Beyond the Business Card

9 12 2014

Business Handshake

You met someone at a business / networking event, a hike, a party, or your high school / college reunion. Or you’ve been adding new connections to LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

In my experience, many, if not most who exchange business cards or connect online stop there. They’re hoping / waiting for the other person to reach out and do business with them. Or, they aggressively reach out looking for business, and if the other person isn’t interested, the process ends there as well.

So, what do you do? You look to build a long-term, mutually beneficial, professional relationship. Why? You can derive many benefits, including acquiring new business, of course. Do you realize that you will usually gain much more business through referrals than from doing business with one person or business (unless it’s a really large account)? How? By getting to know the other person and their business, understanding their needs, who are their clients, and how you can help them.

Yes, it’s about how you can help them that gets the relationship going! Finding out who they do business with, and who are their potential referral sources, offer great opportunities for you to help someone else. You may also have some great ideas that can help them with planning, marketing, operations, finance, or other.  Does it mean they’ll reciprocate? Not necessarily, but you never know, and by helping someone else, you increase the chances they will help you as well. Remember – “mutually beneficial”!

Beyond direct business, you can build friendships, learn from one another, and just feel good about helping someone else succeed.

I was a recruiter for more than 20 years, and over time, the vast majority of my business came from my client base, some directly, and most from referrals. The phone rang more and more, so the number of inbound calls exceeded the outbound calls. And, most of my outbound calls were keeping in touch with my network, developing, building and maintaining those long-term relationships. Today as a career and LinkedIn coach, again, most of my business comes from referrals.

So, look through your stack of business cards and your online contacts, and start reaching out and looking to develop “mutually beneficial” relationships. It takes time, it takes effort and commitment, it takes patience, and it takes a willingness to help others and expect nothing in return. It seems counter-intuitive – when you genuinely help someone else without expecting them to reciprocate, they do more often. And, you both benefit.

So, go beyond the business card and the online connection, and start building those professional relationships!

I coach my clients natural, comfortable and practical methods to build and maintain professional relationships. If you’d like to learn how to do it, please get in touch – (818) 577-1347 / scfried@aol.com / http://www.linkedin.com/in/stuartfried. I’m also presenting the “Beyond the Business Card” workshop with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), February 11 at 8:30 am (http://cocsbdc.org).

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Is LinkedIn Worth your Time?

13 11 2014

followonlinkedin_1

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site on the internet, with more than 320 million members. Many of your colleagues, friends, family, and others tell you that you should be on LinkedIn, so you joined, filled out a sparse profile, added some connections and left it alone. Or you filled in your profile, added a bunch of connections, but don’t login on a regular basis because you’re very busy, and you don’t see any reason to do so. So, given how busy you are, should you be investing more time, on a regular basis, to use LinkedIn?

Well, of course, I say “Yes”! But why? … because LinkedIn is beneficial whether you are job searching, performing business development, or would like to network with your peers to share information and referrals. I will address each one below:

Job Search: Let’s say that you’re working in a job you generally enjoy, and you don’t anticipate any pending layoffs, so you’re not actively job searching. Have you ever been laid off? Do you know anyone who has? I specialize in the outplacement field assisting clients who have been laid off. The vast majority of them have told me that they didn’t see it coming, or ignored the signs, or thought it would happen, but not to them. Many of them had little or no presence on LinkedIn, and now they were scrambling to put up or update their profile, build their network, get recommendations and use LinkedIn to support their job search.

LinkedIn is both a networking and job search site. There are jobs posted, and you can apply via LinkedIn. However, the real value of LinkedIn is for networking, and networking efforts get muddy when you’re job searching. It is much easier to explore industries, companies and professions when you’re not actively job searching as others are more willing to share their knowledge and expertise with you. Once you’re job searching, the typical response is “send me your resume”, “apply on our website”, or “I’ll let you know if I hear of anything”, and you rarely hear anything from them afterward.

Yes, you can utilize LinkedIn when you’re actively job searching – you can find contacts at companies who are hiring and increase your opportunities to obtain interviews. You can do extensive research about companies, industries, professions/fields, and people in those professions/fields, companies and industries.

The bottom line is that when you need to find a job, you are playing catch-up, and while learning how to use LinkedIn, you’re also working on your resume, job searching and interviewing skills. So many have admitted that they wish they had known much earlier how important and helpful LinkedIn would be once they had the need. So, the choice is being proactive or waiting until the unexpected layoff happens, and then scrambling.

