Networking Traps and Tips Slides Posted

I gave a webinar this past week to the BU Career Connection. We had a great turnout. I have posted my slides: Eight Traps (and Tips) of Networking When Job Searching. The slides are based on Manage Your Job Search. Since I published the book and have given talks about it, I have discovered more traps. I hope you enjoy the...

Job Search Trap: I Can Narrow My Job Search Fast

When I speak to job hunters, they often think they can get a job doing what they studied, or what they have done, or they way they have always searched. “But the last three times I looked, I looked exactly this way.” “This is what I studied in school. I should be able to find a job.” “I’ve been doing this for years. Why can’t I find a job doing this now?” You used to look for a job that way. You studied that, yes. You did work that way, yes. You are correct. However, the world has changed. The world is not going to adapt to you. You need to adapt your job search. What do you do? You need data. If you are doing retrospectives as I suggest in Manage Your Job Search, and measuring the number of phone screens and interviews, you should have some data. Are you happy with the number of phone screens and interviews? If you are, okay. Maybe you don’t have to worry. If you are not happy with the number of phone screens and interviews, you need to change something. Consider expanding your target network in some dimension. If you were in the financial services domain in 2008, you were in a similar position. Remember 2008? We were in the not-recession? (Ahem. We were.) Technical people could still get jobs, but not in the financial services domain. Because of the banking problems, technical people had a real problem finding jobs. It didn’t matter how good they were. That was not the issue. The problem was the domain. If you restricted yourself...

Job Search Trap: Too Much to Do

Today’s job search trap is something we can all identify with: biting off a big chunk of work and not getting it to done fast enough. I suspect we have all been there and done that! How do you avoid this particular trap? I like to assess each of my tasks on my board and ask, “Do any of these look as if they will be more than two hours long?” Two hours is not a lot of time. Two hours is long enough for me to make progress on something and get it to done. It’s also long enough that I’m likely to complete it. And that’s the key. You know what the problems are in a job search: you have interruptions, such as phone calls; your family needs you to drive them or do laundry or something else; you want a perfect resume. The list goes on and on. Instead, think of ways to make your tasks smaller. Here are some approaches: What’s the first thing you do? Is this a series of tasks, where you have glommed things together? For example, “Write resume” is really at least three tasks: Draft resume, ask several people to review it, send it out for review. You might even decide that “Draft resume” is “Timebox draft resume to 60 minutes.” How can you make your tasks independent? Are you researching a job fair? Or researching companies? Look at the job fair and decide if you want to go. That’s the first decision. If you do, that’s the trigger event for all the other research for the job fair. Same thing...

Job Search Trap: I Can Network Only by Going to Meetings

Here’s another job search trap: you think you can network by going to professional group meetings, mashups, informational lunches, and other kinds of what I call “background networking.” You need to do this kind of networking to expand you network. But it won’t get you a job. It will keep you unemployed. You need to also create a target list of companies, companies you want to work at. Not types of companies. Real companies, with real names, on a real list. This takes research. Once you have your target list, you also need to have your marketing spiel (which I describe in Manage Your Job Search), and then you can decide how to find someone at one of your target companies every single week. If you expand your background networking every week, chances are good you know someone who knows someone at your target company. Maybe you even know someone at your target company! But, if you haven’t defined your target list, you don’t know what you are looking for. It’s a problem. You do need to go to meetings. You do need to have informational interviews. You need to keep thinking about where you are focusing your networking efforts. Background networking, by itself, is insufficient. Add target networking to it? Now you have a winning combination. There are two more days of the Manage Your Job Search launch. I’m hosting conference calls this week. Today’s, April 14, is about networking basics. Tomorrow’s is tips and traps. I’ll do a quick intro and answer your questions. Join...

Job Search Trap: Not Preparing for Each Interview

You’ve landed the interview. Congratulations! Now what? Make sure you can discuss your value in detail. If you haven’t done so, review your value as in Four Tips to Defining Your Value. For each and every interview, you want to research the organization and prepare for the interview. You want to understand the questions they might ask you, and be prepared to answer some of the not-so-brilliant questions they might ask. I’ve covered some of the interview questions I dislike here. See these posts: How You Answer Irrelevant Questions in an Interview, Part 3 More Interview Questions Not to Ask, Part 1 You might want to read the interview questions I do like: Interview Questions for Program Managers Interview Questions to Consider Asking Six Tips for Answering Project and Program Manager Interview Questions You can search this blog for many more interview questions and auditions that I like. Get ready for the Manage Your Job Search launch this week. I’ll be hosting conference calls this week. The first one, April 10, is a short introduction to personal kanban inside one-week timeboxes. I’ll do a quick intro and answer your questions. Join...

Job Search Trap: Stickies Everywhere Except on My Board

I recently met someone who thought he could manage his job search with yellow stickies. Given that I recommend personal kanban, I thought we’d be on the same wavelength. Imagine my surprise when he said, “I have stickies all over my computer, to remind me of what I have to do.” Oh no. That’s not organized enough. That’s a job search trap. You can’t organize an emergent project like a job search with stickies all over your computer, any more than you can with a Gantt chart, or a Word file, or a database, or anything else that is static or random. You need an adaptable system, one that allows you to plan just enough for now, but is flexible enough to allow for change, if you need it. This is why I like personal kanban inside of one-week timeboxes. You have a pull system, where you can see the work, where you constantly move small tasks across the board, and you reflect at one-week intervals. You have a board—or a parking lot—on which to put everything. That means you don’t have to worry when you have a great idea. You have a place to put it. If you are looking for a job, you need a system, first. I recommend personal kanban. Do you know about the Manage Your Job Search launch this week? I’m hosting a series conference calls. The first one, April 10, is a short introduction to personal kanban inside one-week timeboxes. I’ll do a quick intro and answer your questions. Sign up for any or all. Hope you join me. They will be fun...