Category Archives: Networking

How to connect your job search

Google puts first things first. They figured out how to rank pages by how they are connected. They put the page that will be the most useful to you at the top of your list. That saved so much time that people abandoned the other search engines. 

Connecting web pages is a simple concept. A web page links to my website. Another site links to that first web page. Now, all three are connected.  

There are simple and complex strategies to being ranked highly by Google. All of them are forms of networking. The two most common strategies are: 1) you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, and 2) become the expert.

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours

You offer to list their web page on yours if they list your web page on theirs. That way you both get a lot of recognition.

It works in job hunting, too. Although it’s not as simple as with websites, the basic idea is to help as many people as you can, and they will help you. 

Getting articles published in trade journals is one example. There are literally thousands of local, state, regional and national associations and publications that need authors. Call up one and tell them you want to write an article. Local newsletters are especially useful. If you do a great job, they’ll publish it. The people who get those newsletters will then consider you an expert. They may just call you to help them with a question. They may offer you a job.

If you have something interesting to say, and already know you are a good speaker, contact your chamber of commerce and get on their speaker list. If you would like to be a great speaker, contact Toastmasters. I know there is a club near you. Go to https://www.toastmasters.org/. They are the best speaker trainers in the country.

Become the expert

When you are the expert, everyone seeks to be connected to you. You can get to be known as an expert by getting certifications or doing consulting work. 

Certifications are available for almost every field: sales, HR, accounting, real estate management, security, law, computers, etc. Often hirers search resume databases for the certifications and assume a good person will be attached to them.

Consulting work can really mean just getting a temporary job in the field. If you are unemployed, you have little to lose. Contact all the temporary staffing agencies and ask them if they place people with your skills on temp jobs as well as permanent ones. If they don’t, ask them who does. I was surprised that there is a market for temporary doctors in Antarctica, temporary electrical linemen in Alaska, and temporary environmentalists in Butte, Montana.

Figure out how to get connected to as many people as possible. It is a Google job search method that gets you in front of the competition. It could eliminate all your competition. 

Something to do today

Make a list of ways other people have connected to you in your job, even people who you might not have worked with directly. Track down how they got connected to you. Think of ways you can use that to connect with more people.

You have to prove you are worth more than you are being paid

“I am earning $115,000 per year. But I don’t want to be a food scientist anymore. I want to be a Java programmer. I’d like to earn about the same salary, but I’d consider less. Maybe $80,000 per year. I also want to move to Pennsylvania. I don’t like Texas. I almost got a PhD degree so I am sure someone will want me. Can you find me a job?”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vzZmKckcoj_eidQS9_xsdcG713VbYAaNiildV0rjcVKH7BmR9VMbpinqwFiddEJ1pJ2zMNGgWOorxGWm3brBV-9HlDR4BiqRgtKw_2aSLoMHYpIzaOYm_hNlpGGwc3Oa5wqzEZSP

At that time Java programmers with 2 years experience were earning $60,000 per year. They had no Java experience. They were studying it. Their goal was to get certified and then move to their new career. Their degree was unrelated to programming. Dropping from $115,000 per year to $80,000 per year seemed to them to be a sure way to interest an employer. I had to let them know that they weren’t worth anywhere near that as a programmer. 

Their problem was that they wanted to be hired at top dollar before they had a track record. And, yes, he did get hired. Just not at those terms. They realized the reality of the situation.

No employer can stay in business when they overpaid their employees. If their expenses are high, they have to charge more. Then their competitors take all their customers away. No customers, no business, no jobs. 

In order to be hired you have to be the best bargain of all the people who apply. You need to have proof that you will do more excellent work for less money than anyone else. That doesn’t mean you have to be the lowest paid. You have to be the best bargain.

A great salesperson will be paid three times what a mediocre one is. Yet, everyone wants a great salesperson and will pay for them. You may pay them three times as much, but they bring in 10 times the profit. That’s because high volume cuts your overhead costs. Great salesmen are worth a lot more. Did you notice the ugly fact that great salesmen are worth 10 times more, but are only paid 3 times more?

What about network technicians? If you can improve computer response time by ½ second per entry by 1000 clerks, you can save $100,000 per year for your company. If you can keep the computers of 1000 clerks from going down for 10 minutes each week, you are saving the company 166 man hours per week. That will allow them to save the wages of 4 clerks. A great network technician is worth much more than the one who allows network problems to continue. The ugly fact is that a great network technician is only paid 2 or 3 times what a barely acceptable one is paid, yet his contribution is 10 times greater.

