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Monthly Archives: August 2011

You Are the Laziest Job Seeker EVER!

You Are the Laziest Job Seeker EVER!

I have to say, I have been a bit bogged down and late at returning calls, being pulled into too many directions lately, which is why my writing has slowed. Even though I have not been following up the way I would like with my candidates who are in process with me, I am still making an effort to be personal and detailed and if necessary apologetic. Yet, from job seekers, those passive and active alike, I am unimpressed by many.

Just in the last 2 weeks I have seen some atrocious responses both on the phone and via email regarding job postings. People, how many times do we have to tell you, write down the jobs you are responding to so that when I call you THE NEXT DAY or after the weekend, you know who the heck I am or can at least pretend!

Here are the email responses that I have seen from sales professionals in the 65-100k range responding to a direct email that has an extremely detailed job description with salary, benefits, industry and expectations in the 350+ word job posting. I point this out only because I know that there are a lot of scam and BS job postings and emails that get sent out, which is why I TOOK MY TIME to be as detailed as possible. So in return here is what I got (and these were people with good resumes):

  • I’m very interested in the attached information. Please let me know the next step.
  • I’ll talk to you!!
  • Hello–  I am interested in this position.
  • when is a good time
Please let me clarify that all 4 of the above were in response to very long, detailed emails that included my name and not ONE of these candidates addressed me with my name. They read what they wanted to and most likely responded from their phones. THEY did not sign their names or include their phone numbers which means that I had to go back to CareerBuilder to look them up… well guess what YOU MOVE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST THAT WAY! Oh yeah and this is to assume that your email address comes over with your name or that I am going to search you by your email address.
Let me also say that the one fragmented sentence response is RIDICULOUS! Get a standard cover letter and copy and paste it and put my name in it at least! We know you are using it to send to all of your employers, that is ok, it makes us feel better.
We are looking for you to appear a bit interested, share some brief, but specific statements of why YOU would be good in X POSITION IN X TYPE OF INDUSTRY, or what ever it is you are responding to. If this is the type of follow up you have, seriously you are raising concerns as potential employees and I haven’t even spoken with you yet.
So I am not going to dig back through Careerbuilder to find you again, yes I most likely saved you in a folder or put you on my work list, but still, your lack of investment in the process makes me think you are flighty. A recruiter can be working on anywhere from 10-50 different jobs in all types of areas and requirements, move yourself to the top by selling yourself on the fact that you want the job. A recruiter doesn’t want to sell you on a job, they want to talk to you about your experience first, understand your expectations and experiences and then talk about the opportunity if it fits.
Do you know why they do this? So that you can’t tailor your answer to what you think they want to hear. It isn’t because they hold the key to some secret box with all of the jobs in the world, they just don’t have the time to dig through the fluff to get to what you are really after.
Even if you have 3 interviews this week and the job they are presenting is #3 on the list, if it is a job  you would like to hear more about then put your best foot forward if not, you don’t have a shot.

Where Are Your Boundaries?

Where Are Your Boundaries?

I have been noticing more and more a lack of boundaries and manners for that matter, but we can save the manners for another day. Not just with personal relationships but those between employees, managers, customers and businesses, the list goes on. We have cell phones, lap tops and Ipads to keep us connected to one another and LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to know when and how you are working or living. Couple this with the truth that many of us have a drive to succeed, hate missing out on things, can’t say no and want to please those around us not just by being mediocre but by being exceptional.

Can we really be exceptional without being completely available and at the call of our bosses and clients whenever they might need us? In his book, The Four Hour Work Week, Author Timothy Ferriss asks his readers to do something quite bold and that is put an out of office on your email and your voicemail that you accept and return calls and emails during very specific times, I know this sounds impossible. Think of it this way, even if you are checking your email, you don’t really need to respond to a non-emergent request and sometimes/most times the person may have figured it out on their own. What is difficult is that you may not know how to differentiate between emergent and non-emergent requests any longer. Be careful if you are reading and then going back to answer later, you may be taking up just as much if not more time looking at it twice but it does help to create a habit. The bottom line is our inboxes and voicemails are sometimes full of issues, questions, sales calls, etc… that just aren’t relevant.

Don’t check your email/voicemail constantly & remove the little widget that tells you that you have new email.

I agree with Mr. Ferriss, people are addicted to it and are wasting time.

