Friday, September 16, 2011

Moving the Energy (by guest contributor Jamie Craw)

Today's topic is MOVING THE ENERGY, brought to you by guest contributor Jamie Craw.
As someone whose profession it is to find the match between candidate and opportunity on behalf of others, I believe I am the different side of the same coin as a job seeker. As someone who has spent the better part of her career speaking with job seekers, candidates, and persons in transition, I feel we are a kindred spirit and I identify wholeheartedly with the plight, the frustration, and pure joy of the rollercoaster of job searching and finally finding the perfect fit. So what advice can I impart to you that will get you a job? The answer may surprise you.
There is very little we can control when we are looking for a job, and same as in life, the only thing we have any power over is ourselves. You may think this is not the time to pursue your creative side, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Now is the time to do all the things you said you had to wait for, the things you have put off because you don’t have enough time, or you should be looking for a job. NOW! Now is the time to move your energy around, block out the naysayers, and sign up for a painting class or take a road trip or strike a yoga pose.
The thing is, we are all a ball of energy, and sometimes our energy gets stuck. It may be so deep inside of us, a passion we have been putting off for so long, that it has made an impasse in the very depths of our psyche. And somehow, it is manifesting itself as being stuck in your job search and you don’t know where to go.
The biggest disservice we do to ourselves is to deny our creativity. It is only when the energy starts to flow and when you try something new that the paths of your career and life start to open up infinitely. If you’ve been feeling a big move or change is needed, now is the time to make it. If you are tired of the view outside your window, now is the time to change it. Change is good, it is healthy and it is imperative for growth.
You may find that taking a class opens the door to meeting your future boss  or the contemplation during yoga opens your mind to new possibilities and a road trip might unveil your dream home and the perfect job around the corner. You don’t know until you try and you will answer all of your questions if you stop thinking about all that you can’t do, or are limited by, and start pursuing your dreams, one by one. I believe your career is holistic and a reflection of your whole being. When you are fulfilling your personal goals, your professional ones are sure to follow.
-Jamie Craw (guest contributor)

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Art of the Job Search (What's your process?)

What’s your job search process?
As an HR leader, I occasionally get the opportunity to review corporate recruiting processes to ensure that we are being as efficient as possible while also being compliant with employment laws, etc.  As I’m currently going through this again in my position, I thought to myself “What about the process for job seekers?”.  So many people go blindly looking for a job that they forget to put together a map and a process for finding a job. 

There’s an art to finding a job, and having a process mapped out will help you immensely!  Here are a few suggestions to get you started...
Take a Personal Inventory
You’ve got to take some time to reflect on your skills and your career ambitions so you will be able to align them with your job search.  For me, I would have to take into account that I want a position that allows me to work with people.  I would also make note that I would want to work in an organization that offers me unlimited room for career growth.  When you are taking inventory, you should consider your values, your interests and your skills.  Then be ready to discuss these with potential employers.  You should also put together interview questions that you are able and ready to ask employers that will help you determine if the organization and the position you are interviewing for is a good fit for you. 

Involve Others
Next, you MUST have a support network.  The people in your life are invaluable to you when it comes to career search and networking.  Talk to your friends, your family, coworkers, coworkers from previous jobs, the teller at your bank, the ladies in your bridge club, etc..  Never underestimate the power of networking and letting your network know what you’re up to!  I personally have kept in touch with most people I’ve worked with over the years.  You never know when they may be able to help you out. 

Organize Yourself
 If you’re not organized, you need to be.  Looking for a job can be overwhelming.  It can be disastrous and futile if you don’t keep track of what you’re doing.  Get a binder, make an Excel spreadsheet, whatever it takes.  Keep track of who is in your network, where they work, who they know, what your activity with them has been to date, etc.. Follow up with them regularly.  Things change all the time.  Make sure you’re keeping up with your network.
Make a commitment to yourself early on (or better yet, do it right now!) that you will stay true to yourself in the process and ALWAYS stay positive.  If you get turned down for a position, don’t take it personally.  Learn something from it.  Thank them anyway!  I can’t tell you how many times a candidate I’ve interviewed didn’t get the job initially.  But they were thoughtful enough to thank me for my time.  When things didn’t work out with the candidate we were going to hire, you better believe I knew exactly who I was going to bring back in for consideration!  Be yourself, and do whatever it takes to stay positive!

