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Never again say: “I lost my job.” Instead, say this:

November 25th, 2013

A few years ago I was inspired to write a post suggesting we don’t talk about or refer to “job security.”  The idea was that there is no such thing as job security… of course.  I proposed that we replace the phrase with INCOME security.  That is, I am working on securing my income, which might come from multiple sources (not a single employer), might come sporadically (when I make a sale, or through quarterly royalties, or monthly rent payments, etc.).

Doesn’t that make sense?  Shouldn’t we be working towards securing our INCOME, instead of chasing the 1900′s romantic idea of JOB security?

I thought it was brilliant, and wished I could come up with more of those ideas.

Last week I did.  I was thinking of a friend of mine who lost his job as a programmer.  My wife was concerned for him and his family (the sting of our unemployment can come right back when a loved-one starts their journey) but I told her I wasn’t worried about him at all.  As a programmer of some hot languages, I was sure his job search would be very quick and easy.  And it was.  He has since landed and really has nothing to worry about.

As I was thinking about him, and his very short journey, I was thinking about the scariness, and stigma, of being unemployed. Or, of losing your job.  Especially now, with the holidays near, where we’ll “have to” spend time with family and loved ones, and we all talk about what’s going on in our life… no one wants to be that one person who is unemployed.  The token loser.  Something must be wrong with you.  Right?  I know how it feels.  I was there, for many months.

I was thinking, what if we go away from those stigmas (and assumptions) of “I lost my job,” and shift the mindset (or, have a “paradigm shift”)?  What phrase would change the meaning and take away the sting?  I came up with this:

“My contract ended.”

Think about it… a lot of people have contracts that end.  And when the contract ends, you move on to the next contract.  It’s not a horrible surprise (contracts are meant to end, whereas in some fantasy universe we tend to think that jobs aren’t supposed to end).  Okay, sometimes the contract ends early, but not contractor believes their contracts will end when they are ready to retire.

Contractors should always prepare for the ending.  They do this with:

  • fiscal responsibility (spend less than you make, save money for the bouts between contracts, etc.)
  • filling the pipeline (networking, putting bids out, etc.)
  • marketing themselves (know how to talk about your products/services, know when to talk about them, know who you want to talk to about them, etc.)

An employed person, though, who fears losing their job, doesn’t do these things the same way a contractor does.  The employed person fears losing, the contractor prepares for the loss.

This phrase, when said out loud, changes the course of the conversation.  Instead of “oh, you poor person who must have caused too much friction at work!”, it is more of a “Oh, sorry to hear that, what’s your next contract?”

Right?

This phrase, when you INTERNALIZE it, empowers you to be more in control of your career.  You really do become the CEO of Me, Inc.  You are no longer a victim of a bad boss, of HR, of the market, etc.  You are empowered to prepare for the end of the contract.

Isn’t this awesome?

Many years ago I started working at a janitorial firm.  In the first month or so of that job we lost a $5M contract.  I went to work the next day a little nervous, wondering what kinds of cuts they might make at the corporate office.  The CFO seemed happier than usual, and I somehow remember him whistling in the hallways as he went about his duties.  Later I asked him to explain how they could lose such a big contract and still be happy, or not be overly worried.

He replied that the company had been in business for a long time, and that they had won and lost many contracts.  It was no big deal, and there would be more contracts they would win.  And in fact, they did win many more, and the company grew a lot while I was there.

That mentality is the same mentality that we, as CEO of Me, Inc., need to have.

What do you think?

 

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How to make me really, really want to help you (awesome networking tip)

November 13th, 2013

This is something I’ve blogged about and talked about quite a bit, but yesterday I got an email that reminded me of how powerful this technique is.

And when I say technique, I’m saying this is something that awesome networkers do, whether they are introverts or extroverts, whether they are power connectors or have neglected their networking for a long time.  In other words, you can do this right now, today (probably).

I got an email from a friend.  A number of weeks ago I sent an email introducing this friend to someone he should network with.  Don’t you do that – introduce two of your contacts to each other?  His reply was very simple, one line:

“Thanks for the introduction to so-and-so.  I called her and we had a really nice conversation.”

That. Was. It.

No reporting on what their conversation was, no gushing over-the-top thank you.  Just a quick confirmation that he actually acted on the introduction.

You see, when I make an introduction to people in my network I am risking.  When I hit send I secretly hope that you and the other person will connect, and maybe even get value out of your new relationship.

Many times, I’m left hoping, and never know what happens.  Because too many people don’t follow-up.  Many times I forget, so it’s no big deal.  But if I’ve introduced you to a heavyweight in my network I’m going to wonder, and perhaps worry, just a little bit.  I’m going to be hopeful, but I’m usually not going to ask if you even got my email (because you didn’t follow-up).

If you do follow-up, with a simple one-liner, like what the person emailed me above, I will be really excited, and here’s why:  I’ll know I can trust you with my introductions and contacts.

Honestly, when I got the email above my thought was this: “Who else could I introduce to this person?  He actually appreciates it, and follows-up on it!”

I wanted to work for him, right then!  I wanted to help him.  And the trust level increased significantly.

Want to make someone really want to help you?  Simply follow-up with them, especially if they have “given” you anything, whether that is an introduction, advice, or anything like that.

