Feature: If All You Hear Is Silence

Feature: If All You Hear Is Silence

Feature: If All You Hear Is Silence

If you’ve done everything you should, and nothing has happened. If you’ve conducted research on employers in your area, written an up-to-date resume, networked with colleagues and friends, and replied to the openings for which you’re qualified, and still all you hear is silence, then it’s time to reinforce your job search. Sure, it’s frustrating and dispiriting, but the situation can be improved if you take action. In fact, the one course you must avoid is simply to continue doing the same old things over and over again. If you’ve given the standard methods your best effort and they aren’t working, then you have to adopt a new approach. Think of it as a power bar for your job search.

This “pick-you-up” has just six steps. It’s important that you do them all. Don’t cherry pick the steps you like and ignore the rest. Do every one, even those that may push you a bit out of your comfort zone. That’s how this new approach works. It energizes your job search by sharpening strengths you already have but are not using effectively and adding new capabilities that will enhance your position in the job market. They’re all essential, however, if you want to hear something other than silence. The six steps follow.

Stay confident.

Today’s job market is one of the most competitive in history. It’s not easy to capture a good position, let alone a great one, even if you’re doing everything right. Yes, you will hear stories about others who landed a dream position fifteen minutes after they started looking. Remember two things about them: they’re the exception to the rule and the next time around they may not (and probably won’t) be so lucky.

Don’t get overconfident.

To be truly competitive in this job market, you must be ahead of the state-of-the-art in your profession, craft or trade. How can you do that?

  • If you haven’t taken a formal education or training program in your field within the last five years, you’re at least partially obsolete. Enroll in a developmental program right now-there are many offered online that you can take in the comfort of your own home-and then promote your commitment to staying up-to-date on your resume. List the institution at which you’re enrolled and the name of the course you’re taking, followed by the phrase (In Progress). That tells recruiters you’re committed to self-development, a trait most employers love to see.
  • If you have kept yourself up-to-date in your field, get ahead of others who may have done so, as well, by taking supplemental courses that will make you an even more attractive candidate. For example, if you speak English as a second language, enroll in a business English class; if you speak English as a primary language, enroll in a Spanish class or in a business writing class. The ability to communicate effectively in a pluralistic business environment is a potent competitive advantage in today’s job market.
  • Modernize your networking.

    Traditional face-to-face networking is still an important component of any job search, and you should continue to invest time and effort in both making connections and contacts that can position you for a successful search and improving the skill with which you do so. However, it’s now equally as important to stretch your networking into a new dimension-the Internet. Networking online enables you to expand the number of people who know you and thus may be able to assist in your job search.

    Where and how do you do it? By joining the discussion forums that are available on sites operated by your professional association, your alumni organization and/or affinity group (e.g., sites for veterans, women in technology, African-Americans in finance). Limit your time investment to no more than 30 minutes a day, but do participate. The Golden Rule of Networking is the same online as it is in the real world: you have to give, in order to get. Share your knowledge and experience with others so they will be inclined to share theirs (and the jobs they know about) with you.

    Stop using a generic resume.

    Recruiters know your resume was written on a word processing system, so they are well aware of how easy it is to modify the document. That fact has radically changed their expectations. They are longer satisfied with a generic resume accompanied by a cover letter that relates the resume to their specific opening. Instead, they want the resume, itself, to be tailored to the position and the cover letter to highlight the key competitive differences that are described in the document and make you the candidate they should select.

    Tailoring a resume to each opening for which you apply obviously takes time, so adopting this approach necessitates another change in your job search strategy. In essence, it forces you to abandon the scatter-shot method of application-applying for any opening where you are even partially qualified-and replace it with a more focused strategy in which you limit your efforts to those opportunities where you are truly competitive and most likely to be engaged by the work involved.

    Start making better use of job boards.

    There are more than 40,000 job boards currently in operation. No single one of these sites can bring you every employment opportunity for which you are qualified and in which you are potentially interested. For that reason, it’s important to use a range of these sites regularly. I suggest that you put at least five of them to work for your job search:

  • 2 general purpose sites or job boards that post openings in a broad spectrum of professions, crafts and trades. These might include the employment section of your local newspaper site (e.g., BostonWorks.com, NJ.com) or such sites as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and Yahoo! HotJobs.
  • 3 niche sites or job boards that focus on a specific career field, industry, geographic location or affinity group. These sites might include JobsinLogistics.com, JobsinME.com (the state of Maine), Medzilla.com, VetJobs.com, NVJobSearch.com (the state of Nevada), Jobs4HR.com, and TrueCareers.
  • A word of caution is in order here. With so many options available to you, it’s important to be a discriminating consumer. Not all job boards have the same capabilities and, unfortunately, not all are operated in accordance with good business practices. How can you tell the difference?