Until next time, keep on keeping on!  Your dream job might be right around the corner!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Whiny Job Seekers and Shy Networkers--WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?

Have you ever heard “It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know.” or “It’s all about networking.”?  I recently overheard an acquaintance of mine (well, more like I saw them broadcasting the news across Facebook…Gotta love that!) whining about not being able to find a job.  He was frustrated because he felt that he just didn’t know the right people to get a foot in the door somewhere…anywhere.  He had been applying for jobs online for months, scouring Monster and Careerbuilder and other job sites looking for a job to no avail.
I know I’ve told you all before, but I have never been hired for any position by applying to it online or sending in my resume.  And yet, I seem to always have a job…and they’ve always been pretty darn good jobs!  “How is that possible?” you might be thinking.   The truth is… (drum roll please) I just love to connect with people, and I do my best to make sure they remember me, and I try to stay in touch with my contacts over the years, and I try my best to be a positive person, and…the list goes on and on.
What about those of you who aren’t so eager to meet others?  How can you become a better networker if you’re a little intimidated or shy?  Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1.       Get over yourself!   Yes, I said it.  Lots of us are introverts naturally, but we know that in order to get ahead we have to wear our “extrovert” hat occasionally.  Pretend like you’re not shy…like you’re an actor playing a part.  Don’t be fake, and don’t try to be the life of the party when you’re not.  But ACT like an outgoing person would act.  You’ll be surprised at how far this will get you.  AND it will ease your nerves in the meantime.
2.       Introverts make the best networkers (TRUST ME) because they are excellent listeners.  Cherish your listening skills and listen to others genuinely.  While the “type A” folks are busy jacking their jaws about themselves, you will be getting ahead of the curve by learning invaluable information about those you’re networking with.  Listening is powerful.
3.       Be prepared.  Bring your business cards, a pen, something to write on.  Make sure your teeth are flossed, that your breath isn’t atrocious and that you’re presentable.  Wear clothes that are appropriate for the situation but also COMFORTABLE.  I can’t tell you how annoying it is to be in a professional or networking situation and be in clothes that don’t feel right.  UGH! 
4.       Know why you’re there.  Have a goal, whether it’s to meet 3 new people or to find someone there who works at one of your target companies or to find out more details about the latest development in your industry.  Don’t leave until you’ve met the goal.
5.       Lastly, KEEP IT UPBEAT!  This means SMILE big and often.  In no circumstances should you complain or come across whiny.    NO MATTER HOW DESPERATE YOU ARE, don’t let ‘em see you sweat!  Networking events usually don’t last too long.  Get in, accomplish your goals (your reasons for being there) and get out.
Until next time, I challenge you to meet someone new who has the connections to improve your world this week…be it professionally, personally, spiritually, whatever.  Make it your mission to connect with someone new who may be the missing link to your network.  You’ll be amazed how easy it is, and you’ll be thrilled with the results that come your way once you start networking like a PRO!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Radio Show-Discussion around CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE!

This was a radio show I recently participated in about the candidate experience.  It's a little long, but there is some great information from a panel of guests in the recruiting industry.

Getting Hired in today's economy

Friday, August 19, 2011

How can you stand out among so many candidates?

