Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When You’ve Been Looking For a Long Time

In this job market, long-term searches are becoming increasingly common. As the monthly jobless statistics indicate, the number of job seekers who have been looking for six months, a year or even more is higher than at any other time in decades. And because the government typically stops tracking those who have been searching for a job after their unemployment benefits run out, it’s unclear how many searches go on past a year or 18 months, and also how many “discouraged” job seekers there are out there who have stopped actively looking for work.
I’ve heard lately from a number of journalists and other professionals stuck in this situation, and they tend to be not only frustrated and anxious about their searches but sometimes peeved at others who though well-meaning  just can’t seem to understand their angst. And it’s difficult to know how to help those mired in a long-term search. Though you want to be upbeat and supportive, often your standard advice seems shallow and pointing to those with similar skills who have landed well can seem counter-productive (and a little mean-spirited, even if your intentions are good).
Hiring experts, though, have some suggestions for ways to try to reinvigorate a long-term search, as well as tips for friends seeking to support a job hunter who has been at this for a long time. These include:
*Set new deadlines. Nearly all job seekers give themselves deadlines for finding a job — within three months to six months of a layoff, by the end of the summer, before the unemployment insurance ends, for instance. But if you’ve blown past these deadlines, you need new ones, and ones that are realistic and help you move forward. For instance, it may be smart to say that you’ll take a part-time or temporary job for now and spend the rest of your time taking some online courses to polish your skills so that you can have a job in your field by the start of the new year. Giving yourself new deadlines can help you give your search a fresh start. And then reevaluate those deadlines as they come closer and extend them if necessary — especially if you’re on the right path.
*Hit the “pause” button in your job search. If you’ve had no luck finding a job in your field, it may be time to get off what has become a dead end and head down a new road. But before you start looking for a job in a new area, give yourself a break. If your unemployment insurance has run out and you’ve depleted your savings, take a job, any job — in retail or sales, for instance, where professionals can often get hourly work; or temporary work — to pay the bills while you reevaluate what you want to do and how you plan to search differently this time. If you have some financial cushion, take some time off from the search — a sort of vacation from the job hunt — while you do free-lance or other work you enjoy, and from a perch where you can rethink things. Ask yourself what hasn’t been working, what you really want to do, and whether you have the skills to do it. Think big-picture, and ask yourself and those close to you lots of questions about what you think might be the right fit for your expertise and talents. It’s tough out there, but often those who aren’t securing jobs may be shooting too high or for the wrong kind of positions for their skills and expertise.
*Get professional help. And, ala the advice columnists, I’m not necessarily talking therapy, though if you’re depressed (and who wouldn’t be after a long and frustrating job search?) it’s important to see a medical professional. There is also help for job hunters. Find a low-cost job search skills course offered by your local community college, a community association or the state (or D.C.) government. Or talk to others who are hunting about forming your own support group. If you’re a friend of someone who has been looking for a long time, don’t only offer them advice or support but help them help others in this situation — it will energize them and studies have found that job hunters do much better when they have the support of others in their situation.
*Do something good for yourself in your non-job-hunting life. Distracting yourself from your job search — even for a few hours — may help energize things and take some of the sting out of long-term unemployment. Volunteering, in particular, has emotional and intellectual benefits. Find an organization that needs your help, join (or start) a book club, go back to a physical activity that you enjoy. During this time, try (hard as it may be) not to think about your job search or your career, and focus instead on this activity or endeavor. And friends of the long-term unemployed should help in this cause and should show interest in these activities, instead of starting conversations with “How’s the job search going?”
*The following piece on — about how some employers won’t consider anyone who isn’t currently employed — is getting a fair amount of attention in the work-search world, including in online chats among recruiters. Some say it’s poppycock — that they’ll consider good candidates who have lost their jobs — while others say they tend to agree. The good news for journalists is because of the rampant dislocation in our industry (which often had nothing to do with performance) this tends to be less true. Though it does underscore two things about job hunting: the cliche about it being easier to get a job when you have a job still holds some currency, and there is often a layoff or buyout “discount” applied in hiring. Food for thought:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn in Your Job Search

Perhaps you ventured onto LinkedIn and forgot about it. Or maybe you're scared of LinkedIn, period. Let us guide you through what you're missing

If you're a business or professional person and not using LinkedIn, you're behind the curve. Fifty million business networkers must be on to something. LinkedIn is the 800-pound gorilla of business networking sites and an essential tool for job seekers in particular. According to the LinkedIn website, a new user joins the site every second, and it's easy to see why. LinkedIn is a free billboard for businesspeople. It showcases not only your name, photo, and professional credentials but also your colleagues' recommendations, your brilliant thinking (by way of a Powerpoint (MSFT) presentation or white paper attached to your profile), and your excellent roster of connections.

The way to begin your career on LinkedIn is to build a sharp profile. Jump over to to create a login and password and begin to fill out your profile.LinkedIn helps you in your profile-building project by providing a handy thermometer-type tool that tells you how complete your profile is.(Until your profile looks fairly complete, resist the temptation to start inviting your friends to join you on LinkedIn.) Push on until you've reached at least the 70-percent mark.If you have a little more energy, use the Applications at the bottom of the profile-editing page to add a Powerpoint deck, your full-text résumé in Word format, an article you wrote, your own blog, or other content to your profile. Last, create a personalized LinkedIn URL for yourself, like this:, and use that URL on your résumé, job-search business cards, and job-search-related correspondence. Now rest and give yourself a pat on the back. You've arrived on the business-networking scene.
Of course, launching a LinkedIn profile is only the first step. LinkedIn offers tons more in the way of friendly functionality for your job search. Not sure how to leverage LinkedIn in your job search? Read on.
1. Write a Compelling Profile
Your LinkedIn profile can read just like your résumé, but it doesn't have to. You can stretch the envelope a bit and use a more human voice to showcase your professional passions and drivers. In particular, make sure that your "headline" field (the one just under your name on your LinkedIn profile) lets the world know your purpose. If you're unemployed, by all means use your "headline" to showcase your availability for work, for example:
Anne Smith
Startup Veteran/Online Marketing Manager ISO Next Challenge
Jack Rogers
Sportswriter/Editor with Print and Broadcast Chops Seeking New Opportunity
You get 120 characters in the LinkedIn "headline" field, so use them wisely.
2. Tell Us Your Story
The large LinkedIn Summary field is much like a résumé summary, but longer. There's plenty of room to share your career history with readers in a compelling way. You can tell us your professional story in this space. As you can imagine, stories are easier on the reader than deadly dull résumè-type paragraphs. You might begin your Summary this way, for instance:
"Ever since I began covering business events for my college newspaper, I've been fascinated by business story-telling and its power to shape audience behavior. As a PR manager for B2B and B2C companies for the past 10 years, I've gotten my employers covered by Businessweek and USA Today (GCI) by crafting stories that connect readers with our brands."

