The Biggest Holiday Job Search Myth
Despite our seemingly 24/7 business culture, most job seekers think you can’t find a job during the holiday season. Even looking for work from Thanksgiving to January 1st is widely considered a waste of time.
This is a big holiday myth.
I say that from personal experience.
In 2006, when I was still working in corporate, my phone rang just as I arrived home from our company’s holiday party. Although I had applied for a few positions, I was shocked to find that someone from HR at one of them was calling to conduct a screening interview.
The conversation went well and a few days later someone else called to set up a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager. The interview was scheduled during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
How To Successfully Navigate Networking Events (When You Dread Them)
People like to hire, work with, work for, etc. people they know and like. The best way to have a wide circle of people who can recommend or refer you for whatever is to have a wide circle of people who know, like, and understand the value you bring.
Networking on business and social platforms like LinkedIn and, more recently, Clubhouse is a wonderful way to expand your circle. But as in-person networking resumes, it’s time to start preparing for that as well.
For many, in-person networking events means stepping out of our comfort zone. Stepping into a room full of strangers can be a little scary. If we’re fine with that, we may not be quite sure what to do when we get there.
While reading this may not make you eager to sign up for an association dinner, mastering the following techniques can help you become more comfortable and, as a result, become a better connector.
Is Your LinkedIn Profile Photo As Good As You Think?
Like most of my colleagues, I tell my clients that having a photo on their LinkedIn profile is essential. For one thing, it improves your visibility. Profiles with profile pictures can get up to 21 times more views than profiles without them, according to LinkedIn.
A strong, engaging profile photo can help you get a job. It’s the first thing recruiters see when searching LinkedIn for potential candidates. It’s the first thing people look at when they click on your profile. If you don’t have a photo, many people will wonder why.
Your LinkedIn profile represents you on the business world stage. So, it’s important to post a headshot with a professional yet approachable look. While “professional” varies by industry, smiles are universal.
While I know all this and preach it to my friends and clients, I was surprised at the impact things like a photo’s background had on people’s opinions. Although, I’m not big on sharing photos of me, I thought sharing this example was worth it.
Want A New Job? You Need To Do The Work.
Over the years, I’ve talked to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who are looking for a new job. They want growth opportunities or more money. Some of them hate their boss. The common thread is that they all want a change.
As with most things some are more successful than others. The successful ones are the ones who do the work. They don’t spend all day every day in front of the computer browsing job boards. (While that gives you a feeling of accomplishment, it’s not very effective.)
Successful job seekers develop a multipronged job search plan and work it every day.
Here is a basic job search plan that you can adapt to your needs. It’s broken down into job search preparation (PREP) and continuing activities (ONGOING). If you’re actively looking, as in you really want to find a job, follow A activities. If you’re passively looking, you’re open but not in any hurry, P is for you.
#1 TARGET EMPLOYERS
PREP – Create a list of 10 or so Target Employers, these are the companies where you would love to work for whatever reason. Set up Google alerts for each of them so you’ll know when they are in the news.
Monitor the career pages on their company sites. A = 2-3X a week. P = 1X a week.
Contact friends, family, colleagues, etc. to see who they might know who works for one of your target employers (or any employer who’s ad piques your interest). FYI, your alumni association may be able to help with this too. A = 2-3X hours a week. P= 1 hour a week.
Smarter Career Moves Club on Clubhouse
If you’re on Clubhouse and looking for career information and advice look for our new Smarter Career Moves club.
Smarter Career Moves is the place to learn strategies, techniques, and activities that will help you move your job search forward and advance your career
Join our events to get information and practical advice from career professionals. This is a space to exchange ideas and learn from each other. Come with questions and don’t be afraid to ask.
Want To Get Promoted? Up Your Game.
The proverb “all things come to those who wait” was meant to instill patience. The truth is, “everything comes to him who hustles while he waits,” attributed to Thomas Edison, is a better remembrance for those who want to get ahead in their career.
The days of getting promoted because you’ve been warming a chair for X number of years are over.
Today, you need to position yourself for advancement actively.
