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How To Network With Networking Groups That Are Far Away

July 15th, 2008

Barry Groh has an excellent question in his comment on last week’s post Get Value Out Of Job Ministries Even When You Aren’t Religous.  In fact, all of the comments on that post were excellent… if you get this via e-mail or RSS I suggest you click over and check out those comments.  Barry’s question is:

… how to do so when you are not looking in the community where you live for any jobs? I have not searched for any groups here locally where I live because I am not planning on staying here, but I’m also too far away to be able to connect with other groups there, although I know a number of them that I would meet with if I was there.

Do you or anyone else have any suggestions?

Barry, if I were in your situation, where I was looking out of state, and I believed that network was going to play a significant role in my job search, here is what I would do:

  1. I would go to a local network group (or multiple groups) for a few reason. First, it’s a great reason to get out and practice essential networking skills, and I always learn stuff from others there.  Second, in my 30 second commercial I would mention that I want to move to Colorado (which is where Barry wants to end up).  I imagine that there would be people in the room who have some connection in Colorado, and might be able to faciliate an introduction.
  2. I would do a search on Google Groups and Yahoo! Groups for something there. It’s not easy to find that stuff, mind you, but you just might find what you are looking for.  I know Atlanta and New Jersey both have very active job seeker e-mail groups (I’ve lurked there for almost 2 years).  Here are the results I found from a simple search on Groups.Yahoo.com: http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=denver+job+search (I was pleasantly surprised by the results :))
  3. I would identify groups that I would go to if I were there, and then call up the people who put them on. Introduce myself to them, let them know what I’m looking for, and ask them if there were other group members who I should talk to.  I’m guessing that many of these people would be very helpful, and start to get you connected.  If possible, schedule a week to fly out there, and hit all the groups in person, so that you can solidify the relationships.
  4. I would try and identify major networkers in the area. Liz Ryan and Mike O’Neil are both in the Denver area, I think.  These are two major networkers, and I bet they know just about everyone you should know.  The challenge with people of this networking level is that they may be just too darn busy to help, so it might be a dead end.  But if you could give them a 30 second commercial, and specifically ask them if they “know anyone who works at A, B or C companies” or “know anyone who specializes in X profession or Y industry,” they might be able to make a quick referral or two.
  5. I’m sure you’ve already done this, but I would search on LinkedIn. Pretend you are a recruiter and search for what they would search for… try your own job title and industry, with the city (zip code), and see what you get.  These people, whether working or not, could be great network contacts, and if nothing else, if you can connect with them on LinkedIn, you’ll usually be able to search their networks and might be surprised at the amazing contacts you meet.  Doesn’t it make sense that someone who has the job you want will be connected to the people you should be connecting with?

Those are my five suggestions for networking long-distance… what are yours?

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Moving From Corporate Ruins Your Career

July 14th, 2008

Unfolding more of “my story,” I want to share part of the demise of my career path from my last company.  Sorry for any ambiguity… but I can’t tell the whole story here… know what I mean? BTW, I share this because I know some of you are thinking about a career path strategy, and wondering if you should stay at corporate or get closer to the customer, out in the field.

I had been at the corporate office for all of my career, with a few trips here and there to the field offices.  Even after the IT group that I managed spun off and merged with our software vendor, to form a subsidiary, I stayed at Corporate.  The new president, who was the owner of the software vendor we acquired, would drive about 3 hours each week to come to the corporate office and work there 4 out of 5 days.

When he got let go I became the General Manager (I was told I was too young to be the president, and all of the VPs of the parent company would be jealous… so I got the generic title that said “not quite good enough to be president”).  I stayed at the corporate office, even though most of my team was not there.  In fact, there really wasn’t anyone in the new company at Corporate with me… but I stayed anyway.

However, things changed.  Our web team headed to an industry conference, and I got an exciting report about how our new web product was accepted.  I decided it was time for me to leave the corporate office and relocate to the office where the web team was.  Not only was there a lot of excitiment there, this was my specialty, and I felt this was where I needed to be.

I was also interested in leaving the small-town where I had been for 9 years and move to a bigger city.  So I, the general manager, moved.

And that caused the eventual demise of my career with that company.

Even though the main purpose was to be closer to a major profit center (actually, two of the three profit centers) which needed my attention, it was a very poor political move.  I distanced myself from the corporate bureaucrats … which was definitely good for productivity and focus.

But it was very, very bad for politicking.

Not that I recommend you spend all your time, or most of your time, politicking.  But I learned that if there was an opportunity for someone to get facetime with an executive, they will.  And if you don’t have enough time with that executive, bad things can happen.  Rumors, misrepresentation, … whatever it may be, when you can’t represent yourself, other people represent you.

And that’s what happened to me.  And that is why I lost my job.  Because in a politic-heavy environment, I wasn’t involved in politics.  Forgive me for doing the job I was hired to do.

So, a rock and a hard place:

Rock: stay at corporate, even though it’s not the place you should be to get the job done the way it should be done.

