Monthly Archives: November, 2014

Presenting: You

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us – a day of family and feasting, football and the potential for another famous game: question dodging.  I hope that even in the midst of job search everyone within reach of this post can make a list of things for which they are thankful.  (Writing this sentence has reminded me of the simple prayer that was used to start each job search meeting at a faith based group that I attended last year.  The prayer was non-denominational, but made a point to remind each job seeker to be aware of the things that are going right in their life.  I really liked that.)

 

The idea for this post came to me as I was searching the newsfeed on Yahoo and came across a Mashable article.  I like this article because it is succinct and also has some concrete information – Mashable: Cover Letter Keywords – even though it still doesn’t reduce the subjective nature of the whole job search process.

 

Job search is smack in the middle of self-promotion territory – a place that many of us feel very uncomfortable visiting.  Add in the pressure of family members kindly or salaciously asking for a status update at the Thanksgiving table and, well, yikes.

 

public domain image

public domain image

The descriptive words that this article suggests makes the self-promotion more of an exercise in self-description.  I am capable, I can do this and this and this.  Here are examples of times that I did these things.  Say it with me, I am capable.  I can think of things that I do well.  I can think of things for which I am thankful.  I can enjoy the opportunity to see family and have a great meal at Thanksgiving.

 

Beth Anne Reed has a background in Customer Relations, Process & Project Management and a deep interest in Written Communications.

© 2014 Blog to Work | Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

There’s no laughing in job search!

During the upcoming holidays, several job search networking groups will focus one or two sessions on enjoying the camaraderie of the group. Be sure to take advantage of these sessions, for they are not held often enough.

I admit that when I first encountered such a session, I was somewhat taken aback. “WHY aren’t we focussing on job search topics? I REALLY need to be generating more call-backs and interviews… Aren’t these folks taking this job search seriously?”   (I had so much to learn… )

Honest discussion, and laughter, are signs that you are not only connecting, but also interacting with the people around you.  As the meeting’s discussion topics may not focus primarily upon job search, your time can be spent getting to know the people for who they are (and not just what they are looking for in their next role).

Having fun during job search is allowed

Public Domain Image                                                                     Having fun, and laughing, during job search is allowed

Do you demonstrate an interest in helping the people you already know at these sessions?  If so, your relationship will become stronger than had you simply exchanged business cards.  And, always be prepared to let others know what you are looking for, and how they may be able to help you. Discussions on an individual level are often more detailed than those presented to larger groups.

At these meetings, there is always the opportunity to greet new attendees, and introduce them to those (in the room) who share similar experiences or goals.  Helping people make new connections is another way to strengthen your network.  The ability to develop conversations quickly, with others you’ve just met, is a useful skill to have for networking.  (More on this in a future post.)

These are ways to exercise your networking skills.  In my first transition, as my networking skills improved, I noticed that my phone screenings tended to last longer, and that I more often stayed until the ‘final round’ of hiring discussions.   Was this a coincidence?

So, allow yourself to be more relaxed during these holiday networking sessions, and appreciate them for the opportunities they provide.

Allan Channell is a new ‘Blog to Work’ contributor.  He has experience in software development, project management, and interests in communications, Tai Chi, and humor.

Even More Than Witches

The skills most recently used in your last role – the ones that are first in people’s minds when they hear of you- may not be the skills sought by your next employer.  Make sure you represent your full set of skills and abilities.

 

I grew up near Salem Massachusetts. (Yes, the ‘witch trial’ city of Salem.)  During that time, Salem seemed challenged to appear more appealing, welcoming, and friendly, as “The Witch Trials” tended to contradict that ambiance.  Starting in the 1980’s, Salem decided to invest in its underutilized waterfront (and other areas of the city), and emphasize its large, rich role in early American history.   For over the last 20+ years, tourism has boomed.

 

Salem offers more than witch history  National Park Service Photo (Public Domain)

Salem Offers More Than Witch Trial History
National Park Service Photo (Public Domain)

 

The Witch Trials were not the only noteworthy happening in Salem’s history.  Before New York City superseded it, Salem was the main trading port to Asia.  Many Revolutionary War events occurred in Salem.  The National Guard was founded there.  Evidence of these events had been available, but they became much more visible, and easier to appreciate, after the town decided to emphasize these other historical aspects in its advertising and renewal.

 

For individuals, being without a job can seem so all-encompassing, that it can be awkward to separate your personal identity (and personal sense of value) from that employment status.  While you are in transition, are you refreshing your other skills and abilities that may have been under-appreciated?  Make sure that you are able to advertise all of your previous experiences and skills, and not just the one or two skills that may initially pop into people’s minds.  You may be surprised at the warm reception you receive.

 

Allan Channell is a new ‘Blog to Work’ contributor.  He has experience in software development, project management, and interests in communications, Tai Chi, and humor.

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

I finally had enough of passing by the messy pile of job search stuff gathering dust on a shelf in the living room.  Ten months’ worth of people’s handbills, flyers, presentation print outs, notes, book summaries (and a couple of self-published books hawked by authors that I met), and seminar ephemera.  Thankfully I had already done a first culling at the time of collection and anything deemed unhelpful had been put on the recycle pile.  If I hadn’t made this initial determination, one shelf would not have been enough.  There is a lot of information out there about job search.

 

I didn’t get rid of much this time around.  Some of it could be useful to me to generate a post or two here.  Or I can pass on other bits to people I know.

 

public domain image

public domain image

When there is so much information to be found on a topic, how does a person decide what is useful (wheat) versus what is unhelpful (chaff)?  When it comes to information, it isn’t as simple as threshing wheat.  All a person needs for wheat is an understanding of what parts are edible.  Information culling or threshing requires effort in advance.

 

What is wheat for me might be chaff for others and vice versa.  I have to know what I am looking for, at least a bit.  I have to know at least how to recognize something useful.  To do that, I have to have an idea of where I am going.  But I can’t narrow things down too much or I might realize that I got rid of something potentially useful if I change course.  Hence the pile of stuff.

 

How do you decide what might be useful in your quest?

 

Beth Anne Reed has a background in Customer Relations, Process & Project Management and a deep interest in Written Communications.

© 2014 Blog to Work | Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved