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It’s Been a While September 29, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
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Well I know it’s been a while since I published my last blog post but I had no idea it has been over two months! Admittedly, it was a very busy time for me, planning for our largest trade show of the year in Chicago (4,900 sf booth space) but I should still be able to get a post out there at least every-other-week.

However, this provided me with the fodder I need for today’s post.

In order to be successful with your job search, networking or customer prospecting efforts you need a consistent effort.  Going strong for a while then tailing off or worse yet taking and extended break do nothing but interrupt your progress, preventing you from gaining ground and ultimately achieving your goals.

This consistent effort can be challenging as the temptation to “take just a little break” can be strong and we rationalize it will help us come back stronger (this argument is also what we use when we skip our daily visit to the gym) however, in many cases this is not true.

The key is to achieving this consistent effort is to set goals and milestones along the way. For example in your networking activities it may be as simple as attending one live event each month with the goal of meeting two or three new people and reconnecting with two or three of those already in your network.  You could also target one or two “one-on one” meetings each month; perhaps coffee before you head into the office or a lunch meeting.  Granted, you may not achieve both each month but the key is you have a goal, something to aim for and something that helps hold you accountable.  This forces you to put in the work, to have a consistent effort.

Another way stay consistent is to create a schedule. This can be as detailed as you need and as your circumstances dictate. For example if you are unemployed and fully engaged in the job search your daily or weekly schedule should be more specific since you have more time to dedicate to your job search and it should be your number one priority.  If you are working and either looking to change jobs or simply keep your network strong then you can work with a little looser schedule; fit it around your work obligations.  Just remember even though you are working your networking activities should not stop. Yes it’s harder to do this and even more difficult to perform a quality job search but once again consistent effort will win the day.

This is of course easier said than done but if you keep yourself laser-focused on the end goal you will find yourself making significant steps towards that goal each time.

Now, I just need to follow my own advice.

Until next time….

 

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Networking Advice for the Recent Grad May 25, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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For most universities graduation season has passed by and another batch of graduates is on the street actively looking for work with the hopes of putting all they have learned over the last 4 years (or more) to good use.  According to different sources I’ve heard this is one of the more challenging years for recent grads to find work but at the same time I’ve heard it is just as challenging as previous years. It is what you make it I suppose.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post my opinion is many recent grads lack the skills needed to conduct a quality job search after graduation.  This is one area where I think all universities could improve by simply offering a one semester course the beginning of junior year tailored specific to the job search.

Here are my recommendations for a successful job search for recent college grads (and any other job seeker for that matter).

  1. Build your network – when doing this remember quality trumps quantity.  Attend various networking functions, set up informational meetings in order to find the right people who can connect you, direct you and offer support and guidance along the way.  Don’t forget to find out how you can help them as well – it’s easier than you think.
  2. Update your resume – make sure any/all relevant work experience appears even summer or campus jobs as these show drive, maturity and responsibility.  Make sure you include any academic recognition (honors, awards, etc) in order set yourself apart from the rest of the field.
  3. Clean up your act – give your social media profiles the “once over” making sure to remove any questionable content.  Update or create your LinkedIn profile making sure to include a nice professional looking photo as this is frequently the first place HR people will visit.
  4. Be visible – it’s true we live in a connected world now but you need to get out from behind the computer if you want any shot at getting the job you want.  Volunteer at a local organization, attend industry related events, set up lunch meetings or even go to the gym during the afternoon, you never know who is sneaking in a quick lunchtime workout.  It could be your next boss.

No doubt landing that first gig is a challenge but if you get yourself organized, follow some simple guidelines and set up a regular routine you will find yourself signing that offer letter sooner than you think.

Until next time….

Follow Up, When? How Often? How Long? April 7, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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So you cruised through the phone interview with the recruiter or hiring manager and have been granted an in-person interview. You glide through that, effectively and efficiently answering all questions with thoughtful responses chock full of examples which directly relate to the opportunity at hand.

Your next stop is with a company executive or executives. Naturally this is a little more stressful but with the appropriate amount of research and preparation you’re confident in your presentation.  After an hour or so you walk out of that interview filled with confidence and hope.  “A decision can’t be far off” you say to yourself.  “I’ve done all the right things”, research, prepare, rehearse, sent customized thank you notes to each individual.

It’s now 5-7 days later and nothing……no email rejection, no phone call asking if you would like to discuss an offer.

Time to start some effective follow up activities but how should you do this, how often and for how long?

