New Year, New Opportunities:
How to Prepare for a Job Search in 2018

12/18/2017 02.41 EST

Looking for a new job can be a difficult process. The key is to remain positive and focused. Remember that all of your hard work could result in the start of the next chapter in your career, and an exciting beginning to 2018!
New Year, New Opportunities: <br />How to Prepare for a Job Search in 2018

With the end of the year quickly approaching, it is a common time for people to reflect on the past 12 months and start planning for the new year. As a result of this soul searching, many decide it may be time to take the next step in their careers and jump back into the job market.

Focus on networking, connecting with search firms and applying to jobs online. Spend most of your time networking instead of online job applications, where your resume is likely to get lost in the shuffle. Many roles are filled through networks instead of online postings, so building your referral base is critical for a successful job search....

Why Networking Is So Important As We Get Older

12/02/2015 03.07 EST

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They may have more experience, but job seekers over 50 are unemployed 5 to 8 weeks longer than 30 to 49 year olds.  That’s according to a study by Professor Connie Wanberg at the University of Minnesota.  We may immediately think the reason is age discrimination.  Although that may be a factor, it is also true that this group is more selective in maintaining personal and professional networks.  Researchers found that older people on average have smaller social networks than younger people.  I am sure that news is not surprising and it implies we become more discerning about who we associate with as we get older.  On the other hand, the connections we have are critical as we launch a job search. Therein lies the dilemma.   No matter what your age, what can you do to expand your network and boost your chances of landing that job?   Actively seek out new projects to learn something new. It stretches your thinking and enhances your knowledge and experience base, but also introduces you to new people and expands your network. Reach out to former co-workers and college friends. LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media tools make it easy.  Rekindle those friendships now rather than waiting until you need to ask for a favor. Join a professional association. By attending events, you will gain more knowledge and perspective about your profession.  If you actively participate, you will also grow your network and be seen as a leader in...

To Share or Not To Share

09/02/2014 11.28 EST

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Nothing annoys me more on LinkedIn than to find that one of my 1st connections has blocked the ability to view their connections (beyond the ones we have in common).  I don’t know why people do this; in my mind, it directly contradicts the social networking purpose of the site.  It also tells me that people are much less discriminating of whom they connect with on LinkedIn than they are of whom they connect with on Facebook.  Most Facebook users don’t limit the ability of their friends to view their other friends.  So, why do people do it on LinkedIn?   First, I really don’t think people give much thought to responding to a LinkedIn request.  I know I don’t, beyond checking to see how that person is connected to people already in my network.  If they are a 2nd connection, particularly one where we share several folks in common, I automatically add them.  If they are a 3rd connection, I give it a little more thought, but more often than not, I add them as well (unless it’s obvious that they are cold selling something).  Let’s just say I’m not conducting thorough due diligence.   LIONS I occasionally debate whether I should be more critical when accepting connection requests.  After all, LinkedIn does advise you to only add people to your network whom you trust and would be comfortable referring to other connections.  And, as I noted in my first-ever blog, referral functionality decreases exponentially when...

An Overlooked Professional Development Opportunity

06/26/2012 08.53 EST

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When clients engage us to conduct a search to fill a critical position in their organization, they have almost always considered internal candidates for the role. Sometimes they just don’t have the internal talent needed for the position or they are specifically seeking an “outsider” – someone who is not from their company and may not even be from their industry. Outsiders are attractive to organizations because they bring a fresh perspective and have a different take on things like corporate culture, strategy and leadership style.   So how can a company try to develop that “outsider” perspective in high potential leaders in their own company? I would like to suggest a very effective, inexpensive strategy that will benefit the executive as well as the reputation of the company. Encourage your up-and-coming leaders to serve as board directors for non-profit organizations in your region.   There are countless non-profit organizations, large and small, working to improve the quality of life in your community. They focus on any number of things – education, child welfare, senior citizens, the arts – the list goes on and on. All of them are hungry for board leadership and need volunteers with business skills to help them achieve their missions while maintaining their margins.   I joined my first non-profit board when I was in my early 30s and about ten years into my career. I have been involved with one board or another ever since. Right now, I serve on four...

Five Steps Every College Graduate Should Take to Find and Land a Job

06/12/2012 03.27 EST

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This is the month for college graduations, and after the celebrations are over, roughly two million new alumni will be out in the “real world.” Although it is quite an exciting time in the lives of these students, it has also become a time of great anxiety. Students and their parents worry about the job market and which potential opportunities may be available. Many students leave college with a great deal of debt and, as a result, are even more nervous about finding the right job to not only lead them on a positive career path but also put them on stronger financial footing. The job market has been challenging for new graduates overall in the past few years, but there are some hopeful signs as it appears the market has slightly improved for the class of 2012.  The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently surveyed employers and found that companies expect to hire 29,237 new graduates this year, a 10.2% improvement from the hiring of 26,529 college graduates from the class of 2011.   Although the market is still not robust and needs to improve, many students are completely unprepared to conduct an effective job search. Making the process even more difficult, this year’s graduates face competition from 2011 grads who are still seeking a job in their field. Many students have not taken advantage of the career services offerings on campus and have become reliant on applying for jobs online. Unfortunately, their resumes become...