You need to document what makes you great. Present it to your boss when you do it. When you are looking for a job, put dollars produced and saved in your resume. If you prove you are worth more than you are being paid, there will be less resistance to paying you more. Prove you are worth ten times more, then accept wages two or three times higher. It’s ugly, but that’s the way it works. 

Something To Do Today

Think about what work you have done over the last week or two. What are a few things that can make you worth 10 times more?

Guts and Glory Job Search

Knights charging into battle

Do you want what you earn from a “guts and glory” job search?

A 5000 email spam campaign may get you a job.  That’s why there are people who will legitimately email or fax your resume to a boatload of recruiters.  If you want to spend the money on it, go ahead.

But the risk and reward are small.

Putting your resume on a hundred job boards may get you a job.  I used to have a link to Resume Rabbit, who would do it.  If you want to spend the money, go ahead.

But there is no hard work and little reward.

The Guts and Glory way

How to REALLY get a great job is personal contact. Here’s why: if I put an ad in LinkedIn or on a job board, 50 to 1000 job seekers will reply.  Most of those will be unqualified for the job.  Basically, I have to wade through spam to get a few gems. Similarly, last week the same resume was sent to me 5 times.  It was from a guy in Texas who tries to hide where he is from so I will call him with a job “anywhere in the US”.  It is spam.  I delete a lot of spammed resumes.  I call 1 out of 50 of them.

The people who get my attention every time are:

  1. Recommended to me by their friends, or
  2. Call me personally and introduce themselves, or
  3. Are recruited by me when I call them directly at their jobs.

All three are guts and glory ways of contacting someone.  Getting a friend to recommend you or calling yourself is a very high risk and high reward way of looking for a job.  Sending an email or applying online is a no risk and very low reward way of looking for a job.

Cowardice is too strong of a word, but an effective one.  Email is not cowardly, it is just the least effective avenue of attack you have.

Personal calls and recommendations from friends are the most effective way to get that job you really want.  Hiring managers insulate themselves from job hunters so they aren’t bothered by unqualified and ill prepared job seekers.  If you are absolutely qualified and prepared why not use the absolutely most effective job hunting techniques you can?

Do a search for “networking” on my blog site archives.  I have written a lot of articles on how you can find the people you need to contact.  Look for a title that includes “networking”.

The easiest way, however, is just to call the company.  Ask, “Who is in charge of US sales?” or, “Who is the head of computer programming?”, or “Which VP runs commercial lending?”  Then call that person and ask them what you can do for them.  Say, “I’m Jim Tarrington.  At my company I report to the guy who does your job.  I’m looking for a job.  Is there a place I would fit into your group?”  Then listen.

Try a high contact, high risk, and high reward way to job search.  Give it a shot.

Something To Do Today

Which 3 companies would you most like to work for?  Or, which 3 advertised jobs do you want the most?  Get a friend to recommend you, or call in yourself.

————————–

Tomorrow:     Absolute proof it is time to leave your job

When failure is successful

failure can lead to success

Failure can be an outstanding success.

Being in an exciting startup company that fails can be great.  First a couple of success stories, then what happens with massive failure.

Success Stories

A handful of people I know have become multimillionaires.  People I have placed at their companies have gotten bonuses as high as half a million dollars.  Two companies were started and sold in less than 10 years.  One was for $200 million, the other for $400 million.  Not bad money if you can get it.

One company sells ads on the internet.  The other started out processing healthcare claims but quickly changed to selling prepaid credit card processing.  The company founders and key employees made a lot of money because they found “the next big thing.”

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

When FAILURE is successful

For each company that reaches this level a hundred startups fail.  Still, half of the startups are absorbed into the successful companies that put them out of business.  The best people in ALL of the failing companies find jobs in the best companies.  People with experience in “the next big thing” are rare and not wasted by their industry.

The way to find what “the next big thing” is in your field is to ask.  When you have one minute alone with managers, top technicians and salespeople, ask them.  I guarantee that they have spent a few minutes trying to figure it out themselves.  They also will want to show their expertise by sharing their vision of the future with you.  In your job journal write down what you are told.  You can review the lists you come up with occasionally and extract some gems.

Another way to find the next big thing is to subscribe to weekly and monthly trade journals.  Most are free.  Again, go to the managers, top technicians and salespeople.  Ask them, “Which trade journals do you get in your email?  Which do you read?”  Have them forward a copy so you can subscribe.  Get your own subscription.

