Focusing Your Job-Search

Its important to keep in mind that although a recruiter, a job-posting, a career fair, and any other assorted sources are all tools you can use to find out about opportunities a HIRING MANAGER actually makes decisions.


Focus your efforts activities that put you in front of the person that can hire you.

So, what is the one activity that can do that?

(insert crickets)


NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK – not with recruiters, not with HR people, not with anyone other than with those that tell the recruiters to put offer letters together.

Need help putting together a networking campaign? Check out this post.

Good luck and good hunting!!


A Common Sense Guide to Dressing For Interviews (from a fashion hating guy)

If you do any reasearch at all on how to dress for an interview your head will bobble, your eyes will glaze, and you might actually go insane.

i hate fashion

You hear wear this jewelry but not that, wear this color but not that one, don’t wear this shoe with that sock. Really?!?!?!

All it takes is a little common sense to look good and show your best when you put your skills and knowledge on display. To help, here are eight rules of what to (and not to) wear if you want to put yourself ahead of the game:

1) Dress your age. If you are 18 don’t dress like your 50 and if you are 50 don’t dress like your 18.

2) Dress your body type. Some clothes just don’t look good on some people because said clothes were not made for that person’s body type.

3) Dress the role. Don’t wear a $3,000 suit to an entry-level customer service interview and don’t look like you just rolled out of bed if you are looking for an executive role.

4) Don’t wear skinny jeans or any other pants with the word skinny in them. I am no fashion expert but skinny jeans are the worst fashion idea ever and whoever wears them to an interview (or skinny slacks, skinny khaki’s, etc if they even have those) deserve to not pass.

5) Look like you actually attempted to look  nice. Take a shower, brush your hair, brush your teeth, iron your shirt and pants, tie your shoe laces. Look like you actually care.

6) Leave the sunglasses in your car. If you wear sunglasses inside your interview you deserved to be dismissed on the spot.

7) Don’t dress like a vampire or like you are Neo from ‘The Matrix’. Yes, it has actually happened.

8) It’s not Saturday night, it’s not your favorite club, dress accordingly. Enough said.

Now that you know to look your age and not dress like a character from a movie you are ready to tackle figuring out why you are the best candidate for the role.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Four Things About Interviews

When you think about job-search there are really three big pieces – the resume, the interview, and the negotiation. Of course there’s is much, much more to it than that but those are the key pieces that landing a new job are built on.

When it comes to interviewing there are four critical things that must have to happen for it to work in your favor:


Prepare. As a job-seeker its your job to know the following (at a minimum):

  • What the company does
  • The company history
  • The company mission / value statement
  • All about the person you are speaking to (school, history with company, whether they like tennis or not)
  • What the word on the street is (check Indeed and Glassdoor)
  • Why you would be an asset to the company
  • Why you would be an asset in that role

Remember its just a conversation. I have seen some people get so worked up over an interview that they start hyperventilating, freeze up, and almost go into a state of shock. The majority of the time the hiring manager is going to hire someone he/she likes so it behooves you to go in relaxed knowing that they are not the big bad wolf.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself. As someone who is trying to convince someone else that they are the best candidate for an open job there are certain ways you should act. I think the pictures below sum up pretty well what to avoid.                                                                 Post

Find out what YOU need to know. When you are in an interview always ask questions. Always. You can ask why they like working for the company, what the team is like, etc but there are four questions that I think get to the heart of the matter:

  • Why is this role open?
  • How do you view my candidacy for this position?
  • Are there any areas of concern about my skill set / background? (if there are this question will give you the chance to combat them)
  • How are you going to ensure that the person gets hired is successful?

What are your most time-honored interviewing tips? What makes interviews work for you? Leave a comment – I look forward to reading them!

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Cars, Job-Search, and YOU

The other day I was leading a discussion at a local career center and one of the things we spent some time speaking about was the fact that you have to be memorable and offer something unique as a job-seeker.

To put it into context lets talk about cars for a minute. What comes to mind when you hear the following names:

  • GMC
  • Ferrari
  • BMW
  • Honda

No matter who you are, each name strikes some sort of chord – for me its (in order) truck, supercar, ultimate driving machine, reliability.

