Tag Archives: summer job search

Does Modality Matter?

networking

How many online applications have you filled out and submitted recently? Of those how many have you heard back from?

Is it rocket science?

Do you get a higher return rate from:

  • Online applications?
  • Applying in person?
  • Your personal network?
  • Your professional network?

Yes, I placed them in that order for a reason. Most folks spend the majority of their time performing activities from the top of this list, when in fact, you get the best return off the activities from the bottom. In your jo search as well as in business, in general, it really is often who you know.

In my world of finding jobs for graduates, the simple fact is, having someone in your corner ALWAYS get you better results than going it alone. Submitting 100 online applications will take longer and yeild fewer results than walking in and dropping off 20 applications in person. Even networking through friends and colleagues; vendors and clients can yield you 50% higher results, (aka interviews) than just dropping off applications/resumes.

Do the math, should you spend your time submitting appications into the black hole of the internet hoping they may reach a nameless, faceless person or should you spend your time leveraging the people you know?

The answer is clear; companies and organizations have yet to find the silver bullet of successful online recruitment. Yet more and more companies pop up each day clamining they have the answer, but they don’t. Nothing beats personal contact. Why do you think organizations spend literally billions each year on retention, recruitmet and onboarding programs? Because finding the right fit is hard, doing it over the internet is even harder. They may have a greater number of applicants, but are they the right applicants? No one has found an effective way to measure this.

If you leave this article with one pearl of wisdom, I hope it’s this; make it personal! Get others to speak on your behalf, let your personality shine, be memorable and don’t expect the internet to care about your job search results, because it won’t. Your friends, your connections, your network will care.

So to answer my initial question, yes modality matters. The internet is wonderful modality for making initial connections, however it won’t be as effective with your job search as will as a few connections and a sprinkle of personal contact.

For more interviewing tips, resume writing help, job search and career advice come back again to; “Connectthedotblog”.

Graduates- don’t wait till after graduation to start the job hunt! Start now!

8-29-13 graduates...

I’m always surprised to get a call from a graduate that I haven’t heard from in months only to find out they are not working, have not been working, and haven’t even begun the career search.

“How have you been?”

“Fine thanks.”

“What have you been up to?”

“I took a break from the job hunt after graduation, but now I’m ready to start looking.”

“Did you keep in touch with your intern/extern supervisor?”

“No. I kinda just wanted to give my brain a rest after school.”

“Have you started applying with any of the employers you met with while in school?”

“No.”

“Do you have an idea where you’d like to work?”

“No. I just want a job. Can you help?”

Unfortunately, this conversation is far from infrequent. It doesn’t seem to matter how often I inform my students they need to strike while the iron is hot; inevitably, there are those who feel a 6-month vacation is not going to affect their chances of gainful employment. Even worse, they don’t feel the education they worked so hard for adds enough value to their skill set to obtain a career over a job.

WAKE UP! The country is full of people just looking for a job. We live in a country running short on skilled, educated workers, and you just want a job? Why did you go to college? Why did you spend all that time begging, stealing, and borrowing all that money to obtain your degree? Surely it wasn’t to get just a job?

If you are looking ahead at your graduation within the next 6-12 months, you should already;

  • Have a list of employers you want to work for.
  • Have a list of contact at those employers.
  • Know how your training/education will add value to their organization.
  • Have a kick butt resume.
  • Have a stellar cover letter.
  • 3-5 professional references all lined up.
  • Letters of recommendation from your instructors, supervisors, volunteer coordinators, etc.

Last but, by no means, least you must have enthusiasm, ambition, and determination to not quit until you obtain the career you dreamt about when you started your educational journey.

  • Don’t take 6-months off. Don’t take 6-minutes off.
  • Don’t ignore your resources who are there to help you.
  • And by no means, don’t ever underestimate the power of your education.

    “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
    ~Nelson Mandella

For more interviewing tips, resume writing help or job search advice check back again to; “Connectthedotblog

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome – Sensory Part 5

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I’ve never really been a fan of war movies or Clint Eastwood (I know that’s almost un-American), however his 1986 Heartbreak Ridge became one of my all-time favorites and not just because both my father and older brother are Marines. I’m something of a student of human nature and the dynamics of Gunny Highway (Clint Eastwood) and his ragtag band of Marine misfits (Oxymoron isn’t it) is remarkable. Why you ask, because of three words; improvise, adapt, overcome.

