Facebook, Not Just for Friends!

When Facebook first came out, it was a great way to connect with old high school and college friends who you had lost touch with. Now that things have become more challenging with the economy, people are looking for new and innovative ways to find a job. One of these new ways to find a job is through using Facebook.

A concern that is often posed to me about utilizing Facebook in your job search is: “I do not want my friends or family to know I am looking.” The fact that you are looking for a job is nothing to be ashamed of. It is just what is so. You would probably be surprised how many of your old college and high school friends would be happy to help you in whatever way they can. In the last year, since things have gotten tough, people have been banding together in support of one another in ways we would have never thought possible.

It is important to realize, your friends are your resources. Ask them, using your status update, if they might have any leads for you or perhaps be able to introduce you to that special company you have been trying to get in the door with. Keep in mind that a majority of jobs are found through word of mouth, not through recruiters or job postings. Often times a company will ask for internal referrals first, and the people they are asking for those internal referrals from are your friends on Facebook!

*I would like to mention one caveat about using Facebook. If you are still employed, be careful about posting status updates regarding your job search. Even if you think your profile is private, your employer may know someone that has access to your profile and find out you are looking!

The next time you go onto Facebook to update your status, remember, it can be a useful tool in helping you to find your next job!

You Never Know…

Last night I was at a Pink Slip Mixer in Westwood. Towards the end of the night, one of my clients came up to me and we began to catch up. When I asked him how his job search was coming, he replied “Great!” He explained that he had a 3rd round interview coming up, and that he had 5 new leads from www.tweetmyjobs.com. I told him that sounded wonderful.

He went on to say, that was not all. “Wow!” I exclaimed, “There is more?” He then shared with me that he had just met a fantastic lead at the bar who had given him 3 phone numbers of potential leads that might be interested in hiring him! The person he met was not even someone that was part of our group. Rather, my client was at the bar and began chatting with the man next to him. During this conversation, my client quickly learned that this man was recently divorced and had just moved to the area from New York (where my client is from). My client immediately started to chat with him and offer him resources on great places to meet people in Los Angeles. The fact that my client started to offer resources first is critical. By offering to help someone else, they will be more inclined to help you in return. 

After a short conversation, my client mentioned he was in the digital media field, and sure enough, the man he was talking to wound up being a SVP for a huge cable channel. The man immediate wrote down three phone numbers for my client to call the next day, and even recommended that my client use his name.

It is for this very reason that you should always treat every person as a potential lead. You never know where your next job lead can come from. It could even be from the guy next to you at the bar.

The Chinese call it Guanxi, we call it having a Strong Network

I just had the opportunity to pick the brain of a very successful, high level Manager with an entertainment company in Paris-Guillaume Morel. Guillaume has been with his organization for close to 10 years, however, during his tenure with his company, he took 15 months off to travel to China and learn Chinese, as well as, to learn more about the Chinese culture. He gained many insights from living in China and learning about Chinese culture, but one of the most important things he learned about was Guanxi.

Guanxi describes a personal connection between two people in which one is able to prevail upon another to perform a favor or service, or be prevailed upon. Here we would call this networking. Guanxi is a central concept in Chinese society that is ingrained into their culture. Guanxi is used to develop and maintain strong client relationships and a competitive edge over the competition in business, however, the same business principles of Guanxi can also be applied to looking for a job. 

Having the support of a strong network can exponentially increase your effectiveness in both job hunting and in business. Building a network does not mean simply meeting people just to help you with a specific situation such as looking for a job. Building a network is a lifelong endeavor that will create a foundation for long term success and opportunities.

You will not be able to have sustainable success, however, if you do not have trust within the network. According to Guillaume Morel, to create trust in both business and job hunting situations, you must be transparent and sincere with the people in your network. It becomes clear very quickly if you are only out for personal gain. If instead, you create a symbiotic network, one that is reciprocal, you will readily create the results you desire.

Always remember that, while you may be able to have short term success on your own, long term success cannot be sustained alone. Guanxi is your source of the knowledge and resources that will create your personal success!


The “Band-Aid Job”

Yesterday I was at a networking event in Hermosa Beach. It was an intimate group, and we were enjoying a lively conversation about interviews and job hunting. One of the topics that arose was that of the “Band-Aid Job.” For those of you who are not familiar with the Band-Aid Job, it is a job that will stop the bleeding and help you to get through the short term, but may not be a long term fix. Personally, I recommend that you SHOULD NOT go on an interview unless you are willing to give your right arm to get the job because let us be honest, if you are not willing to give it your all, someone else is, even if the interview is for a Band-Aid Job. It is also important that a job seeker should always have very strong reasons for wanting to work for a particular company.

If you go into an interview and seem disinterested, it shows! However, during our discussion about the Band-Aid Job, there was a concern: What if you really don’t want the job your are interviewing for, ie. it is a Band-Aid Job that is simply going to hold you over? Then what? Should you still rave about how much you want to work for the company? Good question.

