Sunday, November 26, 2006

Portfolios Are Not Just for Creative Professionals

Over on the Simply Hired Blog, there is a post about the value of candidate portfolios and I couldn't agree more. Lately I have been working on an assignment consulting with a number of career transition clients in creative fields including art directors, photo retouchers, writers, and web developers. They proudly show me their portfolios which helps me create an immediate tangible and visual understanding of what they do and how they can add value to a future organization. In addition, the portfolios quickly brand them and speak volumes about the type of corporate culture they will be successful in. Other job seekers can learn quite a bit from creative professionals. Creativity is not limited to an original piece of writing or art or a portfolio of photographs...creativity abounds in all professions. While some work might be considered proprietary, most job seekers have examples of their work that they can show without compromising confidentiality. An IT professional can showcase a project status report from a previous project. A financial executive can submit a deal sheet. A human resources executive can offer a benefits vendor analysis report. Operations professionals can develop a list of customer retention strategies and their success rates. Sales executives can prepare a presentation with graphs and charts to identify various metrics associated with business growth. Candidates can create web-based or paper portfolios to build credibility in their candidacy and accelerate their search. They say a picture is worth a thousand words...a great portfolio might be worth several thousand dollars in additional income if it builds your brand and helps you land your next job!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Reconnecting With Your Network During the Holiday Season

Sometimes it's awkward to reconnect with contacts who you haven't spoken to in a long time. The holiday season is a natural time to reach out to your network and extend your best wishes for the New Year. Holiday cards provide a natural “touch point” or opportunity to reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues. By re-establishing a relationship through an annual holiday such as Christmas or New Years, you rekindle your community, show that you care about the people in your network, and create a natual entee into a job related conversation in the New Year. There are a number of e-card providers including Blue Mountain and American Greetings that offer holiday cards at minimal annual fees or you can use snail mail which is still very appreciated at this time of year. Whatever vehicle you use, send out your cards by mid December so you can follow up with your contacts soon after the New Year.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tough Interview Situation

This week I am participating in George Blomgren's tough situations blog. Here's this week's situation...After several months of fruitless job hunting following graduation, Sarah finally finds herself interviewing for the company that she really wants to work for, in the field she wants to get into. The company is being quite thorough. A second round of interviews includes several with employees she’s told will be her peers. These meetings seem to be going great, until the last one of the day. An older gentleman she meets with makes several comments that are just a little too friendly. She’s really not sure if the comments are innuendo, or just a little flaky.

Everything else has gone great. She likes the company, the woman she’d be working for, and all the other prospective coworkers. She’s pretty sure a job offer will be forthcoming. She discusses her concerns with friends. One says “welcome to corporate America.” Another tells her she’s crazy to even consider the job with this red flag already present. A third tells her she needs to contact the company’s HR department and lodge a formal complaint. Hoping for a clear answer, Sarah picks up the phone and calls you for advice.

Read my post and the advice of others in the careers field.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Get Passive to Increase Job Search Activity

No, that's not a typo...Let me elaborate. I just returned from the Kennedy Recruiting Conference and a key message I heard in several of the presentations was that recruiters are better off spending the bulk of their time sourcing passive job seekers for their open positions, because passive job seekers account for 80% of the market. What this means is that if you are an active job seeker and you are using a one-dimensional search strategy such as posting on the job boards, recruiters may be less likely to find you because they have less interest in the active market. But what if active candidates started looking like passive candidates? What if they could be found via a Google search, an on line web portfolio, a social networking tool, a Zoom Info profile, a blog, an article they wrote for a professional newsletter, etc? Then they might be easier to find because they are working the same circles as the recruiters and they are not part of the job board clutter. They would also differentiate themselves from their competition and show that they are self-starters, experts in their field, technologically savvy, great communicators, team players, and successful leaders. Sounds like a recruiter's dream to me! So get busy being passive and watch new doors and opportunities open.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

2006 Catalyst Award Winners

Catalyst, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing women in the workplace, presents annual awards to companies it believes have done an outstanding job of providing opportunities for development and advancement to its women employees.

The winners for 2006 include the Chubb Corp., BP and Safeway. Read about them and winners from previous years here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

This week I am participating in the Jibber Jobber Blog Carnival. Career experts,recruiters, and job seekers are sharing their insights into the following senario. You just lost your job and you haven't stayed in touch with your network. What can you do in the next six weeks to help mobilize/grow your network and what job search tactics will you use to get your search on track. Here are my thoughts...

Get organized
Get your job search documents,rolodex, outlook contacts,recruiter contacts, etc. in order before you begin making any calls. Job seekers accumulate a lot of stuff...documents, business cards, phone numbers, etc. quickly, so find an electronic or paper-driven method for organizing information.

Make a list
Who do you know and how are you connected to these people? Make a list and categorize the list into three groups of people. Group 1 are people in your immediate world; your friends, family, neighbors, accountant, doctor, dentist, etc. Group 2 people are those that have direct connections into companies you are interested in. Group 3 people are directly connected to open positions such as recruiters and hiring managers. Once your list is made you can prioritize contacts and strategize who to contact when.

Create Visibility
If your network is a bit on the lean side, join a professional organization, community group, sports team, volunteer affiliation or online community/blog. Become a giver and share information to create credibility and reciprocity within the community.

Attend Events
Audit professional and social events that allow you to connect with others and make informed decisions regarding which events to attend. Don't attend one event because it's free and decide not to attend another event because there is an entrance fee. Research the potential of each event and try to determine which will give you the most "bang for the buck."

Get Busy
Job search is a full time job and your greatest time committment should be given to networking. Plan to spend 28 hours of your "35 hour" work week building and following up on networking leads.