Once you have a few choices for the next big thing, exploit your knowledge.  If you are an adventurer, get involved in the beginning stages of “the next big thing.”  If you are more security oriented, look for an opening where there is already solid revenue, but lots of growth potential left.   The job you take could be at your present company.  Find out if they are planning to fund a startup division or if they already have something going.   The other alternative is to get a job in another company.

Chasing “the next big thing” is not an easy life.  There are fantastic rewards and great challenges.  There are also company bankruptcies, mergers, acquisitions and layoffs.  But, I’ll say it again, the best people in those hot expanding fields are always absorbed into the competitors.  It is scary, but not as dangerous as it sounds.

Now, go do some dreaming.  It never hurts.  In your field what is “the next big thing?”

Something To Do Today

Do a survey.  Ask everyone you have a one minute conversation with what “the next big thing” will be.

————————-

Next:     Psychobabble and usable psychology

Later:              Facts would be nice

Wrestlers in feather boas

6 places to check on a company’s reputation

Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.  (George Washington)

When a man or woman brags about his virtue, avoid the former and cultivate the latter. (Unkn)

 6 places to check on a company’s reputation

Mt Rushmore with "Reputation? How do you find out what it is?"

What is the company’s real reputation?

I was told, “I want to work in a Fortune 100 company.  That’s where the action is at.  Then I will really be going places.”  It could be true.  Just remember, Enron was in the Fortune 100 club too, before their leadership was indicted.

Size isn’t everything.  It seems that in every Fortune 100 company there will be whole divisions laid off or sold every year.  The CEO may call it pruning. The people in the division have more explicit names for it.

For you, the job seeker, company reputation is important.  It will make a difference in how other people view your career.  The reputation of the local division is even more important.  Your success will be tied directly to the local division’s performance.  The reputation of your new manager is critical.  He’s the one that will make your job paradise or purgatory.

Places to look and people to ask

  1. If you go to their website you can find the official company news releases. That’s what they want their reputation to be. For the people outside of their industry, it will really be their reputation.
  1. Try calling some independent recruiters. If a recruiter submitted you there then they ought to already know the company reputation.  If they didn’t submit you, ask them about the company as you talk to them about your job search.  Independent recruiters talk to everyone going into a company and everyone leaving that company.  They know where all the skeletons are buried and which managers or departments are the best to work with.
  1. Quiz anyone who has close contact with the company. Look up their competitors. It can be particularly interesting to talk to people who worked at competitors. How do you find these people? Go to LinkedIn.com and search for company names in the “Person” search.
  1. Suppliers and accountants are great sources. Expand your online search if it is a company you are very interested in.
  1. Also call people doing the job you want in nearby unrelated companies. You want people from the same level you will be at because reputation can vary at different levels. If you want to be a salesman, programmer or COO, the reputation of the company will have spread outside of their industry.
  1. In many cases there are associations for your job. Talk to the people running the association and those at the meetings. Ask them about reputation.

Your search for their reputation can help you find other job openings too.  As you expand your circle of inquiry, more people find out that you are available.  Don’t forget to ask everyone who else you ought to talk to.  You may be surprised how important the comment of the friend of a friend can be.

Make it a habit to do your “due diligence” as you start interviewing for a job.  Find out their reputation.  Contact people about the company.  It will help you select the right company with the right boss.  Your inquiries may also lead you to a different, better job.

Something To Do Today

Find out if there are any associations for your job or the job you are working towards.  Online search engines work well. Reference librarians are especially good at finding them. Go to your local library and ask for help.

————————–

Tomorrow:     The work successful people throw out.

Later:              Lose 10 pounds in one week is not job hunting

How to find a job at a convention – Use those business cards

ace up the sleeve

A business card is an ace up your sleeve in your job search

Are you at a convention? If your boss is sending you to learn something, attend the seminars first.  If you have a booth, man the booth first.  And while you are doing your bosses work, collect all the business cards you can. Make a copy of every card for yourself.

Serious about your job search?  Sort the cards out into three piles by company:

  1. I’d love to work there.
  2. I’d consider working there.
  3. I’d never work there.

Contact everyone you have a card for.  Send them an email or give them a quick phone call.  Tell them you were pleased to meet with them.  Ask if you can help them.

Wait a week or two.  Now it is time to use the convention network you are creating to get a job.  Of all the people you contacted, which ones are most likely to know about jobs you want?  The people in pile “1” know about jobs in their company.  People in pile “3” are likely to be actively looking for jobs and know about jobs in good companies. People in pile  “2” are a combination of the other two.  So you should contact people in all three piles.