Some would argue that if you are not legitimately interested in the job you are applying for, it is disingenuous to show enthusiasm and come up with strong reasons you want to work for them. However, there is another way to look at this.

In today’s current economic condition, people are struggling more then many of us could have ever imagined. There are far less jobs then would normally be available in today’s market. While your options may be limited, you should not just roll over and die. You should always stay positive and never take a job you would be miserable in. If you wind up taking a job that you know you would HATE just to supplement your income, you will be miserable and eventually wind up in the same place you were originally: unemployed. However, if you find a job that is outside of your normal niche, or perhaps not the ideal position of your dreams (on the surface), but there are other upsides to the job such as location, money, people and/or benefits, then it is important to consider all your options. While you may not foresee yourself in this potential job until you retire, you can certainly look for the good in the opportunity, and mention the things you could see as potential positives in the interview.

As I always say, attitude is everything. If you go into an interview disappointed from the onset, then you will likely not get the job offer, and if you do get the offer and accept it, you will always be looking for reasons why it is not a good job. If instead, you are grateful for the opportunity and look for the positive attributes of the job/company, you will be more likely to land the job offer, and perhaps even wind up liking it.  Even though this job may be a “Band-Aid Job,” it is important to remember that you can always find something positive if that is what you are looking for.

Remember, your end goal of every interview should be to GET THE OFFER! In the worst case scenario, you turn it down, or perhaps meet some great leads along the way. Just remember, the next time you get an interview, even if it is for a Band-Aid Job, always play full out because you never know what might come out of it!

Going the Extra Mile

Three to five years ago things were different. You did not have to TRY to get a job offer, in fact, you were probably solicited with more job offers then you knew what to do with. That said, things have changed. Although employers are slowly beginning to hire again, it is a slow but steady process. For you, the job seeker, this means, you have to go the extra mile!

What does going the extra mile mean to you? For some, it might mean simply ironing their shirt before the interview, or doing a little more research, but for others they really do go the extra mile. Below are a few ways to go above and beyond to make sure you ACE your next interview.

1) Know WHO you are meeting with. The normal job seeker will simply look up the person they are interviewing with on the company’s website. The one who gets the job will go onto the company’s website, Google, and Linkedin and will thoroughly find out the preferences of the person they are meeting with. In some cases, they may even bring an appropriate gift based on the potential employer’s interests (this is more appropriate for people in sales, marketing and higher level executive type positions).

2) Know WHAT you are interviewing for. Recruiters can be good and bad. Some recruiters will simply give a candidate they are working with the basic information about the job, however, it is YOUR job to go and dig deeper to find out WHAT the position is really about. If you want to go the extra mile in finding out WHAT the job is about, you can use resources such as Linkedin and Twitter to see what people inside the company are saying about the position and/or research people on Linkedin who have had the position before. You can also push your recruiter to see if they know any additional information about the job that will help facilitate your getting the offer.

3) Know WHERE you are going for your interview. The average person will google search the address of the place they are going for interview to get direction. The person who goes the extra mile will DRIVE BY the location of their interview in advance to make sure they will not get lost the day of.

By knowing the WHO, the WHAT and the WHERE you will be one step closer to landing your next job!

Your Interview Starts Sooner then you Think

Many job seekers are unaware that their interview starts long before they walk in the door. In fact, the moment someone calls you to set up a time for you to come in, the interview has already begun. When the phone rings, and the Human Resources person introduces themselves, you should literally stand up , remember your preparation, and communicate clearly your interest in the potential employer.

When you arrive at the parking garage of the potential employer, it is critical to treat everyone, even the parking attendant, with the utmost respect. People can often be rude to each other in a parking garage by honking or being on their cell phones, however, you never know if the person you are interviewing with might be the one you are honking at!
The same goes for the elevator ride up. There could very well be a Human Resources Manager in the elevator with you and if you are not polite, or if you are chewing gum, it is bound to reflect negatively on you in the interview. One of the most common errors you can make is to be rude to the receptionist. 
In the 6 years I spent as a recruiter, several of my clients would prescreen a candidate based on how well or poorly they treated the receptionist. Many people lost job offers over the years over something as simple as being on a cell phone while waiting in reception or being rude.
Next time you have an interview, remember, it begins the moment you are invited in for the interview. Good luck!

Things are Looking Up

Things are Looking Up
Though the current economic condition has been trying for millions of Americans and others worldwide, things are beginning to look up. More and more, my clients are getting interviews and are being offered fantastic positions. For the first half of this year, it was rare for anyone to even land an interview, let alone, receive a job offer. As we head into the end of the year, you will begin to see companies regaining their faith in the economy, and slowly but surely people will get hired.
In a normal market, September and October are relatively busy due to executives and hiring managers alike returning from their summer vacations. Unfortunately, in the past, there has been a bit of a lull in hiring around November and December because many potential employers are gone for the holidays with their families. Many times, a company has spent their budget by the end of the year so they begin to look at ramping up their staffing in January. That said, I would highly encourage any job seekers that are looking to be hired before the end of the year, to go full force through the end of September and all throughout October.
Ideally, you should be spending at least 40 hours a week looking for a job. This should include attending networking functions, such as Pink Slip Mixers, posting your resume on websites such as www.monster.com and www.careerbuilder.com, applying directly to at least 5-10 positions per day, and finally learning to use social media to help facilitate introductions to the companies you want to get hired at. 
Even if you cannot find a position by the end of 2009, the good news is that January is typically the busiest time of the year when it comes to hiring. Employers will have new budgets to work with and new staff needs to fill. Be diligent in your job search and you too will get hired!

