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Windy Days and Stella Got Nothing on Us March 16, 2017

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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The last two weeks in Rochester have been quite interesting from a weather perspective to say the least. Last week we had the major wind storm with 80 mph gusts which knocked out power to over 100,000 people.  Then one week later we get a major winter storm which dumped more than two feet of snow on the area.  How much more can we take!

I bet you utter this phrase during your job search and networking activities as well. Sometimes it appears that no matter what we do we are faced with severe head winds or blinding snow that continues to pile up making it nearly impossible to get from point A to point B. It often seems we are not making any progress whatsoever.

This is when you need to step back take a breath and relax. As we learned over the last week, having an appropriate strategy and plan to recover from setbacks and obstacles and then implementing and monitoring that plan can help get you back on track much sooner than you’d expect.  Many people had power back in a few days, and after two days of our major highways being snow covered and treacherous today we experienced clear roads and a smooth commute thanks to the planning and constant monitoring by our public service officials.

How do you plan to recover from your next “Stella?”

Until Next Time….

Comeback Victory March 2, 2017

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I know it has been about one month since we witnessed a historic comeback and the first ever overtime game for the Super Bowl but the lessons learned from this and how you can apply them to the job search and networking are too powerful (in my opinion) to ignore.

We all know how the game started, Atlanta dominated the game, New England look completely lost and unable to mount a sustained drive as Atlanta shut them down while seemingly moving up field on offense at will. Frustration was beginning to set in with New England, you could see it on their faces; nothing they seemed to do was working.

Does this sound familiar? Do you sometimes feel like your networking activities are ineffective, no matter what you do?  You look at others and feel like they are dominating the room while you continue to struggle.  Do your resulting job search efforts suffer the same fate?  No matter what you do you can’t seem to get the interview or if you do go through multiple interviews you can’t seem to close the deal?  (Been there, done that myself.)

What’s been your next move when faced with these situations? Do you keep doing what you are doing and hope things will change?  Do you give up?  Take a break and collect your thoughts?

What you SHOULD do is take a page out of the New England Patriots playbook. They kept hammering away until they found an opportune time to take a break (halftime) and re assess their game plan.  You should do the same.  When you have time in your schedule (if you need to, block out time, stop your networking activity for a few days) and look at the “game film” from the first half.  Carefully examine what you have been doing and determine why it’s not working.  Ask a friend or relative to offer you some advice based upon their observations.  Then take the data you have gathered and formulate a revised plan to help break through whatever is holding you back allowing you to create your own comeback victory.

Even if you are not a fan of the Patriots you have to admire the adjustment they made at half time and more impressive, their never-say-die attitude. Adopting this same process and mind set in your networking and job search activities (and life in general) can go a long way to helping you reach the goals you have set.

Until next time….

 

 

Hypocrite! September 10, 2015

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to reconnect with a number of people I have not seen in quite some time. It was the 10 year anniversary of the founding of the Victor Power Networking Group of which I am proud to say I was a charter member.

Being part of this group is what provided me with the foundations for networking, how to build your network, how to nurture it and how to give back to others throughout the process.

As I reconnected while also making a few new connections it hit me that I’ve been “out of it” for a while. My networking activity has decreased over the last year. This is concerning as I felt like I was somehow disconnected from what is happening around town. I remember when I was a very active networker (mostly driven by the need to find a job) I felt like I had my finger on the pulse of the Rochester area and it was a good feeling to have.

Being such a big supporter of networking I felt a bit like a hypocrite. Here I write about how important it is and why you should do it and I am not even following my own advice!

The good thing is that I realized it now. My network contacts are still warm, my regular blog posting helps as does the PeerNet community and some other regular activities I participate in. However, things need to change. I must get more pro-active because as experience has taught me you never know when you will need the support and help of your network because you have lost your job or you are looking to change your job. People will remember that you only seem to “come around” when you need something. That’s not a good label to carry and it’s certainly one I don’t want.

So with the summer coming to a close and fall fast approaching and soon after that the holiday season I vow to improve my networking activities and be more proactive in reconnecting with some and more importantly making new connections for myself and others.

Let me know if I can help you.

By the way here is a blog post I did a while ago on Keeping Your Network Warm.

Until next time….

