Now that the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us and patios are open, the temptations are everywhere.
- One Dilly bar or two
- Patio or office
- Golf course or sales calls
- Comfy shirt or pressed blouse
- Resume or romance novel
Don’t get sucked into thinking that hiring stops for the summer. It doesn’t. Sure it might take longer if decision makers are on vacation but the hiring process carries on. Especially in this brisk economy.
In fact, networking can be even more powerful now. When you call someone and invite them for lunch, they are more likely to be free and willing to get out of their home office to meet on a patio or go for a walk.
Meeting folks while at the cottage or on a stay-cation is pretty easy too. The last time I went to a resort in cottage country, I made it my goal to meet one new person each day. I came home with three new connections and a business lead. Awesome.
You can also do some surfing to find industry events and conferences taking place in the fall. Beat the rush and get approval now. You will look pretty motivated and forward thinking in the process.
But most of all, pay attention. Check out postings and take calls from recruiters. At the very least, you will know what’s going on in the marketplace.
You might find that LinkedIn and Prosecco make a great pair. But only one….. Drunk job applications are about as effective as drunk dialing – no way to start a relationship.
If you are thinking about making a job change, consider the old adage: fish where the fish are.
Consider what it is that you want to do next and then think about where the people are who are doing that thing now. Better yet, figure out who is doing it now and has a big problem. The very kind of problem that you know how to fix.
Imagine you have decided that you want to move from the inside customer service team to an outside sales role. You have been feeling hemmed in lately, talking with the same people over and over. You want to shift to finding new customers and bringing them into the fold.
How about this? Look for a company that has a product that’s the same or similar to yours and then drill down to find trouble.
Trouble could be in the form of a growth spike, changing market conditions or a new product family. These are all challenges for company leaders and while they may present great opportunities for the company, they also create pain points for leaders. Leaders want to relieve pain. Figure out how to market yourself as the prescription to alleviate that pain.
Use LinkedIn, company websites and your personal network to identify who is suffering right now from not having you on their team. Craft a short but compelling message.
I have been listening to customers like yours for years. I know what they need and how to package your product so that it provides a solution that fits. Could you use someone like me in the field?
Just attach your resume and hit send.
There is certainly no guarantee that one email will start a conversation but it’s a good start.
I just read a really fantastic interview with Sallie Krawcheck the founder of Ellevest. She has been recognized as an icon but I think there are some really good lessons for regular people in regular jobs too.
Prior to creating Ellevest, a company that encourages women to get educated and participate in the investment market, she was fired TWICE and each time, it was splashed all over the Wall Street News.
She left her small town to go to New York City to start her career in finance but for the first eight years, she felt like she was floundering. She said it took quite a while for her find her way to doing analysis and research where she found her niche. When asked why she stuck with it, she said that she was never going to go back home and tell everyone that it just did not “work out”.
When she found herself between jobs, she said her energy was fueled by anger and determination. She told herself to move on. She said that there are a thousand opportunities for success every week, every day, every month. That’s a lot of drive.
You can read the full article here – it’s got a lot of good juicy bits – including how spending time with her kids actually added value to her role as opposed to being a distraction. You can find more about Sallie on Twitter and LinkedIn.
I don’t want to belabor the strength and tenacity that Bianca Andreescu displayed last weekend at the US Open but there are some serious things about her victory that we can all use.
It is okay to be frustrated about your job or your job search. It is okay to complain to your partner, colleague or great aunt. It is not okay to just complain. You need to take action.
Of course you are busy. Sure, you might be the underdog. That’s not an excuse.
Make a plan. Take action. Do something.
If you could design your dream job, what would it be? Make a list of the responsibility you want to have and the knowledge and skills that you want to use. How and what do you want to influence? What do you want to solve?
Once you have that list, get on LinkedIn and find people who are doing those things. Take a look at the Job section. See anything that looks right? Go for it. Hit apply.
Then go back to the people who are doing your next job and send them a note. Ask them to connect because you really admire what they have been able to do in their career. Invite them to reach out to you for a conversation.
Spend some time looking in your own organization. Does the role exist in another office or on another floor? Know anyone there who could introduce you around? (If you work in a really big organization, LinkedIn can be a handy place to look for this intel).
Stay disciplined and focused. Block on your calendar to follow up and do more. Work to not let your busy-ness get in the way of your progress.
Because when you think you have come to the end of your rope, if you look inside, you will always find just a little more.
There are lots of places to find jobs posted: LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed are just a few. You can even look at company websites if you are specific companies in your sites.
Regardless of where you find the posting, the number one thing to do is to follow the instructions.
- If you are asked to send your resume with a cover letter including your salary expectations, do that.
- If you are asked to apply into their company site that is full of mandatory fields, do that.
- If you are asked to use a particular reference number, do that too.
The posting is providing the gateway to the recruitment person or people. They are not all robots even though sometimes it feels like they must be. I know it seems like you are putting your information into a big, black hole but that is the most direct way of getting your resume into the pile for consideration.