  • To evaluate the various features and services at sites, you can use The Guide to Internet Job Searching by Margaret Riley Dikel or my own WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Both are available in most bookstores.
  • To select sites that have agreed to operate by the best practices in business (e.g., protecting the confidentiality of any personal information you submit to the site), I recommend that you focus on job boards that have joined the International Association of Employment Web Sites. This organization is the trade association of job boards, and its logo on a site is your “Good Housekeeping seal of approval” that indicates a well run organization.
  • Finding a great opportunity and winning the race to capture it is a tough challenge for anyone in today’s highly competitive job market. If you’re not having the success you want, it’s time to move to a new approach … and add some power to your job search campaign.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    GetHuman.com launched as a site for consumers who want to fight back against inhuman customer service. It offers a place for you to vent your frustrations with comments about dysfunctional telephone systems and discourteous sales persons, which the site will then compile into a best and worst list each month. While that may help you blow off a little steam, there’s another site feature that may be useful in your job search: the site provides the secret codes that enable you to get around a company’s automated telephone system and reach a human being inside the company. Although it’s designed to help consumers, it may also be an effective way for those in transition to reach a recruiter in a company’s Human Resource Department. Currently, the site lists the codes for almost 400 companies. For example, to reach an operator at a major bank (named on the site), all you have to do is call the company and enter 0#0#0#0#0#0#. Similarly, if you’d like to talk to a human at a leading consumer electronics company (also named on the site), just press 111## on your touch tone phone.

    MilitaryConnection.com announced its launch as an employment site for military personnel transitioning into the private sector. The site is the product of a company that has been handling print recruitment advertising in military base newspapers for six years. It offers an online directory of employers, a virtual job fair, military pay conversion calculators, and other resources. MilitaryConnections.com also provides the employers that are its clients with a discount that it then encourages them to donate to charity, including military-related charitable organizations which it lists on its site.

    PeopleStaff, a staffing agency in Japan, introduced a new competitor for those seeking temporary or contract work. Targeting receptionist positions, the company will now provide a robotic worker called Hello Kitty Robo for just under $430/month-a lot less than what a human would traditionally accept for such work. The gadget can sense a visitor’s presence, greet them, and then hold a simple conversation with them. That sounds a lot like the kind of interviews most hiring mangers hold. Maybe they’re next on the robo-hit list.

    The executive search firm Korn-Ferry International announced the results of its recent survey of recruiters. Among the findings was their assessment of the most effective forms of networking. According to the respondents, they are regular social interactions, membership in business/trade associations, and attendance at conferences and seminars, in that order. They also opined on how best to catch their (the recruiter’s) attention:

  • 36% said it was to work for a highly regarded company,
  • 29% said it was to proactively develop relationships with recruiters in one’s region and industry, and
  • 20% said it was to be the highest performer in one’s department or function.
  • StartupJournal.com, a publication for entrepreneurs from The Wall Street Journal, announced a list of 25 high-performing franchises that do business in the United States. With over 2,500 franchise options now available, the list can be a helpful tool for those considering a move into this kind of business. It was developed in conjunction with the research firm FRANdata.. The top ten companies on the list are:

  • Abbey Carpet System
  • Assist-2-Sell
  • Banfield, The Pet Hospital
  • Batteries Plus
  • CiCi’s Pizza
  • Cruise Planners
  • Curves for Women
  • Del Taco
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Friendly’s Restaurant.
  • Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. If you’re a college-level basketball coach looking to take over a program that has nowhere to go but up, which of the following sites would be a winner in helping you find some great opportunities?

  • CoachingJobs.com
  • JobsinSports.com
  • CoachingTalent.com
  • TAZsport.com
  • 2. You’re a successful Advertising Manager with experience in the construction industry. Which of the following sites would help your promote your capabilities to prospective employers around the country?

  • AdPeople.com
  • TalentZoo.com
  • PromoTalent.com
  • AdvertisingGurus.com
  • 3. Your current employer is downsizing, and you’ve decided to take its severance package. If you’re an experienced editor of technical and consumer documents, which of the following sites would dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s as you look for something new?

  • Sunoasis.com
  • EditorJobs.com
  • JournalismJobs.com
  • MediaBistro.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories

    Software Contractors’ Guild

    http://www.scguild.com

    Post full time jobs: No

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – Contract, Consulting

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Number of jobs: 186

    Salary levels of jobs: Hourly (not specified)

    Offer a job agent: No

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 365 days

    Restrictions on who can post: If registered

    Other services for job seekers: Career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: No

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but CoachingTalent.com, the site of an executive and personal coach.

    2. Only TalentZoo.com; AdPeople.com is the site of an advertising agency in Denmark, PromoTalent.com is a trade show and exhibit staffing company, and AdvertisingGurus.com is a promotional products company.

    3. All of them.

    N

    N

    N

    N