If you have a manager that is constantly adding more to your plate and you keep taking on new tasks, set up some boundaries. Let him or her know that you would be happy to get to that but it won’t be until next week because you are currently working on X & Y right now that will take you through Monday. Be realistic and set a timeline that you can successfully meet. This works for customers/clients too; let people know where they fall in the list of priorities.

Taking a new order or working with a new customer? Stick to the service/sales plan that is in place or that you have been dreaming would be in place. This is the perfect time to create good habits that have boundaries. It is much more difficult to create boundaries with the customer you have had for 10 years, you know they get the most attention, special treatment and service calls from you the owner, but you may not have time to give your new customers this exact treatment and that is OK. Trust that the service person you have hired is as more than capable as you knew them to be when you hired them and let them take over.

In fact, put an escalation person in between you and the service person so that you are a step removed. TIME SAVER & it provides some ownership and allows decision making outside of you.

Other Boundaries?

  • To Friend Request Accept or Not? Future Post
  • Creating a family/friendly work environment but maintaing a business first culture
  •  Establish written policies on managers dating subordinates
  • If co-workers are dating sit down and discuss expectations and boundaries at the office separately and as a couple
  • STOP ABUSING YOUR FAMILY WITH YOUR EMAIL. Do you want your obituary to be about how loving, fun and caring you are not about what a great provider and business person.

Find a Way to Hire or Help a Veteran

Find a Way to Hire or Help a Veteran

I worked a great deal with the Veteran’s Outreach Center while I was a recruiting manager in Rochester as a volunteer. I have had some incredible experiences through volunteering with the VOC, much of my work was in job coaching and resume review but I also helped with a silent auction that the NHRA in Rochester put on that raised money for different local programs. We had a young gentleman who got up and speak and give thanks for the money we were raising and it turned out that young man didn’t even have a bed to sleep on. He went from fighting in a war to sleeping on the floor in his own country, someone had an extra bed that they were able to donate, but I can tell you that no one left the room that evening without thinking about that young man and all of his fellow service men and women.

This is something I need to get back involved with here in my new home, so I thought I would share some of the resources I found. If you are looking for facts and figures of displaced, homeless or unemployed vets, they are out there and they will shock you. I just wanted to share what YOU can do about it.

First of all, for business owners, their are tax incentives for hiring vets both short term and long term that you should look in to and additional dollars for hiring disabled veterans. If you are looking for leadership skills, time management, professionalism and the soft skills that can not be taught, such as diligence, you should look to hire a vet. I was in a meeting the other day and there was a representative from ESGR (Employer Support of Guard & Reserve) who was giving some astounding numbers of reservists that are no longer the weekend warriors of years, they are deployed too.

As a civilian citizen it is our duty to serve and protect those that are serving and protecting us abroad. To do everything in our means to assist them in re-establishing their lives here at HOME. How?

  • Volunteer with ESGR in your community, helping with Mock Interviews or Job Searches (even if you are in a job search yourself) We ALWAYS learn through teaching
  • Check out the Veteran’s Administration to see about Welcome Home Events or other ways to volunteer in your area
  • Run some errands! That’s right, disabled vets need rides to medical appointments, interviews, or even to the store; are you going to the grocery store?
  • Save a life, yes you can even volunteer after extensive training, with suicide prevention hotlines.
I hope this got you thinking about new and creative ways to volunteer or why if you can, hire a vet. I am always pushing to get out and act rather than just sit back and react, this is a great way to keep moving all of us forward.
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You Can’t Just Will Things to Happen: Take it From My Garden

This was my first year with my very own garden and I had to be a bit resourceful since I don’t really have a lot of area that is flat, with good soil, that receives the right amount of sun, or that has grass (most of it is rocky or clay with roots from wild trees and bushes). My partner in crime and I got the site ready with the help of a serious mountain man I found on Craigslist who was willing to rototill my plot for $45, I couldn’t even rent the machine for that price, my father put the fence in and my mom and I did the planting. We planted most everything within the fence to keep the rabbits, deer, turkey and bear out, but the zuccini and squash we put on the side of a hill because for the most part animals don’t touch it.

