Category Archives: Finding jobs

How to find a job at a convention – part 1

boxing-100733_640-pixabay

How do you find boxers? Go to a boxers convention.

Why search for a job at a convention? The people who are there are real.  People who talk like you do. This old boxer puts it beautifully.

I look at ordinary people in their suits, them with no scars, and I’m different.  I don’t fit with them.  I’m where everybody’s got scar tissue on their eyes and got noses like saddles.  I go to conventions of old fighters like me and I see the scar tissue and all them flat noses and it’s beautiful.  Galento, may he rest in peace.  Giardello, LaMotta, Carmen Basilio.  What a sweetheart Basilio is.  They talk like me, like they got rocks in their throats.  Beautiful!  (Pastrano)

There are three different ways to work a convention to find a new job:

  1. Pay for yourself to go and work it for all it is worth.
  2. Go there as an exhibitor (and also find a job)
  3. Go there on your company’s dime to do research (and also find a job)

All three can be done ethically, and that’s a key.  No one is going to want to hire a louse who uses his company’s resources dishonorably to search for a job.

The freewheeling job search you can engage in when you pay for yourself contains elements beyond what is acceptable under the other two.  Tomorrow I will start discussing the details of how to find a job at a convention….ethically.

The first thing to do is to find out which conventions are the most important in your industry.  That’s easy: ask.  Ask your boss and his boss.  Call up leaders in the industry and ask which conventions have the most movers and shakers attending.  Ask experts in your field where the most dramatic new products are introduced.  If anyone asks you why the sudden interest, tell them the truth, “Learning more about our industry and competitors will help me advance my career more quickly.”

Be prepared.  Your company may offer to pay your way.  If they do, you need to be ethical about the whole process.  We’ll deal with that problem in a few days.

Something To Do Today

Make a list of the most important conventions in your field.  Find out when and where they will be held.  Check to see what an exposition hall pass costs.  Quite often it is free to visit the advertisers, but you have to pay to listen to speakers.

 

 

The Mythical Man Month

sand sculpture of a sphinx

The mythical man month is another impossible beast.

I hate firefighters–people who commit a project to disaster.  “Leaders” sometimes think that if one woman can have a baby in 9 months, then surely 9 women can have a baby in one month. Those leaders/firefighters create career death marches for their subordinates and coworkers.  Too often they are rewarded for being able to get so many hours out of their team.

The Mythical Man Month is a great book about the fallacy that projects can be infinitely divided and finished sooner.

To increase productivity on a 2 person project by 50%, you have to add 2 more people.  Adding one more person does little.  More time is spent communicating and coordinating than the person adds to the project.

A 9 month project with 7 solid, committed, experienced programmers will take as long to complete as the same project with 25 engineers, a manager and 4 team leaders.  Why?  Because communication becomes a major burden in a large project.

One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. (Elbert Hubbard)

In any complex project, adding people in the last month rarely speeds things up.  The folks who can finish the project have to train the new people, supervise them, and check their work.  The experienced people lose all productivity and the new workers are marginal no matter how strong their background.

In your job do you know how people really work together?  Do you know the cost to productivity of adding more people to a project?

For your job search

Are you making your job search more complicated than it needs to be?  Are you dooming your search with lots of undirected activity?

Are you spreading your search efforts so broadly that you are depending on luck?  Contacting 500 recruiters is rarely as productive as closely working with one or two or ten.  Spamming 1000 companies is not as effective as calling 10 managers who may be able to use you or refer you.  Networking with 5 CEO’s or Directors beats lunch with 50 production line workers.

What really gets more done?

Something To Do Today

Find a copy of The Mythical Man Month.  It is a classic.

————————–

More firefighting problems:    The Elmer Fudd job hunt

Doctor No

Dead fish

Poisons

Liars

The incredible strength of weak connections

And later:        How to work a convention

5 Weeks – How to find a job in 5 weeks

Do you need a job now?  Then use the best job search plan ever created.

Come on!  How could it possibly be the best EVER created? Because it was created for only one person.  You.

I have seen it happen over and over.

One guy is out of work for less than a month, and he gets a job offer with a raise.

free from a bad job

Find a job in 5 weeks – that is freedom

It takes 6 months to get a job for the guy who sat next to him.  This poor guy was doing exactly the same job, got better performance ratings, and would get rehired first if the job was re-opened. To make things worse, the guy who took six months accepts a huge pay cut.

          It isn’t fair, but it happens every day.

It isn’t luck.  The guy who finds a job quickly did things differently.  He may have instinctively done the few most critical steps within the first days of losing his job.  He may also have mapped out a strategy and executed it.  Either way, he got the critical steps executed.  He got the job.

The critical steps most often screwed up by the guys who take 6 months to find a job.

For 22 years I’ve been watching people get jobs in days, or wait a year to find a job.  The steps most often screwed up are:

  • The resume stunk, and he never found out.
  • He burned his best leads before he was prepared.
  • Monster became his momma.
  • HR (Human Resources Department) was his master.
  • He never expanded his network, but he talked to a zillion people.
  • Interviews never seemed to go right.
  • He waited for a phone call back.
  • He thought recruiters were his friends

Give me a call or research these topics on my blog.

