Feature: Managing Your Expectations

Feature: Managing Your Expectations

Feature: Managing Your Expectations

I receive a fair number of email communications from men and women in transition. I’m not able to answer them all, unfortunately-the volume is just too great-but I do read and think about them. And of late, I’ve noticed a trend. Many of these messages are variations on this theme: “I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do online, and I still don’t have a job. I’ve searched the postings and archived my resume at job boards, I’ve done research on employers using browsers and other services, and I’ve joined networking sites and interacted with my peers, and all of that has yet to yield a job offer. What’s wrong?.

The short answer is probably that nothing’s wrong. What’s out of whack is our perception of what the Internet can and cannot do. This technology is probably the single most effective means of connecting with attractive employment opportunities ever devised, but even so, it takes time to work. The Internet is not some genie that can transport you to the job of your dreams in the blink of an eye. It is not a magic carpet that can carry you off to employment bliss the minute you hop on. No, the Web for all of its reach and technological power is bound by the pace of the humans who use it at the other end-the employers and recruiters who turn to the Web to find new talent.

So, the key to using the Web to your best advantage is, first and foremost, to manage your expectations. You can do everything right on the Web, and it will still probably take some time to connect with the right employer for you. There will always be exceptions to that rule, of course-there will be individuals who go online one day and get their dream offer the next-but for most of us, it will be a lengthy and, therefore, frustrating campaign. As the old saying goes, finding a new job-at least one that you want to work in-is the hardest job you will ever have, and the Web doesn’t change that.

There is, however, a second set of rules for ensuring that the Web serves you well. They are:

  • Performance Trumps Actions Every Time
  • and

  • Virtual Works Best With the Best That’s Real.
  • Let’s take a look at each of those two principles.

    Performance Trumps Actions Every Time

    The benefit that’s extracted from your use of the Internet depends not only on what you do, but how you do it. Yes, of course, you want to take advantage of all of the capabilities the technology offers. You should tap its job boards, research sites, networking capabilities and other resources in your job search campaign, but simply using them does not ensure success. Activity alone isn’t enough to optimize your return on the time and effort that activity involves.

    What else should be present? Expertise. You must not only do the right things online, but you must do them in the right way. Your activity must be accomplished with skill. The better your performance, the better your outcomes.

    For example, you can visit the first job boards that come to mind and that step will certainly give you a check mark in the box labeled Use Job Boards. It will not, however, ensure you see the best employment opportunities for you. To achieve that outcome, you must do your homework and determine which job boards typically post the greatest number of the kinds of jobs you want at the salary level you can command. Invest your time and effort at those sites, and you are much more likely to reap a real and significant return in job opportunities for which you are qualified.

    The same is true with online networking. Lots of business people are flocking to LinkedIn.com these days to build up their virtual address book of connections. That’s fine, but it’s not networking. To transform those connections into relationships with people who are willing to be helpful to you in a job search, you must practice the Golden Rule of Networking. You must give in order to get. If you want the people behind those connections to share their knowledge and contacts with you, you must work at sharing your knowledge and contacts with them. And that activity is dramatically different from simply adding another name to your address book, and it often takes far more time and effort. The result, on the other hand, is also far more beneficial. Instead of having a stupendous but sterile stack of names, you have a vibrant network of relationships with people who are willing to be helpful to you.

    Virtual Works Best With the Best That’s Real

    The Internet is a very seductive place. Its vast array of resources and very engaging format can be hard to turn off. But turn it off, you must. As capable as the virtual world is, it is not the one and only answer to employment It cannot be your one stop shop for finding a job. You definitely won’t maximize your odds of success by ignoring the Web, but you won’t do so, as well, by excluding the real world from your job search campaign. The best approach, therefore, is one that integrates the best of what you can find on the Web with the best of what’s available every place else.

    How do you know what that is?

    Recently, we asked the visitors to my Web-site to identify how they found their last job. Basically, we were asking them to tell us the most effective methods of job search. Over 17,000 people responded. Here are the top five strategies they identified:

  • Searching the jobs posted at job boards and/or archiving their resume on those sites;
  • A tip from a friend (or what most of us call networking in the real world);
  • Reading the ads published in a print newspaper;
  • A call from a headhunter; and
  • Being referred by an employee of the company (also a form of networking).
  • As these findings make very clear-and despite our culture’s infatuation with the Web-when it comes to finding a new or better job, old fashioned job search methods are often just as effective. There are five different strategies cited by the respondents, and three and a half of them (a tip from a friend can occur online or off) occur in the real world.

    Do these results mean that you should immediately start doing as many different things as possible in your job search? Absolutely not. It’s better to begin by investing some time to figure out which (of the hundreds of job search) methods play to your strengths and which are apt to put you at a disadvantage. For example, if you are an outgoing person, you might opt for traditional face-to-face networking, but if you’re more introverted, networking online, where you interact with others remotely and in text, might better serve your needs. Look at all of your options, but select those that you can do best or learn how to.