There will be other places in your LinkedIn profile (the Specialties field, in particular) to regale us with your certifications and technical qualifications.
Use your Summary to let the person viewing your Profile know exactly what you're about and what you drives you in your career.
3. Mind Your Settings
You can set up your LinkedIn account (using the Settings link at the top right of each LinkedIn page) to keep all but your close friends (known on LinkedIn as "first-degree connections") from viewing your profile, but what's the point of that? If you're job-hunting, it's better to let hiring managers and recruiters find you easily by opening up your profile to public view. That means you need to click on the link that enables your Public Profile on LinkedIn. Other settings will allow you to dictate how LinkedIn communicates with you and about which issues (new invitations, e.g.), whether your contact list should be visible to your connections (I recommend that you let your friends see who your other friends are—that's the point of LinkedIn), and more.
4. Show Us Your Mug
LinkedIn began allowing users to upload a photo to their profiles a couple of years ago, and these days we can't imagine LinkedIn without user photos. A good photo adds life to your profile, and the absence of a photo raises questions (why doesn't this person want us to see what she or he looks like?) and just looks strange. Get a decent digital photo that shows you looking halfway professional (on-the-slopes and other leisure-time shots are fine as long as you look like a person who might function in the business world, vs. someone we couldn't remotely picture in a professional setting). Upload the photo to your profile, and you're all set.
5. Get Connected
Once your LinkedIn profile hits the 70-percent mark, it's time to start adding connections. LinkedIn won't be nearly as useful to you if you're sitting on your own private networking island. The point of LinkedIn is to allow your connections to make introductions for you, and vice versa, so you'll want to start adding first-degree connections ASAP. First, download the address book you use the most (Outlook or Gmail, e.g.) and let LinkedIn's downloading tool tell you which of these folks already use LinkedIn. Don't worry—LinkedIn won't start e-mailing everyone you know. You get to pick which people to invite to your network. When you do, be sure to personalize your LinkedIn connection invitation. "Hi Stan, I hope you and Jane are doing well. Shall we connect on LinkedIn?" is worlds better than "Since you are a person I trust, I'd like to add you to my network." Customization is key,
Once a person accepts your invitation to join his network, or vice versa, the two of you become first-degree connections. It's a two-way link. If you've accepted Jack's connection, you don't need to invite him to join your crew.

Tips 6 - 10

Monday, June 28, 2010

Big Blunders Job Hunters Make

Daphne Batts sometimes wonders if practical jokers with hidden cameras are spying on her as she interviews people for jobs at Bankrate Inc., an online publisher of financial information in North Palm Beach, Fla.
That's because job candidates—including experienced professionals—behave so inappropriately that Ms. Batts, vice president of human resources, suspects she's the target of a prank.
"I find myself peering out my blinds to see if Ashton Kutcher is on my office balcony with a camera crew," she says, referring to the host of the former MTV show "Punk'd," which featured pranks being played on celebrities.
Of course, there's nothing funny about a bad job interview, especially for the long-term unemployed. Yet hiring managers say many job hunters don't take their search efforts seriously enough and make the kind of mistakes that they should know better to avoid. In fact, many say they are frequently amazed by some of the colossal blunders they witness at a time when there are five job seekers for every job opening, according to the Labor Department.
Here's a look at eight bone-headed moves job hunters commonly make.

1. Entitlement syndrome.

At the conclusion of a job interview last year, a candidate for an administrative position at PopCap Games Inc. in Seattle asked human-resources executive Pamela J. Sampel if she could take him out to lunch on the company's dime. "He said he was a poor student and that I could just write it off," says Ms. Sampel, adding that for a moment she thought he was joking but his demeanor indicated otherwise. "I was so startled I almost started laughing."

Also last year, Ms. Sampel says she received an unsolicited résumé full of grammatical and spelling errors with a note asking her to have someone on the company's staff correct them. "I'm sure you have people there that could fix them before they put it into your online database on my behalf," the applicant wrote, according to Ms. Sampel.

2. Behaving rudely.

Earlier this year, a candidate for an administrative position at BankRate showed up to an interview with a preschooler in tow. "She didn't try to make any excuses or apologies, such as her babysitter backed out," says Ms. Batts, who conducted the meeting anyway, but didn't extend the candidate a job offer.
Similarly, a recent candidate for an entry-level outsourcing job at Accenture Ltd. unwrapped a sandwich during an interview and asked the hiring manager if he could eat it since it was lunchtime, says John Campagnino, senior director of recruitment for the global consulting company.
Job hunters have also acted rudely by showing up more than an hour early for interviews, interrupting interviewers in mid-sentence and refusing to fill out a job application, referring hiring managers to their résumés instead, say hiring managers and recruiters.

3. Acting arrogantly.

Recruiter Peter Polachi recently met with a candidate for an executive-level marketing job at a midsize technology firm. In the middle of the meeting, Mr. Polachi says he suddenly heard Madonna singing—it was the ring tone for the candidate's cell phone and the person took the call, which lasted about a minute.
Mr. Polachi, co-founder of Polachi Access Executive Search in Framingham, Mass., says the incident, plus the fact that the candidate was employed and arrived late to the meeting without apologizing, signaled that the executive considered himself a shoo-in for the job or just wasn't interested. Either way, "to accept the call and have a conversation is over the top," says Mr. Polachi.

4. Lies, lies, lies.

Six months ago, a candidate for an editing position at Factory VFX Inc. told hiring producer Liz Crawford that he came recommended by an artist on staff at the Santa Rosa, Calif., visual-effects company. After the interview, Ms. Crawford says she called the artist so the applicant could say hello to his supposed associate. That's when it became crystal clear that the two men didn't know each other. "He admitted he had fibbed and walked out of the room," says Ms. Crawford.

Job hunters also commonly lie by taking credit for work they didn't do, inflating their salaries and saying they don't smoke when seeking positions at companies with no-smoking policies.

5. Dressing down.

Last summer, Amy Demas says she was uncomfortable and distracted while interviewing a copywriter candidate for the small Los Angeles ad agency she co-founded in 2008, Standard Time LLC. "She was wearing a t-shirt three sizes too small with bright red letters across her chest," recalls Ms. Demas. "I couldn't help but pay more attention to her breasts than her résumé."
While it might be acceptable to skip a suit and tie in some office environments, it's never appropriate to wear jeans, cleavage-revealing tops, flip-flops or skin-tight pants—all interview fashion don'ts hiring managers say they've seen.
"You should also take out all your funky piercings and hide your tattoos," says career coach Cynthia Shapiro, who is also a former human-resources executive. "Even if you wear a business suit, if you have a piercing through your lip" it doesn't look good.

6. Oversharing.

After learning that a position involved a great deal of travel, a candidate for a senior sales job at a midsize manufacturer told the interviewer he was worried about how his saltwater fish would get fed while he was away. The worst part of the exchange? "He wasn't kidding," says Russ Riendeau, an executive recruiter who set up the interview and confirmed the account with the job hunter. "He was trying to say that it was his only concern." The man, who had been unemployed for four months at the time, wasn't extended an offer for the position, adds Mr. Riendeau, a senior partner with East Wing Search Group in Barrington, Ill.
Other things employers say that job hunters reveal—but shouldn't —include comments about their health problems, details about their love lives and tales of their financial hardships.

