Archives for frustrating job search

How to Create the Ultimate Leverage in Your Job Search

Schach by BenJTsunami on Flickr

Schach by BenJTsunami on Flickr

A job candidate who’s in high demand is highly desirable to potential employers. The better talent they have, the more competitive they can be. A powerful and distinct brand is expressed through your résumé, LinkedIn profile and biography. Being a competitive candidate also means having an effective targeted employer campaign and being able to elicit several job offers. How you accept and turn down offers can impact your future career prospects. Strategic career management is like chess – you want to think several steps ahead. Let’s take a look at how this can play out.

Katie is a Marketing Director who is ready to move on to a new employer. She’s highly influential on social media and she has established herself as a thought leader. Katie enjoys a mode we call “career autopilot,” where offers to interview and meet high-powered players in her industry come weekly, and sometimes daily.

After confidentially letting her network know she’s looking for a new job, it wasn’t long before Katie began to receive interviews for a variety of companies. She had several job offers, but knows she’s only really interested in one company. The other companies offer her better pay and benefits, so Katie decided to play the companies in the hopes of getting the same benefits from her favorite company. Her favorite company ultimately rescinded the offer after deciding the amount of pay Katie wants is too high. The other two companies feel as though Katie manipulated them by using other offers and suspect that she had no real interest in ever accepting their offers. They also rescind, and Katie suddenly finds herself without any job offers AND with a new reputation as an unethical manipulator who will waste precious time and man-hours. Word spreads because the world is so small. Not only did Katie eliminate her current prospects, but also future prospects with these companies and many more who will learn about the games she played. Where did she go wrong?

Many job seekers would envy Katie’s scenario of having multiple job offers. That said, no one wants to find themselves in a position where their attempts to negotiate better pay or benefits from potential employers backfire, and they find themselves without any job offers. There is a way to create demand for yourself, use that demand to get competing job offers, and to negotiate what’s best for you without manipulating potential employers so that you can remain in-demand and position yourself for future career moves.

 

Creating demand:

Youre-not-in-a-position

Social media is an excellent tool to establish yourself as an expert and to generate demand by creating and sharing valuable content. The ability to engage a recruiter or an industry influencer as a sponsor is only a few clicks away. This shows potential employers that you’re passionate about your industry and it may even help them partially determine if you’d be a good cultural fit. A productive presence on social media where you constantly create and share valuable content for your followers can make employers want to reach out to you.

That said, social media can be deceiving if you’re not careful. Being in demand doesn’t mean just having a lot of followers. Being in demand means having job opportunities that are organically generated amongst your engaged followers because you’re constantly in the spotlight. However, you’ll need to use real-world networking activities to capitalize on those opportunities and turn them into job offers. My article, “7 Steps to Powerful Introductions” details how to do this.

 

The ultimate leverage and the dangers of improper etiquette:

Imagine your job leads have materialized into several competing job offers. This is what I refer to as the ultimate leverage. You have the ability to choose which job interests you the most. Before deciding to accept any job offers, you must narrow down the number of companies based on a list of your personal criteria. This allows you to focus on the potential employers you really want to work for and to prequalify them as good fits. A good rule-of-thumb to remember is that when a job meets 80% of your criteria, it’s a good indication that the opportunity is a strong fit. Our Criteria Identifier and Target Company Evaluator is a tool that can help you research a company. Having these lists help you narrow down what you really want from a potential employer and will even pair down the list of competing offers.

Every person uses logic, their intuition, and their heart to different degrees when weighing these decisions, so while these tools and processes will provide you with logical input, you may still want to go with your intuition or heart. If you are drawn to a particular company or opportunity, use the same process to evaluate what you want for your life that a company might offer you that would actually make you seriously consider their offer. If the answer is nothing, gently let that company down as soon as you discover this. Thank them for the offer and express an interest in keeping in touch for the future.

If following your list of criteria still leaves you with several competing offers, you can use that as leverage to help decide which company to choose. What you don’t want to do with your potential employer is be pushy. It’s okay to let them know you have received other job offers. You don’t want to demand that they make you a better offer, or to imply that you won’t consider their current offer. The employer may just decide to go with another equally-qualified-less-demanding candidate.

