don’t think of it as networking. Think of it as talking to one another.  We all do that, right? How’s the weather? What do you do for a living? How about that game last night? Do you know of any jobs? Simple and easy questions that get you talking and can quite possibly land you a job.

Where do you start?

Anywhere and with everyone!

When you’re unemployed you need to be talking to anyone and everyone.  Remember, you’re not just talking to one person.  You’re talking to that person’s network as well. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell people you’re looking for a job.  There’s nothing wrong with being unemployed.

Recently there has been a lot of chatter among recruiters how hiring managers don’t want to consider the unemployed worker thinking that if a person is unemployed they aren’t worthy of a job.  All I can say is that karma is real.  At some point even hiring managers are going to be on the street looking.  I’m guessing they’ll change their tune at that point in time.  EVERYONE, will be looking for a job multiple times during their working career. In fact, some surveys report workers will change jobs as many as 11 times during their working lifetime.

Following are some other ideas how to go about networking and talking to other professionals who can help you land your next job.

Groups that are focused on job networking – there are numerous groups in any community that exist for the primary purpose of networking and support while you look for your next job.The main thing you want to make sure of is that the group is being supportive of your situation.  Some groups might have a lot of negative energy regarding unemployment.  That’s the last place you need to be.  You want to be with others who exude a positive energy regarding being unemployed and finding new employment. The other thing you want to make sure of is that the group is actively involved with job hunting.  You don’t want to spend a couple of hours getting together with nothing to show for it. When you’re looking for a job, you want to spend your time wisely and focused on the end results of becoming employed.

I typed in the following search strings into google and came up with a number of groups in my area to join.

Networking Groups Denver
Jobs Networking Groups Denver
Denver Business Networking Events
Professional Networking Events Denver
Job Search Networking Groups

Meet-up Groups – Basically meet-ups are groups of individuals who share the same interest, in technology, programming languages, extra-curricular activities, etc.  These groups are especially good to network with because these are individuals in your specific space.  To locate groups, you can either google meet-up groups and then your location, or go to Meetup.com.  This is a company that does a great job consolidating meet-up calendars and groups and there’s no fee to join.

Professional Associations – There is an association for almost every profession. Professional associations are groups of individuals who are doing the job you want.  What better way to find your next job.  To find an association or society for your profession you can either conduct a google search, or you can go to the library and look in the Encyclopedia of Associations.  Find a local chapter and attend a meeting and talk, talk, talk.  Let members know that you’re looking for a job.  Often you’ll find recruiters attending the meeting as well.

There are plenty of surveys that report talking with people will land you a job more quickly than any other method use to search for a job and I believe it.  It’s how I’ve landed most of my jobs.

So get out there and talk, talk, talk!

 

101 Ways to Find a Job – Way #5 Informational Interviews

5-informational-interview

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out in your career, mid-career, or late career, informational interviews are a great way to network to locate your next job. So what exactly is an informational interview?  Exactly what it sounds like. You’re talking to professionals either doing the job you want, in the industry you want to be in, or a hiring manager who employs the type of individuals with the same skills you have.

The main reason to conduct an informational interview is to network and find a job. Only, instead of coming out and asking for a job you’re asking for information that hopefully will lead to a job.

The topic of conversation will depend upon who you’re speaking with.

Determine who to speak with.

If you’re just starting out in your career you should focus on speaking with a mid level hiring manager.  Mid level managers will most likely be the decision maker on a position that you would qualify for. You might also consider speaking with a senior level professional who isn’t a manager.  A professional at a senior level could possible act in a team lead capacity and could recommend you for a job.

If you are mid career then it’s acceptable to speak with a senior manager or a director as these are the individuals you might report to.  If late in your career you can target a senior manager if you’re searching for a management role.  If you’re an individual contributor, target a mid level manager.  At this point you want to speak directly to a hiring manager.

 

Topics to cover when starting out in a career.

If you’re just starting out in your career your focus for the conversation should be related to how you can show a hiring manager that you’re ready to get to work.

Following are some questions to ask:

-What types of skills do you look for when interviewing individuals who are just starting out in their career?

-What does it take for someone to be successful when starting out in their career?

-What type of work does someone with my skills start out doing?

-What would be your guidance for progressing in the field?

-What trends in the industry would affect someone just starting out in the field?

-What challenges do you see for someone starting out in their career?

-What type of training would someone need to progress in their career?

-What is the career path at your company for someone just starting out in their career?  How long does it take to progress to each level?

-How did you get to where you are?

-Ask them if they would review your resume to see if they have any recommendations on how to improve it.

-It’s also acceptable to ask if they know of any jobs in their company.  You can also inquire if they know of any jobs at other companies in that industry.

