Archives for job leads

How to Effectively Work with Recruiters

M11 Junction 8-9 Scheme by Highwaysengland on Flickr

M11 Junction 8-9 Scheme by Highwaysengland on Flickr

Under the right circumstances working with a recruiter to land your next job can be extremely beneficial. If you have a position or ideal firm in mind and meet the requirements, a recruiter can aid your job search. In my previous article “Why Recruiters Won’t Get You a Job” I wrote about the pros and cons of working with recruiters. While it is true that recruiters work for the employer, not the job seeker, I fear I may have scared some people away from ever working with recruiters. Recruiters are like any other tool in your job-search arsenal.

There are times when you’ll need the help of a recruiter, such as needing to place your résumé directly in front of a hiring manager. In this case, building a relationship with a recruiter can be highly beneficial. Other times, you may need advice on making a transition into a completely different industry, or résumé advice. In these situations recruiters aren’t in a great position to help you. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t hang a picture using a hacksaw, you would use a hammer. In the same manner, recruiters can’t meet all of your job search needs, but can vouch for you when you’re a good fit for a certain job.

 

Just to be clear, I’m focusing exclusively on external recruiters. External recruiters are third-party firms who submit candidates to hiring companies and compete against other firms to place candidates. They work with employers, but aren’t part of the staff. Their placement fees are paid by the hiring company.

 

Do your research

Before consulting with a recruiter, have a clear idea of what you want from a position, including your compensation/salary. Evaluate a company and if you determine it meets 80% of your criteria, move forward. Make sure you’re also a good match for a job description. If you don’t have 80% of the skills required for the job, don’t make a recruiter try to pass you off with more skills than you actually have. The 80% rule comes straight from the employer’s rules-of-thumb. For example, a job may require 10 years of experience as an IT project manager and someone applies knowing they only have 5 years of experience as a retail manager. Recruiters are expected to find candidates that match a position’s requirements as closely as possible. In most cases, they’re competing against other recruiters who will also be sending candidates to employers who closely match the requirements. Recruiters remain competitive by finding job seekers who match as many requirements as possible. This isn’t to say that the job always goes to the candidate who best fits a job description and requirements.

Recruiters also want you to be as marketable for as many positions as possible, as they are sales people. They may even advise you to be presented for an opportunity outside of what you have decided to consider, if you have the needed skills and qualifications. A recruiter can give you advice about how to get placed, but they are not career management advisors or career coaches. Use your discretion when making these types of decisions and maintain control of your career direction. Don’t waste your time if you know a position outside of your comfort zone will be a lifestyle burden or a huge step backward. However, be open-minded about everything else and remain truthful about what you ultimately want throughout interview process. Sometimes, you can’t see the path to what you want from what’s being offered, but once you get in the door and establish your value and inspire excitement, you may be able to create the path you want.

If you’re working with a third-party recruiter, be honest about your compensation. External recruiters are compensated for a successfully-placed candidate and their fee is usually 20% to 30% of a candidate’s first year salary. The higher your starting salary is, the more a recruiter is paid. That said, the process of negotiation with a recruiter is very different from negotiating with a potential employer. In the employer’s case, the process involves a direct discussion. An external recruiter is the advocate who will negotiate in your best interest to land a position at the highest rate possible. There are times when an employer will give the job to the cheapest candidate. However, better employers understand the value of greater experience that a potential hire can bring. A higher salary is a justifiable business expense, but it must be ultimately approved by finance. The sky isn’t the limit when it comes to company budgets.

 

Be courteous

Recruiters are people too. This is a golden rule that some professionals overlook. When I was just starting out in recruiting I spoke with professionals who treated me as though I was a peon. They insulted me for not knowing enough about what they did. If I asked them about their skills, they would tell me my questions didn’t really matter. I should have known they possessed particular skills because they were experienced experts. They did not enable me to validate the depth of their knowledge by providing answers to my questions.  They were the type of candidates who, in their show of bravado, failed to impress me! As I gained more experience, I would continue to ask questions about their technical skills to validate them, especially after I learned (the hard way) that some candidates are very good at pretending they are skilled. A lack of respect and an over-exaggeration of skills make these types of candidates very difficult to place and risky to present. If they were condescending toward a recruiter, imagine how they might treat a potential employer.

Take a recruiter’s unsolicited calls even when you’re not looking. I often hear many people complaining about how recruiters only want you when they need you. However, I can say the same was mirrored back to me when I was a recruiter. Certainly, I made hundreds of calls per day and some days only received 10 return calls. Granted, if I’m a recruiter and I’m trying to fill a position, talking on the phone with a candidate who’s not actively looking doesn’t seem like the best investment of my time. Nevertheless, building a relationship is a very wise investment of time for both sides. Even if you’re not actively seeking a position, hear what a recruiter has to say, learn about the open position and refer a friend. Someday, if that friend is placed, they could be your internal sponsor for a position you’re interested in. Chances are, you’ll be looking for a new position in three to five years. Plus, some recruiters have a referral program and you could earn a one-time bonus when a friend is placed.