People ask me all the time “How can I stand out as a candidate when there are SO MANY people going after the same position?”.  I can tell you that here in Atlanta (or most major metropolitan areas of the country), if I post a position on any of the job boards or Craigslist for an Administrative Assistant or similar position, I can count on having 500+ resumes in a matter of 24 hours.  That is A LOT of resumes!  So standing out among the crowd is CRITICAL to getting hired in today’s economy.
So, what can you do?  Well, you already know I believe that networking is the BEST, if not the ONLY, way to get your new job.  I personally have never EVER been hired for a position that I applied for.  So, what do I know about getting hired in today’s economy, you might be thinking… WELL, I've only ever found positions by networking and most recently on LinkedIn and Facebook…just by paying attention to my network.  It really works!!!
BUT if you’re newer to a community, or if you have a hard time networking, there are a couple other things I recommend you do to ensure you stay at the top of that pile of 500+ resumes.
1.    Be Prepared.  Do you know what a SWOT Analysis is?  If not, you should!  Here’s a link to some SWOT templates. You need to be prepared.  Do a SWOT analysis on yourself.  Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is critical to knowing yourself.  Do a SWOT analysis on the company you are interested in.  Showing the company that you have prepared for your meeting with them by researching the company and understanding their strengths, weaknesses, etc… will make you STAND OUT in the crowd for sure!

2.    30/60/90 Day Planning.  One of the best books I’ve read is “The First 90 Days”.  It talks about how you prepare for stepping into a new role.  Put together an idea of what you plan on accomplishing in these first 90 days in your new position.  Again, this shows solid forethought and consideration for the company….rather than just wanting a “job”, you come across as a thought leader who will more likely have a good impact on the organization you are applying to.

3.    “Kudos” Book.  Keep every single “attaboy” email or note you get from your boss, your coworkers, your peers.  Get recommendation and endorsements on LinkedIn.  Make a folder of these “kudos” and keep them handy.  This does two things:
-Makes you remember that you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it!  People like you!  Keep yourself reminded of your value every day!
-It also can serve as a recommendation when meeting with employers.  If you go to a LinkedIn profile that has 0 recommendations and compare it to another that has dozens of recommendations, which one do you think the employer is more likely to call?  Believe me, we check out your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles.  You can stand out for the good or for the bad.  It’s your choice.

4.    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.  If you get a response telling you that they gave the job to someone else, thank them.  If you get an interview, thank them.  Handwritten notes are the best, but email is fine too (and much faster).  Whatever you do, EVEN IF YOU IGNORE EVERYTHING I’VE JUST TOLD YOU, Always remember to say THANK YOU!  It is the single most effective thing you can do in the process.

Add these to your repertoire and you are guaranteed to fare better in the job search process! 

Until next time, keep on keeping on!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Don't bother submitting a cover letter without these 6 things!

I get questions from candidates all the time about cover letters.  Whether or not you use a cover letter depends on the situation and is entirely up to you.  In many cases, it is not necessary.  But often an employer may request one.  I personally use a cover letter whenever possible.  Either way, it’s a personal decision.  If you are going to use a cover letter, there are a few things you need to make sure you are mindful of:
6 Steps to a Powerful Cover Letter
1. Address it to a person (you know, with their name on it!).  Do YOU like getting mail addressed to “Current Resident”?  The same is true for whoever is on the other end of that submit button.  Make it personal!  If it’s not readily available, call the company, Google them, or do a LinkedIn search.  At least try to find who you’re sending it to.
2. Make sure you grab their attention in the first paragraph and show confidence…but not arrogance.   
3. Focus on your key accomplishments, NOT your job duties!
4. Keep it to less than a page.  Recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to read a book about you.  They want sound bites that spark their interest and “WOW” them!
5. Always include your Unique Selling Proposition
6. Include a “Call to Action”.  Make sure you ask for the interview.  It’s the old sales adage “ABC” Always be closing, and always be selling.  You’re up against too many candidates to leave an open ended letter on the table.
While these are all important, the two that seem to give people the most trouble are the KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS and the UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION.  Key accomplishments are a mystery for so many, and I’ve never quite figured out why.  No one else in the world knows what yours are.  So, it’s totally up to you to remember what you’ve accomplished.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you’re having difficulty coming up with your examples.
Key Accomplishments
  • How have you done your job better than others in your department?
  • Did you take on any special projects?  What was the outcome?
  • Did you go above and beyond?
  • Did you have higher sales numbers than the next guy?
  • Did you find a way to save the company money?
  • Did you get promoted often? 
  • Did you win any awards, such as Employee of the Month?
  • Quantify and Qualify. Numbers matter!  Include things such as:
    • Increased sales by 30% in FY11
    • Led a team of 12 Client Service Reps
    • Reduced company expenses by 12%
By answering these questions and recalling what you’ve done, you should be able to come up with some key accomplishments.  Believe me- it can make a huge difference!  By adding a couple of these to your cover letter (and hopefully some of them in your resume as well) you will also be subliminally adding them to your subconscious…. So the next time you get asked “Tell me about your accomplishments.”, you won’t be caught off guard. 
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
I’m a marketing professional who just happens to be in the recruiting industry.  So let me share this marketing term with you.  A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is an advertising term that translates nicely into the job search.  It is the one thing that makes a product (or in this case, you and your resume) different from any other.  What is something that makes you unique?  What makes you stand out above all the rest of the candidate competition?  What do you bring to the table that no one else does?   When you determine your USP and build it into your strong cover letter, you will immediately have a tangible advantage over the competition.  For example, mine might be something like this:
“Because of my unique combination of experience in the fields of marketing and human resources, I am able to truly uncover hidden talent and attract them to my organization.  Because of this, my company saves time, money and ultimately hires better employees”
So there you have it!  Remember these tips the next time you create a cover letter, and you will be far more likely to get a call back.  Like an actor who gets a casting call, the show must go on.  Will you be ready to take the stage?
Until next time, continued success to you in your career journey! 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why are some people more successful than others?