-Inquire if there is anyone else you should speak to in their company.

-Inquire if there is anyone else in the industry you could speak to.

 

Topics to cover mid-career.

If you’re mid-career your focus on the conversation should be regarding the industry, the specific company, and the manager’s personal job.

Following are some questions to ask:

-What are your job responsibilities?

-What’s a typical day like?

-What challenges do you have in your career?

-What type of professionals report to you?

-Do you perceive any holes in skills in your department?

-Why did you decide to work for the company?

-What challenges do you see for the industry?

-How is your company ready to match the challenges?

-How much flexibility do you have in making decisions?

-What do you like best about your job?

-What do you like best about the company?

-What do you like best about the industry?

-What is the background of an individual who would be most successful in their department?

-Ask if you can describe your skills. (Note: make sure that your 30 second elevator speech covers some of the topics already discussed.)

-Inquire if there are any jobs for someone with your skills?

-Ask if they know of anyone else you should be speaking with regarding possible jobs?

Before you leave, ask if you can give them a copy of your resume.  Let them know they have permission to forward your resume on to their network if they feel comfortable doing so.

 

Topics to cover for late career.

Here you want to focus on the industry, the person’s success in the industry, and the skills needed to help move the industry forward.

Following are some questions to ask:

-What made you go into this industry?

-What do you see the industry doing right?

-What challenges do you see for the industry?

-What do you see the future to be for the industry?

-What skills to you see being needed in the industry?

-What leadership skills do you see needed in the industry?

-What makes you successful in this industry?

-What holes in talents are you missing?

-What skills does your company value?

-What’s the culture like in the company?

-Do you see future career opportunities in you company?

-Inquire if you can tell them about your skills.  (Note: your 30 second elevator speech should cover how your skills match what they have described.)

-Inquire if there are any other individuals you should be talking to in their company?

-Inquire if they could send your resume to their network?

 

You may not be comfortable asking them to forward your resume to their network; however, keep in mind you’re looking for a job.  Remember, the person can say no if they’re not comfortable.  But they could say yes.

 

High school and college students

Another type of informational interview can be to help determine if a particular job or industry is for you. These types of interviews are great for high school junior and seniors as well as college freshman.  By talking with individuals doing the job you think you want to do could help you prevent wasting time if you find out that you may have picked the wrong career.

Following are some questions to ask related to career/industry:

-What types of jobs are available in this career field?

-What is the employment outlook in this field?

-What would be a career path for someone in this career field?

-Is the field growing?

-How does the economy effect the career fair?

-Is there a lot of overtime in the career field?

-What do entry level jobs look like?

-What type of salary is available for entry level jobs?

-What’s the best thing you like about this career field?

-What kind of challenges face this career field?

-Are there jobs available for entry level professionals in this field?

-What types of skills do you see a person needing to be successful in this field?

-What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone just entering the profession?

-What kind of problems do you deal with?

-What makes your job difficult?

-Who do you interact with in your job?

-Do you like what you do? Why?

-What are some of the major projects you’re working on?

-What college courses do you see being the most beneficial?

-Are there any colleges you would recommend?

 

How to find people to talk to.

You can use LinkedIn to research professionals to speak to and to connect with them. Then, you can either send them a note through LinkedIn, or call the company and request to speak with them.  Be sure to let them know that you are requesting an informational interview in order to research the industry for job opportunities. If you’re just starting out, or researching the career field for the first time, let the person know that you’re trying to decide if that particular career is for you.

If you’re in college talk to your career center to see if they can help you make contact with the right person.  If you’re in high school, your career counselor can help you.

Finally, be sure to collect the contact information for any of the individuals you speak with.  As you progress in your career these individuals will become part of your network.

 

 

101 Ways to Find a Job – Way #4 Career Fairs

 

4-career-fairs

There’s always a lot of discussion among job seekers and employers whether attending a career fair is worth it. Job seekers wonder if they can find a job, while employers wonder if they will find the talent. Having attended hundreds of career fairs during the 20 years I’ve been in recruiting, I still believe that career fairs provide job seekers with the ability to find a job. On a number of occasions I’ve hired professionals after meeting them at a career fair. As a recruiting manager, I established a goal of hiring at least one person from every career fair in order to justify attending.  I know that other recruiting departments have adopted the same goal. So companies are looking for you at career fairs. With  hundreds of career fairs though, how do you figure out which one(s) to attend. Not all of them are worth your time.

Follwoing are some tips on how to determine whether a career fair is right for you. 

