5 People You Can Trust to Help Your Executive Career Change

5 People You Can Trust to Help Your Executive Career Change

As you consider your executive career transition, you’re going to find that there are lots of resources available to move it forward. How do you know whom you can trust throughout this process? How do you know who has your best interests at heart? Read on to learn how to identify those who can help you most effectively.

1. Friends and Family

You may consider asking your spouse, your friend, or even your parent for advice about your executive career transition. Generally, these individuals in your close circle of trust will have your best interests at heart, but they tend to be among the least objective about what will work for you. Certainly they will know you well and have a good sense of what your strengths and salient characteristics are, but their own self-interest or personal interest in your well-being might interfere with your ability to seek out and obtain a position that satisfies all of your professional requirements.

2. Your Coworkers or Executive Manager

Among those who might offer you a solid career advice are your professional peers or executive leader. However, do know that as much as they have your best interests in mind, they also have agendas. They might be competitive with you or they might ask you to take on more than your fair share. Certainly, as you work your way up through the executive tier in a company, you need to pay attention to the needs and wishes and wants of your colleagues and superiors, but they might not provide the best advice for you if they do not understand your specific aspirations, particularly if they fall outside of your current company.

3. A Mentor

You are certainly among the privileged if you can find and secure a mentor who can stand apart from you and provide you with rock-solid career advice. Finding a mentor can be challenging, but it can be extraordinarily rewarding as well if the mentor truly has a vested interest in your success. The best way to find a mentor, according to leading career experts, is to identify the best-in-class for your industry or role, but not somebody in whose company you wish to work. That in and of itself presents a particular challenge, as you will need to do some serious research to identify that person and then pitch your wish to be his or her protégé. Nevertheless, a good mentor who fulfills the role successfully is an incomparable asset to your career advancement, as he or she can give you an insider’s view to an industry or role while remaining completely objective.

4. A Recruiter

If you know a recruiter from having worked with him or her to fill roles in your organization, you might find this person is a tremendous asset to your own executive career transition. The recruiter might be seeking someone just like you, or that person might know somebody who is. To that end, the ability to create a powerful recruiter network can help you advance your own career transition. The pitfalls of working with the recruiter however, are several. First, you have to trust that the recruiter will keep your aspirations and drive to leave a particular company under wraps. Also, know that the value of this relationship flows according to the money. The recruiter doesn’t work for you if you are a job seeker. In fact, the recruiter works for the individual or company who is paying him or her, leaving candidates such as you in the category of “talent” rather than “particular person I want to help.” Thus, you can trust the recruiter to recommend you for positions for which you are eminently qualified and write for, but apart from that, do not expect much in the way of hands-on treatment from a recruiter who has perhaps dozens of roles to fill and hundreds of candidates to review daily.

5. An Executive Career Coach and Executive Resume Writer

A career coach is a professional dedicated to the career transition success of others. This career coach works directly for the executive and delivers world-class advice, coaching, and sometimes explicit consultation to individuals requiring a partner in the executive career transition process. Often, the career coach and resume writer has credentials from national or international career management organizations that validate his or her training in the field, and he or she also might have won some major global awards in the field. Executive career coaches and executive resume writers report on the exponential success their clients achieve with the type of support they offer, but you need to decide if, as an executive on the cusp of career transition, you are ready to put in the work required to make your own career announcement a successful one. You are welcome to contact me if you would like to know more about the type of work required to make an executive career transition into a successful endeavor. Primarily, it involves a willingness to reach out to new people, except a great deal of direction, and a drive to be the best in your position and your field. Are you ready to make that choice?

Show Pride and Humility in Your Executive Resume

Show Pride and Humility in Your Executive Resume

Updated February 2017

I am constantly amazed at the level of success of the executive job seekers with whom I work on a daily basis. They run companies. They drive sales. They lead international teams. They are among the smartest I have met with respect to technology. They are rightfully proud of what they have done. Yet, down to a person, they are among the most humble people I have ever met. By infusing their executive resumes with this pride and humility, they prove they are true leaders in their industries without coming across as boastful and overblown.