Top 3 Reasons to use Twitter in your job search

The Top 5 Reasons to use Twitter

1) Higher Google Ranking-Each “tweet” is treated by Google as an individual web page. This means that if you use your first and last name as your Twitter Username ie. JenHillJHCCS, then you will automatically rank higher on Google the more often you tweet. This is important because employers are constantly “googling” potential employees to see what they can find out. This helps, especially if you are tweeting about something related to your profession or industry.

2) Company Research-Twitter is a very easy way to connect with people you might otherwise never get a chance to know. For example, you could begin to follow people within a certain organization you are interested in getting hired at. By following these employees, you can easily glean important information about the potential employer to help you get an interview and/or to find out if this is really the type of company you would like to work for.

3) Follow Trends-Twitter is an excellent tool to keep up on trends in your industry and breaking news. Almost instantly, you can see what topics are trending and what breaking news is happening in your field. An example of how this could be useful in a job search would be to check Twitter prior to an interview, and see what topics are trending. Then when you are in the interview, you will have some interesting ice-breakers to share and will appear to have your finger on the pulse of what is happening in your profession.

Top 5 Reasons to be on Linkedin

Top 5 Reasons to be on Linkedin

1) CREATE A VIRTUAL RESUME- You can post a virtual resume, which can be viewed by recruiters and hiring managers who are looking to hire.

2) RESEARCH- You can use Linkedin to research a company you are interested in working at, and find out if you know anyone that can get you in the door. The more people you are connected to, the more companies and people you will be able to view. Another way to research using Linkedin is to research the person you are meeting with prior to your interview.

3) NEWTWORKING- Many people are unsure what to do once they have met with someone at a networking event. Linkedin makes it easier then ever to connect with that person, assuming they are on Linkedin, immediately after your networking event. You can then utilize them as a future resource for potential job connections.

4) WEEKLY STATUS UPDATE EMAIL- You can update your “status” once a week,  and from there Linkedin will email everyone in your professional network in their weekly email updates about what you are doing that week. This can be used to help you gain introductions to certain companies and land your next job!

5) INCREASED VISIBILITY- Having a Linkedin profile increases your overall visibility, including raising your visibility on Google. This can help if a potential employer Google’s your name before they bring you in for an interview. You can also join various groups on Linkedin, and start discussions within those groups which will also help raise your visibility.

Making Money is Easy…

In a recent interview with a very successful high 6 figure earner, she explained to me that “Making money is easy…The hard part is having your life work.” Upon sharing this bold statement with me, she went on to say that for the last 20 years of her life she has had the opportunity to make 6 figures in a variety of positions. Prior to her first 6 figure job she had worked diligently as a customer service representative for close to 14 years for various phone companies such as GE and Pacbell, and prior to that, had been in banking.

One day, after many long unrewarding years of working in corporate America, a new door opened for her. She was recently divorced, and now a single mother with 3 growing children to provide for. Her telephone company salary was not going to pay the bills. It was around this time that she went in to get a new insurance policy for her family. While at the insurance agent’s office, she began to get curious about what life as an insurance agent was like. After a lengthy conversation, and a quick introduction to the insurance world and the money that could be earned in the insurance arena, she made up her mind to take vacation from her telephone company job so that she could study for her series 6 and 63. At this point she knew NOTHING about the insurance industry, and had never worked a commission only job in her life. The only thing she did know was she was a capable, hard-working single mother and could do anything she put her mind to, which is exactly what she did.

In her first year as an insurance agent she far surpassed her 6 figure income goal, and never looked back! She had never before realized that being on 100% commission meant that you no longer had a cap on your income. You were directly compensated for how successful you were. Since that first insurance position she took over 20 years ago, she has consistently made 6 figures or more in a variety of positions including recruiting, sales, and most recently Multi-Level Marketing where she easily earns 6 figures a year while only working 20 hours a week!

She attributes her success to designing her own life. She did  this by writing out exactly what she wanted her life to look like and by taking note of her own personal attributes which would help her to be a success. She took a long hard look at what she wanted and how a 6 figure income would help her to accomplish her goals. Then she went out and persevered.

In her opinion, “The money is easy. You can make money legally or illegally. Money is not what matters. What does matter is doing a job you are passionate about. Once you figure that out, the rest is easy. With the right desire and talent you can get achieve your dreams.”