Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why bother to apply to positions on-line?

To be sure some people get hired by applying on line, but very few do. It’s a search tactic that works occasionally, but if it’s the only tactic you use, or if you spend more the 5 percent of your time doing it, you are wasting valuable time and extending the time it will take you to find a job.

Consider the alternatives; finding networking venues and doing real networking, cold-calling into companies and speaking to hiring managers, utilizing external recruiters, vetting companies you may be interested in by doing research on them, attending professional meetings in your discipline and making sure your critical collateral documents, your resume and cover letter, can be read by ATS software when you finally get to the point where you have to submit (don’t let anyone tell you this simply means putting the right key words into your documents; there is far more to it than that). If you are not doing all of these things, your search is too narrow, you’re not meeting people you need to know, you’re not talking to people who can help you and you’re not finding out enough about companies that interest you to know if you’d even want to work for them. Each of these search tactics requires knowledge and training that, understandably, you probably don’t have, so get help and expect to invest in it! Do it as early in your search as possible.

Job searching is a full time job if you’re not currently employed and searching. You can’t be expected to understand the recruiting industry if you’ve never worked in it. You can’t be expected to know how to properly vet companies if you’ve never done that. You can’t be expected to know cold-calling techniques or how to get past the gate-keepers if you’ve never done that.

But you simply cannot afford to sit at your computer all day searching job boards, company websites and recruiting company websites and expect to find a job. The numbers are stacked against you. You may be better off playing the mega-million lottery so you never have to work again.

On-line searching is a valid search tactic for information gathering, for getting leads on where to go and what to do next, but not for applying for jobs! Learn from people who know how to use it. Don’t necessarily assume you can be self-taught. The same applies to all the other tactics in your toolbox.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Job searching is similar to dating. How do you find the “right” mate?

You go through a courting process (interviewing), get a proposal (the offer), get married (acceptance) and too often wind up with a divorce (unemployment).

How truthful and open were both parties during courting? The company will vet you. The proposal is usually an “at will” agreement and the acceptance is often done without vetting the company. Too often the marriage results in divorce.

How do you reduce the risks? How hard have you tried to find out what it’s really like to work for the hiring manager and the company? What if you are infatuated with the job and yet people you know are sending you warning signals? Isn’t that similar to a decision to get married? Will you heed the warnings or will you ‘discover your mistake’ too late?

I often recommend making decisions and not looking back. Learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. But that’s not what I recommend in marriage; and it’s not what I recommend in job searching.

Due diligence should be important to you. If you are hard pressed to get a job, do your due diligence before you accept. Even if you accept a job when something questionable was discovered in your vetting process, at least you’re going into the relationship with your eyes wide open. You can watch for warning signs and keep your search active. To those hiring managers who may be annoyed by such advice I would ask, isn’t that what you are doing during the probation period or are you going to tell me you threw out the resumes of all the other candidates. Be real!

If you like this post, please click on the 1+ below. You can get more job search help by visiting or by emailing me at 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Will the company you want to apply to be around 3 years from now or will you be out on the street in another 3 months?

Research the company you want to apply to; it’s time to do due diligence on them. Are they financially stable? Do they have solid competitive products or services? Do they continuously develop new products or services? What’s their company culture like? How successful has their top management been in the past? Are there any significant lawsuits outstanding against them? Is there any other bad press about them? There may be some things that concern you that will affect your decision to go forward, but if you do your research and apply anyway, at least you will go in with your eyes open!

There are readily available financial websites where you can find many of the answers. Just ask. Networking is another important source. (Don’t believe everything you hear but do look for consistent information.) Examine their company website. See if they express a mission statement. Look at their press releases. Find out how much hiring they are doing. Read about the members of their management team.

If you like this blog, let me know by clicking +1. Add a comment too. And get more job search help by visiting or by emailing me at

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Is the ‘hidden’ job market really hidden?

There are many misunderstandings about what the ‘hidden’ job market means and what it is. Too many people take the word ‘hidden’ literally. That’s not to say there are no such things as hidden jobs, but there’s more to it. 

If you replace that word ‘hidden’ with the word ‘unadvertised’ you’ll begin to see what I mean because sometimes ‘hidden’ even means the job doesn’t even exist … yet! But you might uncover it. A hiring manager you talk to informally might decide to open a position for you after talking talking with you! Think about that! It happens more often than you might imagine, but you have to make take the initiative and make it happen.
Is there an unadvertised job market? Yes!
That seems unfair. Why does it exist? Read on.
Is it accessible? Yes!
Does it take skill to access it? Yes!
Do most people have the skill? No! But some do and are great at it.
Can the skill be learned? Yes! It’s very difficult for many people without professional training.
Why the unadvertised job market exists: The majority of this market is at the top of an organization, at senior levels where a high ranking officer does not necessarily have to follow company policy on hiring for some very legitimate reasons. The chief reason is that they are courting a senior executive, currently employed, often by a competitor, whose position at his or her present employer simply cannot be compromised by publicity or rumor.
Positions below the top levels typically must follow company policies and procedures, for good reason. Normally there are hiring policies specifically prohibiting hiring without posting jobs internally first for a given period of time. The reasons for such policies are simple: It costs less to hire an internal candidate than an external one, and internal candidates are ‘known quantities’ – there’s less risk-taking involved. And importantly, hiring from inside is good for company morale – ‘we hire and promote from within’.
Should you try to access unadvertised jobs? For people below the top executive level and for those who do not want it known he or she is ‘looking’, it’s worth trying, but no one should use this search tactic at the exclusion of all others.
What skills do I need to develop? Well that’s like asking “how long is a rope?” There’s no one answer for everyone. Are you naturally interested in people? Do you have an outgoing personality? Do you schmooze with people readily and easily? Do you tend to talk too much and monopolize a conversation? Are you aggressive about reaching a goal? Do you know how to subtly draw information from people? Do you take rejection personally? Can you ignore rejection and keep trying? Do you know how to cold call to find hiring managers? Do you know how to get past the gatekeepers? If you don't have these skills it is possible to develop them with good coaching.
There are people who are comfortable using the techniques required to discover unadvertised jobs and become a candidate for them, and there are those who will never be comfortable or be able to develop the right skills. The best answer is “seek the help of a professional” who can assist you develop what you need.
Working the unadvertised job market can be a very fruitful and self-satisfying search tactic. If you want to try it but need help, contact me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Do you feel you are indispensible?

Put your hand in a bucket of water. Remove it quickly. The hole that remains is how much you’ll be missed when you’re gone.
Make sure your profile is professionally prepared! It’s going to have to be super!