Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Whether you were forced to quit your job or decided to try something different for a change, there is a new career networking site for professionals to share information, resources and to aide in your next career move.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
1. Take a class
Classes help you build new skills, meet people, and expand your marketable offerings. Day classes or workshops can cost as little as $25. Find classes at your local Chamber of Commerce, professional organization, or community college. Be sure to network while you’re there! If you’re considering a career change, low-cost classes are also a great way to find gauge your aptitude in your field of interest.
2. Join an interest group
Try to make it an in-person, rather than online, interest group. Meeting people face-to-face is still the best way to network. Career- or industry-themed groups will help you network and learn new tricks. Non-career-themed groups will also help you meet people who could guide you to a new job.
Meetup.com has an extensive selection of themed meetups around the country. Social media outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn also host local groups. You can also look up local branches of national organizations, or try your local Chamber of Commerce.
Volunteer or do a pro bono project for your favorite nonprofit. Stretch yourself, do a good job, meet people, and boost your resume. Bonus: Help people while you’re at it. It’s win-win-win.
4. Attend a conference
Conferences stoke your creativity and provide excellent networking opportunities. You’ll meet major players in your field, learn about new innovations, and get a roundup of new opportunities. Conferences can be pricey. Consider it an investment–if you work the conference right, you’ll come out with invaluable new contacts and opportunities. If you have your own business, a conference also makes fantastic tax write-off.
5. Use social media
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, create one! Link up with friends and groups, then join industry-specific groups to learn more about happenings in your industry. Contribute to discussions so that people get to know you.
Try Twitter out. Send quality tweets. Build a network based on solid, interesting content. Follow people you admire. If give Twitter a fair try and still hate it, leave. At least you tried.
Set up a blog. Write quality content. Comment on other peoples’ blog posts. Follow bloggers you like. Build a network. Try it out–it might just go somewhere.
Join Facebook. Put positive content in your profile and on your Wall. Facebook, like any social media vehicle, can either be a tool or a time-waster. Harness it for your own good.
6. Join a job search group
Job-Hunt.org has a killer resource on societies, associations, and organizations that support job hunters. Social media outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn also host job search groups. Independent job search groups have also been cropping up around the country. Look for them on Craigslist or your local Chamber of Commerce. Ask around–your neighbor could be hosting one.
7. Learn a new language
Knowing a language opens you up to all kinds of new work possibilities. For example, knowing another langauge will give you an edge in most multinational corporations. If you get good at your language of choice, you can offer translation or interpretation services. You can even go work in your country of choice.
Have you built up a strong area of expertise over your career? Harness it for the benefit of others. Start by defining where and how you can help people. Set a price. Then email everyone in your network. Tell them what you’re doing. Ask if they know someone who could use your help. Once you start getting responses, business is just a few steps away.
(Entrepreneur Magazine has a great article on starting a consulting business.)
9. Set up a business
Even if your business only picks up occasional work at the beginning, having a legal entity in place will open you up to valuable tax write-offs. Do the paperwork (it’s easy). Devise a business plan and strategy, but don’t worry if it doesn’t immediately take off. You have about three years to be unprofitable before the IRS starts asking questions.
10. Teach a class
If you know a subject well, tell other people about it by teaching a class or workshop. You can market yourself, your services, and/or your business through the workshop. Contact your local community college. Research how much you have to charge if you rent a space yourself and market the workshop. Speak at a conference or tradeshow. Teach through your local Chamber of Commerce. Where there’s a venue, there is a way.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Here is an interesting article from ere.net, that talks about improving traffic to your social networking sites providing a few tips on how to engage your audience. ere.net - 6 Ways to succeed with social networking. Are there any other methods you have used for social networking that has been successful? Please share your ideas!
Friday, June 12, 2009
It can be difficult to get potential candidates interested in your company's open positions. How do you make active and passive candidates want to call back seeking more information about a new career move? These are some great-and as ere mentions-not so great tips talking about using the reticular activator part of the brain which separates boring information from the important and critical. Depending on how you formulate the information and questions to candidates, using these tactics can help increase the success of your recruiting efforts to find top qualified candidates.
ere.net (Full Story) How to Activate the Best Passive Candidates in the Federation
Some Great and Not-So-Great Reticular Activating Voice Mails
• Your mother called and told me she wanted you to consider this job. (This actually worked.)
• Your boss just called and strongly suggested you consider this job. (This didn’t work too well, but it’s worth a shot.)
• You’re the 87th person I’ve called for this senior-level creative director level position, and I haven’t found anyone creative yet. I hope you’re not like the other 86. Even if you’re not interested in the job, I’d love a new idea for a better voice mail.
• We’re trying to adopt the marketing concepts Obama used to become President. We’d like to talk to you, if you think you can help.
• Our team of seven ASIC design engineers is looking for a new leader. Two of them said they’d like that person to be you.
• We just opened a req for a new security analyst cadet for Star Fleet Academy’s Class of 2387. Is this something you’d like to explore? There is some travel involved.
• Have you heard the story about the priest and the rabbi who went into the bar across from Fenway? If not, I’d like to tell you about it and what it has to do with our new Plant Manager position.
• I call every person I’m referred to at least eight times before giving up. This is the 3rd call.
• (Name) just suggested I give you a call. He said you’re one of the best people he’s every worked with, and while you’re probably not now interested in our executive marketing position, he thought you’d know someone who would be. (This one always works if the name is important enough.)
There are a bunch of points and principles demonstrated by these types of messages. First, they’re marketing-oriented. Since they’re not boring, the candidate’s reticular activating system won’t filter them out. This is the critical point. While the person still might not call you back, at least you’ll get noticed. As your callback rate rises, fine tune your messages to get to the 80% threshold.
