J Patrick + Associates Blog

4 Ways to make the most of an Employment Gap

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Wed, Nov 13, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

How to Make the Most of an Employment Gap

As a job seeker, ready to return to work after a hiatus (either planned or involuntary) accounting for a gap on your resume can be daunting. But whether you’ve been out of the job market for a few months or more long-term, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that prospective employers view your hiatus as time well spent, rather than damaging blank space in your work history.

4 Ways to Make the Most Of an Employment Gap

1. Be Honest About Your Employment History

As much as you may want to try to make an employment gap disappear when getting back into the workforce, you must embrace it and fill the gaps. You are much better off explaining gaps in employment than trying to make believe it never happened. 

If for example, your hiatus was devoted to raising children, include it as such on your resume: 2014-2019 Time off to take care of a sick family member, etc. Be clear and honest, and know that having taken time off doesn’t make you a less valuable employment prospect.

2. Highlight Volunteer Work

It may be tempting to minimize the impact volunteer work may have on your career, but if you step back, you'll see that you gained valuable skills and experience by working with a non-for profit institution or school. 

By highlighting this experience you are showing hiring managers that you are willing to use your skills to be a positive force in your community, that you are passionate about certain causes, and you are engaged in building new skill sets.

 

Volunteering as a pathway to employment

Don’t forget to avail yourself of those connections you made when volunteering when you’re looking for your next position. Even if they are not able to help connect you with prospective employers, they can write recommendations for your LinkedIn profile and provide you with endorsements.

3. Keep Learning 

Employers will be less apt to balk at a gap if you’ve been busy working on your education. And understand this is not a bias that’s limited to University or degree work. Take the time during your hiatus to get current with certifications and training and learn new skills. Employers will see you’ve been dedicated to keeping your skills sharp, and are returning up to date with the latest trends in your sector.

4. Practice Your Story for Job Interviews

When it comes to the job interview, you need to be able to explain your hiatus in a way that allows you to be seen as an exciting prospect. Don't fall to the temptation to apologize for your hiatus. All that's called for is a concise explanation to help remove any doubts about your readiness and appeal to a potential employer. Know what you have to offer and be ready to voice it in just a few sentences. Understanding how to tell your story may take some time and practice, but it will deliver dividends when you are pitching yourself for a job.

Practice telling your story with both friends and people who don't know you so well - it will help strengthen your pitch and work out any hesitation or weakness.

While there may be a pervasive bias against people who have left the workforce for a hiatus, how you handle it can make all the difference in your job search

 


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If you’re ready for to end your hiatus, or are looking for a new job, contact one of our recruiters here at J.Patrick & Associates. We are an Executive Recruiting firm that focuses on Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Technical roles within Information Technology markets. We have over 20 years of experience recruiting in every aspect of AV/VTC/UC, Application, Storage, Information/Network Security, Mobile Technologies and Telecommunications.

Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Networking, Job Interviews

Are You Making These 5 Networking Mistakes?

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

 

Are You Making These-1

Once upon a time networking was a new idea.

Well, maybe not the idea but the label certainly was. Sure, people have been forming bonds and making connections in the marketplace for as long as there have been marketplaces. But attending a networking event and ‘selling’ yourself has only become part and parcel of our vernacular in the last 20 years or so. And now that it's taken hold it's vital to our career success.

The last thing you want is to make any networking mistakes.

Why We Network

Okay, so when we ‘network’ what we are really saying is that we have an underlying agenda where we are after something. Usually, we want the people we meet to help us in some way; A promotion, A new job, Insight into an industry or company, Inspiration on what to do next. 

Basically... we would like the people we meet to help us in our careers and lives. 

1. Don't Sell

This is fair enough - however, going to a networking event and spending all of your time trying to ‘sell’ yourself or whatever your company offers isn’t particularly useful. After all, how many people are there to ‘buy’? 

None right?

So don’t sell! 

Go there to get to know the people around you. Don’t shove your life story or current major problem or need in their faces. They don’t know you yet so they aren’t going to help you if you just ‘sell sell sell’. No-one likes a salesperson – so don’t be one.

2. Valuing Quantity Over Quality

Networking is not about the number of contacts you have.  Do you have 5000 facebook contacts? 6000 LinkedIn connections? Maybe a couple million business cards and a few zillion email contacts? 

Is that good networking?

Nope!

