Category: International Job Seekers

The Real Skinny on Prepping for the 2015 Job Market

The Real Skinny on Prepping for the 2015 Job Market

2015 job marketGreat news: Bloomberg reports that after November’s remarkable hiring surge, the job market is expected to grow in 2015. If you’ve been stuck in a non-ideal or part-time job and are looking to make a strategic career move, now is the best time to do it. The way we hire and work is changing now more than ever, and there are many exciting opportunities for IT and other technical professionals. But what do you do if you haven’t been on the job hunt in a while and don’t know the new rules of interviewing and hiring?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

  1. Expect a different hiring process

More and more companies are realizing that how they hire reflects well (or poorly) upon their brand. Today’s recruiters and hiring managers are aiming to make the process more human and relatable. Use this friendlier recruitment process to showcase your soft skills, but always keep it professional.

  1. Build a portfolio

Whether or not you have something physical to show for the work you’ve done, hiring managers will want to see examples of your work before you get the interview. Write case studies for projects you’ve worked on to broadcast your skills and back up your claims of success.

  1. Go beyond LinkedIn

If you haven’t spruced up your LinkedIn lately, now’s the time — but don’t stop there! Develop a social media presence that shows off your skills and interest in your profession.

  1. Ask the right questions

A report from LinkedIn says that many qualified job candidates don’t get hired because the interviewers don’t know the best questions to ask them. Learn the “forced-choice question” method — asking what the main objectives for the job are, and then using examples to show how you can achieve them — to help improve your odds.

  1. Anticipate a 3-5 year tenure

Perhaps the biggest change of all, many companies now realize that job seekers will only stay at the company for a handful of years. Know this when going into the interview, and stress what a difference you can make in a short time frame. Be sure to think of this job as the stepping stone to what’s next, not the position you’ll be in for the next several decades.

Want a New Job in 2015? Maybe You First Need A Kick in the Pants

Want a New Job in 2015? Maybe You First Need A Kick in the Pants

careerWelcome to our new “Kick in the Pants” series! (Let’s face it: We all need one once in a while, especially when it comes to our careers!)

Contrary to popular opinion, December is an excellent time to ramp up your job search. Don’t believe it? Chew on this: What if you had an abundance of amazing networking opportunities and virtually no competition?

Exactly. Welcome to your holiday job search.

The truth of the matter is that hiring managers are always on the lookout for great talent, and the end of the year is no exception. This is why it’s imperative not to backslide into the distracting vacation mindset that starts happening as soon as Thanksgiving’s over. Companies are looking to hire, and you need to be looking, too.

Here’s how you can turn the end of the year dead-time into your most fruitful job search ever:

Leverage Networking Opportunities

Holiday Parties

If December isn’t already your most social month, make sure it is this year. Now is the perfect time to accept invitations to all kinds of social events, the more closely tied to your profession, the better. But remember, you don’t have to be at a “networking event” to make valuable connections. Just talk yourself up to the people you meet and put your best foot forward. Use the good cheer and holiday spirit to get to know partygoers better and form valuable connections for your career.

Greeting Cards

Has it been a while since you communicated with your professional contacts? Send a holiday card their way to let them know how much you value your relationship. Ideally, you’d keep in contact all year long, but the holidays are the perfect time to pick up the conversation where you left off.

Reaching Out

When it comes to your most valuable contacts — former and potential employers, especially — use a more personal touch than just a holiday card. Invite your VIP contacts out for lunch, send them a thoughtful gift, or invite them to your holiday party. Do whatever it takes to let them know how important they are to you during this time of year.

Defeat the Competition

Aside from the abundance of networking opportunities, the best reason to double down on your holiday job search is because other people aren’t. Think about it —when most job seekers close their laptops and head out on vacation, there’s a much smaller pool of candidates for any given job. Bringing your A-game to the job search now shows diligence and responsibility, and it gives you the perfect opportunity to showcase how you stand out from the crowd.

Hit the Ground Running

Think about that empty job requisition from the hiring manager’s perspective — they have to fill it by Q1, which is just around the corner. The person who gets the job needs to get up to speed and start producing as fast as humanly possible. Seal the deal in your interview by stressing how you can hit the ground running and prove yourself as a great hire.

