Archive for the ‘Q & A’ Category
Want To Change Careers? Be Prepared.
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
This post was written at the request of a friend of mine, a hiring manager in an advertising agency. On a regular basis, she hears from candidates who want to transition into the industry, but have no knowledge, background, or experience that makes them look employable or relevant.
She suggests that anyone considering a career change first do their homework. They need to understand exactly how their skills could transfer to another type of job. Then, she recommends that they illustrate these abilities – but in the language of their target industry.
I couldn’t agree with her more. The people I’ve seen successfully transition don’t just know what they want;, more importantly, they can effectively explain it on a resume and in an interview! Of course, this takes a lot of work on the candidate’s part. You’ll need to determine what relevant transferable skills you possess, combine them with the requirements of your new target job/industry, and confidently illustrate why you are a fit.
Doing this work isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, but it’s absolutely necessary when it comes to switching careers. Otherwise, the employer not only won’t know what you’re qualified to do, but they also won’t be convinced that you are seriously interested in working in their industry. They may even think that you’re just blasting your resume out to everyone and will take any job that’s offered to you. Even if that is the case, it would be more effective if you took a leap of faith and put all of your efforts into positioning yourself as a candidate for a specific type of job function or industry.
The specific hiring manager I spoke with actually tries to help unfocused candidates when she can. However, my guess is that she’s an exception. Most hiring managers, like recruiters, are extremely busy. Despite their best intentions, they probably won’t be able to help you position yourself (plus, it’s not their job). Of course, these are the types of people you should seek out for informational interviews so you can learn how to present yourself as a possible candidate. The application process is not the time to try and do this.
The time and energy you spend on research is an investment in your career. It will pay off for years to come!
Picture Credit: At Work
Career Explorers Ask Anything On Jobstr.com
Monday, September 24th, 2012
For this week’s post I interviewed Frank Hajdu, cofounder of a new career resource, Jobstr.com, an online destination where you can ask people anything you want about their job. The minute I stumbled upon the site I thought it would be a great resource for anyone looking for their dream job so without further ado, let’s see what Frank has to say:
1. Where did the idea for Jobstr.com originate? What market gap are you trying to fill?
We were two old college pals who’d grown deeply dissatisfied with our “good” jobs as a digital media executive and corporate lawyer. While we enjoyed the stability, we felt very little passion or purpose. So — against the advisement of most — we quit, with hopes of finding more meaningful work.
Soon after our departures, we began chatting frequently about what “work” meant to us, our friends, families, and former colleagues. We asked: do most people love, hate, or simply tolerate their jobs? Are jobs just a means of income? How fulfilling should they be? Are people with certain jobs more likely to be happy than others?
We realized that we didn’t have answers to any of the above, because in face-to-face settings, people aren’t terribly candid about what their jobs mean to them. Ask a friend “How’s work?”, and you’ll hear “same old”, “good”, or something equally vague. We created Jobstr.com as an outlet for candid, unfiltered discussion of what it’s really like to work in a variety of professions.
2. Do you moderate the Q&A’s?
We’re fortunate to have a smart, respectful, and intellectually curious audience. So while we have safeguards to weed out bad elements, we rarely have to use them. We also empower Q&A hosts to delete questions they deem off-topic (again, rarely used).
Where we’re most vigilant is in screening new hosts. We know that our site’s reputation relies on the integrity of our content, and we go to great lengths to ensure that our hosts are who they say they are. Since our January 2012 launch, we’ve been thrilled with how transparent and forthcoming our hosts have been, making themselves easily verifiable. And in the few cases where a host’s authenticity is at first uncertain, we request additional information.
3. Who do you hope will utilize the site? Who is your target market?
While we’d love to give a tight, marketing-friendly age range and demographic, the truth is that anyone who’s held a job — whether you’re a 16-year-old drugstore cashier or a retired cardiologist — can relate to the work-related stories on Jobstr. That said, we believe Jobstr is a haven for…
- inquisitive people who want to better understand the livelihoods of others
- career explorers, especially those looking to make a switch, and
- professionals who enjoy voicing strong feelings (good or bad) about their jobs.
