Tag Archives: Networking

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?

  • TRY SOMETHING NEW IN YOUR SEARCH AND WORK YOUR BUTT OFF AT IT
  • IF THE OLD ISN’T WORKING KICK IT TO THE CURB
  • BE WILLING TO DO THE THINGS THAT NO ONE ELSE IS (WITHIN REASON) IN YOUR SEARCH

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!

Malcolm X and Job-Search Reality

I was listening to ‘Cult of Personality’ by Living Coulor today and the beginning of the song (which, in my opinion, is one of the best ever recorded) a snippet of a Malcolm X quote is featured, “. . .and during the few moments that we have left, we want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand.”

To breakdown job-search into a ‘language everybody here can easily understand’ if you don’t network don’t expect to find work anytime soon.

Now, I know a lot of people have differing definitions of what networking is. Some might think sending an email (or InMail), or connecting with someone on LinkedIn, or showing up at a chamber of commerce meeting is networking.

All of them are kinda, sorta, in a way networking but what I am referring to is good old fashion one-on-one informational meetings over coffee or your favorite beverage.

If I am being honest, I am to the point where I feel just as sorry for those who tell me they have applied for 1,000 jobs and haven’t heard anything back as I am those that play the lottery and don’t hit the jack-pot.

To put it simply, there’s no global conspiracy to promote networking to the detriment of our way of life and nobody is secretly making money off of telling career experts to promote it as an effective job-search tool.

The reason that so many people promote networking is BECAUSE IT WORKS.

If you are going to refuse to do effective networking please go tell your sob story to someone else, there is not much I can do to help you. I know that’s harsh and I will probably have someone hate me because I said it but it needed to be said.

Learn how to network (read our previous post on the topic), learn how to do it well, keep your network alive, strong, and well and you have more job security than you could ever imagine.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Does Weight Loss Hold The Secret To Finding A Job?

It’s the beginning of the year and people have made their ‘resolutions’ (99.9% of which will be forgotten by March) – to lose weight, to get more involved in Church, to find a new job, etc. 

Over the course of my many years living on this earth I have given up on making resolutions because I am human, I get lazy, and I put them off until next year just like everyone else. However, about mid-January, Christina (my much better half) and I made a goal (NOT a resolution) to get in better hape in 2012.

We have started keeping better tabs on what we eat and when we eat it and have also started doing P90x together to help the process along. I am not going to say that the plan is fool-proof and that I look amazing (yet) but I can feel a difference in the way my clothes fit and my overall energy level for sure.

The other day I sat down and really thought about what the process of losing weight and getting in shape and realized just how it and job-search are alike.

To lose weight you need to eat less and exercise more. Simple formula but can be hard to do because it takes drive, determination, and effort. Because of the difficulties that lie there within there are people that try to sell miracle products that are supposed to help you get the end result without putting in the work (they don’t work).

The formula for job-search success is a simple one as well. Focus on networking and building your brand while talking to a recruiter or two and applying to a job every now and then along the way.

Just like with weight loss, job-search success provides a simple path to success but very few take it because it takes drive, determination, and effort. As with weight loss there are people that offer miracle solutions that promise to get you hired quickly (they don’t work).

Back in 1968 Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sang “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and when it comes to weight loss and job-search you can try the ‘miracles’ but there is nothing like getting back to things that are proven to work.

If you decide that your job-search and career are worth the extra effort take a look at our previous post on networking to help get you started.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck.

Does Cairo, GA and ‘Syrup Country’ Hold the Secret to Landing a New Job?

Have you ever been to Cairo? Georgia – not Egypt. Didn’t think so.

Could you show me where it is at on a map (without the map in this post)? Didn’t think so.

Can you tell me anything about it without using Google? Didn’t think so.

So how can a town you have never been to, never heard of, and know nothing about impact your job-search? You’d be surprised.

Cairo (pronounced like Karo syrup, not Cairo, Egypt), known as Syrup City,  is a small town (population, 9,000) in south Georgia that is 30 miles north of Tallahassee, FL.

For being such a small town it has produced its fair share of people who have helped shape the world, including baseball player Jackie Robinson, Teresa Edwards (Olympic Gold Medalist), Daryle Singletary (country music singer) and Mickey Thomas (lead singer of Jefferson Starship). Most importantly, however, it is the home town of Christina, my much, much, much better half.

So now that the commercial is over the question still remains – how can a small town in the middle of nowhere affect your job-search? Read on.

They have created an identity and brand for themselves that makes people want to know more. If you look at any list of the best highschool mascots put out by Sports Illustrated, ESPN, or anyone else you will find the Cairo Syrupmakers (yes I said Syrupmakers) always ranked high on the list.

They could have gone with the wildcats, rebels, predators, bears, tigers, lions, or any other popular name out there and they chose someone who makes syrup as their namesake and a pitcher pouring syrup as the mascot of their highschool athletic teams.

My wife has a Syrupmaker pullover and without fail it is a conversation magnet every time she puts it on. People want to know what a syrupmaker is, what it means, where it’s from and everything else about it. If by chance they know the meaning behind it they beam with pride like they are part of a special club that has exclusive membership.

The take away: What is the brand you have created for yourself? Are you a lion, rebel, or bear just like everyone else or are you a Syrupmaker? Do people remember you and want to discuss you and what you are about?

