It’s Your Last Semester, So When and Where Should You Start Looking ?

Earlier this week I received a question from a soon to be college graduate. She stated that she was going to be graduating in the coming month and was wondering if it was the right time to begin her job search?

I almost fell out of my chair.  If I knew where she was attending school, I’d seek out her advisor and give them a piece of my mind.

If you are graduating soon and you have yet to begin your job search, you need to giddy-up and start laying the groundwork. The following list will give you some helpful to do’s to get you on the right path (I recommend you begin this process at latest during your Junior year).

  1. Meet with your advisor, career counselor, or someone in the career development department if they have one.
  2. Work with them to build a resume and online LinkedIn profile (make sure you mention all of your associations, awards, interests, etc.).
  3. Reach out to your instructors, TA’s, and Alumni Association to begin networking.
  4. Join networking groups to include LinkedIn groups, Yahoo groups, groups specific to your desired industry , etc.

Back in 1984 at The University of Arizona.  I was fortunate enough to have an amazing advisor by the name of Jim Patterson.  He gave me some of the best advice I ever received. He told me to intern because it was the best way to get experience  and to network my way into the areas I wanted to start my career.

Being a Sports Broadcast Major, I was fortunate enough to intern at CBS in Tucson, Arizona for a year and the Minnesota North Stars Hockey Team.  These internships started during my junior year and continued through my college graduation.  I took the initiative to get these internships because of my college advisor.  These experiences were invaluable, as they showed me what these careers would truly be like.  I ultimately wound up in film production – (a whole other blog.)  Having an internship can ultimately lead to your first job.   What better way is there for an employer to truly interview you than to see your work ethic and talent first hand?

In the 1980’s we didn’t have the internet and social media to help with networking.  We had to do it the old fashioned way through mail and phone calls.

Now that there are more options for networking and the opportunity to educate ourselves on potential employers, the possibilities are endless as long as you make your job search a top priority.  The earlier you start, the wider you can cast your net.

Networking Should Be a You Thing, Not a Me Thing

April 26, 2010 5 comments

I had another blog all set for this week until Friday when I had a string of events happen that made this blog much more important.

Whether we think about it consciously or subconsciously, networking will always be a key to succeeding whether personally or professionally. Professionally you may be trying to meet people who may buy from you, sell to you,  hire you, or be hired by you.  Personally you might meet someone who refers a builder, babysitter, lawyer, etc.

I realized a strange thing recently about networking.  It’s not always about how it furthers my momentum and interests, but rather how it supports the networking of others.  I can give you a number of valid examples that occurred this past Friday.

Friday morning I met my friend and fellow recruiter Joe Brown prior to attending Social Media Breakfast.  On the ride there he asked about candidates I might know for a project he is working to staff.

We arrived at Social Media Breakfast (An extremely popular Social Media networking group) and prior to the start of the event we ran into Cathy Paper (A great communicator who embodies the networking approach outlined in this blog).  Cathy, in turn, invited me to a networking event at her client Morsekode, where I ran into Brian Fisher one of their client managers.  Oddly enough I’ve played hockey with him weekly for the past year and never knew what he did for a living or where he worked .  As it turns out, they have a need for strong web development talent at which point I mentioned another guy we play hockey with as a possibility (I can’t mention his name as he is currently working full-time for another company).  They will be connecting this week.

Of course, when we network, we all look for “what’s in it for me”.  However, being helpful to others will often result in long term gain for the giver as well as the recipient.

When all is said and done, everyone needs the give and take that networking provides.  In my experience, if you are a giver, you will receive. If you are a taker, you may receive initially until people figure you out and then your well will run dry.

Job Boards vs Social Media for Recruiting…Is The Quality and Result Worth The Cost???

Every day I talk to more and more of my counterparts in the recruiting business who are looking for more effective ways to recruit top talent without logging in to a job board like Monster, Career Builder, or Dice.com. When I have discussions with individuals in charge of the Job Board licenses for companies I always ask them the following questions.

1) Do you feel like you are getting the same high quality candidates from the job boards that you have in the past?

2) Do you feel like the thousands of dollars you spend each year on those job boards are worth the investment?

3) Are you using social media tools to recruit, and if so, are you finding as many quality candidates than you have with the job boards?

As we all know, job board licenses are very expensive, with a cost in the thousands of dollars per year.  On the other hand, social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are being used to creatively to find candidates and the cost is virtually nil (LinkedIn does have professional licenses that start at $24.95 per month).

The recruiters goal is to the find ideal candidate for each of their openings. In today’s economically challenging times, our clients are utilizing more and more vendors as a way to find the best candidates as well as promoting rate competition among these vendors.  This puts an even bigger emphasis on recruiting costs as well as speed to market.  In addition,  many successful and well networked candidates never post a resume on a job board.

However,  in my experience over the past 2 years, none of the candidates I’ve dealt with are without a profile on one or multiple social media sites.