One more thought – would you be interested in learning about an opportunity that is better than the job you have now? Most people would answer, “yes”, of course. By having a full profile and large network on LinkedIn, it increases the probability that recruiters and hiring managers will find you for opportunities you would not know of otherwise.

Business Development: Do you already have enough business? No need for more? Do you foresee a time when you might have to expand and acquire new clients? Every sales professional and business owner has to devote a certain amount of time to new client acquisition; otherwise, you are at risk of losing clients through attrition without replacing them. Will your business grow or contract? It depends on you.

If you are in a sales/business development role, including an owner of a small business, LinkedIn offers you a huge database where you can find and contact potential clients, strategic business (referral) partners, vendors/suppliers and service providers, and industry peers.

Think of LinkedIn as a new type of B2B Yellow Pages with the benefit of discovering that you know people who are already connected with the LinkedIn members in whom you are interested. Plus, you get a profile that tells you more than a Yellow Pages listing or ad, including credible recommendations (testimonials). Now, you can find who you’re looking for, and you can leverage your network to get introductions (referrals) and recommendations!

LinkedIn profiles has fields such as Name, Title, Company, School, Location, Keywords, Industry, etc., so if you know what field(s) you want to search, you can find who you are looking for. And, this database continues to grow 2 members every second! LinkedIn most likely will become a new CRM tool where you can house your contacts as well as your historical notes and other pertinent information.

LinkedIn allows you to find people through the internet that would be out of your physical reach otherwise. The more you use LinkedIn to actively search for contacts, the more your business will grow with new clients and referral sources that you would have not known of previously.

The key, therefore, is not to stop what you’re already doing to obtain new business, but to add this new paradigm to your marketing toolkit. Start with a few minutes per day, and as you invest time and effort into LinkedIn, you will begin to reap the new benefits that LinkedIn offers.

Networking: Let’s say that you’re not job searching and you don’t want to even think about a possible layoff – or your business is going gangbusters, and you see no need to search for new business. What about learning and sharing with your peers? A contact of mine loves his job and has no interest in changing, but he did finally realize that he can learn from others in his field. So, he’s joined industry related groups, and he’s now exchanging and learning with others discussing and sharing best practices.

Have you stopped learning? Do you know all you need to know to remain competitive and be at your best? I suggest that you can always learn from others, and you can also benefit from sharing your expertise with others who will learn from you. Reaching out to peers in your field, and engaging in discussions in related groups is a valuable resource that LinkedIn offers the networker.

So, the question is whether you prefer to be proactive or reactive, whether or not you believe that your job is absolutely 100% safe, you don’t need any new business, or you could not learn from anyone else. I hope that you will choose to be proactive, invest regular time with LinkedIn and be prepared for the future, and actually have direct influence over your future.

Would like to learn more, please get in touch – my contact info is below

Stuart Fried     (818) 577-1347     scfried@aol.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/stuartfried

Career Exploration / Job Search – http://careerspecialist.net

Business Development – http://socialmedia2connect.com





Preparing The Professional Resume

3 11 2014

Graphic

What is the Purpose for your Resume?

  • To get the reader’s (usually a recruiter) positive attention and gain their interest,
  • To highlight to the reader how you match the requirements and expectations of the job,
  • To get the interview!

How Do You Get the Reader’s (Recruiter’s) Attention and Get an Interview?

Most companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (like Taleo) that recruiters use to gather resumes in a database and search that database using specific keywords and phrases and a variety of variables such as specific college degree(s), # of years of experience, and other criteria to screen you in or out. Each job posting attracts literally hundreds or even thousands of applicants, and therefore, the recruiter needs to reduce the number of resumes viewed as s/he does not have an endless amount of time to read resumes. These systems have become more sophisticated, and recruiters have added greater demands on the applicant to answer a series of in-depth questions in addition to uploading your resume. It can take 1 to 2 hours to apply for a single job online.

So, how can you increase your chances?

