Archive for August, 2009

What Goes Around

Posted in Hiring Trends, Job Search, Networking, Small Acts of Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by therooflesschurch

Recruitment Cycle

In a market where 5 people are going after one job and consumer confidence continues to seesaw, achieving stability is going to take a little assistance from a lot of people.  As a result organizations like jobangels have emerged in response to this need.  Their organization has grown tremendously in a very short amount of time because they realize that–like the recruitment cycle shows–what goes around comes around.

Working in the recruitment field we get to see a lot  that people on the job market don’t get to see. And because JCSI’s operational structure is set up differently than most companies in our industry, we very often get to see more of the innerworkings of our client’s recruitment process than some of our contemporaries might.  When we partner with companies on a particular project, there are two things a candidate will know for certain.

  1. The company that hired us is commited to finding someone to join their team within a certain window.
  2. When you speak to someone from JCSI, we are contacting you on the direct authority of the client. (i.e. connecting with us is connecting with the client when we approach you about an opportunity)

This is important information if you are visiting this blog for job search insights because much of the information we provide here, in our webinars,  and other media is not simply an observation of the job market at hand.  Much of what we offer here is based on the continual feedback we receive from the clients we serve.  They tell us what they are looking for and we share that knowledge with the people we speak with and the visitors to our different sites and networks.

When times get tough, we know that small acts can go along way.  You never know when just one sentence, post, or tweet can make the difference in how someone approaches their job search or an interview.  They may not even remember where they picked it up, but it’s great to think that something we offer to the people we connect with may make the difference in whether they land that next position or not.

We consider these Small Acts of Recovery and it’s something everyone can contribute to.  It’s what makes social media the information powerhouse that it is.  People sharing what they know for the benefit of their friends, followers, and connections.  So if you have a Small Act of Recovery you’d like to share, we’d like to hear from you.  Just tweet us at @careerassist and include the tag #smallacts or visit the JCSI facebook page to share your thoughts.

Get Noticed, Get Hired

Posted in Hiring Trends, Job Search, Personal Brand, Social Media, Uncategorized on August 26, 2009 by jcsicareerassist
Has anyone seen a Granny Smith aple around?

Has anyone seen a Granny Smith apple around?

Saying that the job market has changed is an understatement.  Everyday we talk to people who have come up short using the tried and true methods of ten years ago.  Meanwhile success stories continue to emerge about people tweeting their way to their dream job or being discovered on their blog.  Now of course this won’t be everyone’s experience, but there is a reason why this is becoming a growing phenomenon.  These people have figured out that the people who get noticed are the ones who get hired.

Of course, there are lots of ways to get noticed and not all of them will land you a job.  Some of them may land you somewhere else.  But that is not what we are working toward.  So we are going to talk about how to get noticed in the ways that provide positive results and why it’s your job to make yourself known.

Let’s look at the picture of the apples above for example.  You see very clearly that in that whole pile there is only one Granny Smith apple.  Why?  Because it is at the top.  Now imagine if that same Granny Smith was at the bottom of the pile where it could not be seen.  If you were that apple, is that where you would want to be?  Our point exactly.  There are so many people on the job market that have exactly what employers are looking for, but they are hidden.  They are buried beneath so many other applicants, that the recruiters and hiring managers are looking right past them.

Did you know that a poll was taken on the biggest frustration of job seekers and it wasn’t that their weren’t enough jobs?  It was the lack of response they get from employers.  They aren’t getting noticed and it is disappointing.  However, you have to imagine that if there are hundreds of people applying for the same job, it can be very easy to get lost in the crowd if your application looks just like everyone else’s.

So if you want to stand out in this job market you are going to have to learn to:

  • See yourself through the eyes of a hiring manager
  • Overcome limiting beliefs that keep you invisible
  • Integrate your online and real world presence for maximum exposure
  • Add value to those following, friending, or visiting your profile
  • Build a whole person image of what you have to offer

Of course we can’t go over all of these points in one blog posting, so we are offering a free webinar entitled, Get Noticed Get Hired: Presenting Yourself In a Transparent Job Market. In it, we are going to offer information on all of the topics above and explain the philosophy of why making yourself visible helps you begin working with your potential employers before a job is even posted.

As recruiters, we see both sides of the fence very clearly.  Our job is to make it easier for good people and good companies to find each other.  So keep visiting our blog to learn more about how that is done and join us on this and other webinars.  We look forward to your participation.

Handling Non-acceptance

Posted in Hiring Managers, Job Search, Rejection, Uncategorized on August 20, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

When it becomes clear to most people that they were not accepted for an opportunity they were hoping for their first instinct is to feel rejected. It tears into their self esteem and it takes away some of the momentum vital to a successful job search. Understanding  that there are inherent challenges to finding and securing an ideal opportunity, we’d like to offer an alternate way to look at your job search.  Rather than seeing yourself as rejected, try thinking that they just simply accepted someone else. 