Now lets turn that same exercise on you. When people hear your name (especially when it comes to people who either do the same work as you or that hire people like you) what comes to mind when your name is mentioned?

Is it something positive? Is it something at all?

I would take being a GMC, Ferrari, BMW, or Honda over a Avtovas (Russian car company that no one has heard of) any day of the week.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

A College Kids Take + A LinkedIn Conference = Job-Search Gold

Sometimes things that don’t really go together can end up being put together to provide the absolute best lessons. So for today here is a simple formula for you to remember for your job-search:

Lesson #1 – College Kids Know Job-Search (Kinda’)

A while back I received the following comment in response to a question I posted online about what people had learned in college. I was expecting to hear the same old, same old from folks like myself whose college days had long passed but instead snagged this piece of gold from a current MTSU student (GO BIG BLUE!).

“The lesson I have learned over the past two years has little to do with linear regression, case studies or promotion. The lesson learned was if we want something bad enough and are willing to put in the work we CAN do things that in the past we thought we couldn’t.”


While what he says is so true about college its also very true of job-search as well. Anyone can learn how to put together a resume or how to answer an interview question but it’s those folks who want it badly enough to go a step further in their search that have the most success.

Lesson #2 – Curiosity Didn’t Kill The Cat

I was lucky enough to go to LinkedIn’s Talent Connect event last week in Las Vegas and one thing that came out of it for me was to be “constantly curious” in everything you do.

In many cases it’s not the people who do what the majority are doing in job-search that have success, it’s those that choose to follow Robert Frost and take the road not taken that get there the quickest.

The Net Result of Lesson #1 and Lesson #2?

So what’s the best advice that can be given when you combine the wisdom of a college kid and a nugget of information from a LinkedIn conference?


Until next time, good hunting and good luck!

Want a Job? Five Things You Have to Consider, NOW!

When you’re looking for a new job your number one priority is finding said job right? It better be! To help you move your search along here are five things to consider:

  1. Don’t expect any one thing or tool to be a silver bullet. One of the real frustrations with job-search is that you just never know where your next job is going come from. For many its networking, for others it might be a job-board or a recruiter. Do not ‘expect’ one thing to be your savior – invest your time in several but focus on what is proven to work (networking).
  2. Don’t get fooled by gimmicks (especially if you have to pay for them).  Anyone who tells you they have the ‘total package’ for your job-search and guarantees their ‘system’ will get you a job is a liar. Don’t be fooled and do NOT write them a $5,000 check.
  3. Listen to those that know. If you went to the doctor for an illness and he told you to do XYZ you would listen right? Then why don’t you take the same approach with your job-search and listen to all of those folks that talk about how good networking is?
  4. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Let’s see. You found a job twenty years ago by doing XYZ and now you want to do the same thing. I’ll talk to you in six months when you are still looking. The time is now to look at new things whether it be an online networking site, a personal website, or making a stand to manage your career.
  5. Keep your skills current. Watch webinars, go to seminars/conferences, take a class read articles, volunteer, do anything and everything to keep your skills fresh, clean, and up-to-date. Otherwise you will pay for it in the interview.

There you have it – five things to do, not do, watch, avoid, and think about for your search.

What would you add to the list? Anything?

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!

Job-Search Truth: Wishing And Wanting Does NOT Make You Qualified For A Job

This week I am a man on a mission to spread the truth about a very, very, very important issue. It’s not a life or death type of thing but it can derail and / or kill your search for a new job.

You ready to hear about it? Good, because here it goes:

(getting on my soapbox)


Listen, I know it’s tough out there. I know that when you need a job you will do what it takes to get one. BUT if a job description says that an MBA and five years of outside sales experience is required and you have an associates degree and did retail sales you will not get an interview.

Filling out online applications is a bear (sometimes reading online applications is a bear) – so do yourself (and recruiters everywhere) a favor and only apply to those jobs that you are truly qualified for and spend the rest of your time doing what is really effective in job-search, say NETWORKING!

(getting off of my soapbox)

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!