Don’t try to bluff a company into hiring you sooner at a salary you want. Bluffing could consist of creating a fictitious salary, benefits, or even a fictitious offer. They may ultimately call your bluff. And you’d be surprised how many competitors consort. The companies may be competing for customers, but the employees have frequently been co-workers and friends.

You also don’t want to make unrealistic demands. For example, if you’re really interested in Company A, but Company B pays a higher salary, expecting Company A to match that salary may be unrealistic. Company A may not have the budget to match that salary and may instead offer you other benefits, such as a flexible start time, or the ability to work remotely. Be open to what a company can offer, and make the effort to determine if what they are offering has a value beyond salary. Potential employers want candidates in high demand, but they also don’t want to be manipulated or played against other employers.

 

Properly leverage competing offers:

When you have competing job offers, narrow down the list of offers to a favorite company and a follow-up company. As for the contenders, go into negotiations with a very clear idea about what a company would have to offer you in terms of salary and lifestyle to entice you to accept. Be transparent and respectful of their time and efforts. Hiring is costly, and companies will appreciate knowing where they stand.

Let your potential employers know that other companies are also considering you. Think about it this way: an employer doesn’t want to make an offer and prepare to hire you, only to discover you’ve suddenly turned down their offer without knowing why. You don’t have to go deep into detail with companies about competing offers, but give them a timeline of where you are in the process. Be careful with the question “Who are the other companies?” If you’ve been upfront up to now, they may believe you when you say that you’d rather not disclose that information. However, if you have been at all shifty, they will assume you are bluffing and manipulating and you’ll find yourself like Katie. Some companies, however, are conducting a confidential search, and you don’t want to look loose-lipped by divulging that, either. If it is not a confidential search, let them know with whom they are competing. If it is a confidential search, however, state so. They will appreciate your discretion.

If a company really wants to hire you, they may move the hiring process along faster or offer you incentives to help you decide. Or you could be upfront (without being pushy) and ask if the company can provide additional incentives such as extra vacation time, transportation credits, a nicer office, or even a flexible work schedule. Do not ask for these things if you wouldn’t accept the offer. Making an offer work is time consuming and requires the effort of multiple people. Don’t put them through that if in the end, there’s nothing they could offer you that would make you accept.

Once you’ve decided to accept a job offer, break the news to the competing company. Let them know you appreciate the offer and why you accepted another offer. Be kind and authentic in expressing how hard of a decision it was, and how interested you were in their company and opportunity. You don’t want to come across as rude or arrogant. It’s best to leave the door open for future opportunities or the chance to expand your network.

 

Having multiple companies compete over you seems like an enviable position, and it is. Once our clients are there, however, they are surprised at how much pressure they feel to make the right decision. By using our tools and processes, and by playing the game with integrity, they ensure that they are not closing doors and limiting growth. Instead they are using the ultimate leverage to win now and in the long-term.

 

Turn that attitude into gratitude: A momentum-generating motto

Photo courtesy of ram reddy - "Celebrate the New Begining | 2009" (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

Photo courtesy of ram reddy – “Celebrate the New Begining | 2009” (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

The title of this article is among the many maxims that I have begun to recite to my daughters in the quest to set them up for success. While I’ll take full credit for making this a “thing” in our household, the concept is not really original. You can find this advice among ancient Hindu scriptures, woven into Iroquois culture, in the bible, and at any personal and professional transformation seminar.

I often speak to real estate investors at REIAs, or Real Estate Investment Associations. At these meetings I discovered a few investors with an extremely positive mindset. They believed in the phrase, “Celebrate All Wins.” The phrase comes directly from Than Merrill, the CEO of FortuneBuilders, one of North America’s largest real estate education companies. “Celebrate All Wins” recognizes building a business isn’t easy, and it is important to always take a moment to celebrate victories and positive achievements. Every time those achievements are reflected upon it creates a positive reinforcement loop that helps build momentum. The beauty of this mindset is that it can be applied to every aspect of life, including your quest to elevate your career.

Do you take the time to celebrate the little victories in your life? Forming this habit means celebrating your victories all of the time. Start by celebrating victories at night, then at night and in the morning, then three times a day, and then whenever you think about it. It will lead to being in a grateful and successful mindset MOST of the time. Reflecting on positive outcomes is an important counter-balance to negative emotions. Studies reveal that people are often more likely to remember bad life experiences over good experiences.

I’m sure that in you own job search you can relate to this. You’re more likely to recall those days where it seemed like nothing went your way. You may have had a hard time gathering references, or perhaps you botched a crucial interview. Too much of a focus on negative outcomes can cause our attitudes to change for the worst, and impede our personal progress. Slowly the thought, “I’m having a hard time finding work,” can turn into “I’ll never find a job.” By celebrating the little victories, you can empower yourself in your job search. This empowerment leads to JoMo, or Job Momentum. It is going beyond simply looking for job opportunities. JoMo is having several viable opportunities in play at the same time. It is the benefit of having choice, once again feeling empowered, desirable, and having negotiation leverage. JoMo comes from capitalizing on the achievements you celebrated during your job search.

Let’s start with some common goals and tasks. Make a note of why they should be celebrated:

-You achieved your goal of gathering 200 meaningful professional connections on LinkedIn. Many users on LinkedIn only set up a few dozen connections, or barely visit the site at all. If you’re actively maintaining your profile, and are taking the time to add professional connections, you’re far ahead of the curve.

-You found ten contacts in various target companies, who you can research. You take it a step further by researching them, sending them an introduction, and invitation to speak about how you can help their company. Then, even having five conversations and identifying two job opportunities among these contacts would be huge. You used your skills to get in the door for two viable opportunities.

-You had a goal to send out four highly-targeted résumés and custom cover letters for the week and you did it. Researching a company and crafting a résumé suited to that company takes time. A lot of people blast out the same résumé to multiple employers without bothering to customize them. You stood above the competition by learning all about your potential employer sent them a personalized résumé. In my professional opinion, job seekers need one effectively branded résumé aimed at their ideal employer, and a custom written cover letter that follows our “secret recipe.”

-One of your network contacts came through with a job lead. In the past you simply put these leads on the “to-do list” and never got around to investigating them. This time you didn’t let that lead go by the wayside. The biggest network in the world won’t do you any good if you never act upon the information you’re given. Taking the time to investigate a lead is a big step forward.

-You took the time to reconnect with a few old professional friends via personal messages and added them to your network. Both professional and personal friendships can be neglected over the years. Reconnecting with old friends can be a euphoric experience. Getting those old connections into your job network? It is nothing short of awesome as your network grows a little larger. When you’ve let your network go stale you may feel like recharging it is daunting, but it doesn’t take long. Everyone understands the tendency to let life get in the way of friendships. Small gestures make big differences and you can see momentum grow very fast with your past personal network, which will give you good energy to tackle your future professional network.

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-If you had prior job rejections, you made it a point to get feedback, so you’ll know where to improve in the future. It can be a humbling experience to ask why you were rejected. The majority of job seekers will never inquire about their rejection and may make the same mistake again. Learning where you went wrong in the hiring process is a huge achievement. I hear many job seekers complain that they ask for feedback, but get something generic, something they believe is a lie, or feel as though the real feedback is being withheld. All of this could be true, but it could also be energy-sucking speculation. Congratulate yourself for making the effort—remember—it’s the small victories that we have to look for and celebrate.

You get to choose how you celebrate, but some ideas include dancing, treating yourself to YOU time, making a small celebratory purchase, getting to watch your favorite show, upgrading your plain coffee to a peppermint mocha, or taking a bubble bath. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you allow yourself to revel in your sense of accomplishment and FEEL the sensations associated with it.

Keeping track of the numerous little victories in your job search can have a positive and sustainable snowballing effect. Imagine this: All of the job search achievements you keep track of are a fist-sized snowball. Because it is so small it is very difficult to push. At the start you have to get down on your hands and knees to keep the snowball moving. Despite the difficulties, you refuse to give up.  When you discover another achievement you keep the ball rolling. As you keep going gradually the snowball grows larger and it is easier to push. Before long, that snowball is the size of a boulder. These are all of the achievements you’ve counted and celebrated. You can actually stand back and marvel at how well the task you’ve set out to do is progressing. Keeping that momentum going no longer means getting down on your hands and knees, now it only takes a gentle push.

Instead of looking at the future tasks with dread, you’ll remember your victories and vigorously tackle your next job opportunity. Keeping the achievements you’ve accomplished in mind, you’re ready to take your job search to the next level. You have a sense of purpose, you know your foundations are strong, and you know you’re going above and beyond the average job seeker. Where discouragement has stopped others, you see nothing but opportunity. Every day is a new day filled with numerous little victories. Adding grit, or sheer determination, to your outlook on life can also enhance your job search. In my article, “Want Job Search Glory? Got Grit?” I describe how having grit can help you overcome challenges and help land you a great job.