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Psychology of Job Hunting: The Recruiting Animal – Free all day today

November 6th, 2013

The Recruiting Animal told me this would be free all day today, as a follow-up to yesterday’s Ask The Expert call with him: The Psychology of Job Hunting

If you miss the free today download (for the Kindle… you can download a Kindle app for free on your PC), then just pay the $2.99 tomorrow.

Thanks Animal!

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Informational Interviews can be SO VERY effective

November 5th, 2013

I am a huge, huge, huge fan of informational interviews.  If you don’t believe in them I’m guessing you don’t know how to do them right (there is more than one right agenda, but there are many, many wrong ways of doing an informational interview).

Here’s a great primer on informational interviews: Why the Informational Interview Should Be Your Favorite Job-Hunting Tactic

I also made a video series, which is $50, on how to do informational interviews (click here for details).

Learn about them, do them, perfect the process, and you should get results like nothing else.

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JibberJobber Features in Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies (again)

October 30th, 2013

job-searching-with-social-media-for-dummies-bookI got the 2nd Edition of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies.  JibberJobber moved from page 34 to page 31!  Woot!

Actually, that is coincidental, not by merit.  But here is what Joshua Waldman says:

joshua_waldman_small“My friend and mentor Jason Alba started JibberJobber.com in 2006 and can claim development of the first online job-search platforms. By far, JibberJobber offers jobseekers the most comprehensive set of tools for managing relationships, job searches, and careers.”

Isn’t that cool?  I like “the first”, “By far,” “the most comprehensive”… those have a nice ring to them :)

In the first edition, Joshua listed JobKatch.com and becomed.com in the list of “tools to organize your job search.”  Those are both out of business.  Of the others that are listed in the second edition, I’m guessing that three won’t be around in a year or two.

We’ll be here, though :)

You can check out Joshua’s book here. Kindle version here.

 

 

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Two Success Tips from Aaron Pitman (millionaire before 30)

October 15th, 2013

aaron_pitmanOn Mashable you can read How I Became Rich Before 30 and How You Can Too.  I love his two tips.  Read the article for context and to hear it in his own words.  Here are his two tips:

Confess and Attack.  This is all about age (or other) discrimination! I know so many people in a job search struggle with discrimination… please read what Aaron did!  His advice is RIGHT ON!

Your socializing can determine your success.  This goes beyond “networking” and talks about who you spend your time with.  I love this:

According to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, we are the average of the five people we chose to spend the most time with. We will often emulate the people we’re closest to and, if those people are successful, your own chances of success rise in proportion.

Who are you choosing to spend your time with?  Are they they people who you want to become? If not, strategically and actively find the five people who you want to emulate and spend more time with them!

Thank you, Aaron, for sharing these two ideas.  Whether someone is an entrepreneur or job seeker, or will be either of those, they need to hear these tips from you!

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What The Best Networkers Do (by Martin Buckland)

October 2nd, 2013

I saw this post on Facebook and asked Martin if I could repost here (he said yes):

martin_buckland_networking_quote_facebook

Let’s break this down:

The best networkersMoment of truth here… are you a “best” networker?  I’m not talking about being an extrovert, or a name/number collector… are you really interesting in being a “best” networker?  Read on…

are listeners rather than talkers,

Yes, we’ve heard we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Probably because one ear and two mouths would be weird, but really, the message here is to make it NOT about you.  Listen for hints, stories, and things you can dig down on to learn more about THEM.  Listen so you can know what you might say that can have the most/best impact.

have a clear agenda,

My agenda was to GET A FREAKING JOB!  But that was a bad immediate agenda.  Know (1) why you are talking people, know (2) what you should talk about, know (3) what you want the outcome and (4) next steps to be.  If you don’t have an agenda it will be clear to people, they won’t know how to help you, and perhaps they’ll think you are wasting their time.  Have a PURPOSE!

and are not shy about asking for feedback and guidance.

It is critical that you ASK.  Asking is hard, I know, but you need to let people know how they can help you.  Asking them for something specific will allow them to help you better.  They need clarity on what you need.  The hardest part of this is knowing what you want.  The second hardest part is actually asking for the help.

Remember that networking is more about giving than it is about talking.

Yes, it is about giving… but don’t forget to get, and ask for things.  Then, because you have been listening, maybe you’ll know how or what to GIVE.  And if you don’t, then ask (in a way that is not cliche).

I love this (thank you Martin).  Are you working on being a “best” networker?

 

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Your Chicken List: CALL THEM!

September 27th, 2013

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.

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Are you letting a Monster eat your job search? Shame on you…

September 2nd, 2013

thea_kelleyThea Kelley is a career coach and resume writer.  Read this post she wrote: Job Boards: Don’t Get Eaten By Monster.

Okay, I slipped the “a” in front of Monster… but it’s true.

This was my problem and one of the reasons my job search failed.

I spent more than 1.3 % of my time on job boards, hoping.

I spent more than 13%… even more than 73% of time on job boards.

I thought I was too good to network.  You should have been able to see how amazing I was just by reading my resume.

I was wrong.

If you think you are too good for networking, you are wrong.  Read Thea’s post. And then go network.

 

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Cracking the Hidden Job Market

August 28th, 2013

Following up from my recent post about the hidden job market, I found this: 6 Ways To Crack The ‘Hidden’ Job Market

I like what Nancy Collamer says (she’s a Forbes contributor)… check out the article.  This article could be renamed to “6 Things You Should Do In Your Job Search BEFORE You Hit The Job Boards.”

How many of the six are you doing?

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