Networking is not about collecting the largest number of names you can get unless these are people who are going to help you when you drop them a line. When push comes to shove and you ask them for help – what will happen?  Will they remember you? Will they care? Or are you just another number in their database?  

Networking well and building up useful connections is all about having real-world connections with people. People only want to help you if they know you, trust you, respect you. If you are just a number – you mean nothing. If they are just a number – what’s the point?

3. Gaming The Game

How many times have you had people try to connect with you simply to ‘network’. How many invitations on LinkedIn or Facebook do you get from people wanting to ‘widen their network’? And if you join their network – then what? Will you become good mates and help each other out? Do they know you and do you count as anything more than a number to them?

Now, of course in some cases, there is something genuine there – but we have to use our judgment to think before we click. 

What about meeting and greeting people IRL (In Real Life)? Well if you’re being genuinely interested in getting to know the people around you then you are more likely to build a useful connection and grow your network effectively. If you are simply building a network superficially so that you can call on them when you want something and you don’t really care about them as individual, unique, talented people, they’ll suss that out and not really like you for it. 

4. Dismissing The Network You Already Have

Even before you set out to grow your network, you've got one - a large one. Chances are you already know many interesting and talented people - people you met at school, university, through friends, family, extended family, friends of friends, work - in that job at the local pizza place. Many of these connections have likely gone on to lead diverse and interesting lives -- their experiences and interests varied and vast. It can be very easy not to realize just how many people we really know or just how valuable our network actually is. 

Maybe you know or have come across many people but you do not really ‘know’ them. Why not spend some time getting to know them. Dig deeper. Find out what makes them tick – what experiences they have had, what they have done in their careers, who they hang out with, who their mates, family, friends are. You are closer to getting what you want and meeting whoever you need than you think.  

Your friend's brother, dad, second cousin, next-door neighbor could be just the person who could help you. So do not dismiss or forget about the people you already know. Get closer to the network you already have, form deeper relationships with them - you never know who you may come across.

5. Forgetting That It's Not All About You

People want to help those who help others.

And people want to help those who help them! 

So if you just take, take, take you won’t continue getting for long! Don’t make the mistake of just calling people up when you need something. Also, don’t make the mistake of expecting those you ‘network’ with to give you whatever you want, when you want. It’s not all about you! 

If all you do when speaking with others is talk about what’s on your mind -- what you need, what you’re after, how they can help you, what you care about – it’s a one-sided story!

Summary

Networking is a transaction that takes place in the marketplace - in order to get something you have to give. So next time you are meeting someone new or reconnecting with an old acquaintance, stop and listen for their pain points.  Offer to help wherever you can. You might not think you have much to offer, but if you really stop to listen, you very well might realize you have a useful contact to offer or recommend a product you find indispensable.

Engage, Connect and above all Listen!


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Tags: Networking

How to Rescue Your Interview from a Bad First Impression

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Sep 06, 2016 @ 03:30 PM

How to rescue your interview from a bad first impression

A poor first impression doesn’t have to lead to a bad interview

First impressions matter. In fact, they're more powerful than facts. Research has shown that we form our most lasting impressions of someone within the first 5 seconds of meeting them and that we rarely change these initial ideas even in the face of hard evidence.

5 seconds...

That’s hardly enough time to walk in the door of an interview and take your seat, let alone make a strong case why you’re the best candidate for the job. But, it is enough time to blow an interview. Stumbling over a bump in the carpet, offering up a weak handshake, poor eye contact, or misjudging your wardrobe can all cost you dearly.

Prevailing wisdom dictates that it takes at least 8 positive interactions to overcome a bad first impression. And while that may sound insurmountable, the good news is there are some steps you can take to hit the reset button and reverse your losses.

 

6 Ways you can Reverse a Bad Interview:

1. Take a Cue from the Performers

Think back to the last time you were watching a live performance and a dancer slipped, or an actor flubbed their lines. The dancer who seamlessly continues on with the choreography or the actor who allows the gaffe play in their favor often winds up as audience favorites. It’s the ones who pull a face or get so flustered they can’t find their place that loses the audience’s favor - something no amount of raw talent can make up for.

Handling small mistakes with grace goes a long way to mitigate their potential damage. Allow yourself a brief moment to recover, make a joke or offer a polite apology appropriately. What is important is to dust yourself off and get back to the business at hand. You’re there for a reason - to get the job - now is the time to focus on that.  

