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Holiday Job Search Tips

snowmanMany people ask if they can actually find a job during the holidays.  My answer is always Y-E-S!  I always think any time and any situation is good for job searching…but especially during the holidays.  One of the main reasons why job searching during the holidays is effective is because it tends to be a more “social” time.  There are holiday parties, get-togethers, family events and dinners, as well as gift giving.  All those are social events that allow for unique types of engagements.  Those engagements are technically networking events.

Holiday Job Search Tip #1:  Accept invitations to all parties.  No matter if you like the people or not, a party is a great time to meet new people.  Job leads are found many times from casual acquaintances.  Meeting new people at parties is a great way to get to know new people.  If you are uncomfortable introducing yourself at parties, find the person/people who are trying not to talk to anyone and say hi…talk about the weather and get a conversation going.  They are probably more nervous than you are.

Holiday Job Search Tip #2:  Invite others to your house…have your own parties.  Don’t wait for people to invite you.  Invite them.  And don’t try to match your friends together for the perfect night.  Invite a whole range of people over and encourage them to invite someone else.  Have someone help you out at the party so you are not hiding behind all you have to do but enjoying meeting everyone.

Holiday Job Search Tip #3:  Realize companies need to fill open positions for the new year.  Many companies are thinking about the new year during the holidays.  Hiring managers are wondering if or when they will receive approval to make a hire on their team.  Sometimes they get the approval just before the new year.  The holidays might slow down the communications around a new hire but the need is still there.  Be patient with the process but don’t count yourself out of any opportunity.

These are just a few holiday job search tips to keep in mind during this season.  Get out there and meet more new people.  There are also plenty of ways you can volunteer and meet new people.  Getting out there means helping others and them helping you.

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Top 10 Tips On How To Find A Job 2012

Ok…here is my best shot at the most important tips on how to find a job in 2012:

1. Know Thyself – understand what you are looking for in your next job BEFORE you start searching.  You don’t have to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life.  Pick one direction, plan it out and stick with it.

2. Don’t get bogged down by social media stuff – I hear a lot of buzz around should I use Twitter or Facebook to find a job?  What is LinkedIn and how can I find a job with it?  If you don’t understand these tools don’t waste your time on them until you do.  Don’t let them be a distraction to your job search thinking they are the “magic bullet”.  They can help but they are not for everyone.  A successful job search means you connect with hiring managers and they want you.  Social media tools can help these interactions get started but I have also seen people spend so much time trying to make it work for them they miss great opportunities.  Don’t go down this “rabbit hole” if you get easily distracted.

3. Be genuine.  Be yourself – whether you are meeting someone to help you with your job search or a potential employer, don’t oversell yourself and your accomplishments.  You are who you are.  We like you as you are.  Don’t be someone or something you are not.  You have gifts and talents just like everyone else and you deserve what you are looking for.  Focus your efforts on who you are not who you want others to think you are.

4. Be a dream seeker - it is ok to be looking for the dream job or the right situation for your next job.  Dreaming and seeing those dreams become reality is such a wonderful experience, everyone should be striving for it.  I am a big proponent of you trying to find an opportunity that is over your head or out of your comfort zone.  “Stretch jobs” can be one of the most exciting times in your working life.  There are so many companies and so many types of hiring manager.  Look for the ones who believe in your and willing to give you a shot at your dream.  They are out there.  You just need to find one.

5. Your attitude is everything – I can’t tell you how important your attitude is.  Be happy, optimistic and positive no matter what is going on around you.  It will seep into your conversations and make your presentations most fruitful.  A bad attitude will do the same but sour your chances.

6. Don’t be too proud – being too proud is actually a form of fear.  Pride forces you to not let others into your life.  Pride puts up walls that might not be able to be seen by the other person but are felt at a deeper level.  Try “humbleness” on for size and see how it feels.  It is actually very comfortable and opens more doors.

7. Don’t give “canned” ANYTHING – no canned responses, no canned resumes, no canned cover letters, and no canned tuna (jk on the tuna).  If you look or act or sound like everyone else you are going to be perceived to be like everyone else…B-O-R-I-N-G.  Don’t be boring.  Instead be bold in order to stand out in someone’s mind.  Don’t be cocky but be bold and look for ways to make an impression.

