Category Archives: Uncategorized

Getting everyone to recommend you (without having to ask!)

Do you want to work with someone who is unhappy being there to work?

Would you recommend someone who is grumpy about their job for a different job in that field? Who is only working for the money even though they despise their job with a passion?

No one else would either.

Love to work

People love to waste their passion hating their job instead of loving their work. There is a big difference that is noticeable to everyone when someone is excited to work. Painful drudgery for money is too common. These people stay stay stuck where they are and no one wants to recommend them. Ever.

I suppose I shouldn’t say never. Their co-workers might recommend them… to get that person out of their office.

These people drain energy worse than incandescent light bulbs.

Who you are at work

At AGI, we place a lot of people. There are a few groups that everyone tends to fall into: excited kids, total grumps, or average Johnsons.

You know how kids are. They’re excited by all the new stuff around them. They love what they get to do. Life is an exciting adventure, and they can’t stop finding new things to do even if its on the exact same playset for years and years.

People like this do their job off the clock, not getting paid for it. They love what they do, and they are happy to do it outside of work. They have so much energy that is infectious, and these are the people that come to mind whenever a job opportunity gets mentioned. They talk about their job with love, and their friends share that passion because they care.

These people get recommendations for jobs. And a lot of them. These are the people that come to mind when a hole in an organization comes up. These are the people that get called about a new job instead of having to do the calling themselves.

Average Johnsons are average. They use their skills whenever it’s useful. They don’t hate their job but they are far from excited about it. If you ask them about work, you get a “it’s not bad” from them. They might get recommended every now and then, but they aren’t the first person who comes to mind.

Everyone knows a grump when they meet them. They hate their job and everything about it. They avoid it whenever possible. They make the worst workers because they don’t want to be there. A grump goes off like a bomb about how awful their job is. They whine and complain, and no one ever wants to work with them. Maybe they drudged through their classes, got their degree, but there is no person willing to hire them.

There is a huge difference between each of these groups. The biggest difference is excitement, but another is how much they use their job outside of work.

People who are excited get jobs.


 Do your job for free or for charity

 Use your job and work to help someone! Decide, and act. Helping people will help you become more energetic about your job. It will make you happy about it like you’ve never been before.

Are you a computer technician? Rip apart electronics in your spare time. Offer to help a local church or charity with issues. They might not have a job for you, but give them your number to let them call you if something comes up. Offer to teach at a library, a school, or nursing home.

Are you a salesperson? Do what my partner did, become a charity “hit woman”. Get the job of calling on businesses for donations. You will talk to a lot of leaders of industry. And guess what? If you do a good job, they’ll be impressed.

Your friends, family, and acquaintances will see what you are doing. They’ll tell other people. Your friends, family and everyone you meet and help will recommend you if they ever have the opportunity.

Be excited. Love your job and do it for free. Help others and show them how you love your job, or what you want your job to be. Your excitement will get everyone to help you get a job.

Something To Do Today

 Sit down and seriously evaluate how you’ve been acting. Are you a member of the “beef and whine club”? Find something you enjoy that is related to the job you want. Do it with enthusiasm, for free.

Experience and recommendation get you a job where a degree won’t. Job and work recommendations are great, but also getting them from the community will make you stand out.

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

1 way to blow an interview, 10 ways to fix it

forehead-65059_640-pixabayPerfect candidates blow interviews like this every day.

Daryl comes out of another tense project meeting at work.  He’s late leaving for his job interview.  He guiltily leaves his jacket hanging in his cubicle so no one will suspect he is gone and sneaks out to his car.  He turns on talk radio where politicians are being called the biggest thieves and liars on earth. That gets him thinking about his hate for his current job.   He’s two minutes late.  No one will notice, but Daryl is still stressed.  The interview seems to go well, but it only lasts half an hour.  The next day a secretary calls and informs him that “He is not a fit.” He does not understand why.

This is how Daryl blew it

You have to prepare for your interview emotionally and mentally.  Daryl did neither.  He really did everything he could to assure he interviewed poorly.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.  (Seneca)

Here are 10 things to do on your way to an interview:

  1. Get mentally out of your office an hour early. Shut your office door or leave the building. At the very least, prepare the evening before.
  2. Reread the descriptions you have of the job you are applying for.
  3. Jot down a quick list of how you have triumphed in the kinds of projects that you would see on that job. Writing the list cements it in your mind.
  4. Describe those triumphs out loud while you watch a clock. Keep each description under 2 minutes.
  5. Answer aloud a few test questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” or “Why do you want this job?” Time your answers. Keep them under 2 minutes.
  6. Leave early enough to arrive 10 or 15 minutes before the interview starts.
  7. Listen to soothing music or a motivational CD as you drive.
  8. Use your drive time to think about what you have accomplished in previous jobs. Talk out loud about each accomplishment while you watch the clock. Keep each description under 2 minutes.
  9. After you stop in the parking lot, read the job descriptions one more time. You need to keep in mind what the company says it is looking for.
  10. Time to shine. Remember to smile as you walk in the door and greet each person.  Have fun.  Remember, they invited you in.  They want to see you.