 

 2. Remain Positive

Running yourself down or trying to overcompensate with ongoing apologies will only serve to highlight your flaws. Unless you’ve been summarily dismissed from the job interview, you still have the opportunity to turn things around. It’s important that you turn your attention from yourself and your embarrassment and toward your interviewer.

Demonstrating that you are flexible and can bounce back from setbacks is attractive to potential employers- use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your resilience.

 

 3. Pivot

Now is the time to return the full force of your focus to the interview. Leave the mistakes behind and communicate in an open, expressive manner. Let the interviewer see who you are and your core competencies. Shine a light on what you bring to the company and try to help them see you in a new.

A word of caution: Don’t push. Overcompensating will only serve to further alienate yourself and could do even greater damage than the original slip-up.

 

 4. Find Common Ground

Even a bad first impression can be softened if you and the other person share something in common. It is more difficult to affirm the negative ideas we formed when confronted by similarities. If you and your interviewer share a point of view or interest, they are less likely to hold their initial reaction against you.

 

 5. Close Strong

Just as first impressions are important, the end of an interview can have a long term effect. Leave the interviewer with positive things to remember you by. Arriving prepared, having done your homework and presenting your interviewer with well-considered solutions can help stem the tide that was flowing against you. There’s no reason to allow a poor beginning to set the tone for the entire interview- you’ve come to sell yourself, don’t sell yourself short.

 

 6. Let it Be

There are also those things that are outside of your control. All that you can do it make certain that you are professional, and have communicated the value you bring to any position clearly. Focus on the things that are in your control and let the blunders and mistakes be your teachers for future job interviews. After all, if you chose to wear grey shoes to an interview and the hiring manager absolutely detests grey shoes, there’s nothing you can do about it.

 


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J. Patrick & Associates, Inc is an Executive Recruiting firm that focuses on Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Technical roles within Information Technology markets. We have over 20 years of experience recruiting in every aspect of AV/VTC/UC, Application, Storage, Information/Network Security, Mobile Technologies and Telecommunications.

Tags: Job Search, Networking, Job Interviews

16 Super Easy Actions to Take After a Networking Event

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Wed, Feb 03, 2016 @ 01:14 PM

16 Actions to Take After a Networking Event

Let me ask you: Have you ever attended a networking event, met a new contact, enjoyed a really interesting conversation, exchanged business cards or contact information, and then… never followed through with reaching out to them after-the-fact, despite your best intentions? Is that you? Whether you are seeking a new job opportunity, career advancement, or growing a business, intentional and effective networking follow-up will help you succeed.

According to a study done by ICims, more than 27% of external hires in America are from referrals. In fact, it’s the top external source of hires today.

According to the New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals. A Nielsen Study cited clients are four times more likely to buy when being referred from someone they know and trust.

So we know why we network, but what do you do to follow up after a networking event? After all, it’s what you do AFTER the event that matters, as that is where the real work begins!  

16 Easy Actions to Take After a Networking Event

1) Google your new contact

You would be amazed at what you can find by Googling a person. You can find additional information to help you with reasons to connect—or to NOT connect. This info can help with all steps on this list. 

2) Write down some notes

Shortly after the event – same day, if possible – make some notes on what happened, record your thoughts and create a list of actions to implement. 

3) Compose an email

Write an email indicating that you enjoyed meeting them and why it makes sense to continue the connection or further the relationship. 

4) Begin a dialogue

You’ll want to stay in touch, if no need to meet again—start by asking them what they thought of the event via email. 

5) Connect on Social Media

Send your new contact a LinkedIn invitation including a note that you enjoyed meeting at the event where you met. Follow them on Twitter, which can provide real time data to improve the content of your communication. If you see a personal connection outside of work and/or it makes sense, connect on Facebook. 

6) Offer a Phone Date

Via email, suggest a 15-minute phone call, but sure to clarify the purpose of the call and how it can benefit you both to do so. 

7) Even better!

Here’s a novel idea… just call the person. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and would like to keep the conversation going. Ask if they prefer to schedule a phone chat or coffee meeting as a follow-up. 

8) Meet face to face

Propose a face-to-face meeting over coffee right out of the gate with contacts that have the most potential, who interest you most, or simply where it makes sense. Show interest in what they do and who they are. 