8. The details will kill you – if you have never heard the old saying about the “devil in the details” you might want to think about this one.  Spending your time on making sure your resume doesn’t have errors or your “elevator pitch” sounds comfortable or whatever you are doing is done well, is very important.  Employers don’t want people who can churn out calls or data, they want people who take pride in their work (and maybe churn out the calls and data).  Make sure you are taking the necessary time to proof your work.

9. Slow down – if you are always feeling like you are rushing to get that resume to that lady or hurry up and push out that blog post or trying to hurry through coffee with a friend because your “schedule” is waiting, then slow down.  Slowing down allows you to focus on one project at a time and pour your whole self into it.  That means being a little flexible with your schedule and not putting so many deadlines on your time.  Have a plan but give it room to breath and take shape.

10. Have fun – now this one can be taken the wrong way if I am not careful.  I don’t want you to think of your job search as a party, necessarily.  I do want you to be excited about what direction your next job is going to take you in.  Thinking about the excitement for what is next in your working life can really get you pumped up.  Finding a job is no easy task most of the time, you might as well try to find ways to make it fun.  Adding a little fun to the work can make the work not seem so difficult.

I love the 10 tips here and hope you do too.

Let’s Get Started!


What Do You Need?

It is a new year for you and me.  I have been writing this blog for over four years now.  I just realized one very important thing.  I have never asked you what you need.  I have never asked you to let me know what interests you right now, where you are.

So this is not really a post but more of a question to find out what is the one thing you need right now in your job search?  Now maybe your first answer is:  “A job” which is a good one.  I think that one is obvious…hopefully.  Dig just a little deeper and tell me what you need right now in your job or your job search.  If you need help with your search, what specific help do you need?  If you need support in your search, what specific type of support do you need?  What one thing is dragging you down where you can’t figure out what to do next?

Think about it and let me know.  All job seekers are welcome.  You can comment here or send an email to me at:  jeffonjobs at gmail dot com.  I will respond (or not if you prefer) to each message I receive.  I want to hear from you.

Let’s Get Started!

End of Year Job Search

ANYTIME is a good time to job search especially at the end of the year…ESPECIALLY around holidays….parties….get togethers…presents…volunteering…etc.

Of course things do slow down during the holidays including hiring.  That doesn’t mean there is no one hiring it just means the entire machine slows down.  That can mean good or even bad.  Let’s unwrap both.

The Good:

1. A slow down means both job seekers slow down and hiring slows down.  That also means there might be less competition for those open slots you find online.  If you are using online sources, this should be music to your ears.

2. Hiring managers are less bombarded by calls and emails about potential job openings.  That means you can probably get through for requesting an informational interview or to inquire about opportunities they might have opening in January.  Make the calls today.

3. January and February are very strong hiring months and this is the perfect time to get your name out there.  Contacting employers to get into their “tickler file” is an excellent idea.  The tickler file is one they use to save resumes and contacts for a future hiring need.

4. Parties, get-togethers and volunteering activities increase during this time of year.  It is a perfect time to get out into the community and with friends to explore if they know anyone in the field you are looking into.  Remember that ANYONE is a potential lead to finding a new job even people who are not in the industry you are looking at.  Anyone and everyone is a “target” for your conversation.  So go hit if off with people and see what you can help them with and what they can help you with.

The Bad:

1. Slow down…this is the only negative I can think of.  There is a slow down in the volume but always remember hiring managers are ALWAYS in search for good people.  That is one of their primary jobs so even though there is a slow down, it doesn’t mean you are out of the race.  Go find a race that is alive and well.

Getting hired means finding an edge in your job search activities.  This is the edge you might be looking for.  An end-of-year job search is perfect timing.

Let’s Get Started!

Expose Yourself

A job search is very competitive isn’t it?  You apply for a position you are clearly qualified for and they hire someone else who is probably more overqualified.  You send your resume to a posting and later hear they had over 250 resumes sent.  Now that is competition…1 out of 250.  That’s tough.

So how do you get noticed?  I think you should EXPOSE yourself.  Now I don’t mean buy a long trench coat, remove your skibbies (like the guy here) and go to a company you want to work for with a funny grin on your face.  What I mean by exposing yourself is to do something most job seekers won’t do.  If you can confront and overcome your anxiety to connecting with the right people at the right time, you will find what you are looking for.