  • Tailor your resume to the specific requirements and responsibilities of the position.
  • Include the relevant keywords and phrases throughout.
  • Use a specific title (or titles) that match the position(s) you’re seeking, whenever appropriate.
  • Write a Summary section that emphasizes the most important experience, accomplishments, educations and skills.
    • Avoid using fluffy and meaningless language that focuses on vague soft skills (“self-motivated”, “dynamic”, “goal-oriented”) or vague experience (“financial leader”, “marketing professional”).
    • Be specific and emphasize the real experience, and if you include soft skills, back them up with examples.
  • Highlight your most significant and relevant accomplishments (include #’s whenever possible) and showcase the actual results, and not just the action(s) you performed.
  • Keep your resume to two pages (with a few exceptions). You can attach an addendum, when appropriate, to add specific projects, technical skills, publications, organizational work, etc.
  • Use proper grammar and verb tenses. Do not use “I” or other pronouns, “responsible for” or “responsibilities included”. Also, check your spelling. You cannot make any mistakes on your resume (or in any other communications such as your cover letter or emails).
  • And, don’t rely solely on your online application. Utilize your network, including LinkedIn, to help get you in the door!

If you would like professional assistance in preparing your resume (and/or using LinkedIn), let me know. I’ve actually worked with thousands of clients in nearly all industries, professions (even the most technical) and levels (including C level and Partner) over the past 30+ years. I work with you hand-in-hand to customize your resume for the position you are seeking.

Stuart Fried | (818) 577-1347 | scfried@aol.com | http://careerspecialist.net





Top 5 Fears for Job Seekers

8 06 2012

In today’s job market, job seekers face many challenges, and therefore, numerous fears.  Here are perhaps the top 5 fears that job seekers are facing:

1.  I don’t know what I want to do

Many people have contemplated making a career change at various points of their life, but for a variety of reasons, did not pursue a new career – money, time, not sure what they wanted to do, lack of confidence, or other.  Now, they’ve been laid off, and the opportunity exists to make that career change, but the uncertainty still exists.  “I wanted to be ‘xxx’ when I was younger, but I’m not sure any more.”  “I don’t know if I can make enough money in a new career.”  “I don’t know if I can be successful.”  “I don’t know anything about ‘xxx’.”  And, so on.  This topic needs an entire blog post (or even series of posts), but I’ll address it briefly here.

If you do feel motivated to make a change, make an investment of time and effort to explore your options.  You can take online career assessments and do online research about different careers.  Speak with people you trust, who know you well, or have a lot of experience in specific fields with whom you can brainstorm and learn more about pursuing a new path.  Work with an experienced career counselor/coach who can help  you identify the steps in the exploration process, and help connect you with others with whom you can network.

Don’t give up your dreams too quickly.  At the same time, be realistic and balance your ideal with what is real.  Many factors, including money, responsibilities, age, energy, etc. will affect your decision, but without enough information, you won’t be able to make a good decision.  This might be the golden opportunity you’ve been waiting for to follow your heart and pursue your dreams.  Or you may have to be more realistic and seek something that you are more likely to obtain in the short term.

2.  Fear of writing the resume

Who likes writing their resume?  Yuck!  What to say, how to say it, how to format the resume, and will the person who receives it know who I am.  “I don’t like to brag, so I don’t want to list my accomplishments.”  “I am not a good writer.”  “It’s been years since I wrote a resume, so it’s really out of date.”  “And, I don’t know how resumes are supposed to be written today.”

Start by writing what you do know – your name, location, phone, email, current company and job, dates of employment, past companies, job titles and dates, education, certifications/licenses, computer skills.  Start writing some descriptions and brainstorm key words and phrases.  Do research on resume writing – read articles and blogs.  Then, if you’re still not sure if your resume is up to the task, then hire a good resume writer – someone who knows about job search, what recruiters look for, and how to format a resume.  Not a “writer”, but a professional coach or resume preparer.  It’s not about how well one uses the language, but how well the content and format captures the attention of the reader, and states specifically how the candidate meets their qualifications.

You cannot rely on your resume to get you interviews and job offers, but an excellent resume vs. a mediocre resume can make a difference.

3.  I am afraid of being rejected

Most people are afraid of being rejected.  The job search process is very rejecting.  Not hearing from companies or recruiting firms after you submit your resume feels rejecting.  You are wondering why you’re not getting calls, emails, interviews.  You just don’t know why you’re not having success, especially when you’ve never had much trouble finding a job in the past.

It’s becoming cliche, but yes, the job market and the job search process has changed!  It’s broken, it’s impersonal, and it’s rejecting.  Companies have turned over the initial screening process to online Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), and then recruiters screen out from there, using search strings and other variables.