Here are three statements I hear all the time from my executive resume clients. By elaborating on these into compelling accomplishment stories, you can demonstrate both your pride in your leadership and your knowledge that you are only as good as the amazing team you develop and lead into the fray:

  1. “It was my great team who really did it; we all worked together.” Executive leaders rarely deliver at the individual contributor level. They do understand, however,  that the team cannot succeed without their unifying leadership. Therefore, rather than going on about their individual tactical role, they rightfully focus on how they guided the team to larger goals.
  2. “I have an uncanny ability to hire the right people and place them throughout the company where they can do the most good.” By demonstrating your insight into which people are right for your organization, you achieve two goals. You show that you are wise to the larger industry, and you demonstrate that you can read people very well. Include details in your executive resume about your hiring strategy and the way you assess future team member.
  3. “I always hire people who are smarter than I am.”In truth, this is my favorite one. Nobody likes to work for a paranoid organization, and when an executive leader state outright that they are willing to hire team members who have particular expertise or savvy that they don’t, it demonstrates a healthy mix of fearlessness and pride.

In short, you should not afraid to recognize the fact that you are the team leader but not always the smartest guy in the room. It’s a big leap to embrace this mindset, especially when, in your early career, you were always hungry for the next win. Now, as a wiser, more tempered executive leader, if you’re smart, your executive resume will show that much of the credit also goes to a rock star team. In doing so, your ability to guide a group to a successful outcome shows you honor your company and each individual on the team. Effectively communicating your talents and value with humility and pride on your executive resume is bound to win the attention of like-minded hiring leaders in your target companies.

How do you struggle to communicate or market your executive value?

Get to the Heart of Your Fear of Career Change

Get to the Heart of Your Fear of Career Change

Recently, I posted about fear in the executive job search. I was extremely surprised by the level of interest in this blog post (What Do You Fear Most About Your Career Change–search for it on my web site). I could not have predicted the response that this topic received. I think that means that more people are afraid of changing jobs or changing careers then meets the eye. Likely, fear is not an acceptable or common topic of conversation among extremely well-positioned executive leaders; the executive team is supposed to be, evidently, stoic, proud, and fearless. But behind every executive title is a real human being, with his or her own attitudes—and fears.

You know that as an executive you should portray fearlessness every day, so you might quietly stew about your executive job search. You may have many reasons for delaying action on it. For example, the holidays are coming, and you need to maintain some stability. Your spouse is also in transition. You’re in the middle of an exciting—or draining—series of projects at work. Your team is counting on you. Your boss is counting on you. Your company is counting on you. On the other hand, perhaps you have made tentative overtures into exploring the market. Either way, you’re probably in a relatively balanced state of ambivalence—not enough pressure from either side to force a decision.

thinking man

Perhaps this ambivalence comes from the fact that your reasons for staying in your current role have nothing to do with your specific needs. Does that mean you think (or I think) that you are a fearful person, or that you treat every challenge to improve your situation as an opportunity to retreat? Of course not. You wouldn’t be in the position you are in right now if you rejected chances to grow and change and lead in your industry. Based on the profiles of the executives I have worked with in the past, I would venture to say that you are extremely good at what you do; ready to fight for what your company, your industry, your team needs; and well-known as an excellent leader and mentor, not to mention humble and willing to give your team credit rather than take it yourself. Moreover, you probably don’t want to rock the boat in which you are standing. But you have to think about your career in terms of your individual needs and requirements for growth.

Give Yourself Some Thought

Your feelings about going to work every day in your executive role may range from true excitement to straight-up dread. But the job is yours to love or hate, and you may feel very protective of it. You would never let anyone else disparage you or your company, so you prevent yourself from the close examination of it that might reveal that it is not perfect for you. Because you know how to do your job better than anyone else does, and you’ve proven that, you might think that moving on to another position would diminish your level of comfort in your role. I venture to guess that you have not shrunk from other types of challenges, so I strongly urge you to consider the fact that simply because something is not familiar that it is bad. And simply because something is familiar it is not necessarily universally good for you, as you progress through your career.