Confronting and overcoming anxiety is the challenge.  If you can put yourself in situations where you have to ask for help or “sell yourself” this is what I mean by exposing yourself.  Exposing yourself to probable failure and embarrassment is what is at stake.  Failure and embarrassment are what keep most people in line.  It is what keeps them from doing and being great.  Our own insecurities keep us back from really reaching deep within ourselves to pull out what makes us tick.

One way to overcome this fear and anxiety of failure and embarrassment is to go out and do something that will embarrass yourself.  Do it intentionally and see what it feels like.  Maybe it won’t really feel as bad as you think it was going to.  Maybe you might even get a rush from it.  Doing the things that make us feel nervous, anxious or embarrassed might be the one way to get it out of our systems in a healthy way.

Go do something embarrassing today and then go find a new way to job search.  It will make all the difference in the world.

Let’s Get Started!


Where The Jobs ARE

Job opportunities are everywhere.  Literally they are coming out of every nook and cranny of most businesses and organizations out there.  Now obviously not every business is on the success track.  Some industries may be moving off shore or starting to lose their footing.  Not every company or business is looking to hire people at any given moment.  But what remains constant is potential job openings are in the minds of hiring managers right now.

Yes, jobs are currently in the minds of hiring managers; right now.  Most managers are always keeping an eye out for new people to add to their teams, especially if they have high or even moderate turnover.  One of the most important functions of any manager who is in a position to hire people, is finding people they can trust who will do the job they need done without many issues.

So, the problem is not that there are not enough jobs out there.  The problem is how do you tap into the reserve of jobs out in the marketplace before the other guy (or gal) gets to them.  Before we describe the competitive environment out there let’s first explore where the jobs are:

–         In the mind of hiring managers or company leadership.

–         Waiting for approval.

–         Part of a new company or departmental initiative.

–         Part of an expansion plan.

–         As a temporary assignment to see if a new program will work.

–         Part of a hiring program but just cannot find the right person.

These six examples describe where jobs opportunities abound.  Finding a new job is not just about what is published but what is unpublished.  Unpublished jobs have greater potential to be just for you and what you are looking for.  Unpublished jobs are what you should be looking for all the time.  They are not easy to find.  They are easy to uncover.  That is for another post.

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Job Search Tips – New Clothes Principle

Experimenting and trying out new things in your life is very important.  Probably the first thing that comes to mind is what you might have done as a child or teenager with various “no no’s”and  rules from your parents.  This is not the type of experimenting we are talking about but it does uncover a natural tendency you should have to explore your options in life.  Exploring options and experimenting with exploring your talents is one of the secret ingredients to a fantastic career.  A fantastic career has ups and downs, high and lows, excitement, mystery, intrigue and calculations.  An easy way to compare this idea is to use a principle called “The New Clothes Principle”.  So when you go to buy new clothes what do you do?  You physically go into a store, find your specific department, find your size (or the general area), try on the clothes to see if they fit, look in the mirror, decide if you like how you look AND FEEL, and then make a buying decision.  Sometimes you might fuss about the price or how it feels where other times you love it when you see it.  Do you shop at stores you cannot afford?  Some people go to thrift stores while others would not entertain the thought.

In using this shopping experience as a way to uncover the right career for you, look at a few elements:

–         You have to physically go in

–         You have to find your department

–         You have to find your size

–         You try it on

–         You decide if it “fits you”

–         You think about how you feel

–         You decide if it is right for you

So why do you buy new clothes?  Are your old ones worn out?  Do you hold on to your worn out clothes because you have had them for so long?  So the new clothes principle simply stated is:  Get Rid Of The Old And Bring In The New.  In order to do that with your career you need to try on a new job function, see if it fits, see how you feel doing it, look in the mirror and make a decision if you want to continue doing it.

This comparison to clothes, can really help put your mind at ease during your career when you think you are either spinning your wheels or not sure where you are going.  You are probably knee-deep in this experimental state of trying on a new job to see if it fits.  When it doesn’t, you have to make a decision to move on and find another job.  Trying on new jobs often in your career can do two things:

1. It can help you find new options for your skills and your experience.

2. It can help you decide if you truly like what you are doing but maybe you are at the wrong place.

Sometimes the job you are doing is perfect for you but your situation (boss, company, hours, pay, etc) is not.  Finding a new situation doing what you enjoy doing is easy.  Finding a new career
because the one you are in now has gotten worn out, that is a little more challenging and takes more time.

