Tag Archives: Finding jobs

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


Job security – what permanent means

In a job search it feel like “It’s a blizzard! There’s nothing I can do.”

The most important step in winning is to show up.

If you are looking for a job, it always seems there is a blizzard going on.  You are stuck at home and nothing is happening because of the snow and cold. You send out a hundred resumes and get no calls back.  Recruiters won’t help you.  No one is advertising jobs with your skills.  There’s nothing you can do.  You feel cold, helpless, and can’t see any hope of success because of the blowing snow.

No matter where you live, the blizzard is over.  Spring is here.  The job market is hot.

How many US metropolitan areas were importing workers in September of 2006?  At a 4.5% real unemployment rate, metro areas start importing workers.  Take a guess, how many were below that?

195. Yes, 195 places in the US were importing workers.  And the situation has gotten even better in the last 2 months.  In the DC area the unemployment rate in some counties is well under 1%. As a matter of fact, the national unemployment rate is below 4.5%. There is a real scarcity of workers.  That means there is opportunity.

Does that mean you have to move?  No!  That means you have to continue to job hunt.  If you keep trying intelligently, you’ll get a better job.  Workers are getting imported from  low paying areas into higher paying cities all over the US.  They’re leaving jobs behind that have to be filled.

Having trouble getting a job?  Here are some areas to re-evaluate:

  1. My job skills.  Can I make them more attractive? Can I get certified?
  2. That pesky resume.  Its job is to get you an interview.  Is it working?
  3. Am I showing up?  Are you contacting people about jobs?  Sending resumes?
  4. Are you relying on the right sources of job leads?

Now may be the time to refresh your approach.  Take a look at where your industry is going.  Sharpen your job tools.  Then keep applying.  The blizzard and cold is ending soon.  Jobs are opening up all over, like daffodils in the spring.


Something To Do Today

Use the 4 questions above to re-evaluate your job search.  I’ll go through them this week

Is that recruiter lying to you? How to tell.

Have you ever talked to a recruiter and had the hair on the back of your neck stand up?  …the feeling that you are being lied to?  …the nagging doubt about his sincerity?  …the dread that you are making a big mistake?

You were right!  Listen to your feelings.

Why recruiters lie

Not because their lips are moving.

Recruiters want to be liked.  They wish they could help everyone.  They can’t.  They lie.

What you should do

Whenever you talk to a recruiter you should ask tough questions about what he will do for you.  If he won’t commit to submitting you for a specific job, he won’t.  He may get lucky and a job will come in the next day, but you should not bet on it.  Find another recruiter, and another.

If a recruiter asks you to allow her to market your resume without your looking for a job, ask for weekly progress reports. Don’t let a recruiter stop your job search unless she is getting you interviews.  If she is not making progress, tell her you are going to take back the job search and do it yourself, but she is welcome to continue co-marketing you..

You are in charge of your job search. You have to know your resume is being submitted or do it yourself.  A recruiter asking for time to exclusively market you should report back and get results.  Take charge.


Something To Do Today

List all the recruiters you are working with.  Rate them.  Who do you trust?  Who is getting you interviews.

Tomorrow:  3 types of recruiters

Why people you barely know are better to network with

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

How people really find jobs in 2013

People are NOT finding most jobs at Monster, Career Builder and other job boards.

A survey was done in 2013 of companies with over 5000 employees.  These are companies that keep great records of where they find people.  These companies employ every possible method of finding new employees.  The details are at


The biggest job filler was internal candidates already working there – 42% .

There were an average of 74 applications per hire. Frightening, isn’t it?

Outside hires

From here on out, I’m going to talk only about percentages of the external candidates hired.  The ones who came from outside the company.

Referrals were the biggest source of external candidates at 25% of all jobs filled.  Of those referrals, 95% were referrals from people who worked at the company. You are 3-4 times more likely to get hired if you can get someone inside the company to refer you.

The company website got credit for 23% of candidates.  This is a suspect source according to the study authors, who suspect other things drove people to the website, but I’ll accept that number for the sake of argument.

Online job boards filled 18% of jobs.  The most significant job boards were Indeed and SimplyHired.  They found more people jobs than Monster and CareerBuilder.

It is simple mathematics, job boards are useful, but they are not the main way people find new jobs. Just going to company websites and submitting resumes blindly appears to be more effective than the big job boards.

Social media only got credited with 3% of hires, but it influences, drives, or combines with referrals, company career sites, job boards, direct calls into competitors, college recruting, temp-to-hire, and career fairs.

Recruiters like me only accounted for 3% of hires. They use recruiters only for the jobs that are begging for people.  They don’t want to pay my fee unless they just can’t find the right person easily.

Print is dead. Print ads only filled 2%.

What it all really means?

The real key, however, is networking.  It may not be easy, but it is still the main way jobs are filled.  Even in giant corporations. You are 3-4 times as likely to get hired if you network your way into a company.

Something To Do Today

Bite the bullet.  Do something in your job search other than rely on internet job boards.


Tomorrow:     Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Tracking elk and finding hidden unadvertised jobs

It is impossible for an orange tiger with black stripes to hide in green grass, yet it does.  You can’t fill a job unless you let people know about it, yet it happens all the time.