I would encourage you to ask yourself some of the following questions. They are not easy questions to answer, but your responses might surprise you– either in a good or frustrating way.

  • Do you answer every one of my challenges above with “Yes, but…”?
  • Are you sure that what you have in your current executive role is the best situation for you? (It might be, but you have to evaluate it to be certain.)
  • Are you afraid that change necessarily means failure?
  • Are you afraid that you might not have the experience or know how to succeed outside of your current organization?

Overall, this article is an attempt to help you identify and perhaps confront what might be holding you back in changing your mindset about your executive job search. In no way is it an indictment of your capability or your willingness to rise to every challenge that confronts you on a professional level. But I hope it does meet you where you are in your thought process about any fears related to career change.

A Thanksgiving Day Treat: The Turkey, and Sweet Gratitude

A Thanksgiving Day Treat: The Turkey, and Sweet Gratitude

It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and everyone I know is scrambling to fill their larders with staples and treats that remind us of how grateful we ought to be for what we have and what our futures promise. In this post I want to remind my executive job seekers to fill their own larders with the staples they need to succeed in what promises to be a very busy job search season. I’ll wrap up by reminding everyone out there to take a moment and express their gratitude to those who have helped them throughout the year as they build their job search strategy.

The Basics that Support Your Executive Job Search

Just as we are all scrambling to the grocery store, the butcher, and the bakery to buy all the things that we need to make this Thanksgiving holiday the happiest ever, you also need to build up your stores as you continue your executive job search. Overall, you will need a smart strategy, a rich executive portfolio, and your own go-to-market strategy for impressing your interview board. These are non-negotiables. You wouldn’t think of having a family Thanksgiving without turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, and apple pie. Don’t leave any of the critical elements of your job search strategy out, thinking that you will have the same experience as those who have prepared effectively. Don’t know where to go for these necessaries? There are so many professionals out there who can help you create the portfolio you need. Some of them are executive resume writers. Some are executive career coaches. And some are your personal Board of Directors – those individuals on whom you rely for expert advice on all things professional. Overall, don’t forget the essentials, and you won’t go wrong.

How to Give Thanks

Have you ever opened your e-mail to discover that one of your colleagues wrote you simply to say “thank you” for something you have done for them? It’s a rare and gratifying experience. Make it a point this season to send that kind of message to those in your personal and professional lives who have offered you something valuable.

These kinds of overtures can have two resounding effects. First, a wisely timed thank you letter reminds the addressee that you are truly grateful for what they did or how they helped you. Remember, this doesn’t just mean a letter to your interview board telling them about your value and how you can fix their pain. It means that in the day-to-day, you have people in your circle of influence who need to hear that you are grateful for the ways they have helped you achieve your goals. There is no payback for this kind of letter—except the good karma and goodwill that real gratitude demonstrates.

On the other hand, there are subtle benefits that come along with these expressions of true thanks. They reopen lines of communication, especially if your letter of thanks inquires about their situation or needs. These renewed conversations often have unanticipated future benefits, not the least of which is simply keeping your network open and available. Of course, this is not your primary motivation in reaching out to someone who has helped you over the course of the year, but it is a nice side benefit, and doing it early in the holiday season avoids having your message get lost in the upcoming holiday rush.

A Personal Note of Thanks from Me

Now, a personal message from me. I have had the most amazing 2012. I completely rebranded my business, worked with the most amazing clients I have ever had the chance to meet, wrote a lot of resumes and cover letters for them, and won first place in a national resume writing competition. I am grateful for all of these.

The sweet gratitude I feel during this season also is for each of the like-minded career management professionals with whom I have worked over the year. Some I met through Career Directors International, and some I met through The National Resume Writers Association, and some in this industry have been my friends in other contexts for decades. You all know who you are. You enrich my life personally and professionally every single day. I wouldn’t be “right” without you, and I am grateful and thankful to know each and every one of you.

 

More on the Thanksgiving theme:

Dawn Rasmussen of Pathfinder Writing and Career Resources, “Don’t Be a Job Search Turkey!”

