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Eric Shannon on Job Search Strategies and Tactics

January 5th, 2018

You probably haven’t heard of Eric Shannon. He’s a super cool guy, and really smart. He’s also been in the job board space for 20 years. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve had a few calls and emails with him over the years, and I respect everything he’s shared with me.  So now it’s my turn to share something awesome, from him, with you.

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Eric wrote a post titled Use big-ticket sales techniques to get in the game – how to land the interview you want. This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen. It’s deep, and kind of long, but it’s definitely a post I can stand behind.

As a bonus, his followup is a post on how to land the job offer. Great stuff!

 

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New Thoughts on Job Boards for 2018

January 4th, 2018

jibberjobber-thoughtsJob boards. Should you use them? Do you use them but feel guilty?

If you pay attention to career experts, they say to not waste time on job boards. But as a job seeker, this is where it feels most comfortable.  There’s a disparity somewhere… and a conflict.

I’ve been “down” on job boards sometimes, but I also recognize the value of job boards.  Here’s the real issue:

If you spend all (or most) of your time applying to jobs on job boards, you are generally wasting your time.  Or, you are investing your time in tactics that are less likely to get you closer to landing a job (that’s the more tactful way of putting it).

Why?

Any job seeker who has applied for a job knows about the great frustration of applying online. Specifically, uploading your resume, and then having to copy and paste info from the resume into a long form. This can easily take 45+ minutes per application.  If you do a few of these a day you spend more than half your day applying to jobs. This is mind-numbing, and for anyone who has been involved in process improvement, it’s frustrating.

What’s worse, the stats on job boards are not in your favor. Nick Corcodilos says that less than 3% of jobs are filled by people who apply online. So spending your time on job boards is like fishing in a hole that has little-to-no fish. Maybe that’s because so many postings aren’t real? Maybe it’s because the hiring decisions are generally made before a posting ever goes online? Maybe it’s because hiring managers like employee referrals more than random applications?

That’s the conventional wisdom: don’t use job boards (as a major part of your job search).  But again, we’re left at the conundrum!

My recent experience shows that job boards indeed have value.

As a job seeker I can get a thumb on what’s going on and who’s hiring from postings. Job boards make it easier to do “competitive intelligence” and learn about the landscape… who is hiring, what are they hiring for?

Here’s a tip that not many people talk about: the effectiveness of any job search tactics depends on many factors, including your level (executive or entry level), your location (small town or big city), your industry, etc.

Let me suggest some effective ways to use job boards:

  1. Use job boards to find leads on roles for companies you might not have heard of, or openings at companies you are interested in. This is lead generation and information gathering. This is your way to keep up on what the market looks like, what’s available, movement at companies, and even company changes/strategies.
  2. Use email alerts to avoid spending too much time searching on job boards. For my level and experience I’ve found LinkedIn to be the best, most accurate source of real postings. You might find other boards to be better. Set up email alerts so you are just checking your email daily instead of spending time in the black hole of job boards.
  3. When you find roles, study them. In my first big job search I was looking for project manager and business analyst roles, and had never heard of product manager roles (which is what I really wanted, I just didn’t know they existed). Job boards are a great place to find trending roles and things that you might not have heard about before.
  4. As you prepare for interviews (or your targeted resume, or cover letters, or even networking), print out ten postings of the title you are interested in and study them. You should find consistent words and phrases and you might fish out something unique here or there.  All of this will help you make a better communication plan. You should pick up on jargon, and trends within your role. This is one of the best ways I can think of to quickly come up to speed on things you need to know, and be able to talk, about.

And really, it’s okay to apply to jobs online. In my experience, even when networking into companies you’ll hear “apply online, and then call this person.” Applying online gets you in the system.

My advice, though, is to not spend hours everyday applying online. Apply for jobs that you are really interested in, and then network to learn about some of the “maybe” jobs.

The biggest problem with job boards is when they consume your job search time. Make sure you use job boards in a balanced way (implement other tactics, like networking!!), and use them in the right ways (as opposed to just finding openings and applying online!).

That’s my take for job boards in 2018.

 

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I Believe in Cover Letters

January 2nd, 2018

Over the years I’ve heard, and written, about cover letters. The big question is should you really spend time on them?

YES, absolutely, is my answer.

When I’ve been a hiring manager I’ve read every cover letter I got. First, I skimmed it. If the resume showed the person was competent and could do the job, then I’d go back to the cover letter to see if I could pull out more information.

Should you really take the time to write a cover letter? You have nothing to lose (it’s never bad to write one), and only good to gain (if you do it well).

With that in mind, let me point you to my friend Barb Poole’s LinkedIn article titled 7 Cover Letter Myths You Should Consider. Read each of them… not just to get sold on cover letters, but to learn how to write better cover letters!

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The Negative Income Streams

January 2nd, 2018

Yesterday I announced the 2019 theme to be “income streams.” I’ve talked about your job being one income stream, and I encourage you to create other income streams.

What we haven’t talked about is the important topic negative income streams. This feels harder for me than thinking about creating a new income stream!

I’m talking about what you are spending. Where does your money go. How much money goes to fast food. How much money goes to things that are frivolous. How much money goes to things you don’t even know about, like subscriptions that you don’t use. What can you do to decrease your negative streams?

I want to plant this seed in your mind, as you think about income streams, because decreasing negative income streams decreases your need to add more income.

I like Dave Ramsey…. you might like someone else. Think about this topic, though, and plan for it. I want you to become financially independent, and decrease the power that someone who can terminate your job has over you. Understanding how and where you spend money, and taking charge of it, can help.

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