Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Keep In Motion!

In a job search, it's tempting to focus on one area - looking for jobs on web sites, for instance. Or networking to see who has a job for you.

Focus can pay off, yet you'll get a bigger payoff by being active in a number of areas.

* Keep fine-tuning your resume in light of "market response" that helps you get clearer about what you want to do and what kinds of things employers are looking for - especially key words.

* Keep building your network for informational interviews and people who may know other people. When you connect with people, assure them that you are not looking for a job, instead you want their advice and guidance.e

* Do some volunteer work. It will give you something to do, help you get out in the world with other people, and show potential employers that you are out and about. One person is being considered for a job in the health care industry because she volunteers at a hospital and thus is presumed to have a way to reach decision-makers. If you volunteer at a place where you might like to work, you usually will get at least a courtesy interview when jobs open up ad that's good practice.

* Apply for jobs that come up on websites or through contacts. Search many different websites, including and other job posting aggregators. Then find someone who works at the place, who can get your resume picked out of the pile.

* Develop a great LinkedIn profile, and build your LinkedIn network. The more people you have in your 1st degree network, the more people you can network with via 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Then begin connecting with people to tell them what you are looking for, and ask for their feedback and help. Update your LinkedIn status at least once a week, to stay visible with your network.

* Contact your references to tell them what you are looking for, and preparing them for the kind of questions an employer may ask them. Refresh their memories of you!!

* Consider doing consulting. Prepare a simple on-line brochure listing the services you provide and the impact you have produced. Take pieces of your resume as the start. Then send the simply -formatted piece to all your friends and colleagues to launch your consulting business and asking them to keep you in mind.

* Attend industry events if possible to keep current with developments and people.

* Read everything you can about your industry and send articles and references to people you've contacted - to provide them with value, and keep yourself "top of mind."

* Network with other job seekers for two reasons: find out what methods and tactics are working for them, and practice your "elevator speech" about what you want to do.

* Talk about your search and what you hope to do, with everyone. A neighbor walking their dog or gardening may be the very person to lead you to a connection who has a job for you.

* Rehearse interview answers. Anticipate difficult questions - "tell me about yourself" and "explain this gap in your resume" are two examples. Have a friend do a mock interview of you, using your resume as a guide. It's the only way to get comfortable with your answers.

There are plenty of other things to do. Some people start blogging on their industry or profession, others write a book, while others become great gardeners or cooks.

The point is to stay busy. There is never "nothing more" to do in a job search. If you are not getting the results you want, try something else!

Staying busy keeps you engaged in your search, and can keep your energy and spirits up. Plus I see that the rest of the world responds really positively to constant intentional activity. Opportunities begin to appear, nd pretty soon, you're in a job.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Inspiration for Sticking With Your Search

A rare and inspirational piece, this interview with David Horvath, the creator of Ugly Dolls offers truth about sticking with a dream, a project, a passion, anything that means something to you.

I say the truth because Horvath clearly describes exactly what it took for him to realize his dream of building a company around a product that not too many people understood at first. He has gone through the mill, been ground down, and come out finer for it. He is grounded in reality.

The truth is there is no "easy way" to be successful. Success comes from hard work and perseverance, persistence, stick-to-it-iveness, "never give up even if you need to take a short break to rejuvenate."

It doesn't matter that Horvath was building a business while you are searching for your "right fit" work. The same lessons apply, because you are engaged in a quest to do work that matters to you. His work took the form of his own business. Yours takes the form of a job. Searching for a job requires just as much perseverance as does building a business.

Discouragement and seeming dead ends abound in a job search. What are you supposed to do when you feel like nothing you do works? Take a page from Horvath and all the job seekers out there: try something else. If you can't think of anything, ask someone else and be open to their answer instead of resisting it by saying something like "I already did that!" Whatever you did was done in the context you were then in. Things are different now, even if only slightly. Most importantly, you know how NOT to do it and so perhaps can be more effective this time.

Here's an example: you contacted someone from your old job for help and got nothing but "I'll keep my eyes open." Now, go back to that person. This time, though, go back to update them on your search. Tell them how you've learned from your experiences. Let them know what exactly you are looking to do - what challenges you love to solve for a company and what impact you know you can have on a business or organization. When you're more specific, you might get more specific help.

It's worth a try, isn't it?

When all you see are dead ends, take a little break. Go to a museum. Cook something delicious. Walk in the park. Ride a bike around the block. Play with a child or cat or dog. Get out of your head! I'll bet you come back refreshed and with a new idea for how to progress.

The point is to understand that this search is worth all the effort, and that it does take continuous effort. Focus on what energizes you in the world of work, what makes you want to get up in the morning. Leave no stone unturned. And be kind to yourself in the process. Know that you will be successful in reaching your goal. When you are doing everything right - once, twice, three or more times - the question is not "if" but "when" you will land your "right fit" job.