Perhaps you are sick of getting calls from screeners who seem to be very far removed from the recruiting process. Refute your bias, as my old vice president used to say. You don’t really know as much as you think you know about people on the other side. You certainly don’t know who they might be some day. A recruiter could someday become a valued ally, an industry leader, or even your next boss. A screener may seem like an extra gatekeeper, but if the gate opens for you, it’s one step closer to your potential next job.

 

Follow-up after an interview and keep in touch

Follow-up with your recruiter after a company interview and let them know how it went. Be honest, relay anything concerning that may have occurred during the interview. Recruiters can sometimes go to bat for you and can make all the difference. For example, if you had a rough morning and when you walked into the interview, you may have been flustered and nervous. Let your recruiter know about difficulties you had and he or she may be able to talk to HR and keep your name in the candidate pool.

Keep in touch with your recruiter by using patient persistence. This means sending e-mails and phone calls if you don’t hear back from them immediately. Ask about any relevant information regarding the position. Start your follow-up within a week of submitting your résumé and within a few days of an interview. Weekly check-ins are reasonable if your recruiter has submitted you. Always confirm the submission; they do owe it to you to let you know whether or not they have submitted you for the open position. If you haven’t been submitted, ask why. You may not have been a good match or a better candidate may have received the job.

In fact, most recruiters don’t mind you following up because they’re busy. They work on job requirements that are hot and tend to let follow-ups fall through the cracks. “Hot” is the sense of an urgent need, where the chances of getting a placement are high and the fees are desirable. That doesn’t mean recruiters don’t want to give you an update. If you take it upon yourself to ask for an update, and practice persistence, you can receive the information you need relatively painlessly.

 

Build a relationship

A steady flow of talent is the lifeblood of a recruiter and referrals can help immensely. If you don’t fit a position, refer someone who does. Better yet, refer a client to a recruiter. You may know a company with a particular problem that a friend or colleague may be able to solve. In this case, your colleague has new work and a company can resolve an issue. Not all recruiters work on business development, but you can imagine how great a recruiter looks when they’re able to place candidates AND bring in new business. Additionally, share news and resources. Recruiters are often so busy with work that they may have missed hearing about the latest trend. Candidates can be their eyes and ears, and help them keep abreast of new trends. A little information can go a long way in building a relationship.

Take your relationship with a recruiter to a new level by engaging them through social media. Try connecting with them through LinkedIn using customized invitations. Additionally, Twitter and Google+ are great places to connect, follow and keep in touch. Many recruiters have also mentioned through Tweet Chats that Google+ is a resource they use to find IT professionals. Tweet Chats are a good way to learn directly about hiring from employment thought leaders. (You can participate with me and other experts in a Tweet Chat this Friday at 3PM ET under #epicjobsearch.) Being connected on social media is also a great way to demonstrate your passion and expertise in an industry. Your résumé may state your skills and interests, but social media is a great way to illustrate those interests.

 

Working with a recruiter can help you land at a new job faster. If you’re a match for a position, a recruiter will do everything in his or her power to make sure you’re hired. A recruiter can bring momentum to your job search. Imagine being able to find open doors at a company because you took the time to establish a relationship with a recruiter. This relationship can enhance your own ability to create job security in the future.

 

Quickly Land Your Next Job in September

Life's Paradox by Stefano Corso of Flickr

Life’s Paradox by Stefano Corso of Flickr

Summer traditionally means slow days at work and vacation time. As the days lengthen and heat up, fun and sun beckon like the call of a siren. The last thing a majority of people are thinking about is the job search. But as summer winds down, companies ramp up their efforts to fill open vacancies and achieve fourth-quarter goals. This is the perfect opportunity to land a new position.

Hiring may appear to slow down in the summertime, but our economy is in a state of recovery, and job growth continues.  It can appear to be deceiving that there are fewer opportunities during the summer because open positions take longer to fill. Human resources and hiring managers have increased challenges bringing stakeholders together to make decisions as people go on vacation. This delays the hiring process because there are fewer managers to conduct face-to-face interviews. Additionally, companies fill a large number of positions during the beginning of the year, so they don’t have as many positions available summer months.

According to ERE.net, the average time for an employer to fill a position is at its highest at 27 business days. This costs companies money. You can save the company money by being ready to promote yourself effectively for an open position. The candidates who are ready to strike with effective branding, a smart strategic plan to be visible, and the ability to articulate how their value presents a solution will get interviews and offers.

Perhaps you’ve put your job search on hold for the summer. Maybe you’re just jumping into the search. You may dread spending another day in your current office. Or you may want to secure your financial future by landing the right job as soon as possible. Starting your job search with effective tactics can accelerate your transition. Wouldn’t it be great to land at your next employer before the fall chill hits the air? It’s not too late pull ahead of other job seekers. As recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, September is a month where hiring typically surges. With some preparation, you can capitalize on employers’ needs to land your next job.

 

Aid your job search with these seven stages to landing

The seven stages to landing can help greatly aid in your job search. Instead of starting your job search by hitting job boards or filling out applications, you can take a methodical approach to your search. This introspective approach can help you identify your strengths, skills and the value you can offer potential employers. Mastering these seven stages can take a long time, but you can also accelerate these steps in order to land your next position faster. Visualize attracting your next employer instead of hoping they notice you.