What makes some people more successful (in their job search or just in general) than others?  In all my years of recruiting, I have consistently seen the following traits show up in each and every successful person.  I call it the CPA (Clarity, Perspective, Accountability) approach to reaching your dreams.  Take a look and imagine what an impact it will make when you implement these into your job search...or in your daily life.
First you’ve got to have CLARITY.  Being goal oriented and future focused about what you want is the single most effective thing you can do when it comes to reaching your goals or finding your dream job.  How many people do you know who carry around dreams for most of their lives without ever realizing them?  Sadly, that is a lot of people in this world.  There would be nothing sadder than being at the end of your life and realizing how many dreams you left on the table.  And for what?  Understand what you want (also known as your values), align your actions to your values, and set yourself a deadline. 
A little PERSPECTIVE goes a long ways.  Put your ideas on paper, align them with dates into your calendar or in your diary, state your goals out loud as often as you can.  Stating your intention and your goals out loud causes your subconscious to start accepting them as truth, and the added value of bringing ideas from your subconscious mind into your conscious mind can be tremendous.  Be realistic about where you are, what your strengths are, what your areas of opportunity (also known as weaknesses, but I detest that word) are, and be realistic about where you want to go.  Understand that the economy or your boss or your spouse are outside of your control.  Realize that you and only you are responsible for whether you reach your goals.
Make yourself ACCOUNTABLE to someone else.  Have you ever had a dream or ambition to do something that you kept to yourself and never ended up getting it done?  Or maybe you just procrastinated a bit?  Don’t worry.  We’ve all done this.  The thing is, though, when you make yourself accountable to someone else in the process, you are stating aloud your intentions and this is HUGE!  Accountability will help keep you on track, and this accountability with another person automatically energizes your thought process and may even open up a whole new realm of dreams and possibilities.  (I personally work with a life coach to keep me accountable on some of my personal dreams and projects.  He's AWESOME!  Bob Kiser Coaching.
Are you stuck in a rut in your career or in your job search?  Are you lugging around an unfulfilled dream that’s just collecting dust and rusting away in the back of your mind?  Pick one area you want to work on (finding a job, getting promoted, improving your relationships, learning a new language, etc..) and apply the CPA to it.  I bet you’ll be happy (and definitely more accomplished) in no time at all!

Until next time, continued career success your way!

