I love this post I did back in August of 2008: Job Search Tips: What I Should Have Done In The First 30 Days. Here it is:
A powerful post I wrote in 2007: Get Out Your Chicken List and Make a Call!
This was a new concept to me (not to sales professionals). Here is the content of the post:
I was at a presentation last week where the presenter (a CEO in transition) talked about his chicken list. I may have heard the term before but didn’t remember when. A chicken list is the list of names that you are scared to call – for whatever reason. Its funny to hear such a high-level executive talk about his own chicken list but it was a good reminder for me. Why? Because someone at his level may have been on my chicken list, and to hear that he has his own chicken list (aka, insecurities) helps me bring things into perspective.
Why do people end up on the chicken list? Perhaps…
- They are veterans in the industry or community, and everyone knows them and talks about how incredible they are
- You have tried to contact them a number of times but they have never responded
- Everyone else is so hot to contact them that you don’t want to be just another person trying to get in their schedule
- They are the hiring manager, or the hiring manager’s boss
- They have a ‘gatekeeper’ that seems nice but never lets you get past
I’m sure there are many more reasons. And I’m sure you can think of at least one person on your chicken list! Its easier to find other things to do (like apply to one more job on Monster.com)… but here’s my challenge to you: Call someone from your chicken list today.
If you aren’t going to do this once a day, at least do it once a week. One thing that helped me go through my chicken list was to remember that most everyone on it was one day away from being terminated… that would quickly eliminate them from the list and make them much more human!
I know you have a chicken list. Make a phone call today.
Here’s another older post I found because a spammer tried to comment on it: The Job Search Sucks.
It’s true, isn’t it?
No one wakes up and says: “You know, I’m up for a new challenge. I want to do a job search. This should be a good challenge because the economy sucks… we’ll see how this goes!”
Maybe some people do … people who are in a horrible corporate situation.
But when you are a job seeker, and discouraged, and tired of spinning your wheels and feeling like nothing is working, sometimes you need to step back and take a little break.
In the blog post from 2009 I shared some ideas (read the post to get the entire gist of it):
- step away and regroup
- focus on relationships
- fix something at your house (sometimes having a project complete, or accomplishing something, is a nice break from the mundane job search)
- plant flowers
- go back to school (I think this needs serious thought, because it means major changes to schedule, finances, etc.)
- change industries
- QUIT the job search. Sound silly? I did it. And that is what 51 Alternatives to a Real Job is all about.
Check out the post for more, as well as insightful comments from others
Fortunately spammers leave comments on really old blog posts that I have all but forgotten… and they turn my attention back to a really good post That’s how I got this post back in front of me: Job Search Tips: What I Should Have Done In The First 30 Days
This is one of my favorite posts, and a really important one. I talk about what my failed strategy included, and then what I would do now if I were to start over. In the first 30 days I would (read the post to see more explanation):
- Prepare my resume and other marketing documents,
- Find a coach or someone to hold me accountable,
- Figure out my finances and my “runway”,
- Really understand the recruiter’s role in my search (I would buy this book: How to Work with Headhunters)
- Really undersatnd the role of job boards, and not waste most of my time there,
- Network in person, even though it is hard and scary,
- Network online,
- Prepare myself mentally for a long search,
- Maintain relationships with my family,
- USE JIBBERJOBBER (of course I get to slip that one it… I’m biased, but it is still THE tool you need to use to organize it all).
In the comments there are some awesome additions. Read the entire thing here.
I wrote this June 2010 and it is unfortunately still relevant: Unemployed people suck, right? Let’s not hire them. Even if lawmakers put laws into place to penalize discrimination against unemployed people, it will still happen. Just like age, race and other discrimination happens with recruiters, hiring managers, company owners, HR, etc. Here’s the post from three years ago (there are 18 comments there… great stuff):
I must be getting grumpy in my old age, with all of this venting I’m doing! This post really ticks me off. I just wrote a post on Peter Newfield’s Career Resumes blog (I’ve been blogging there for the last many months) titled The Unemployed Will Not Be Considered. WHAT??? It comes from a Huffington Post article of a similar name… go check out Peter’s blog to see what I wrote.