Of course, because human beings are social by nature, it is quite normal to feel the sting of a group not choosing to include you.  In more tribal times, rejection by our group threatened our survival and despite the do-it-yourself world we now inhabit, some of that still lingers. 

So how can we overcome this feeling when we are out there hunting for a job and are feeling like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.  Well the first step is to realize that you cannot be rejected by someone who does not know you.  If that statement is unclear, look at it this way.  Have you ever met someone who says that they don’t like a food that they’ve never tasted?  Enough said.  It may sound strange, but true rejection is something you earn over time.  In the case of not landing the job, it can just be circumstantial, timing,  or just the fact that someone else more suitable was accepted.  Either way, it’s not personal even if it feels that way.

Now here are some steps you can take to turn your focus away from feeling rejected and towards thinking acceptance.

  1. Watch the news sparingly. This doesn’t count if you are trying to check the winning lotto numbers, but other than that, choose your news wisely.  If you notice that you feel less energized by watching the news, turn it off.  Now isn’t the time to feel low.  Just think about it this way.  If the news is bad enough someone is going to warn you about it and if it is good news, it won’t get much coverage in the mainstream anyway. So instead of watching the news to confirm your worst fears, look for information that is going to add value to your day and to the people you encounter on your job search.
  2. Stop taking the outcome personally. As I mentioned above, true rejection is something you earn over time.  Unless you worked for them before, a company does not have enough information to reject “you”.  It is akin to someone you met once  or twice at a networking event not staying in touch.  It’s rarely you.  Making a hire is a tough decision and in most cases there’s only one opening.  Most people aren’t getting hired for it.  You’re part of the crowd.  If you are making enough of an impact to earn a personal rejection by everyone you meet then you are going to need to hire someone to help you.
  3. Focus on the things you can change. Chances are that whether the company calls to let you know their decision or not, you will eventually have to move on and you won’t be able to change their minds. This means you are going to have to rely on your assumptions for feedback.  So assume, that if you are certain that you were qualified for the position but you did not get a second interview, then your presentation did not communicate this effectively.  What can you do about it?  If you made it through numerous rounds of interviews and didn’t get hired, you can assume that it is not your presentation skills, but rather the person hired seemed to be a “better fit”. It’s probably only a matter of time for you, but you could work on showing your openness. Work on radiating a welcoming presence.  What steps can you take?
  4. Become a cheerleader.  This is serious. When you hear other people’s good news, allow yourself to get excited about it.  If you can let other people’s bad news take you down, why can’t you let their good news lift you up?  When you hear about someone getting a job, see it as a sign that things are picking up.  Ask them about their experience and genuinely listen.  The more people you congratulate on their success the better you will feel and if you can help them succeed then even better.  Someone will remember it when you least expect it.
  5. Choose to be bettered by this experience. This mindset may not put money in your pocket immediately, but it will pay dividends over time.  No one can stop you from learning but you.  Start a journal if you need to, like Tim Johnston in Diary of a Job Search.  Become an expert in what it takes to manage a job search and then share it with others. You never know where it can lead you and at a minimum it will reduce or eliminate the lethargy common to typical “post and hope” job searches.
  6. Get the word “rejection” out of your mouth and out of your mind.  Notice that this post is titled Handling Non-acceptance.  The fact is for any given position, someone is going to be accepted.  Everyone else is not accepted.  If you choose a meal off of a menu are you truly rejecting all of the other entrees.  No you are not.  You are accepting one of them.  This simple shift in perception can actually change your entire attitude over time.  You will be able to go into an interview and say to yourself, “someone is getting accepted for this position and it may as well be me.”  Who knows, you might be right.  It definitely beats thinking, “I can’t handle another rejection.  Please pick me.”  Which of those two mindsets is more empowering?

Practicing To Be A Coworker

Posted in Interviewing, Job Search, Networking, Uncategorized, Volunteering on August 10, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

I know it’s cliche, but a lot of times the job search turns out to be like playing a game. And though people don’t often think of it consciously, it is likely that most of  your time will be spent in practice than on actually playing the game. Just like in sports, the practice to game ratio usually works out that you will practice hours and hours for just a few minutes of  game time.  Just imagine how many times NBA players practice a shot before they actually take that shot in a live game.  Yet without the practice, how likely will they be to make the basket when it counts? 

With that in mind you may want to think about how you are preparing for your job interviews, but more than that, you may want to consider how you practice for the actual game of working with others.  Remember, just like those NBA players, you are never playing in a game alone. Depending on how long you’re on the job market, you may find yourself getting out of the practice of being a coworker–forgetting in fact that this is what you are ultimately working toward.  If you are neglecting this, you may that allowing your coworker skills to atrophy may prove critical when you are sitting in front of interviewers.