Friday, July 22, 2011

6 Easy Steps to a Better Life (and more successful job search)

The law of attraction is one of the few universal laws that matters when it comes to improving your life NOW!  Whenever you transmit positive energy, you immediately attract more positive energy into your life.  Positive people will be drawn to you, and when people who are positive come together the results are multiplied.  The desire for positive outcomes increases, and positive actions create positive results.  Negative people have the exact opposite effect…so WATCH OUT and STAY AWAY from anyone who is negative.  It’s too risky and self sabotaging to bother with them at all!
Whether you believe it or not, people around you respond to your energy…and you respond to their energy.  The universe answers whatever it is you put out there. Your subconscious mind is always telling the universe what it wants and what it believes to be true.  So, the question is “How can you improve your odds of attracting better thoughts, people and outcomes into your life?”
I can tell you this… It’s not your job, your parents, your spouse, your boss, rush hour traffic, etc.. that creates ANY of your energy.  It is your perception that creates it.  Everything around you is what it is.  Your REACTION to it is what you have control over.  Here are a few easy steps to increasing your odds of getting the most out of each and every relationship, job, personal goals, etc…

1.     Meditate, Early and Often!  It can take two minutes or an hour, but any meditation will help clear your mind of negativity and get into your focused and happy place.  Keep it simple, sit and relax and focus on your breathing.  Breathe in (take in all the goodness of life) and breathe out (exhale all negative feelings and worries).  Feel your consciousness in the center of whatever is going on.  Focus on your inner you! 
2.     Focus on the Good in Every Situation.  Good and bad are only perceptions of our mind.  The truth is there is one manifestation of the truth… You can call it God or spirit or universe, but it is pure goodness, and if you allow yourself to focus on the good things of any given situation, you will be conditioning your mind to make a habit of doing so.  It will get easier in time, and you’ll eventually only see the good!
3.     Do unto othersThe golden rule is the only constant across all religions.  Why?  Because treating others the way you wish to be treated helps keep you out of trouble for one thing!  But it also keeps you in a space of transmitting positive energy out.  Positive out = positive in.  So, while you’re “doing unto others”, you’re also doing unto yourself.  It’s a WIN-WIN! 
4.     Let go of Resentments.  The past is over.  It’s that simple.  If you hold onto the leftover emotions from a past divorce or bad relationship or anything negative from the past, you really are only hurting yourself.  So learn to forgive and move on.  Simply forgiving someone from your past (or even yourself for past mistakes) can open the flood gates of positive energy into your “now”. 
5.     Visualize Whirled Peas J Most of our minds are conditioned to think negatively.  Make a conscious effort to change the way you visualize the world around you.  Stop thinking negatively, start imagining all goodness is coming to you in a peaceful manner. There is no need to struggle.  Open yourself up to the flow of the universe.  Expect that you will attract health and wealth and creativity and love into your life.  There is power in visualization…just make sure you’re visualizing positively! 
6.     Stay in the NOW!  In each interaction in life, you have the choice to stay present.  Rather than getting caught up in the mindless chatter of your brain, you can choose to be present.  Acceptance is the key.  You can’t change the past, and the future isn’t even here yet.  You only have NOW!  This simple act will calm your mind and spirit and attract other likeminded people to you, increasing positive energy even more! 
Make it your mission to attract positivity into your job search, your workplace, your home and your community.  See what a difference you can make in one day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