4. Finally, any words of advice for readers on the hunt for their dream job?
We were recently described by a blogger as, “A no-b.s. guidance counselor for jobs.” While that’s not necessarily how we’d describe Jobstr, it makes a good point: there are hundreds, if not thousands, of websites that describe the basics of what certain jobs entail (salaries, hours, responsibilities, and so forth). But very, very few offer a “human side” of what it’s really like to work those jobs — the unfiltered stories that comprise people’s day-to-day. Sure, one can enjoy wealth and prestige as a doctor, but what’s it like to have a patient die in your hands? Or what about the diner waitress who grinds out double-shifts for meager pay? Does she loathe her job, or does she love the relationships she has with her customers of 30 years?
While Jobstr isn’t a classifieds site, it can be a useful tool for job hunters and career switchers to get their questions answered, no matter how tough or personal.
You can follow Frank on Twitter, Jobstr on Twitter and of course you’ll find Jobstr on Facebook too.
Working With Recruiters
Monday, December 20th, 2010
Is working with a contract recruiter any different than working with an in-house HR professional? Yes and no! I asked my LinkedIn network to share some tips and over the next several weeks I’ll be posting the best and the brightest!
Greer Dorsey, A-1 Careers, Kansas City
“Treat the interaction with the Recruiter as if you are interviewing with the hiring manager. Try to relax and treat the interview as a conversation; that’s what an interview is–an organized conversation. It is imperative to be completely open and honest about your professional experience and background but there is no room in an interview – at any level – for personal lives to show up.”
Laurie Swanson, The Laso Corporation, Chicago
“Never go around the recruiter! A good recruiter has real expertise in managing the hiring process along with negotiating the best package for you. It is in your best interest to take advantage of this and separate yourself from the negotiating process. Instead, focus your time and efforts on being as prepared as you can in your knowledge of the role, the company and those involved with the hiring.”
Royal Bacote, R Bacote & Associates, Baltimore
“Make sure we have the best contact number and the best time to contact you.
- Don’t put your cell number on the resume if you hardly ever turn it on
- Don’t put your email address on your resume if you don’t check it at least daily
Many qualified applicants get skipped because they don’t respond to calls or emails.”
Hit The Ground Running: How Jenny Found Her Dream Job
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
The following is an interview with my friend Jenny Weigle who I admire for bravely leaving behind a strong network and FT job in Florida to follow her heart to Chicago. To her credit Jenny landed a fabulous new job inside of three months! Here’s an insider’s peek at how she did it:
Q: You recently relocated here from Florida – tell us what job you had there and what prompted the move.
A: I was working in marketing and business development for a community bank in Tampa. It was a successful company and great work environment, however, I knew that I did not want a long-term career in the banking or finance industry. In August 2008, I decided to start saving up and make a plan to move to my favorite city, Chicago! After visiting family here numerous times since I was 12, I knew that I had always wanted to be a part of this city. In May, I made it official by resigning from the bank and packing up for Illinois.
Q. You were an active networker in Florida – please give us some highlights.
The mentors I have had throughout my life have always encouraged me to network and meet as many people as possible because you never know what you will learn from the people you meet. Plus, I’m not the kind of person who can just go home after work. I enjoy being out and about and socializing. In Tampa, I was involved in my university alumni group, my sorority’s alumnae group, as well as various leadership and women’s organizations.
Q. The idea of moving out of state without a job would freeze many of us in our tracks – how did you get the ball rolling?
A. Two words were key to this transition for me – planning ahead. In August 2008, I created a budget and job search plan that would allow me to move to Chicago in Summer 2009. The first part was to save enough money to be able to handle the move and a few months of unemployment. In this economy, it isn’t realistic to expect an employer to pay relocation fees for someone at my career level. I understood this and planned accordingly. Also, since I frequently visited my friends and family in Chicago, I tried to set up interviews and networking appointments on my trips to the city. For the job search, I prepared my resume, LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile and business cards. I found MarketingJobWire.com through a Google search and immediately signed up. I knew that today’s marketers had a deep understanding of social media and what it means for business, so I took on a part-time non-paid internship in Tampa to begin gaining experience. I also got my certification as an Inbound Marketing Professional through Hubspot.com.
And finally, I made plans to stay with friends and family when I arrived and so that I would keep my expenses minimal.
Q: When you landed in Chicago, how did you prioritize your time and energy?
