Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is Technology Killing Your Job Search

If Bill Gates ever builds an airplane; my flying days are over!

I recently asked a displaced executive to provide an aerial depiction of what a typical day in his job search looked like. His response was as follows.

 Fired up my computer at approximately 8:00 AM,  got sucked into myheadlines.com, checked the sport scores, screwed around on facebook.com (what todys executive jobseeker needs is faithbook.com), checked the weather forecast for the next 7 days, checked my e-mail (replied to email, bad move!)

 I'd received an e-mail from a headhunter who required that I fill out an attached form. I enthusiastically acquiesced and diligently drilled down on the 12-page document. As I completed page 11 (approximately 50 minutes later), the all too well-known (since my purchase of Windows Vista) iconic circle of death began to toil and spin round and round. At that moment, I woefully realized that the image that is forever indelibly embedded in my brain had once again invaded, corrupted, and undermined my daily job search... I am not sure why Gates replaced the hour glass with a circle; it must have something to do with circling the drain...

Meanwhile, I realized that I had five new text messages and four new voice mails on my "Hell phone"; mostly solicitations and calls from mom, wife, and friends (God bless them, but...)

I had forgotten to plug cell into the charger the previous night... No worries; I could use the landline for the 9:30 interview with the CEO of companyofmydreams.com... Oh crap! I just realized that I would be in my car at 9:30; I had promised my son that I would drop him off at the library, as his laptop was down and he had been using their computer...

Takeaway>>>If your earning potential is $200,000 annually, you are paying yourself approximately $100 per hour to engross manually in an Internet-based job search... Why not pay and admin assistant $12 per hour and just go golf or something... You are more likely to find a job at the club house!

12:00 PM... visited the usual job boards: blackhole.com, intotheabyss.net, careerwrecker.org, resumeeater.net, and youwillneverfindajobhere.crap.com. I applied for four jobs in just under four hours (racing thoughts to self: got to stop checking e-mail when I'm trying to do this; damn cell phone won't stop ringing; need a faster computer...).

The requirements for the jobs that I spent four hours applying for on this particular day were exceptionally vague. They all stated that they needed leaders with a track record, executives with vision, and senior professionals with care and a cause for their subordinates... Damn, I got that; although, I have never worked in green energy science; the ad doesn't say anything about that! I was sure that when they saw my resume ranked amongst the other 350 executives with a green energy background, it would be apparent that I should be their top choice... Maybe I should send two resumes, or maybe I could put something in the e-mail subject line that would get their attention; something like HIRE ME... Yes, that would surely make up for the fact that I have only worked in insurance for 27 years. I am most certainly their best choice...

4 PM... thought I should follow up on the 10 resumes I had sent 2 weeks ago... But somehow, I convinced myself that I should probably cut the lawn again (third time this week)... I was sure that if I waited long enough, they would come to their senses and call me... Somebody at a networking meeting said that I should reach out to everybody I know to be sure that they are aware of my search for new employment. My problem with that was... I didn't know anybody! One guy even suggested that I contact my attorney about my job search, and even my accountant. He further suggested that I let the people I used to work with know that I was seeking new employment... This all seemed like a huge waste of time; these people wouldn't have a job for me, and I was sure they didn't know anybody either...

This guy could have gone on for hours about all that he was doing to absolutely sabotage his job search. But even worse, he was discrediting his personal brand and cheapening his net market value, executive demeanor, and professional profile. Worst of all, he thought he was doing all the right things to find a 200k job!

Five rules to maximize technology's effectiveness in your executive career search

1. Do not apply to posted jobs online between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM. These are prime business hours to be used for follow up phone calls, networking, and interviewing... When you do use the Internet for a job search, employ a site or sites akin to indeed.com that simultaneously search multiple sites for you. Furthermore, do not allocate this valuable time to researching companies on the Web, etc....
I have concluded that the only truly valid reason to gaze wearily at job boards is to intermittently and temporarily keep your hope alive while you are laying the foundation for the revival of your network. Moreover, utilizing Internet job boards must not be considered a proactive search activity... Confusing it as such will lengthen your search by months or longer.

Job boards are a delusion, and chasing them is like chasing after the wind... It may be many months before you reach the oasis, only to find that it's a mirage, and it's now too late to turn back and start networking! To be precise, every man, woman, and child on the face of this planet who might recognize your name needs to know today that you are job hunting... This includes your butcher, baker, and candlestick maker!


2. Set up a separate e-mail address for all of your job search activities and don't check personal e-mail between 8 AM and 5 PM... Just as you wouldn't check personal e-mail when you were running your corporate business during normal business hours... E-mailing, tweeting, and facebooking will suck the life out of your search campaign...

3. If you believe that your job search is a business, you should have a separate phone number for your search activity... When you were running your business in corporate, did you use your home phone? Use your new business line, which, of course, is a landline, for important follow-up calls and interviews.

4. Make all follow-up calls between the hours of 7 AM and 11 AM and 2 PM and 6 PM... This will sometimes help you avoid *jail mail during lunch hours... Use a landline-one with a cord, not a remote handset with a battery that will die in the middle of a salary negotiation.

5. Use the Internet as a means of aggressively promoting your personal brand. One of the most awesome and powerful utilities offered by the Internet is the power to endorse your personal brand. Be sure that every e-mail address you have stored in your e-address book and/or elsewhere has been notified of your newfound mission for next generation employment. Do not send a resume, just a very short "hey, how ya doing?" letter; I call this "pinging." Also, if you do not have a LinkedIn account, create one. Ping the heaven out of your LinkedIn connections too!



Saturday, August 7, 2010

Is it Okay to Lie On Your Resume?

Have you Tried Benign Embellishment?

In my world, Benign Embellishment is a highly professional form of what some of us have come to understand as BS or for the sake of my professional identity; CP (Cow Poop).

We both know it’s never okay to lie. Even a little white lie (as my mom used to call it) will come back to bite you! However, when it comes to job hunting the very use of our resume and adherence to HR hiring protocols puts us at an immediate disadvantage. If the employer is unable to accurately interpret our successes, work history, gaps in work history, times, dates et cetera our résumé will most likely end up on the wrong side of the grass!

What is Benign Embellishment (BE)?

BE is an honest and forthright way of presenting your credentials to a potential employer in the very best and most comprehensible form. BE is your weapon in opposition to the actuality that we have all failed in our jobs from time to time. i.e., you are over 50 and in some cases over 40, or maybe too young, or have a gap in your work history, and/or any of the hundreds of screening mechanisms that will land your résumé in bucket 86.

Examples of Benign Embellishment (BE)

You run in a race with 5 people and you finish 5th. Did you finish dead last or in the top 5? Did you graduate college in 1969 or did you just happen to leave the graduation date off your resume? Did you open your first lemonade stand in 1950 or is it possible that nobody cares what you did prior to the moon walk. In light of graduation season, here’s a couple for your kids: Are you entry level with no experience or are you a recent college graduate who has spent the last 16 years of his/her life studying, learning and experiencing what your peers will do to bring your employer into the next generation? Is your cumulative grade point average under 3.0? If so, throw out the philosophy and/or thermo dynamics courses you flunked as a freshman, recalculate your GPA using just coursework from your major and state as follows: Cumulative Major Grade Point Average 3.2. Go now and get yourself some CP for that damn résumé.!

Friday, July 30, 2010

How to Answer the Weakness Question

This query has been an enduring weapon in the hiring manager's arsenal, but most people still have trouble with the dilemma it poses: answer too frankly, and you'll torpedo your prospects. Bestow a canned answer and you'll seem phony, or worse, evasive. We have all at one time or another been faced with the dreaded "weakness" question. Why shouldn't we dread this inquiry? The employer is virtually asking why he/she shouldn't hire you!

A savvy interviewer may disguise the "weakness" question... He/she might pose the (weakness) question as:
  • What are three self-limiting thoughts?
  • Tell me about a time in your career that you really goofed up?
  • If I were to call your best reference and ask him/her for 3 reasons not to hire you for this job, what would he/she say?

  • What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with?

Yes, she/he may even ask: What is your greatest weakness?

There are virtually unlimited questions that an employer may ask in an effort to extract your inner soul!

As demonstrated above, the weakness question may come in many different forms. There is no steadfast answer(s) to the "weakness" question. Sure, you can describe a weakness that has nothing to do with job you are applying for; um uh...chocolate. Please don't say you are a perfectionist or that you work too hard! These answers will certainly put your integrity at risk.
Executive Jobs Guys to the Rescue.

How to Answer Any Weakness Question

Your interview answers should play out like a good story with a positive and happy ending! It's always a good idea to put your weaknesses in the past and talk about what you've done to correct them and then end with a positive outcome. When done properly, you will demonstrate integrity by not doing the circumlocution bit and you will end your answer with a powerful and factual outcome based on your ability to successfully convert the weakness to a strength!

There is no possible way to prepare and rehearse an individual answer for every potential weakness question. However, with a little practice, you can learn to formulate an answer for any question and never be stumped again!

Here's how: Whenever you are asked a question and it is immediately obvious (you will feel it in the pit of your stomach) that the interviewer wants you to say something NEGATIVE about yourself; you must practice doing three things 1. Repeat the question; this buys you time and allows you to quickly formulate a masterful response. 2. Start your answer with any event or incident that happened in the past (always put your weakness in the past). 3. Explain the weakness... do not get long winded or become circumlocutory; rather, explain a situation that started out bad, what you did to correct it and then end your answer with a positive factual outcome.