Now when the person calls you back, don’t blow it and lose your mojo. Don’t be shocked. Maintain your composure. If you don’t, you might say something stupid, like telling the person about the job. If the job has no interest, or it sounds boring, you’ll shut down the person’s reticular activating system, faster than a bear trap on a frigid day in Montana. Not only won’t you secure a great candidate, but also the possibility of any good referrals. (Here’s an article on this critical point you might find useful.)
So instead of flubbing it, keep the candidate interested with more compelling information and clever pre-planned pitches. Think of this as the old carrot and stick approach by withholding some critical information to induce the candidate to reveal more about herself. Here are some ideas on how to pull off this critical step:
• Once you get the person on the phone, just ask if she’d be open to explore a position if it represented a significant career move.
• The candidate is sure to say yes since he called you back. Then say, “Great. Could you give me a super short overview of your background. I’ll then give a snapshot of the opportunity, and if it sounds like something mutually worth pursuing, we can schedule a time to talk in more depth later.
• Don’t push the process. If there’s a relo involved, or if you’re not sure the candidate is ready to move quickly, suggest another call in a few days, after you’ve talked to the hiring manager. Alternatively, suggest there are other strong candidates you want to contact first before setting up a detailed conversation. For a high-achiever, competition is a great way to maintain or increase interest.
• Don’t be the pursuer. The idea here is to switch roles. If you can get the candidate to pursue you, and sell you on her competency and interest, you’ll not only close more deals, but compensation won’t be the decider.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Marketing is needed just about everywhere, even on tip jars. After all, how do you convince somebody to leave their change with you? These are some pretty neat and interesting concepts that different baristas have come up with for tip jars. 35 Tip Jars Designed to Make You Give More. Keep in mind, advertising campaigns can and should be just as creative! Enjoy!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
It's tough to land your field related career right after college. Although it certainly helps if you find a creative way to market yourself. Brandon Kramer and Christy Pregont came up with a different idea for a cover letter to present to Crispin Porter + Bogusky ad agency. Hope you enjoy! Found on AdFreak.com
Monday, June 8, 2009
How do you define a quality employee? Ere.net makes an interesting point when talking about recruiters focusing on cost-per-hire rather than skilled candidates. Take a look at these three steps from ere.net to prepare your hiring managers for tracking down quality employees.
ere.net - Candidate Quality Can Be Defined
Number 1: Establish specific competencies or traits that equal quality in the minds of your hiring managers and use it to assess candidates
Most hiring managers do not have any definition of a “quality employee.” Some managers say that they know a quality employee when they have one, but they struggle with a hard definition.
A recruiter’s job is to help them create that definition. The place to start is to unravel the skills, competencies, and traits of the best performers. Unravel the ones that really differentiate average and superior employees and make a list of those. A list should be short and clear, with levels of accomplishment included. It might look something like the diagram you see with this article. I usually try very hard to keep the list to two key items per topic.
It may also be very useful to look at the worst performers and see what it is they don’t have. By listing the characteristics that are common to both the best and the worst employees in a function, you will begin to develop a profile that can eventually be used for selection, performance management, and development. These characteristics could be traits such as willingness to compromise, an open attitude toward new ideas, or frugality in business dealings. Or they could be competencies such as the ability to create spreadsheets in a certain time, or the capability of editing complex documents. And they can also include a level of knowledge such as expert-level knowledge of Unix or of a manufacturing process.
Most likely any definitions of quality would include elements from each of these categories. Notice that these are all output-based measures — in other words, measures that can be seen or demonstrated in the work an employee does. They are the opposite of input-based measures such as length of experience or level of education. These types of measures tell you very little about the quality of a person’s performance.
You may need to partner with your internal organizational development group or with your training department to do this. It does take time and it takes willing managers to partner with you in the process. The result, though, will be a much clearer understanding of what kinds of people need to be sourced and hired.
Number 2: Educate hiring managers
Very few hiring managers know much about selection or about what it takes to assess a candidate. Even though you may have put all the managers though some sort of interview training, I am sure they have forgotten most of it and have used it less. Most of us are not disciplined nor can we expect the typical manager to become expert with these techniques. One area where recruiters can add value is to pre-screen and evaluate candidates against the criteria that you developed above. These criteria, remember, should have been determined in partnership with the managers. Each of you can use lists of these and behavioral interview questions or a variety of tests can be developed and used to measure these traits, competencies, and knowledge. Managers can help you determine how to weight the criteria, and they should be well aware of the consequences of using the criteria.
You can spend small amounts of time over a few weeks presenting bits of this information and moving the managers to understanding and acceptance. If you can, you could also hold seminars and use case studies and examples from your own organization to help managers understand how important it is to select people with the right skills and the right organizational fit and attitude.
Number 3: Investigate and experiment with new tools for screening and selection
It is still a bit surprising to me that very few firms are taking advantage of the many online tools that are emerging to help screen candidates before investing a large amount of time in interviews. By using the Internet and your corporate website, you can ask candidates to engage in a dialogue and mutual assessment process. While you are looking at their skills and fit, they can be looking at your organization and can make decisions on whether or not they like what they see. Many people I have spoken with have seen one side of an organization while interviewing, and another less attractive one after they are hired. There is still value in letting candidates email other employees for information about the company and work-life. There is a need for job previews and better job descriptions that are based on reality, not what we wish were true.
By defining up front what constitutes a quality candidate, you can remove much of the present frustration candidates have over why they were not chosen for an interview, and you can also reduce the number of unqualified candidates who apply. Many do so because they do not know or understand your definition of quality.
By working with hiring managers, getting them to write down and define for you the competencies and traits of successful employees, and by putting those to use in your screening and interviewing processes, you can improve candidate quality in a measurable way.