No doubt you’ve met with the hiring manager so this is where you should focus your efforts. I’d suggest a phone call. Before you make that call though figure out what you want to say, what you want to discover.  Then rehearse exactly how you will open the conversation or more likely, leave a voice mail message.  Make sure you reiterate your interest in the opportunity and joining the team along with the skills you can bring to the table.

I’d give it 2-3 business days and if no reply is received I’d follow up with a brief email with a message similar to your voice mail. I’d suggest writing in off line and reviewing it a few times before you copy and paste into your email client and hit “send.”

After a week or so with no reply I would start the sequence over. For subsequent follow up messages, either email or voice mail I would be rather brief. Simply state you are following up to find out where they are in the process and reiterate your interest in joining the team and if they have any questions or concerns related to your background that you would appreciate the opportunity to address them.

I would repeat this process 2-3 times. Eventually you will get an answer which will determine your next steps.  Either you are out of the running, they are still interviewing (schedules do change, executives do travel) or they want to talk about an offer.

If you are still in the running I’d keep repeating the process until you receive an answer. This is a solid and persistent, yet not annoying process which keeps you top of mind.  Consider the following:

80% of sales require 5 follow up calls after a meeting and 44% give up after one attempt

Don’t you think it’s worth the extra effort?

Until next time….

 

 

Take It, or Leave It? February 25, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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During the job search we tend to focus on the obvious things that get us the interview (and hopefully an offer) such as resumes, cover letters, interview skills, research etc.  Many times in our desire to land the job I think we tend to overlook our “fit” within the potential organization.  How are decisions made?  How do people interact with each other?  What is the daily environment like?

While your interview performance, skills, ability and background may tell the hiring manager you are a good match you should take steps to validate this yourself before you decide to accept or decline the offer.  Speaking from experience, failure to do this can lead to unwelcome surprises down the road.

So how do you do this, and when?

Before your interview make a list of what is important to you, how you work, how you interact with others.  Try to be specific using terms such as collaborative, deadline oriented, process oriented and skip the general terms you hear all the time like creative, hard working, people person and so on.

During the interview when it’s your time to ask questions, include:

“What are the traits of people who really succeed at this company / on this team / in this role?”

then follow up with

“And what are the traits of people who don’t?”

These are direct and to the point questions that should yield some good insight, even if the interviewer tries to be “diplomatic.”

Once you have gathered the information compare it to your list and see how it stacks up.  Are there lots of similarities?  Good, this may be the place for you.  Not a lot of similarities?  That’s ok too, better to know this is not a good fit now rather than later on down the road.

Don’t forget the interview process is a two way street.  The hiring manager is assessing you and you should be gathering the information you need in order to make an educated decision culminating in “take it or leave it.”

Until next time.

Post adapted from content found on The Muse

 

 

 

 

Happy Chinese New Year – The Year of the Monkey February 11, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Job Search, Uncategorized.
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Monkey2016This week marks the celebration of the Chinese or Lunar New Year, this year is the year of the Monkey and is the ninth of 12 animals in the recurring Chinese zodiac cycle.  Additionally in Chinese astrology each year is also associated with one of five elements; for 2016 that element is fire, technically making 2016 the year of the Fire Monkey.  Interesting to note while the animal signs repeat every 12 months the animal-element combinations recur every 60 years.  People born in Fire Monkey Years tend to be optimistic, adventurous and positive this holds true for the year in general too.

How does this affect your job search?

Well in addition to the above characteristics, monkeys are considered inventive, creative and energetic – good traits for those in job search mode this year.

We all know your prospects can change from feast to famine and back again overnight.   If you are like a monkey this won’t derail your search because you have the ability to creatively adjust your tactics and the energy to keep pushing in the face of adversity.  In addition, the positive energy associated with this zodiac sign will give you the extra push you need and get you one step closer to your next opportunity.

So what’s holding you back?

Get out there and act like a monkey!

Until next time….

 

 

 

Stop Procrastinating January 28, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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I admit it.  I am guilty at times of procrastination, in some way at some point I think we all are.  The trick, I believe, is to recognize it and put an end to it.

Procrastination can be especially prevalent in the job search.  Some days it’s way easier to say “I’ll get to that tomorrow, I’ve got plenty of time.” Before you know it it’s 2 days or a week later and you still have not completed that task.  Maybe you needed to update your resume or follow up and schedule a meeting with a contact someone gave you in a prior meeting. The truth is the longer you put off a task the more likely it never be completed and when we are talking job search that will severely hamper your chances of landing quickly in the job you want.

Check out this interesting article I found on The Ladders.  It discusses 6 Easy Steps to Stop Procrastinating.   I admit, while I never heard or thought of the very first suggestion, it does make sense when you think about it.