9) What NOT to do

Do not automatically add them to any email list you may have! Instead, send an email asking if they would like to join your email list since you thought, based on your conversation, the content may be of interest. Don’t spam! 

10) Add their info to your contact management system

A contact made today, may not bring you business today, but that person may be the resource you needed (or needed you) for a situation in the future. 

11) Look to influence

See how you can introduce two people who can help each other and ask to make that introduction… it’s good karma, as you are always remembered as the person who made the introduction. 

12) Say ‘thank you’

Thank the host of the event. This is a great way to start a connection that you did not have before. 

13) Reach out within two days

Ideally, make contact within 48 hours, but don’t fail to reach out if it is later than that time frame. I have reached out 6 months after the initial meeting and have it turn out well—but this is not recommended at all!! 

14) Seek out influence

Look for people who can influence your business or job search—not just give you business or hire you. Influencers are more impactful than direct clients or hiring managers, since they introduce many opportunities.

15) Look for collaborators

Search for collaborators and joint venture partners. The best way to grow is by collaborating with others.

16) Send them something

Sending an article or book reference in an email or snail mail, relevant to something you discussed will show that you listened to the conversation.


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Tags: Networking

LinkedIn Referrals: One Reason to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

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LinkedIn Referrals, which is being called the next generation of LinkedIn Recruiter, is where recruiters use profiles of their superstar managers and employees to find other applicants with similar traits and expertise to add to the rock star employee roster. So instead of trying to write a candidate profile or job description to capture the essence of that top-notch employee to find another one, now a recruiter can use the profile content of the superstar employee, within the tools of LinkedIn Referrals, as the basis to find the next key hire.

 

Why Are LinkedIn Referrals so Powerful?

What Recruiters Need and Want

According to this article from LinkedIn’s Head of Talent Solutions, Eduardo Vivas, about 80% of recruiters say the best channel to recruit quality candidates is employee referrals. “We asked ourselves two simple questions: How can we empower almost anyone who recruits to be a data-driven recruiter by making our products more intuitive? And how can we tap into our more than 380 million members’ relationships to help everyone who recruits identify and hire the right talent faster?” Vivas said.

 

The Recruiter Solution

Recruiters want to hire employee referrals. In this review of LinkedIn Referrals by Venture Beat, it cites a 2013 report by Deloitte where they state that employee referrals are a successful source of hire for them. Venture Beat quotes the report stating, “According to solutions provider ZALP, 46 percent of employees hired through employee referrals stayed on their jobs for more than a year, as compared to 33 percent and 22 percent of those hired through career sites and job boards, respectively. In addition, 42 percent of referral hires stayed for more than three years, as compared to only 14 percent and 32 percent of those hired through job boards and career sites, respectively.”

LinkedIn is giving recruiters the solution they wanted to find the desired applicant without having to craft complex Boolean search strings.

 

Why is this important to job seekers?

If corporate and search firm recruiters are using LinkedIn Referrals to write their search strings, this tool has the potential to have a wider-spread use. As it becomes adopted by corporate and search recruiters, job seekers will need to pay more attention to the proper optimization of their profile and the right use of keywords in the LinkedIn Profile to maximize their opportunities to be included in recruiter searches for the jobs they want.

 

Will this be good or bad for the job seeker?

Clearly, it remains to be seen the effect this will have on the mission of the job seeker. On one hand, it can help active LinkedIn users be found more readily if their profiles are properly optimized and they are doing the LinkedIn activities that tend to make a profile rise to the top of a search. On the other hand, if recruiters are seeking profile traits of certain employees and not evaluating the applicants on their own merits, will that adversely affect diversity initiatives or the personality varieties that contribute to the culture of the workplace. Is more of a good thing necessarily better?

Let’s wait and see….In the interim, it’s important for job seekers to play the game and get their LinkedIn profiles up to speed, as that never hurts.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

Tags: Social Media, Networking

How To Get The Job As An Outsider

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, Oct 08, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

How To Get The Job As an Outsider

It’s no secret that executive-level positions are often times given to internal employees. They’ve been with the company a while, they know how it works and the company already feels comfortable with them.

This can present some unique obstacles to an outsider trying to get in. However, it’s not impossible to make a move to an executive-level position in another company. All it requires is learning how to leverage the obstacles to your advantage.

