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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….

 

Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Beers March 24, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Family, General, Job Search, Work.
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Here is one of my favorite posts.  I wanted to re-post this so you may either enjoy it again or enjoy it for the first time.

Until next time….

Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Beers

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a
day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front
of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and
empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then
asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar
He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between
the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They
agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of
course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar
was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the
entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between
the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to
recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the
important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends
and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they
remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and
your car.

The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room
for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all
your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the
things that are important to you.

‘Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend
time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with
grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to
dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and
fix the disposal. Take care of the golf ball first—the things that really
matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.
The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows
you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a
couple of Beers with a friend.’

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….

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….

4 Simple Steps to Secure an Informational Meeting April 17, 2014

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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Recently I wrote about why informational meetings are vital to your job search and why you should be trying to arrange as many of these each week as you can manage.  A good goal being 8-10 a week.

This week I’d like to share my very simple 4 step process to securing an informational meeting.  So without further delay here they are.

My method:

  1. Email explaining who, what, when, where, why and asking for the meeting. I include a day in which I plan to follow-up via phone so they are expecting my call.
  2. Phone call on the date referenced in the email.  This call should reinforce the content of the email and ask for a convenient time and place to meet, reminding them this is not an interview or a request for a job.
  3. Meet and talk, ask how YOU can help THEM. Obtain additional referrals.
  4. Email a thank you note, that same day or no more than 24hrs later.

There you have it, no magic, just four simple steps.

Until next week….

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….

Create a Schedule and Stick to It June 6, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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I like order in my life, I don’t deal well with chaos.  I prefer to have an agenda, schedule, itinerary, task list, however you describe it.  I like to be in control of the current situation and know what needs to be done over the next hour, day or week.  Go ahead, call me anal-retentive or OCD and I’ll agree with you but hey it helps me sleep at night. 😉

In your job search you too should have some sort of schedule or regular cadence to your search efforts.  As much as possible you should have a regular follow-up schedule with people you are trying to meet with and those you’ve met with. (See last weeks post on follow-up).  I’d also suggest you confine certain activities to specific days of the week.  It’s too easy to get wrapped up doing “internet research” and before you know it you have wasted 2-4 hours of the day which otherwise could have yielded another one-on-one meeting or maybe even an invitation to interview with that company you have been targeting.

The challenge of course is having the discipline to stay the course and focus on that end goal of finding your next opportunity.  The idea is to minimize the distractions which disrupt your schedule and consequently your focus.  Here is a sample schedule for you to consider, adjust it as necessary in order to make it work for you.

Monday-Thursday

  • Check email
  • Update LinkedIn Status
  • Prepare for morning one-on-one meeting
  • Arrange additional one-on-one meetings
  • Prepare for afternoon one-on-one meeting
  • Arrange additional one-on-one meetings
  • Write thank you notes to those you met with
  • Plan next days activities
  • Check email

Friday

  • Check any relevant job boards or bookmarked corporate sites
  • Follow up with recruiters
  • Tweak resume or marketing plan/networking profile as needed based upon feedback received
  • Clean up any loose ends – phone calls, emails, things you promised to deliver but have not done yet
  • Plan for the next week
  • Breathe-Relax-handle the other things in your life do something fun

Until next week….

Follow Up – Vital to Your Success May 30, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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It does not matter whether you are looking for a job or a customer.  It does not matter whether you are responding to an inquiry or waiting for a response.  Proactive, consistent and timely follow up is a must.

I’m always amazed how long it takes some companies/people to reply when I call for information on their product or service or to request a quote. I’ve reached out to you now it’s your chance to “wow” me with a swift reply with the information I requested, this is an all important first impression in my eyes.  If I don’t hear back from you there is a 95% chance I won’t call back requesting the same information, apparently I don’t matter or you are too busy.

The same general idea holds true for the job search.  You send an email or leave a voice mail requesting help, information or a face-to-face meeting.  Perhaps your contact does not respond within a few days. (Remember it’s harder for those working to reply quickly, you on the other hand if looking for your next gig have no excuse.)  What do you do?  do you forget about it or do you give it another try or 2 or 3?

If you want to be successful you need to establish a regular follow up routine.  Each day you should have a list of people you need to contact.  Ideally you should track how many times you’ve tried, the dates you called/emailed and the result of that attempt.  Did you leave a message, send an email, use smoke signals?  Without a consistent follow up plan you have little hope of advancing through the job search process.

What about those you have already spoken with?  Maybe your contact said something like “the next couple of weeks are tight for me, call me back in 2 weeks and we will set something up.”  What do you do?  Do you note this on your calendar or whatever device you use to keep yourself on track or do you forget about it?  I’ve had personal experience with this and it seems more often than not people forget about it and guess what, I’m not going to call you.  You initiated the contact with me, it is your responsibility to circle back and set up a time to meet.  As I said above, without a consistent follow up plan you have little hope of advancing through the job search process.

What’s your follow up plan look like?  Do you have one?

Until next week….

Priorities February 28, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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I did not post the last couple of weeks due to a couple of things.  I missed on February 14 because I had a lunch date with my wife.  We try to meet at least once a month, usually on Fridays but since Thursday was Valentines day it was only appropriate we move it to that day.

Last week work was overwhelming.  Trying to plan for multiple trade shows one in China, one in the states along with another small one in Taiwan created a perfect storm.  I normally blog during lunch but just could not carve out the time to get it done and forget about trying to do it after work, there are too many competing priorities.

So how do these two experiences relate to the job search? Simple, it all boils down to priorities.

When you’re immersed in your job search it’s easy to lose track of the other things in your life.  True, you must dedicate the proper amount of time to your search but you should not let it consume you.

When you are planning your weekly activities such as who you are meeting with, who you need to follow-up with and who you need to initiate contact with make sure you allow time for your family, yourself and other important parts of your life.  Driving yourself too hard can not only affect your health and your relationships but it can also affect your job search.

When we push to hard sometimes we can find ourselves acting desperate.  When it comes to a job search nothing is more detrimental than desperation.  The people you meet with, speak with, even email with can sense it almost immediately, this could lead to problems securing one-on-one meetings or additional referrals – the life blood of your job search.

Keeping your priorities in focus during your job search keeps you balanced both mentally and physically while simultaneously helping you move forward each week with a clear sense of purpose and direction.

Until next week….

4-Steps to Securing an Informational Meeting January 17, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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Last week I wrote about why informational meetings are vital to your job search and why you should be trying to arrange as many of these each week as you can manage.  A good goal being 8-10 a week.

This week I’d like to share my very simple 4 step process to securing an informational meeting.  So without further delay here they are.

My method:

  1. Email explaining who, what, when, where, why and asking for the meeting. I include a day in which I plan to follow-up via phone so they are expecting my call.
  2. Phone call on the date referenced in the email.  This call should reinforce the content of the email and ask for a convenient time and place to meet, reminding them this is not an interview or a request for a job.
  3. Meet and talk, ask how YOU can help THEM. Obtain additional referrals.
  4. Email a thank you note, that same day or no more than 24hrs later.

There you have it, no magic, just four simple steps.

Until next week….