As you explore the list, rate yourself in each area from one to seven, with seven being the highest number. Keep those numbers in mind for now, we will revisit them later.

 

  1. Job Discovery

Think about your ideal career or position. Do you have a target position or employer? Think about aligning your career with contributions you are passionate about. For example, if someone is concerned about sustainability they can align themselves with an employer that has the same concerns. How can you use your talents to make these contributions? What opportunities will the job market present? What are the logical steps you’ll take in order to get there?

If you are going for the right target, you may be a little scared, but overall you’re very excited. You find yourself becoming enthusiastic about developing your plan, and you have confidence that you want the position enough that you’ll be able to overcome challenges as they present themselves.

 

  1. Branding Development

Think about the four to six things that uniquely qualify you for a position. It could be your worldview or perspective on problems, a certain approach to providing solutions, the way you go about working with other people, insights from other industries, an unconventional education, life skills, or even your attitude. Then use these qualities to form your branding points and connect the dots between your qualities and the value that can be realized by an employer. By having these branding points before you start the development process, you can ensure the content you create has meaning for your audience. These materials communicate your strengths and advantages to potential employers, people in your network, and everyone else. Each target requires a different approach:

 

  • Corporate targets require a résumé or biography.
  • Academic, scientific or international targets need a CV. A CV is more comprehensive than a résumé.
  • Create a one-page networking infographic for network contacts.
  • Wow your prospective clients with a website brochure or advertising copy. This isn’t just replicating your CV or résumé, it is powerfully branded, reader-friendly and is filled with effective content that inspires action.

 

  1. Networking/Social Networking

Occasionally, the hardest part of this step is actually recognizing your network. A lot of clients tell me they don’t have networks, but it’s usually because they aren’t thinking about all of the people who would really want to help them. The ideal networking process can be fun. Think of finding ways to be around people you enjoy and inspire them to help you be a solution for your next company. When your network is properly trained in how to develop leads for you, your momentum becomes exponential. It’s like having a sales force you don’t have to pay. Have you effectively trained your network to develop leads for you?

 

  1. Prospecting

Do you have a plan of action to reach your ideal position? Have you sourced hiring managers from potential employers? Are you in position to uncover advertised and unadvertised opportunities? While some information can be easily obtained from the internet, most likely more of the critical criteria for your next position and company will be better divulged by someone who is or has been on the inside. Prospecting is also tied to our next step because what you learn about your target company will help you get noticed, be memorable, and market yourself as exactly what they need. This step is critical to helping you land at a desirable position and location (as opposed to just obtaining any job), and beating out the competition by pursuing jobs that may not even be posted, also known as the hidden job market. Most people skip this step and spend more time getting fewer results. These actions, along with the next step are the most self-affirming stages because once you master them you will have generated job security.

 

  1. Distribution/Follow-up

You’ve met people with whom you had quality interactions. Are you prepared to follow up? This means being prepared to track your contacts and consistently keeping in touch without being overbearing. A great outcome is to deepen relationships with your contacts. Many job seekers fear they are imposing, when actually this is where more meaningful relationships are revealed, though some relationships may end. In this part of the process, the time you invest in people starts to payoff in more ways than just job leads. These are relationships that will withstand a job transition, as well as future job transitions. You can consider these relationships like money in a high-yield account. Sometimes just one meaningful strategic relationship can alter the course of your life.

 

  1. Interviewing

You’ve made it far enough in the hiring process for an interview. Being ready looks like thoroughly researching a potential employer, knowing the qualifications for the job, and how your skills and abilities are a match for an employer. Ideally, you’ll be excited to meet with prospective employers and know how to authentically address the hard questions. If the fit is right, you’ll start with an open and comfortable conversation about what’s possible for both parties, although it’s always about the employer first. The best outcome would be an offer that you are excited to accept and knowing it is what’s best for your career and life. Have you reinforced the values you bring and why you’re qualified for the opportunity? Are you ready to close the “deal?”

 

  1. Compensation Negotiation

Have you researched the market value of your position? How much are perks and benefits worth to you? Are you prepared to consider a counter-offer from your current employer, or another potential employer? Are you ready to accept an offer letter? Part of compensation negotiation is also knowing when to ask about salary and benefits. This process ideally looks like two parties who appreciate the value the other has to offer, and they respect each other enough not to enter into a power struggle. The outcome is determining a win-win package where both parties feel like they are receiving a good deal.

 

Remember the scale I mentioned at the start of this list? Rate yourself in each area of the list. If you are less than a seven in any of these areas, you may risk prolonging your job search. Think of this process like climbing a set of stairs. If any of the steps are loose or broken, placing your weight on them can send you tumbling down, forcing you to start over again and delaying time as you repair the broken step.

 

Take advantage of just-in-time training

If you want an edge in your job search, consider our “7 Stages to Landing in September” webinar. It is a free online event that will teach you the best way to start your job search, entice employers, maintain job search progress, and make sure your conversations lead to inspired action. These steps can cut the average job search in half. We’ve had clients fix their “broken step” and land within a month. A small time investment can yield tremendous job search results.