If you want to have the shortest job search possible.  Fill out the survey at this link and then contact me.  bryan@dilts.us or call Bryan Dilts at 717-975-9001.

No, I don’t guarantee that you will get a job offer in 5 weeks.  But I will put 22 years of experience behind your job search.

Guerilla job search, job performance, and gardening

Here is how I guerilla gardened and how you can guerilla job search.  Forget the box, just think.

I was down to 5 blueberry plants.  I had more in the past.  I love blueberries.  Because of the varieties I have, I get to pick them for 2 months each year.

I decided to plant.  I didn’t have the $200 in my budget for the plants I wanted.  So I looked up how to grow my own blueberry plants.  The instructions included mist boxes, planting medium, hormones, infections, mold and other horrible things. I wasn’t about to grow them that way.

Guerilla gardening was the only real possibility.  I spent a couple of months thinking about the problem.  I looked up some things about houseplants and roses.  That spring I gave some fresh ideas a try.

Guerilla in the mountains

Guerrilla job search, work project, or gardening.

I cut 22 budding branches from blueberry plants of 6 different varieties. I dug holes in the deep leaf compost of the blueberry garden and planted them.  Then I covered the cuttings with jars. The jars keep the moisture level high around the cutting.  It gives the twig a chance to develop roots.

I took off the bottles a month after planting the twigs.  18 of the 22 blueberry cuttings looked like they would survive.  Alas, they didn’t.  I took the jars off too early.  But guess what?  I’m going to try again.  This time I will leave the jars on another month or two.

Guerilla gardening triumphs again. Not only will we save $200, the new plants will grow just as well as mail order plants.  Mine won’t be yanked out of the ground and sent by mail to us.  They will just keep on growing where they are.

Guerilla job search ideas

Can’t get a reply on your resume? Why not come up with a guerilla campaign.  A series of things you can do to get a job.  Something more than just sending a resume.  Pick a company or 3 that you really want to get into.  Now figure out how to get to know the people who would be your coworkers and hiring managers.  Emails, phone calls, mailing them a bag of M&M’s or inviting them to lunch can all be a part of the campaign.

Projects at your current job to boost your job search

Unable to get the resources you need at work? It could be an opportunity to shine.  Think of ways to get the job done at low cost.  What resources can be diverted for your project? Study alternate ways of getting the job done. In Spanish “guerilla” means little war.  Figure out how to win each project as a little war of its own.

If your project succeeds, tell your boss in your weekly report.  If it fails, tell him all the alternate approaches you considered.  Let him know you are trying to get essential tasks done with less resources.  He will appreciate it.

If you are job hunting, the guerilla projects that succeed go on your resume.  The companies you apply to will want to know how you can make projects succeed without a budget.  Those projects are eye catching advertisements for your intiative.

Something To Do Today

Take a project you want to do, but don’t have resources for.  List 10 possible ways to make it a guerilla project. Do some research and list 5 more ways.  Is the result worth the effort if it works?  Then make the effort.  Succeed or fail, you will learn something.

Your “eureka” moment

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka” (I found it!) but “That’s funny.” (Asimov)

Dangers using the job supermarket

Job Supermarket

When I was in Spain in 1977 I knew of no supermarkets there.  You had to go to a small store and ask for exactly what you wanted.  The owner would bring out what you asked for from behind the counter.  There were no food aisles to roam.

By 1979 supermarkets were taking over the country.  Huge places filled with choices.  You could literally make shopping an all day event, and forget to come home with what you needed. Then you would go to that local store and ask the owner for what you forgot, if the store was still in business.

Now let’s talk about the job supermarket.

In 2003 and 2009 jobs were few and far between.  Candidates were happy to accept any job offer if they were unemployed for a few months.  Employers were being very picky.  Salaries were often dropping.

In 2005 and 2014 a job boom started.  Employers were starting to beg for workers in 2007 and 2015.  People who couldn’t get a job in 2004 or 2010 were getting multiple offers.  People fed up with the way they have been treated for years are changing jobs.

Unfortunately in 2007 and again in 2015 some people are going job hunting, changing jobs, and forgetting to improve their situation.  Employers get very wary of people who hop between jobs

The moral:  Be careful you don’t make it impossible to get a great job because you were seduced by sparkling packaging on inferior jobs in the job supermarket. If you aren’t careful the stores you could have gotten a job in will be like the stores in Spain, they’ll be out of business as far as you are concerned.

If you go out and quickly change jobs only for a small salary increase, you will probably be disappointed.  By the time you figure out why you are disappointed, it will be too late to switch jobs again.  Two new jobs within a year just doesn’t sit well with most employers.

Don’t lose your head.  If you want a raise, tell your boss without threatening him. Show him what others are earning.  Educate him. Don’t forget to listen to him.  He may tell you a few things you need to fix to be worth a raise. Giving your boss a month or two to fix a problem gives you more time to improve your marketability.  Figure out what will really be a job improvement.  Take control of where you want to go instead of letting 50 sparkling job ads seduce you.

