Thursday, October 21, 2010

Q&A for Job Seekers

So a leader of a  group on LinkedIn sent me a request to answer a few questions. In the interest of providing a diverse set of viewpoints, he wanted feedback/responses/advice from me for those in transition. No idea if he’ll use my stuff but I thought I’d provide his questions and my answers.

1. Question - Facing unemployment in today’s world is complex. Can you give us perspective from different points of view, say a college grad versus someone at mid-career, a woman or Veteran re-entering the workforce, or a degreed versus non-degreed job seeker?

Answer: College grads vs. mid-career. I’m volunteering right now as a Mentor for the Chapman MBA program. I actually think the college grads will have an easier time finding work. They can intern for free and prove to their employers that they are worth bringing on. A mid-career person has to slug through the resume, interview hiring process without the help of a career placement office to push them in. Both types of people need to get aggressive to get a job. You must show why they should hire you. Don’t expect whoever is hiring you to fish it out you must sell yourself.

2. Question - What is unusual about our current economic situation that makes the job of getting a job completely different than in past decades?

Answer - Unusual about current economic situation – companies are cutting back and expecting you to do three jobs not one. So when they decided to replace, rehire or create a new job they combo skills. Quite frequently during our searches the combo is almost unheard of and we’re out seeking that needle in the haystack. Also normally in harsh times companies still need accounting/finance types but not as much now. As accounting/operations gets more automated it takes less people to manage the systems.

3. Question - Other than the economy, what is the number one barrier that prevents people from gainful employment?
Answer - Not demonstrating why they fit the job, not explaining what they bring to the table to help the company and not asking for the job.

4. Question - What does one do if they have been historically employed in an industry that is showing no signs of growth or is in fact diminishing altogether?

Answer - What to do when you are becoming extinct – like mammals did, you need to adapt. Think out of the box, figure out what skill sets are transferable and market yourself to companies that can use those skills. People have a tendency to see what they can’t do instead of what they CAN do.

5. Question - What are the first steps you recommend for a job seeker to prevent feeling overwhelmed?

Answer - Take a deep breath and call a recruiter friend.

6. Question -. What are some of the key pitfalls job seekers face when looking for a new position?

Answers – Their ego – lose it. You won’t be making as much money as before and you’ll be working harder than before.

7. Question - Many unemployed workers start to focus on their passion and look to turn hobbies or dreams into entrepreneurial companies. At what point in the unemployment process do you recommend people begin to look at this as the best or worst option?

Answer - It all depends on the person and how entrepreneurial they are. Running your own business is not easy - you have to market your company constantly and work. Many people don’t understand that or are capable of doing that. Before you launch on something new I’d suggest finding a mentor/coach to talk with. Also do lots and lots of research on your new industry. The more you know the better off you are.

8. Question - What is your most memorable story or experience of a job seeker overcoming obstacles and realizing successful employment?

Answer - No idea - I work mainly with people who have jobs currently and I’m recruiting directly.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Box of Chocolates

Some days I just love my job! This week I was cranky because one of my clients keeps on changing the job description of what they need. It makes me crazy – when I keep on having to change my search. I’m like a lion out for the kill. If you tell me what to go get – I’m on it. But I need to know what I’m after. Changing the job as the search progresses is part of the recruiting game, but it’s a part I don’t particularly like.

So, one of our favori
te Marketing VP’s, Michelle, called in – if you need a good VP she's available – and I started ranting - OK it really was complaining about my day. I admit it was totally unprofessional but she is a good friend of the firm and she gets my sense of humor. I went on about how I’m being sent all over kingdom come to find a specific type of person only to find out my client changed up the job AND…. I ran out of CHOCOLATE. This was bad.

To the rescue! About an hour later Michelle showed up with a 2 lb. box of See’s candy. Happiness!!!!! What a fabulous person to take time out of her day to go out of the way and be nice. So I got my chocolate and got back on my search.

Interesting side note - the box is hidden because the men over hear eat more chocolate than me!!! Boys leave my box of chocolate alone! My gawd, the box is almost empty and seriously - I’ve only had 3 pieces.