If you have a bad interview, you won’t get the job.  If you have a great interview, you not only get the job, you get more money.

Interview preparation is not difficult.  It requires time and concentration. Give it the time and the effort it deserves.  You’ll see the difference.

One critical thing I mentioned that people forget

Collect job descriptions of every job you are going to interview for.  That’s often the key missing link in preparation.  If you rely only on your memory, you may forget a few essential points that you should emphasize in your interview.



Coming up:           References

You can’t rollerskate in a buffalo herd

Resume magic

Imperfect and highly paid

The most common interview questions

I hate (certain) firefighters

“Jim barely went home for the last two weeks.  He saved the Membership Project.  Our customer was screaming because of the implementation problems.  We are giving Jim a bonus and a week of vacation for his efforts.”

Jim is a firefighter and an arsonist.  He led a project down the path of failure.  When his inept leadership nearly sank the whole division, the manager two levels above him stepped in and salvaged the project at implementation.  Jim worked like crazy.  His whole team did.  It really bothers me when guys like that get praised and rewarded. In some companies that is the culture.

I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to die in a fire of suspicious origin. (unkn)

picture of matches catching fire

One man’s job arson causes a whole team to burn.

Has an emergency caused you to work nights and weekends?  Did a job you were the finalist for disappear because of a disaster? Was it filled by a firefighter who is an arsonist?  Do your bosses know the arson root of a lot of job fires?

Root causes of job arson are going to be a continuing subject for a few days.  Career building and job hunting both have firefighters who are also arsonists.  Don’t think you are safe because you are job hunting.  It’s amazing how many job hunters destroy their own chances of success.

 Something To Do Today

Make a list of the times you have had to work late and on weekends due to unforeseen problems or disasters.  There is probably an arsonist somewhere.  Who is it?  Make a list of arsonists.

The list you are making may help your career and your job hunting.  It can help you see how you aid and abet arsonists.  That tendency may be why you have missed more than one job or career opportunity.


Job arson examples:      The Mythical Man Month

Doctor No

Dead fish



And later:    How to work a convention

Forgetting to get a job – Liar research day

“Five wasted years due to a liar.  I was promised equity, part ownership, and then they sold the company without giving it to me.  I was robbed. I’ll never trust anyone again.  Now I’m in it for the money.  I’m in it for me.”

He has the skills to succeed, but who would hire him for an honest corporate level job now? He broods on wrongs done to him. His attitude and morals are shot. He is sure everyone lies and cheats. Every time he sends me a resume, it has incredible lies on it.  He only remembers the bad, never savoring the good.

Some places will hire him for sales or sales management because of an undeniable track record.  But will he cheat the customers or help them?  Will he ever be a customer centered salesman again? He will be fired soon.

I have kept in contact with him for years and he has never recovered. He refuses to move on mentally. Morally he remains disfigured, brooding, and unreliable.

The inability to forget is infinitely more devastating than the inability to remember. (Twain)

picture of hate

Grabbing offenses tightly only pushes needles through your hand.

There are a lot of people like him. I ask these scarred souls, “How soon did you figure out your boss was lying?”  Usually the answer is, “I found out 3 months (or 3 days) after I started.  But then it was too late to take another job.”  I ask, “Why didn’t you get the promises in writing?”  The answer is always, “I didn’t think I needed to.  He kept telling me he would do it.” By then you knew your boss was a liar, so you trusted him??

Time to forget that you were cheated.  You made two mistakes: 1. You decided to keep working for a liar, and 2. You decided you didn’t need promises in writing from the liar.

What you should do is learn from the two lessons above and move on.  Refuse to work for a liar again.  Get promises in writing.  And now start remembering all the good people you have known.

Good people attract good people.  You will find that people who tell the truth in business don’t mind putting their promises in writing.  As a matter of fact, they prefer putting promises in writing so that there is no dispute later about what they promised.

Now forget how you were robbed.  That was one bad boss.  No need to tell the story over and over.  Frankly forgive him.  If you are suing him, let your lawyer worry about it.  If you aren’t taking him to court, drop it completely.

Learn from your mistakes.  Continue trusting people.  Get promises in writing.  Learn the right lessons and forget the pain.  You’ll be happier.

Something To Do Today

Liar research day.  Who do you know who says they were robbed in a job or business?  Come on.  You probably know a few.  Ask them 2 1/2 questions:

  1. How soon did you figure out he was lying and why did you stick with him so long?
  2. Did you get all those promises in writing?


Later:   I hate firefighters

Dead fish



The healthiest way to look at jobs unfilled

Needlessly unfilled jobs get me mad.  They keep you out of a job.  They lower profits at the companies that desperately need the right person.

This article calls the over qualification of a job opening “zombie thinking”.   I like the solution Lou gives to solving the problem.  Unfortunately it has to be solved by the employer, not the job seeker.

4 keys to take charge of a group – networking

Networking?  It is leadership.  Some of the best connected network creators I know have never been managers, but they all have been leaders.

Seize Opportunity to take charge of a group

90% of opportunity is seized, 10% is granted.

So who decides where you go for lunch?  In a group of 10, 8 people will meekly suggest a restaurant, one person will call for a vote, and one will decide where to go without a vote. How does that one person get the whole group to follow her? 