7. Saying thanks with gifts.

A finalist for a head of business development job at a well-known Internet company recently sent a pricey fruit bowl from Tiffany & Co. to a hiring manager following a third interview. The candidate was instantly knocked out of the running. "That was a real big faux pas," says Erika Weinstein, president of Stephen-Bradford Search in New York, and the recruiter who introduced the candidate to the employer. "It's trying to buy yourself a job. It's brown-nosing."
A thank-you note is really the only appropriate way to show appreciation. But even so, hiring managers say they've received everything from pricey tickets to sporting events to bottles of alcohol—all big no-no's.
8. Sporting a mom-and-dad complex.
In the past two months, Accenture's Mr. Campagnino says he has received two emails from parents of applicants asking why the company hasn't extended their adult children job interviews. "There's a significant lack of judgment when you have your parents intercede with a potential employer," he says. "We expect individuals to be able to represent themselves and sell themselves."
Hiring managers say they've also seen moms and dads accompany their offspring to job interviews and try to intervene in salary negotiations.

Original WSJ article

Friday, June 25, 2010

Notes from a Job Search: Creative Ways to Market Yourself

Once you get beyond the basics, how can you get noticed without being annoying?

With so many people caught between jobs these days, CFO asked Gary Starr, a CPA and MBA who was most recently CFO at a $70 million professional-service firm, to write about his current experience looking for a new position. In the third installment of a series, Starr looks at ways for job hunters to increase their visibility in some creative and unusual ways.
One of the trickiest aspects of a job search is finding different ways to market yourself. You need to make people aware of your skills and experiences without coming across as self-aggrandizing. This is not necessarily an easy task for financial executives, who typically don't have a marketing mind-set about business issues or about themselves. However, it is important to change your mind-set and start thinking about creative ways to get noticed, besides just networking and sending e-mail updates. There are many ways to do this; here are a few suggestions.

Get Published
The most obvious marketing strategy for me is writing articles. I have begun to write about the search process for several online forums, giving helpful hints. In response to my articles, many people have reached out to me, including recruiters, old friends, and people who didn't know me. I also posted a note about the articles on my LinkedIn profile, which helped with the exposure. We all have expertise and good knowledge about various topics; it's just a matter of transferring the information into a compelling article or blog. Having exhausted the search tips, I am now thinking about my next subject, and I am energized by the challenge and possibilities.
If writing isn't your passion, think about other ways you might leverage online media to raise your profile. For example, I noticed recently that someone on LinkedIn started a group called "150 Most Influential Recruiters" and invited all the recruiters who had been tagged with this honor by a major business publication. In two days, more than 20 recruiters signed up. That was a great idea and a smart way to get noticed. I wish I had thought of that!
Go Back to School
Finding opportunities at your alma mater could be a good way to get exposure. Consider taking or teaching a class, or volunteering at a high-profile alumni event. You might even ask the alumni office for people to contact or review the alumni list for networking possibilities. There are many opportunities here; you just need to find the right one for you.
Do Good Work
Volunteering your time at a nonprofit organization is a good way to help others and feel good about yourself. It may also allow you to display your expertise, especially if there is an opportunity to meet some of the board members. You might also register with BoardNetUSA, an online organization that matches individuals with nonprofit boards. I obtained my last job as a CFO through one of my nonprofit board connections.
Find the Fountain of Youth
Look for a start-up that needs help or find some part-time work. There are lots of groups and organizations for start-ups that could be good beginning points. New York City even provides space and desks for start-ups before they are able to go out on their own. I recently began working with a preseed start-up, and it has been an interesting and challenging experience. I am using my financial skills and connections, and I am learning a lot about the digital media space. I'm happy to take on any new projects that help me expand my nonfinancial skills. You may be able to negotiate some compensation for your efforts in either cash or equity, but don't dismiss an opportunity if no money is involved; the experience and exposure can be invaluable. (By the way, the founder sought me out through my LinkedIn profile and connections. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is robust!)
The bottom line is that there are endless possibilities to market yourself; you just need to move outside your comfort zone. Getting involved in activities that allow you to meet other people, extend your network, show off your skills, keep busy, help others, and generally feel good about yourself is critical while you work through the lonely process of finding that next full-time opportunity. — Edited by Alix Stuart

Original Article

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Your Resume Says About You

By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Heather Huhman
You want your résumé to impress the future employer reading it. It’s the first impression you’ll get to make, but it’s amazing how many people continue to gloss over errors. In the job market today, you need to ensure your résumé is going to be read rather than quickly scanned and thrown away.
So, do you know what your résumé really says about you? Here are some typical mistakes job seekers make—and what they can make future employers think of you:
  1. Typos, misspelled words, and bad grammar can make a hiring manager think you’re careless or won’t pay attention to details on the job. Show you are capable of doing the job by choosing words carefully and catching any mistakes.
  2. Including too much information can make employers think you aren’t able to write clearly and concisely, which has become increasingly important in today’s high-tech world. Your résumé might not be read if it’s too long, either.
  3. A busy, cluttered résumé may make others think you are unorganized and scatterbrained on the job.
  4. Sending the same document for every job opening shows you aren’t great at adapting. Show the future employer you know what they need and you are the one who can help them fill that need.
  5. Using an inappropriate name for your e-mail address will very likely make hiring managers skip your résumé altogether. It’s unprofessional—create an e-mail account with some variation of your name for job seeking purposes.
  6. Incorrect or false information can make the employer think you haven’t updated your résumé for the job opening—or worse, that you aren’t being honest.
  • Make sure your name is bold and stands out from the rest of your résumé.
  • Combine sentences that are too similar. This will make your message much clearer and allow for easier reading.
  • Change all responsibilities to accomplishments you had at that position. Most people who will read your résumé don’t want to hear about the general tasks you did, but rather how you benefited the company while you were there.
  • Eliminate anything that doesn’t pertain to the job for which you are applying. You want to show the employer you know what they are looking for and YOU are it.
  • Read your résumé out loud or have a friend look it over. You will catch anything that sounds awkward and your friend can probably give you some suggestions you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
  • Don’t bury important skills. If it’s important in your field to have extensive computer skills, write about that in your professional profile (at the top) rather than burying it in a ‘skills’ section (at the bottom).
The lesson is to take your time to make your résumé showcase the best “you.” Highlight those accomplishments. Update it when necessary. Make it concise, compelling and error-free.
Did you enjoy this article? Read more articles by this expert here.
CAREEREALISM Expert, Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, an exclusive online community connecting the best internship and entry-level job candidates with the best employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist for and blogs about career advice at Follow her on Twitter at @heatherhuhman.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Top 11 Blogs for Job Search and Career Advice

One of the best ways to collect relevant and up-to-date job search information and career advice is by following and subscribing to online blogs.  Navigating the blogosphere to find career-related blogs that are relevant, reputable, and provide you with the best of practical information could be a daunting task.  From online job search recommendations to interview tips, these Top 10 Blogs offer the best in Jobs Search and Career Advice:

1. Careerealism Blog This is a great blog for daily career advice, personal branding and job search tips. All of the content on the blog is generated by career experts.  The blog was started with an idea that the conventional job search tactics are no longer valuable in today’s job market.  Advice from Careerealism could be instrumental to your career success.