This practice is archaic and out of touch with reality. Do these companies, discriminating against those who are out on the street for no good reason, really think that only looking at currently employed people is going to get them the best talent?
What a fallacy.
The companies listed in the HuffPo article include:
- An “anonymous company” that has an opening posted at The People Place recruiting board. Who made this decision, and why?
- Benchmark Electronics, who defends the policy saying they don’t want to waste their time with unqualified applicants. I get that… but that doesn’t mean you should cut out all unemployed people.
- Sony Ericsson temporarily had this statement on their job descriptions: “NO UNEMPLOYED CANDIDATES WILL BE CONSIDERED AT ALL.” Seriously, what outdated recruiting book did this come from?? At least they removed it once “it was noticed.” (oops, one mark against copy and paste).
- An unnamed restaurant in NJ, looking for an assistant restaurant manager…. must be currently employed.
- An unnamed “top 25 CPA firm” in NYC, same thing.
Judy Conti (who needs my LinkedIn DVD – just look at her Profile!) is the federal advocacy coordinator for the National Employment Law Project, and said some awesome stuff, including (read her comments in the last 2 paragraphs of the HuffPo article):
“In the current economy, where millions of people have lost their jobs through absolutely no fault of their own, I find it beyond unconscionable that any employer would not consider unemployed workers for current job openings,”
I agree.. beyond unconscionable.
I wrote this May 2009: “I Guarantee I’ll Find You A Job”
A few years ago branding and marketing experts told me I had to put some kind of guarantee or phrase in my marketing that would promise JibberJobber would help you find a job 30% faster, or get more job offers, or something like that.
It sounded really cool, of course… who wouldn’t want a guarantee to make their job search go faster, or be more successful?
Who doesn’t want a silver bullet for their job search? Please, just give me “the job search secret,” let me move on to my next job and wash my hands of this unemployment crap.
There was no way I would put any kind of promise, or allude to any such promise, in my literature. First of all, how do you back it up? Second, what about the anomalies the economy (which was quite different three years ago), and the slackers? What about people who weren’t doing a principle-based search (like mine – very not principle-based, and destined to failure)?
Perhaps the problem is my solution (JibberJobber) wasn’t priced appropriately. For $99/year, what could you expect – a job lead straight to the corner office? Not hardly.
We all know throwing money at a problem will make it go away – so what if I pay $7,500 to a firm that will find me a job? Sounds sweet, and that sounds like just the right price (comparable to an amazing vacation, an industry certification and training, a car for my kid, etc…. this is not peanuts – since it costs so much it must work).
Another expose that needs to be done is that of so-called ‘Search’ firms that charge exorbitant up-front fees (often thousands of dollars) for their services, in exchange for a guaranteed ‘dream job’. Like the Ladders, these operations traditionally prey upon high-end execs that they figure have plenty of extra cash. Now we at (his employer) are beginning to hear stories of similar operations that are target low-income workers and charge a few hundred dollars for ‘guaranteed’ results. This is even more despicable for someone who may be only a few paychecks from the street.
There’s a big difference between hiring a job search or career coach who will help you along the process, and hiring a firm who will guarantee you a great job. Can such a guarantee exist?
I can’t remember the names of any such firms right now, but I do remember hearing about some who continually change their names so you can’t find much information about them – my point is, please be careful where you put your money in a job search – and be very suspicous of guarantees or claims that seem to good to be true, even if they do look like your silver bullet to kill this problem.
I wrote this June 2009: JibberJobber is NOT your Job Search Silver Bullet
Sorry to say, folks, we can’t be the job search silver bullet.
Sure, we solve a lot of problems and frustration in the job search, but we aren’t going to find you your dream job. Or even a step job to get to the dream job. We provide solutions to problems, but we aren’t getting you the job.
Here’s a note we got from someone who deleted their account recently:
“I’ve yet to find a job through you. I’d do better sitting in front of the White House with a tin cup.”
