St. Paul gave us another chance to touch lives … plus a fun reunion with Becky Roe-Smith, my previous travel and training buddy. For 5 years Becs worked as an International Trainer for WorkNet in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. She was my cohort on my worse, yet funniest, travel mistake — We were in the north of England intending to board a train to the city of Liverpool less than 2 hours away, and accidently went to Liverpool Station in London (5 hours south!) It took us longer to get to that workshop, than to fly from America to the UK! We made it, with just 45 minutes to spare. Becs and I had some good times. She is now the Director of the WorkNet program at the Union Gospel Mission, and is doing an impressive job.
With Becky as our host, we had a nice turn out in St. Paul with a good mix of people — university professors, employment professionals, community volunteers, and of course lots of job seekers. Once again, several job seekers asked about how to use social media to get a job. They know it can play an important role, but seem unclear exactly how. In my ‘Tip For This Stop,’ I’ll share a few ideas.
Throughout the tour we’ve been staying in a new brand of Starwood hotels called Aloft. They are young, modern, and high-quality with genuinely friendly, helpful staff. With our crazy travel schedule, it’s been great to ‘come home’ each night to something familiar and comfortable… though we can’t seem to remember our room number since they all look the same.
From St. Paul we travel to Philadelphia for some very exciting meetings!
TIP FOR THIS STOP
We are constantly being reminded that job search has moved to the Internet with online applications, job boards, and research, social networking, Google checks, etc., but many people are unsure how to use them to their advantage. Here are 5 quick tips:
- Create an ‘online resume’ by crafting a LinkedIn profile that shows how you can meet employer needs and make them money. Subtly get it in to the hands of potential employers by including your LinkedIn address in your email signature so employers can easily learn more about you.
- Create a positive presence on the web. Get your expertise out there so when your name is Googled, what the employer sees impresses them — contribute to discussions on social networking sites, tweet insightful questions or comments, write helpful articles or blogs, and post news on your website about your accomplishments, volunteer activities, or personal life that will impress employers. Remember, employers hire Resource People not Job Beggars …as Daniel Porot always says.
- Expand your network of acquaintances by building your network on LinkedIn (or other professional social networking sites), and getting involved with discussion groups related to your field. Remember to give and add value to the group, before you ask for anything. Offer ideas to help others and demonstrate your expertise. Acknowledge and praise others’ ideas and, once rapport is built, pursue continued conversations via email.
- To ensure you do your best on online applications, discover the questions beforehand by asking someone who is not interested in the job to complete the application and write them down. Be sure to use the employer’s keywords in your answers so the computer doesn’t screen you out. Our best advice about online application is to get to know the manager of the department where you want to work and prove to him that you are a good fit for the team BEFORE applying online. That way he can watch for your application. Otherwise, odds are you’ll be one of the thousands screened out, rather than the dozens hired.
- Google the company AND the manager who has the power to hire you before going to the interview. The more you know about what’s important to him/her, the better prepared you’ll be to prove you can help achieve their priorities. After all, what they want is not merely someone who can do the job, but someone who will help achieve their goals.
For those of you outside the USA, Chicago is known as the windy city because of the lake winds that whip between the skyscrapers and through the streets. In winter it’s bitterly cold, but today it’s beautiful!
We slept in today…yay! Mark, our host, didn’t pick us up until 8:30 to drive us to WGN TV station to tape a 4 minute Managing Your Money segment. I’m excited to see it – it airs Monday. Next stop is University Center where we were the guest speakers at the first annual Career Advancement Network luncheon. Mark Kaufman, the Co-Founder (and our wonderful host), has developed an extremely successful program to assist urban women who’ve overcome difficulty re-enter the workforce. It’s based in part on the WorkNet model. It was great to see the respect the program engenders from the community, politicians, and employers … and great to be a part of it!
The luncheon was followed by a 3-hour seminar for job seekers –once again a good mix of people. A woman with a degree in chemical engineering and a MBA who hadn’t worked for over 10 years due to raising kids said the seminar opened her eyes to how much job searching has changed — Applications and resumes are as likely to be screened out by a computer as a human (in large corporations and organizations, it’s inevitable); LinkedIn and Facebook are commonly used by job seekers to build their network or meet potential employers, and by employers to screen out applicants; Employers remain more likely to hire someone they know or who is vouched for by a person they view as credible, but the mobility of the workforce and jobs means that applicants are often strangers … and the list of differences go on. It was great to make a difference for the job seekers we met in Chicagoland.