2. Alison’s Job Searching Blog Alison Doyle is a job search expert with many years of experience in HR, career development, and job searching. Her blog focuses primarily on online job searching, job search technology, social media, and professional networking. Make sure to follow this blog for practical hands-on advice.

3. Resumark Blog Subscribe to Resumark’s own blog to get the latest in employment news, relevant advice, and practical recommendations that can help your job search and your career.  With new articles published daily, Resumark’s Blog features many “how-to” posts that are written in simple English, with a touch of humor, designed to help job seekers navigate through rough waters of today’s job markets.

4. RecruitingBlogs is one of the largest blogs and social networks for Recruiting and HR Professionals. You may wonder why it is on our list of blogs for Job Seekers… The answer is simple – has a collection of blogs posted by Recruiters and HR professionals, many of which contain recommendations invaluable to job seekers. Follow this blog to get a daily scoop of wisdom from professionals who make hiring decisions on a daily basis.

5. On the Job by Anita Bruzzese Anita Bruzzese is an award-winning journalist with ten years of experience writing about workplace, employment trends, and job search. Her blog is exceptionally well written and is a treasure chest full of practical information for job seekers and anyone interested in helping their career.

6. The Change Blog This particular blog is not about Job Search. It is about personal changes in life, which is a very important topic for anyone going through unemployment and/or career change. Peter, the author of the blog, started blogging to share his story of personal change. Follow his thoughts on fundamentals in life, true values, and learn how to overcome depression, and build up self-confidence.

7. Personal Branding Blog by Dan Schawbel The Personal Branding Blog is run by Dan Schawbel, a renowned personal branding expert. This blog teaches you how to create your career and positively influence your future by using the personal branding process and gaining competitive edge in the marketplace.

8. JobMob by Jacob Share This blog is run by Jacob Share and is about bringing together job seekers and employers.  It is filled with straight-talking advice that is based on real world experience and with lots of humor.  It is a pleasure to read and is one of our favorites!

9. Indeed Blog Indeed’s Blog is a great resource to keep track of job trends. is one of the world’s largest job aggregators. They compile real time data about changes on job markets in the U.S. and around the world and regularly publish this information on their blog. Subscribe to this blog to get up to date information on employment trends by industry, geographic locations, occupation, etc.

10. WebWorkerDaily Career Blog The Career Section of the WebWorkeerDaily blog offers a great deal of practical advice for job search and career change, from social networking to freelancing; office politics to personal branding. The website is targeted primarily to web professionals and freelancers, making their advice and tactics invaluable to anyone who is serious about their online job search campaign.

11. TimEsseBlog Collection of Job, Career, and Tech Advice.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Truth Behind the Hidden Job Market Myth

Is the “hidden job market” a myth? Career experts have for years touted the notion that the vast majority of jobs – published statistics have suggested figures ranging from 75 to 95 percent of the total job market – are never advertised. This portion of the job market that is hidden from public view is behind the rationale career practitioners use to promote the effectiveness of networking in the job search. But, based on a prominent consultant’s assertion that the hidden job market is a myth, Quintessential Careers (, one of the Web's leading career tools sites, investigated the hidden job market concept and has published its findings in a package of three articles.
The consultant was Gerry Crispin, who in 2009 stated in a career-management discussion group that the hidden job market is one of the biggest myths of job-hunting; that, in fact, it doesn’t exist: “Maybe a few thousand out of 20 million jobs are unpublished, and they are primarily at or near the C-level,” said Gerry Crispin, who with partner Mark Mehler, operates CareerXroads®, which consults with corporations in career planning and placement, contract recruiting, executive search, recruitment advertising, and human-resource management.
With his permission, Quintessential Careers shared Crispin’s opinion with more than 70 experts in the career-management, employment, recruiting, and hiring sectors. The majority refuted Crispin’s opinion that the hidden job market is a myth, though few offered concrete evidence in favor of the hidden market. Some agreed with him. The experts, however, identified two problems with the hidden job market concept:
1. Definitions and interpretations of the “hidden job market” may not reflect reality. “Hidden” may not be the best term for this sector of available jobs since employers don’t deliberately hide vacancies.
2. Those who are skeptical about the hidden job market generally admit it exists but dispute commonly bandied-about figures – that the hidden job market comprises 75-95 percent of the job market — contending that the portion of the job market that is unadvertised is much smaller. The size of the hidden job market may also fluctuate based on the economy, some say.
In Quintessential Careers’ lead article on the hidden job market (, Is the Hidden Job Market a Myth? A Quintessential Careers Investigative Report, experts agreed with Crispin’s assertion that employers generally don’t purposefully hide job vacancies from the public, but suggested that situations such as the following may result in unpublicized openings:
  • The employer needs to confidentially replace a nonperformer.
  • The employer at a public company fears news of significant hiring will hurt stock prices.
  • The employer does not want to reveal future plans to competitors and others, and publicizing openings could expose those plans.
  • The employer wants to get referrals before or instead of publicizing the vacancy and being inundated with resumes from unqualified candidates.
  • The employer hires a search firm or recruiter to conduct a confidential search.
  • The employer uses social media or other non-advertising means to find candidates.
  • The employer may be very small and does not have the resources to advertise the opening.
  • Human error; the employer simply fails to publicize the opening (e.g., lack or time, forgetfulness) or has a poorly designed Website, where job-seekers have difficulty finding vacancy listings.
  • The opening exists, but there’s a hiring freeze, so the job cannot yet be publicized.
  • The opening is still “in the pipeline;” it’s unofficial, so it cannot yet be publicized.
Techniques for penetrating unpublicized openings like the foregoing is the subject of the second feature in Quintessential Careers’ hidden job market package (, How to Tap Into Jobs in the Unpublicized Employment Market.
Experts speculated on the size of the market and, in a sidebar feature in Quintessential Careers’ hidden job market package (, shared plenty of anecdotes in which job-seekers obtained jobs that had not been advertised. The only definitive statistics on the size of the market come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in a regularly issued report called Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS. The Quintessential Careers’ hidden job market report explains that, while determining the size of the hidden job market from these statistics depends on how the stats are interpreted, what they include, and the state of the economy, they clearly suggest the existence of the hidden job market.
“Regardless of the size of the hidden/unpublicized job market,” said Quintessential Careers Associate Publisher Katharine Hansen. “The evidence is clear that networking is crucial to job-search success and remains the most effective way to land a new job. Job-seekers should consider tapping unpublicized jobs as just one tool in the job-search kit,” said Hansen, who wrote the three hidden job market features.
Source:  Quintessential Careers/

