Here are 5 ways to get free career intelligence. This can help you find and land a job.
1. Every day I give away useful business intelligence. I am an expert in a few job markets. I’m a recruiter. Every time you talk to a recruiter, grill them. If a recruiter calls you out of the blue, you have a right to be very nosey.
2. HR (human resources) people give away business intelligence. They are experts in their company and will tell you how you fit in. If you ask they will often tell you where you stand in the job competition. Hiring projection for 3 to 6 months into the future are often on the tip of their tongues if you just ask them.
3. Salespeople are incredible sources of information. They also like to talk a lot. Take a salesman from your own company, a supplier, or a place you want to work, out to lunch. Or just talk to them. You’ll find out more than you would think possible. Often they can tell you about all the competing companies in your area.
4. The web. Indeed. Monster. CareerBuilder. Look for “trolling” job ads. What ads are there for months? Often they are renewed weekly, but they are the same ad forever. Those are jobs that constantly need people. Sort by company and look for ad clusters. Is a company creating a new project team? Often they advertise for 3 different jobs while they have other unadvertised openings for the team that will be created. The manager job may be unfilled. Or another team has an opening because the manager for this team came out of that team. Keep all the possibilities in mind.
5. Every industry has a trade magazine or ten. Subscribe. Many are free. There are even more industry trade publications appearing as email magazines. There are specific trade publications for cement, computer banking systems, turkey processing, pizza shops, jewelry making, dog kennels, dairy farmers and more. Even if you just read the cover you will be better off than if you didn’t get the magazines.
Open your eyes. Look around. Where do the experts go to become experts or to show off their expertise? That’s where you need to go to get career intelligence.
Something to do today
Subscribe to 3 trade publications.
Job offer? Will you take it?
- Don’t turn it down because the pay is $2000 too low
- Don’t take it because you get a 30% pay raise
If you only think of what is happening short-term, you will make a lot of bad decisions.
This article goes into a lot of the things you should ponder before saying yes or no.
I help people get paid enough.
A lot of folks are underpaid. I’ve gotten a few people 50% pay raises.
I try not to get them paid too much. If they are paid too much they get laid off.
This article gives some good answers to the question, “Are you paid enough?”
I don’t mind an eight hour day, as long as it’s only once a week. (Unknown)
Working as the night desk clerk at a hotel, my daughter got to know some interesting people. A group of Koreans were staying at the hotel while taking English classes. They were required to come up with words of wisdom from an American each day for the class to talk about.
One of the Koreans asked my daughter for help. The quote she gave him is,
Now, if you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star, you’ll still be beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy“ (Terry Pratchett, “Wee Free Men”)
It was perfect for the Koreans, because that is the attitude they are raised with from the cradle. There is a lot to be said for it. That attitude raised South Korea from a bombed out third world country to a major economic force in one generation. Well, it did if you add the fact that they had a dream and followed their star.
I’m strongly in favor of dreaming and following your star. Just remember, you’ll be beaten every time if you spend most of your time dreaming.
And, yes, I do know Terry Pratchett is English and not American. The Koreans didn’t know that.
If you can get your boss to repeat what you say, there is still only a 50-50 chance he understood or thought about what he repeated. There is only a 10% chance he will remember it in a week. Harsh? No. Guys who get PhD’s in education will agree.
Have you ever felt like your boss was from a cartoon show?
How could you?! Haven’t you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church….Captain Whatshisname? (The Simpsons)
How many times do I have to tell them?
Your sweet boss is a senile, blind, unthinking, incompetent, well meaning person. Treat him that way, without offending him, and you’ll do well.
I only exaggerated a little. Here is why:
Everyone hears, but no one listens.
My wife and I were in charge of various activities at church, but very few people came. Then we were told the key. If a person at church is reminded of something 3 times, there is a chance they will consider it. If they are reminded 6 times, it is likely they will remember hearing it once or twice. So we started letting people know by announcements from the pulpit, notices on the bulletin board, a poster in the lobby, announcements in each Sunday School class, and an announcement at the Wednesday night meeting. We did the notification for 3 weeks preceeding each event. Suddenly people started coming. They finally got it. They finally remembered. You have to repeat things over and over.