What are some of the little victories you celebrate to create momentum in your job search?

Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All

Whitney Houston’s official music video for ‘Greatest Love Of All’. Click to listen to Whitney Houston on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/WhitneyHSpotify?IQid=WhitneyHGLO As featured on Whitney: The Greatest Hits.

Become an Effective Job Hunter: Work Smarter, Not Harder!

Photo courtesy of kate hiscock (http://bit.ly/1BiDvrt). Job search

Photo courtesy of kate hiscock (http://bit.ly/1BiDvrt).
Job search

Keyword searching for job opportunities is an important part of your job search that should not be overlooked. Looking for the next employment opportunity can be a time consuming task. However, you should only spend 10% of your time searching for work on a job board using keywords for the position you’re interested in. Naturally, the next question to ask is: what are you doing with the other 90% of your time? Evaluate the time you spend job hunting. Are you spending too much precious time on job boards? Or are you blindly sending your résumé to everyone who’s hiring out there in the hopes of getting an interview? A smart allocation of the remaining 90% of your job search time can help you land your next job.

Nurture Your Networks

Human connections are one of the most important tools in your job search arsenal. Think about it. If no one knows you’re looking for a job, then they can’t help you. Don’t hesitate to ask your family, friends, alumni, and your professional connections about job leads. If you’re unsure about how to go about nurturing you network, try watching my vlog, “How Does Your Garden, uh, Network Grow?” Your personal and professional networks may have insight to possible job openings before the positions are advertised. Gathering leads from family and friends isn’t always easy. In another one of my vlogs, “Get Interviews in Your Network, ” I walk you through how to get powerful introductions that lead to interviews to jobs no else knows about. Target (but don’t harass), employees and hiring managers at the companies you would like to work for. A cup of coffee and a personal touch can go a long way in your job search. StarTribune writer Kevin Donlin has excellent advice in his article, “How to target hiring managers and crack the job market.”

Work LinkedIn for all it’s worth

LinkedIn is an essential job search tool. It can take professional networking to the next level. You can make yourself an appealing job candidate by using the right keywords in your LinkedIn profile. I wrote about the importance of changing your default headline, and the importance of differentiating your profile from your résumé. Another critical aspect of LinkedIn is building connections. Don’t think of connections in the same way you would think of friends on Facebook. Building connections within your industry is important when looking for job opportunities. You’ll need more than 200 connections from people you know well in to get your search rolling. Additionally, you can research companies through their LinkedIn pages in order to receive job postings and company news. You’ll also want to join and contribute to groups within your industry that align with your skills and job objectives. This is a big part of effectively leveraging the community on LinkedIn. Remember earlier when I mentioned connecting with alumni? LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with school and corporate alumni, and it is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. A few minutes a day using LinkedIn to the fullest can take your job search to new heights.

Our sister company, JoMo Rising launched a program last week called Accelerfate. The program can provide you daily job search to-dos. The program is full right now, but you go to the website and sign up if you want to be part of the next enrollment.

Work your personal brand

LinkedIn is a great way to build your personal brand, but you’ll want to cover all of your bases. If you use other social networking services such as Facebook or Twitter, make sure to take advantage of them. Carefully craft your online presence in a way that will capture the attention of employers. If you’re an IT professional write about your industry as often as possible. Stay on top of the latest industry news, and follow those within your profession. You can also put a personal and professional spin on the news from others in your industry for your followers. You never know if a post, or tweet for a job will go out. At the very least, a professionally cultivated social media presence help you standout from other job candidates who use these platforms in a more personal manner.

You can also take it a step further when it comes to your personal branding. If you have a blog, make sure to write about your profession. You’ll be able to brand yourself as an industry leader and a go-to person while you grow your audience. In short, you’ll be able to take an active role in your industry, instead of being a passive employee. Illustrate how you solve problems, and how you’re a valuable asset to your company. If you have amusing stories, heartwarming stories, or even stories that are inspiring, make to share them with your audience. Story-telling is the pillar of marketing these days.