Hired: Job-search tips for new grads

By MARVIN WALBERG - Scripps Howard News Service

"Entry-level and middle-manager positions were most affected by last year's job cuts," said careers expert Carolyn Thompson, "and many companies that laid people off over the last 18 months are beginning to hire again."
Now is the time for new grads to use all means to approach companies with their interests and make their qualifications known. Keep these tips in mind:
1) Start with reasonable expectations: Your first job is meant to get your foot in the door. Do research and figure out what "entry level" means in your industry. Understand the requirements, responsibilities and compensation. Setting reasonable expectations up-front will pay off in the end.
2) Temporary is OK: Temporary jobs often lead to permanent positions. Before investing in you, companies want to see that you have what it takes, not just hear about it in an interview. If a great organization offers you a temporary position, consider it.
3) Network: Eighty percent of jobs found today are the direct result of networking. Ask your parents, your friends' parents and all of their friends for help. You'll be surprised at how willing these personal connections are to help and how quickly a small network can expand. Be sure to have a printed business card on hand at all times so you can professionally connect with people you meet.
4) Develop a job-search strategy -- and stick to it: Identify the industries and companies that interest you. Read through their websites, blogs and profiles on social-networking sites. By familiarizing yourself with the facts, you can better prioritize your time and energy, create stronger action plans and make more informed decisions.
5) Going back to school is not the only option: The job market can be tough, but that doesn't mean you need to go back to school. Job availability is expected to climb over the next few years. Depending on your specific interests, it may already be on an upswing. Jobs and promotions don't automatically go to the one with the highest degree. In many cases, practical work experience in a specific industry is equally important to employers.
Thanks to Thompson, a 20-year veteran of the executive-recruitment industry and the author of three books on career development. Visit her site,
(Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach. Contact him at mwalberg(at),, or PO Box 43056, Birmingham, AL 35243.)

Original Article

Monday, June 21, 2010

Job Strategies: Getting excited about networking

For the AJC
When you hear the word “networking” do you feel excited? Rarin’ to go out and greet the world? Oh sure, that’s the reaction I get from people. They can hardly sleep for the excitement of meeting new people over cocktail wienies at the bank open house.

Chances are, no columnist or career adviser is going to convince you networking is fun. I’m not even going to try. I’ll settle instead for making you less uncomfortable and maybe even a little confident. For extra credit, I’ll tell you how to make it productive. Read on, MacDuff!
1. Consider yourself a networker. I’ve heard people in the trades say, “Networking is for the guys with a briefcase.” Then I heard a stay-at-home parent say, “I don’t have anything to network about.” And then a white-collar professional told me that networking doesn’t work if you’re introverted.
Enough! As long as you believe you’re not a networker, you’re right. Embrace the label and wear it proudly. If you have ever asked a neighbor for a referral to a plumber, you are a networker. If you’ve ever helped one friend sell a car to another, you are a networker. The trick isn’t learning how to network; it’s learning how to apply networking to job search.
2. Assume others want to talk to you. Look, you really don’t know whether someone wants to talk to you. So why leap to the conclusion that they don’t? If you have to believe something, choose to believe the other person is happy to hear from you. Then it will be easier to make the contact.
3. Accept charity. There, I said it. You will sometimes receive a favor when you have no way to reciprocate. Accept the favor graciously, thank the giver earnestly, and move forward. Then remember that the giver may already feel rewarded by helping someone in need. Much as you hate to be the needy person, remind yourself: Someone has to be. Without gracious recipients, benefactors cannot experience the joy of giving.
4. Make a strategy. This is the big-ticket tip, the one that will make you more comfortable, confident and productive. When your natural networking instincts -- and you do have them -- are used for job search, you immediately encounter a situation more complex than finding a plumber. Now you’re embarking on compound networking, where one contact leads to another until you have the information or contact that you need. For this you need a strategy.
Space is short, so I’ll give you the general structure of that strategy and you can fill it in. First, you need to know what kind of job you’re seeking. Ideally, you’ll know the job title or at least the industry. You need this for the next step, which is to identify specific companies. Once you have a list of, say, 25 companies that you want to work for, and you know the work you’d like to do, you’re ready to network.
Here comes the strategy. Ask yourself: Who do I know at these companies? Whoops ... what if the answer is no one? Then ask yourself: Who do I know who might know someone at any of the companies? No one? Really? OK, go back one more level: Who do I know who might know someone who might know someone at any of these companies?
Sure, this is starting to sound silly. The most important things in life often do. Never mind how silly it sounds. Make your lists of contacts and start contacting them.
And how is it that you’re suddenly going to be more comfortable with networking than you were 10 minutes ago? Simple: Now you know who you’re calling and why. Instead of a general order to go meet people and tell them you need work (eeek), now you can identify specific people to ask a specific question: “Do you know anyone who works at zzzz company? I’d like to work there, but first I’d like to have coffee with someone to learn more about the company and get some advice. Eventually I’d like to meet the manager of the yyy department to see whether they need my help. Can you help me find a connection?”
5. Keep going. Not every conversation will be a home run, but so what? If you have enough conversations, some of them will be. And how will you know whether your networking is productive? Simple. When other people call you first, you know your name is getting out there. And when you find yourself in an interview for a job that wasn’t posted? Oh yeah, that’s productive. And that will happen if you follow these tips. What are you waiting for?
Amy Lindgren owns Prototype Career Service, a career consulting firm in St. Paul, Minn. She can be reached at or at 626 Armstrong Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.

Original Article

Friday, June 18, 2010

When Is It Okay To Ask For A Job Lead?

After a workshop I led, an attendee connected to me via LinkedIn. Shortly thereafter, she asked me for an introduction to a few of my contacts. I recommended that she find connections who might know her work better than I. She then responded with a very good question that I bet is on the minds of many: a lot of the advice out there promotes networking as a way to access those jobs and companies you want, but as you meet more and more people how do you know when it’s okay to ask for referrals?
Kudos to this jobseeker for a number of things:
1) She expands her network. We connected (as it happened via LinkedIn but you can also use email or other social network);
2) She stays in touch. Some people stop after one contact;
3) She doesn’t stop at No. She didn’t push back on my hesitation for a referral but she did ask for more information (she asked why). So while she didn’t get exactly what she asked for, she got more information and that will help her search.
You can’t expand your network if you always only focus on people you already know. You have to take a chance, like this person did, and reach out to people. Attend social events, go to conferences, take classes, participate in community activities, and then actually reach out to the people you meet.

You also have to follow up because even if you do manage to introduce yourself and get this person in your LinkedIn network or on your email list, if you don’t correspond further, it doesn’t really matter.
But, the follow up stage is a long stage. The best follow up is non-committal.
You focus on the other person – just saying hi or giving an article, a recommendation for a good book, a holiday greeting. Give something that is welcome and doesn’t require a response. This way, you build familiarity and rapport without bothering the person. Then, when you have established familiarity and rapport, you might try asking for something.
A connection/ referral to someone else is a big favor. When you make a referral for a job or even an informational meeting, it is a reflection on you, so you want to make sure that before you refer someone you know them. Likewise, asking someone else to refer you is a risk for them. They need to know that you will reflect on them well, so don’t jump the gun to ask your network for this.

Asking for information is less of a favor, so if you’re not sure where you stand with a contact, ask your connection for information on a company or type of job.
The contact may offer on their own to introduce you to someone they know at the company or to pass on your resume for that type of job. This way, you have put yourself out there, made your aspirations known, but also not imposed too much on the other person.
People have different comfort levels for sharing contacts and referrals. So when you are expanding your network and not quite sure where people stand, be conservative and assume that you need to know the person very well. Then be generous and patient with your network so it becomes connections you know very well. 

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career coach, writer, speaker, Gen Y expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart (, a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500 recruiters. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others. Caroline is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and posts at CNBC Executive Careers and

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to overcome 7 obstacles to a job search

For the AJC
It’s (nearly) officially summer and nearly the third quarter of the year. Whether you measure time by the moon or the market, one thing’s certain: It’s getting on.

If you’ve been conducting a job search for too long, or with too few results, time can seem like the enemy rather than one of your resources -- especially if you’re running out of cash, another of your scarce resources. How can you turn things around?

The answer depends on what, exactly, is going wrong. In my work as a career counselor, I’ve learned to watch for seven obstacles common to underperforming job searches.
(A word of warning: None are market-based. These issues are “evergreen,” cropping up in good times and bad, at all levels. Since people do get jobs in bad markets, but can also fail to get jobs in good markets, it’s important to check these issues before assigning fault to the market.)
Obstacle 1: Lack of a plan. If you don’t know which job you’re seeking, or which companies you’re planning to approach, it’s no wonder you’re not making progress -- you don’t know which direction to go.
Solution: Create a plan that includes a target job, target employers and people to contact. If you can’t, then your first step is to meet with a counselor to help you do so.
Obstacle 2: Lack of commitment. Maybe you have a plan, but you’re not pushing yourself. In effect, this is the same as having no plan.
Solution: You can either make a new plan, or recommit to the original one by reminding yourself that you made this plan for a reason. Or, a little tougher: Recommit by remembering that you need the money, period.
Obstacle 3: Lack of structure. OK, you’ve got a plan you’re committed to, but entire days still slip by with little or no productivity. Chances are, you haven’t created a schedule that includes specific steps for each day.
Solution: You need to create a structure, perhaps like this: two days a week focused on networking and meetings, one day on sending letters and resumes and one day on follow-up calls and research. The fifth day is scheduled as needed.
Obstacle 4: Feeling overwhelmed. Being unemployed is definitely overwhelming; when we’re overwhelmed, we tend to avoid the problem, opting instead for housecleaning or overeating.
Solution: Break things into small steps. If tomorrow is the day to write letters, spend the last 15 minutes of today noting five people you’ll write to. When you get up, allow yourself one hour per letter, then one last hour for proofreading. Hit the send button, lay out the tasks for the next day and stop.
Obstacle 5: Loss of momentum. You know how this goes: Fail to exercise once or twice, no problem. But take a week off and you’re sunk. As in exercise, keeping a steady pace in job search is more important than spurts of activity at odd intervals.
Solution: Set a pace that works for you. One hour a day? OK -- stick to it. If something happens to today’s hour, start over again tomorrow, but don’t let two days go by or the momentum will be hard to recapture.
Obstacle 6: Distractions. This is the big one for summertime, especially if the kids are home, be they grade-schoolers or college graduates.
Solution: Anticipate and manage the distractions. If you want to be outside at midday, get up early to do your job search. If having a teenager around bugs you while you’re trying to focus, lay down the rules of the house: No one home during the day. Little kids? Form a baby-sitting co-op with another job seeker.
Obstacle 7: Loss of confidence. Ouch. This one hurts. None of the other obstacles and solutions matter if you don’t believe you can get work. Whether your feelings stem from the way you left your last job, the length of your unemployment, or something deeper, you need to tackle this and move forward.
Solution: The best solution may be to seek counseling, especially if this has been ongoing. If it seems situational, then try this exercise: Each time you think of a deficit (“I don’t know anything about databases”), force yourself to think of an asset (“I’m quite good with spreadsheets”). By refocusing your thinking on what you have to offer, rather than on what you’re missing, you’re making a habit of presenting yourself in a positive light -- to both yourself and others. Since assets are the primary topic of interviews, you’ll find that this exercise also leads you to stronger conversations with employers when the time comes.
Amy Lindgren owns Prototype Career Service, a career consulting firm in St. Paul. She can be reached at or at 626 Armstrong Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.

Original Article

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Job Search: What to Do When You're Overqualified

Derek Stolpa has been working as an independent consultant and searching for a stable, full-time job since he was laid off from his position as manager of IT procurement and asset management with Jefferson Wells, a professional services firm now owned by Manpower, in 2005. When applying for jobs in his field, Stolpa says employers have told him dozens of times that he's overqualified or too experienced.
Having prospective employers tell him he has too much experience is frustrating for Stolpa. "The part that's more disappointing is the fact that I really have a passion and enjoy what I do, and I just want to be able to share that--not only for my own professional and personal growth, but also to give back to an organization," he says.
Being told they're overqualified mystifies many IT professionals engaged in job searches. They don't understand why employers wouldn't want to hire a candidate who's more than qualified for a given IT job. Would employers rather hire someone who's not qualified, they wonder.
Exceeding the minimum qualifications required for a job certainly has its advantages for job seekers. IT hiring managers interviewed for this article say hiring a job seeker who's overqualified for a position offers several potential benefits. For one, the candidate can quickly get up to speed in a new job with little or no training. For another, the overqualified job seeker generally can bring a broader range of experience and greater depth of knowledge to the role, along with an unparalleled desire to excel. Finally, the right overqualified candidate can potentially elevate the rest of the staff by raising the bar for performance inside the organization.
The reason? Hiring managers worry that an overqualified candidate will be unhappy in the role or with the salary and will leave the company in three, six or 12 months. They also say overqualified candidates pose a variety of management challenges. It can be hard to keep such individuals motivated and engaged jobs which may be beneath them. In addition, colleagues and managers often feel threatened by overqualified candidates. Finally, they fret over salary negotiations, knowing they may not be able to meet this kind of candidate's salary expectations.
The odds of getting the job offer may be stacked against overqualified job seekers, but it's not impossible. They just have to know how to sell themselves and how to effectively address hiring managers' specific concerns about their candidacy. Here are five tips for allaying hiring managers' concerns about your extensive qualifications in your cover letter and during job interviews.

1. Use your cover letter to sell yourself.
All cover letters should explain why you're interested in the company and the position for which you're applying. They should also demonstrate that you've done some research on the company, says Michael Kohlman, information systems manager at Cook Group Inc., a Bloomington, Ind.-based medical device manufacturer.
If you know you're overqualified for the job in question, explaining specifically but succinctly in the cover letter how your experience makes you ideal for the position and uniquely suited to solve the company's problems is critical, he adds.
If you're applying for a position at a lower level than you've previously worked, your cover letter should address why you're down-shifting, says Kohlman.
A compelling cover letter will make a hiring manager more receptive to the breadth and depth of experience on your résumé and less prone to dismissing you as overqualified.

2. Don't dumb down your résumé.Say you're a software developer with 10 years of experience and you find yourself applying for a documentation specialist position: You may be tempted to downplay your experience on your résumé and to leave off various skills you possess and certifications you hold, thinking that a hiring manager might dismiss you as overqualified on the basis of your résumé. But IT hiring managers say don't give into the temptation. They caution job seekers against dumbing down their curricula vitae.
"Having a really deep résumé is key," says Eddie Jenkins, the director of IT for Medex, a provider of travel medical insurance based in Baltimore, Md. "You want to tell the whole story of who you are."