How to Get the Job As an Outsider

Explain How Being From the Outside is a Strength

Research suggests that when people are trying to find a creative solution to a problem it oftentimes requires that they find an outsider. Simply put, the outsider has no preconceived notions about the situation, they also aren’t completely involved in it, whereas insiders maybe a little too invested and therefore blinded to solutions.

The ability to see a situation from the outside enables a person to find solutions easily. They can see holes where others can’t. They can also think outside of the box. This is a huge strength to play on when vying for a position within another company.

Here’s another strength: you may know more about the market and the competition than they do. Being from the outside enables you to see the company as a consumer. This a whole new way of looking at it that can be extremely beneficial when implementing marketing campaigns, revamping customer service or addressing product development issues.

Reach Out to the Right Contacts

Your best bet to getting any position (externally or not) is to come in with a personal referral in hand.

Connect with individuals within the company you’re looking to get into. You could start with your personal network and then expand outward with a LinkedIn search. You can also find many of these individuals partaking in LinkedIn groups.

The key is to find individuals who have enough clout within the company to help sway high-level hiring decisions.

Please keep in mind that just as with in-person networking events there is etiquette to follow when networking on LinkedIn. Customize your connection message, have a genuine interest in this person, and get to know them on a professional level.

Look for Companies That Are Open to Outside Management

Not all companies have policies in place that allow them to hire outside management. You don’t need to worry about them.

Instead, find companies that are flexible about opening up management positions to outsiders. This is easier than most people would think. Chances are that if they are posting an ad publicly then they are open to it, otherwise why would they bother when they can just look internally?

Big job boards can get convoluted easily. Instead try specific searches on LinkedIn or go straight to the company’s Careers section on their website.

You should also stay open to recruiters. Take their unsolicited calls and hear what they have to say. They’ve been hired by companies to search the candidate pool and find the best people.

By leveraging your skills and being strategic you can move up by moving over and get the job as an outsider.

 

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

 


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Networking, Career Strategies

How to Job Search When You Don’t Know Anyone

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, Oct 01, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

How To Job Search When You Don't Know anyone

We have all heard that old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” and in many things in this life that saying does turn out to be true. When it comes to the job search, how many times have you gained an “in” with a company because you are good friends with someone who works there or know a family member of someone who works there?

Well, what do you do if you find yourself in a situation where you need to find a job but don’t know anyone? There are many reasons why this could happen. Whatever the reason, don’t believe your job search is hopeless. Here is where you can start:

Make a List of Connections

While you may think you have to build your network from scratch, I believe if you take a few minutes to really think about it, you probably know more people than you think. Sit down and make a list of people that you do know. While it is a good idea to try to focus on the field of interest you will be searching for employment in, don’t discount anyone. Start making a list of names that can include your family members, friends, people you have met in your new area, neighbors, almost anyone that comes to your mind. This will be the foundation of your new networking list that you will use to build upon.

Leverage the Power of Your Connections

You may not know people directly that can help you, but the power of secondary, tertiary and beyond (4th and 5th degree connections) are where you might find the golden contact to help you. By reaching out to the list you made of your initial connections, no matter how small that list may be, see who they know on LinkedIn and by asking verbally who they know who can help you achieve your next goal.

Leverage Social Media Power

Social media sites such as Facebook and, more importantly, LinkedIn, can help you build a network of people in your field that could be helpful tools when you are ready to search for a job. Join as many relevant groups on the social media sites as you can for your field and regularly check in with them. Post in the groups and contribute to what they are doing so people begin to recognize you as an expert and look to you for advice. Consider using the advanced search functions to help you find companies that are looking for people in your field as well. Once you find these, don’t just apply for the job, but also make an effort to network with people employed at the company.

Be Consistent and Participate

Probably the most difficult part of building your networking list, is the ability to stay consistent with it over a long period of time and making an effort to regularly participate in conversations and activities that occur within your network. It’s the consistency that enables online connections to become offline relationships. Building a networking list isn’t easy, but if you take the time to actively participate on a regular basis and continue to do so over a long period of time, you will begin to reap the rewards. Check in with your network using your online tools and participate in any ongoing conversations. Try checking in one or two times a day if there is a particular conversation that is very interesting taking place.

Just Start With One Action Per Day

While starting a job search without a network of friends and colleagues to help you along the way may seem daunting, it is certainly possible. All you have to do is start building your network today. Whatever you do, don’t delay. While you may find that perfect job without knowing anyone, it will definitely be easier if you do. So start building your network list today so when you are ready to make a change, you have an entire host of people that could help you in your search. 