  1. She makes decisions that are desired by other natural leaders of the group.
  2. She finds out who has a strong bias against her decision and deals with it.
  3. Occasionally she goes somewhere she doesn’t like, to please others.
  4. She pulls or pushes people out the door to get them moving.

It is not just a matter of having a strong personality.  It isn’t just being decisive or insistent. Seizing opportunity requires a decision you really care about, dealing with all opposition, and getting people moving.

To seize opportunity you have to care, move yourself and move others.


Something To Do Today

Take the lead or watch a leader take charge of a group.

Starting tomorrow I’ll be giving at least one suggestion each day for networking.

For a few days:           The first step towards leadership

How to network at the top.

Creating networks

What to do before you quit

Should you quit your job to look for a new job?


Hiring someone who has a job is always easier for managers than hiring someone who is unemployed.  The reason is that they figure 90% of the people who are unemployed have one of 3 problems: they are incompetent, they are troublemakers or they are never satisfied.  I talked to a manager about a very competent programmer.  She asked, “If he is so good, why is he unemployed?”  Because she feels uncomfortable with that question, it looks like she won’t hire him.

Since you shouldn’t quit your current job, what should you do?  Become a model employee.  Treat your current job like you expect a big raise in a couple of weeks.  Document how well you are doing and let the people you interview with know how well you are doing.

Here are 8 things you should do at your current job:

  1. Arrive a little early and stay a little late.  Just a few minutes makes a big difference.  It is job insurance.  Track it.
  2. Do your job interviews before work, at lunch or after work.  Future employers like to hire people who are still looking out for their current boss.
  3. Use a personal email account for job hunting.  Go to Yahoo or gmail for a free account if you have to.  Your next boss may be turned off if you are using company assets (email) in your job search.
  4. Figure out ways you can make more money or save more money for your current employer.  Document it.  Then use it in job interviews.  How will an interviewer react if you say, “In the last 2 months I’ve saved my company $3452.”
  5. Track how fast you do everything, and do it faster.  Compare yourself to others.  Use your improvements in interviews.
  6. Go out of your way to help people beyond your job description.  Write down what you do and who you help.
  7. Absolutely stop bad mouthing your current employer. Stay away from people who gossip.  Get out of the beef and whine lunch group.  Why?  You will do better in interviews.  Your attitude towards work will be better.  A person with a good attitude always gets the job over someone who hates their job.
  8. Look for ways to get training on the job or in classes.  Prepare yourself for the next job you want.  Volunteer for assignments that will make you stretch.

WARNING:  If you do all of the above, you will probably be offered a raise or a promotion to stay when you quit.  Turn it down and go to the new job.  Trust me, it never works out unless they offer you the raise and promotion BEFORE you quit.  Much better to come back in a year or two than expect your boss to forgive your accepting another job offer.


Something To Do Today

Improve your performance at your current job.  Track the improvements and use them in your interviews and on your resume.

Why your coworkers shudder when you approach

Admit it.  You have worked with someone you just wanted to avoid. You have done your best to get out of projects with one of your coworkers. There is someone whose footsteps send a wave of panic through your body.

Here is a look at 11 sins you will recognize. Do any apply to you?

What if you were fired totally unfairly?

When you are fired or laid off, you are wounded. How do you tell when you are healed?

“Of one thing I am certain, the body is not the measure of healing, peace is the measure.” —Phyllis McGinley

You may need to take a week or two off before looking for a job. If you start searching for a job before your wounds have started to heal, you may keep yourself out of jobs because your interviewing is filled with raw pain.  Over and over I have seen people totally botch phone and in-person interviews because they hadn’t healed enough from their job exit wounds.

As you notice peace again, your wounds are being healed.

If you are really having a hard time letting go of the hurt, unfairness, and pain you may want to try something I do.  Go to a cemetery.  Spend an hour there walking and thinking.  Do it every day for a while until you start feeling peace.  There is nothing like a cemetery to remind you of how important the way you were treated in your last job is in the long run.  It reminds me that I will be judged on how I act, love, and forgive, not on what others do. It reminds me of the shortness of my life and that I don’t want to spend my time in bitterness.  It is my choice.

You can do the same thing by sitting in a big old church.  Pastors are happy to let you sit there even if the church is closed.  If the door is open, go in and sit.  Or knock on the rectory door (the house next door where the pastor lives) and ask for  a favor.  Or try going to a downtown church or homeless shelter to find a chapel to sit in.  Hospitals have chapels open 24 hours each day.  Evenings are a good time to find an open church.  Many catholic churches have a morning mass and you can ask the Priest if you can just stay and sit.

Sometimes I just find a mountain trail and go for a hike for a few hours. Your local outdoor sports store and state parks department will have maps available.

It is much better to take a week off, than to apply for a job when you are bitter, upset, and still bleeding from a job wound.  Take some time. Find some peace.  You will get a better job.

During a job interview I have never heard someone complain of how badly they were treated and how horrible the boss was in a job 20 years ago.  You will eventually stop complaining about your treatment.  Why not stop now?  You’ll be happier.