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Career Training Program

Who are You?  What do you want to be when You grow up?  This never-ending question can be tough to answer the same way all the time.  It may change up or down, forwards or backwards depending on what you are doing and what stage of life you are in.  Past decisions can greatly impact your future.  Every decision you make at every stage is important and requires careful thought. Every working person has a goal in mind.  Maybe the goal is money.  Maybe the goal is being in charge.  Maybe the goal is more about finding your place in the world.  Your goals might encompass all the above and more.  Whatever they are they should be broken into two categories:

1. Short term goals – immediate need.

2. Long term goals – direction you are going.

Let’s start with the long-term goals because they are many times where your heart is guiding you.  Using words like dream or mission helps to describe these best.  These goals are where you are heading; your “destination”.  Your destination can change course and often it might.  But if it does, then you have to rethink your short-term goals to make sure they are keeping you on the path towards your destination.  Many people decide to take a job in the short-term without ever thinking about their long-term goals.  Then when the new job doesn’t pan out as well as they wanted, they either adjust their long-term goals or go off job searching again.

Short term goals are much more immediate and where the pain is.  If you have lost your job then you understand your need to provide an income as soon as possible.  Most people don’t have financial back up plans which is a mistake.  Short term hiccups happen all the time and everyone should have an emergency plan to address them.  If you don’t plan for an emergency, you derail your long-term efforts tremendously.  The purse strings will bind you and having a financial plan in place with cut them and give you room to breathe when a downturn happens; it will happen.  Debt free is the way to go and this is the best place to go:

Decisions on what to do in the short-term should never be made when you are feeling lots of pressure or fear.  A temporary job to fill a gap for financial reasons is sometimes required.  Just remember this temporary job is just temporary and you will get back on your path.  You will have to work extra hard to find what you are looking for and you will.

Short-term job goals should be in line with your long-term plan.  For instance, if someday you want to own your own business such as a bakery, you need to think about what skills or experience you need to get that bakery off the ground.  Let’s run through short-term plan for a long-term goal of opening up a bakery.  Remember not all things run this smoothly but it is an example of how to use short-term jobs to help you achieve your long-term goal.

Amy wants to open a bakery in the next three to five years.  She is a go-getter and loves to bake.  She has never had a retail outlet or had to sell her products or services so she is not sure if she is equipped to handle the entire bakery business.  She is thinking she wants to start out with one bakery and then if things go well she will open multiple store and hire people to do the work she doesn’t want to.

She is in her thirties and has had a few good jobs throughout her career so far.  She started out as an administrative person, moved to customer support and eventually started managing a group of creative people at a design house.  Her love is still baking and she wants to start working towards her own bakery. She has decided this after talking with her best friend’s mother who is a great encouragement to her.  Her first task is to write down the top two or three things she thinks she needs to learn more about in order to be successful with running a bakery.  She figures she needs help with the accounting part of a business (finances), a good idea of what it is like running a bakery (operations) and some experience understanding the challenges of marketing a product to consumers (marketing/sales).

Her current job managing the creative team at the design house has helped her understand how putting together great marketing pieces can be effective.  What she hasn’t worked on was how businesses sell to consumers.  She cannot probably use her current situation to help get that experience.  She likes her job but doesn’t want to be there forever.  Her job has a little flexibility and she asks if she can come in late a few days a week so she can take a few accounting classes in the morning.  Her boss says no so she decides to take the classes at night.

While she is taking the accounting classes, she has also decided to try to find a bakery or a similar operation she could work at on the weekends to gain some experience within a small retail store.  She finds a local flower shop that needs some help on Saturdays and Sundays.  It is not a bakery but it should help her better understand both operations and sales.

Amy is going to be busy for the next six months or a year but the experience and training she will receive will be priceless.  She will start her training to be a successful bakery shop owner.  Maybe this
experience will solidify her desire to own a bakery or maybe her long-term goal will change.  We don’t know until we try new things out if we are going to like them or not.  Everyone is in a job, training for something.  Is your job training your for what you want or what other people need?