3. Anticipate questions about your career goals.
Since one of hiring managers' most pressing concerns about overqualified candidates is their "flight risk," they will ask a lot of questions during the interview about your interest in the position, their organization, and your career goals to determine whether you're genuinely interested in their job or simply view it as a stop-gap measure on the way to a more suitable or higher-paying position.
Job seekers who answer the "Why are you interested in this position" question by letting on that they're desperate for a job or a paycheck immediately get weeded out, hiring managers says.
Similarly, job seekers who make it clear they want to move up quickly when asked about their career goals also get knocked out.
"If someone is looking for a way to get past the fact that they're overqualified for a position, making it clear during the interview that they've thought about their qualifications and have goals is a big plus," says Kohlman.
In other words, the overqualified candidate needs to be able to convincingly explain how this position aligns with their longer-term career goals.
When Kohlman interviewed a woman last year who had been in an IT leadership position with the University of Wisconsin for an IT director position at his company, he had concerns about why she was applying for a lower-level position. Kohlman says the candidate was clear during the interview that downshifting was something she genuinely desired. He says she told him that she had been in a leadership position for several years and truly missed getting her hands dirty in IT, that she sought more work-life balance and wanted to relocate from Wisconsin to Bloomington to be closer to family. Kohlman hired her.  "As far as I know, she's very happy [in the position]," he says.

4. Allay managers' concerns that you'll threaten their jobs.
Stolpa, the IT job seeker, says during some job interviews he's sensed that the hiring manager is worried he might step on their turf. When he detects this concern, Stolpa says he tells the hiring manager that he understands the bounds and scope of the position for which he's interviewing and he wouldn't step out of it unless he was specifically called upon to offer additional experience or advice.
Stolpa wants hiring managers to know that "overqualified" professionals who've been in transition for a while don't want to be perceived as a threat. "We're willing to start at the bottom if we need to," he says. "We want to come back into an organization and be gainfully employed and provide a benefit."

5. Present yourself as a good value for the employer.
If you're willing to take a lower-level job and the salary that goes with it, market yourself as a good value for the company, says David Starmer, CIO of Boston, Mass.-based Back Bay Restaurant Group. Without coming off as desperate, make it clear to the hiring manager that she'll get more knowledge and experience for her money if she hires you than if she hired the average candidate.
Starmer says six months ago he hired a high-level IT architect who had worked in the financial services industry for 25 years to serve as a project manager in charge of overseeing software installations. Starmer says he chose this candidate because "he was the most qualified person for what we needed." The CIO also notes, "The benefit we get [from this candidate] far exceeds our costs."
Follow Meridith Levinson on Twitter at @meridith.    

Original Article

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Notes from a Job Search: Staying Motivated A CFO on the job hunt talks about how to endure a long, lonely process.

    With so many people caught between jobs these days, CFO asked Gary Starr, a CPA and MBA who most recently headed finance at a professional-service firm, to write about his current experience looking for a new position. In the second installment of a series, Starr advises how to structure the search and avoid mental roadblocks.
    Searching for a job can be a lonely and arduous process. As finance types, we have additional factors working against us. For one, we never think we'll be out of a job, so we don't care about networking. Then, when we are unemployed and need to network, we're not all that good at it.
    It's certainly a culture shock to suddenly be home every day instead of going to work. But at some point in our careers, we have all had to get up, dust ourselves off, and begin something new with zeal and enthusiasm. That's the way you need to approach a job search.
    The key to maintaining a successful search is to be organized and active. Here are some tips to keep you hungry and busy.
    Set Goals
    You need to plan your day and set daily goals. Right now, my goal is 10 "touches" a day. This doesn't mean that I actually have to speak to 10 people; it just means that I reach out to 10 people through e-mails or phone calls. These people aren't total strangers but rather came to my attention through networking sources, and are therefore highly likely to respond. (If I do reach out to strangers, that only counts as an ancillary "touch.")
    By setting a goal, I push myself to continually reach out to new people and stay motivated about my job search. I may not always be successful, but I am always thinking about whom to contact. You can start with a smaller number, but as time progresses and your network grows, the goal should be increased.
    Plan Beyond the Day
    You not only need to plan your day, you also need to plan your week. You should never wake up and wonder, "What am I going to do today?" Have a plan for each day, even if it only involves having breakfast with friends, exercising, planning dinner, writing an article, cleaning the garage, or volunteering your time.
    Making appointments with potential contacts, admittedly, is very difficult. Most people are averse to meetings, and you will run up against a lot of cancellations. But it's important to constantly persevere and get on as many calendars as possible.
    Stay on the Radar
    "Out of sight, out of mind": it is very easy to be forgotten. But it is also very easy to be considered a pest. How do you stay on people's radars without annoying them?
    I have found that almost all my networking contacts are receptive to receiving monthly e-mail notes about my search. I always keep the notes short and put in a sentence about my progress. Most people don't respond, and that's OK. I have had people say to me later, "I get your e-mails and even though I don't respond, it's good to see your name pop up as a reminder." Consequently, many have sent me leads just because I keep in touch with them. Nothing is more invigorating and motivating than having your network send you lead. It keeps you going and gives you faith.
    Without question, searching for a job in the current economic climate is hard; the process can be lonely and long. But by setting goals, planning ahead, and staying on the radars of your network, you'll keep busy, stay invigorated, and make the process easier. — Edited by Alix Stuart