You can help it get to the top part of the pile by making sure you have at least half of the requirements in the posting on your resume, preferably on the first page.
Feel free to be creative (but truthful). When a posting asks for a designation, you can say P.Eng (in process) or CHRL (will be complete in April). That allows you to rank high in the results even though you don’t exactly meet the requirement.
Similarly if you are asked for salary information in your cover letter, you can provide a wide range with some commentary. For example, you could say “I am looking for 70-120k depending on the base, bonus, benefits and opportunities for growth”. You have answered the question without hemming yourself in.
People do actually get jobs by applying to a posting. It is an important part of the job seeking process.
There are many alternate ways to show your interest in a company/role/opportunity and those will be covered in the coming weeks.
Now that your resume is refreshed and polished and you have it stored in a safe and accessible spot, you have a few more decisions to make.
You can choose to make your information available to hiring managers and recruiters or you can hold on to it until someone asks.
This really depends on how you are feeling about the next step in your career. Are you actively seeking a change, open to considering a change or not wanting to change at all?
If you are completely blissed out in your role, then hold on to your resume. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date so people (former colleagues, fellow alumni) can find you but other than that, keep on keeping on.
If you are open to hearing about new possibilities, you should definitely update your LinkedIn profile but you might also want to look at registering with Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster or other niche resume holding sites.
This allows people in the recruiting community to find your information and get in touch with you. It’s up to you to decide which inquiries you want to act on and where you want to invest your time.
Make sure your personal (not work) email and phone number are clearly visible on your information. There is no point in having it out there if there is no way to contact you.
If you are actively seeking a new gig, decide which sites make the most sense for your career and objectives. Monster and LinkedIn have become the universal, everyone-is-there spots but many professional associations host their own career sites and there are also sites for people who are just starting their career (Talentegg) or well established executives (Higherbracket).
Be sensible about where you put your material. You don’t want to wallpaper the world. You want to be in the place that will generate the most opportunities.
The University of Alberta gave out some honourary degrees last week and Bob McDonald, the host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks was one of the recipients. He was recognized for is efforts to bring scientific information and discoveries to communities across Canada and around the world. Anyone who has listed to his show even once, has come away smarter.
Here is what he said in his acceptance speech “Figure out what you want to do and look for opportunities that point you in that direction. You’ll be amazed where you end up.” Every graduate and everyone in a career crisis could use this as a framework to figure out what’s next.
Figuring out what you like can be kind of difficult if you have been in a “hamster wheel” kind of job for a while. If you are feeling down and out about your work, it can be hard to identify what you like. It can feel like the whole thing is trash.
Try taking a walk or meditating or some other activity that does not require concentration. Let you mind wander to the last time you laughed at work. What were you doing and who were you with? Did it happen again? Where you with colleagues, customers or vendors? What lead up to the situation?
The answers will start to help you separate out the good parts of your work. It’s pretty easy to dwell on the crap but it doesn’t really help.
As you start to pick out the good bits ( liking customers, solving problems with systems, developing new ways to present a product), you can take that information forward to look for opportunities that focus on those good bits. The idea is to get into a role with more of the stuff you like and less of the crap you don’t.
When you get on the LinkedIn or Indeed to look at job postings, don’t start with a title. Try searching for the phrase or activity that you want to do. You will probably get some results that are not relevant but you will also get some things that you had never considered or didn’t even know existed.
For example, I like to make up recipes and experiment with ingredients. I put those words in LinkedIn and learned that I could be a bartender/mixologist or a beverage flavour technologist or a cereal product developer. Who knew?
Let’s be clear – every job has some junk but to maximize your impact and satisfaction, you want the junk to play a smaller part.
Halloween is over and the rush to the end of the year has begun. Things are going to get busy….really soon. If you have career goals that are still hanging out there, this is the time to sit down and make a plan to move forward.
Whether you are looking for a promotion, transfer or something new altogether, now is the time to take action.
But where to start?
Make time – carve out 20 minutes every day to work on your objective – either block it in your calendar or make it the same time every day.
Make a list – who do you need to meet and how can you connect with them. Email, voice mail, and LinkedIn are all options – decide what is most likely to get a response.
Reach out – start connecting with your targets and following up
Expand your network – send LinkedIn invitations to colleagues, neighbours and the guy you met at that thing last week.
Promote yourself – find articles that are relevant to what you do and post them on LinkedIn. Your connections will see your content and be reminded of your expertise.
Send thank you notes – everyone appreciates being recognized and the good will that is generated will translate into all kinds of neat things.
Take calls from Headhunters – these calls can provide good market intel on your skills and what they are worth – don’t ignore us.
Apply to job postings – notice this is way down the list? The best opportunities come from connections and good connections come from doing the work in the first place. Don’t just rely on the application process. It will rarely show you any love.