As the next few years continue to heat up, use the opportunities available to get where you would like to be. Don’t settle for a raise.  Demand an opportunity in your current job and your next job.

The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created, created first in the mind and will, created next in activity.  The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination. (Schaar)

Something To Do Today

In your job journal make two lists.  1.  The things you like about your job.  2.  The things about your job that could seriously be improved.

Next write down what can be done in this job and in searching for a new job to seriously improve your situation.

————————–

Next:     Rigor Mortis – signs of job death

Later:    Resumes: trash or treasure

New networking techniques triple effectiveness

It’s not who you know, it’s who will help you that counts.

New networking techniques triple effectiveness

I have tripled the effectiveness of my network in the last week.  I have gotten more referrals than I have been able to process.  Here are the basics:

Yesterday I wrote about Nebraskan networking.  Key points are:

  1. Ask the right question

Always ask:  Who do you know that can get me closer to the individual I need to talk to? People want to help.  This is a non-threatening way to give help without being 100% correct. You’ll be surprised how this gets people to relax and help you.

  1. You get more help from higher income people

Ask for help from people above the level you are working at.  Managers, experts, directors and CEO’s use networking every day.  They know the importance of sharing help. Often they will do much more for you than you ever expected.

  1. A driving purpose or important result is necessary

In the Milgram study an extremely impressive document was being sent.  The perceived importance made people want to help.  Carefully script your request.  Make your need critical, important for others to help with, and non-threatening.  Make sure they know that the next person in their network chain will feel honored to help.

  1. Give people a way to report back

Make sure the person you ask for help has a way to tell you how they helped.  Send them an email with your request.

Here’s an example of an email I have sent that got me more help than I have been able to keep up with:

————————

Subject: I need your help …

I need your assistance.  I know you’re not geographically placed right for all these, but you know people

If you don’t know of someone you can refer to me, would you pass this on to a friend, colleague or associate whom you consider to be closer to this person? Then they can open the door of opportunity for the right person.

One of my top clients is looking to expand its sales channel by hiring three people:

an Employee Benefits/Health Insurance Producer in Harrisburg, PA;

a Property and Casualty Insurance Producer in the Harrisburg area;

and a P&C Producer in north Philadelphia.

Sales opportunities are “teed up” for these producers by telemarketers and rainmakers.

P&C producers at the company over 3 years are all earning in excess of $200,000 per year.  EB are all well over $100,000/yr.  Base salary, benefits, etc. like you would expect.

Can you get this request closer to the right person?

I sure appreciate your help.

————————-

That’s a simple letter and has been extremely effective.  You can create one as effective for your urgent need.

————————-

Something To Do Today

Figure out how to follow the 4 steps above and ask for help to get closer to someone who can help you.

—————————-

Next:      Who do you work for?

Make your job search 50% more effective

The first step to making your job search 50% more effective, is to really know what is happening.  Yes, get a job in half the time. Let me give you an example that changed my life that applies to your job search.

I was overspending by 20% every month. I had an absolutely fixed income.  So I bought a notepad and kept track of every expense.  In one week it was obvious where the money went.  In a month it was unavoidable.  The truth? 20% of my very limited income was going for lemonade from cozy little shops in Murcia, Spain.

Your time is very limited.  You only get 24 hours a day.  You can’t buy more time. Do you really know how you use it?

Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace. (Sawyer)

Buy a small notebook.  Exert incredible discipline for one day each month.  Every time you shift tasks, write it down.  A phone call is a shifted task.  An internet link can be a shifted task.  Write it down.

It may help to create 15 minute intervals on the paper and write down what you did for each 15 minute period.

Now get out the chainsaw.  What was really REALLY productive?  Do you spend 2 hours daily trying to avoid offending people by chatting amiably or reading their useless emails.  Cut out the unproductive stuff.

Make sure you do what is important.  Education is essential. Networking is critical.  Talk about the NCAA tournament with Larry—don’t kid yourself.  That email of funny things kids do—delete it.

I tried it. I found I was spending hours each day with candidate email that wouldn’t do any good.  I did a 2 month experiment.  I took all my job openings off the internet. Instead I started calling up people.  In the recruiting business that is taking a chainsaw to your daily schedule.  Nothing neat and clean, I just cut 25% of my time wasted.  I have since added back some job ads, but not where everyone else advertises.  Now I get better candidates and less time wasters.

Create the log.  Keep it for a day or a week.  Get your chainsaw out.  Cut off the termite riddled, least productive part of the log.  Use the time you save to get the most useful things possible done.

————————-

Something To Do Today

Create a time log.  Use it for your job or your job hunting.  Keep it. Analyze it.  Chainsaw it.

—————————-

Next:      Unbelievable networking facts.

Later:               Take unfair advantage of those networking facts.

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.

————————-

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?

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)

————————-

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.

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.

————————-

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.