They take pride in themselves and their product. If there is one thing that Cairo is, they are proud of their Syrupmakers. If you drive around town you will see signs everywhere that say ‘Go ‘Makers’ or ‘Syrupmaker Pride’.

On Friday nights during high school football season the town nearly shuts down to watch the ‘Makers play. In fact this football season they played a state playoff game near Atlanta (nearly three hours away) and had more fans in attendance than the home team.

The take away: You have to take pride in your craft (both your function and your search) and be your biggest cheerleader because no one else will be. If you are not excited about what you do and your quest to find a new opportunity why should anyone else be?

They have created a community. In Cairo (and in small towns everywhere) people know one another, generally care for each others well-being, and help each other out because it’s the way they do things and their way of life.

The takeaway: From a job-search perspective if you do not build a community that you can call on for networking purposes, support, and help you are going to find yourself in bad shape very quickly.

So does Cairo have the magic bullet to you landing your next opportunity? Maybe, maybe not – but it sure does have the roadmap for laying a good foundation.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Muhammad Ali and YOUR Job-Search

Whether or not you like Muhammad Ali and think he is the greatest prize-fighter of all time you cannot deny that he had a way with words. In fact, when you look at some of the things he said you realize that they actually translate to job-search very, very well.

A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing. You have to sing about why you are the best for any job you are going after. If you have not seen the light, how do you expect anyone else to?

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. Have you gone outside of your comfort zone to try something new for your job-search? How many networking phone calls have you made this week? How many one-on-one networking meetings have you scheduled? Have you been courageous enough to take a risk?

What keeps me going is goals. What are your daily and weekly goals for your job-search? Where do you have them written down to check them off? Don’t have any? What keeps you going then?

The man who has no imagination has no wings. What are you doing to get creative in your job-search? Do you tweet, do you blog, do you do anything but answer ads and get upset when you don’t get called on your submissions? The people who try search outside the box have the greatest chance of attracting attention to themselves.

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. Have you figured out what you want to do? Do you know the key words, phrases, and experiences needed in your function/industry? Do you have five, concrete reasons (with examples) of why someone should hire you on the spot? If you don’t put the work in behind the scenes you will never shine on center stage.

If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize. This is what you should tell your job-search every day. Do NOT let your search beat you up – you put it in its place and make sure you control it instead of it controlling you.

What do you think? Does Muhammad Ali know job-search? Is there a key quote that we missed picking up on that belongs here?

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Why A + B ≠ C in Job-Search

It seems simple enough, right? A manager needs someone for his team, he gets with HR and they put together a job description and go out and find the person.

I have been in the recruiting game for a number of years now and one thing that I have always found funny is how many times what a job-description says and what hiring manager really needs are different.

It might be something small like something listed as a preference is really a requirement (or vice-versa) or it might end up being that the whole job description is completely off (I’ve seen both).

So how do you combat the (sometimes) miscommunication between HR and the hiring managers they support?

N-E-T-W-O-R-K-I-N-G!!!

Your goal as a job-seeker should be to get to a hiring manager BEFORE he has a need and have him write the job-description based on you rather than you trying to conform to what HR puts together. For a look at networking in its purest (and simplest form check out our previous post on the topic).

As a side note before we close shop it needs to be said that even with some job-descriptions being really bad and really wrong you should still NEVER submit a resume unless you match 75% of what the job description states because you never know – the job description might actually be accurate.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Is Your Next Career Opportunity Worth It?

Creating and keeping goals; reaching out to strangers to create the opportunity to reach out to and talk to more strangers; using new tools you’ve never used before; putting yourself out there; having to do deep research (on both yourself and others); having to work hard day in and day out at things you have never done before.

Easily a bunch of things the vast majority of the population are uncomfortable with, are unwilling to do, maybe even (at least internally feel like they are) unable to do.

I am in the middle of a year-long devotion series by Rick Warren (of Purpose Driven Life fame) and my reading yesterday had a few interesting things that hit home when it comes to job-search.

He said that “Great goals require great sacrifice.” and asked three questions in support of that idea:

  1. What will it cost?
  2. What am I willing to give?
  3. Is it worth it?

So my questions for you:

Are you willing to do things that might be out of the box for you in order to get where you want? What are you willing to give? Are YOU worth it? Is your career worth it?

I talk to a lot of people about their search and there are a few things I hear over and over:

  • I know _____ (normally networking) works but I don’t feel comfortable doing it
  • I hear what you’re saying but….. (normally after we talk about the networking process and why its important)
  • I know that I should set goals but…..
  • I know that people have had success doing _____ (insert networking, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) but I just don’t want to.
  • I don’t, I can’t, I won’t, I’m unable, I’m uncomfortable, I’m not…..

It’s gut check time folks – either you want it or you don’t. 

If you do – do something different, do something bold. Tell yourself that you are worth it and make YOUR job-search happen (man I fell like a coach going back to the field after halftime)!

If you say you do (but aren’t really willing to do things proven to work and go out on a limb and do things differently) go on back to spending eight hours a day sending resumes in and filling out applications. Chances are the people who do things differently will probably end up in the jobs in which you apply to.

Please don’t take me challenging you as being hateful, or not understanding, or this or that because I don’t hate you, I do understand (I’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt) and only want the best for you in your search.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!