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer


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Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Networking, Career Strategies

Resources for a Well-Balanced Job Search

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

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I believe that a successful, well-balanced job search is more than successful strategies and tactical actions a job seeker can take to get closer to finding that right job. A successful job search offers well-balanced advice to address the mind, body, spirit and financial well-being of a person. A balanced job search prepares the job seeker to be in the right frame of mind and in good health to perform well throughout the entire job search process.

Here are suggested websites that enable a job seeker to take a balanced approach to their job search by shoring up on wellness, positive mindset, health, money, global business knowledge and efficient job search tactics action to help them be viewed as ‘in-demand’ by prospective employers.

 

1. Zen Habits

I feel Zen Habits helped me change my own life and I encourage readers to use this minimalist philosophy, lifestyle and mindset suggested put forth by Leo Baubata, the founder of Zen Habits, to put life in its proper perspective and bring more joy to day-to-day living.

 

2. Tiny Buddha

www.tinybuddha.com

This website helps with your positive mindset each day. It helps you learn how to stop negative thoughts, manage stress, present yourself confidently, and empower your to the choices that make your life better.

 

3. WELL – Tara Parker-Pope on Health

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/

This leading NYT health and wellness blog by Tara Parker-Pope gives tips on how to eat well, exercise and take care of our bodies, that will ultimately help us perform better inside and outside of work.

 

4. MintLife

www.mint.com/blog

Effectively managing your money before, during and after a job search is paramount. Properly managed money, no matter what your job or income level, can take mounds of pressure off of the already pressure some situation of looking for a job and/or remaining employed, allowing you to make much better, qualitative decisions about your future.

 

5. Harvard Business Review

www.hbr.org

Show your next manager that you are up to speed on cutting edge management through leadership and demonstrate its application in preparing for yoru interviews. This is an amazing resources for lifelong learning.

 

6. Daniel H.Pink

www.danpink.com

Understanding how the world of work and employment is changing can help you present better in your next interview. Daniel Pink is a thought-provoking, motivational read, whether he is referencing content from his bestselling books or sharing favorite excerpts from TED Talks. Reading his blog, always leaves me feeling motivated and empowered.

 

7. The Recruiters Lounge

http://www.therecruiterslounge.com/

I have always said, “Want to find a job, understand how a recruiter thinks and then employ those strategies in your search to find opportunity and be found by hiring managers.”  Go right to the source to understand recruiters with this blog.

 

8. MeetUp.com

www.meetup.com

Feed your mind and your network by seeking out Meet Up groups that are aligned with your professional goals and personal interests (or the other way around). By finding like-minded people and engaging those with differing perspectives we grow our connections, increase our opportunities and expand our minds.

 

9. Tim’s Strategy

www.timsstrategy.com

Tim Tyrell-Smith has a blog that embodies a number of writers (full-disclosure, I am one of those writers) that address many career topics, effective job search tactics and resume strategies for all phases of one’s career. His blog is a job search tactic gold mine…

 

10. Jackalope Jobs

Jackalope’s  blog brings tactical expertise in ways to optimize your connections and your network to get closer to open opportunities. In addition, Jackalope Jobs has a great tool that enables job seekers to take their LinkedIn and Facebook network’s and leverage these contacts to see how the job seeker is connected to open jobs. Perfect complement to existing social media.

 

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Networking, Resume Optimization

Strength Of Weak Ties – Seven Ways To Connect For Your Job Search

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

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The strategy known as “the strength of weak ties” could be the secret sauce in your job search. Essentially, it entails reaching beyond your traditional networks to casual contacts. The latter know of job openings your colleagues don’t. This article describes seven simple ways to make those connections with weak ties.

 

 

Mark Granovetter’s Discovery of Gold in Casual Relationships

It’s no secret that jobs most often come through people. They provide information about openings you wouldn’t have known about. Often those aren’t listed among the help-wanted ads. Also, it’s people who hire you. But, not all those people contacts are equally effective in your job search. In 1973, Mark Granovetter, a sociology graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, published breakthrough research in the American Journal of Sociology. It documented that those whom you assume you should count on – members of your own networks – could be the least useful. The biggest return on investment in networking could come from people you know casually, that is, weak ties. A typical example would be Joe who runs the coffee stand in the office high rise. He’s among the first to connect the dots on who’s on the way out, therefore where there will be openings. You should invest your time in befriending him and letting him know you’re in the market for a new job. Currently, many of those the weak ties you can arrange to connect with on social networks such as LinkedIn.