A Spring Cleaning Checklist March 19, 2015

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According to the calendar, tomorrow (March 20) is the official first day of Spring.  Like many of you here in Western New York I am sure this is welcome news after the long hard winter we endured.  Though as we all know its not unusual to experience some of mother natures mean tricks like snow and ice in April so I will temper my enthusiasm just a bit.

However, with thoughts of spring come other ideas like sleeping with a window open, the flowers blooming and for others spring cleaning.  Which made me think it may be time to give your job search a spring cleaning.  Just like your house, apartment, car or garage your job search can benefit from a little tidying up here and there and some reorganization.

Some ideas:

  1. Clean up your marketing plan and sharpen it’s focus.  Consider revising the types of positions you are looking for or punching up some of your accomplishments,  use active verbs to grab the readers attention, provide specific figures where possible.
  2. Reorganize your daily routine.  If your search has taken longer than you hoped look at how you may be able to better focus your energies.  Are you spending too much time behind the computer or behind your desk and not enough time meeting one-on-one with people?
  3. Refresh your interview skills.  Go through a mock interview and get feed back on strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Discover new treasures.  Go to a networking event you have never been to instead of your usual ones, you might just meet someone new.
  5. Renew. Learn a new skill or update your existing skills.  You have the flexibility others do not, use it to your advantage.
  6. Get outside and take a walk, its amazing how you can clear your mind just by walking on a nice spring day. Some of my best ideas and greatest inspirations hit me during my lunch time walks.

Until next time….

Job Search Gone Cold February 12, 2015

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cold-620x400Just like our winter weather this year your job search can get cold real fast. Unlike the weather however you can control what happens next.  What do you do?  How do you react?

You can throw your hands up in the air and scream “why is this happening!!” or you can sit back and objectively review the situation.

Here are four things to consider.

  1. Is my company target list correct and up-to-date?  Review the list and make sure the companies offer the type of opportunities you seek.  Sometimes the company you are trying to get into may only have a small presence here, for example they may only have a sales team.  If you are looing for an engineering job with this company you’ll need to determine where those positions reside.
  2. Are you connecting with the “right” people?  Make sure the people you are meeting with can help you get one step closer to your next gig. Sometimes you don’t figure this out until it is too late but after a few times you learn how to spot these people.  This doesn’t mean you should not offer to help others if they can’t help you, what I mean here is these people “take” more than give and after all you need to make progress toward your goal.
  3. Am I meeting with the “right” people frequently enough?  One meeting a week just won’t cut it.  You should be meeting with at least five people every week, ideally more.
  4. What do your supporting documents look like?  When was the last time you updated your resume or cover letter?  How about that networking profile you use at your daily meetings, when was the last time you revised this document?  Don’t have one, then get one.  Now.

I am sure you have other suggestions.  What did I miss?  Where will you look in case your job search goes cold.

Stay warm!

Until next time….

How Your Job Search is Like Shaving Your Beard April 24, 2014

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Back in December I wrote about how your job search is like growing a beard. 

Well, now that spring has sprung the beard has been shed which got me to thinking.  “How is your job search like shaving your beard?”

When shaving your beard or looking for your next opportunity:

  1. It may take a little time to adjust to your new look or new situation, persistence pays off.
  2. Think of it as a new beginning a chance to work in a new industry or new position or to find that company with the perfect culture.
  3. Approach it with a new or different attitude, positive attitude brings positive results.
  4. Give it a fresh look – update your resume, your networking profile, maybe brush up on some old skills or learn a new one.
  5. Regular maintenance is still required.  You must groom, trim and nurture your network and your face.  Repeat frequently.
  6. While all many not agree with your tactics or direction, remember you need to do what works for you.

Until next time….

Hero February 27, 2014

Posted by robewanow in General, Job Search, Rants and Raves.
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I am reading Hero by Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret and The Power. Most people fall in one of two categories when you mention these books.  They call it hogwash or they truly believe in it and use it.

I found The Secret very inspiring but so far Hero has it beat.  Relying on real life success stories (not just money related) from people such as Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks Coach) Liz Murray, a young lady born to drug addicted parents who willed herself to attend and graduate from Harvard and John Paul DeJoria from John Paul Mitchell fame who, incidentally was a member of a street gang in East Los Angeles as a young boy.

The premise of the story is that we all have an inner hero, we all have powerful abilities inside us which enable us to achieve our dreams and overcome any obstacle in our way. However in order to fully realize these abilities, which frequently get pushed aside or buried deep within us and forgotten we need to take the Hero’s journey much like the people mentioned above did.