If you’re committed to finding a new job in 2015, the time to start is now. Remember: Getting distracted with the holidays won’t help you come January — but don’t forget to bring a joyful attitude to your December job search.

 

People Hire People, But They Have a Funny Way of Doing It

People Hire People, But They Have a Funny Way of Doing It

hr75In today’s job search market generally, and especially in the technical arena, there is a lot broken when it comes to hiring and retaining talent. In a recent post I published on LinkedIn in regard to recruiters, from some of the comments, it was evident just how frustrated most professionals have become with this broken system.

Yet HR and recruiting gurus will generally tell you that things are getting better.

Nevertheless, in working in the actual trenches with technical professionals, not just in designing their resume and personal brand messaging but in offering concierge job search solutions as well, I can tell you without a doubt things are NOT getting better.

Wishing it were so does not make it true.

What HR and other hiring “experts” really mean when they say it’s better is that they have developed hiring into a more theoretical domain now. They’ve analyzed it. They’ve philosophized over it. They know what it should be. They’re all about people and talent and…

Theory, theory, theory

In other words, there’s a better sense of what hiring should be.

The question is, though, “how do we get there?”

The main problem, as I see it, stems from an effort to try and appease too many goals: hire great talent yet make it as automated as possible and as inexpensive as possible while creating as many layers and barriers as possible between the potential candidates and the hiring managers. In other words, while making hiring as formulaic as possible (I call it “assembly line” hiring), somehow they are also supposed to show that they “care” about choosing the best talent and treating candidates with proper respect.

People hire people, right?

I hear a lot about the “humanizing” of companies, the attempt to appear more empathetic and concerned with the well-being of candidates and employees. (I saw an HR specialist the other day even advocate for more”hugging” at the office [certainly not something I have ever heard my tech members complain about: “I just wish more people would hug me at the office!” Ah no, I’ve yet to hear that one].)

There are conferences and conventions and Google+ hangouts and Twitter chats all on the subject of how to show you “care”…all while instituting practices that are demoralizing.

But what’s a company to do? When it posts an opening, it gets hundreds of responses, and it must sift through them somehow, right? So why not automate things? Why not protect its hiring managers and their time?

The problem is that you have to prioritize. What is your main goal, and how is that best accomplished? You can’t say one thing and then do another.

But that’s exactly what the job market is like right now and most likely will be for a while because the word and the deed don’t match.

You want the best talent? Well, you have a funny way of showing it.

My advice to corporate professionals is simple: If you’re going to stay in that environment, then become what I call a “corporate entrepreneur.”

Don’t just add more credentials and stack up experience and think it will speak for itself. Learn how to apply basic business development techniques to your career management strategy (yes, you need a strategy!). Learn how to watch and read the market. Understand that your career is not just one job hop to another job hop with however many years in between, hoping your salary and level of responsibility increase with it.

In today’s market, there has to be more mindfulness of what’s really going on around you even when you’re quite happy where you currently are.

Good intentions don’t mean much.

I’m afraid at the moment there isn’t a whole lot we can do about the current state of hiring practices. It is what it is … full of good intentions littered with chaos and confusion.

But we can take a different look at the corporate environment and apply some entrepreneurial concepts to build in protections amidst all the chaos (or “corporate goo” as I like to call it). Doing so will help to realign the balance of power into more of a partnership arrangement than a master-slave one.

 

 

Technical Job Market Survival Guide

Technical Job Market Survival Guide

technical job marketAKA: “14 Ways to Avoid Becoming Part of the 95%”

If you’ve followed my posts or read through any of our reports at NoddlePlace or ITtechExec, you will know that I talk a lot about the “95%”, those professionals continuing to approach today’s job market with yesterday’s mindset, especially today’s technical job market.

And this mindset has very little to do with age. In fact, I meet many younger professionals who are stuck in it as well (which tells me there is some poor advice out there).

As a result, these 95% approach their careers and each job search with a misunderstanding of what it takes to not just succeed but survive (and thrive) in the world of work.