5 Ways to Beat the Summer Heat (and keep your cool at work or in your job search)

Sweltering summers can be tough on all of us.  With a high of 99 degrees today and 500% humidity here in the South, I get that!  The heat can make it tough to concentrate on your work or effectively handle your job search too.  If you’re stuck in a cubicle and you’d rather be lounging poolside, or if you’re putting on your suit for yet another interview and you’d rather already have the job, here are a few tips to keeping your cool (and staying productive) this summer:
1.       Listen to music.  Create a playlist and pump up the volume.   Music therapy is a great way to get yourself out of a funk.  Find songs that are uplifting, and play the same ones over and over again if you have to!  I personally love jamming out to Sirius satellite radio’s BPM…and it’s the only station I ever listen to in the car or at home.  I do this for one reason.  It makes me feel AWESOME!
2.       Eat plenty of fresh fruits and drink plenty of water.  Pineapple, mango, banana, melons…they’re all good for you!  They’re easy to digest and won’t leave you bloated or sluggish either.  Mix in some ice or seltzer water or fat free yogurt and make yourself a fruit smoothie.  Cheap and delicious!!  Make it your mission to drink a gallon of water a day.  I dare you!
3.       Get your dose (even a healthy overdose here is ok) of Vitamin B.  If you can’t concentrate and are feeling lethargic or “blue”, you may not have enough vitamin B in your system.  Easy fix!  Take it in pill form or get it the old fashioned way (seafood, lean meats, cheese and eggs). 
4.       Capitalize on the joys of Daylight Savings.  If you get your workout and all your other tasks done early in the day, you’ll have plenty of light at the end of the day to sit by the pool, have a barbecue or just relax.  Get up early and get yourself moving!  You’ll be glad you did when 5:00 rolls around.  Plan some outdoor activities with friends after work instead of going home and straight to the couch. 
5.       Cardio is KING (well, networking is King in the job search, but Cardio is the best way to make you feel better NOW).  Take an afternoon walk to mix things up and get re-energized.  Lots of people have afternoon slumps after their coffee has worn off.  Take a 15 minute walk around the block if you can.  The vitamin D from the sun and the fresh air will have you feeling better in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.  It’s a quick, easy and free fix to improve your mood now!
Remember, that you are in control of making sure you stay at peak performance…in the workplace or in the job search process.  Nobody else can do it for you, so take care of YOU today!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What motivates you?

What motivates you?  To find out, you really need to know what you value.  Achieving (and holding onto) those things that we value is extremely motivating.   Now, regardless of what motivates us, we’re all going need to have some cash for our journey…which means most of us need to work.  Even if what motivates you is climbing Mount Everest or running in a marathon, you’ll have a hard time doing either if you don’t have any money. 
Money is the exchange we use to express how much we value something else.  That’s it!  For instance, your boss values your 40 hours worth of work $___ much (your salary) and you value your $___ enough that you are willing to exchange your time to get it.  You value food and exchange money to get it with farmers who have food and want money, and so on down the line.
So, we’re all somewhat motivated by money.  I mean, without it you would have a tough time in life…unless of course you’re living off of the government or mooching off of someone else (DISCLAIMER: if either of these apply to you, I hope you found yourself here at this blog to change your situation!) In order to get this money, we work.  But what motivates you at work?  Do you know what you value within the confines of your professional life?
People value different things and in turn are motivated by different things in the workplace.  Here are a few examples of things that motivate people in the workplace:
·         Money- We’re all motivated by money to the extent it affords us our basic needs.  But some people are much more motivated by money…and always having more of it.  Jobs in sales or other positions that offer some sort of incentive based pay are great for people who are money motivated.
·         Prestige- Some people are motivated by being associated with prestige.  Some people only want to work for Fortune 100 companies, others like holding an executive position in a corporation or having an advanced degree or title accompanying their name.  Prestige is a big motivator for many people.
·         Fame/Recognition- Is 15 minutes of fame just not enough for you?  Many people thrive on being recognized and having their accomplishments noticed.  There are those who always want to be on stage or in the center of attention.  Others are motivated by winning “Employee of the Month” or “Star Performer” type awards in the office (so that everyone knows what a great job they’re doing). 
·         Upward Mobility/Advancement- Climbing the corporate ladder is a big motivator for a lot of people.  Never being satisfied with their current role, they always have their eye on the next position higher (or even several positions higher up the ranks).  People who are motivated by advancement are often dedicated and hard working individuals who thrive on the politics of the office.  They are usually very heavily identified with their careers on a personal level and attach their career ambitions very closely to their sense of self.
·         Flexibility- Having a flexible schedule or the ability to work from home is another motivator. I personally have worked from home for most of my career.  Although I don’t mind going into the office, I find that I am able to get more work done at home and enjoy the flexibility of a home office.   Many working mothers and students are also motivated by flexibility in the workplace. 

