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Communities: The Inside Track For Job Seekers

Communities: The Inside Track For Job Seekers

Imagine this: You are a manager and you need to fill a job. So, you have more work than you can handle – you are busy enough to need another person – and you have to take time out of your busy schedule to find a qualified person. Ugh.

Now you know if you put out an advertisement, you will get hundreds of resumes; may be hundreds of resumes each day. Many people are looking for jobs and they’ll send out resumes by the dozen, even is they are only remotely qualified. Who has time to sift through hundreds of resumes when you are already too busy doing your job?

Now imagine that a person who this manager knows and trusts walks in with a resume and says something like, “I know ‘so and so’. He/she is a hard worker, is reliable and diligent, is easy to get along with, and I think is a good fit for the job opening.”

The manager interviews this ‘so and so’. It’s a pretty good fit and the job is filled. May be the job was never even advertised. The outplacement company Challenger Gray & Christmas states in some of their press releases that up to 80% of the available jobs are never advertised, but are filled through other means like the referral in the above example. 

Once you understand that emailing your resume out to dozens of job postings is putting you in competition with hundreds of other job seekers, you realize that to get an insider’s advantage you need to spend most of your job search time doing something else.

What is this something else? 

Connect and reconnect with your communities!

 

Communities:

What is a community?  In Wikipedia you’ll find this excerpt: The word “community” is … a broad term for fellowship or organized society.

Since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community no longer has geographical limitations, as people can now virtually gather in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location.

So — what communities do you belong to already?

1. Many schools and colleges have alumni associations. If you ever went to school, you are automatically part of that community.

2. Do you belong to a religious or spiritual organization? Consider both your current as well as past affiliations.

3. Any previous employer and former colleagues are a source of community.

4. Any professional associations you belong to or have belonged to.

5. Any hobbies that bring you together with other like-minded people.

6. Any continuing education, from book discussion groups at your local library, classes at your local community college, continuing education classes at your local high school or community recreation department: fellow classmates as well as teachers.

7. All the people you have a professional relationship with: your dentist and doctor, your dry cleaner and owner of the local ice cream shop or wherever you frequently go.

8. Your family and extended family, neighbors and friends.

This gives you an idea of how many people you already know.  When you add them all up, they easily can exceed 100 people. Some people will have contacts exceeding 100s of people.

In the olden days we put contact information in address books. If we didn’t stay in touch and when people moved, we lost track of them. Now with social media, you can find and reconnect or stay connected with many more people.

 

Taking it Further:

If you are not already on LinkedIn or Facebook, this is where you start. Build your profiles and find people whom you know and link to them or friend them. As you get to know new people who you are interested of staying in touch with, ask if they would like to stay connected through LinkedIn or Facebook. You should be able to connect with several 100 people over a period of time.

Now make a list of the companies you are considering as possible employers. On LinkedIn check if any of your connections are or have worked for those companies. Make contact with those connections by email or phone. Ask what it’s like to work there. If you like what you hear, find out if they have a referral program and if your connection would be willing to refer you. At minimum you might be able to get the name and contact info of a hiring manager in your area of interest. Hopefully you can set up an informational interview. This is not to get a job, but it is to create awareness of your availability and your skills and to show in interest in the organization.

Another networking tool is to find a professional organization in your field, which has regular meetings. Attend the meetings, volunteer on a committee, become visible and make connections.

The goal is to find out about a job, possibly one that is not advertised, and have someone recommend you for the position. You’ve just eliminated all your competition and tapped into the 80% of the job market that never gets advertised.

 

Contact me:

Many people struggle to take the steps they know they need to take. As a coach I can help you clarify what’s most important and offer support and accountability so you make important changes in your life. Think about the life you could have. For a free coaching consultation, call Edith at 847.913.3900. Isn’t it about time you invested in you and your goals?

You Have a Graduate. Congratulations! —- Now What?

You Have a Graduate. Congratulations! —- Now What?

Are you the parent, relative or friend of someone who is graduating? Or may be you are finally getting that long coveted degree? Now what?

What are the options and how viable are they for you or that someone you care about? Do you have helpful ideas or inspiring experiences you would like to share? Share them by leaving a comment. Or feel free to send them to me with the subject line “Graduate”.

Here is a short list of ideas of what to do next:
• Do nothing
• Get more education
• If you already have a job, ask for a raise
• Get a job or a better job
• Go into the armed services
• Become a consultant
• Be unemployed
• Depend on someone else to support you
• Do a gap year: volunteer or see the world
• Volunteer
• Get an Internship
• Start a business

The bottom line is that you have been learning to do something. Hopefully it has prepared you for something you want to do. Now you need to shift gears from being a learner to someone who applies all that knowledge and skill to help others. And get paid for it.

