Be prepared

The time will come when you will either consider or be forced to look for a new position.  There should always be a few things on your mind in these times.

 

Active or passive.

Active is when you are fully engaged in a search and you are more in “selling” mode than anything else.  Make it your job, or second job.  Spend the time to research companies, positions, chat boards, post questions on Twitter, etc.  Active candidates are also in a touchy area, don’t over sell and don’t undersell.  Know when to speak, when to add details and when to be precise with your answers.  Companies are interviewing numerous candidates for each position and you want to make sure you are at the top of the list.  This is really the bread and butter for recruiters, have a req fill a req and move on.  Make sure you are prepared even when a recruiter calls without notice.  If you need to, schedule a time to speak with them when you may provide your undivided attention and to make the best impression.

 

Passive is when you have a job and receive calls.  The candidate believes they have the control of these conversations because they do not have to do anything, but this is where top recruiters prove themselves.  Recruiters will turn this more into a conversation, probing and networking are commonly the most advantageous avenues to proceed.  Candidates need to remember it is all about perception so be courteous even if interest is low.

 

Jobs

Keep a list of what you apply for.  I know we are in a paperless world, or strive to be.  Figure out what works for you in your job search.  Create folders for positions or companies will help you to straighten positions out.

 

If you print them out, put them in folders, labeled with a copy of the position from the site where you applied and a copy of your resume (only if you have multiple copies of your resume that you distribute).  This will allow you better organization for follow up and, when the recruiter calls, you will be able to immediately refer to your notes.

 

If you save them on your computer, create a folder (Job Search) and copy/paste a document folder for easy access.

 

Both work, what is your preference.

 

Network

Networking isn’t always about being social.  Sure, there are the social sites (Facebook and MySpace) and the professional sites (ZoomInfo, LinkedIn and Spoke) but it is good to mix your messages at times.  If you are active (and not working), let people know if they hear of anything to let you know.  If you are active (and working), obviously be more discreet in your advertising.  If you are passive, just keep your name out there just in case… it never hurts.

 

These are three quick tips to keep in your mind throughout your career.

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How to Approach Work

Work is a part of your life and for most of us it is what you spend the most time doing every day, week, month and year.  What does this mean?  If you are happy and motivated then it is a good place.  If it truly is work or a job, then something needs to happen – make it better or have a goal of finding something better.

 

Work is a huge stress on anyone and the stress often carries over to other parts of a person’s life.  Here are a few things to consider.

 

    Be inspired – Enjoying your work is critical, not only to your happiness but also to your success.  If you are not happy now, become inspired.  What are you able to do to make an improvement, to challenge yourself or to step outside of your comfort zone.  Maybe a bit cliché but you will be surprised of what you are capable of doing.

 

    Dress for success – As the saying goes, “dress for the position you want, not the position you have.”  This always resonated with me.  Look at your manager and your managers peers, how do they dress?  Look up the hierarchy in the company and see how each person dresses and what position they have.  This could be eye opening.

 

    Network – For some of us, meeting someone new or introducing yourself is not the most comfortable activity.  This maybe very beneficial in the long-term though.  Have you ever played “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon?”  Networking is exactly like that, everyone knows someone and your network will spread into areas you never imagined and potentially open possibilities for you.

 

    Keep it professional – This is not about not having fun but watch what you do.  Do you have an account with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or any other professional/social networking site?  Companies are able to view this so be cautious of what you write and/or display.  That picture of you drinking with your friends… is it needed?  Sure, they are funny to you and your friends but what about a potential employer.

 

Just think a little more long term and good things happen.

What Is A Good Recruiter?

What Should You Look For?  Wanted to put together a list of things to keep in mind as you work with recruiters either actively or passively:

 

1 – Whose best interest do they have in mind, your career or their pockets?

2 – Do they present you with the “right” opportunity as per your conversations and not something outside of your career path?

3 – Do they provide insight as to how to progress in your career and offer feedback or suggestions?

4 – Are they responsive?

5 – Do you interact well and do you have a level of trust?

6 – Do you find value in this relationship?

7 – Are you comfortable networking?

Having worked on both the corporate recruiting side as well as for a recruiting company, I understand each role is a bit unique and individuals tend to feel more comfortable with a corporate recruiter.  Do not let this dissuade you from working with a recruiter but you need to be selective; the more recruiters you work with the greater the chance of a company being presented with your resume by more than one company and that is never a good thing for the candidate.

 

Own your job search, not just for your internet searches but with recruiting companies.  This is your career, take ownership.

Do you talk with Recruiters?

I had a moment of reflection while driving into the office today, why do people choose not to speak with recruiters?  Years ago there was the “used car” salesperson analogy and that still maybe throw around today but this is more of a problem with the candidate.  It is up to each person to determine which recruiter is good to speak with and network.

 

Sure, there are recruiters and recruiting companies out there looking to make a placement and do not have the wellbeing of the candidate in mind.  There are recruiters out there looking to develop a relationship, get to know you, network and if a suitable position arises, let you know about it.  There are also corporate recruiters working for a particular company possibly trying to reach you but with a stigma surrounding some recruiters, everyone pays the price.