Again, if you can get your boss to repeat what you say, there is still only a 50-50 chance he understood or thought about what he repeated. There is only a 10% chance he will remember it in a week. The studies have been done to prove it.
So the key to getting your boss to really understand is to remind him repeatedly. How often? Every single week.
Forever? Yes, forever. Yes, every week.
Your boss really only wants to think about your competence as he puts together your annual performance review. Otherwise, he just wants you to be excellent and not cause him any extra work. You have to treat him like we treat the congregation at church. He needs to be told over and over about what you have accomplished.
I suggest you submit a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual progress report to your boss. Submit it even if he says, “You don’t have to.” Tell him, “I hope you don’t mind. I just want to be sure you understand what is going on.” If he still objects, tell him you are gathering documentation for your annual review for him. Keep it brief, but make it regular.
If you get those reports to your boss each week, I’ll bet he starts to file them in a special folder for you. Then when he has to do pay reviews, he’ll open that folder and bless you for helping him out. And your pay raise will be higher than it would otherwise. When he is planning to promote someone, he’ll open that folder and know more about what you have done than about what anyone else has done.
Every Friday remind your leader why he loves having you work there.
Something To Do Today
Start giving your boss regular reports on what you do.
Later: A Korean attitude
What to learn from procrastinators
Your closest friends are less useful in a job search than people you barely know.
Anti-intuitive, but true. Here’s why.
The people you know well are few in number, and may all work in only 2 or 3 different companies. They all know about the same job openings.
There are a lot more people you barely know. They are spread through a much more diverse set of companies and geographical areas. There is a much better chance that the people you barely know will tell you about a job or company you didn’t know exists.
Some studies have been done on job hunting through strong and weak networks. It turns out that people really do get better job leads from weak connections.
Moral of the story: Tell everyone you know, meet, and recognize about your job search. You may just get a lead to an unbeatable job by talking to those folks you barely know.
Something To Do Today
Have you been spreading your job net as wide as you can? Talk to people you barely know from an association, your church, a club, or your kid’s soccer league. Tell them about your job search. It may just work.
And, do talk to your close friends about your job search.
Later: How many times…
A Korean attitude
When Elmer Fudd went hunting for Bugs Bunny, he always started out with a plan. He carefully prepared and then waited.
Bugs would come up to him and say, “What’s up doc?”
Elmer replied, “I’m going to get me a wabbit.”
Then Elmer would realize that the rabbit was talking to him instead of falling into his trap. Elmer overreacted and Bugs got away. Elmer kept overreacting more and more. It got less dangerous for Bugs and more dangerous for Elmer. Eventually Elmer would turn into a whirlwind, shooting in every direction. There was no chance he would hit Bugs.
Does that also describe your job hunt?
Did your first plan fail? Then, you reacted too far in the other direction? Then you overreacted in still another way?
You need to react to what you learn, but you also need to carry out a workable job search plan. You need to put in enough effort in a disciplined manner to get results.
Something To Do Today
Sit down and think. Are you feeling strung out and desperate? Then find someone to help you review your job search plan. You may just need to slow down, plan, and then execute in a disciplined manner.
Later: How not to be a liar
The strength of weakness
Your resume may have been thrown away because the wrong person submitted it. You may have become a victim of recruiter ownership. (No, it is not slavery, it just feels like it.)
Paul recounted to me that he was presented by a recruiter to a company for a job. The recruiter said, “I have great contacts there!” Nothing happened. So Paul networked his way in and set up his own interview without the recruiter. When the hiring manager found out that a recruiter had previously presented Paul, Paul was told that it would be impossible to hire him. The manager would have to pay a fee to the recruiter even though the recruiter did not cause the interview to happen. The manager didn’t want to pay the fee.
Did the recruiter lie? I don’t know. There may have been 4 other managers that would pay a fee that turned down Paul’s resume when the recruiter presented him. The problem is that the recruiter didn’t get Paul an interview.