Friday night starts our weekend. We’re meeting friends for dinner and a show. It should be great fun! And, Saturday we get to sleep in! I’m sure we’ll wake to a mail box full of emails to catch-up on, but I love corresponding with all of you, so keep it coming.
TIP FOR THE DAY
A young girl who had obviously posted things on the Internet she now regretted asked how she could ensure employers don’t find the negative information when they Google her name. I suggested the following options:
- Remove anything from her social networking sites she doesn’t want employers to see, and request that her friends do the same. Then, Google herself and see what she finds and continue to request that the information be removed. The problem with the Internet is that once negative information, true or not, is posted; it can never be totally eliminated.
- Supplant old, negative information which can be removed with more current, positive information in the form of fresh tweets, LinkedIn updates, Facebook posts, blog entries, articles, etc. that highlight qualities for the job. Few employers will go back more than 3 screens on Google, so load it up and check it regularly.
- Another option is to change the spelling of her name – Tracey becomes Tracy, Janet becomes Jannet — and create a new identity on the Internet with new friends who don’t have the old information. This is most easily done with someone young or inexperienced enough not to be reliant on past work history or certification to get the job they want.
- If these don’t work, a more extreme option is to change her name, in which case she would need to inform past employers or not use them in her search.
- Final suggestion is if she may want to target small businesses which are less likely to do background checks, or older business owned who may not be as Internet savvy. However, as she progresses in her career, the issues could resurface, so she may need to use the other suggestions as well.
In this day and age, most everyone has an internet presence. The question is whether you manage yours or let it develop organically. It can be controlled to some degree by creating two presences on the Net; one public and accessible to employers, and one restricted to private friends and family … but you have to work at it.
Wednesday, October 6th – Yes, I know it’s now the 10th… and I’m behind. I’ll do better in the future. We arrived in our hotel in Denver just after midnight. Denver is a mix of big city amenities and outdoor adventure, which is probably why I like it. I’m drawn to eclectic environments.
Tomorrow will be another busy day; we have a 6am wake-up call for an 8:30 seminar, and conclude our day with an evening book signing at the Denver Press Club. I’m told Malcolm Gladwell, author of ‘The Tipping Point,’ recently did a book signing there, so we’re in good company.
The Community College of Denver hosted the seminar. Thanks to James McDonough of the office of Performance Solutions, everything ran like clockwork. The crowd was a good mix of job seekers and service providers. Once again, people said they gained fresh insights on how best to job search, even service providers who had attended training conducted by Elisabeth in the past.
One service provider commented that she knew the importance of networking but hadn’t realized that her definition of ‘network’ was too small. She was surprised to learn that according to a study highlighted in Gladwell’s book, “more than 55% of job seekers only occasionally saw the references that helped them get jobs, and 28% saw them rarely”. That means that over 80% of effective references are acquaintances, not friends and family. In The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job, we teach how to access this valuable and often under-used resource.
Thursday was another early start with a breakfast meeting, followed by a second interview with the journalist from Forbes, another meeting, and a dash for the airport. I’m not complaining… I’m grateful we’re in demand, but I’m looking forward to the weekend and catching up on my sleep. First, though, there’s Chicago!
The Forbes article can be read at http://www.forbes.com/2010/10/07/hiring-criminal-record-disability-leadership-careers-employment.html. For more information on, To Tell or Not To Tell: How to Deal with Tough Issues, visit www.worknet-international.com/WorkNET.
TIP FOR THIS STOP
A common complaint of job seekers is that they send out 100s of resumes or applications and hear nothing back. Since it’s obviously not working – why not try something new! Only about 5 applicants from each stack of the 100 (or 400!) resumes submitted will ever be seen by the person with the power to hire. The other 95 (or 395) are screened out by people who only have the power to say ‘no’. So, let’s skip the screen out process by finding a ‘side doors’ (figuratively speaking) that lead directly to the person with the power to hire. Once in front of them, impress them with the qualities, attitudes and skills you offer them, rather than asking for a job. Once they’re impressed, then let them know you would like to join their team. Employers may tell you to hand in your resume at the ‘front door,’ but they hire the people who impress them at the ‘side door.’ Doubt it? … ask around. Ask people if they’ve ever gotten hired by a decision-maker who they met before submitting their resume or application. Millions have. The new book offers lots of proven ways to create side doors.
Southern California, my old stomping ground; great to see so many old friends and colleagues, not so great to be stuck in traffic. No place does traffic like LA … well, maybe Cairo, Paris, Rome… I guess I’ve gotten spoiled in Scotland. But the sun was shining and our events received high praise from everyone present.
