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Are you job hunting? or working hard?

Useful work or administrivia?

One of my managers told me, “Bryan, you don’t work hard enough.  I put in 60 or 70 hours a week. Even if I’m just in here filing stuff, I’m getting more done than you.”  I couldn’t answer him.  I was too amazed.  He took my silence for the deep pondering of a well taught student and left. I am grateful he could not read my mind.

The hardest working people I know are paid about the same as others who work steadily and put in 40 to 45 hours a week.  Both the 70 hour week and 45 hour week people are VP’s and directors. They are paid the same.

The people working seventy hours a week focus on the 3 do’s differently.  They focus on working efficiently or hard.  They want to get a lot of work done. At the end of the day they point to the fact that they did the work of 3 people in only 70 hours.

The 3 do’s

  • Do it.
  • Do it right
  • Do it right now

 

The people working 40 to 45 hours a week also focus on the 3 do’s.  But they first prioritize.  They try to avoid adminstrivia, the things we are asked to do that don’t really help.

One director I worked for said, “When my boss asks for a new report, I faithfully send it to him for 3 weeks.  It is always a masterpiece.  The fourth week I prepare it for him and don’t send it.  If he calls and asks for it I apologize and he has it in his hands in minutes. Most of the time he never asks for it.  I prepare it for a couple of more weeks just in case, then I stop entirely.”   He was one of the most highly rated directors in that company.

Now lets get something straight.  45 or 90 hours of wasted time will get you nowhere.  Solitaire, internet poker and reading the news don’t count as well spent time.  You have to be doing what’s most important for 40 hours each week to beat out the person working 70 hours.

In your job search or your job this lesson applies.  Are you only putting in the time or are you focusing?  Are you doing the hard things that will have the biggest impact, or are you spending your time in the same online job boards praying for miracles?

Do it.  Do it right.  Do it right now.  Don’t get distracted.  Focus on what is most important.  Then take some time off with your friends and family.  They’re important too.

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Something To Do Today

It is time to figure out what you are doing.   Really.  Make a list of the things you do at work or in your job search each day and each week.  Think about it.  Are you consistently working on the most important stuff, or are you merely focusing on activity?

Your choice: Inferior or vastly superior job

Kids always made fun of the way I dressed.  I had two shirts and two pairs of jeans for the whole school year.  That’s all.  I had cheap shoes.  For dinner our family had beans every night, literally.  We drank powdered milk.  I brought peanut butter sandwiches to school every day with homemade quince jam.  I was different.

We were paying a price.  It was worth it.  My friends had nice stuff while we saved and scrimped for every penny.  We did something they never did.  Each summer we went traveling in our VW Camper Bus.  We visited most of the USA, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe and Africa.  Most summers we left school two weeks early and got back into school two weeks late.

Being different is not being inferior.  It can be a distinct advantage.  Be different in a way that can make you superior.

How can you be different?  What can you do to dramatically improve over the long run?  I know two guys who never walk anywhere in the office without having a manual in their hands to read as they walk.  They are both considered a little odd, but they are both the undisputed technical experts in their field.  They are paid well for it.

Your goal should be to out-prepare and out-perform everyone else in critical areas.

Critical areas to stand out in are the most visible areas that: 

  1. Earn money
  2. Save money
  3. Improve customer service.

Here’s how you find the critical areas for your next promotion, raise, or job:  Ask.

Your boss wants you to be more valuable, he’ll help you.  The people you look up to at work will want to help.  Go ask them what you should excel at.

Then do it.  Do it in your own way. Eccentric flair or plodding dullness does not matter.  Just excel IN A WAY THAT MATTERS.  It will change your life, not just your pay and job title.

How to motivate a recruiter to find you a job

Many recruiting offices have a button that rings a bell.  You can only push the button when you make a placement.  Some recruiters live only to press that button.  When they do press it, they keep their finger down for a full minute.  It drives everyone else nuts with envy.  Recruiters are competitive people.

Placing someone in a job motivates recruiters.  Sure recruiters want money.  That’s not their base motivation.  Their whole job is centered on making placements.

Want to motivate a recruiter?  Convince them they can place you quickly.