Update, my tomatoes are amazing, the peppers leave much to be desired, but I have heard that because we had unseasonably hot weather this year that may have caused it, and my zuccini is awful! Zuccini is one of those things that can thrive just about anywhere and I have the personality that believes that if you work hard enough things will fall in to place. Not this time, I have added extra fertilizer of all types, been watering religiously and still nothing, so now I have moved 3 plants in the fence where my beans were and am crossing my fingers.

What did I learn:

  1. I wasn’t prepared: I did not do my research and plant at the right time. Be sure before you go into anything head long you have as much knowledge as possible to ensure the best results rather than something that is mediocre.
  2. Run a test, I could have tested the soil or even put a test plant in. Role play what conversation, decision, etc… you are making with a friend or colleague or at minimum record yourself and listen back. You will learn what to adjust and gain confidence.
  3. Stop forcing things and follow the truth. The truth is I had a VERY strong feeling that the zuccini wasn’t going to grow well but I planted it anyway and was STILL disappointed when it didn’t produce. STOP applying for jobs that aren’t the right fit, asking for a promotion that you haven’t clearly defined, complaining about something purely because you are having a bad day!
  4. Be flexible & open to change, I moved the plants. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results. Is this you? Try to take an hour or two and solve your problem differently. Whatever it is you are looking to solve, getting a job, changing careers, getting a raise or more responsibility (which by the way don’t always go hand in hand at first) stop and try and look at things from another perspective, it could really change you and your outcome.
I will keep you posted on the garden but I will say that next year I am sure I will have even better results because of all that I have learned. One thing I won’t change, my scarecrow!

Tired, Depressed, Miserable: Sorry That Position Has Already Been Filled

Did you ever just want to stop moving forward? Feel like you are just spinning your wheels but not gaining traction? Are you the person that is bringing your team down or do you work with someone who is bringing you down?  Are you resentful in the office or in your job search?
This type of attitude makes me crazy. I really can’t comprehend it and see know real place for it therefore the following may be a bit harsh, so if you aren’t in the mood for a push this morning,  I would stop here.
This is a get off your tail and do something about it or stop complaining and get to work message brought to you by me! We are all tired, depressed, miserable, etc… somedays, but not every day, not even the majority of the time we are at work, that is just ridiculous! Whether we are gainfully employed, in between jobs, one of the 99ers, or nearing retirement we all have the ability to feel this way. We need to feel all types of things, that is what makes us human beings, but this type of mentality is toxic for everyone.
Being/living in this state of mind is  like calling in sick when you aren’t really sick (unless you have strep or mono). Some people just need to look or act miserable to compete with the angry, disatisfied person next to them or they feel like they some how got shorted so now it is just their way of “getting back” but getting back at who? What kind of point does this prove?
STOP THE BLAME GAME.
  1. First of all the blame game isn’t a game at all, it is just ridiculous.
  2. If you are negative about your search, your former employer, your colleague, your career, IT SHOWS
  3. You can’t move forward if you are living in the past
  4. Companies want to hire more than just a talented person, they want to hire someone who will contribute to their culture in a positive way. They already have the burnt out miserable, I am ready to retire person position filled.
  5. You don’t get a promotion for showing up and doing your job that is what a paycheck is for
  6. Colleague, boss, client, etc… under your skin? do more than turn the other cheek, kill ’em with kindness
  7. If you really aren’t happy, you are the only person who can change your situation SO DO IT
  8. Understand that your hobbies & friends are different than your colleagues, bosses and job description
  9. Carry yourself as if you would like to work for you
  10. If you really need a break, take one. But while you are on that break don’t sit and mope or sleep all day, make it a point to get motivated with something that makes you feel good.
  11. Remember: If it was easy everyone would be doing it (IMPORTANT TO NOTE)
  12. If you really don’t want to change, see the problems only exist in others or see nothing to improve within yourself, well you are exactly the reason why others get promoted.
It is more than being positive, you have to discover what is getting in the way of your success and many times we are in our own way. The good news is that you don’t have far to look, the bad news is it is easier and safer to blame the outside world or others.