Seven Ways to Land a New Job in 2012

01/04/2012 04.51 EST

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I know.  We always start out the New Year with a resolution and try hard to stick with it.  Most times, we stray from our goal.  Whether it is fitting more exercise in our daily routine or spending more quality time with our family – we always have good intentions.  Our busy lives just get in the way.   As an executive search consultant, I receive a sizeable number of calls at the beginning of the year from candidates expressing interest in changing jobs.  Finding a new position becomes their New Year’s resolution.  Some individuals are blocked from a promotion, interested in a new challenge or just feeling unappreciated.  My colleagues and I try to make the time to spend a few minutes listening.  Typically, job seekers describe the kind of role and industry sector that interests them.   Conducting a job search can be loaded with several emotions that may sometimes cloud a person’s thoughts about how to start a search as well as how to manage one.   So if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to find a new job but you are not sure how to get started, these suggestions may help guide you:   Have you exhausted all options within your current company?  Have you made your career interests known to your boss and other colleagues so they may have you in mind as new opportunities emerge? In addition to updating your resume, put together a list of target companies.  This list...

Do the Right Thing: Why Helping Always Pays Off

10/17/2011 04.32 EST

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How many times a week do you receive a call or email from someone who is out of work and looking for a job?  Do you respond to those messages or do you purposefully ignore them because you are too busy?  I know all of us who are fortunate enough to be working are likely to be performing more than one job.  Frankly, all of us are thinly stretched and our daily schedules can be overwhelming.   Let me tell you why I think it is important to answer that call or email.  First of all, it is the right thing to do.  Secondly, all of us may find ourselves in that same place at some time in the future – looking for our next job and hopeful that others are willing to talk to us.   Believe me, there are days when I feel overwhelmed and don’t have one minute to devote to talking to someone who is looking for a position.  However, whenever I do take the time for the conversation, I always feel it was worthwhile.  I hopefully gave them a new resource, job search strategy or direction to approach in their job search efforts.  In return, I usually gain some interesting, new perspective about the market.  At the same time, I’ve added someone new to my network.  Basically, I feel energized afterwards and in retrospect, I am glad I made the time.   When you do make the time to help someone network,...

Advice for College Graduates

06/08/2011 09.00 EST

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“O brave new world! That hath such people in it!” … but where are all the jobs? Graduating from college is an exciting and anxious time for student and parent alike. Most students are thrilled to be relieved from the academic rigor but sad to depart from four years of a robust social life and friendships they have formed along the way. Parents look forward to seeing their child take this next step in his or her life, but are perhaps a bit perturbed that their newly minted graduate only half-listened when given the “you really need to be looking for a job” speech six to nine months ago. First, some good news. Many college graduates have already started their job searches, and due to the fact that employers are actively recruiting on campuses again and hiring is up 19.3% for 2011 grads, some have secured new jobs. This alone puts them ahead of the Classes of 2009 and 2010 who missed their window for campus recruitment due to the recession. However, a good percentage of this year’s graduating class is still on the hunt. Perhaps they didn’t focus on their job searches or were not as savvy on the best way to look for opportunities. Maybe they made the brave choice of majoring in English or Anthropology, majors for which most college career counseling offices are embarrassingly ill equipped to assist. For whatever reason, they are unemployed, on the hunt, and most likely living back in...

How Strong Are Your Weak Ties?

05/17/2011 11.02 EST

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I asked my 16-year-old daughter how many friends she had on Facebook the other day. She has over 1,000. Her wall is littered with updates from people with whom she has no real connection and in whom she has no real interest. So what then is the point? When I asked her how many people are really her friends or, at least acquaintances, that number quickly dropped down to a more manageable level, well below what is known as the Dunbar Number. I haven’t done the primary research (very few of us do anymore) but Malcolm Gladwell popularized the Dunbar Number in his book The Tipping Point. Simply stated, the Dunbar Number defines the upper limit of the number of individuals we can have in a coherent social network — a network where we know how each member fits with us, as well as with each other. We know who is allied with whom, who hates who, etc. There is some debate as to what exactly that upper limit is but 150 seems to be the consensus. Now, let’s apply that to the current professional social network of choice, LinkedIn. As you send an invitation out on LinkedIn, you’ll see a message on the bottom of the invitation screen that says “Important: Only invite people you know well and who know you.” You know what? That is important. It’s important because the real power of a social network is in the weak ties it creates between two...