Gautam Ghosh one of India’s leading bloggers and commentators on Career, Work, HR and business issues wrote an interesting blog recently about recruiting and social media.

The job boards definitely serve a purpose today and have been extremely beneficial to my success throughout my career.  However, times are changing and social media recruiting accents what our industry has always known;  relationships are the key to successful job placement.

Check out our poll: What is your best resource for recruiting candidates?

Job, Career or Passion – What are you looking for?

April 12, 2010 5 comments

There are three ways we go through our working lives; with a job, a career or doing something we are passionate about.  Each of the three offer different levels of job satisfaction and opportunity.  Review my explanations of each below and see which one more describes your working or job seeking life.  If you are interviewing like a person looking for a job, you may want to change your approach and start working on your career or figure out what you’re passionate about and find a way to make a living at it.

I had the good fortune to meet with Alan Hill, a former client I recruited for while he was  at Best Buy.  Currently, he coaches and consults on how to build on your passion to create your best future.  People like Alan are able to articulate the following concepts in a simple way that is easy to understand and more importantly, easy to get excited about.

JOB

Job pays the bills.

People looking for a j-o-b are a commodity and in this market the employers have the advantage.

Compensation – Generally the lowest paid workers and most dissatisfied

Interviewing – This group worries about having the right answers to the interview questions.

Job Search Strategy – Spray and Pray.  This strategy involves sending out a resume to every job that is even close to what’s on your resume. Any job will do.

CAREER

Career pays the bills and is part of a plan to move up in an organization or industry to the point where you are making more than enough money

People looking for the next step in their career are more desirable and harder for employers to find.

Compensation – Potentially the highest paid workers, more satisfied with their job than the first group but occasionally dissatisfaction occurs as a result of conflicting values, family vs. career

Interviewing – This group worries about finding the right fit, they tend to interview the interviewer.

Job Search Strategy – Strategic resume submission and networking.  Not any job will do.

PASSION

Passion is doing work that you would do for free because you love it!

People who are looking for ways to fulfill their passion generally know exactly what they want to do and who they want to do it for, many work for themselves.  Their job search is more about targeting companies that standout in the area they are passionate about and finding ways to network with people in those companies.  This is generally easy for them as they naturally seek out social groups related to their passion and this is where they make their next job connection long before they need it.

Compensation – This group can be both some of the highest and lowest paid workers but they are also the most satisfied workers because for them, it’s not about the money.  They follow the advice from the book titled, “Do what you love and the money will follow”.

Interviewing – This group doesn’t worry about the interview process, they know they will deliver the best presentation they can and they will be tough to beat because they know exactly why they want to work for this company doing what they love.  Passion shines.

Job Search Strategy – Socializing, networking, partnering with people on projects & consulting gigs, speaking and training whenever they can and constantly evangelizing what they do and why it’s so great.  They generally get the interview without even sending out a resume because somebody is familiar with their work or saw them speak at a conference or event.

The good news is that if you find yourself in a category you don’t like, you can work your way into different category.

Are you waking every morning excited about the career you have?  If not, let your passion take over and every day that you go to work will be a blessing, not a challenge.

Are The Most Connected on LinkedIn More Concerned With Quantity or Quality Connections ?

April 5, 2010 6 comments

For the past year I have been evaulating how some of my fellow recruiters utilize LinkedIn.  Some users believe that being an Open Networker on LinkedIn that extends and accepts all invitations is the right way to build a massive network.  Others only connect to and accept invitations that involve individuals they have some connection with.

Yesterday I read an interview in the Delta Sky Magazine with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner where he was asked about his network.  One of the questions  he was asked was, “Do you accept any requests from users on the site?”  He says,  “I have just north of 800 connections. I only accept invitations based on whether I’ve met the person, and have a trusted relationship, which I would recommend to all of our members-to make sure they are accepting invitations from members that will increase the value of their network.”

I have received countless requests from people who I’ve never met in areas of the world and/or industries that I will never be involved with.  So the question is, what value is gained by reaching out to or accepting requests from those who don’t know me or have an interest in my skills or networking with me?

About 4 months ago I was doing an in depth SAP search for one of my clients.  I have 2 people in my network who reached out to me in the last 3 years whom I did not know.  They both were working at a company I had recruited for extensively in years past, specifically for SAP requirements.  I accepted their invitations thinking that these relationships could be mutually beneficial.  Since then I have attempted to contact them on no less than 6 occasions in the 3 years we’ve been connected, with no response.  These 2 individuals are Open Networkers with at least 3000 people in their 1st line network.

So the question is, are these people really interested in networking or just gathering connections?  One example of someone who seems to be genuinely invested in networking  was mentioned in the article ” Top 25 Most Connected Recruiters on Linked” by Glen Cathey.  If you look at #24 on the list, you will see Joseph Brown.  He has 14,000 connections and has always been open to connecting me with people in his network.  Although I must tell you, in my experience he is a rarity.