Some things that help:

  1. A great resume showing accomplishments, not responsibilities
  2. A positive attitude
  3. Talents that are in strong demand
  4. Winning interview skills
  5. Reasonable salary expectations
  6. Motivation to take a new job
  7. Little job hunting done on your part already
  8. A list of companies you would like to work for
  9. An exclusive relationship with the recruiter
  10. Your spouse and kids back you in the move
  11. Willingness to relocate or commute
  12. Ability to interview at a moment’s notice
  13. Great references that can be checked immediately or that are already on LinkedIn
  14. A current job

If you bring me all of the things above, I’ll start salivating.  I’ll drop everything I am doing and find you a job.  So will any other recruiter worth his salt. With that list, you should find a recruiter who will market you.  Get his commitment to report back how his marketing is going. If he won’t commit, he is the wrong recruiter.

The way to motivate a recruiter is to be a great candidate.  If you have a motivated recruiter, soon you’ll have a new job.

 Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score.  The real excitement is playing the game.  (Trump)

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Something To Do Today

Go back over that list.  Can you figure out how to line up more of those things for your next job hunt?  Ask a recruiter for his honest opinion, AHow marketable am I and what can I do to make myself irresistible to employers? You can, get a commitment from your recruiter of how much he’ll do and when he will call you back to report on his results.

2 critical interview questions you should always ask the hirer

The interviewer’s first worry (out of 7)

You may be talking yourself out of a job. Your resume and your interview may combine to scare the interviewer.  He may think he will lose control of his situation if he even makes you a job  offer.

The hiring manager for any job usually already feels out of control. Someone quit, or there is more work to do than his team can handle. He is losing control of his own time because he is being forced to review resumes and set up interview times.  He is feeling out of control.

Then you make it worse.  He looks at your resume and asks himself, “Why does this candidate want to come work for me? What does he have in common with other people who quit? Will he even accept the job if we offer it?

Will he even accept the job if we offer it?

That is the first huge question you have to remove from the hirer’s mind. There are two types of questions you can ask to help soothe the hirer.  Ask the first one in the middle of the interview. Ask the second one at the very end. The second question is critical.

  1. What do you like most about working here?

Your purpose is to convince the hirer that they have connected with you about what makes the company great.  Give them a chance to say what they like the most.  While they are talking about it, lean forward and listen intently.  If the hirer feels you like his explanation, he will feel a lot more comfortable that you will accept the job.

  1. Can I have the job?

At the end of the interview you have to be bold.  You have to ask for the job.  There are several ways you can put it.

  • This sounds like a great opportunity. I like the people, and the job sounds great.  Is there anything you have seen in me that would keep you from hiring me?
  • This is the exact job, company, and coworkers I have been looking for. Can we set up the next step in the hiring process right now?
  • I really appreciate the chance to talk to you. What a great job and company! I want to work with you. How soon can I start working here?
  • This has been great. Can I have the job?

You will notice that the last example above is the condensed version.  It is the shortest and most direct way to ask for the job.  However you say it, say it at the end of every interview.  Never forget it.

The will practically never make you the job offer, or set up the next step right then.  The point is to let them know you really really really want the job.

Remove all doubt that you will accept the job if a decent offer is made.  Do it by letting them know you are interested. If you ask some variation of question 1 and question 2, you will dramatically increase your chances of being seriously considered and hired.

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More on these topics is coming later:

You have to help them regain control before you are hired

In order to soothe your potential boss, you have to give them as much control as possible.  If you can prove a few basic things, they will hire you immediately.  You need to prove:

  1. You will take that job and keep it.
  2. You can do that job
  3. You won’t take too much training
  4. You will take the initiative to do things within their system
  5. You learn quickly
  6. You get along with all kinds of coworkers – good and bad
  7. You will quickly take other burdens off the boss’s back and give them back control.

How do you prove it?

We’ll talk about that over the next few days.

Bizarre non-compete agreement

There is even a sandwich shop with a non-compete.  Seriously, are they going to sue an $8/hr worker for going to work at McDonald’s?  Other examples also included in this article.

How to overcome an employer’s resistance to hiring you

Why won’t they hire you? Do desperate employers resist hiring anyone?  Do they resist change? Or is it something else they resist?

Would you like to win a million dollars tax free?  But isn’t that a change?

If Oprah gave you a new car and money to pay the taxes on it, how hard would you resist? That is also a change.