This group of United States Marines weren’t the smartest, strongest, most skilled or highly motivated group of young men, but these three words made them the most successful group of soldiers in their unit; improvise, adapt, overcome.

You may be out there looking for your new career. You’ve been through an uncountable number of interviews with little to no success and your beginning to wonder, “Is it me?”. No it’s not and yes it is. So many of us go out thinking, “I’ve got this.” When in actuality we are not nearly as prepared as we think we are.

The best thing you can do is to take an inventory; in other words Check Yourself before you Wreck Yourself

The days of walking into an interview, introducing yourself and handing in a resume are LONG since gone.

You have to:

  • Prepare.
  • Know your audience.
  • Understand their business.
  • Demonstrate your ability to communicate.
  • Show them you understand their company culture.
  • Impress them with thoughtful and relevant questions.
  • Put their minds at ease regarding the chance they are taking on you.
  • Exhibit your exceptional customer service skills through appropriate follow up and follow through.

Yes it sounds like a lot; however getting a job is a full-time job and anything less than your best effort will yield less than the best results. Interviewing is hard. Pardon me for a moment while I channel my mom, “If it wasn’t hard to get, is it really worth having?” I don’t normally quote her but, in this instance mom was right on.

If you have doubts regarding your interviewing skills, how to research the company you’re interviewing with, and any other interview tips and tricks; ask an expert. There are tons of great resources like A Better Interview . Ask a friend working in the field you are trying to get into. Ask your preferred employers for an informational interview to find out more about their business. Exceptional rewards take exceptional efforts. You can do this and you can be successful, it’s all up to you and what you are willing to put into it.

For more information on interviewing, resume writing and career changes, check back often. I look forward to reading your comments and hearing your feedback and suggestions for future series.

Touching and Tasting in an Interview, WHAT? Sensory Part 4

handshake

Do you remember that “Friends” Friends episode where Rachel finally got the dream job interview and at the end mistook her interviewers intentions of opening the door for her as him coming in for a kiss? This is a great example of how touching should NEVER be part of your interview.

I know we all have funny stories about absolutely embarrassing things we’ve done in an interview, ALL of us. However for the sake of today lets keep them narrowed down to just two areas.

I started on touch, so let me finish with that before moving on. There is only one, and I mean,ONE instance where touching should be involved in an interview; yup you guessed it, the hand shake.

This is an underestimated gesture in the interview process; yet so important. It demonstrates confidence, articulation, enthusiasm and so much more. A firm hand shake (no don’t make them wince) accompanied by a smile, a confident look in the eye and a clear introduction made with genuine enthusiasm can positively influence the most stoic of interviewers.

Seems easy enough, but like the friend I spoke about last week in my article on “Sound ” sometimes just shaking hands, smiling and speaking with confidence can be very difficult. The answer, PRACTICE.

Now on to Taste, how did that interview taste to you? I know what you’re thinking, you can’t taste an interview. Well actually you can.

Did you?

  • Bring in your coffee?
  • Walk in chewing a piece of gum?
  • Chewing on a mint?
  • Bring in your big gulp?
  • Bring in your water bottle?

As you can see bringing your taste with you to an interview can leave a bad taste with the interviewer. Quick story; a young man (let’s call him Sam) walks into his interview. He is greeted by the receptionist, she politely asks, “Would you like some coffee or tea?” Sam answers, “Yes I would love some tea, thank you.” The horror in the receptionist’s eye was obvious, she had asked out of politeness, and now she has to go and find some tea, which she does not have. Answer politeness with politeness and just say, ”No thank you.”

Too much can go wrong in an interview where there is liquid involved.

    You could:

  • Spill it.
  • Slur it.
  • Dribble it on your pristine outfit (this has happened to me more than once but I’m clumsier than most).
  • Cough and spit it at the interviewer.
  • Sneeze and spit it at the interviewer.

I think you’re getting the idea. Remember the point of the interview is to be a clean slate they can envision actually in the job. If you do any of the above what are they going to visualize? I’ll tell you, they’ll visualize you doing the same to a customer, client or partner. Not a good visual, right? Not to start the relationship certainly.

