Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Getting a Job Offer

An interesting phenomenon occurred with two clients over the past 2 weeks: both got job offers they were not ecstatic about.

One decided to take the position, with trepidation. The other is still deciding.

Huh??? In this economy, after searching for about a year, they aren’t ecstatic about getting a job? What’s up with that?

In the first case, the hesitation has to do with the company culture. She wonders if she will fit in and whether the company will truly accept her. On the face of it, this is her dream job: exactly the kind of work she wants to do, the role she wants to play (at a higher level than ever before!), the money she wants, the location she wants (local), and the kind of company she wanted to work for. Plus the company, in meeting all her requests, has shown great enthusiasm for her, her skills and abilities, and her Core Value Proposition.

Yet she hesitated to accept the job. It’s a company based in another country with a culture based in that country’s culture. It’s different from US-based companies, and she’s nervous about whether there will be a true fit.

It turns out that “culture and colleagues” is an extremely high priority on her Must Have List. So high, in fact, that it almost outweighed the other 5 items on her List.

She decided to take the job because it does meet so much of her Must Have List…and she needs a job and the income it provides. She can’t wait any longer. So she’s decided to give it a go, trusting that she’ll be able to cope. Oh, and she’s going to continue getting coaching to help her make the transition to a new culture. Yes, asking for help is definitely a coping mechanism.

My other client was offered a job that also meets virtually all of her Must Have List, with one major exception: location. She and her family will have to relocate from one coast to another. It’s almost a deal breaker for her.

The lesson of these two stories is that a Must Have List is an essential guide to what you want in a job, and one of the items almost always outweighs everything else. In a perfect world, you’d get everything you want. This isn’t a perfect world, though, so people are having to make some very hard choices. Including giving up something that they now realize mattered more than they expected.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Law of Attraction and Job Search

Most people have heard of the Law of Attraction, made famous by the book The Secret. I was fascinated to learn that there is such a "Law" because it's exactly what I've advocated for years: be specific about exactly what constitutes your "right fit" work and job.

Here's where the Law of Attraction comes in. When you can picture the job, you send a message to the universe that you’re open to this exact opportunity -- and that allows the Law of Attraction to start working. You attract the exact vibration job that you’ve envisioned.

What this means is that you are starting your job search with what you want -- your goal. With a goal, you can create a plan to reach it. This is starting with the end in mind. Specificity really helps in job search. When you know the specific kind of job you want,

* you know what to look for on job sites
* it’s easy to explain why certain jobs are the right ones for you
* people will quickly understand how to help you when you network
* you’ll immediately recognize job opportunities when they appear

And job opportunities will appear. There’s a very interesting alchemy that happens when you get specific. To paraphrase a quote attributed to Goethe, “when you fully commit to something, the universe steps in to support you.”

Once my clients know exactly what they want to do -- by developing their “Must Have List” of things they must have for a job to be the right fit for them -- it seems almost magical how opportunities begin to appear that are aligned with your goal. The Law of Attraction does work in job search.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Expand your Job Search Network

A very simple way to expand your job search network is to use LinkedIn. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, get one fast!

The kind of resume I help people develop is LinkedIn-friendly. Your resume Profile turns into your LinkedIn Summary, your Core Capabilities turn into your Specialties, and your jobs easily fit into the LinkedIn space. Education comes after Experience in both places. I'll write more about an ideal LinkedIn profile, but back to the topic of networking now!

Once you have a good LinkedIn profile, it's time to connect with people. You want to connect with

* former colleagues
* current colleagues (if you're working)
* people at your house of worship
* other volunteers (if you volunteer)
* neighbors
* friends
* college classmates
* high school classmates
* your professional service providers (doctor, lawyer, accountant)
* your kid's friends' parents

Basically, you want as broad a network as possible. The idea is to have as many "First Degree Connections" as you can get for a couple of reasons.

1) More people will see your profile and updates, and have you in their mind. That makes it much easier for you when you contact them for help with your job search. You will be "top of mind" because they see you making changes to your profile, adding connections, making updates.

2) You have a much larger extended network. All those first degree connections have their own networks, and their networks have their own networks. You have access to these second and third degree connections. So the more first degree connections you have, the wider the reach you have for introductions to people with a 2nd or 3rd degree connection. Chances are that there is at least one person one or two degrees away from you who works at a company you have targeted.

You can find people to add to your connections by following these simple steps.

** To use your e-mail address to find people, go to your main page and click on "Contacts" and "Import Contacts."

** It will prompt you to enter a password if you need it, and then you hit enter and LinkedIn comes up with a huge list of people.

** Those who are on LinkedIn will have a little blue icon with "in" on it, indicating that they are on LinkedIn.

** The default is to check every box, so click on "select all" to UNselect all.

** You will then sort through to see who you want to add to your network. Click on the box next to those you choose.

** The box on the right will list all those to whom you want to send invitations. Click on "send" and the invites will be on their way.

Once you have connections, you can ask for recommendations. To have a complete profile, LinkedIn wants you have at least 3 recommendations. And recommendations are used more and more for "soft reference checks."

You can ask for recommendations on the site itself from people in your network. That's a topic for another day, and a VERY important one.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How to Answer "What Are You Looking For?"

When you network, you will be asked "so what do you want to do?" Here's a simple formula for answering it in a sentence or two.

Write an "intention statement" that describes those skills and talents you love to use, the challenges you love to solve, and the value you can deliver to an employer in your field in such and such a role.

Write it down and then practice saying it - editing and practicing until it comes really naturally to you. Ask a professional friend can give you feedback on this "intention statement." Do they know what you want to do? Do they understand the kind of value you can provide? Do they have any ideas of where you could look, who you could talk to, the kinds of jobs you could seek? If not, refine it even more.

This format is used very effectively by MANY clients, because it starts with you, travels to the employer and then focuses on some specific types of roles that will spark people's brains to think of positions they may have heard of.