Get on a training program and Let’s Get Started!


Job Search Tips

Here is a part of a program I give on Job Searching Tips:  Job searching can be a very uncomfortable activity.  It can take a very long time, require you to do things you hate doing or are scared to do and it can push you out of your comfort zone rather abruptly.  We all like to be comfortable.  It is more enjoyable to engage in activities that are easy or “normal” for us.  These statements are probably more for the introverts of the world.  At last check that was probably 70% of the world’s population.  Many people have introverted tendencies and prefer controlling their environment and not just dive in and let the river of life take them away.

Your comfort level is going to be shaken at its core from the very start of a job search.  You are just going to have to get over it.  Being this blunt is important because one of the greatest stumbling blocks in a job search is that a job seeker is not willing to do things that force them into an uncomfortable situation.  Comfort is not your friend in this situation and the sooner you realize it the quicker you
will find the right opportunity.

Many times the feeling of comfort comes from the walls you have built around you.  These walls include the people you choose to be around, the environments you choose to work in as well as many preconceived feelings you have put together from the various experiences you have had in your life.  If you dig down into your personal comfort zones and truly unravel the details you will see that a change might not be so bad.  You have changed a lot over your life but probably just cannot see it because it was subtle or out of necessity.  Most people “naturally” lean towards what appears to be easy to do but in order to conduct an effective job search you will need to change-up what activities you are doing.

So, from the bucket of job search tips one thing to keep in mind is maybe you need to start looking for ways to make a change in your life.  Start out with small things then look at bigger and bigger things until you begin to enjoy and even embrace change.  It might take a few months or even years but I can guarantee you will be better for it.  A job search is tough from the get go.  Finding new tips on how to make it less challenging is important.  This tip is a life long one and will help you as you are looking for a new job.

Let’s Get Started!


Second Career – Top Six Questions To Ask Yourself

How many careers are you supposed to have in a lifetime?  I personally think you should have at least three.  You should reinvent yourself at least three times during your career.  If you are just on your second career or looking for it now, great.  You are one-third done with your life.  How great is that?

So you are looking for a second career.  Before you decide on what the second career should be, why don’t we take a look back and see what we can learn from your first career.  Your first career probably lasted 10 or more years.  You were young when you picked it or when it picked you.  Maybe you raised a family on it or are in the middle of it now.  What can you learn from your first career mistakes and successes that will prepare you for your second career?

1. Ask yourself what you learned about they type of work you like to do.  Everyone experiences facets of your job which you like to do and others you hate doing.  List your likes and hates on two sides of a paper and see what you come up with.  Maybe with your second career we can find you something with more pieces from the like column.

2. What did you give up to go in the first career direction?  Sometimes if you can remember what path you decided to take and also remember what you gave up to take that path, it can help frame up some ideas on what you can do this second go-around.  What do you wish you tried back then?  Most of us have crossroads when we start out in a new job and decisions had to be made.  Revisit some of those dusty, old decisions and see if you can re-kindle any  old career flames.

3. What do you want to be when you grow up?  This question can be asked whether you are on your first career, second career or even your third one.  Ask it often and see how your opinion changes based on your experience to date.  You can change your mind.  You can change directions.  Your not “grown up” yet anyways.

4. What new experiences would you like to explore next?  This question opens up your mind to possible second career ideas.  Money is probably a driving force in what career you eventually decide on.  But before we cross that bridge, what have you only dreamed about doing while you were working all those years?  Do you want to explore art or design instead of accounting?  Open your mind to experience things you might not have done in the past and see where that journey takes you.

5. What situation are you looking for?  This should help shape the options you have in front of you.  Do you need to be in a particular geography with no travel.? Do you want to travel now to explore the world?  Think about your day-in-the-life and what you would like it to be.  These type of limitations can really help you hone in on a second career you can fully enjoy.

6. What skills do you need to develop before you take on a second career?  Many times a second career is a complete directional shift.  You might need to go back to school or enter into a training program to help you develop in a new direction.  Get this training while you are employed (if you can) so you can jump-start your new career options.

These six questions will help you start exploring your second career more fully.  Getting a second chance or even a third one to create the career-life you want is exciting.  Take it seriously but have some fun with the possibilities.

Let’s Get Started!