Rosa Vargas of Career Steering, “The Perfect Holiday Job Search Recipe”

What Do You Fear Most About Your Career Change

What Do You Fear Most About Your Career Change

Updated February 2017

Fans of Dune by Frank Herbert will remember two famous bits from the book:

“Fear is the mindkiller.”

and

“A beginning is a very delicate time.”

Executive job seekers may let fear cloud their judgement on moving forward with a job search, but knowing how to leave those fears aside and create a new beginning is crucial to job search success.

“When is the right time for me to make a career change?”  There is no easy answer to this question. If you are scared to change your job, then clearly this is not the right time. But if you’re ready to take the plunge, here are some thoughts about how to evaluate what is holding you back.

executive job search fears

Executive job search fears will get in your way.

One of the clearest markers that you are ready to leave your current company and join a new one, is simply the knowledge that you can do more or to better in another environment. Once you have come to this decision, however, you might struggle with understanding your motivations, your need to elevate your income, or your commitment to the incredible team you have created. These fears are natural, because we all fear change. The status quo is a known quantity, whereas moving toward something new, even if it’s what you really want, can provoke some anxiety even in the most accomplished of executives.

If you are looking for a clear reason to leave, you can always find one. But if you’re looking for a smart reason to leave, you need to face a few key fears that all people in career transition experience at one time or another:

  1. Fear of change away from the familiar. What you have now in your current role, even if it is not ideal, is familiar—even comfortable in its frustration. We often fear making changes because we don’t know what we will find on the other side of our decision. If you are considering making an executive career change, you need to believe in your ability to make good decisions, just the way you do in your executive role.
  2. Fear of disappointing the team. As much as you may love the team you are working on, you have to look out for yourself in your career. As deep as your commitment to your team may be, you have to make a decision about your career that is best for you.
  3. Fear of killing a relationship trusted mentor or boss. The relationships you have built with mentors and superiors in your current company are still going to be important, even if you leave your current company. As you decide to make a move to a new organization, or even to a new executive role, you need to preserve the good relationships you’ve built. Your current network will continue to be important in your new company; you never know when you will need the help from or support of your network in the future. Also, people in your network may reach out to you as well, and you need to give back to as much as you have ever taken from these people who have helped you.

In conclusion, fears of job change, especially for executives, are not insurmountable, but neither are they trivial. You need to be mindful of your underlying self-talk to understand what about career change makes you fearful. You may ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I mentally ready to leave my organization?
  • Will I have no regrets if I leave my organization?
  • Will I truly be happy in a new role that challenges me and elevate my professional game?

If you are able to answer “yes” to all three of these questions you can feel confident that you are ready to leave your fears behind as you move to a new executive position.

Executives, There Is No Such Thing as “Not Part of the Interview”

Executives, “There is no such thing as ‘not part of the interview’.”

In just the last week, we heard on the news two stories about high-profile people and their inadvertent publicizing of more or less private information. In the case of Duchess Kate Middleton, compromising photos of her were leaked to the media. Clearly she must have thought she was completely alone when these photos were shot. She could not have believed that her very public persona would go unnoticed no matter where she was or what she was doing. Similarly, the campaign of presidential candidate Mitt Romney discovered that a speech he gave was recorded when it should not have been. Whether you agree with his conservative approach or not does not discount the fact that as a public person, he should have been aware that he is always under scrutiny. And whether you believe that a newlywed can or should behave any way she wants privately doesn’t discount the fact that the Duchess should be aware of what she’s doing all the time due to her high profile.

The same is true in the executive interview. Let me tell you another story, a very personal one. Two decades ago, when I had just finished a master’s degree program, I was in job search mode. I had achieved an interview for a job that I was interested in, and was sitting before the hiring executive. He asked me all of the usual interview questions, which I answered to the best of my ability. He also asked me something tangential, I believe about my thesis and the way I did the data analysis. He post-scripted this question with “This is not part of the interview.” Without thinking I knee-jerk responded with, “There is no such thing as ‘not part of the interview.'” I suppose I also answered the question about the data analysis. I didn’t get that job–in fact I got another one that I was much better suited for. But I never did forget, and I have repeated many times, that there is no such thing as not part of the interview.