Sitting in a room practicing interview questions in the mirror and having your spouse ask you interview questions is not the same thing as a round table interview and hanging out with friends over dinner is not the same as being a co-worker.  The first day you become a new coworker could almost be considered the true final interview.  This will likely be the first time you meet the people that you will actually be working with and believe me, they are the real final say on whether or not your new company will be the place you want to spend most of your time.

So what are some ways that you can practice being a coworker before you actually land a job?  Well, the first one is obvious–volunteering.  Volunteering is the perfect way to stay in the groove while you’re on a job search and the best thing is there’s no awkward salary negotiation.  Unfortunately, most people feel volunteering takes away time that they could be spending on job hunting when it actually couldn’t be further from the truth.  To hear more on volunteering check out this post from Walter Feigenson entitled “Volunteering can help you on your job search.”

Another uncommon way that will put a little extra cash in your pocket as well is to go on sites like craigslist.org and sign up to do some small one or two day jobs. I did this once in Colorado and have been friends with one of my one day coworkers for almost 4 years now. 

Another way to work with others and keep your coworker skills fresh is to start a group at your church, local library, or community center.  The group can create connections over a common interest and it will give you the opportunity to work with others–which is what you are going for.  You will also be able to exchange ideas and maybe even make connections who can tell you about available jobs you would never know about otherwise.  Who knows?  But one things for certain, activities like these will help you stay in the coworker rhythm and ultimately that’s where you want to be.

Additional benefits of actively working to stay in the coworker rhythm will be your ability to interact with all types of people with very little pageantry.  Once you get good at meeting new people it will be very easy for people to instantly feel like they know you.  That can’t hurt when you are interviewing. And of course, there are many other ways besides the three mentioned that you may be able to stay in the coworker groove such as taking a continuing education class or organizing a neighborhood yardsale.  The point is to get out there, meet new people, and engage with them over new or mutual interests.  You’ll be surprised by the value it adds to your job search experience.

If you can think of any other ways to practice being a coworker, please feel free to comment here or email me at psilva@jcsi.net.

What Not to Expect From a Job Search

Posted in Hiring Managers, Job Search, Networking, Personal Brand, Uncategorized on August 3, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

At its core, the job search is a communication process.  It begins with a simple question like, “Where can I find a job that will allow me to make the best use of my present skills while accomodating my desire to grow professionally?” From there you begin having numerous conversations with people in and out of your network until one day you find your answer.  At the end, the opportunity you take may or may not match what you originally hoped for.  What determines that is the accuracy of the expectations you began with.

Deals are made when expectations align.  Until that point, the parties involved must be willing to paticipate in a dialogue and at least one party must be accomodating enough to alter their expectations to a certain degree.  It’s the nature of sales and it is the nature of the job search.  Many people forget this in their job search efforts and as a result they can find the whole process very discouraging.  Expectations can work for you and against you.  The key is to be flexible and–need we say–realistic.

Here are a few common expectations that people contend with when on a job search.  Give these some consideration as you work on finding work. 

  1. “No one is hiring, but I might as well try.”  This is a terrible way to start a job search and definitely will not work in your favor or any potential employers for that matter.  A lot people inaccurately believe that they can avoid disappointment by setting low expectations.  That doesn’t make sense.  This doesn’t avoid it, it just spreads it around.  If you do manage to land an interview, just think how disappointed a hiring manager will feel after spending their time with a person that doesn’t even seem to want the job.  They will be glad to see you go and won’t even consider you for the future. Make it your business to at least leave them with a smile.  You never know where it can take you.
  2. “Any company would be crazy not to hire me because I am worth every penny.” Confidence is attractive, cockiness is not.  There is a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking but, as many people have found, the job search can be particularly humbling for some people.  A lot has changed in the past few years.  Companies, like everyone, are trying to do more with less when they can and in many cases a position that would have paid $100k last year may be only willing to invest $85k for the same role today. This is just one factor among many to consider.  We’re not saying to not try to go for what you think you are worth.  Just remember that flexibility is your friend.
  3. “All I need to do is get on these social networking sites and I’ll snag a job.” How awesome would that be?  The fact is that while there may be some stories of lottery winners on the social sites, most of us are going to have to work for a living.  That means putting time into your online profiles is the only way it is going to bear fruit.  Give to the culture and it will give to you.  That’s the basic tenet.  Just posting, “I need a job” as your status update without ever contributing to the value of the communities is going to yield the same results in kind.  That’s just the way it is.
  4. “I have so many ‘friends’ on line that finding a job will be easy for me.”  When it comes to networking, the first thing you want to ask yourself is whether your house is made of brick or straw.  There are very few people that are able to maintain thousands or even hundreds of meaningful relationships.  And those who are able to do so have chosen to make it a lifestyle and not just when they need help.  So know which one you are, before you make this assumption.  Because as Einstein said, not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.

For more insight on this topic check out this blog on job search timing expectations from someone at Monster.com.