    Original Article

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    How I Got The Job

    Thomas Crow

    The job: Major accounts representative
    The employer: The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. is a lawn, garden and outdoor living products and services company, based in Marysville, Ohio. The company originally was founded in 1868 by O.M. Scott; in 1995, Scotts merged with Miracle-Gro. The company is in the process of setting up regional offices, one of which will be responsible for the Midwestern states. About 20 employees now work in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
    My role: My responsibilities include account management and relationship management with about 35 retail stores--in Kansas City and north to Kirksville; south to the Lake of the Ozarks-- carrying Scotts Miracle-Go products. I help provide market intelligence and service solutions for the retailers we work with, which include stores like Lowes and Home Depot. By creating strong partnerships with our retailers, both the retail managers and consumers maintain confidence in our brand.
    It’s also my job to make sure the stores have our products ready for the shelves when they’re needed, and to create displays to propel those products. The dedicated program with which I am involved has shown great results in store appearance and sales performance. At no other time in recent lawn and garden industry history have manufacturer’s representatives like myself been more valuable, as a result of today’s critically competitive business setting.
    How long have you been in this position?
    Since January 2010.
    How did you find your job?
    I had worked with the Kansas City Scotts Miracle-Gro team for several years in a previous position with a Kansas City area Lowes store. So, when I was looking for a way to earn extra income to supplement a full-time construction materials job with Kansas City’s American Landscape Supply, I contacted a Scotts Miracle-Gro sales manager I knew. He was glad to have me work part-time in making sure shelves were appropriately stocked and displays were looking good in area retail stores. It got my foot in the door.
    When I was part of a layoff at American Landscape Supply in July 2009, I talked again with the sales manager, who is my supervisor. We talked about changing my responsibilities and putting me into a full-time position with the company. The timing was good since Scotts Miracle-Gro was breaking up into regions and creating new jobs. And, I felt that Scotts Miracle-Gro had the greatest potential for vertical career access.
    What helped the most in the job search?
    Keeping in touch with people in the industry had the best results. Evaluating my strengths and focusing on the potential at Scotts Miracle-Gro worked much better than trying to “brand” or “re-invent” myself.
    What else worked well for you?
    Career groups are great, but I felt I needed to pick two or three and not make a routine of going to numerous groups. The groups at Church of the Nativity in Leawood and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park were the best for me. In the Nativity career group, we had an exercise which gave me the revelation regarding what my true career desires were. The career groups also helped me put things in perspective--that I wasn’t the only one without a full-time job. Networking by visiting lawn and garden industry trade shows was not an answer for me. Picking up the phone and calling acquaintances and people I had worked with was my best approach.
    What didn’t work?
    Working with Missouri’s Full Employment Council did not yield the guidance, education/training or interviews I had expected. Although I qualified for WorkFORCE Action grant funding to help continue my education, my training was at first postponed and I was later told the funds were re-allocated.
    Did you reach a low point in this process?
    I think I never really hit a low point, but I became acutely aware of the passing of time. Every month was an anniversary of sorts, after the layoff.
    What is your best advice for others in the job search?
    Persistence. Make sure your acquaintances know you are still looking. If not told otherwise, most people assume you found a job. I also believe there is no right or wrong way to job search; if you are not getting results, try something else. Had I not previously worked in sales I would have been more easily discouraged.
    What is your educational and work experience?
    I have a bachelor’s degree in business/natural science/mathematics from Simpson College, Indianola Iowa (December 1980). The focus of my career has been in home improvement/super stores, as well as independent garden centers.
    Is there anything else you would like to share related to the job search?
    Be yourself. Find a place that needs YOU. Market yourself as yourself.
    How does this job fit into your long-term career plans?
    Scotts Miracle-Gro is performing very well and is in the process of changing from a single corporate office design to a multi-regional format. Last year, the Southwest and Southeast regions were installed. We had struggled in both areas, but with a regional focus we have increased our market share in these areas by more than two percent. I think I will find a place in regional management here at some point in time.
    Sue Dye Babson,
    Special to The Star

    Original Article

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    10 Ways to Ruin a Job Interview

    by Liz Ryan

    The great thing about a job interview is the way that it narrows the field. If you can get in front of the people making a hiring decision, that means that you've already moved from a group of perhaps 100 resumes to a field of just a few serious contenders. At that point, your chance of getting a job offer improves dramatically.

    Of course, having surmounted that huge hurdle, the last thing you want to do is blow it. To that end, here are 10 job-interview gaffes to avoid.

    1. Complaining about the parking or directions.
    Don't think it doesn't happen! As cordial and happy-go-lucky as your interviewers may seem, they don't want to hear a job-seeker complain that the place was hard to find or that the parking is inconvenient. The best (that is, the worst) example of this I ever experienced as an HR person came from the candidate who said, "Seven handicapped parking spaces next to the front door? What, are you having a wheelchair convention or something?" That was a short interview.

    2. Bad-mouthing your previous job, manager, or company.
    If you've been laid off or suffered some other unpleasant experience at your last job, it's easy to launch into a litany of everything the old employer did wrong. Don't do it! The interviewer is bound to wonder "Will this person be bashing me behind my back on some future interview, too?" Zip it.

    3. Digging into details off the bat.
    The typical selection process allows plenty of time for you to learn everything you need to know about the company's dental plan, its tuition-reimbursement policy, and the size of your cubicle. Don't ask about any of these items on a first interview, when you should be focusing the conversation on the role and the organization.

    4. Groveling.
    Employers want to hire people who can do the jobs and who are enthusiastic about the work. What's not so appealing is the candidate whose every word and gesture conveys the message, "Hire me, I beg you!" Joblessness is no fun, but you don't help your chances of getting the nod by presenting yourself as a candidate whose most notable attribute is desperation.

    5. Answering a question before you understand it.
    The absolute worst answer to any interview question is the response that shows you weren't really listening. When an interviewer asks a question that requires thought, like, "Tell me about a time when you had to convince a team of people to change gears," you don't want to blurt out, "Oh, I've done that a million times!" Any "tell me about a time when" question is a question that the interviewer has chosen to elicit a specific problem/solution story from you. Take the time to think through the question and compose a thoughtful answer. A few minutes of silence in the room won't kill anybody.

    6. Spacing out.
    Any interviewer worth her salt will be able tell when you've zoned out. If you're wondering whether the 5:40 train will get you home in time to watch the playoff game, the interviewer will spot it in your eyes. If you're really out of it, he may throw you a curve ball like, "So, who would you say was the most effective member of Teddy Roosevelt's cabinet, and why?" Stay in the room, with your eyes either meeting the interviewer's or looking thoughtfully at the ceiling. Or your shoes.

    7. Slouching.
    We'll throw in tipping the chair back off its front legs, resting your head on your hand, and lacing your fingers together behind your head.

    8. Cursing.
    Interviewers love to put job candidates at ease. When you reach the state of ease that lets an "f-bomb" escape your lips, you've gone too far.

    9. "Opening the kimono."
    It's tempting to share with a sympathetic interviewer the news that this job search has been really hard, that you're not getting callbacks, and that you've already sent out 150 resumes. Don't do it. Smart job candidates put out a vibe that says, "I'm glad to be here with you and this job might be fun, but I'm a capable person who's aware of his value on the job market."

    10. Doing anything disgusting.
    The long list of personal gross factors includes picking one's teeth or nose, spitting, and other unmentionables that are best left to the imagination. Any of these is a sure-fire interview-killer (and can we really blame the employer for that?). One candidate asked me for a cup of water, took a sip, swished it around in his mouth, and spat into a potted plant. Niiiiiice!Liz Ryan is a 25-year HR veteran, former Fortune 500 VP and an internationally recognized expert on careers and the new millennium workplace. Contact Liz at or join the Ask Liz Ryan online community at www.asklizryan/group.
    The opinions expressed in this column are solely the author's.

    Original Article

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Job Search XL for iPad

    LinkUp's Job Search XL brings the web's highest quality, fastest growing job search engine to the iPad. Powered by LinkUp's search engine, jobs are updated daily and come straight from company websites. As a result, LinkUp's listings from employers are always current, often unadvertised, and never fake.
    • Search job listings found only on company websites
    • Basic and advanced search functionality
    • Search jobs by keyword, location, company, or category
    • Save jobs to Favorites and access Favorites via browser or feed reader
    • View and reuse previous searches
    • Receive email alerts when Favorite jobs are closed by the employer
    • Create email alerts and get notifications when new jobs are posted
    • Apply to job openings straight through the iPad
    • Instantly email relevant jobs to yourself or friends
    • Fluid interface that's optimized for both portrait and landscape modes

    Advanced & basic job search

    Search Modes

    Previous searches

    Search Results

    Job details

    Job Details

    Create job alerts

    Create job alerts

    Send to friend

    Send to friend