These are just a few examples. There are as many motivators as there are people.  Once you’ve identified what you value and what motivates you, consider whether your current job is fulfilling those motivational needs.  If it’s not, try to find a way to incorporate those things into your job.  Volunteer for additional projects in the office, apply for a promotion or a bigger job within your company, ask whether you can have a flex schedule or the ability to work from home, etc..
If you can’t get these in your current job, find a job that affords them to you.  Motivated individuals are more productive and tend to be happier.  When your work life is in balance and you are motivated to be there, you will enjoy a better professional and personal life…and your work product will naturally be better (making for a happier boss, which is always good right?)
So, what motivates you? 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Overcoming Rejection (and other obstacles along the path to career happiness)

It was the call I had been waiting on for months!  “Hello?” I answered in my most upbeat, positive voice.  “Hi Jason, it’s Tim.  I wanted to give you a call regarding the position you interviewed for.”  He went on to inform me that the position ended up being changed due to a restructuring of the organization and I didn’t get the job.  After several months of interviews, it came as quite a blow.  My first thoughts were disbelief and then frustration settled in.  Then I remembered the tools I had at my fingertips….gratitude being the most important.  I quickly remembered how blessed I was in my current job and how much I had going for me in my professional life and in my personal life.
I can only imagine those of you who are out of work and how you handle those types of calls (or worse, an automated email!) that let you know “We appreciate your candidacy for ___ position.  However, at this time we have decided to pursue another candidate…”  How do you stay positive through the job search and rejections?  How do you keep your head held high and move on to the next one until you’ve found your career “home”?
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re struggling with a professional (or personal) setback or rejection:
1.       Get some Gratitude!  Even if you have to fake it, be grateful for the good things in your life.  An attitude of gratitude does wonders for your mood.
2.       DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY.  Remember, there are a million reasons why someone else could’ve gotten the job.  Unless they specifically told you why you didn’t get it, don’t assume the worst. 
3.       Don’t be too hard on yourself!  Keep in mind you’re not the only one who has been rejected.  It happens to everyone at some point in their career.  So, keep your chin up and remind yourself of all your good qualities!  Self love is a good thing.  Love yourself instead of beating yourself up.
4.       Stay optimistic!  There are other jobs out there that are a perfect fit for you.  All you have to do is make an effort to stay in a positive space and keep on trying.  I know that’s tough, believe me!  But optimism comes across in the tone of your voice and optimistic people have more success…period.
5.       STEP BACK to overcome a SETBACK!  Take a step back and review the interview to see if there were any glaring areas where you know it went wrong.  Review your answers, your attitude, your aura in the interview.  Were you on your “A” game?  If so, great!  If not, put a little more effort into your preparation and practice.  Figure out what would have been better answers to their questions and write them down so you can quickly recall them the next time you get asked something similar.
6.       Phone-A-Friend.  Use your “Life Line” to get critical feedback from a friend.  Let them review your resume (I know we discussed this already in a previous blog!), do a mock interview with them in order to calm your nerves and increase your confidence.  We’re all in this together, and a good friend would be more than happy to help you out.
7.       Lastly, get physical!  Releasing endorphins is a great way to get yourself back to a happy space.  Take a long walk or go for a run.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Get your body moving and your mind has no option but to catch up! 
Whether you’ve been rejected once or a thousand times, it’s never easy.  I get that!  But even the best salesman gets a “no” once in a while.  If you got a rejection at ABC Company, the best news is that’s one more rejection out of the way on your path to your dream job.  Send them a nice “thank you for the opportunity to meet with you” note and move on to the next one.  It’s your career…make it happen!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"" A Recruiter's view of the job boards (Guest contributor, Jamie Craw)