If You Tell Me Someone Passed Away I Will Never Ask You How (but I will give my condolences)

It is only in this country, or so I believe, that people start an introductory conversation with, “And what do you do?” or “I am a …”
This is a problem because we are now overwhelmingly a nation of consumers and no one wants to say, I shop all the time, it isn’t acceptable. We want to be creators and contributors. We want to talk about how we affect the companies we work for or even the world at large. When we aren’t working we cannot do this. Or can we?
I am challenging you to really dig inside of yourself and find what it is that motivates and inspires you because what I am asking you to do next is tough!
CREATE A NEW 60 SECOND INTRO. (what you say to people when you meet them & they ask what you do)
  1. DO NOT START WITH, “WELL, I USED TO…” >>>>> BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. It makes me depressed and I am not going to ask you what happened. Just like if you tell me you lost a parent, I never ask how. People don’t want to talk about sad or depressing topics, that is what the news is for.
  2. Talk about what you like to do, but be concise. Don’t ramble on. (hobbies, volunteering, reading, without becoming too personal, that skinny dipping pool you found is not a good place to start)
  3. Don’t make it a sales pitch about why they should hire you. The intro should be the same whether you are meeting a new friend or a potential employer.
  4. BE YOU (See #3)
  5. DO NOT START WITH, “WELL I WOULD LIKE TO…” see #1 even if you are pitching to an investor you need to gain a connection and credibility first.
  6. You can still say that, “I am … an engineer or a customer service person in the world of optics” if that is your specialty but I want you to push beyond that.
  7. Create engagement, remember that you are a likeable person, you have friends (see your LinkedIn or Facebook pages for a reminder), so don’t over think this, you are merely making a connection
  8. Understand that the reason this seems challenging is because
  • YOU are helping to redefine how we talk to one another.
  • YOU are changing what is important  in your life.
  • YOU are challenging others to understand what is important to them.
  • YOU are defining yourself by something other than your career.
Just like anything, practice. What comes with practice is imperfection, falling down, stumbling and a lack of confidence. But over time you will reverse all that comes with something new and you will feel much more likely to introduce yourself to someone at a networking event without feeling desperate, needy or any of those other negative feelings.
Let us know how this went, what positive things happened? For instance someone asked you a question about yourself after you finished.
What could have went better? The after the fact lessons will always help others.

Back to School Time: Out of Work By Choice or By Chance, Lessons for You

I must be in teacher mode this week, maybe it is all of the tax commercials and back to school supplies?

I was reading a post the other day from a colleague of mine, Hannah Morgan the Career Sherpa, where I was nodding in agreement the entire post. She was writing about pushing forward even though it is so hard to do and that life is about simple choices. That there is a grieving process that happens when you loose your job, even if it is by choice. I chose to leave my job for a chance at love and a different lifestyle and it was difficult but you have to be disciplined. Was it hard to give up networking several times a week, volunteering with a wonderful group of HR professionals, making change happen, creating connections? YES! Working 65+ hours a week, being on call at a moments notice, putting out fires? sometimes…

When you are out of work, if you were fired or downsized, people look at you and feel guilty for having a job, they also don’t really know what it is like to be out of work or to look for a job. My biggest, most important piece of advice I ever gave anyone, especially those who were working and looking to leave, was that it is easier to find a job when you have a job. This for you right now might mean taking or staying in some “mediocre, entry level, I would never do that” (your thoughts, not mine) job.

IT IS EASIER TO FIND A JOB WHEN YOU HAVE A JOB. WHY?

  1. You dress better (even if you work in fast food, you are in a uniform that is clean when you start)
  2. You are naturally more engaged in the outside world (you have no choice you are in it and not held up in your house)
  3. You have things to talk about with your friends, family and your significant other beyond your search
  4. You HAVE confidence even if you aren’t in your field of choice, you gain confidence because you are able to contribute
  5. You are forced to manage your time again, which means you prioritize, which means you are thinking like a business person
CREATE A TO DO LIST EVERY DAY.
  1. The day gets ahead of you. It gets ahead of all of us, but you are on a timeline.
  2. You have household chores to accomplish and job search work. You need to split your time appropriately
  3. Schedule free time for you, you’ll feel less guilty if it is planned and won’t steal it from the time that you should be spending on job search (or chores)
  4. Get outside. Now is a great time of year to go to the farmers market as part of your grocery shopping. Weed your yard. Just breath some clean air and be grateful for your day.
  5. Do something athletic every day for a minimum of 30 minutes. Yoga, Basketball, a walk around the block (at least 1 mile).
  6. Complete #5 by 9am (that means starting no later than 8:15am)
  7. Research 5 companies every week that are within 1 hour of your current place of residence
There is so much great advice out there for you, but you are the only person who can put it into action, so go do something!
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