A good story helps your audience relate to you and keeps them coming back to you. It can be difficult to come up with stories on the fly. I’ve found it easier to remember stories by keeping a digital library. Record the stories that you remember or are inspired by on your phone. It will be a huge benefit when you need to recall them for future content and conversations. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s worth remembering, it’s worth recording.

Having an active online presence is a great way to set you apart from the competition, and can be a highly productive way to spend some of your job search time. If a potential employer does Google you, they’ll see a motivated and fully engaged professional. Versus someone else who may have simply set a few social media accounts and lets them go dormant.

[Click to tweet this article: http://ctt.ec/D6u9o]

Research the company you want to work for

I mentioned targeting a hiring manager as one part of your job search. You can take that strategy a step further by researching an entire company. Look up the companies you’re interested in on Google, and check out their LinkedIn pages. Learn everything you can about them and imagine how you’d fit into their company. In my article “You Can’t Afford Not to Investigate Your Next Employer!” I discuss ways to thoroughly research an employer. Try digging deep and pitching yourself to an employer with an extremely personalized cover letter. Remember, you want all of the fruits of your research to show up within your letter. In my vlog, “Our Cover Letter Secret Sauce” I discuss how to write a customized cover letter. Even if the company isn’t hiring at the moment, they may consider you in the future.

Hire a professional to polish your résumé

If you’re having a trouble with your résumé, you may want to consider hiring a CPRW, or a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, like me. A professionally written résumé that specifically targets an employer can go a long way in standing out from the crowd. All of the advice I’ve listed in this article is crucial, but having a great résumé is an importance center-piece to productive job search.

Keyword searching on job boards should comprise a small fraction of your job search time. An effective job search strategy will make use of personal and professional networking, social media, and personal branding. A large portion of job boards are inundated with job seekers. In order to stand out from the crowd you have to be willing to work smarter. Just imagine the quality of leads you’ll generate by asking your networks about open positions, or using the vast resources available to you on LinkedIn. Also imagine how much further you’ll go by targeting the company you want to work for, and pitching them a personalized cover letter. Not only will branching out in your job search methods produce better results, but you won’t be at the mercy of a hiring manager who is overwhelmed with the same applications, and résumés coming from job boards.

It’s been a hard days night – The Beatles

Lyrics: A Hard Day’s Night Lyrics Artist(Band):The Beatles Review The Song (23) Print the Lyrics Send “A Hard Day’s Night” Ringtones to Cell It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log But

Tales From The Flipside, Episode 3 now available!

“How do you deal with people who blame everything else for their unemployment?” I was asked today by someone referring to the government as the main culprit people point to. I told her I don’t waste my time and energy getting goaded into arguments about politics. Many people look to the government to make conditions more conducive to finding gainful employment. These folks, most likely, will not be my clients – at least not now. Maybe when they are sick and tired of being sick and tired they’ll reach out for my help.

 

My clients tend to want to be in control of their careers. Being in control requires taking accountability. When someone is ready to learn a new, more effective system and do what they hadn’t been doing before, they get better results. She knew, however, that my mission is to help as many people as possible, and the group of people that she sees needing guidance, tools, and strategy such as I provide, are great in number and will not recognize the help that I’m offering as a solution to their problems.

 

While I do have big plans to revolutionize the way people approach their career, and how companies approach hiring, right now it is in my power to change career trajectories one person at a time (or more like 5 to 10 at a time.)

 

The podcast I started producing, Tales From The Flipside, chronicles real life transitions success stories in hopes that people will recognize a part of their story and the challenges and hardships that some of these clients have faced, but more so, that they will see a future self in the happy ending.

 

This podcast is one of my most favorite things I’ve ever done, and I hope to do thousand more. It’s really not just about their story; it’s about their empowerment.

 

Now that they have filled a gap in their knowledge and skills around careering, they have every reason to believe that, no matter what happens, they will be able to land happily on their feet in a better position.

 

Try that feeling on for yourself. Is that something that you want?

 

I welcome you to subscribe for free and gain access to all of our episodes of Tales From The Flipside.

If while listening you start to imagine what your transition success story will sound like, allow us to provide to you with a free resume and campaign evaluation. Let us provide you with value and advice that will accelerate and optimize your career transition. Enable us to get to know you a little, and establish our expertise. We are confident that we can help you if you let us.

E-mail your résumé to info@epiccareering.com and we’ll send you our needs assessment form.