Friday, August 10, 2012

Why Can't I Find A Job?

Dear Job-seeking Friends,

From a great article entitled "The Four Key Principles of Successful Job Seekers"

1. Use job search strategies that work. Two of the biggest challenges job seekers face are knowing which job search approaches are the most effective, and figuring out where to start in finding job opportunities. Successful job seekers know that any approach that helps them find and connect with the right people will eventually land them the job they want. Answering want ads and Internet postings have only marginal value. Developing relationships through networking, referrals, informational interviewing, and recruiters gets them closer to, if not right on top of, their ideal job. They know that in a competitive job market, they cannot rely on looking for positions already advertised passively. They actively market themselves to the people who are likely to hire them.

2. Stick to a step-by-step, action-oriented process. The typical job seeker quickly becomes overwhelmed by his or her job search. There are million of things to do, places to look, and people to talk to, but they don't have a system for putting the pieces together. Job seekers who know the score, design and implement a game plan that includes setting a specific and attainable goal, actions steps to take every day or week, and a system to track their progress. If they don't realize the results they want to achieve, they don't abandon this plan. Rather, they make adjustments that get them back on track.

3. Stay motivated in face of frustration and rejection. Rejection letters, no return calls, and outdated information are all part of the normal working day of a job seeker. Most people get frustrated and angry with this every-day occurrence and give up. The successful job seeker sees this as opportunity or a positive learning experience. They don't let the fear of rejection get in the way of their progress. By sticking to their plan, they don't give up during the job search. They are motivated by the goals they've set and nothing will deter them from that accomplishment.

4. Know when to ask for help. Looking for a job can sometimes be the loneliest job in the world. Uncertainty and doubt set in with many a job seeker when things don't go right. Perhaps even a sense of pride sets in and the thought of asking someone for help makes them feel like a charity case. Conversely, successful job seekers know that they cannot do this alone. They stack the odds in their favor by adding some outside help to their job search campaign. They want to be accountable to someone other than themselves. They need to get a different point of view, or perspective, on their progress or challenges. And, they seek out support from people who care about their progress or help them develop the tools they need to win.

The next time you ask yourself or someone else, "why can't I find a job," you now know all is not lost. Implementing a solid action plan, sticking to your goals, and seeking help when you need it most, puts you in charge of your destiny.

Simply put, you are just a few steps away from being a success.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Do You Have Any ??? for Me?

Dear Job Seekers,

I found this great article outlining 5 questions GREAT candidates ask during the interview:

"Be honest. Raise your hand if you feel the part of the job interview where you ask the candidate, "Do you have any questions for me?" is almost always a waste of time.  Thought so.  The problem is most candidates don't actually care about your answers; they just hope to make themselves look good by asking "smart" questions. To them, what they ask is more important than how you answer.  Great candidates ask questions they want answered because they're evaluating you, your company--and whether they really want to work for you.

Here are five questions great candidates ask:

What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?
Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don't want to spend weeks or months "getting to know the organization."  They want to make a difference--right away.

What are the common attributes of your top performers?
Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Every organization is different, and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organizations.  Maybe your top performers work longer hours.  Maybe creativity is more important than methodology. Maybe constantly landing new customers in new markets is more important than building long-term customer relationships. Maybe it's a willingness to spend the same amount of time educating an entry-level customer as helping an enthusiast who wants high-end equipment.  Great candidates want to know, because 1) they want to know if they fit, and 2) if they do fit, they want to be a top performer.

What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
Employees are investments, and every employee should generate a positive return on his or her salary. (Otherwise why are they on the payroll?)  In every job some activities make a bigger difference than others. You need your HR folks to fill job openings... but what you really want is for HR to find the right candidates because that results in higher retention rates, lower training costs, and better overall productivity.  You need your service techs to perform effective repairs... but what you really want is for those techs to identify ways to solve problems and provide other benefits--in short, to generate additional sales.  Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference. They know helping the company succeed means they succeed as well.

What do employees do in their spare time?
Happy employees 1) like what they do and 2) like the people they work with.  Granted this is a tough question to answer. Unless the company is really small, all any interviewer can do is speak in generalities.  What's important is that the candidate wants to make sure they have a reasonable chance of fitting in--because great job candidates usually have options.

How do you plan to deal with...?
Every business faces a major challenge: technological changes, competitors entering the market, shifting economic trends... there's rarely a Warren Buffett moat protecting a small business.  So while a candidate may see your company as a stepping-stone, they still hope for growth and advancement... and if they do eventually leave, they want it to be on their terms and not because you were forced out of business.  Say I'm interviewing for a position at your bike shop. Another shop is opening less than a mile away: How do you plan to deal with the new competitor? Or you run a poultry farm (a huge industry in my area): What will you do to deal with rising feed costs?

A great candidate doesn't just want to know what you think; they want to know what you plan to do--and how they will fit into those plans."

Smooches, Adam

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dear God (totally channeling my inner Celie),

My 37th birthday is right around the corner.  As you know, I enjoy OTHER people's birthdays more than mine.  I think it is due to all of those years of joint birthday parties with my younger sister.  I didn't have a problem with sharing the spotlight with her...more often than not, I would have preferred attending her party as opposed to being the focus of mine. 

A few years ago, we shared our birthday party Rapids Water Park.  As a "person of size", water parks provide an all-day reminder that a beached whale is a closer cousin to me than a minnow.  After spending most of the day on the lazy river and in the wave pool, I begrudgingly agreed to go on one of the slides. 

As a "person of size", I am very aware of the scales at the top of these water slides.  If you are not familiar, most of the rides at a water park have a weight limit.  Personally, I am not offended by this discriminatory practice because it gives me a great excuse to float along in the lazy river all day.  In fact, I saw several people in my party who thought they might lose that extra weight in the 3-story climb to the top of slide, only to be screened by the in-shape lifeguard, then sent to the scale which dings like that carnival game with the over-sized hammer is you exceed the weight limit, and then forced to do the walk of shame back down the stairs.

Leave it to Rapids to have a water slide with no weight limit.  I was a trooper...I climbed the stairs...I went down the slide like a missile...I received a standing ovation from all of the spectators...Everyone cheers for Shamu once he/she has completed a trick.

When it was all over, I said never again.  Later that week (as an extra bonus), I got pink eye for the first time in my life.  Yes, it was a birthday to remember.  Let's hope this year's celebration is dry and disease-free.