 

The Hidden Power of Weak Ties

There is such power in weak ties for four reasons.

• Traditional networks function like closed, risk-averse systems. Those in them all share the same jobs data. Moreover, they may hesitate to tell you about them. They fear that if the situation doesn’t work out that will reflect badly on them. In addition, they tend to both stereotype colleagues and be fully aware of their flaws. So, they won’t let them know about openings which they assume will be a bad fit.

• Weak ties intersect with very different networks than your usual ones. That, in itself, opens up possibilities for work you won’t encounter through your strong ties. In addition, they have useful “inside information” on the organization’s culture, undisclosed problems and their ideal job candidate.

• Relationships with weak ties tend to be open and trusting. Little is invested in passing along a job tip to you so the stakes aren’t high for them. Also, since they don’t know you well professionally they don’t assume you can’t do the job. Strong ties tend to pigeon-hole you in a niche. They can also stifle original thought, making it more difficult for you to think out of the box about a job search.

• Weak ties can provide emerging ideas and perspectives not available through your usual social capital. That gives you competitive intelligence about what kinds of opportunities to pursue and how to present yourself.

 

Finding and Nurturing Weak Ties

Because networking is critical to success, most executives have developed patterns for doing that. For example, holiday social activities are made to do double-duty as networking opportunities. However, those best practices can harden into rituals in which you aren’t fully engaged. Moreover, they exclude possibilities for identifying and cultivating weak ties. Here are seven effective tactics:

1) Develop an accessible persona. That includes open body language, gentle facial expressions and the ability to listen, asking questions to get conversations going. This kicks off the Law of Attraction. 

2) Open yourself to small talk. That old saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” also applies to not sharpening the instincts for casual connections. When commuting on the train, waiting in the doctor’s office and walking the dog, don’t be preoccupied with work.

3) Participate in professional and social events outside your specialization. Those could be as non-threatening as signing up for a few months of public-speaking training with Toastmasters. Or it could be a little more complicated like attending a local meeting of psychologists, even though you’re a lawyer. They will welcome what you can offer to them in networking as much as what you can gain from them.

4) Develop a communications vehicle which transmits your unique passion. That might be a newsletter, weekly radio broadcast, blog, podcast or YouTube series of presentations. It could be about animal rescue, the Steelers or doing business in Russia. Your enthusiasm will be contagious.

5) Be involved in Facebook. According to Jobvite, 83 percent of job searchers rely on Facebook. No, it’s not just for posting family photos or promoting your company. It’s a platform for cultivating weak ties in an informal way. Most of your Facebook “friends” are not colleagues. Respond to their posts, indicate you are there to help them with their marketing plan and celebrate their accomplishments. In addition, you can attract recruiters you don’t normally do business with. In the “edit profile” section provide them with details about your work history and where you are heading. 

6) Become interested in other people on Twitter. Strategically plan whom you want to connect with on Twitter. Then join in their discussions, let them know what you have gained from their insights and share what fascinates you. Eventually, ask for help in your job search. If they work at Company X, ask the best people to contact there for an informational interview. Some of this conversation might be brought offline. 

7) Exploit networking opportunities on LinkedIn. Configured as a professional network, LinkedIn is a multi-dimensional tool for connecting with those you need to know. Do your profile right and it could attract everyone from professional recruiters to chief executive officers hunting for a new head of compliance. Premium membership allows you to search in companies and fields of expertise for contacts.

 

Becoming Open, Staying That Way

The current winners in the new economy, ranging from venture capitalists to app designers, keep their networks diverse. One of their objectives is to continuing developing fresh kinds of contacts. The taxi driver in Moscow might have the most useful insight on oil futures. Yes, this requires an investment in engaging. Attention has to be shifted from the work on the desk. But the alternative – rigid networking – puts you at a professional disadvantage. Smart players are starting those conversations. 

 

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Networking

Being Forced Out of Your Executive Job? 8 Things to Do Right Now

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Sep 08, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

Being Forced Out: 8 Ways to manage a crisis

You may sense that you are being forced to quit—see the signs below that it is happening to you. Or your superiors might already have told you they want your resignation. You probably are unhinged. The good news is that there are 8 things you can do right now to manage the situation. Those best practices will reduce or even prevent damage to your career and give you a competitive advantage in what you choose next.