Did you notice that I added that line about taxes in each question?  I had to add that because you might resist otherwise.  It isn’t the taxes, it is what the taxes represent in your mind that may cause you to resist.

Employers have the same resistance to hiring you that you might have to accepting a new car or even a million dollars.  They are afraid there is a hidden tax, a hook, a hidden problem.  They are afraid they will be forced to do things they don’t have time or energy for.  It can all be boiled down to their fear of losing control. People are afraid of losing control of their million dollars or their new car due to taxes. They are afraid of losing control if they hire you.

They lose control when they make you a job offer

As long as the employer is looking at resumes, interviewing, testing, talking about candidates, doing reference checks, and thinking about making offers, they are in control.  The second they make you an offer, they lose control.

Suddenly it is all up to you.  They get edgy.  To regain some control they will put a time limit on their offer. Usually they will give you overnight.  Sometimes they will give you up to a week.  But they want to have control over the process.

They have even less control when you start working for them

I am sure your new boss has worked with someone who was hired and was an absolute disaster. That person looked like the solution to their problem and was a horrible mistake.

You look like the perfect solution to their problem.  But, if they hire you, they lose control. When you come on board, there will be training, detailed supervision, review of your work, correction, adjustments to team duties, interpersonal conflicts, and a lot of other things that change. They will lose control of all those things the second you start with the team.

You have to help them regain control before you are hired

In order to soothe your potential boss, you have to give them as much control as possible.  If you can prove a few basic things, they will hire you immediately.  You need to prove:

  1. You will take the job and keep it
  2. You can do that job
  3. You won’t take too much training
  4. You will take the initiative to do things within their system
  5. You learn quickly
  6. You get along with all kinds of coworkers – good and bad
  7. You will quickly take other burdens off the boss’s back and give them back control.

How do you prove it?

We’ll talk about that over the next few days.

Motivating recruiters

Many recruiting offices have a button that rings a bell.  You can only push the button when you make a placement.  Some recruiters live only to press that button.  When they do press it, they keep their finger down for a full minute.  It drives everyone else nuts with envy.  Recruiters are competitive people.

Placing someone in a job motivates recruiters.  Sure recruiters want money.  That’s not their base motivation.  Their whole job is centered on making placements.

Want to motivate a recruiter?  Convince them they can place you quickly.

Some things that help:

  1. A great resume showing accomplishments, not responsibilities
  2. A positive attitude
  3. Talents that are in strong demand
  4. Winning interview skills
  5. Reasonable salary expectations
  6. Motivation to take a new job
  7. Little job hunting done on your part already
  8. A list of companies you would like to work for
  9. An exclusive relationship with the recruiter
  10. Your spouse and kids back you in the move
  11. Willingness to relocate or commute
  12. Ability to interview at a moment’s notice
  13. Great references that can be checked immediately or that are already on LinkedIn
  14. A current job

If you bring me all of the things above, I’ll start salivating.  I’ll drop everything I am doing and find you a job.  So will any other recruiter worth his salt. With that list, you should find a recruiter who will market you.  Get his commitment to report back how his marketing is going. If he won’t commit, he is the wrong recruiter.

The way to motivate a recruiter is to be a great candidate.  If you have a motivated recruiter, soon you’ll have a new job.

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Something To Do Today

Go back over that list.  Can you figure out how to line up more of those things for your next job hunt?  Ask a recruiter for his honest opinion, “How marketable am I and what can I do to make myself irresistible to employers?”

Get a commitment from your recruiter of how much he’ll do and when he will call you back to report on his results.

2 ways to use certifications to FIND jobs-especially if you don’t have any

Certifications can definitely get you a job interview.  They can also get you laughed at.  BS, MBA and PhD are all certifications.  So are CPA, CISSP, MCSE, MCAD, MCST, CNE and CPC.

The most amazing certification chameleon has been MCSE-Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.  At first it was a sure key to a quick job and pay raises.  Then schools popped up all over and it became a joke. People with no aptitude nor experience in computers applied for a job as an MCSE.  Now, MCSE is regaining its luster if you have a good solid background.

You should find out which certifications will help you get a raise, a new job, or a promotion.  The best way is to ask.

WAIT! Don’t just ask, network.  This is a great excuse to network. Ask to talk with your boss and his boss about it.  If there is a company you would like to work for, find managers there and ask them to lunch.  Make appointments to talk with experts for 10 minutes of career help.  Find out what certifications and education they prize.  Call up recruiters and ask them.