When you are applying for an executive position, you will have to go through many interviews. You’ll interview with executive boards, CEOs, CTOs, CMOs, potential colleagues, and even subordinates. You walk through the company’s hallways, you’ll sit at desks, in conference rooms, in lobbies, and maybe even in restaurants. None of these locations are private, and none of the people with whom you interview are obligated to remain quiet about your conversations. Even if your executive interviewer suggests that your conversation will remain private, he or she has no obligation to remain circumspect about what you say. In fact, the more inflammatory your comments are the more likely someone will repeat them in the form of gossip about your level of professionalism or in the form of a polite letter declining to evaluate your candidacy further.

Thus, it makes sense for you to measure every word and sentence that you utter not only from the perspective of your executive accomplishments and your executive role, but also by the dimensions of whether you are comfortable with your words being repeated by people you don’t know well to people you don’t know at all. Here are a few guidelines for you as you move through your executive interview:

  • Treat everyone you meet professionally, including administrative personnel. You might even earn some goodwill points by writing a quick e-mail to the receptionist to thank him or her for the kindness shown to you on the day of your interview.
  • Do not let your guard down during your interview, no matter how comfortable you feel with the interviewer. This might be especially true if you know one of the panel members well. That person is not your friend in this context: That person is evaluating you the same way he or she is evaluating every other candidate that walks into similar interviews.
  • If you are asked and uncomfortable for even the legal question, be prepared either a) to answer the question as asked, or b) respectfully decline to answer it based on its level of appropriateness. Do know, that if you answer an illegal question you open up a tremendous can of worms and the opportunity for your interviewer to probe the issue more deeply.

In conclusion, remember that as an executive in an executive interview you are as famous as Mitt Romney and Kate Middleton. You are on stage and being evaluated at every turn. Anything you do can and certainly will be used against you. By monitoring your behavior and behaving like the professional executive that you are, you can avoid being caught saying something you can’t defend or doing something you wish you hadn’t. Remember: There is no such thing as “not part of the interview.”

Five Easy Steps to Executive Resume Readability

Five Easy Steps to Executive Resume Readability

Sometimes, people write things they don’t really want others to read. The fine print that flashes by other commercial. That long text at the end of the credits on every “The Big Bang Theory” episode. The note you passed to your best friend in sixth grade.

But not your resume. If your resume is not readable, nobody will try to read it no matter how amazing your experience may be. Here are five easy steps you can take to ensure that your resume is readable, presentable, and sending the message you, as an executive, need to send to your future hiring leader.Five Steps to Executive Resume Readability

  1. Use the right typeface. Whether you call it typeface or font, be sure to use a style and size that is easy to read. My personal favorites are Times New Roman and Arial, as they are universal to every computer. Second bests are Calibri and Cambria, Tahoma, Verdana, and Century, all in 11-point type. You may also try Arial Narrow or Garamond, but do not use either one of these in a size smaller than 11 points. While you don’t have to make your resume scream in the style of John Hancock, you do want to ensure that the typeface you have picked is more or less universally available and in a size that an ordinary person would consider large enough to read. It should go without saying that typefaces with scrollwork or shadows are better suited to documents that are not professionally oriented.
  2. Use horizontal rules and shading appropriately. Feel free to break up your text with horizontal rules and highlight important pieces of data with tasteful shading. Good color choices are gray, green, tan, and blue. I tend to stay away from red, as percentages of red come out pink, which I don’t like on professional documents. Of course, you will need to evaluate your specific industry and the expectations of your future hiring manager to determine how design-heavy you want to be. If you are applying for a marketing directorship or design a leadership role, you may be expected to present a resume that is heavy on design. On the other hand, if you are applying to be a bank executive or a financial leader, more plain may tend to be better for your specific outcomes.
  3. Use the right margin size. Although there are many ways to present resume date up well, a good rule of thumb is to decrease your margins from the standard 1-inch level to .5 inch to .65 inch. The benefit is you will have more page real estate to use, and your resume won’t look like it was styled after a college paper.
  4. Use page numbers and headers for page 2 and beyond. I agree, that headers take up space, but it would be tragic for one of your two-or three-page resume to go missing from the stack  without a marker to tell its reader with which candidate it belongs. You can feel pretty confident that a busy professional with a stack of resumes to read won’t take the time to sort out which paper belongs with which candidate, so please make it easy for that person to solve this potential problem.
  5. Standard resumes for executives do not exceed three pages. You may find a one-page resume or executive biography suffices for a particular purpose. Most professionals typically need two pages to do justice to their entire career history. And many executives often find their resumes go on to three pages, which at that level, it’s perfectly acceptable. It is not a good choice to exceed the three-page limit for the basic information of your career history. If your resume is too long, your reader simply won’t read to the end. Take advantage of your resume real estate in the most effective way possible, and be concise about your accomplishments. If you have additional information you want to present, for example a list of publications, presentations, or volunteer leadership roles, then please do include a separate document with a separate heading as an addendum. But the rule of thumb of one to three pages overall is a good one to follow.