Until next time….

Tis The Season….. December 3, 2015

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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With the start of the holiday season comes a bevy of opportunities to network with more people than ever, spread the word of what you are looking for in your next opportunity and set up those all important face-to-face meetings. You will find that people are naturally more giving during the holiday season so your hit rate for these meetings should be higher which translates into more meetings for you, leading you one step closer on your journey to your final destination.

Starting with Thanksgiving and rolling through Christmas, New Year, Hanukkah or any other holiday you celebrate there will be gatherings of all sorts for you to take advantage of, many of them free or low-cost. Consider this potential list.

  1. Professional Organizations you may belong to.  Make sure you check their website to get all the details.
  2. Organizations such as Digital Rochester. Did you attend “Festivus”  this week?
  3. Neighbors and neighborhood associations.   If you live in a condo or town house contact your association president and find out if they are planning anything.  If not offer to plan it yourself, this alone could provide you with a wealth of contacts and help others at the same time.  The same holds true for those who live in a more traditional neighborhood, get some folks together maybe do a progressive dinner or something like that.
  4. Volunteer.  Local soup kitchens tend to get a little busier this year give them a call and see how you can help.
  5. Check with your local church regarding giving trees, food baskets, etc offer to coordinate.
  6. Ring bells for the Salvation Army.
  7. Corporate parties.  If your spouse is employed make sure you plan to attend any office gathering that is open to you.
  8. Social/Service organizations you belong to like Lions Club, Rotary, etc

What would you like to hear about?  What topic do you want to learn more about?  Leave me a comment and I’ll put my thinking hat on.

Until next time….

The Importance of Closing the Loop Part 1 June 18, 2015

Posted by robewanow in Job Search, Rants and Raves.
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It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve not been able to get a blog post together but this week I am back at it.

One of the things that is critical to the job search is follow up and “closing the loop.”  This is true on both sides of the equation both the job seeker and the employer.  For this post I will comment on the employer side from what I (and perhaps others) see, experience or have experienced.

We all know the typical process that is followed in order to get an interview whether it is face-to-face or a phone interview.  Just getting the chance to speak with someone is a challenge so making it this far is something to be proud of; many candidates did not make it to this point.  You prepare, rehearse and then complete the interview.  You send a thank you note and then……wait.   Maybe you wait some more.  And still more waiting.

You send a follow up note (maybe 2), you make a follow up call.  Perhaps you are able to speak with the person you interviewed with where you restate your interest in the opportunity and the potential to continue the conversation.  There s a chance you may even find out at that time if you are still “in it.”

Many times though, it seems this information is hard to obtain.  Vague answers are given which do nothing towards closing the loop and in many cases nothing at all is ever communicated, leaving one to wonder.

I get it, everyone is busy, this includes the job seeker.  He/she is working many angles, arranging meetings, researching and networking all requiring time management and the need to focus on obtaining results. Yet this is hard to do when they do not receive feedback regarding their status from recent interviews or meetings.  If straight forward information is delivered in timely manner after an interview then Sally Job Seeker knows where she should invest additional time following up and where she should not.  This helps her “close the loop.”

Someone help Sally out, is she missing something?  Any employers, recruiters, hiring managers out there who could help her better understand the reason for this lack of communication?

Until next time….

Job Search Gone Cold February 12, 2015

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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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….

“Brand” Yourself December 11, 2014

Posted by robewanow in Branding, Job Search.
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Wisdom from the bygone era dictated you send mass un-customized resumes and cover letters to as many people as possible. Unfortunately some people still use this method and quickly become frustrated, wondering why they are not getting the hoped for results.

The preferred method is to use highly customized resumes and cover letters which showcase your skills, abilities and accomplishments in direct a comparison to what is required for he job you want or the open position to which you are applying.  This can be described as branding yourself to the career.

No this is not simply using key words and phrases in resumes and cover letters, its a step beyond that.

In order to accomplish this you need to find out what problems your potential employer is facing, what their growth plans are, what their strategic plans are, etc.  This is not an easy thing to do but it can be done.

How?

You need someone on the inside, a contact, a friend, a hiring manager?  How do you do that?  I’ll give you one guess….networking.

If you continually network you will have a handy list of people you can call on for help (and like-wise be there to help when they call you).  These people can provide you the data you need to tailor your approach whether you are meeting for a formal or informational interview.  Either way this information can help set you apart from the rest of the crowd.

How will you brand yourself to what your employer needs?

Until next time….