You cannot sit in front of your computer, and hope someone is going to knock on your door. You need to get out and make contact with people you know, and people they know, people in your field and industry, and people in companies of interest.  The more people who know you, the better the chances someone can and will help you get past the ATS and the gatekeepers.  Even highly experienced and highly credentialed candidates are having a much tougher time today.  I have a Senior Executive client who, for the first time, is having to reach out to her network and ask for help.  And it’s working!  She’s learning of hidden opportunities, and getting deep into the interview process quickly.  There aren’t a lot of positions at the Executive level, but she’s targeted her search and finding opportunities that match her background and interests.

You can avoid rejection, but it won’t pay your mortgage/rent, buy groceries, etc.  I know how frustrating and dejecting the process makes you feel.  Get help from your support system, a therapist and/or a coach, to get you feeling more directed, more confident, and more active!  Doing feels good, and every step you make gets you one step closer to your goal – getting a new job!

4.  My experience and skills are outdated

This may be true – you may be in a career path that is going the way of the elevator operator or the COBOL programmer.  You may have not kept up with the latest technology or the latest trends in your field.  So, what are you going to do about it?  If you want to stay in the same line of work, you may need to get some more education and training.  Research the field, network with peers and hiring managers, and find out what gaps exist in your background and how you can fill them.  Consider temp/contract positions to add to your experience and skills.  Consider internships and volunteer opportunities for the same, and to add to your network of quality connections in the field.

Don’t just give up – do something about it!

5.  I don’t know how to network / I don’t like to network / Networking doesn’t work

You hear from everyone – you need to be networking.  And yet, it turns out, that few people really know how to do it.  There are differences between networking and job searching.  I’ve written a ton of posts about networking, so please read them.  You’ll read that networking is about building relationships, which are mutually beneficial.  Not easy when you’re in need, looking for a job, so the challenge is that much greater.  Also, the challenge is greater because people run when they know you’re looking for a job and they don’t think they can help you.

There is an art to building and maintaining relationships.  You have tools like LinkedIn and networking groups to help you make the initial connection, but you still need to know what to do after that first contact.  Again, please read my blog posts about networking, and you will get some good tips about what to do, and what not to do.  Then, I encourage you to work with someone, a coach or a mentor, who really knows how to do it right.  There are a lot of professionals who preach the theoretical aspects of networking like elevator speeches and scripts, but networking is more about conversation and taking a genuine interest in someone else, not having expectations or a hidden agenda, and knowing how, when and with whom to ask for help.

If you’d like help with your job search and your networking, please get in touch.  You can call me at (818) 577-1347 or email to scfried@aol.com.  I have been in the job search world for 30 years, having coached and placed hundreds and thousands of clients in many different fields and positions.  I understand today’s job market, and I am straightforward and honest about how I can help you, and what you need to do to help yourself.





The 4 P’s of Networking; Don’t Add the 5th!

29 02 2012

What is Networking?

Networking is the process of building and maintaining relationships, whether they be for personal or business reasons or both.  I am still in touch with friends from my childhood, camp, schools, etc.  I am still connected with clients from more than 25 years ago.  My intention has always been on the people themselves, the relationships with those individuals, and not on what I could gain from knowing them.

The 4 P’s of Networking

Professionalism:

I define Professionalism as the manner in which you deal with others, whether it be in business or personal matters, involving honesty, integrity and ethics, fair consideration, and genuine interest in the other.  Treat and deal with others as you would wish them to treat and deal with you.

Patience:

They say that patience is a virtue!  Patience is often lacking in our dealings with others, especially if we are focused on what we want/need, and not on the overall relationship.  Relationships take time and effort; trust is not built in a day!  I understand that when one has a short-term want or need, such as finding a job when unemployed, patience is tested, often severely.  This becomes a challenge when networking to support job search or business development efforts.   We want to get what we want or need NOW.  The lack of patience threatens to derail the relationship building process.

I have always employed patience in building relationships, especially in business.  After my first attempt to reach someone, I usually wait 3-5 days to call back.  If I am not able to reach them again, I wait 5-7 days, and the length of time between attempts increases each time.  I leave nice messages each time.  I don’t get mad at them, or express any anger or displeasure – that will not evoke a positive response or the return phone call or email that I am seeking.  When I do reach them, they are often apologetic; I don’t want them to feel bad.  There are so many reasons why they haven’t returned my phone calls and emails, and usually it is not about me, but about what is going on in their lives.  Once we connect, I want to focus on building the relationship, and not tearing it down.