If you have 1000’s of connections and don’t know most of them, why give them the impression you are interested in networking with them if you have no intention to do so.

So, before you accept or a LinkedIn request, remember the advice of LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.  Accept invitations that will increase the value of your network.


With a High Level of Unemployment, Are The Employed Reaching Out To Help The Jobless???

The US Department of Labor released its latest statistics to show a current unemployment rate of 10.4% (The percent of the labor force that is unemployed).

Just for a moment, close your eyes and think about how your life would be affected without your current job.

As we all know, companies began to feel the pain of our economic downturn in 2008.  As a result, the massive  layoffs began and continued throughout 2009 and it put many members of our workforce in the unemployment line.  I have met a number of individuals who have been unemployed since late 2008/early 2009 who are incredibly talented professionals.   Many of them are in need of help from those who are employed. I’m not talking about money,  I’m talking about time, expertise, and networking.

My areas of expertise are in recruiting, networking and the effective use of Social Networking.  I have been able to meet with a number of very talented unemployed professionals recently to help them understand ways to network that they were unaware of.

Recently, one of those people I met with was a Marketing professional who has been unemployed for a little under 18 months.  In the span of 45 minutes we discussed his goals and expanded his knowledge of LinkedIn by showing him ways to utilize the tools he was unaware of.  This made him aware of how to get in contact with people at some of his target companies.  It was very gratifying to see  how excited he was about the new ways  he could network.   I can’t wait to hear from him when he lands his next job.

For those of you who have been fortunate  enough to have a job throughout this recent economic downturn,  take a moment to think about those less fortunate than you and help them.  Like I said, not through money, rather through time, expertise, and networking.  I have heard every excuse as to why people don’t lend their resources to help out the displaced workforce.  Most of us are very busy with work, family, and other commitments but that doesn’t mean we can’t spare an hour or two here and there.  Trust me, there is no better feeling than to help someone in need, especially in an area of expertise that comes second nature to us.

So the next time you have an opportunity to help someone in need, Just Do It,  you’ll be glad you did.

Will Your Social Media Activity Affect Your Ability To Land Your Next Job Or…

Will Your Social Media Activity Affect Your Ability To Land Your Next Job Or Keep Your Current One???

Good, bad, or indifferent, Social Media is here to stay.  For many of us in the areas of Recruiting and Human Resources, Social Media can be a blessing and a curse for our candidates, employees, and friends.

Every day we learn more and more about how to search Social Media more efficiently and effectively.  Most of us in the recruiting world use it to find qualified candidates or to network.  However,  more and more it is being used by hiring managers, current managers, and those who decide whether we get promoted, demoted, laid-off, or dismissed to credit or discredit us.

In a poll conducted by Career Builder in January of this year they reported, “CareerBuilder also revealed that every 2 in about 5 employers did admit that they found some content on a prospective employee’s social network profile that discouraged them to actually employ them.”

A couple of months ago I had lunch with an HR Manager who had to dismiss an employee due to poor Social Media decisions.  This employee was informed that their department was being downsized in the coming month or so and most of the jobs were being rehired out of town.  This employee proceeded to post that information on a Social Media site; grateful that their job was safe unlike the rest of the people in their department.  As you can imagine, this caused an HR nightmare.  The about- to-be-downsized,  less fortunate employees began to cause quite a stir.  Many of them were vital to the upcoming transition and they started to jump ship and cause drama knowing they were not in the future plans of the company.  Needless to say, the employee that leaked the information was dismissed due to violation of the company Social Media policy and as a result, the company needed to replace that role and train a new employee in a key position.   Thich ultimately cost them financially and affected the productivity of the department and company.

Another more positive occurrence where Social Media had an effect on the hiring process occurred when I received a call from a hiring manager I did not know.  They were referred to me by someone I knew,  who was acquainted with a candidate they were considering.  I was not given as a reference for that person, but rather as someone who knew them from a character standpoint.  They saw that I was connected first level to them on LinkedIn and in turn they used it to reach out to me.  The questions they asked had nothing to do with business, rather my assessment of the kindness of this individual.  In this case, I knew this person through their involvement in volunteer work and other opportunities to give back to the community which I briefly shared.  This person did get the job they were interviewing for and this was one time Social Media payed off for a candidate.

The last example came through on our Twitter account in the past.  I will preface this tweet example by saying that these the words of someone else. These are words I find offensive, regardless of who uses them.

“Find me a job EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE.”  (The expletives are incredibly offensive)

These words actually came from someone wanting my help finding a job.  Also, this is someone I’ve never met who must not understand that this information can be accessed by anyone who knows how to do a tweet search.

So remember, the next time you or your employees post an update, a picture, a tweet,  etc. on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, or the many other sites. It is something you can never erase once it’s posted (even if you go out and delete it).

Are you prepared for the findings of perspective employers, clients, and friends?