In conclusion, readability of the resume document itself can be as important as its contents. It is possible that a hiring manager might find your resume hard to read and put it aside simply because it doesn’t match the expectations for usability. Do not be one of those whose resume is consigned to the trash simply because you didn’t consider the documents overall readability and design.

Learn why your executive resume isn’t making the cut: Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Career Mapping

Career Mapping: January 18th, 1-3 pm Sandy Library

Presented to the Salt Lake City Job Club by Mary Cosgrove of What’s Working Well ™

Course description:

NLP describes the way we look at the world as Frames. Frames are important; a frame helps us make sense of the world. However a frame can also confine our vision to seeing the “truth”. When information or opportunities show up that don’t fit into our frame we often don’t see them or dismiss them.

Since our frames are made up (of experiences, thoughts, teachings, beliefs etc.) why not make up a wonderfully positive frame as you create your year. Creating a map provides a way to set intentions and provides you a frame for your future.

Intentions are different than goals, they provide:
Theme
Vision
Structure/Frame
Direction not destinations

Exercise:
I’m inviting your creative artist archetype to take charge. Your judge and rationale self should take a vacation. Bring an open mind and the willingness to let you subconscious brain take the lead.

Look through the magazines, pictures books, draw. Clip out pictures and words that resonate. What delights you? What words speak to you? Don’t judge. Spend some time on this. Bring pictures of yourself, photos of objects, buildings whatever you want. The theme is career however I know for sure the maps will provide clues to other parts of your life.

I provide boards and other crafty material. You are encouraged to bring stickers or other special craft items you wish. We will assemble our boards and take the last 45 min to share and ask for feedback.

The Free Job Search: Find a Job Quickly Without Spending a Lot of Cash

The Free Job Search: Find a Job Quickly Without Spending a Lot of Cash

I am constantly amazed at how much people are willing to spend on what they think will help them get a job. They assume, wrongly, that they can find a job more quickly if they throw money at the problem. Let’s set up a job search budget that you can use to help you find a job quickly without overspending your shoestring budget.

Whether it’s because of the economy or because of individual job seekers’ situations, I hear it all the time: I don’t have the money to spend on my job search. Let’s break down the costs of your job search and help you define your boundaries to get you to your new job quickly.