As a recruiter, it sometimes took me months or longer to reach someone; some people I never reached, and I sometimes stopped trying.  In the long run, my patience paid off – I eventually reached many new contacts, and developed many new fruitful relationships.

Persistence:

The above discussion leads me into the concept of Persistence.  Keep trying to reach someone, but don’t get impatient, don’t get angry, and don’t give up too easily.  People are truly busy, or they have extenuating circumstances that prohibit their getting back to you promptly.  They are sick, someone else is sick or has passed away, they’re away on business or pleasure, they have sensitive deadlines to meet, they lost your phone # or email address, their “to-do” list is a mile long, and even though they have good intentions to get to you, they just can’t get down the list, and each day, more gets piled on.

Be persistent, but remain professional and patient throughout!  Try different times of the day, and switch between phone and email.  If someone has referred you, go back to your referral source, explain the situation, and elicit their assistance.

Proactive:

Don’t wait for someone else to call or email you.  Be proactive, and reach out to them.  You met someone at an event or party; reach out to them first, not five minutes after the event or party, but within a few days.  Keep in touch with others.  Don’t let your relationships wither away.  You can use different means to keep in touch including social media.

Don’t be Pushy!

This 5th P is a no-no!  If you are impatient and overly persistent, if you insist that someone respond to your messages, if you push the relationship too fast, you will most likely lose the connection, and all the benefits that each of you might have derived if you had taken it slowly and patiently throughout.

The Bottom Line

Focus on the relationship, focus on the other person, take a genuine interest in them, look for ways to help them and to nurture the relationship.  Feed the relationship appropriately, and it will grow.  I continue to keep in touch with many people from many years ago.  It is not easy as I have met and worked with so many people over the past 30 years.  However, live events, the phone, email and social media (especially LinkedIn and Facebook) all combine to give me opportunities to keep in touch with many on a reasonable and regular basis.  And, we continue to reach out, help one another in so many different ways, and reap the ongoing benefits of maintaining our relationships throughout.

So, start, build and cultivate relationships.  Your investment in others will benefit them and you for years to come!  If you’d like to read more of my blog posts about networking, please click here.

If you would like to learn more on how to network and build relationships effectively, please call me at (818) 577-1347 or email to scfried@aol.com.





Is LinkedIn a Job Search Site or a Networking Site? Does It Matter to You?

15 02 2012

LinkedIn is the largest business/professional networking site with now more than 150 million members according to the company’s recent quarterly financial results.  LinkedIn continues to add 2 members per second, and is represented in more than 200 countries globally.

What is the Purpose of LinkedIn?

It depends on who is using the site and how.  If you are a job seeker, you are probably focusing your LinkedIn activity on job searching activities, such as contacting recruiters, both internally and externally, trying to add connections with a focus on companies who are hiring, and using the Job Search features that LinkedIn offers including the Job Search tab, Groups, and Company Pages.

If you are a recruiter, you are using LinkedIn to find new candidates and expand your overall network.  You are performing Advanced Searches for members who match specific criteria based on your clients’ job requirements, and your field of specialization.  You may also be using LinkedIn to seek and connect with hiring managers.

If you are focused on networking, you are using many of the same features and techniques to build your network with people you know, people they know, and people with whom you have an interest, but do not yet know.  Your focus is/should be on not only making the LinkedIn connection, but developing real relationships with others.

Networking = building relationships for the purpose of sharing information, guidance (advice) and connections.  Networking does support a job searching effort, but the focus is on the relationship and not only job search.  Once a job is mentioned and/or the resume is involved, networking switches to job search, and the relationship with the other person changes.

Does any of this matter to you?  Yes!  If you only perceive and use LinkedIn as a job search site/tool, then you will tend to be inactive with LinkedIn when you are not actively looking for a new job.  You will also limit how you use LinkedIn, and you will miss out on the opportunities to develop quality relationships with your existing connections and others.  Your network will go “cold” without making occasional contacts with others with whom you are connected.  Your network will grow only through the efforts of others who reach out to you.  Messages will sit unread in your Inbox, and you may miss out on new connections and new possibilities for relationship building.  You will ignore the Groups that you’ve joined.  Your profile may go untouched for months or longer.  Many profiles are incomplete, and do not get updated when one changes positions or companies.  The irony is that recruiters do look at your profile and notice your activity or inactivity.  They do notice if your profile is incomplete and out-of-date, and they are less likely to reach out to you.  Same goes for others who may want to connect with you, but see little value in doing so.  What impression do you want your LinkedIn profile to give to others when they find you?  You are well-connected, you are an active participant in your network and in your profession, or are you reactive, and only use LinkedIn to respond to an invitation to connect, or to seek out your connections when you need them for a job search?