 

September is traditionally the second busiest hiring month of the year and is only surpassed by January. By using better methods to entice employers, you can get out ahead of the crowd and land faster. Imagine what an ideal change in your career would look like. Share your ideal change in comments and then join us on Thursday evening for our free webinar!

 

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Start a Networking Conversation

Social media, social networking, social computing tag cloud #3 by Daniel Iversen of Flickr

Social media, social networking, social computing tag cloud #3 by Daniel Iversen of Flickr

More than 70% of all jobs are found through networking. Many people know that networking is an effective job search method. Given these facts, what makes people continue to rely on job boards and filling out online applications? The answer is that many people have tried networking and it didn’t work for them. Most people are already out of their comfort zone when networking, so any sign of failure, such as failing to connect with people, or landing a job, makes it tempting to return to the familiarity of job boards. Networking doesn’t have to be difficult or uncomfortable, as it is really about developing long-term relationships. In fact, you already have a network, and achieving success is within your reach. If you haven’t been getting the results you desire, avoid the temptation to return to the comfortable. A few tweaks to your approach can transform your search. Think about it. Instead of asking your network for leads, your network will come to you for advice.

Social Media is a highly-effective way to expand your network during a job search. Using social media to start a conversation and establish a relationship can be ideal, because it is easy to find and connect with people. You can use social media networks to engage with others, form relationships with people (both online and offline), and garner introductions to powerful people.

 

  1. Start connecting:

Every relationship begins with creating a connection to someone important to your job search. It is possible to engage that person on social media and show them the value you have to offer. The value you offer could consist of bringing fresh insight to a popular topic, or offering support. It could also be as simple as striking up an interesting conversation, and being invited to learn more about that person. Moving your relationship offline with a phone call, or a meet-up as a connection is made can accelerate your results.

First, learn more about that person. Do their values align with your own? There are numerous questions you can ask them:

“What do you love about your work?”

“If I ask the people that you work with to describe you, what would they say?”

“What’s a major regret you had in your career from which you would try to save someone else?”

You’re not fishing for dirt here, and we certainly don’t expect anyone to be perfect. But, you’ll be able to gauge how well these answers resonate with you by your desire to move forward with that person. If they do resonate, find out what they’re up to, and the ways you can bring value to them.

Next, it’s time to articulate your brand. What makes you uniquely qualified? What contribution do you hope to make? Ask yourself how your life experiences and career paths have given you a perspective that enables you to see and do what others can’t. That’s easier said than done, as you may have to figure out your own value. If you’re unsure of the value you could bring to someone else, it may be an indication that you need to have a branding consultation with us so we can help unveil your brilliance.

You may not receive a great response if you connect with strangers and begin asking them for favors or advice without finding out if they are people with whom you want to associate. For example, asking a quick question might be okay, but asking someone to review your résumé, or grant you an interview may be met with a chilly reception, or be completely ignored.

However, asking to meet immediately with someone after finding them on social media can be a beneficial experience, especially if your values do align. Say the person you want to meet with is a member of an organization that meets monthly, and you tell that person you’ll be at the meeting so you can get acquainted. Or maybe this person is a stranger, but you have a trusted contact in common, so you invite them out for coffee or lunch. This happens frequently, but in your invitation there would be an indication of some potential synergy, or mutual value that you can both get from meeting in person. People who are avid networkers don’t think twice about meeting someone in person.

 

  1. Personalize your request to connect:

When you send a request to connect with someone on LinkedIn, take a moment to customize your request. Sending a default connection message might be interpreted by the recipient as not taking the time to research them, or that you’re only interesting in expanding your network, as opposed to making a genuine connection. Recently, LinkedIn has increased their users’ abilities to see with whom they should connect. However, on all of these pages where a connect button is present, and you’re not in someone’s profile, the site will automatically send the boilerplate message. Because of this feature people are a little more forgiving when receiving these default messages, but they may not be any more receptive to your request. To inspire somebody to be receptive to your request, send a personal note telling the person why you want to connect with them, that you want to learn more about how you can support their success, and that you would like to spend a little time getting better acquainted.

If you would like to customize your connection request, go directly to a person’s profile and click the connect button.

Linkedin-how-to-connect01-08102015

A LinkedIn invitation

A LinkedIn invitation

 

When sending a customized invitation, think about why you’re adding them to your network. Again, the point isn’t to simply expand your social media network. An effective connection means being genuinely interested in helping someone, supporting them, cooperating with them, meeting with them offline, and establishing a long-term relationship.

 

  1. Consider publicly asking others for advice:

There are several schools of thought about asking someone for advice on social media. One school of thought is to be mindful about how you make requests, because a public request for advice or help could put someone in an awkward situation. However, we have a different school of thought. I have advised clients in the past to publicly ask their network for advice. This is the purpose behind discussion groups, like those found on LinkedIn. They are a great way to solicit advice from others, especially people who are more-than-willing to help you. Additionally, status updates are another great way to ask for advice, engage an audience, grow your network, and establish your expertise.

An unemployed Australian man had no luck with filling out applications. So he posted a picture of himself, his contact information and his plight on his Facebook page for employers to see. His unemployment situation quickly reversed as he was inundated with job offers by phone.