  1. Some career fairs will specifically advertise the types of professionals who should attend.  If you don’t see your profession listed, you’re better off spending your time targeting another method of getting a job.
  2. If there isn’t a mention of the types of professionals being targeted, call the company putting on the career fair to find out. Career fairs can take anywhere from a few hours to all day depending on how many employers are in attendance. The last thing you want to do is waste an entire day of your job search being unproductive.
  3. Look at the list of companies attending to get an idea if any of them are on your target list.  If so, it’s your chance to get in front of a recruiter and drop your resume off. Be prepared because some companies may not accept your resume if your profession is outside what they are focusing on at the career fair. In this case have your elevator speech ready (see below.)
  4. Reviewing the list of companies will tell you the type of industry a career fair might be targeting.  For example, there are career fairs focused on the service industry, food, high-tech, etc.  Knowing if the companies attending are from an industry you’re not interested will allow you to focus your efforts elsewhere.
  5. Try and determine how many hires are made from the career fair.  A lot of the companies that put on career fairs will track hires as part of their statistics. The greater the number of hires, the better chance you might be able to find a job.  Don’t be fooled though if a career fair markets that 500 people attended the previous year and think that means it’s popular.  It might be that 400 people should have done better research.  The number of hires provides you with more information to decide if the career fair is worth your time.

If you’ve ever attended a career fair you know they can be a crazy time.  Sometimes there might be a hundred or more companies attending.  For the recruiters who are working the tables, you become a faceless, breathing, being. Sorry, but it’s true. Companies can collect hundreds of resumes, especially from some of the large national career fairs like Society of Women Engineers, Society of Black Engineers, etc.

If you do decide to attend, here are some ways to ensure that your time is being well spent and you make an impression on the recruiter so they will remember you later.

  1. Review the list of companies ahead of time and their open positions.  If there is a specific position you want to apply to, print off the posting from the company’s website and hand it, along with a resume to a recruiter.  Later, when the recruiters are sifting through the piles of resumes collected, they’ll be able to associate your resume to a particular position and perhaps your resume will rise to the top.
  2. Prepare a 30 second elevator pitch.  Anymore than that and the recruiter won’t hear you. Keep in mind a recruiter is there to collect resumes.  So they can’t spend ten minutes talking with every candidate.  That is especially true if they work at one of the companies that everyone wants to speak with, i.e. Google. Do research into the types of positions a company hires AND the skills they are looking for. In thirty seconds cover the job title of a position you would be interested in, your skills, and if you have one major accomplishment that is directly related to the job or to what that company does.  This is the type of pitch that normally got my attention and got someone a job.
  3. If the career fair is large where 50+ companies are attending, develop a strategy of how best to use your time.  Make a list of the top ten companies you want to visit AND speak to.  Just going to every booth and dropping off your resume isn’t productive.  You want to speak to a recruiter.  With the larger career fairs you won’t be able to speak to every recruiter, that’s why you need a list.
  4. Do your homework and know something about the company you’re going to speak with.  I can’t tell you how many times I would ask someone what they knew about the company I was representing and I was amazed when someone would say ‘I don’t know much’.  Here’s a hint, if you say that – you’re resume is going into file 13. Companies want to hire individuals who are interested in working for them and who have done their homework.
  5. Speak!  So often job seekers would walk up to my booth and do everything thing could not to make eye contact with me.  Here’s a hint.  You’re at the career fair to get a job.  It’s best to talk to people while you’re there.

Following are places to look for career fairs to attend.

  1. Military Career Fairs – if you’re a veteran, first, thank you for your service, second, there are numerous career fairs that cater to veterans. If you’re just getting out of the military check with your transition office for information they might have related to career fairs. Many companies will go on base to recruit. There are always local job fairs that are held  specifically for veterans.  Check with the local veteran’s office for a listing of career fairs.  There are many larger career fairs held in various parts of the country that are specific to veterans as well.  Consider traveling to one of these fairs. Following are some of the more popular career fairs that represent veterans:

TAOnline.com

VetJobs.com

Recruit Military

Military Officers Association

Orion International

2. National Conventions – There are a number of industries that hold national conventions each year.  Many of the conventions will hold a career fair in conjunction with the convention.  If they don’t have a career fair, the convention will have an area where vendors are allowed to have a booth.  While not specifically marketed as a career fair, it’s another chance for you to get in front of a company representative.

3. Annual Professional Association Meetings – Some of the larger professional associations hold annual meetings.  Most will also host a career fair for a couple of days during the annual meeting.  If you’re a member of an association that holds an annual meeting, (and you should be a member), definitely attend the career fair.