Build and Nurture Your Network
Whether you’re an executive or a young careerist, it’s easier to move ahead when you have help. Most people think of building a network as making external connections. However, establishing relationships within your organization is equally important, particularly if you’re angling for a promotion.
Attending industry events is a great way to meet new people; however, don’t forget about the people you work with now. Go beyond the company’s holiday party, take advantage of opportunities to meet colleagues at all levels. Work on the company newsletter or volunteer to help with the next event or participate in the “whatever” drive.
Get to know colleagues at all levels. Turn acquaintances into friends over lunch or dinner. I have too many friends, said no one ever.
Does Your LinkedIn Profile Make You Look Out Of Sync?
Anyone who’s looking for a new job has been told they need to be on LinkedIn. That’s true.
It’s also true that you need to be LinkedIn even if you’re not looking. Whether you like it or not, your LinkedIn profile, or lack of one, is part of your personal brand.
Certainly, recruiters and hiring managers who receive your resume will review your LinkedIn profile. So will people that you meet at conferences, seminars, or networking events who want to learn more about you. Make sure what they find is your best self.
That includes having a head shot.
I know there are people who resist putting up a head shot because they’re afraid of discrimination. Yes, it’s out there. There are people who will think you’re too old or too young. Too ethnic or not ethnic enough. They may take an instant dislike to you because you remind them of a former boss or a neighbor they don’t like.
However, the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.
Despite its business focus, LinkedIn is considered social media. LinkedIn’s research shows that LinkedIn profiles with a photo get 21X more views and 9X more connection requests.
How To Look For A Job During The Coronavirus Outbreak
Concerns about the Coronavirus are growing daily. It dominates the news and kitchen-table conversations. Here in Connecticut, events are being postponed or cancelled, some because of a State of Connecticut mandate.
If you’re looking for a new job or want to be prepared in case you need to, you’ll need to adjust your job search strategies.
Several months ago, I created a basic job search plan. I’ve adapted it here to be used during our current public health emergency.
The plan includes job search preparation (PREP) and continuing activities (ONGOING). If you’re actively looking, as in you really want to find a job, follow A activities. If you’re passively looking, you’re open but not in any hurry, P is for you.
How To Take The Nightmare Out Of Networking
You’ve probably heard that many jobs aren’t advertised. While stats indicating 70% to 80% of jobs are unadvertised are dated, most career professionals agree that the best way to land a job is through a referral.
While job board have their place, spending all your time applying to jobs online isn’t practical. Neither is expecting recruiters to contact you, even if your LinkedIn profile and other social media platforms are stellar.
While LinkedIn is still favored by recruiters, its popularity has declined. In 2018 LinkedIn dropped to 77%, down from 92% the previous year, followed by Facebook at 63% according to Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey. Survey results show that 25% of recruiters are now sourcing candidates on Instagram.
Just remember, recruiters don’t work for you, they work for the employer. They are online looking for candidates to fill specific positions. More precisely, they are looking for a square peg to fit into a square hole. If you are a round peg you’re out of luck.
Don’t Rely On Job Boards To Find A Job (Do This Instead)
Job boards are not the holy grail. Yes, applying online should be part of your job search strategy. The operative word being “part.”
One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is relying on online job postings to find a job.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending your day at the computer responding to job postings. It doesn’t take a lot of effort. You can do it at home wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt while watching TV.
At the end of the day, knowing you’ve applied to 30 jobs, gives you a sense of accomplishment. But, it’s a false sense of accomplishment.
The truth is, focusing on job boards isn’t the best use of your time.
It’s more effective to take a strategic, multipronged approach.
At the beginning of your job search make a list of 10 or so companies you’d like to work for. These are your Target Employers. Contact people in your network to see who can connect you with someone who works there. If the employee you connect with can get your resume in front of the hiring manager for your target position even better.
Set up Google alerts for each employer, that way you’ll be notified whenever they are in the news. Review the career section or job postings on their corporate websites, at least once a week.
As a former recruiter, I can say that almost every job I was trying to fill was listed on the company’s site. The only exceptions were “confidential” searches, generally when someone didn’t know they were being replaced.