 

  1. Be helpful:

Engaging someone on social media with the goal of creating a long-term network connection isn’t all about your needs. In other words, connecting isn’t about “How can I be helped?” Instead, it looks like being specific and directly asking a person what they’re working on and using that opportunity to demonstrate your value.

 

  1. Keep track of your efforts:

Carefully measure what works during your campaign to determine the effectiveness of your outreach strategy. If you send out six messages requesting an introduction or a request to connect and none of them get answered, it is a sign that you need to change your approach. Keep track of your successes and note what works in order to consistently replicate the results. Our conversation tool assists with this.

 

The end goal isn’t simply to add someone to your network in the hope that they help you land a job. Social media is capable of so much more. It can be the venue by which you become aware of someone, start a conversation, learn a little bit about them, and take that relationship offline. It is a way to enrich your own personal and professional life by meeting new people and creating new relationships that will pay off in both the short and long-term. This is the true value of networking in your job search, and social media can make expanding those networks a little less intimidating.

 

The Correct Response to a Job Lead

 

"Using Three Laptops at the Same Time" by Michael Kwan from Flickr

“Using Three Laptops at the Same Time” by Michael Kwan from Flickr

“Your network is your net worth.” This succinct phrase is the title of Porter Gale’s book. Gale, a marketing expert and public speaker, argues in her book that a network of personal and professional relationships is the most important asset in a portfolio. Think about it. Over 80% of jobs are unadvertised and obtained through networking. Your network connections can help you obtain job leads and even land a job. When someone in your network produces a job lead for you, your response matters. How you respond to a job lead can mean the difference between discouraging your lead sources, and successfully capitalizing on a lead. In order to capitalize on a lead, it is important to make a smart inquiry about the quality of the lead. Not every lead is a good match for your qualifications, so it is critical to learn more about the source of the lead and the potential job.

There is an important distinction between a job lead and an introduction offer. If someone in your network offers to introduce you to someone, do not decline the opportunity. There could be synergy between you and the other party, and a conversation might lead to a job opportunity. People are the ultimate connectors. You won’t know if there’s an opportunity until you have a meeting. Graciously accept the introduction offer, attend the meeting and follow up with your source. Feel free to ask your source questions about the party you’re meeting with to attend the meeting fully prepared. An introduction is a direct invitation to establishing a relationship with someone at a potential employer. A job lead is the knowledge of an open position, and when you can establish a relationship with hiring managers you increase your odds of being chosen as the candidate who gets the offer.

Gauge how much the person knows about the source and quality of the information they’ve given you. If it is a job lead, and not an introduction, you’ll have to dig deep and research the lead. Not every job lead is created equally. Your source may or may not be intimately familiar with the lead or the position. He or she may have been approached by a recruiter, declined the offer and decided to forward the position information to you. This doesn’t mean the employer is incompatible with your personal criteria. Your lead source may not have been not been actively looking for a job, or the position may not have fit their personal criteria. Knowing that you’re looking to make a transition, your source decided to be helpful and pass the information on to you.

If your source forwarded a lead and doesn’t know much about the company, avoid bombarding them with questions about the position. In other words, don’t make them answer the same questions you would ask of someone more familiar with the position. Go directly to the source. If the source leads you to a company website or job board, go to LinkedIn to learn more about the company and to discover if you have any possible inside connections. Next week I will go further into depth about the top ten websites you can use to research your employer.

Before you consider making a connection with someone at the company, thoroughly research the organization. Your research will help you get further in your ability to market yourself and demonstrate your value. The job position could be a perfect match for your qualifications and skills, but the company culture or its location may be a poor fit. Here are few questions to consider:

 

  • Where is the company located? You may or may not be open to the idea of relocating to another town or city.

 

  • What is the size of the company? If you’ve previously worked at a small employer, switching to a large employer could be a major culture shock, and vice versa.
  • What do employees think of their employer? If a good number of employees are miserable at the job, it may be a place you want to stay far away from.
  • Why do think you’ll be a good fit for the position? This question can also generate great content for a cover letter. Take notes as you discover your answers.

 

Look up a company’s profile on LinkedIn to discover answers to your questions.  Job review sites such as Vault and Glassdoor are more ways to obtain insight about a potential employer. Visit Salary.com and PayScale to learn more about an average salary for the open position at your employer. These are good resources for gathering salary range information based on your job title, skills and education level. Once you’ve researched a potential employer it’s time make a decision.

If you find that the company meets about 80% of your criteria, create a connection within the company. Go to LinkedIn to see who you may know. If possible, try to identify the most logical hiring managers. Once you find the hiring managers, send out customized invitations. Avoid sending out boilerplate invitations, and use the information you gathered about the hiring managers to introduce yourself. Before you send out those invitations, make your LinkedIn profile as appealing as possible. I’ve written extensively on the subject.  Avoid using default headlines and make sure your profile is more than just an online résumé. When you send an invitation to hiring managers, the point is not to directly ask for a job, but to be the answer to the open position. Think of it like this, the company needs to fill an open position to solve a problem within the company. You want to be the first solution that comes to mind.