Hard place: moving to do the job you are paid to do, but not having the ability to coddle execs and bosses who rely too much on circumstantial information, while probably suffering from information overload.

Without knowing it, I got out of balance, and didn’t spend the time to politic as I was trying to stabalize a business.

And that led to the phone call when I was terminated.

Greatest thing that happened to me, of course.

I share this because I know some of you are thinking about a career path strategy, and wondering if you should stay at corporate or get closer to the money, out in the field.

Not an easy choice, eh?  What career move have YOU made that was great for the company, but crappy for your career?

(photo props: I-heart-god.com)

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I Have Almost 1,000 Friend In My Social Network (So What??)

July 11th, 2008

check out this video from IBM on social networking:

How many contacts are in your network(s), and what does that really mean?

Networking into your next job, and nurturing relationships, is usually deeper than acccumulating contacts in any network, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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What The Heck Is Causing The Workforce Funk??

July 10th, 2008

Every once in a while there is a post so brilliant it becomes the topic of what I write about, even pushing my editorial calendar back (yeah right :p).  Such is the case with Utah Tech Jobs’ Robert Merrill’s recent post titled 4 Factors Creating Utah Workforce Funk.  From the introduction:

There’s no question something interesting is happening with Utah’s professional/technical workforce right now, and I think there are no less than four competing factors at play any business-owner should be paying very close attention to:

He goes on to suggest the four factors are:

  1. Real and Wage Inflation
  2. Intense Competition for Talent
  3. Corporate cost-cutting
  4. High Energy/Commute Costs

First, it’s clear to me that this workplace funk is NOT just a Utah thing, and not limited to professionals and/or technical folks.

Second, Robert says this is something any “business owner should [pay] very close attention to.”  And since YOU are CEO of Me, Inc., it’s obvious that YOU need to pay very close attention to these four factors.

I don’t have anything to add to Robert’s awesome post and analysis, and I hate to see you go somewhere else, but click on over to Utah Tech Jobs and check out this brilliant post… and consider what it means for YOU.

(I’ll miss you ;))

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Get Value Out Of Job Ministries Even When You Aren’t Religous

July 9th, 2008

I remember I was on a radio interview with Jim Stroud and Karen Mattonen when they asked me if I’d approached Job Ministries, to let them know about JibberJobber.  I had no idea what that was, but they were very enthusiastic about it (come to think of it, they are always enthusiastic about a lot of things :p).

My experience with church job search support was limited to what I had experienced in Utah, with the LDS “Professional Workshop,” which was a free, two-day event that was quite eye-opening.  I had also gone to a number of job search networking groups sponsored by the LDS professional employment folks, which was immensely helpful during my search.

The workshop and the networking groups were very focused on helping professionals get back into the workforce, and welcomed anyone (there was no question of your religious beliefs).

Since then I’ve experienced two other amazing “job ministry” network groups – one in Houston (Between Jobs Ministry) and one in Minneapolis.  In Houston I understand they draw about 200 people a week, mostly professionals and executives.  In Minneapolis there were about 75 people when I went to speak.  I’m always amazed at the calliber of people at the network groups, and the helpfulness that each person brings to the meeting.

If a job seekers asks me for advice in their job search, I’ll frequently ask them if they have found a local job ministry network group to attend.  In fact, you SHOULD find as many job ministry network groups as you can and go to ALL of them.

Why wouldn’t you go to a job ministy group? Are you an Atheist?  A non-believer?  A sinner?  It’s not the right religion?

None of that matters. This isn’t a place to talk about religious beliefs or differences, although you may hear that here and there.  This is a place to help get individuals back into the workforce.

I wrote a post last November titled Religion’s Role in a Job Search.  Go read that, and then search on Google for job ministries near you (or check out the Work Ministry site).  Don’t let your religious beliefs preclude you from the amazing networking opportunities out there!

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Job Board Strategies and The Top 100 Job Boards from Eric Shannon

July 8th, 2008

I remember Peter Weddle, Mr. Job Board himself, talk about an effective job board strategy at a conference.  If I remember correctly, he suggested that you get on two major job boards, two niche job boards (for your industry or profession), and at least one geographic job board (based on where you are looking).

If you count company job boards, I was on dozens of job boards.  How amazingly frustrating it was to have to have different logins, processes to create a profile, upload a resume, apply for a job, etc.  I wished there were some uniformity, but I digress :p

I agree with Peter’s advice to limit your job board strategy to just a few key job boards, as opposed to a job board frenzy, like I was on.  Here’s another strategy issue…

Consider only a percentage of jobs are found through job boards.  There is a significant (boring) debate on the percentage of jobs… 3% if you ask the networking experts, 25% if you ask the job board owners.  I don’t care what the real number is, and it will vary depending on your level, income, profession, industry, etc.  But here’s the point:  If only 3% (or 25%) of jobs are found from job boards, why do you spend more than 3% (or 25%) of your time on job boards?