Why sort cards into 3 piles? Because you need to decide who to ask directly for a job.

Most of the people you meet cannot give you a job.  They can point you to a job, or pass your information along.  You don’t want to work with some of the people. Ask people to help you in the way that you and they feel most comfortable.  Call them up and say, “Jim, I’m keeping my eyes open for new opportunities. We talked a couple of weeks ago at the convention.  Who do you know who I should talk to about a job as a (job you want)?”

If they say they don’t know where you could go, then say, “Jim, I appreciate your thinking about this for me.  I’m going to send you an email.  Could you forward it to anyone you think might be closer to that job I’m looking for?  Thanks.  I appreciate your help.”

Now send him an email with a brief description of your skills. Don’t send a full resume.  Instead send a hard hitting 100 word message containing bullets of only your 3 greatest accomplishments.  Thank him for his help.  Ask him to get the email closer to someone who can help you find that job.

Want to get even more help?  Tally the jobs you are finding out about.  In 3 weeks send an email out to everyone you contacted and say, “I found out about 14 jobs thanks to the help you and a few friends gave me.  I haven’t made a decision yet on what I am going to do.  If any other jobs have come across your desk, I’d like to know about those too.  Thanks.”

This is networking at its best.  Of course you can use this in any job hunt.  Conventions are just very convenient for this kind of job search because you meet so many people so fast.

Something To Do Today

If you are serious about finding a new job, conventions are great.  They are also a LOT of work.  Decide how much time you are really interested in spending on that job search.

————————–

Later:  What to leave out

Persistence

Job security – what permanent means

$250,000 too proud

How fast

How to find a job at a convention – company trip, ethically

People talking at a convention

Convention job hunting can be as easy as hunting at the zoo

Some people get job offers at conventions, like this guy I know.

Two booths of software were side by side.  One was superior visually.  The other was better to use, and it had a salesman who was a whiz.  People were crowding around the great salesman.  The visually superior product kept losing crowds to that other salesman.  Finally the president of the losing company decided to try and eliminate the problem.  He offered a substantial raise, relocation package and perks to the salesman who was beating him. He turned down the job. I talked to that salesman later. It was a great moment in his career.

How can you do it?

As a programmer, brick layer or CEO the best way to look for a job at a convention is to be the best salesman for your company. That means helping everyone you can.  Get their cards.  Get 2 cards from everyone.  One for you and one for your company. During your free time go to as many booths as you can and get cards from other people.

Someone, anyone working for another company, is an insider. If you are serious about getting a new job, you will find an “inside contact” at every company whose booth you visit.  You don’t have to talk “jobs” with them at the convention.  What makes this even sweeter is that many of those people will come to your booth and initiate the contact.

After the convention volunteer to help your company’s sales force out.  Contact all the people you met while at your booth.  Give them the company line your salespeople want them to hear.  Keep notes about every contact you make.

Still serious about your job search?  Sort the cards out into three piles: 1. I’d love to work there.  2.  I’d consider working there.  3.  I’d never work there.

Don’t throw any of them out.  Tomorrow when I talk about what to do with each pile, you’ll see why you even want to contact people at places you would never work.

Something To Do Today

If you are serious about finding a new job, conventions are great.  They are also a LOT of work.  Decide how much time you are really interested in spending on that job search.

————————–

Next:   How to find a job at a convention – piles of cards

Later:               What to leave out

Persistence

Job security – what permanent means

$250,000 too proud

How to find a job at a convention – you pay

I know of one consultant who flies to meet his clients for lunch anywhere in North America.  He lives in the small Colorado town of Telluride. He has chosen to live in paradise and pay the price of frequent travel.

waiting in an airport with luggage

Waiting for a job in an airport – convention job hunting

In your job search, instead of flying across the country to meet one person, you can meet with 100 potential employers. You will only pay for one plane ticket and 2 nights in a hotel.  So bite the bullet.  Pay up. Go to a convention related to your field of work.