There used to be a couple simple steps to making that transition.

• In the olden days, you became an apprentice.
• In the more modern era of educational choices, you got an education, created a resume, and got a job.
• A small number of people start companies.
• An even smaller number of people start companies that become successful.

In today’s job seeker climate of higher unemployment and job uncertainty, and with all the available technology, starting a small, home-based business is becoming a more tempting alternative.

Story: Drop out of college, get $100,000

“Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and one of the first investors in Facebook, is proposing a controversial path toward more rapid innovation. His Thiel Foundation announced that it was giving 24 people under 20 $100,000 fellowships to drop out of school for two years to start their own companies.” Read more here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/05/25/136646918/paypal-co-founder-hands-out-100-000-fellowships-to-not-go-to-college

This is an interesting debate. I think that a college degree has long been seen as the ticket to a better life. Getting a degree from the “right” school has been viewed as the ticket into the elite clubs. Was it true? Is it true now? What do you think?

I have read that education was invented to create a “conveyor belt” approach to creating qualified people to work in the factories of the industrial revolution. Kids were filled up with knowledge they would need to know to fill a job in a factory. In the process these young people were also sorted to find the obedient ones who willingly sat through whatever information they were taught and would make excellent candidates for the mindless repetitive work of a conveyor belt or assembly line. But that was a long time ago. Education has morphed. Or has it?

Education for the most part treats learners as empty vessels to be filled up with information. At the other end of the spectrum are the homeschooling stars that have been given the freedom to discover their passion early in life and were encouraged to pursue it. They love learning and are more likely to become lifelong learners. People like homeschooling superstar Evan O’Dorney, the 2011 winner of the prestigious “Intel Science Talent Search” $100,000 award. http://www.societyforscience.org/STS and http://blog.drwile.com/?p=5140

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

My feeling is that in education we have it backwards. Instead of learning first and then figuring out what to do with it, we need to start with the end in mind.

Spending a large sum of money to go to college with the hopes of figuring it out later, could become a burdensome financial obligation with uncertain outcomes and potentially a decade long debt to repay. Trying to figure out where the jobs are going to be when you graduate, or betting on “safe careers” or respectable careers like doctor or lawyer or scientist aren’t necessarily going to work either.

Think of all the computer people who thought theirs was a safe well-paying job, who have had their jobs outsourced to India and other countries. Now they have job skills that are fading fast, on top of that may be they never liked the work in the first place. Ouch.

Let’s use the analogy of the car GPS. If you don’t know where you are going, chances are slim that you will get to your destination. If, on the other hand, your car has a GPS and you put in your desired destination, then the car’s guidance system will help you get there. I think education should be approached in the same way. Figure out where you want to go in your career, then figure out the best educational options to get you there. Here is what I suggest.

Prioritize your goals.
1. If you need to pay your bills so you can eat, by all means look for a job now. Get educated on what it takes to find a job in today’s job market. There are many resources: the library, internet searches, Job ministries at your local church or synagogue, job circles and educational programs at community colleges, the unemployment office. Lots of people are there who want to help you succeed.
2. If you have time, get clear on what you love to do, your interests and strengths. Who are you and what makes you tick? Connect with people who do what you might want to do. Volunteer, do an internship, or get a job in a field where you can observe people who do what you might want to do. Do some informational interviewing to find out what those people love and hate about their work. Get educated about the field you want to work in. Nowadays, whether you are looking for a job or building a business, people want to work with people who are good at what they do AND who love doing what they do.
3. Have a clear vision of where you want to go. Every road has construction zones and detours. Every job has its tedious and unpleasant sides. If you don’t have a compelling vision of where you are going and why you are going there, you’re more likely to get derailed or give up.

Taking it Farther:

If you are like most people, you have been taught to sit still, be obedient, turn in your homework on time, and get either stickers and smiley faces for good behavior or the dreaded red marker all over your papers to let you know that you are not measuring up. Somebody else decided if you are good enough or not.

Isn’t it time to decide for yourself that you are good enough and exactly what you are good at? I believe that every one of us has the potential to make a valuable contribution. What might yours be?

Contact me:

If this was helpful and you want more, I’m here for you. Call to schedule coaching and start living the life you choose. Call Edith at 847.913.3900. You can also reach me at Edith@esCoach.com.

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