Blog entries September 2008
09/26/2008Job Search Killing You? Time for Reality Check!
Recently, a purchasing executive with an enviable record called me to announce that, after only three weeks, he no longer felt the Internet to be a viable way to connect with prospective employers. He was deeply discouraged. Having conducted his last job search in 1990, he was also profoundly uninformed. Less than a week later a normally savvy six-figure human resources director requested an opinion on her new one page resume. What were these people thinking? These are not examples of unsophisticated candidates but unenlightened job seekers easily discouraged and willing to resort to anything when they believe they are failing.
While my clients include experts and gurus in their professions, I have yet to meet anyone with a Masters in Job Search. Remember how you did in Resume 101 or on the interviewing final? I think not! After stellar performances with achievements piled high in our careers, it's nothing short of destructive to our self-esteem (egos?) when the world isn't waiting with offers at our doorsteps once we step into the job hunt arena. I have seen executives diagnosed with depression, self-imposed substance abuse and sudden marital vulnerability due to what they perceived as career disasters. With enlightenment, panic be avoided. The thing to remember most is that we all are faced with the same challenges when we job hunt. Here are some tips.Just the Two of Us -
When you see that hot opening on CareerBoard and it seems to cry out to you, remember that job search is not like E-Harmony dating. There are no soul mates in hiring. Comparing employers and candidates to the candy store analogy is far more realistic. No matter who you are or how great your accolades, employers have many candidates from which to choose. Don't be naive and don't be devastated if you don't receive an open arms invitation to interview for every opening. Today qualifying for a job is just the first step toward an invitation to interview. Now that baby boomers compete with their college educated grown kids in a recovering job market, competition is at its peak. Please remember that being perfect for the job is not an exclusive.Job Hunt Not Job Cruise -
Conducted properly job search is a grueling experience. For some reason it seems far easier to fall into the trap of accepting the wrong job and some predators, not to be confused with referrals, are in the wings sensing your panic. Be very careful, especially if you are one of those puffed-up candidates that boasts, "I've never had to look for a job before." These are the fellows that turn to Zoloft first. Very few of us float easily into a great career opportunity these days. If you are an executive requiring over $300,000 and unwilling to relocate, you may wait a long time to find the right opportunity. Then you still have to compete to garner the offer. It just may be time to consider relocation, a reduction in pay or a regular commute!
Everyone loses perspective due to the disappointments of a job search so expect it but don't accept the self doubt that inevitably sets in. Each frustrated job seeker suffers from some sort of syndrome which normally reveals that he really could doing better if only he improved his job search tools, stepped up his send-out momentum or polished his interview. If you establish a momentum and work the system thoroughly with variety and creativity you will realize results. If response to your resumes takes longer that you expected it's not because no one wants to hire you, but because, providing your resume is strong, you're among the largest talent pool in three decades. We teach accountant candidates that their job searches are falling short if their resumes are missing from even one desk of a company that employs accountants. But we also teach them to join associations, write articles and offer to speak at career day at the local high school.
Please remember that you are no less in the home office than you are in the executive suite. It's easy to look good when times are great. It's glorious to be great when times are unpredictable.
09/19/20084 Things That Will Kill Your Job Search
1. Believing you've lost your value. You might have lost your job but you haven't lost your qualifications, credentials and accomplishments. Always have your glory stories ready. Remember what made you great on the last job. You'll use it to get the next one!
2. Listening to the "experts" around you. People are negative by nature especially when times are challenging. Misery is contagious so when you hear job seeker using words such as "never" - "can't" - "unfair" - "bad" and "won't," understand that these are folks will find it more difficult to get hired.
3. Writing a resume from a template on your computer. For years I've compared this to wearing your best friend's contact lenses. Human resource departments recognize these temples because so many float across their desks/desktops. They are not impressed with your lack of individuality or creativity.
4. Lacking either intensity or sustainability in your search. Most of us thought it would be easier to find a job and at some point learned that we have to literally become job hunters. If we tire or discourage easily we don,t succeed. The job seeker who, when all others have given us, never stops looking may not even the best candidate but he will succeed.
Great hunters are not given road maps. It's a jungle out there and with courage, they find their destinations.
09/12/2008Boomers...Are You Buying Into the Myths of Maturity
Everyone knows it is against the law to discriminate against workers based on age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), states that in hiring and job performance, an employer cannot discriminate against a candidate because he/she is over the age of 40. Forty! Why on earth did the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission select an age when employees are entering their prime? I'll tell you why! Because the Act was formalized in 1967...nearly 40 years ago!
Books have been written regarding how the aging of our society has rolled back as much as ten years. Young people are leaving the nest later, people are getting married later and couples are having children later. So today when 50 just might be 40, one new fact has definitely surfaced. In such a volatile market, where employers dare not take chances and make risky hiring decisions, it is the seasoned worker that has the opportunity to offer strong assurances to nervous employers.
The secret? Don't telegraph "old!" We all know people who act old at 30 and behave like young people at 70. Therein lies the formula. When employers think of older workers they imagine folks who are hard to train, unable to use technology, offer low energy and difficult to supervise. Like most stereotypes these facts apply to some, but studies have shown that seasoned workers stay in their jobs longer, have fewer workplace injuries, take fewer sick days and are easier to train because they rely on similar past experiences to learn.
The winning combination is the candidate who has been "state of the art" for decades and sustains a "leading edge" style and mentality. How's your fashion sense? Do you stay fit? What do you read? And what do you know about the current world around you? What about your energy level?
Few people realize that the Social Security Act established the payout for retirement age at 65 because in 1935 when the Act was introduced into law, most workers didn't live to collect it. In 2008, some of our most prominent CEO's, government officials, journalists and entertainers, are in their 70's. They are the people we choose to lead our country, the folks we prefer to read and watch on television. They all have one thing in common. They continue to set trends while offering the best of their past decades.
Perhaps it is the job of the older and wiser to assure their places in the job market. If they realize and communicate their true advantage, Generation X candidates may just have a run for their money!
09/02/2008When a Candidate Lives in the Moment...He Gets Hired?
Am I the only one who watched the Presidential candidates get involved in the drama of natural disaster as Hurricane Gustav arrived? Politics aside, both John McCain and Barack Obama made it known that they were aware of the potential disaster and would be engaged in finding solutions.
I am reminded that we have 50 states equipped with two Senators each. I have yet to hear anything regarding the hurricane from Senators from Kentucky, New Jersey and Rhode Island! Senator McCain is from Arizona and Senator Obama from Illinois. No Gustav there! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand what is happening here. Each candidate is acting out the role for which he is hoping to earn a job offer. And remember they both want the same job!
They have traveled to Iraq; one gave a major speech in Germany like Presidents of the past, and they have furiously been on top of Gustav, speaking with FEMA and anyone else to make them look already do the job. I choose not to question the sincerity of these guys. Instead we can all stand to learn the lesson that anything that gives a prospective employer the ability to envision us doing a job, whether it be on a resume or in an interview puts us one step closer to the job offer. How to accomplish this? Stay tuned!