If the position does not meet 80% of your criteria and you were referred, follow through with the interview and be upfront with a hiring manager. Let him or her know that the job opportunity presented after an introduction isn’t a fit for you. This honesty can lead to better opportunities down the road. When that potential employer has an open position that matches your qualifications and needs to be filled, either internally or referred, your name may be on the top of the candidate list. Focus on your preferred contribution and the types of positions that are in alignment with your skills and qualifications.  If the real issue with a job is a lifestyle conflict, let the hiring manager know. Express to them how you appreciate the time and effort they took to consider you for a position, but it isn’t a good fit with your lifestyle. For example, longer hours at a potential job may leave you unable to pick up your children from school or daycare in a timely manner. Or, the commute may be too long.

 

Always follow through with your source. They took the time to send information for a possible lead, thank them, and update them on what happened. They have a vested interest in the outcome and will want to know if it worked out. This is the best way to reinforce with your network that the efforts that they make on your behalf are not in vain. If, however, too many job leads they send seem to be wrong, they will get discouraged. Give them a little guidance, if necessary, but always with sincere gratitude.

Making a smart inquiry about the lead, and being responsive to your source can be the difference between discouraging them from ever sending you a lead again and receiving more job leads. Again, thank them for their time and research the lead. Your research will enable you to decide if pursuing an open position is worth your time. You can also use your research to put yourself ahead of the competition by crafting a customized cover letter. Learn how to use your research to get immediate responses from employers with our cover letter secret sauce. Above all, gratitude and research is the best response to a job lead.

 

3 Unexpected Places to Find Job Leads

Photo courtesy of Sharyn Morrow " X marks the spot (where the center caved in on the vegan cake)." http://bit.ly/1znpXtL

Photo courtesy of Sharyn Morrow ” X marks the spot (where the center caved in on the vegan cake).” http://bit.ly/1znpXtL

In May 2011, Dianez Smith was ready to take her career an epic level. She was tired of not getting interviews and working a low-wage retail job. Dianez literally took to the streets in search of leads. Armed with a homemade sign, dozens of résumés, and a sharp business suit, Smith stood at the corner of a busy Washington D.C. intersection. The recent college graduate desperately wanted land a job that would put her bachelor’s degree in studio art to use. She passed out 17 résumés in total to anyone who would give her a second glance. Smith’s résumé eventually landed her an interview and a job as a receptionist at a law firm.

Dianez Smith’s case of standing on a street corner may be extreme, but she was willing to look in an unexpected place to find job leads. With the economy still in a state of recovery, the job market is flooded with applicants. You have to stand out from the crowd just to get an interview. The idea of doing this may cause your creative side to balk. After all, you’ve polished your résumé until it sparkles and you’ve come to dread attending the same old networking events. In short, you’re tired of searching the same employers, in the same way everyone else does. In fact, you’re itching for the novelty of trying something new. Or maybe you have yet to search for a new career, but you want to start in a unique manner. If you’re willing to take a path less traveled, you may find surprising leads in your job search.

  1. Your “Other” Network

Other realms of your community can be a great source of unexpected job leads. The idea is to expand your network beyond the professionals you normally interact with. First try asking the people outside of your immediate circle of friends (assuming you’ve already told your friends how to identify leads for you.) Consider all of the folks with whom you are on a first-name basis. Your neighbors, your barber, your hairdresser, your trusted mechanic, and the parents you know from PTA meetings and kids’ sports and activities. Think personal relationships VS professional ones.

If you want to expand even further, look into community workshops, neighborhood events, and Meetup.com gatherings related to your interests. The point is to meet and network with different people to search for job leads. I’ll use Meetup.com as an example. You might be into web development and content management. So you find a local group dedicated to WordPress (yes, they exist), and decide to attend a local event. Such meetings could be the perfect place to ask for job leads. Or if you attend social gatherings completely unrelated to your profession (i.e., clubs, board game nights, or even religious services), take a moment to ask for leads there. You never know who may be the source of an important job lead.

  1. Online Marketing

In August I wrote an article titled “5 of the Craziest Ways People Found Jobs.” In this list I wrote about one man who got a job by advertising himself on Google’s AdWords. There’s no reason why you can’t market yourself in a similar manner. Set up a personal blog or website if you don’t already have one. Get yourself a personal domain name to brand as a URL. Naturally this would be YourOwnName.com. Next, create a page just for your résumé. Once you have such a page you’ll purchase an ad and use it to promote your résumé and highlight your achievements in a few words. For the AdWords URL you’ll want to use that personal domain name you bought.

If Facebook is more of your flavor, purchase a social ad. Use the title of the ad to target the business you want to work for. Make sure to include a professional picture, and a 25-word description about yourself and the job you want. Make sure to link these ads to your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and your other social media outlets. Ask friends on these networks to share the ad. You want to target people in your profession in order to generate job leads.

  1. Become a Public Speaker

Volunteering to speak through community and professional organization can be a great source of job leads for those willing to try. It can be a breakout way to garner attention, establish expertise and value, and to expand your network. By public speaking, you’re marketing yourself to other professionals outside of your usual network who can then market you by word-of-mouth. Seek out clubs, civic groups, and professional organizations. These engagements can be used to gather job leads from attendees. If you’ve never spoken in public before, or the task seems a little daunting, you will definitely need to practice. Christopher Witt’s Entrepreneur article “How to Get Started in Public Speaking” is a good starting point.

Be bold and refuse to leave any stone unturned by looking for leads everywhere you can think of. Strike up a conversation with acquaintances and steer the discussion to job leads. If you don’t mind contracting work, try a few gigs on sites like Fiverr or Elance. In addition to making some extra cash, try asking clients about job leads. Consider putting out ads asking for leads in your local newspaper and on Craigslist. These sources are a little more risky, and you may end up with irrelevant leads, or no job leads at all. The point is, never stop looking and asking for leads.

These methods are not a substitute for a solid résumé, strong networking, references, and researching the company you want to work for. You can think of it as a quirky complement to the good practices you’re already using. As the saying goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Survivor – The Search Is Over

Survivor’s official music video for ‘The Search Is Over’. Click to listen to Survivor on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/SurvSpot?IQid=SurvTSIO As featured on Ultimate Survivor.

There’s GOLD in these pages

Pirate Treasure Map by Unskinny Boppy on Flickr

Pirate Treasure Map by Unskinny Boppy on Flickr

When wielded appropriately, the Philadelphia Business Journal can be your greatest competitive weapon an advantage.

 

There is intelligence to be mined in this weekly periodical. When you incorporate it into the best practices of careering, it will provide you with leads that directly correlate to your income potential.

I’ve seen many an article and even YouTube video dedicated to using the Philadelphia Business Journal  for increasing sales and growing businesses. Several years ago Bernie Dagenais, The former Chief Editor, helped me explain to my LinkedIn workshop attendees the power of the Philadelphia Business Journal for personal career growth. While I have shared this magical nugget of wisdom with many clients and audiences, I probably don’t emphasize it enough.

 

Let me put it this way – there’s gold in them there pages.

 

Does that excite you? The chance to find gold enticed people to subject themselves to pretty awful and degenerative conditions. They lived without laws, essentially, and risked their lives. You, however, have to assume no risk for such gold. Your chances of finding gold are certain, and this blog serves as a treasure map to the gold that resides abundantly within the pages of the Philadelphia Business Journal.

 

In fact, because of an offer that I’m going to be sharing with you, receiving the gold could be as easy as filling out a form. AND you get the additional benefit of a free résumé and campaign evaluation by Epic Careering. I’ll give you some details about that towards the end of this article.

 

TREASURE MAP:

Here are the features that you need to identify in order to find the gold that leads to epic career fulfillment:

 

The Book of Lists

While you can purchase this book separately, it is included in your annual subscription, which you’ll find through the other subscription-only features highlighted within is the greater value. While you can find the book of lists in the reference section at your local library, there is nothing like having at your fingertips when you want to find out who to contact at an organization you’ve identified as a great employer. If you’ve never executed a proactive career campaign, you may not know how to use the Book of Lists. A best practice of careering is to develop a list of criteria from which you will build a list of target companies. There are 89 lists in the Book of Lists and companies are sorted by industry, size, location, and growth. Each item on the list includes phone numbers, websites, number of employees, revenues when unavailable, the name of the local executive or CEO and human resources contact, as well as the year they were founded. While conducting research on target companies, your list of criteria acts as a logical guideline for whether you should be investing your time pursuing any of these companies. Use the book of lists to identify if the company meets your criteria or not. Best practices would dictate that you would want to spend your time and companies that meet at least 80% of your criteria, however you can use your gut or your your heart to decide to pursue a company that doesn’t meet that percentage if one or two of those particular criteria are more important than the rest.

 

People On The Move

This section is valuable for two reasons. Some people who find themselves in new positions have to build a brand-new team, either immediately or eventually. Congratulating somebody on the new position, just like congratulation somebody that won an award, is a very nice gesture and is usually appreciated and remembered. The other way this section can be utilized is that when somebody moves up into a position or over to a new position, they usually leave a vacancy in their old position. Sometimes companies don’t jump right on posting that position right away and you can have an extreme competitive advantage by being the first to contact the company. Before doing so, use the Philadelphia Business Journal, as well as other online and print resources, to do some research on how you might make yourself the most valuable to this organization in this vacant position. Why wait until the position is posted and compete with hundreds to thousands of other candidates for a job? Vacancies are costly to companies, so you’re already proving how valuable you can be by preventing them from ever needing to pay money to fill a position. You can view People On The Move through the online portal without a subscription, however, as a subscriber you are given access to a database with the contact information of almost 8,000 People On The Move submissions, personally reviewed by the Philadelphia business Journal editorial team.

 

Articles touting the growth of a local company

If you see that a company is growing, restrain your inclination to contact them immediately. Search the journal for other articles related to that company to get a sense of the bigger picture and mission of that organization. You will be able to make a more powerful impression to a contact there if you can articulate that you understand where the company has been AND where they are going. Some articles are only accessible to subscribers. In fact, while abstracts of articles are sometimes public, you would potentially miss out on quotes directly from the people who would hire you. Quoting someone is a powerful form of flattery that may distinguish you among other ambitious candidates.