To really delve into this issue, my staff and I have put together our annual “survival guide” that is chocked full of resources and tips on how to approach the market as we head into 2015.

If you’d like to move from the 95% into the 5%, download your complimentary copy: Technical Job Market Survival Guide.

Results of Corporate Entrepreneur Poll

Results of Corporate Entrepreneur Poll

Last week I put out a call for responses to a poll asking our audience what the phrase “corporate entrepreneur” meant to them. This topic of corporate entrepreneurship will encompass my contribution to my upcoming book Uncommon with Brian Tracy (Spring 2015), and I wanted to get a sense of what professionals out there thought when they heard the phrase.

The largest response at 23% was that a corporate entrepreneur was “a strategist”. A three-way tie for second at 15% each included:

  • Someone who’s business savvy but probably more suited for self-employment.
  • Someone who sees what’s coming in the corporate realm and prepares for it.
  • A professional who knows how to apply certain elements of self-employment within the corporate structure.

If you’d like to participate in the poll, please feel free to do so. I’ve included it below and will keep it open a couple more weeks.

At that time, I will post the results and give an excerpt from the book discussing this issue. As a technical career strategist following the world of work closely, I am convinced that corporate entrepreneurship is going to be a “must” (yes, a must) for anyone looking to maintain their careers, particularly as we move through the next decade.

The shifting of corporate culture, the convoluted hiring practices, the mixed-generational workforce, and most importantly, the global market outlook are all bringing together a perfect storm that will forever change what it means to be in corporate. What we’ve seen so far is just the beginning.

[polldaddy poll=”8478809″]

Most Desirable Employers: Really Better Than All the Rest?

Most Desirable Employers: Really Better Than All the Rest?

Business Insider released the following infographic citing the top 100 employers based off of stats from LinkedIn. As a technical career strategist, this list is anything but surprising.

And as someone who’s worked with candidates to get into many of these employers, what’s also not surprising is that the more desirable these companies become, the more rigorous, and even borderline ridiculous, their hiring practices become.

Here’s the real skinny: The best way to get these employers to even look at you twice is to make them come to you (rather than the other way around), and that requires a willingness to do things completely differently than most people do. It requires resisting the normal job board black hole and HR hoop-jumping channels, and it takes a stiff spine to refrain from handing over any leverage you might have to them.

It’s the only way to separate yourself from the masses applying in droves to these employers. Credentials alone will not cut it. Tossing out a resume and hoping it passes some test will most likely not do it. Begging a recruiter to try and place you might work, but you will likely find it the most frustrating and confusing time of your life (smile).

Strategy, strategy, strategy is the name of this game.

The 100 Most Desirable Employers #infographic

6 Tips for Sticking Out Your Holiday Job Search

6 Tips for Sticking Out Your Holiday Job Search

holiday job searchIt’s that time of year again. That time when mixed emotions, nostalgia, sentimentality, joy, anxiety, regret, and depression, all float around us for 6 weeks like some deranged version of the Nutcracker.

And if you’re in career move mode or job search mode, it’s an even more confusing dance.

For on top of the typical feelings that come with the end of one year and the beginning of another, you have the emotional baggage that comes with any type of career move (internal or external).

If that isn’t bad enough, everyone, everywhere seems to have an opinion on what it’s like to go through a job search during the holidays that range from complete despair to unfounded optimism.

This year, to help curb some of the mixed signals you might be getting as you wade through the job market zoo during the holidays, I’ve put together a no-nonsense report called “6 Tips for Sticking Out Your Holiday Job Search.”

(I’m probably one of the few who thinks that the holidays can be a positive time for the job seeker if you’re willing to think and act a little differently than most!)

 

Click to download the free report: 6 Tips for Sticking Out Your Holiday Job Search

 

 

Why You Need to Tell Your Story

Why You Need to Tell Your Story

career storyStorytelling is important in the job market. It always has been, and it always will be.

Too often job seekers gets bogged down with the facts of their work history, thinking that is all that matters in the presentation. Although your work history is important, it’s really just a start and misses the bigger, psychological part of the hiring process.