Did the manager lie? I don’t know that either. If the manager has no recruiting budget, Paul is out of luck. If the manager has a recruiting budget and someone else who is free is almost as good, Paul is out of luck. The manager may be hiring someone who is better and paying a fee, but is still using the recruiting fee as an easy excuse to get rid of Paul.
In the end, Paul doesn’t get the job.
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. (Abraham Lincoln)
Recruiters have to get paid by the company when they find someone a job. They can prove they submitted your resume and a company accepted it. In many cases that is all they can prove. So the contracts often say that is all they have to prove to get paid. A company always has an incentive to hire someone NOT submitted by a recruiter–the recruiter’s fee. But they will hire the best person despite the fee for critical positions.
Just as it can be a mistake to have a recruiter submit you, you can make a big mistake by submitting your resume yourself. If you submit yourself first, the recruiter can’t get paid. Even if he can get you an interview because he knows the hiring manager, he won’t even try. You submitted through the website and got turned down by an HR receptionist, so the recruiter will not resubmit you. Your unpaid resume could knock one of his paying resumes out of submission. He won’t submit you because he doesn’t “own” you.
So why use a recruiter? Because the recruiter may know about a job opening you don’t know exists. Because in many cases he really can get you past the HR department. He may be able to get you an interview that you can’t get without him.
So, what do you do? Hand your resume to the hiring manager personally if you can. Use a recruiter if the recruiter will be more effective. Submit yourself if you found the job yourself and a recruiter will be no more effective than you will.
Then wait patiently. It may feel like you are being sold into slavery if you are told you are not being hired because the recruiter “owns” you. But that is a risk you and the company take because in many cases the recruiter can get you a job you can’t get on your own.
Something To Do Today
If a recruiter tells you about a job you didn’t know exists, you need to be fair and let him submit you.
If you know about a job you have to decide whether you can network your way to the hiring manager (best), if a recruiter can get you an edge in hiring (next best), or if you should submit yourself to the HR department (still okay).
Coyote traps – when to gnaw off your arm
The hours game
You want to move to a different area, but you want to have a job before you go. Good idea. So, you put together a resume and put on your real current address and phone number. You are 1000 miles away from where you want to work.
No one calls.
Can you blame them?
You have basically announced that hiring you will be a problem. It doesn’t matter what your cover letter says. You may have a place to stay there and be willing to pay for your move yourself. It doesn’t matter until they actually talk to you. They immediately assume they will have to pay for you to fly in and interview, pay for a relocation, deal with the first two months of lack of productivity while you settle in to a new home, and put up with you getting homesick.
The answer: Get them to see how good you are before they notice you are from out of town.
You have to get past the screener. The screener is a computer or a human who is wading through 100 resumes, trying to find the 2 or 3 best ones. Your phone number and address may be getting you excluded without any review. So change them.
Get a local phone number at the very least. Try Google Voice. Or, you can get a Vonage internet phone for $10-$25 per month. For $5 more per month you can get extra phone numbers that have any area code you want. You can have the Vonage phone automatically forward to your regular home phone or cell phone and never use the internet line if you want. You can switch where it rings as often as you like. With Vonage, you can have a local phone number for your job search no matter where you really live.
Getting a local address for your resume is also a good idea. You can use a friend’s house, rent a Post Office Box at the Post Office, or get a box at a UPS Store or some other mailbox forwarding service. Put in a change of address form. Any letters sent to you may be delayed, but they will get to you. More important, your resume will not get flagged for deletion merely because of your address.
If you have a specific place you want to move to, it may be worth your time to camouflage where you currently live. You will have to deal with the relocation issue during the phone interview, but at least you will have a better chance of actually talking to someone instead of getting screened out by a computer because of your zip code or area code.
Something To Do Today
Try to figure out what may be keeping you from getting a call when you apply for a job. Can you overcome that problem? Do you need camouflage, better writing, or stronger experience?
Later: Hiding real problems
When is your resume being thrown away?