You have to take into account all aspects if the interview and how you touch and taste are just as important as how you’re seen, sound and smell.

Tune in on “Friday” for the grand finale of your interview as a sensory experience.

Is Interviewing a Sensory Experience – Part 1 of 5

sensory overload

How much time do you spend getting ready for an interview? When I ask my students this question, the normal answer is a tirade upon how long it took for them to pick out an outfit (the winner thus far is two weeks), picking the right hair style and make up, and coordinating shoes and lip gloss. For my male students, it’s the Shakespearian, “To iron or not to iron” conundrum.

What many people fail to realize is that an interview, believe it or not, is a smorgasbord of sensory experiences. The interview encompasses all of your senses and after taking a minute to review them, you may be surprised how missing just one can cost you the job.

This is the first part of a series regarding the five senses of an interview.

Let’s take these one at a time…

Sight – This, of course, is the most obvious; it takes into consideration… your clothes, shoes, jewelry, make up, hair, etc. It also takes into consideration your walk, your smile, your cell phone, your watch, eye contact, etc. One of the things that novice and professional job candidates alike fail to recognize is that sight encompasses ALOT!

  • Are you talking on your cell phone when you walk in the door? BAD
  • Do you keep checking your cell phone or watch? BAD
  • Are you standing up straight and presenting a professional confident demeanor? GOOD
  • Do you look people in the eye when you introduce yourself and shake their hand? GOOD
  • When you are sitting waiting for the interview to begin, are you sitting up straight? GOOD

When I’m working with students to hone in on their soft skills, especially their interview skills, I tell them the purpose of the interview is to make sure that the hiring manager can actually visualize them doing the job. You never know what kind of prejudices the employer may have, so you want to present a clean, professional slate that they can see fitting into their culture. If you have tattoos, facial piercings, stiletto heels, low cut tops, high cut skirts, wrinkled clothes, and messy hair…what does that say about you and the image their organization is trying to present? Yes you may look great, for Friday night, but not for Monday morning.

Remember to think of the job you want and dress for it: not too much, not too little, but just right. Give yourself the best foot forward to get the job, and then let YOU shine through. An interview is not the time to make a social political statement; it’s the time to show the employer you are the best fit in skills, culture, and professionalism.

  • When in doubt, look in the mirror. If you think your skirt may be too short or your top too low…it probably is. Change it.
  • If you’re wondering, “Iron or not to iron,” throw it in the dryer till it’s flat.
  • Is your make up Friday night fresh or Monday morning professional? Fix it.
  • Can you hear your shoes or jewelry coming down the hall? Change them.
  • If you are expecting a call that’s so important you have to take your cell in with you…Reschedule the interview.
  • Take a look in the mirror, and ask one simple question: “Would I hire me?”

Take a deep breath, walk into the office, smile, introduce yourself with confidence, look them in the eye, and let them know you are the best person for the job.

Check back on Tuesday, August 13th where I’ll discuss how it’s not your nose but theirs that matters.

What’s happened to the human side of recruitment? Humans allowed it to be removed.

human interaction

I recently read an article by Liz Ryan CEO and Founder, Human Workplace . She writes, “Algorithm-based, keyword-searching processes that seek to match job-seekers with job openings by clerical means are not only inhuman but bad business process, too.”

Why then, you ask, do we continue to sit at our computers hour upon hour filing out online applications knowing that the likelihood of them being seen is minimal at best? What are our other options? Well, believe it or not, we do have them. They just take a little more EFFORT. No it’s not a vulgar four letter word and it can make all the difference.

First

  • Make a list of all the companies you would like to work for.
  • Do some research on that company. Find out what their mission statement is (it’s usually can be found on the “About Us” section of their web page. Do your skill sets, hard and soft, align with their mission/vision statement?
  • Find a phone number under the “Contact Us” section of the web page then call! Find out who you would need to speak with regarding open positions and who you could talk to. If they refer you to apply online, let them know you are looking for some more information regarding the company and culture. Don’t just say, “Ok.”, then hang up. Be persistent, put some effort into it.
  • Make sure you have an awesome cover letter that references their mission/vision and how you as a person will not only fit into their culture but add value to their company. Don’t make it too long, or it won’t get read. Mail it, yes I said mail not email, to the hiring manager, recruiter, HR representative. You can also use e-mail but it’s not the end all be all. Utilize all your resources, phone, mail, email.