Facts Don’t Resonate, But Stories Do

As I’m finalizing and reviewing my content for the “UNCOMMON” book with Brian Tracy, it became even more evident to me that the stories I was sharing about some of my client members were vital. I could give the best, most sound advice ever, but people would not make it real and actionable in their lives without the power of the personal story behind it.

Ultimately, this is what we do for the clients that we represent as agents in the marketplace. We help them to shape and hone their career story so that it will resonate with an audience that will try to “tune out” as much as possible, simply because they are so inundated from every direction with job seeker information.

Storytelling engages them at a human level. Think about it…all of the best authors, speakers, business leaders, politicians, and the like connect with their audience through the power of a personal story. The story takes the facts or advice and converts them from being clinical into something that captures our hearts, minds, and imaginations. It also helps us relate with one another. And that’s what is necessary to generate a response.

Applying It In the Job Market

Are decision makers in the hiring process any different? No way! But we’re told that we can’t engage them in such a manner. Baloney! Just because the masses aren’t doing so doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. In fact, because 95% of the people in the market don’t do it means that you’ll have a better chance of standing out from the crowd when you do.

But the majority can’t be wrong…can it? Of course it can, and I’m hear to tell you that especially when it comes to job search, it is all the time.

What’s your story? Discover it and unleash the power of it in the market from today on. The impact it has on your confidence and excitement will be tremendous.

Significant Other Tech Career Move Survival Guide: Part I

Significant Other Tech Career Move Survival Guide: Part I

retirementHow You Both Survive This Upcoming Technical Career Move

Don’t take this the wrong way, but…

 The #1 impediment to career progression is often a significant other. (Yikes!)

The good news, though, is that on the flip side, our significant other can also be the #1 supporter of our career!

The line between becoming an impediment versus a supporter is often a fine one.

We don’t intend to impede our loved one’s career, of course. But unwittingly, we often transfer our own fears, concerns, perspectives, issues about money and success, experiences, and worry for our home and children onto our loved one’s shoulders, which can create an emotional barrier for him or her.

Today’s technical job market is a zoo, to put it lightly.

Protecting and advancing a career in this market is not so cut-and-dry as it might have been once. Simply having the talent and experience and waiting for someone to notice rarely works anymore. A lot of investment has to go into maintaining the certifications and nurturing the skill sets, and even then they don’t sell themselves as competition is strong at any level.

So to help you and your significant other as you prepare to face the market realities, I’ve put together this “survival guide” as a way to come together to make sure you become the #1 supporter throughout this process. Below are the first 8 ways you both survive this upcoming technical career move. (In Part II, we will look at 8 more.)

You Both Need to Recognize That:

  1. Tech is different. For someone with a technical background or who works in a tech-related industry, the market is a bit different. Some things might look the same, or sound the same, but the requirements are not necessarily the same. Therefore, the way other professionals (such as yourself) might conduct a job search might be somewhat different from what your technical significant other needs.
  2. Competition is strong. Whether it is an internal promotion or external move, the technical job market has strong competition. This means that your tech leader needs a differentiator to stand out from the masses who are all vying for the same jobs with similar qualifications. Even though he or she might have great certifications and advanced degrees, these things don’t “sell” themselves like they might in other industries. In technical markets, they are more often expected, which means a lot of people are getting them too. Now you have to compete against all the other candidates who also have that cert and who also feel it should just automatically open doors.
  3. Your significant other deserves more than just a resume. Because tech is different and competition is strong, the personal branding of our technical leaders takes time to develop, and it is important that it is done correctly by those who do understand the tech market and its demands. The #1 resume we fix at both ITtechExec and NoddlePlace is the one written by a significant other for the technical job market. Ouch! It’s true. Furthermore, it’s important that you don’t miss out on the portfolio approach that is proving to be so effective for technical candidates. Other industries might still be able to get away with the old school resume concept. Tech is different.
  4. These careers need to be maintained. If you’ve been through grad school or various certification programs with your technical significant other, then you already know what he or she goes through to stay relevant to the market. As we mentioned, these programs, however, only provide credentials. They don’t take those credentials and translate them specifically into the tech job market. So often obtaining a certification or advanced degree, while great, is only half the battle. There must be a strategy other than hoping for the best to make that investment in the learning pay off.
  5. Today’s job search can take 1 month for every $10-20K in salary. And that’s when the job search is a full-time gig! This means that for our level of client, they could be facing 6, 8, 10, or more months in job search mode. (It’s why we measure the results our members receive.) We knew we could do better for our clients, and with our resume portfolio AND job search “launch” solutions, we do. For the past year, our clients have been averaging 2.4 months and recovering ~169 hours of time that would have been lost!
  6. Promotions are a job search too. All too often, we have a tendency to think that because our loved one might be up for promotion that he or she will just get it because they “deserve” it or have been waiting in the wings for it. The truth is the internal promotion is just as important to prepare for as the external one (perhaps even more so because it is a higher stakes process). Corporate politics, forgetfulness, and other kinds of hiring/retention practices (what we call “goo”) can and often do get in the way. Plus, we believe that technical pros should always know their worth in the marketplace and have leverage with their current organizations.
  7. Tech pros are changing jobs every 3-4 years. Even if your significant other is beating these odds, change is still inevitable. That’s probably true in all fields these days, but it is especially true in technical fields. One reason is because of the high demand for outside contracting/consulting. Therefore, it is important that he or she keeps their materials up to date and ready to go. It’s also why we advocate for a “corporate entrepreneur” mindset that creates peace of mind through preparation. Less stress is a very good thing!
  8. Resumes aren’t dead, but they’re ailing. It used to be that the tech candidate barely even needed a resume, but today a resume is no longer enough. LinkedIn profiles are becoming more and more important in the job search process, and addenda to the resume that enhance on the soft skills and leadership experience of your technical leader go a long way. We also have infographic resumes and marketing briefs at our disposal. You don’t have to do them all, which is why we believe in first setting a strategy and then building customized solutions to meet that strategy. We never just toss resumes and LI profiles out there and hope something sticks!

(Stay tuned for Part II.)

Before You Toss That Recruiter Out the Window…

Before You Toss That Recruiter Out the Window…

We’ve written pretty extensively about the strained relations that often go on between recruiters and job seekers. (See That Recruiter Is Just Not That Into You and Tired of Recruiter Mismatch on LinkedIn?) It’s certainly no secret that the two groups often find themselves on different planets. To reiterate this point, I recently came across this infographic by MedReps.com that sums up the situation quite nicely.

The typical response I’ve been hearing lately by many job seekers is that they find recruiters just too frustrating to deal with, so understandably their reaction is to give up trying.

But before you toss that recruiter out the window…

The problem is that social recruiting is on the rise. Big time. This means that avoiding recruiters altogether could be a hindrance in your career progression simply because you are cutting off a viable job search method (I advocate for a diverse job search approach that uses several different methods to create “pipelines”). Furthermore, recruiters can be a great pipeline, particularly when you aren’t in active job search mode as they can bring opportunities to you.

In the past, it didn’t take much effort to cultivate these pipelines with recruiters, particularly in the technical arena where jobs were aplenty and many professionals were recruited away from one company to another without even really needing a resume. Today, however, the field is much more chaotic and, frankly, confusing (at ITtechExec, we call it a “zoo”).

The biggest issue I find has to do with misalignment or mismatching of the job seeker with external recruiters. It’s no longer about talking to a recruiter who is located near you or near the area you want to move to. You need to know the areas he or she specializes in, the typical companies he or she recruits for, and the geographic regions. (Executive recruiting isn’t all that local anymore.)

Recruiter matching is important to starting the relationship off right…

It’s one reason why we’ve been encouraging our technical members to use Recruiter Matching. By building an extensive network of technical recruiters, our concierge Job Search Agent can vet the ones she sees as most valuable to our member and his or her goals. She can also help our members set up longer term communications with the recruiters who are most responsive to our member.

So be careful not to toss them all out just yet…

Make sure you have been properly matched or aligned first, and then build engagements with the ones who seem the most interested in keeping the dialogue going.

Recruiters Mars