First I would like to extend best wishes to all from me and the Career Rocketeer team for a successful New Year and personally thank all who commented on, liked, tweeted and shared my posts with others in 2013.
I’ll be the first to admit that much of what I am about to say you’ve heard before, but I also believe a majority of well-intentioned job seekers fail to act on it. This time around I hope you’ll take these thoughts to heart and put them into action, because it has been proven that, if done right, they will lead to success.
I’m fond of saying the reason my industry is called “Human Resources” is because the key to being successful as a job seeker, recruiter or decision making hiring authority is founded on human interaction.
So to start off the New Year here is some recognized ways to improve your human interaction in a job search and ways to further your career in 2014.
ADVICE FOR ACTIVE JOB SEEKERS
Resolve to get out of “The Networking Rut”. Most job searches are derailed because job seekers network primarily with people they already know instead of reaching out to and working with people they need to know.
According to social scientists this is a natural phenomenon because networks form in “clusters” of relationships.
To put new life into a job search try cluster jumping outside of your comfort zone, your profession and your circle of friends. For those who have already amassed a large number of LinkedIn connections now is the time to revisit and renew them. The benefit of LinkedIn and other social media isn’t derived from the sheer number of people you’re connected to but in how effectively you use each of these connections.
In 1979 N.W. Ayer, one of America’s oldest advertising agencies, with credit to Marshall McLuhan, the foremost marketing communication genius of our time, created the most successful brand statement tagline “Reach out and touch someone” for Ma Bell, and 35 years later this is still very sound advice. And it would not hurt you if you actually picked up a phone and spoke to someone instead of texting, tweeting or emailing them!
The 100 contacts rule. Schedule some uninterrupted quality time and create a list of 50-100 contacts who you feel can be a valuable asset for you. They can be people you have already had a relationship with at any time in your life and they can be employed in any profession. The key is that they should remember you and as long as they may remember you with a little prodding (“Remember me, Mom?”) call them and tell them what type of job you are looking for, the job titles of the people who would manage you and a list of employers you think might hire people with your skill sets. Ask them who they know that may have information and/or contacts about one or more of the employers and ask for a personal introduction to them. From this effort you will get new ideas and new connections to invigorate a job search.
Connect to Experts. I suggest you reach out and introduce yourself directly to experts in and outside your field and in the areas where you need the most help and see how they can assist you. As one, I know that most of us will respond back to you. But as a caution, when you reach out use a human touch, not a generic, impersonal LinkedIn invite. Experts can help you sharpen your skills, show you the latest trends, and offer insights related to your search and target profession. We also tend to know hiring managers. Network with these people and learn from them. Being well versed and up to date in a profession and on how to conduct a job search will go a long way in making you a better hire.
Look outside your community to find a job inside your community. One big mistake job seekers make is to restrict themselves to geographic boundaries because they cannot relocate. Professional connections today do not have boundaries. Talking to someone in New York about employers they might know in your home town in Florida, Indiana, Colorado or Oregon is not farfetched. Also, with modern technology and telecommuting there are many high paying professional positions where you can do all or the majority of your work telecommuting to work from home or work at a job miles from home out of a branch office that is close to home.
ADVICE FOR ALREADY EMPLOYED CAREER BUILDERS
Improve your skills as a leader. Whether you are already there or you aspire to serve as a technical, project or team leader, manager or executive you need to constantly develop and hone your leadership skills; they are essential to career success. Pick a leadership skill such as verbal communication, team motivation, goal setting or running an effective meeting and learn how to do it better. Get feedback on how well you currently do it and then practice it over and over until you have perfected it.
Let go of the old and embrace the new. Gracefully end conversations that involve gossip and whining about the “good old days”. Embrace new projects and initiatives as opposed to taking a wait and see attitude.
Shift your focus from expedient to the important. A career disabler is when you chose to focus on the things you can get off your plate first – regardless of their importance. Prioritize your day to focus on important things first and put off the unimportant – even if it will “just take a minute.” A former colleague had two acronyms that he told me to always consider; IPT (income producing time) and NIPT (no income producing time). His motto was to focus on the IPT first and then the NIPT and I’d be very successful. Thanks Walt, you were 100% on the money.
Resolve to have a conversation with your manager about the here and now and your future. Take the guesswork out of where you stand. Let your boss know where you would like to be a year from now and find out what it will take to get there.
As always I am happy to critique U.S. resumes, LinkedIn pages and job search action plans at no cost. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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