It took me awhile before I realized the potential of LinkedIn, and I have developed many new relationships because of this great networking site.  I have also developed a growing business providing coaching and training to job seekers, networkers and business development professionals who have not yet realized their opportunities with LinkedIn.

I encourage you to explore LinkedIn, to complete your profile and keep it up-to-date, to continue to expand your network and keep in touch with your connections, and to take advantage of the still un-tapped benefits that using LinkedIn actively will bring you.  If you would like to learn more about how I can help you learn how to more fully utilize LinkedIn, please call me at (818) 577-1347 or email to: scfried@aol.com.

Note:  LinkedIn is also valuable for business development professionals, and the same search and networking features are used.  I write about LinkedIn as a business development tool in my Social Media 2 Connect blog.





Let’s Find a Job in 2012!

4 01 2012

Happy New Year!

It’s 2012 – a new year, a fresh start, resolutions to really work hard on getting a job.

By the end of 2011, you were probably feeling tired of being out of work, feeling bored without enough challenging and interesting things to do every day.  Missing a schedule.  Missing income!

What’s changed?  Hopefully you have changed.  I don’t think the job market has changed much or enough, at least not yet.  There are hopeful signs in the economy, but the official unemployment rate is still 8.6%, and “experts” agree that the real rate of unemployment and under-employment is much higher.

So, do you give up?  Do you just give in to another year of frustration and despair?  NO NO NO!

To start, I do not have a one-size fits all, magic plan.  Instead, I think that there are many things that you can do, and therefore, you increase your chances that something will work.  What’s the alternative?  To wait for luck to find you – that someone will knock on your door and offer you a good-paying job?  No.

Are you like many people I know who don’t believe they’ll find a new job, and yet continue to do the same one thing – that is, apply online, and wait and hope and wait and hope, and yet knowing it probably won’t work anytime soon?

Or are you ready to do whatever it takes?  I know that job searching sucks!  You start each day hoping that something will work, and not knowing what if anything will actually work.  Over time, you feel more rejected and more dejected.  So, you get more easily distracted – laundry, TV, coffee, the refrigerator, chores, errands, etc.  None of these things will help you find a job – you know it, but it sure beats looking for a job!  Doesn’t it?

So, the prospects don’t look so good.  Nothing’s been working, so what’s the point?  The point is that you want to get back to work – to put your experience and your skills to work, to exercise your brain every day, to earn a living, pay off your bills, have some fun again, and to re-discover your self-worth.

So, I ask again, ARE YOU READY TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES?  If so, I do have many suggestions – you probably have read or heard most or all of these before, but it’s time to review and to refresh:

  • Do target your resume with the appropriate keywords and phrases to match the positions you’re interested in.  Recruiters search by keywords and phrases.  Same goes for your LinkedIn profile.
  • Do post your resume online (Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, SimplyHired, Dice, etc.) – there is little likelihood that someone will find your resume, but I know people who have been found and hired this way.  Update your resume at least weekly so a new date stamp is applied keeping your resume “fresh”.
  • Do search and apply online – use the major sites like Monster and CareerBuilder and use either Indeed or SimplyHired to search the aggregate of the other job sites and company websites.  Set up automated job searches and email alerts to cut down on your daily searches.  Try searching with different criteria, including different sets of key words and phrases.  DO NOT rely on this method to find a job – some people do, typically after hundreds or thousands of applications and many many months.
  • Do use LinkedIn – complete your profile, build your network, join Groups, and search for more connections.  When you apply for a job online, search LinkedIn for direct and indirect connections to help you get your resume in front of someone at the company.  Think of how much more effective it is to have a hiring manager or even a recruiter look at your resume through a referral source vs. your resume sitting in their database un-detected and un-viewed.  Also, recruiters are searching on LinkedIn for candidates, so you have to be there, have a complete profile, have a network, and have recommendations.  You can also use LinkedIn to connect with people you don’t know and increase your visibility.  Networking does bring “hidden” jobs to you, but you do have to be savvy at it.  I can help you with LinkedIn and networking.
  • Do keep in touch with your friends and former co-workers, clients and vendors in-person, by phone and online – email, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  If they aren’t thinking of you, they’re not thinking of you when they hear of a job opening that fits you.   Don’t dwell on your job search and being out-of-work, but do maintain your relationships.
  • Do consider and pursue temp/contract work – contact as many temp and contract agencies, and keep in touch with them on a regular (weekly) basis, even if they don’t call you back.  Be very flexible as to the work, the pay, hours, etc. to get started and on their “hot list”.  They have many more candidates than jobs, so you want to get on their radar screen.  When they contact you about a position, respond ASAP or the job may be gone.
  • Do volunteer – volunteering gets you out of the home, connects you with people, gives you something to do, develops/enhances your experience and skills, and updates your resume and LinkedIn profile with current activity.  Also, when you’re giving to others, you realize you’re not empty and without value.
  • Do go to job fairs – research and target companies and jobs of interest.  Bring resumes and business cards.  Dress professionally, speak with the recruiters, thank them for coming, ask them some questions, build a rapport, get their business card and follow-up.  Recruiters go to job fairs to meet candidates, and not to get resumes.  They can do that online.
  • Attend a couple of job support groups – don’t expect to get a lot of job leads, but learn from one another, and make new friends.  It helps to know you’re not alone.  Bring your ideas and job leads to the group – look to give and to help others.
  • Pair up with one or more job search buddies.  Meet once a week, set goals, hold one another accountable, and share ideas.  Give positive and helpful feedback.
  • Be flexible for jobs that are not what you’re really looking for.  Take a shorter-term perspective if you’ve been looking for a long time.  In time, let’s hope the job market improves, and you can find something better. For now, it’s generally better to get back to work, and earning a living, than to stay unemployed.  Recruiters and hiring managers do discriminate against the unemployed, so it hurts your marketability and hire-ability the longer you’re not working.
  • Be creative with job possibilities – consider your experience, skills and interests, and look for jobs that may be different than your previous position(s), but where you might be a match.  Utilize your network to find something different; don’t rely on your resume for these positions as recruiters look for the near-perfect match only.
  • Be creative with job search methods – think outside of the box.  That sounds cliche, but it works.  Try different things.  Approach each challenge with the belief that you can and will find a way, if you just do it.  You face obstacles which become opportunities.  Each success builds on itself.  Instead of just doing the same thing and rejecting new options, open up your mind, ask for suggestions from others, and try them.  Don’t give up when they don’t work right away.  Applying online hasn’t worked well, but you keep doing it, so give new ideas and new options a good long try.
  • Do exercise, eat well, and sleep enough – keep yourself mentally and physically healthy.  Keep a positive demeanor out in public, on the phone, via email, and online.  Do not post negative comments on Facebook, etc.  Be very discreet about with whom you share your frustrations.
  • Play games and sports, hike, bike, have fun.  Create endorphins and have some fun.  Life is not over.
  • Organize your day.  Make a to-do list for job search. Split up the time throughout the day.  Take breaks, but don’t spend a lot of time with non-job search activities.  Give yourself credit for what you do accomplish each day; don’t beat yourself up for what you don’t do.  Just do better the next day.  Praise yourself for each effort.
  • Take it one day at a time.  Don’t try or expect to climb the mountain at once.  Take small steps with all of your job search efforts.  We’ve agreed that it is not fun, it is frustrating, and it often seems futile.  However, each small step moves you closer to your goal.  You only need one decent offer, and the nightmare will be over.

Don’t give up!  Don’t wait for luck alone to solve this.  You have to make the effort, each and every day, one foot in front of the other, and keep moving forward.  You took 9 – 15 months on average to learn how to walk.  You fell down often, even got hurt, tired and frustrated, but you kept trying and learning, and you learned how to walk.  It’s the same now.  I know you’re tired.  You’re disappointed.  You don’t understand how things got so bad.  They did, but you can do so much about it.  I know so many people who have found jobs through a variety of different approaches and efforts.  Sure – it takes much longer than what we’re used to.  The world has changed – things are not the same, so accept it, and do something about it.  You can’t change the macro environment, so don’t even try.  Change your world, your life.  You can do it – I know that you can!

I encourage you to read my other posts about resume preparation, networking, LinkedIn, etc.

If you need and want some help, let me know.  I want you to succeed, for you to get a new job, and for you to set off in a new and positive direction.  Happy 2012 – make it so!