In Defense of Job Boards
Over the past couple of years, there has been a steady outpouring just falling short of contempt for recruiters who rely on traditional job boards to source and recruit candidates (in this case, I am singling out CareerBuilder and Monster, from here on called CareerMonster). Some naysayers have gone so far as to openly state that candidates found on job boards are not the best, most qualified candidates to fill a job with a top company. This belief stems from the notion that a passive candidate (someone who is not openly looking for a new position) has more desirable qualities than someone who is actively, or openly, looking. I would just like to say, on the record, that I disagree. I do not eagerly wish to be a pariah amongst my sourcing peers, but I am hoping I can raise a few points as to why we should not run from job boards just yet. As a former respected agency recruiter, and now firmly entrenched in the corporate recruiting world, I have had unmitigated success in finding highly qualified job seekers on CareerMonster that result not only in hires, but in long term sustainable contributors.  I believe that a good recruiter uses all available tools at their disposal, and that candidates are using the same logic. Which source a résumé originates from can never override how well that candidate will interview, match a hiring manager’s vision, or fit into the overall company culture.
I will be the first to acknowledge that anyone who “hangs out” on the job boards is not your top candidate. This can imply a candidate who starts a position and posts their new résumé on a job board shortly thereafter, candidates who have a history of job hopping, or a candidate who tells you they always keep their résumé posted “to see what is out there”.  Most of these candidates you can weed out within seconds if you are a skilled résumé reader or interviewer. 
What kind of candidate, then, should we be looking for on a job board?
As a recruiter, I know my industry, and I get to know my competitors. I generally know a good company from a not so great one, I understand the reputation and culture of a variety of companies and industries, and I keep up to date on market conditions, so I know which companies and industries are laying off, talking about layoffs, or historically flatten organizations and thus create a surplus of candidates. Knowing these details helps to unveil a layer of candidates that are posting their résumés for completely sane reasons, and thanks to years of practice in Boolean search strings, and a growing awareness on behalf of candidates to add specific data that is easily searchable, I can find them relatively quickly.
There are thousands of people that post their résumé on a job board for countless reasons and I am open to a lot of them. These reasons can include downsizing, rightsizing, management changes, mergers, acquisitions, or lack of growth within a current company or position due to any of the aforementioned reasons. As a recruiter, it is my job to determine which are plausible and which are not going to fly with a hiring manager. While there may be a job for everyone, my jobs are not for just anyone.
Sometimes recruiters hit pay dirt and get a very specific keyword to draw needles out of the haystack (some will argue these are not the most job board friendly positions, although I hope my case is building that they could be given the right circumstances). Other times, we are left with broad search criteria that can take days, if not weeks, to sift through profiles. Here’s the trick… don’t (pause) get (dramatic pause) complacent! While the job boards have created time saving strategies such as saved searches and alerts (which crawl the job boards while I am not working and allow me some much needed search string construction rest) I still need to continually refine my criteria. A missed word here, an extra word there, and a 5 mile change in my location radius can bring out a whole new crop of potential candidates. Once I start getting some hits, it is imperative to get on the phone and recruit! If their résumé is posted on a job board, and they are good (which my point is, at this stage of the game, they are) you have to get out there and tell them why they want to come work for you, or screen them out appropriately. No time or energy is more wasted than a great candidate who materializes only to disappear within your grasp because you didn’t pick up the phone to call them in time! 
I don’t rely on job boards exclusively because I do understand not every candidate I want to talk to is posting their   résumé for me to conveniently find. That’s why it is important to understand which regions, level of candidates and salary ranges are most effectively sourced on a job board- candidates, this is valuable information for you too!
 If I am looking for a director in a major market, I am going to steer clear of the two major job boards and focus on more targeted direct sourcing methodologies.  Although I won’t ever assume that they wouldn’t post a résumé on CareerMonster. For fun, I cross referenced candidates interviewing for said director level role with the job boards, and if they were unemployed or were facing an impending lay off, their résumé was tucked away on CareerMonster, readily available to me and my competitors.
For candidates who have been out of the market since Web 2.0 swept the recruiting nation, it’s easy to forgive them for not updating their LinkedIn profile, following evangelists in their field on Twitter, or gathering in the Facebook marketplace looking for a new opportunity. However, there is a critical shift upon us and at some point we may want to question how sophisticated a candidate’s technological bent is if they are not relying on social media to build a sustainable network with the end goal of feeding them job leads when they are ready to make a move. I just find it hard to discount a candidate who has hunkered down to do their job for not knowing that CareerMonster is passé. At the end of the day an offer, a hire, a match made by Cupid’s arrow between hiring manager and candidate justifies the means. Trust me, if I wasn’t getting results, would I put my name on this article? I would not. For now, I am going to be there to pick the fruit from the job board trees.
 Jamie Craw