It’s been a busy week. Today, my alarm went off at 4 am. That’s too early … then again, my musician son would say noon is too early, so I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. But 4 am it was, just enough time to prep for our 8am seminar, pack for our rush to the airport , and be interviewed for a series of articles in Forbes Magazine … yes the Forbes Magazine (thanks to our publicist, Elizabeth). I’ll let you know when the first article will be published.
Today’s event was held at Working Wardrobes, an organization that empowers people in crises to confidently enter the workforce through career development and wardrobe services. …their shopping area has more in common with Macy’s than Good Will. Very impressive!
For the first time, both Elisabeth and I were totally comfortable with team teaching and the flow of the material…not that anyone in the earlier seminars had noticed. I remain thrilled that our tips, tricks, and tools continue to resonate with job seekers at all levels and from all backgrounds.
Warren, a laid-off plant manager, had completed all the DIY tasks at home and knew it was time to stop procrastinating and start job searching. He saw our seminar on LinkedIn and decided to attend… “It was the best $25 I’ve ever spent!,” he announce to the group during the Q&A at the end. Melissa, a medical assistant, was excited to realize that she had inadvertently done something right—she had used a side door. Among the hundreds of resumes she sent out were two emails to specific employers (no resume attached) . Only these emails compelled a response from employers. The seminar helped her realize why they worked, so now she will save time and stamps by only using side doors!
It’s now 10pm, and I’m on a plane to Denver.
TIP FOR THIS STOP:
As promised, here is another tip. Often the jobs we want are not in our local community. Not being ‘local’ can get us screened out, because employers fear we’ll get tired of the long commute, won’t be on time, or will require them to pay for our relocation. If you are willing to pay for your own relocation once you’ve landed the job, then remove their concern by renting a P.O. Box in the city where the job is located.
I love a Road Trip. Especially the anticipation of new people and places, and the fun food I deny myself at home. So far, so good.
I’m on a meaningful adventure — to make a difference in lives by offering hope and practical tips, tricks and tools to get a job in today’s market. Again, so far so good.
The Road Trip began when I picked up Elisabeth at the San Francisco airport 20 minutes past midnight and we drove 3 hours to Monterey. It’s probably a beautiful drive, but it was pitch black and Elisabeth and I were busy catching up. The next morning, however, the beauty of the area astounded me as I looked out my bedroom window at the rolling hills which lead to the Pacific Ocean. (Thank you, Rick and Veronica, for hosting me in your lovely home!) It was a great way to get inspired for the days ahead.
The book tour is the first time Elisabeth and I have seen each other in almost 3 years. We actually wrote ‘The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job’ via Skype – me in Scotland and Elisabeth in North Carolina. It’s also the first time we have trained together in 8 years. It should be exciting.
Shoreline Community Church hosted our first seminar and book signing. 229 people showed up thanks to the TV and radio publicity the church organized… and Elisabeth’s willingness to drive to the TV station at 5:15am for a 2 minute interview – twice!
The response from attendees was all we hoped for! At the first break, Ray, a senior-level professional, shared “I didn’t know if your seminar would be of value to me… it definitely is. Thanks!” Next in line was Daniel, his mom forced him and his brothers to attend. During the seminar I had noticed him hanging on every word while his bother tried to sleep. He said he was a high school drop out who had never held a job, and basically thought of himself as unemployable. “Now realize I can get a job!” Excited, I thought to myself, that’s the great thing about looking at the job search process from the employer’s perspective; no matter where you are on the career ladder or what your employment barriers are, you can see more clearly how to capitalize on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
During the Employment Resource Fair that followed, we spent 3.5 hours meeting job seekers who lined up to ask questions or share how the seminar will change their job search. Now that’s fun! As with all events, there were a few glitches (it was a book-less tour for the first 24 hours, thanks to FedEx), but Monterey proved to be the perfect start to a great book tour! We were off to LA.
Each stop I’ll share a tip offered in response to a participant’s question.
Here’s my TIP FOR THIS STOP: To stand out from the crowd at job fairs, don’t start by asking employers if they’re hiring or handing them your resume. Instead, share the top 3 reasons you’d be good at the job, then ask if they could use someone with your skills. Follow-up by asking questions which show you care about the company and its needs… rather than just a pay-check. When they ask for your resume, say you want to tailor it to their needs rather than giving them a generic one. Get their email address and follow-up the same day. This way both you and your resume will get special attention, rather than being stuck in the middle of the job fair pile.