    Ultimately, the best strategy for a successful job search campaign is a combination of both of the two principles I’ve described. Select a range of job search methods,, high tech and low, and then perform each of them to the best of your ability. It’s not the number of things you do that will lead you to success, but the expertise you apply in using those methods that will serve you best, given where you are in your career and your employment objective.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about the WEDDLE’s newsletter.

    P.S.S. Don’t forget to send us your new e-mail address if you move.

    This Issue’s Sponsor: Recognizing Richard Rabbit

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is this year’s first choice for summer reading on the beach.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story is not about self-improvement, but about self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized journeys: one in fiction, the other in nonfiction. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit won’t be in bookstores for several weeks. You, however, can own it right now. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768. So, don’t delay; call today. Make sure you have Recognizing Richard Rabbit packed in your suitcase for your summer vacation.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    ClearanceJobs.com recently released a snapshot of its 2008 Security Clearance Salary Survey. If you’re looking for a way to distinguish yourself from the competition in the job market and/or among your peers at work, getting a U.S. Government security clearance may be one way to do so. According to the site’s survey:

  • Those who have a security clearance now earn 25% more than those who do not (assuming you’re working for a company where such a clearance is appropriate);
  • Annual salary increases average 6% among those with a security clearance or almost double that of those without one; and
  • The gender gap in pay is much smaller among those with security clearances than those who lack such a credential.
  • Of course, there are hurdles. You have to be able to pass the intensive screening that’s involved in applying for a clearance, plus be in a job where a clearance is required for job performance. Even then, it may take a long time to acquire this advantage as the backlog of Federal background investigations is already huge and growing.

    JobFox.com published the results of a poll of recruiters, and the news appears to be good for job seekers, with one important caution. Almost six-in-ten (56%) of the respondents said that their staffing activity would increase in 2008, despite the dire predictions to the contrary among the media and economic pundits. So, why should you be careful? Because better than two-thirds of the respondents (69%) say that 90% of the resumes they receive describe people who are not qualified for the opening they are trying to fill. If you think they’re going to make an exception in your case, think again. Today’s hiring managers would rather leave the position unfilled than fill it with someone who lacks all of the necessary qualifications. What does that mean for you? Stop using a shotgun to apply for every opening where the requirements even vaguely resemble your skill set. Instead, use a rifle and focus on those jobs where you truly are competitive for selection. Then, invest all of the time you would have spent applying for the wrong jobs making your case for the right ones. What does that involve? Well, for starters, don’t send in a generic resume and use a cover letter to try and camouflage your lack of specificity. Research the employer and then tailor your resume to the position for which you’re applying and for the employer that is offering it.

    A recent issue of Psychology Today addressed the downsides of perfectionism or the drive among some of us to be without error or fault. According to the magazine, it may be “the ultimate self-defeating behavior.” Why? The author, Hara Estroff Marano, opines that it turns people into slaves of success. Since they are always trying to trump themselves, they are almost always stressed and eventually that anxiety causes them to perform below, rather than at or above, their capabilities. While that view makes sense, I think perfectionism is a problem not because it induces us to reach for success, but rather because it keeps us from trying. Perfectionists do whatever they can to avoid making mistakes, and the only way to do so is to stay away from the challenges that will enable them to test themselves and grow. As I point out in my book The Career Fitness Self-Fulfillment System, the key to a meaningful and rewarding career is to look for ways to do your best work, not the work that comes easiest or in which you never, ever fail.

    WEDDLE’s announced a fast-acting and effective antidote to slower hiring in a slow economy. It’s WEDDLE’s WIZNotes-Fast Facts on Job Boards. These books are a quick reference to job openings on the Internet and an inexpensive job search aid. Each WIZNotes includes compact, but complete profiles of the key sites that specialize in a specific career field or employment situation. There are WIZNotes for:

  • Sales & Marketing professionals,
  • Finance & Accounting professionals,
  • Engineering professionals,
  • Human Resource professionals,
  • Scientists
  • Women Professionals
  • Managers & Executives,
  • and

  • Recent Graduates.
  • Plus, there are WIZNotes on:

  • Finding a Job on the Web
  • Writing a Great Resume
  • All you have to do is select the WIZNotes that’s right for you. Each volume has exactly the information you need to find the right job boards and career portals for you. And best of all, at $12.95 each, WEDDLE’s WIZNotes are a bargain to boot! To order your WIZNotes, click on the link to your left or call 317.598.9768. Order today!

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 50,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful online job search, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for your specific employment objective. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the best opportunities for you. For example:

    Western New York JOBS

    http://www.wnyjobs.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-Part time, Contract

    Distribution of jobs: Regional: Buffalo & Rochester, NY

    Number of jobs: 600+

    Salary levels of jobs: $20-30K/yr, $31-50K/yr

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 6 months

    Restrictions on who can post: Anyone

    Other services for job seekers: Career information, Links to other sites with career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Don’t Miss Out On Recognizing Richard Rabbit

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is this year’s first choice for summer reading on the beach.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story is not about self-improvement, but about self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized journeys: one in fiction, the other in nonfiction. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit won’t be in bookstores for several weeks. You, however, can own it right now. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768. So, don’t delay; call today. Make sure you have Recognizing Richard Rabbit packed in your suitcase for your summer vacation.