Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10 Great Last Minute Gifts for the Job Seeker's Soul

This holiday season buy a gift that will inspire, ignite and excite a job seeker's soul.  Think about the last time you opened a present and were truly excited to receive it. The best part about gift giving is knowing the person and what to give them.

Looking for a new job, particularly in one of the worst economic climates since the Great Depression, brings about frustration, a lack of energy and exhaustion. Those who are employed might not understand how difficult and tiring it actually is to job search, albeit full-time or part-time.  

Here are 10 great last-minute gift ideas for the today's job seekers:
  1. 30 or 60-minute massage (aha, relaxation)
  2. Fandango movie gift certificates (2 hours of mind-numbing release)
  3. 30 day subscription to TheLadders.com premium service
  4. New briefcase
  5. Nordstrom gift card to buy a new interviewing outfit
  6. Gift certificate for a new market-focused resume
  7. The hottest new job search book "Career Sudoku: 9 Ways to Win the Job Search Game"
  8. Fresh manicure (to use the day before an interview)
  9. Restaurant.com gift card (everyone deserves a night out)
  10. Babysitting services (for interview day or just to get away)
The best part about many of these is that you can log online, order the gift card and viola - shopping and the gift - are done in less than 10 minutes! Now that's a holiday gift that makes both of you happy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Feed Your Soul and Your Job Search

When was the last time you were frustrated with your job search? If you're like any many of the job seekers I have the pleasure of speaking with every day it was probably within the past week.  Looking for a new job is frustrating and tiring. Yes, for those of you who aren't looking for a job full-time, it's a tiring pursuit.

Job Search Drain
How can job searching be so damn draining on your body? What drains your body is your mind and your mental state. When you had a job you were used to a routine that likely included waking up, getting dressed and heading to work for a day of productivity before coming back home for the night. Being out of work also means being out of a daily routine and that weighs on your mind, body and your soul. According to FamilyDoctor.org, losing your job can cause everything from a change in appetite to high blood pressure, extreme tiredness or insomnia and heart palpitations. 

Fuel Your Job Search
Fuel Your Job Search. Feed Your Soul
If you want to fuel your job search you need to fuel your soul. This time of the year is better than any to find ways to feed your soul.  If you love children, support Operation Smile. Are you a traveling nomad? Fuel your soul and volunteer abroad with Cross Cultural Solutions. Want to stay close to home and explore different ways to fuel your soul and job search? Check out VolunteerMatch

Benefits of Fueling Up
Does feeding your soul really fuel your job search? According to the United Way, in addition to the sheer soul improving feelings of giving back (which I know is why you want to do it, right?), your resume gets a kick too. Employers like to see that you're keeping your teamwork skills active and it's a great way to make networking contacts. Volunteering can also be included as a current activity in the "community involvement" section of your resume showing that you're engaged and care about the community at large.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sales Job Recruiting Event December 1st

If you've been waiting for a chance to land the coveted face-to-face interview, here it is. For sales professionals looking for entry to mid-level jobs, some that have earning potential upwards of $200K, get your resume polished because Wednesday, December 1st you have the chance to interview with companies that are hiring. Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, December 1st
Time: 9a.m. to 1p.m.
Where: Embassy Suites, 707 East Butterfield Rd., Lombard, IL 60148
Who Should Attend: Entry to Mid-level Sales Professionals
What Companies Are Hiring:
  • Forest Pharmaceuticals | Pharmaceutical Sales Reps
  • New York Life | Financial Sales Reps, $200K potential
  • Prudential Financial | Financial Services Reps, includes base salary
  • Paychex | Outside Payroll Sales Reps and Account Managers
  • Sales Jobs Network Direct | Medical Equipment Reps, Specialty Pharmaceutical Sales Reps
  • Westwood College | Enrollment Counselors

Avoid The Competition
These companies will be on-site holding face-to-face interviews. This is your chance to bypass the resume overload and get in front of hiring managers. Meet in-person and sell yourself to the company. Let them know why you are the right person for the job and avoid the competition of applying online where 90% of resumes get thrown in the trash.

To be considered for these positions, attendance at this event is strongly encouraged. Event Sponsorship by Sales Job Network who advises interested candidates to bring 15 copies of their resume.

3 Tips for Interview Success
  1. Dress Professionally - Wear a traditional black, gray or navy blue tailored suit that you're comfortable in and remember to polish your shoes (and nails ladies). Keep jewelry to a minimum.
  2. Fresh Breath is Best - Keep a pocket or purse full of Listerine breath strips or mints, it's a good investment in your future. Avoid chewing gum.
  3. Be Yourself - When you're in the interview, maintain your self-confidence and keep your nerves at bay by being yourself.
Guarantee Yourself an Interview
The event sponsors are expecting a great turnout, from both candidates and additional employers. To ensure you get the interview you want, and possibly more interviews, reserve your space by pre-registering online here.