Signs you are being forced out

The employer’s objective is to have you quit. Therefore, the signals that you should do that tend to be obvious. Here are the common ones:

  • You are left out of the communications loop. For example, you don’t receive emails about the meetings in the conference room for the product launch. Colleagues don’t return your calls.
  • If you are still attending meetings you are treated with disrespect. That can take any number of forms, ranging from ignoring your comments to showering you with hostility. The objective is public humiliation.
  • Your workload is reduced or increased significantly. Sales representatives might be given impossible quotas.
  • Your relationship with superiors changes. Instead of praise, you receive constant criticism. Likely they are documenting that alleged poor performance. That can be leveraged to nudge you out if you are reluctant to leave.
  • Colleagues and subordinates distance themselves.
  • Your superiors actually ask that you consider resigning or else they will fire you. As they wait for your answer, all your work may be taken away.

The 8 ways to manage the crisis

1. Find out your legal standing

As books such as “Fired, Laid-Off Or Forced Out! explain, there are many myths about employees’ rights. The reality is that in most states, the private sector can terminate employment at will. The exceptions are if you in a protected class such as disabled or aging, a member of a union or if the terms and conditions are covered by a formal agreement. When in doubt, consult with an employment lawyer. Do that before you say or do anything, especially if you are considering taking legal action.

2. Decide if you want to try to keep your job or even buy yourself more time

If so, initiate a conversation with superiors about the reasons they want you to leave. At the outset, state you are willing and eager to follow their recommendations on corrective action to align your performance with what is needed. This move may save your job. If not, it could extend the time you are collecting a salary and using benefits while you search for another job.

3. Avoid “craving closure” to end stress

Human dignity is important to most people. Employers recognize that. Therefore they know that subtle or obvious types of abuse can drive you to quit impulsively. However, financially, emotionally and in preparing yourself for a job search, you might not be ready to leave. Remain calm. Keep your finger off the trigger.

4. Negotiate

Every situation is unique. But there is always room for negotiation. That’s true even if your job performance has been subpar. Critical to negotiate is how the company officially classifies the resignation in your personnel file. Ideally, it should state that you resigned, without qualifying that with “in lieu of being fired.” Also, you can request a letter of recommendation, severance, outplacement, and use of office facilities.

5. Be pragmatic about finances

Investigate the possibility of collecting unemployment in your particular state. Your state may allow that even for those who quit jobs. An example might be that it recognizes stress as a valid reason for leaving employment. Therefore, you have to know beforehand how to frame your claim. If you are over-55, your odds of getting a comparable job are not ideal. Immediately consider downsizing expenses.

6. Prepare your cover story

The question you will be asked during interviews for the next job is why you quit. You must create an explanation that is diplomatic, positive and yet accurate. Of course, you speak well of the company and your superiors. You describe the negatives in a way advantageous to you. For example, you would say, “Our strategies weren’t aligned because I assessed that the company should put its computing operations in the cloud.” Those in the know recognize you had a valid point. “Given this disconnect, I felt it was a disservice to the company and myself to remain.”

7. Comport yourself from a position of strength

If you feel in charge of this process, your body language, facial gestures and conversations will reflect that. Everyone in the company is observing you. In a sense, this is the performance of a lifetime since they will remember how you handled yourself during this crisis. Those perceptions help create the platform on which you build the rest of your career.

8. Network

The way to search for that next good job is through other people. According to JobVite and other studies, less than 25 percent of hires are made through help-wanted ads and recruiters. The other 75 percent happen through the contacts you will make on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You will also need to be visible in-person. That means participating in conferences, trade association meetings and local business social hours. “Hiding” is not an option.

Gaining the edge from this setback

No reasonable person welcomes failure. However, in Silicon Valley, it is celebrated as a rite of passage. That’s because the tech players know that more is learned – and more quickly – from setbacks than successes. In sophisticated organizations, failure is even hailed as a competitive advantage. If enough executives in those companies have a record for failure, there’s plenty of collective wisdom embedded.

It’s up to you how you position and package the experience of being forced to quit a job. Ideally, you treat it as a learning experience. Through it, you acquired amazing insight into your professional self and where it fits – and doesn’t.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer


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Tags: Networking, Career Strategies