I walked 50 miles in a wilderness area.  I found lots of elk, fox, coyote, deer and bear.  I didn’t see any of them.  Not one.  But, I found them.  I heard them and saw their tracks and scat.  They were there.  If I wanted to go hunting, I would know right where to go to find them.

There are also jobs you can’t see. At times it is as obvious as tracks in the mud even if there are no job ads.  There is an announcement of a new division moving to your area.  A newspaper mentions the company is expanding.  You may see a new building being built. These things should alert you that a company needs to hire people.

More subtle indicators are that you hear of someone being fired, or that they are looking for a new job.  In all likelihood, someone will replace them.  That is a job opening.

Every city has at least one business newspaper.  Little old Harrisburg, PA has 3 or 4.  In that business news they highlight the expansion plans of businesses.  There is a section about appointments and promotions.  When someone is promoted, they had to come out of another job.  Call them up and congratulate them.  Ask them how they got the promotion and wait for them to tell you what job they left behind.

75% of all jobs are filled without ever placing an ad or posting an internal job notice.  Keep your eyes open for where an opening will be.  If you get the job before the ad appears, there is no competition.

Something to do today

Go to your biggest local library and to the local college or university library.  Ask to see all the business daily, weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines for your area.  See if you can find job tracks in them.


Humility and job suicide, there is a difference

What’s wrong with the box?

How to wait for the next interview

Read job ads if you are NOT job hunting

People call me and ask, “What is the hottest job in my field? What is the next BIG thing?”  I tell them how to find out for themselves.

The trouble with your career may be that you are stuck in a backwater position with no chance to see what is new.  You might say:

  1. You can’t be in front of the latest fashion craze while living in a nursing home. (Does that remind you of your job?)
  2. You can’t be ahead of the crowd if you are cleaning up the crowd’s trash after they left.      (Or, is this what you do?)

An excellent way to know where you want to be is to read the job ads once a week.  You’ll get a great feel for where the center, front edge and dying edge of your field is at.

Think about it.  Job ads tell you where people are hiring, not where they are just blue sky bragging. Job ads tell you how hot the employment market is by how many ads are out there.  They also tell you who is doing well enough to hire or who is losing people right and left.

Job ads are public business intelligence.  Use them.

Something to do today

Set up an appointment with yourself to read the online or newspaper job ads each week.


Free career intelligence

How to turn your dishwasher into a snowplow

The cheating husband

Should relocation be an option?

It was a drop in total pay, but for a $125,000 dollar base salary, my candidate moved to another state.  Two years later the company was sold and he pocketed an additional half million in cash.  That was a financially successful relocation.  The opportunity had been even better than expected.

But they had to deal with finding a new house, moving the girls into a new school, finding a new church and new social group.  The first 3 months were very painful.  The financial reward was great, but they questioned the decision to move as they tried to settle in. .  They eventually found a school, neighborhood and social group that was even better than the one they left. At work and at home it was an improvement because there was opportunity for a positive change combined with strength and preparation.

Oh, yes.  Last year he made $500,000 in base salary and commissions.  This year he moved again, to another company….for less money. He moved for opportunity.

What if the money is NOT that good?

Opportunity is what is important in considering whether to move or not.  More money alone is not that great of a reason to uproot yourself.  The opportunity to live near family or to get away from a disruptive family member is a good reason.  It may be worth moving just to be where the economy is more vibrant or stable.  Getting into a company with a technical or managerial career ladder that suits you is a great reason to relocate to another state.  A lot of people move here to Harrisburg because it is a smaller town with shorter commutes, and there are a lot of outdoor activities 15 minutes away.

You need to figure out the opportunities that are most important for you and your family.  Talk about it.  For the right opportunity, those high school students may even want to move.

When to delay a move

Running from a problem may be necessary.  If possible, take a little while to fix the underlying cause first, then move.  Otherwise you merely take your problems to a new location and they reappear like weeds in a garden.

That may mean admitting you need more training, a better attitude at work, better work habits or to build a stronger family.  When you are on the road to fixing underlying problems, then a move can give you a clean slate to start over with.

Relocate for opportunity.  That means YOU need to be ready, really ready, to grow.

Something to do today

This is a good time to talk to your family or a good friend about what is holding you back.  Do you need to have more opportunities for work, your family, or both?


Later:               What a spouse is good for

Job hunting on the job

Salt in the wound

Eagles don’t flock?

Reputation matters, and finding it can find you a job

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.

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.

If you go to the newspaper and internet 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.

Their reputation in the industry and in the community will not be too hard to find. Try calling some independent recruiters that work with the company.  If they 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.

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.

Suppliers and accountants are great sources. Expand your online search if it is a company you are very interested in.

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.

Also call people doing the job you want in nearby unrelated companies. 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.  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.

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.

How to find a job at a convention – use the cards

Everyone is in business for himself, for he is selling his services, labor or ideas.  Until one realizes that this is true he will not take conscious charge of his life and will always be looking outside himself for guidance. (Madwed)

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 them 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