Best of luck to everyone who attends the event. If you know of an upcoming event in your area, send it to us and we'll be happy to spread the word.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Letter For When You Don't Get the Job

You told yourself not to get your hopes up, but you did anyway. In your heart you knew this was going to be "the one", the job that finally came through for you. You just knew it.

The phone rang, or your inbox chimed. They selected another candidate. Even worse, they chose you but they have a hiring freeze and your position is on hold, indefinitely. What now?

Write a Thank You Letter
Get your pen, or fingers, ready and start writing. Remember that 27.3% of new hires come from employee referrals and your (non)hiring manager is one of those employees, as is the human resources manager that worked with you through the interview process.

Among the Best
In today's fierce job market place, and we all know it's fierce out there, you want to be known as one of the best. What better way than to send a "thank you for not hiring me" letter? When you consider that a mere 5% of candidates send thank you letters after an interview, you are certain to stand out when you send a thank you after being told they selected a different candidate.

What to Write
Keep your letter simple, concise, professional and polite. This letter is the time to say "thank you" and express your continued interest in the company. Here's a sample letter:

Dear Steve:

I would be lying if I said I'm anything but keenly disappointed that I wasn't your final choice for the (job title) position. However, knowing how professionally and thoroughly each candidate was interviewed, and having made it to the "final (number)", I'm also honored to have been on that short list. I appreciate that your job of selection was very, very difficult.

It was a pleasure getting to know you and seeing how well your team works together.  (Customize this area: You are a skilled and rare manager. I particularly appreciated how well your team works together and sincerely hope that sometime in the future we have the opportunity to work together.)

I wish you and your team continued success. Thank you again for all your efforts on my behalf; I look forward to seeing you at (event..e.g. one of the area association meetings).

Ethan Richards

Who to Send It To
In today's market it has become more common that there are 2, 3, 4 even 10+ interviews in many cases. When that's the case, who do you send the thank you letter to? Unlike an interview thank you note which goes to each person you meet with, this is a far more select group of people.

You always want to send it to the human resources person, ideally the recruiter or HR manager. The other person is the decision maker or hiring manager. In some cases, you can also include the next level up if you met with the person face-to-face and feel it's an appropriate decision that will be well received by both that person and the decision-maker.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Effective, Easy and Free Coaching

Career Coach. Life Coach. Business Coach. Executive Coach. 

Coaching is effective; studies show that coaching has a 500% return on investment. When working with a career coach, your self-confidence increases by 52%. How do you gain the benefits of career coaching or life coaching if your budget can't afford $150 or $250/session?

Step 1: Decide if coaching is right for you by asking yourself this question:
Do I want to change my life/career/health?

Step 2: Identify coachable goal(s) to create results
Do you want a new job?
Do you want to lose weight?
Want to make more money?
What about being happier?
Adding to your net worth?

Step 3: Write down 10-15 questions that directly correlate to your coachable goal(s).
Here are some example questions:
On a scale of 1-10, how happy was I today?
Did I eat healthy & balanced today?
What did I do to move my job search forward today?

Step 4: Find a friend, peer, colleague to be your peer coach.
Have your peer coach do Steps 1-3.

Step 5: Set a time to do your peer coaching calls every day, seven days a week.

Make a commitment to each other and peer coach, at the same time each day, for at least 30 days. At the end of 30 days, get together for a results and recognition session. Track your progress throughout the coaching month and celebrate the success each of you has made. Recognize your peer coach for the work they've done with you, and thank each other for coaching you to success.

Have good results? Go for 60 days this time - who needs New Year's Resolutions when you have a peer coaching system already in place!

P.S. - As a professional expert coach, I have my own peer coach that I do this with daily at 7a.m. It's a great system I believe in, that works.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Top 5 Ways Social Media Can Get You Fired

Stories about employers catching their staff online during working hours are nothing new but getting fired for it? It's happening more often than you might think. Why?

Employees are posting YouTube videos about their companies that are, lets just say, less than positive reflections of the company. These social media faux pas are tough to manage when posted by customers but when posted by employees, they can be managed by terminating them. According to a study released by Proofpoint, Inc, 21% of companies have disciplined employees for violating social networking policies vs. 13% in 2008 and 9% of those companies had fired an employee for violating these same policies, up 5% from just two years ago.