But how do you effectively work, or network, at a convention?  Five steps:

  1. Get a list of all the exhibitors and speakers. Don’t be picky at this stage. Research and call every company that is close to the field you want to work in. Don’t ask for the HR department, ask for a manager, marketing or sales.  Talk to them about who will be coming to the convention.  Call the best contacts who will be coming. Tell them you’ll see them at the convention.
  2. Go to the convention and make your first pass in the morning of the first day. Quickly go to every booth on your list and collect materials and business cards.  Just explain that you will be back, but need to work quickly this morning.
  3. Go back to every booth on your list and talk in depth with the people you want to contact. Work a priority system.  Who is most likely to hire you? Ask them questions you have about their company and their field.  Make sure you have the business card of everyone you talk to.   Give them your card.  You are building a network.  You might discuss employment, but this is not the time to apply for a job.
  4. Enlist everyone in your job search. Everyone who made it to the convention has influence where they work. They have been talking to new people, finding things out about the industry.  Enlist them in your job search. When you get home, contact everyone you met OR WANTED TO MEET.  Call them.  Chat briefly.  Then ask if they heard of any openings for someone like you.  Ask who else you should contact.  What if they are a techie and you are a salesman?  Call them anyway.  They’re a CEO and you are an engineer?  Call them.  A conversation about the convention leads naturally to what is happening in your field and job openings.
  5. Send an email to everyone you talk to. Thank them for their time and ask them to forward the email to anyone who might get you closer to the job you are looking for.

If you work a convention aggressively you will find dozens of openings that aren’t advertised.  You’ll even find out about jobs at companies not at the show.  Why?  Because the people manning the booths are the best and the brightest.  They are heavily recruited by other companies.  They know which companies are looking for talent. Aren’t those the people you want in your job search network?

Something To Do Today

You need a list of conventions.  Most people forget to include the association conventions they can attend that are less than 200 miles away.  Go back over your list of conventions and add a list of local and regional association conventions you can attend.

————————–

Later:                  How to find a job at a convention – as an exhibitor

What to leave out

Persistence

Job security – what permanent means

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.

 

 

Dead fish – arsonist firefighters and job hunting

“You’ve done well on your final interview.  I was told you can expect a job offer in the next couple of days.  Congratulations.”

“Wow.  Uh, Bryan, are they doing a background check?”

“Yes. This is a bank.”

“There’s one more thing you don’t know.  I haven’t told anyone because I was afraid it would keep me from getting the job.  Three years ago I…”

briefcase-923847_640-pixabay

Is there a dead fish hiding in your briefcase?

Hiding a dead fish in your briefcase won’t make it smell better when you finally have to open it. We’ll talk about job hunting in a minute.  Projects are easy

Dead fish and the project arsonist

In project management hiding a serious problem will turn you into an arsonist firefighter—the guy who causes months of sleepless nights for his team.  For projects, let your boss know of the problem by asking for his help to find a solution.  If you ask early enough, he may still be able to get you training, equipment, or people to help you.

In job hunting, you need to make some choices if there are dead fish in your briefcase

You can make two mistakes.  The first is to put everything that might disqualify you on your resume.  That keeps you from being considered at all.  The second is to hide the information as long as possible. The first is like slapping someone with a dead fish instead of shaking their hand when you first meet them.  The second is like taking that dead fish and hiding it in your briefcase and putting it out in the sun.  The smell will get stronger and stronger over time.  Dead rotting fish don’t smell better after a few days.

First make sure it is a real skeleton.  Age, marital status, sex, sexual preference, and country of origin are often considered to be a problem by a job applicant when they are not.  Don’t bring them up.  They are not skeletons.

Problems that disqualify you from a job are another matter.  The only way to win with a serious problem is to find a champion.  It could be the manager who wants to hire you, the HR (Human Resources) person, or someone you know who overcame a similar problem.  You’ll have to take a risk in letting someone know during the interview.  Often your champion will be an agency recruiter.  As your champion gets to know you, he can break the bad news to the hiring team with a positive recommendation.  That may be before or after the first set of interviews.  It will never be just before a job offer is made.

Let’s face it, a disqualifying problem disqualifies you!  You are asking for an exception to be made.  If you can get someone to go to bat for you, you have a chance.  Don’t try to hide a major problem in your briefcase, hoping no one notices.  A rotting fish never smells better after a few moist days in the sun.

Something To Do Today

Are there problems you bring up in your resume?  Do you apologize for something?  Do you proudly display your age, sex, sexual preference or country of origin in your resume?  Get rid of that stuff.  It makes people worry you will be a flaming activist.

Bigger problems?  Decide how you will enlist a champion.  Will it be a recruiter or someone you know outside the interview process?  Will you recruit someone within the interview process?  You need a plan.

————————–

Later:               Poisons

Liars

How to work a convention