I spent over 90% of my time, 60 hours a week, on job boards.  I totally neglected other methods, and had a very unbalanced job search strategy.  With job board agents, where you get e-mails when a job listing matches your criteria, it really makes it easy to spend a minimal amount of time.

With all the leftover time, you should be doing other things, not hanging out on CNN.com or wikipedia.  Go out and NETWORK.  Grow your network, nurture relationships, meet new people… get out of the house!

That’s my suggested job search strategy (first, get on a few job boards, as per Peter Weddle, next, spend a small amount of time there (set up job board search agents), next, MOVE ON to another job search strategy!).

Now, to make sense out of the 40,000-plus job boards, I turn to Eric Shannon.  You’ve heard of Monster and CareerBuilder… which are two main job boards… but where do you find the niche boards, and how do you know if they are any good?

Eric has been in the job board business for many years, and recently came out with his list of 100 Top Job Board Niches for 2008. From his post (note, each niche has it’s own list of top job boards):

First, the top 30 job board niches. These rankings represent an average of 12 months search data at Google and are influenced by seasonal considerations as well as the recession — so take this top 30 ranking loosely.

1. work at home jobs
2. marketing jobs
3. medical jobs
4. sales jobs
5. accounting jobs
6. airport jobs
7. art jobs
8. bank jobs
9. warehouse jobs
10. college jobs
11. computer jobs
12. construction jobs
13. data entry jobs
14. driver jobs
15. security jobs
16. engineering jobs
17. entry level jobs
18. environmental jobs
19. federal jobs
20. finance jobs
21. government jobs
22. healthcare jobs
23. education jobs
24. hotel jobs
25. insurance jobs
26. international jobs
27. hr jobs
28. legal jobs
29. nursing jobs
30. law enforcement jobs

Eric, great job on putting these niches together, and recognizing job boards for each niche. I know it wasn’t easy, as shown in the comments from a job board that was not listed :/

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Layoffs! Layoffs! Layoffs!

July 7th, 2008

It still amazes me how many people are losing their jobs.  It’s just the way it is, isn’t it?

I bet 99% of the people getting let go have no idea what they are going to do next… or what they are in for (how hard the job search is).

Check out this article today about 480 AirTran layoffs… HR professionals call this an RIF (reduction in force).

Check out what Liz Handlin, a JibberJobber career expert partner, is offering the 7,000 laid off American Airlines employees.

I wish some decision-makers from AirTran or American Airlines would pay for JibberJobber accounts for their people 😉

Here’s one of the scary things, for current job seekers: the market is being saturated with amazing talent.  This war for talent can get bloody, and with more professionals getting dumped into the “active job seeker” mode, it’s going to have an impact on those already in the job search.

Lucky for you and me, we aren’t affected…. right?

Yeah, right!

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What’s The Best Career Advice EVER?

July 3rd, 2008

I just read about Charlene Li’s departure from Forrester.  She has been there for a long, long, long time (by her calculations, “36 Internet years or 63 dog years”).  In her post she talked about the best career advice she ever got, and links to this post on the practically-defunct Jobster blog.  Excellent stuff.

In a nutshell: “plan for job obsolescence every 18 months

So I wondered, what’s the BEST career advice YOU ever got?  Please share!

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Explaining Transitions On Your LinkedIn Profile

July 2nd, 2008

Deb Dib, one of my career expert partners, showed me a recent change on her LinkedIn profile.  I had seen Macy’s as one of her companies before, and really had no idea how she made the change to get from a buyer at Macy’s to a career coach.  Check out the explanation now:

Two things I love:

1. She is bridging one role to another… which is something I had wondered about (just how did she get into coaching??).

2. She has her personality and her brand all over this.  You get a her brand in her summary, and she carries it through to here.  This is normally a boring “did this, did that” section, but she spices it up.

Do you have gaps on your LinkedIn profile?  If you can help people understand the transitions that are not so obvious, you’ll probably create more interest in who you are and what you bring to the table.

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Phone Networking Secrets Revealed by the Career Artisan, Mary Bradford

July 1st, 2008

career coach, resume expertMary Elizabeth Bradford, the Career Artisan, sent me a copy of her “Phone Networking Secrets Revealed.”

It’s a short ebook, only eleven pages.  But it has some excellent information on how to call someone when you are in a job search.  How to leave voice mail messages with HR or hiring managers… how to get to (or past) HR, … what to say, what not to say…

If you have a hard time with picking up the phone, you need this little ebook.  It’s only $9.97 and has a number of examples that you can use for your own job search campaign.

I love how she combines her experience as a recruiter (where she had to use the phone a lot) and her experience as a coach to come up with this little gem – excellent job Mary Elizabeth!

Oh yeah, she has a satisfaction guarantee on this $9.97 purchase:

But, if for some reason, my “Secrets to Effective Phone Networking” report doesn’t live up to your expectations, simply tell me and I’ll refund your purchase out of my own pocket. You have my word on it!

Here’s the website for Phone Networking Secrets Revealed – go check it out!

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