Anyone having flashbacks to the Dominos Pizza YouTube video showing an employee sticking cheese up his nose and passing gas on the food? Yep, that's what I'm referring to...not quite what Domino's was thinking about.

# 1: Violate company policy
Matthew Azzano, an employee at Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility in OH, was fired after he was found to be posting threatening and racial comments on his Facebook page. Why? It was a direct violation of company policy and procedure.

# 2: Badmouth your customers
Ashley Johnson,  a former waitress in North Carolina, was fired for complaining about her customers on Facebook. "Thanks for eating at Brixx" she wrote before using profanity and calling the customers "cheap" in her post.

#3: Post inappropriate pics
A high school teacher in GA was forced to resign when her principal questioned her Facebook page, which included pictures of her holding wine, beer and an expletive.

# 4: Trash talk the boss
Common sense should rule here but, not in this case. A young lady in the UK was fired after she posted this on her Facebook page: "OMG, I HATE MY JOB!! My boss is a total pervvy (sic) w**ker, always making me do s**t stuff just to p**s me off!! W**ker!
The boss responded with a few comments of his own, ending with "And lastly, you also seem to have forgotten that you have two weeks left on your six-month trial period. Don't bother coming in tomorrow. I'll pop your P45 in the post and you can come in whenever you like to pick up any stuff you've left here. And, yes, I'm serious."

# 5: Call in Sick, then Post about it
A Swiss insurance worker called in sick claiming she needed to lie in the dark and couldn't sit in front of a computer all die. Problem? She was caught online, and on Facebook, by a colleague. Her boss fired her claiming she was untrustworthy rather than because of her Facebook activity.

Facebook and Twitter both posted year over year growth at over 50% which means you're likely active on one, if not, both of these popular social networks. If you're going to post, tweet, or socialize online, be savvy and use it to your advantage.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Interview Etiquette

As I sit here in my office preparing for a speaking engagement in San Diego next week I find myself distracted by the engineers welding on my heating system. 5 minutes they told me...3 1/2 hours ago. So often, what we're told or expect is different than what we receive. That's how I stumbled upon today's blog topic, Interview Etiquette.

How often have you shown up to an interview only to have it be completely different than what you expected? To be fair, this happens on the other side of the table too. In fact, it happens more than you think. Earlier this week I was speaking about interview stories, similar to the ones in this blog post, while on the radio during a social media marathon discussing my book, "Career Sudoku", and shared that these stories help job seekers improve their skills by learning from other's mishaps.  On with the learning...

Let's use dating as an analogy. Consider the in-person interview a first-date, there's the "are they the one" question lingering in both your minds. You both want this to be the right fit; the "ONE". They're tired of interviewing candidate upon candidate only to be disappointed and you're tired of going on interview after interview only to have your hopes shot down.

Just like a first date though, there are some rules to the game, or etiquette standards, that you need to follow to give yourself a winning chance to landing the job.

No Kids
As an aunt to four amazing nephews, I know how cute those little guys can be and just how manipulative they get when they want to go somewhere. This is not the time to give in. Interviews, and for that matter, dates, are not a place for children. Hire a babysitter and book a back-up sitter. (This is not based on a true story; it is a true story.)

Eat Before You LeaveDo some interviews happen over lunch or dinner? Yes. If that's the case, you'll be notified by the company in advance. Otherwise, eat in advance. Do not bring your lunch to an interview where the hiring manager is not eating and explain that you're running behind, didn't have time to eat and are "starving". (This is also a true story).

The Power of Assistants
If you've ever been one, you already know this. If you haven't and you treated one poorly, you know this as well. However, this is where you learn the less "do unto others as you would have done unto you". One V.P., Human Resources told me that their Receptionist started using Instant Messaging to tell them which candidates were polite, professional and seemed put-together. She became so good at predicting which applicants to hire that the interview panelists now message her for inside information before they'll even talk to the candidates.

Respect Boundaries
When an interview is going well personal topics, such as kids or hobbies, may come up. While that's a good sign and it's nice to discuss these things, be careful to respect the boundaries and realize you're still on a "first date". Realize that you've only been with this person for an hour and avoid getting too personal by discussing religion, politics and the like.

Fresh Breath
Do you remember the last time you talked to someone with bad breath? Of course you do. Who wants to interview a victim of bad breath? Thankfully everyone from Listerine to Lifesavers have invented all sorts of tongue papers and mints to kill this for you. What you want to steer clear from is gum. Never chew gum in an interview. It can fly out of your mouth while answering a question (it's happened) or you may need to spit it out during the interview (also a true story). Stick to the mints and both you, and the interviewer, will be happy.