Yeah, you know what, you probably are better off doing that… especially if you login to JibberJobber every day hoping to see a job offer pop up on your screen.
Seriously – what problems do we solve? Here are the two biggies:
Organizing your job search. I used a spreadsheet to organize my job search, and I quickly outgrew it. That means it was getting very, very messy. Columns added here, data added there… it became a hodgepodge of junk that I was spending time trying to decipher. Sound silly? Spend a few weeks in an intense job search, networking, and applying to jobs, and your spreadsheet will get confusing – quick!
Managing a job search. Another user said that JibberJobber became his virtual assistant – allowing him to focus on the important stuff while JibberJobber simply kept his stuff in the right place and reminded him of important things he needed to do (like network).
Now, many people use JibberJobber to manage their own network (like a personal relationship manager), or to manage business stuff (like a customer relationship manager)… so it’s definitely not limited to being a job search tool… it’s all about the relationships.
Back to this person’s note to us, though… if you want to switch on the computer and have a tool that delivers jobs to you, good luck. There will be hundreds of thousands of others who are sitting there waiting for the same job delivered to them. And then the race is on, to be the person who stands out in a sea of resumes.
I wrote this in January of 2009: Why I’m Uber-Frustrated (click to see the 27 comments from back then)
Like many of you, I’m getting a lot of calls and emails from people looking for help finding their next job.
Either they have been in a job search for a long time, or they are new to the job search, or they think they will be in a job search soon… it seems to be the season to be unemployed or know a dozen professionals who are unemployed.
I never went through this – at least during my own fruitless job search I was one of a handful of unemployed people, whereas now it seems to be in fashion (not by anyone’s choosing).
I’m quite frustrated. Not because of the economy, recession or influx of job seekers. I’m frustrated because I can’t tell people what they should do to land their next job. So many people will hear the advice, but really, all they want is the silver bullet.
All I wanted was the silver bullet.
Don’t give me lists of things to do… just tell me that one thing I’m not doing (or doing wrong) so I can find my next job. That’s all I wanted.
I’d like to tell people the answer is in networking. But that’s usually a long-term strategy. And long-term is not silver bullet.
I want to tell people they need to work on their personal brand and their googleability. But that’s also a long-term strategy, and won’t matter if no one is googling them.
I want to tell people to get on LinkedIn, but once you are there, there’s work to do to really use it in a job search, and it’s not a silver bullet.
I always tell people to check out JibberJobber, but it’s not for everyone. And while it can give you peace of mind in your job search as you track and manage all the data you start to collect, it isn’t going to reach out through your monitor with a job offer. And that’s what many people want.
So I’m left, with all kinds of advice, some great, some long-term, some more along the lines of career management… and people look at me with that pleading look… where’s the silver bullet?
Here’s a favorite post I wrote October 2010: The Hidden Job Market.
… is not hidden.
It is next door to you, at your neighbor’s house.
It is at the church you go to.
It is sitting across the table from you when you are chatting with your friends.
It is at Starbucks, on a cell phone.
It is on a Yahoo Group.
It is in your LinkedIn connections.
What is this elusive “hidden job market?”
It is simply a non-published, little-known collection of openings and opportunities that only company insiders know about.
They key is, how do you get to know about any of them?
Or maybe they key is this: how do you get the insiders to know about YOU, and what you want, and how you are the right person for the job?
The hidden job market is right in front of you, but you don’t know it, and because of poor personal branding and poor networking, it doesn’t find you.
You can try as hard as you want to find the job seeker silver bullet, but it all comes back to your brand and your network.
How could I have forgotten about this post? It is an amazing concept. In a nutshell, my sense of urgency as a job seeker is very different than yours as a hiring manager or recruiter.
To me, NOW means YESTERDAY! As in, “I want a job YESTERDAY!”
In a corporate setting, NOW might mean next quarter. As in, “I need to hire someone by the end of next quarter.”
Definitely a mismatch!
I blogged about this on July 27, 2006, after a job I had applied to wrote back (2 months later) and asked if I was still interested. Read the entire post here: Sense of Urgency.