No Money §
photo credit: Alina Sofia

Essentials for a Free Job Search

  1. Free use of a computer. If you are not searching for jobs online and using e-mail intelligently, you are putting yourself out of the game. Luckily, most public libraries have computers that are free for the public to use. Printing on their printers costs very little, perhaps $.10 to $.25 per page. They often have open source software, which you can use to save your documents in Microsoft Word, the document format of choice.
  2. Free email. You don’t need to pay a service to get great e-mail. Sign up for a professional email account with Yahoo!, Gmail, or Hotmail. You can access this account from any computer connected to the Internet.
  3. Free job clubs. Most cities these days have job clubs that are run by experts in job search. These might meet monthly or more frequently, and they might be run in a church, synagogue, public library or community center. They all give their participants a chance to learn new strategies about job searching and opportunities for networking.
  4. Free resume assistance. You can get free resume assistance in person from your local Workforce Services in addition to the myriad other services they provide. If you need samples of excellent resumes that got people the interviews they want, then sign up here http://eepurl.com/cGxMo for my free e-book on resumes and cover letters that got the interviews.
  5. Your local Department of Workforce Services. Get free advice on job search, access to job opportunities in the public and private sector, and free assistance with job search tools.
  6. Your personal network. Reach out to 10 people every day; ask them about what they do in an informational interview. Ask for recommendations from them for additional people to connect with via LinkedIn or on the phone.
  7. If you’re a relatively recent graduate, your professors. Many academics have close ties with industry. See about getting in on a research project or securing a critical introduction from a trusted academic mentor.

Are Free Professional Resume Writing Services Worth It?

As for free professional resume writing services? Don’t expect much from them. Only hire an expert to do the complex work of crafting your personal and professional brand in a resume. In other words, don’t waste your money on the cheap resumes that don’t work. Ask for credentials, such as the Certified Advanced Resume Writer credential, which I have (in addition to an MBA and Master of Arts in publishing). Successful professional resume writing is not cheap, and it’s not free. But it is likely cheaper in the long run than it will cost you day by day to delay your deserved success.

What free job search tools do you recommend to job seekers?

Looking for Work Is Now Your Full-Time Job

Would You Hire Yourself during Your Job Search: Looking for Work Is Now Your Full-Time Job

If you’re unemployed, looking for work should be your full-time job. Although your effort to look for work in this touch economy isn’t something you can put on a resume, your job search has to be your main focus, and that means up to 40 hours per week.

Does a 40-hour weekly investment seem too much? Think about it this way. If you worked for a company and didn’t spend every valuable moment doing something profitable and productive, you’d get yourself fired. If, in a perfect world, you could hire someone else to find you a job, and that person failed, you would fire him/her as well for failure to perform. Thus, if you’re not looking for work some standard number of hours every work week in effort to find yourself a job, you should probably fire that persona and take on a new, successful job search strategy.

If You Worked only 22 Minutes per Day, You’d Be Fired

tictac
Creative Commons License photo credit: pj_vanf

A recent white paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research* reported on what the unemployed generally do instead of looking for work. It turns out people sleep more, work on their houses more, and attend to their medical care. But they don’t spend a great deal of time looking for work. Surprisingly, they spend only 1% of their time in job search mode. If a typical work week is about 37 hours (down about 9% over the last couple of years), this means that the average unemployed person is spending 22 minutes per day looking for work.

Your Job Search Plan of Attack

Every hour, every minute you spend on some other activity during work time is unrecoverable time lost that you could be using productively as you are looking for work. Use this list to jump-start your new daily grind:

  • Join a Job Club. There are in-person job clubs, virtual job clubs, formal and informal job clubs—and all are designed to help you as you are looking for work. If you live in the Salt Lake City area, come to the Salt Lake City Job Club—it’s free. Call me at 801-810-JOBS to participate.
  • Get training. You’ve got the time, so go take a class in something you can talk about in your next interview. It also fills that gap on the resume since your last position while you are looking for work.
  • Shadow someone in a new industry or position for a day. Learn what they do. Ask questions. Pay attention. This might be your job target.
  • Network with people you know—and people you don’t know. Expand your circle. Become visible.
  • Apply intelligently for jobs. Your resume is one of the keys to your success. Tweak it for choice positions. Don’t know how? Don’t have a killer resume? Not getting those interviews? Call me at 801-810-JOBS.

Don’t just “do” something. Everything you do in your job search should have a purpose. If you don’t have a strategy and have no idea what the best use of your time is while you are looking for work, call me.

What do you while you are looking for work? Comments welcome.

* “Time Use During Recessions,” NBER, July 2011, http://www.nber.org/papers/w17259.pdf.