So far I am up for taking the journey I figure it can only lead to continued/more good things.  Are you?

I will keep you posted.

Until next time….

Busy or Productive? February 13, 2014

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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During your job search there is certainly no shortage of things to accomplish on a daily, weekly and even monthly basis. You have job listings to scan, LinkedIn profiles to view, meetings to set up and confirm, follow up letters to write and the list goes on and on.

You sure are a busy job searcher…..but are you Productive?

Being busy is good, however it does not mean you are actually “getting work done.” Being productive on the other hand means you age getting the meaningful work done, the activities, tasks etc. that get you one step closer to your next opportunity.

So how do you go from busy to productive?

  1. Review the tasks you do regularly.
  2. Determine which ones add value, keep the valuable ones and ditch the others they are just a distraction.
  3. Prioritize the valuable tasks – which ones offer the biggest payback?
  4. Proportion your time appropriately among these tasks.
  5. Review these tasks at regular intervals (monthly?) and adjust as needed.

Now you are not just a busy job seeker but instead a productive one and this will certainly give you an advantage over the other “busy bodies.”

Until next time….

Super Bowl Bust February 6, 2014

Posted by robewanow in Job Search, Sports.
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After watching the disappointing Super Bowl this weekend I got to thinking how can I relate this to the job search?

Here you truly had the two best teams. Seattle #1 on defense versus Denver #1 on offense. Both teams played well all year, Manning set records along the way.

When it came down to it though it was obvious one team “came to play” while the other “just showed up.” Maybe it was nerves? Lack of concentration? The other team was just better that day? Who knows what contributed to such a poor performance.

See where I am going with this?

Your goal during your job search is to get an interview which ultimately leads to a new gig. (A championship) Along the way you network, email, make phone calls, follow up relentlessly. You play well, stay focused maybe you set records along the way too. (Significant accomplishments at previous employers)

Finally you get the call, you made it to the “Big Game.” (Interview) Now what do you do? Do you “come to play” (Prepare) or do you “just show up?” (Wing it) The difference can mean hoisting the equivalent of the Lombardi Trophy – a Job Offer or walking away with nothing at all to show for all your hard work.

Your new mantra should be “I came to play.”

Until next time….

Now You Know August 15, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Family, Job Search.
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In my last post “You Never Know” I told a story of how my daughter was not selected to be part of a U17 premier level soccer team and the immediate disappointment, anger and sadness which resulted from this decision.  I related this to finding out your job has been eliminated or the unexpected difficulties you face during the job search.

To quote I said:  One of the things I try to live by is “everything happens for a reason” or “when one door closes another opens.”  

I closed the post with “Like life, the job search is filled with “you never know.”  How you handle these situations is what will set you apart from the rest of the crowd.”

A few days after receiving the news she was not part the team my daughter received a phone call from the coach.  He told her it was one of the hardest decisions he’s ever had to make but after a lot of reflection he made the decision he felt was best for the team.  But listen to this, he also said it was the best decision for her.

Why?  Because he had spoken with the coach of the U18 team and recommended he consider adding her to his team, which he did.  He did this because he knew my daughter would get more playing time on the U18 team than the U17 team.  For soccer players who want to play in college the U17 (HS Junior) year is the most critical year so the more playing time you can get the better.

How does this relate to a job search.  Just think for a moment.  You interview for Job A for which you feel you are immensely qualified.  Maybe you have 2 or 3 interviews, further improving your odds of getting the job, only to find out a week or so later that you did not.

No matter who you are this always results in disappointment maybe resentment, anger.  But as I said how you handle this situation can set you apart from the crowd.  For, as in my daughters case you may never know for sure why the decision was made.  More importantly, you do not know what may be happening in the background.  Is the hiring manager you interviewed with talking you up to one of his peers because you may be a better fit there?  Maybe he is recommending you to someone he knows at another company, one that was not on your radar where you may get more “playing time.”

Learning how to handle disappointment in your job search whether at the moment of realizing you are now unemployed or at any other point during your search can have a direct effect on future outcomes.  Handling setbacks (there will be a few) with a positive attitude and as a learning and growth opportunity will help position you for future success and shine through in the way you approach your next interview or meeting.

Don’t believe me?   Ask my daughter……..

Until next time….