So, those 2 ways are….

  1. Put the certification on your resume so the recruiters find you.
  2. Network by asking which certifications would help you the most.

Even if you think you know the answer, call one person a day to ask which certifications would be most useful for you.  It is a GREAT question that hiring managers will want to answer for you.

Once you find the certifications that will do you the most good, get one.  Then call everyone back you asked about certifications and let them know what you have done.

The right certification will turn those networking leads into gold.

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.  (Bohr)

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Something To Do Today

Networking time.  Call some managers, recruiters and people you respect.  Ask them what certifications would be best in your field.  Ask them which certifications will get you the NEXT job you want. Track every single person you talk to so you can get back to them later. Now go find out how you can get those certifications.

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Next:   Recruiter motivation

Re-use re-engineering into a job opening

Re-use re-engineering is taking something that works and figuring out 10 ways to use it that it’s creators never imagined.

Us recruiters do a lot of reverse lookups.  We have paid for training in how to get information from the wrong source.  We x-ray websites.  Yes, that is what it is called.  We use social media sites to find companies.  We use resumes to find job openings.

How to use re-us re-engineer ResumeRabbit

You may get more good from ResumeRabbit by not paying them a cent.

Here’s how:

They like to brag about the 85 websites they can send your resume to for you. They list them.  They send your resume to the sites that are the most popular with hiring companies.  Almost all those sites will show you lists of jobs and employers for free.  Go take a look at them.

What else can I do?

And in case you haven’t heard, my favorite website for finding jobs is www.indeed.com .   They are an aggregator.  They go out to company and job board websites and scour them for jobs. They don’t have to list the exact job you are looking for to help you find a job.  All they need to do is help you identify companies that probably have folks doing that job.  Then you can send a resume.

Go take a look at every website you are on today.  See if there is a way to get unintended information.  Like the list of job boards ResumeRabbit posts to.  I bet you can find a job opening in a way you never tried before.

And, do you see those four logos below this line?  Each of those sites can be used to find companies that need someone with your skills.

Cockroach resumes, paper resumes, and carpet bombing

An 18 inch cockroach is the best resume I’ve seen. A friend of mine was applying for a job as a programmer of railroad simulators. He knew that many programmers could do the technical part.  He also knew that the artistic part was just as important. Drawing is difficult, but sculpture is even tougher.  He sent a giant cockroach sculpted in great detail as his resume. He got a call back, the interview and the job.

A good resume gets you an interview. Electronic, paper, CD, metal, cloth, or clay.  If it gets you an interview, it is a success.

Sometimes I hate success.  Every time I get a paper resume I like, I have to ask for an electronic one.  I hate it.  Those few paper resumes are successes.  They get a call from me.  I hate those successes. The candidates love them because they work.

Should you send out paper resumes?  That depends.  Some places automatically trash paper resumes. At those companies paper is a waste.  How about a multimedia CD?  I get the resume off and then throw them away.  I don’t like those either.  But that isn’t the criteria.  Does it get you an interview?  If it does, it is a great resume.  And notice I said I get the resume off the CD’s. That means I had to browse them.

I suggest you send paper or CD resumes out in small quantities only.  Target your recipient. Follow up closely in case they require a different format.

Some people strongly disagree.  They will ask you to pay them a few thousand dollars to send out a huge postal or email blast of resumes for you.  I just heard sending out thousands of resumes called “carpet bombing.”  Some services carpet bomb recruiters.  Others carpet bomb companies. I receive carpet bomb resumes every day.  I’ve never made a placement from one, but I will admit I at least glance at them whether they are paper, faxed, or by email.

I do think ResumeRabbit is a good way to get your resume on a lot of internet job boards, if you really want broad exposure and know the downside. There is no other carpet bombing/resume blasting service in paper, electronic or fax media that I recommend.  Before I would spend money on that, I’d spend it on getting another certification to help my job search.  But I’m not you.  Just be careful with your money.

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Something To Do Today

Go through the list of companies you sent a resume to.  Are there some that really should have contacted you but didn’t?  Can you do anything to your resume to get a call back from them?

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Next:     Certifications – gold and lead

Later:              Recruiter motivation