IE: When I was hired in to the Regional Sales Director job back in 2001, my predecessor had left the position 6 months prior. When I took over the department, sales were down, turnover was at an all time high; and I realized for the first time in my career that one of my greatest weaknesses was my ability to turn-around a failing sales division. My mentoring and management skills were not what I thought they were; However, upon working many 80-100 hour weeks; retraining supervisory and sales staff, reorganizing and developing departmental protocol and sales training procedures; I was able to increase sales volume by 33% in the first fiscal quarter for our entire Northeast division. (The same answer you might use if the interviewer asked you what your greatest accomplishment was.) Never forget the ABC's of interviewing (Always Be Closing)!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Most Executives are Job Fishers Not Job Hunters

Are you hunting for your next executive job with a fishing pole or a rifle? Job fishers are relaxed laid-back people who cast their resume and wait for a nibble. They must be patient because it may be weeks or even months before they get a single bite! Job Hunters adjust their sites and proactively go out everyday in search of food; they are hungry and there is no time to wait around for their next meal. Which are you?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anything You Say on Your Resume Can and Will be Used Against you in the Human Resources Department!

If your CEO knew what was going on with your companies hiring protocols; the defecation would hit the ventilation….

If all the résumé writers in the world (all 6 billion of them) convened at the summit of mount boilerplate, entered a massive resume writing laboratory and created what they believed to be the next super power most mightily efficient and effectual résumé ever known to the master screeners of human resources and the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) geek squads of America, and then asked 50 CEO’s for their candid opinions; here would be the results of the meeting faction: 10 CEO’s would like it, 10 would find more things wrong with it, 10 would absolutely hate it and 20 won’t even show up because they know resumes are a waste of time.… I know, because I’ve been running résumé focus groups for nearly 20 years.

Resume Advice is Useless

I’ve learned that asking for a résumé opinion is like asking somebody what color they like better red or blue or how many feet in an inch or what color is a circle or is yellow round or square or What Color is Your Damn Parachute (are you kidding me with that book)? He should have called it What Color is your Platitude! It’s all crazy talk that will probably never end butt fortunately I have this forum to mournfully vent my frustration…

How You Use it is More Important Than How You Write it!

No one résumé will ever please the masses. And the minute you think your close, somebody will come along and tell you your résumé sucks. Therefore, when it comes to résumés, the only thing that is ALWAYS is that it must ALWAYS be used properly to get the right result. I.e. do everything you can to get it to the decision maker and follow up aggressively. Email it and US mail it with a handwritten envelope (guys, have your wife do the hand-writing). And at all costs, ALWAYS leverage a contact and drop that person’s name a hundred times if you have to. Unfortunately, job-seekers are second class citizens in this market. Only you need to love your resume and only you need to love you; the rest will take care of itself!

Want to know more about how to use your resume as a battering ram? Please visit us www.professionaljobchange.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nobody Wants to Hire a Job Seeker

Have you ever felt like a second class citizen? Job Seekers are often characteristically perceived as such. After all, we can be quite bothersome. We swarm the HR department bogging down company job boards and email inboxes with relentless electronic resume submissions aimlessly chasing the ever illusive JOB opening....

2010 will prove that there is little demand for flat liners (Job Hunters chasing a 200k+ paycheck with benefits)...

Being hired in 2010 may be much like being signed by a professional sports team. Companies want to see if you are able to hit the ball before they sign you. The average job seeker thinks he can only swing the bat if he is in fact offered a job and a chance to jump in and do his stuff. Not so!

Remove these words from your subconscious vocabulary: Résumé, positions, opportunities, human resources; these words and related idioms are a one-way ticket to the HR "We'll let ya know" file.

When you approach companies of interest never ask about jobs or career opportunities and for goodness sake DO NOT post your résumé on their tactless irrational website/job board! Rather, identify a visionary within the organization and promote your value proposition (this of course is another 500 page "how-to" book that I need to write).

Every CEO knows that his/her human subordinate chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Therefore, this indisputably corroborates that there is always a need and a spot (JOB) for a superstar.

Do not characterize yourself as a job-seeker. As an alternative, endorse and promote your personal brand (you) as the factual visionary, business partner, solution provider and industry thought leader that you believe you are!

Your New Mantra

I am an accomplished visionary change agent, business partner; top-level solution provider and industry thought leader that constantly delivers hard driving, steadfast solutions! Or something like that...Just say anything but "Got jobs"?

PS: The Sooner You Stop Looking for a Job, the Sooner You Will Find One!

God Bless,

John Seraichyk, January 2010

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John's entire professional career has been dedicated to assisting professionals and executives with career transition, employment search and career consulting. Offering over 20 years of career search and consulting experience, John has earned a reputation for engaging with 200k + professionals and executives in a successful effort to advance their professional career status. Mr. Seraichyk has built multiple management teams for his organizations and teamed with them to provide unprecedented growth. John’s professional mission has been clearly established, with the mandate of providing the highest quality career management services to his clients while always striving to optimize their success.

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