A. My job search was my job when I arrived…except that I was working more than 12 hours a day, seven days a week. I had budgeted two months where I could immerse myself in the job search, and after that time, I would have to take on a part-time job to keep up with the bills. The hard work during those two months paid off…I attended as many marketing-related networking functions as I could. I reached out to referrals of friends and relatives. I signed up for job alerts, e-newsletters and coupon sites. I created a blog to offer advice to fellow job seekers. I anticipated each and every e-mail from MarketingJobWire.com. I researched companies on the Internet and became more engaged with social media. If I were sitting on the couch watching TV, I felt like I was “skipping” work. When my friends were out having cocktails, I was out at networking functions. It was an intense, exciting and scary two months!
Q. You have a great new job – tell us what it is and how you ultimately found it!
A. I made sure to be active on all of the social media networks, and I especially found LinkedIn to be helpful. An old friend, Justin, saw that I had updated my location to Chicago on LinkedIn. Justin had also lived in Tampa and had moved up to Chicago a year prior for a sales position with a reputable IT consulting firm. We reconnected, and Justin submitted my resume for a marketing opening with his company. When I had my interview, the company’s executives were impressed with the inbound marketing and social media experience I had acquired. They wanted to implement some initiatives in these areas as well. I got the job and am now the first-ever Director of Marketing for RKON Technologies!
I am living the life I had always hoped to live in Chicago! Currently, I’m exploring various networking groups to join, and I stay active on social media. The decision to move here was the biggest risk I have ever taken in my life, and the rewards have been better than I ever expected!
Share Your Story
Have you recently had success with your job search or making a major transition? Please share your comments with us here!
I Found My Job On Twitter!
Sunday, October 25th, 2009
You’re not interested in what Brittney is wearing, where Oprah ate lunch or whether Ashton has more followers than CNN. No problem, I get it. But if you think Twitter is just colossal waste of time, think again.
People are finding jobs on Twitter. Real people like Susan Spaight Moorhead, VP of Account Management and Digital Strategy at Meyer & Wallis in Milwaukee. She may not be a celebrity, but this rock star brand strategist found value – and a job – on Twitter. Here’s her story:
Q: Susan, thanks for sharing your story with us. Let’s start with a little background on your career path and type of work you do.
I’ve been working in advertising agencies/marketing firms for nearly 20 years. I started in Account Management, then research and strategic planning, and got heavily into social media about a year ago. Now, as of one month ago, I’m VP of Account Management and Digital Strategy at Meyer & Wallis, a firm with offices in Milwaukee and Indianapolis. I don’t consider myself a social media “expert”; I am a strategist that also knows social.
Q. How did you find the job you have now?
Actually, it found me, mainly because I am very active on Twitter. I built a relationship on Twitter with a key executive at an interactive agency. That turned into drinks, which turned into an interview, which turned into a job offer that wasn’t quite right. But then, that same executive introduced me to a connection of his, also via Twitter, which turned into coffee, which turned into doing business together (he is a consultant), which turned into him recommending me for the job that I have now. It’s been quite the chain reaction.
Q. So many people are unsure how to engage on Twitter… how did you get your feet wet and start meeting like-minded Tweeps? Were you actively seeking a new job?
I was not at all actively seeking a new job. I found amazing tweeps mainly through seeing who friends and people that I consider thought leaders were following, and through #followfriday. I really cannot believe how much more connected I feel in my local marketing community than one year ago; it is absolutely amazing.
Q. What advice do you have for marketers interested in learning more about leveraging social media?
The best way to feel confident applying social media in your marketing/ communications plan is to first get comfortable using it yourself. I know it can be difficult to find the time, but it is most definitely worth finding 30 minutes a day to build your personal network while learning. Find and follow great people and actively initiate conversation. Ask people you respect who they recommend. Read, read, read. Start blogging if you are so inclined; that has been an incredible learning experience for me as well. And if you aren’t sure how to leverage social media, hire a great strategist ; )
Q. Any thoughts for job seekers on how to weave social networking into their search strategy?
In my experience, the best strategy is to weave social networking into your life before you need to search. But whether it is before your search or during, the most important thing is to put true value and equity into your relationships. Demonstrate that you really care and are not just networking superficially to try to get a job. Put some skin in the game, and keep it real.
Susan’s not alone. Recent Chicago transplant Chelsea Winkel found a great job at Duo Consulting on Twitter.
Let’s make a deal. Try it for 21 days and decide for yourself. If after three weeks you’re not convinced, at least you’ll know a bit more about what all the Twitter buzz is about, and what P. Diddy had for dinner.
Susan’s on Twitter @suespaight, Chelsea is @hirechelsea and I’m @simasays.