I think you may be getting the picture I’m trying to paint. Job hunting is not a lazy person’s activity. Activity , it’s a pretty strong word – “The state of being active, energetic action or movement, liveliness, the intensity of a radioactive source, the ability to take part in a chemical reaction.” As you can see activity is not a dull word, it certainly does not describe the decision to sit on your butt at a computer screen, nor does it include an element of wait and hope. It means you are active and lively, you have in you the ability to take part in a chemical reaction. Deep within you is the power to make amazingly big things happen. Do it.

I read article after article daily on what job seekers need to do while job searching;

  • Have a complete and dynamic LinkedIn profile. Sit on your butt.
  • Have an powerfully written resume that can be thoroughly understood in as little as 3 seconds. Sit on your butt.
  • Make sure you personalize your cover letter for each company before you submit. Sit on your butt.
  • Use all the keyword combinations you find on the job posting to improve your chances of getting through the automated resume filters. Sit on your butt.

Rarely if ever do I read, get off your butt and meet people, face to face, shake hands, make contact, be remembered, REALLY? I work with job seekers all day long, and yes I too let them know the above is important to have done, however the wonderful world of the web is not going to get you a job, YOU are. If you aren’t finding ways to put your face to your name, you’ll be two lengths behind at the starting bell.

We’ve sat back and allowed our humanity to be removed from the equation. It’s time to stand up and act vitally. Bring the dynamic component of activity back. Get out there and make yourself known. Have a stellar resume, put it in someone’s hands, collect business cards, follow up after applying, pick up the phone and dial it, get to the right person and make a great impression. That’s what will get you the interview, not sitting at your computer hoping the 25 applications you filled out will miraculously wind up on the desk of the right person at the right time on the right day.

It’s time to create your own chemical reaction, action, intensity and energy. Go out and make something happen today!

Summertime is here! So is the end of most people’s job search…

summerjobs

June is the end of most educational institutions fiscal year. Graduates are pouring out the doors of academe and jumping in full force to their job searches…NOT! I can’t tell you how many graduates I speak with in June, July and August who tell me that they are going to take the summer off from their job search; “no one is hiring anyway”. Wrong! The summer months may seem like a good time to slow down or stop your career search, but it’s not.

According to a recent article on mashable.com “8 Reasons Why Summer Is a Great Time to Job Hunt” there is a myth out there…much too prevalent, that summertime is a bad time to job search. If you just do a quick monster or CareerBuilder search you’ll see that contrary to popular believe there is as much, if not more hiring going on during the summer. That research does not bring into account the up to 80% of hidden job market jobs that are out there looming as well.

Summer is not the time to slow down your job search but to heat it up. Take advantage of the fact that so many other job seekers are falling into the “no one’s hiring right now” mind set and get a step ahead.

Here are a few simple tips provided by Barbara Safani in her recent article on AOLJobs.com.

1. People do more entertaining in the summer months; use these opportunities to network your network. Who do you know? Who do they know?

2. Family obligations can be reduced during the summer months. Use this time wisely, get up earlier, look at the job boards, make some phone calls, go to networking events. You’ll see the competition you had two months ago…has gone on vacation.

3. Most of your fellow graduates are headed to the beach so the competition for the jobs out there will be greatly decreased. It’s much easier to stand out as one of 10 then one of 100 or 1000.

4. Employers will be impressed by the fact you are diligently working to find your career not the best new hang out.

Summer has traditionally been the time to relax, have fun and enjoy the weather. A time to slow down and smell the roses; however, remember what your professors, career services advisor and parents told you…getting a job is a full-time job. The longer you wait to start your career, the harder you will find it. Literally tens of thousands of graduates are pouring into the job market at the same time as you. Most will wait to start looking, taking a break to kick up their heels and enjoy some summertime fun. If you take the opportunity to beat them to the punch, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank as you begin your Christmas shopping while they are still wondering how to pay the next month’s rent.

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