 

New business announcements

Not all companies that register their new businesses are going to be hiring, however registering a business is often the first thing a business will do. If you have done the exercise of deciding what kind of start-up company you want to be a part of, you should be able to sort through these new business listings, which are exclusively for subscribers, and contact the owner before they go through the often painstaking process of deciding where and how to find talent. Hey, if building a talent base of a company is your thing, this is when you want to get in. Also, if you’re not really quite sure where you eventually want to be in your career and want the opportunity to try out different functions (and you’re willing to assume some risk,) this is the time to contact these companies. Disclaimer: As you get further into the qualification process with any of these companies, you should offer to sign a nondisclosure agreement and ask for the opportunity to personally see their business plans. Let them know that this is the best way to understand if you can be a contribution to their business at this time.

 

Commercial real estate transactions

This section is also secured for subscribers and would give you a clue as to when a company relocates into an area that is desirable for you, or even that a company is increasing their square footage in preparation for an impending growth spurt. That is a great time to pursue a company proactively.

 

Articles quoting executives who cite challenges of their company or industry

Essentially, an article of this nature means that there is a problem that needs solving. Enter you. Many of the executives who are quoted are also included in a contact database that you only gain access to as a subscriber.

 

The award announcements

The Philadelphia Business Journal recognizes local business leaders for various reasons. The people and companies that receive these awards, such as the 40 Under 40 (which I aspire to make and have a few years to do so) and the Healthiest Employer, know how to get things done. Ingratiating yourself with them is a good idea. Receiving an award is a validation that efforts have produced results that are recognized. It’s the fact that they were able to produce results that makes them a valuable person to get to know. Congratulating someone is a great way to introduce yourself. In the spirit of network nurturing, you will want to ask for some of their time to get better acquainted and to learn how you can be valuable to them. Being valuable to them is how you can inspire them to help you.  Disclaimer: not everybody who wins an award is a nice guy. Trust your instincts or use your research.

 

Liens and bankruptcies, court records, and legal judgments

This section is exclusively for subscribers, and this isn’t as much a resource for finding a target company as much as it is a resource for making sure that the company you are considering pursuing doesn’t have a black mark on it financial or legal records. Unless you solve these problems, you probably don’t want to turn down a great offer at an ethical company to accept an opportunity at a sinking ship. Sections like this avoid such fates.

 

Articles on layoffs

Here’s an unexpected tip – some of the same companies that you read about having mass layoffs are actually also hiring. A Wall Street Journal article from 2009 reflects how many larger corporations make business decisions to shrink one area business while they grow another. Also, employees get very scared by mass layoffs and start looking around for more “secure” opportunity, even though their talents and skills are very valuable to the employer. Don’t rule out companies having mass layoffs as potential employers. Though morale can take some time to restore, sometimes you get to be part of rebuilding something pretty special.

Jobs

Not to be obvious, there is also a jobs section of the journal.

I think I’ve given you enough reason to want to subscribe to Philadelphia Business Journal, or any local business journal. Now that you were enticed, let me give you a chance to win a one-year subscription, including the treasured Book of Lists.

 

If you’re a job seeker, go to this page: epiccareering.com/personal/ OR enter your information below:

This page will give you access to a one-page needs assessment form. Complete and send it to me at info@epiccareering.com along with your most recent resume. With these documents I will enable me to offer you a free résumé and campaign evaluation as well as a chance to win one-year’s worth of GOLD through a subscription to the Philadelphia business Journal, which you can purchase for $105 currently.

 

I will be accepting contestants until I reach 50, so do not delay in filling out this one page needs assessment form.

 

The winner will be announced March 8, 2014.

 

Which introduction would you rather have?

sittin-on-top-of-the-world1Most people have heard that networking is the best way to find a new job. It is also the best way to find great candidates. The quandary is how do you get to be the candidate that is recommended to hiring managers by your network for jobs.


There are three ways this can happen, and sometimes the person giving the introduction needs your coaching to do it right. So, which way is the right way?


A.“Hi, Chris. I wanted to introduce you to my former coworker, Annmarie. I used to work with her at PeopleSoft. Annemarie and I worked on several implementations together. She was always diligent, attentive, and very responsive. In fact, she was the one who identified the reason we kept having issues with rollouts. This eliminated  a whole week of rollout time and made clients very happy. I remember you mentioning that clients had started to complain about rollouts being delayed. I thought it made sense for you to talk to Annemarie to see if maybe she could give you some insight on your issue and perhaps be of service on a more long-term basis.”

 

B.“Hi, Chris. I wanted to introduce you to my former coworker Annemarie. She’s in transition now and looking for an opportunity as an Implementation Manager. Do you know of any jobs available for her?”


C.“Hi, Chris. Please help my friend Annemarie. She’s been out of work for several months now and really needs to get back to work to pay her bills. Is your company hiring? She’s an Implementation Manager, but I’m sure she’d take pretty much anything.”


The answer to me is obvious, but I might be surprised by some responses.


Watch my vlog to learn how to elicit the most powerful of these introductions.