Let’s Unleash the Experts: 5 Job Search Tips from Career Consultant Randall Craig

I love getting expert advice. Sometimes I’ve heard a bit of it before, but usually, there’s a new, important nugget. Check out these five terrific tips from Canadian career guru Randall Craig, the author of the three career planning books, including Personal Balance Sheet.  He runs the consulting firm Pinetree Advisors and has been all over Canadian media, so he knows what he’s talking about. I particularly like #3–we should always remember “quality over quantity”.

Take it away, Randall!

1) Get more from what you have:  Add value to your network by sending magazine clippings, web links, or other materials to them, without asking for anything in return.  This concept – making deposits into your network “bank” – allows you to make withdrawals later 

2) Be the host:  Instead of thinking like a “guest” at a networking event, pretend that you are the host, responsible for everyone’s well-being.  Introduce people to each other, as the “real” host if there is something that you can help with, and seek out those who are standing by themselves.

3) Core ten:  Too often we focus on “supersizing” the number of contacts we have, instead of “supersizing” the quality of the relationships themselves.  Determine the ten most strategic network connections you have, and begin the work to strengthen these relationships. 

4) Social Network Risks:  While the conventional wisdom is to use social networks (such as LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, and even Facebook and MySpace) to “search” for jobs, too often our listings can lead to disqualification instead.  Make sure that unprofessional comments and embarrassing pictures are completely expunged.  Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter or hiring manager – would they want to meet with you after seeing your profile?

5) Social Networking Marketing:  The key benefit of social networks is that they provide visibility to your contact’s connections.  Look through these connections, and then ask YOUR contacts to help set up a real-world meeting with specific people that you target.

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6 responses to “Let’s Unleash the Experts: 5 Job Search Tips from Career Consultant Randall Craig

  1. Great commentary.

    So few people get#1, but giving without expecting anything in return does so much more than just make you feel good. It makes you memorable, adds value to the relationship, and it makes people want to help you.

    #4 above is real.

    Talk about the risks of social media (grinning as I write this because I know so much about our candidates before I ever meet them): We know more about you than you can even imagine. Careerbuilder, for example, allows recruiters, hiring mgrs, etc to view all of your public social networks with one click. You may be the best darn programmer in town, but I promise you that hiring decisions are being made based on your extreme photos and comments on the Internet.

    There’s other technology that reveals the reality of social networks right from the hiring managers email box.

    Imagine that you just finished an interview and sent a well crafted thank you email to the hiring manager. If they use Xobni they will literally see your facebook profile pic, linkedIn, MySpace account and everything else that you made public – the very instant they click on your email address.

    No, I don’t work for Xobni or Careerbuilder, but I am a hiring manager, recruiter and career consultant.

    Steve

  2. Thanks Amy, and thanks Steve for the great comment. Most candidates have no idea about the due diligence tools available to recruiters and hiring managers.

    Let me add a sixth to the list: Most folks are very uncomfortable “networking” at events, and as a result, avoid them completely. This isn’t surprising, as most networking conversations are often pointless schmoozing, conversations about the weather, traffic, or the latest sports scores.

    If you fall into this category, (or if you are just naturally shy), remember that the best networking conversations start with open-ended questions. Open-ended questions (eg ones that cannot be answered yes or no) allow the other person to talk about what interests them, which is a prelude to discovering any common interests. Asking questions also removes a lot of the pressure, because the onus is on the other person to do much of the talking.

    Some easy conversation-starters:
    – Why did you join the association?
    – What have you learned from tonight’s speaker?
    – Can you tell me a bit about your business?
    – How did you become the [job title] at your company?
    – Are you doing anything differently, with the economy the way it is?
    – What are the key issues in your industry?

    The list goes on, but the better the conversation, the better the relationship will be.

    Randall
    More career tips at:
    http://www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com/news

  3. As we’ve mentioned on my site (http://undergroundjobnetwork.com) before, about 80% of jobs are never advertised, so consider adding another useful tool to your job search toolbox: Trade Shows and Industry Association gatherings.

  4. I really enjoy your posting, would you mine reviewing mine and give me some feed back?
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  5. Great tips! Social networking is here to stay whether we like it or not, I think. And as much as I love it, the downside is that we really do have to make sure that our profiles always portray us in the best light. A really good resource to use for developing profiles and resumes is the workbook The Job Coach for Young Professionals. The worksheets and questionnaires make it really easy to craft profiles and resumes that are tailored to fit your needs.

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