4. Here’s a list of some of the larger career fairs held each year:

National Career Fairs

The United States Job Fair Directory

SalesTrax

TechExpoUSA

Virtual Career Fairs

Basically a virtual career fair is one that connects job seekers and employers on-line. Job seekers sign in to the hosted site and browse the companies who are participating. You’re able to upload your resume which becomes available to all the recruiters.  So this is a plus over walk-in career fairs where you may not have the opportunity to visit every company.  Then, in a virtual career fair there are chat rooms that allow you to communicate with the recruiters on-line. Be ready with your elevator pitch and just like the other career fairs do your homework ahead of time regarding what the company does and the types of professionals they look for.

Finally, one of the other advantages of attending a career fair is to add more people to your network.  Try and collect business cards as you visit with recruiters or hiring managers and add them to your Job Search Spreadsheet. Be sure to follow-up with anyone who expressed interest in your background within a day of attending the career fair while the recruiters might still remember who you are.

So the next time you’re searching for a job don’t forget about attending a career fair.  They’re still a useful tool in getting a job.

101 Ways to Find a Job – Way #3 Family, Friends, Co-Workers, etc.

3-who-you-know

When professionals are looking for a job they often overlook one of the best resources that’s right under their nose – all the people they already know. What? You don’t know anyone, you say?

You would be surprised at the number of people you know and should make aware that you’re looking for your next job.

Know any of the following people?

  1. Family – this not only includes your immediate family, but also don’t forget about your aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc.
  2. Friends
  3. Current and past co-workers
  4. Current and past supervisors
  5. Customers that you’ve sold to
  6. Classmates
  7. Teachers/Professors
  8. Professionals that you’ve interviewed with in the past (yes, you should keep names of everyone you interview with)
  9. Pastor
  10. Your spouse
  11. Your landlord
  12. Business associates
  13. Sales professionals who’ve contacted you in the past
  14. Your doctor
  15. Your dentist
  16. Mentors
  17. Coaches
  18. Your Accountant
  19. Frenemies – the people you think are your competition, believe it or not they will help you
  20. Social contacts

The thing is, all of these people have their own networks, who have their own networks, and so on.

I heard a story once about an executive who lost their job and was in the process of looking for a new one. When the career coach he was working with asked the executive how many people he had in his network, it turns out the executive had a network of over 2,000 people. When the career coach asked if the executive had made them aware he was looking, turns out the executive hadn’t thought to contact them.

The first thing you should do when you start looking for the next job is make a list of all the people you know.  Once your list is complete start contacting all of them directly and request their assistance.

Following are some examples of what you can say depending on the relationships.

To those individuals you know very well:

Hello!  

I wanted to touch base and let you know that I am looking for my next career opportunity. I am seeking employment with a company that could utilize a marketing manager who has been directly responsible for increasing revenues by 20%.  

Following are some additional facts regarding my experience:

  1. 5 years leading internet marketing campaigns that resulted in generating in excess of over a $1 million dollars in revenue
  2. 3 years of lead generation and content development that resulted in 15% growth in customer base
  3. 5 years with video marketing and scripting developing award winning sales campaigns

I would ask that you share my resume (attached) with your network along with my contact information. 

Note: Be clear about the type of job that you are looking for and instructions regarding what you would like for the contact to do.  In my job as a recruiter I’m always networking to find professionals and I can’t tell you how often when I’m networking with other professionals they don’t think about sending my contact information to their network until I ask them to.

To those individuals who are business associates:

If you’re not comfortable asking someone directly to send your resume to their network you can try a more subtle approach.

Hi _____,

I’ve been following your company and I’m glad to see that business is going well for you.  I wanted to inform you that I am currently seeking a Manufacturing Engineer position.  My current company recently downsized as a result of a downward trend in the market.  I wanted to inquire if you might know of anyone I could contact directly in order to network with.  I’ve spent the last 5 years in manufacturing medical devices. My experience includes writing test procedures, documenting designs, reverse engineering complex tools, and performing verification of test fixtures.  

I appreciate in any assistance you may be able to provide. 

Note: Here you want to mention the type of job that you’re searching for and a brief summary of your qualifications. By asking for a name of someone to contact, you’re giving the person the option to ask for your resume.  They may not want to take the time to pass your resume along but can provide you with a name and let you do the work.

If you don’t feel comfortable contacting your network at all because you’re embarrassed that you’re looking for a job – get over it.  For some reason we’ve created a stigma regarding the unemployed that there must be something wrong with them if they’re looking for a job.

With the pace at which companies are bought and sold today, along with the loss of manufacturing and design jobs to the overseas market, it’s perfectly acceptable that people will be unemployed a lot during their careers. Think of it this way, the more jobs individuals have the broader their knowledge base seeing how different companies operate versus staying at a company for twenty years and only seeing one way to do things.

Once you do land that next job, remember to pass it along.  If you get an email from a friend or business acquaintance seeking your assistance in finding a job be sure to help them.

We’re all in it together!