As much as a recruiter may want to speak with you, you should take a few moments to connect with them.  Before they go into anything about their need, find out about them and their company to determine if this is worth your time.

In today’s economy, it is in everyone’s interest to take a 10 minute call and filter out whom may meet your criteria or specific needs.  Does this recruiter specialize in a particular industry, particular company, particular position, etc.?  Does the recruiter have a position, want to network or want to send your resume out to their clients and see what happens?

You are in control, but having this conversation maybe in your best interest either now or in the future.  Answer the call or return the call/e-mail, it maybe turn out to be something positive for you.

What to read

In interacting with friends and professionals there is a lingering question I find that always comes up at one time or another, “what should I read”?  This seems like such a simple question and should be a simple answer but if you really dig into it, the answer really isn’t that easy.

 

Everyone has a favorite author or book or book series that they follow.  I am a Michael Crichton fan and am always quick to recommend any of his books.  Over time, I have found myself really analyzing this question and trying to surmise a better answer.

 

What I discovered is that anyone can and will pick up a book for pleasure reading and we all should do this.  But by recommending a professional book, publication or even blog is much more interesting.  Why?  In today’s vastly changing world, keeping updated with new trends, policy, technology and any other industry related news is highly beneficial.

 

As an HR professional, I gravitate first towards those blogs that feed my interest.  Blogs are great because they give varying insight from a diverse group (if you are reading this then I am not saying anything you don’t already know).  Blogs are a great start as sometimes you are directed or recommended to read other areas.

 

I also love to walk around Barnes and Noble to see what is new.  Yes, recruiting is recruiting but there are so many ways now with technology to be introduced or find people of interest.  Brushing up on new ideas always helps.  You can also find an older book that still makes a lot of sense such as a Dale Carnegie book.

 

Lastly, find out what magazines are best to read.  Sure, Time and Newsweek are great but find one that is more specific to your background.  If you are a teacher, a plumber, a recruiter, an IT developer, a sales manager, or anything else there is something for you.  Also, don’t be afraid to read anything surrounding where you want to go in your career.  Getting that insight and ideas in your mind now will only benefit you moving forward.

 

 

Recruiting on Twitter

So many companies are utilizing more cost effective methodologies to find candidates.  There is always a need for the Monster’s and CareerBuilder’s in the world but when you a recruiter and searching these sites, it truly is a race to try to identify and pick talent as quickly as possible knowing how many other companies are doing the same thing.

 

Twitter is beginning to get more and more use in the recruiting world.  Recruiters, including myself, have created accounts/profiles and are on there daily posting anything from “what am I doing”, an interesting article, or even positions they are searching currently.

 

As a job seeker, passive or aggressive, it is important to be tied into all avenues for a search or even to keep a pulse on the market.  There is a great application called TweetDeck which links directly to your Twitter account.  Here you may organize who you follow into subcategories.  I have a few categories:

  • News: CNN, Google News and my local newspapers
  • Friends: keep track of my non-professional connections
  • Sports: get the headlines just to keep updated
  • Professional: this is my favorite

In the “Professional” area I include those individuals Twitting about HR, Recruiting, and other industry trends.  I see brief job highlights, articles, and anything else that maybe of interest.

 

Get out there, create an account/profile and follow those that maybe of interest and see what is out there.  Expanding your network is never a bad thing and social networking is leading the way.

 

(Keith maybe followed on Twitter at @kufarms)

Employment History

In speaking with a number of people lately, even over the past years, I have seen a very disturbing trend in some people… job history.  This is a critical part of a person seeking employment and a critical factor in those considering one for employment.

 

Granted, the dotcom boom/bust is something that a number of people tried and is very easy to discuss.  But when you stay at a company for 2-3 years (or less) and do this continually, a red flag rises to an employer and they wonder if you will stay for 2-3 years and then move on again.

 

It is well documented about the enormous cost of hiring a new employee and thinking that a manager may need to do this again in a relatively short time is not appealing at all.

 

Too many candidates make light of their history and choices while others try to skip over it as if “if I don’t talk about it they won’t see it.”

 

My thoughts and appreciation lie with those who address it head on and make it almost an opening statement when discussing their background.  Talk about it, embrace it and explain what you learned from this and as a result what you are looking for now.  What did you learn and how has it made you improve professionally.

 

Concern is going to be there, how will you deal with it?

The value of a list

OK, so I put a lot of belief that my mind is a solid trap door of knowledge.  I can remember everything and don’t need any help.  What a load of bologna.

As the years go by, the less I seem to retain for my short term memory.  I try memory tricks, repetition, blah blah blah.

I have resigned to convert and become a list maker.  Yes, I admit I need the help.  But the ever pressing thought is what means is best.  Do I use my Palm and update this list and hope it syncs correctly.  Do I use my BlackBerry and hope it doesn’t crash or drop on me.  Do I use pen and paper… I know, I really said it.

I haven’t decided how but becoming a list maker is what it is going to take for me to stop being Mr. Magoo then I am all for it.