Category Archives: The Hunt

Postscript on Three Things Job Hunters Can Learn From Jon Gosselin

Wow–lots of comments and feedback for this one! Thanks for chiming in everyone–love the discussion. ūüôā

Some of you have said that Jon’s not the bad guy, it’s Kate. Or vice-versa. The post was not a comment on who the bad guy is in this situation. It’s to warn job seekers of some things they could be doing to sabotage 1) the job they have or 2) the job they want.

Whether or not Jon’s a bad person (and I doubt he is), he’s displaying certain behaviors that cause the public (his audience) to jump to conclusions or create perceptions in their minds that he’s a loser.

Unfortunately, life’s not fair, a picture’s worth a thousand words¬†and you don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression (<cough> pardon the cliches), so be conscious of the reputation you’re putting out there.

That’s all I’m sayin’.

Three Things Job Hunters Can Learn From Jon Gosselin

jongosselin_edhardyIt was only a matter of time before TLC axed father-of-eight and douchebag du jour Jon Gosselin from its hit “Jon & Kate Plus 8”. The writing was on the wall, and still, I think the Ed Hardy-clad cad was shocked.

What can you learn from this debacle? A lot.

  1. If you’re trying to keep the job you have, make yourself indispensible.¬†That means not abandoning your responsibilities. In fact, you should be doing your job better than ever before.¬†If not, you’re rendering yourself¬†useless. You’re no loss…you’re a liability. Jon Gosselin should be chauffeuring that passenger van, coaching Little League, making brownies for Girl Scouts and braiding pigtails outside his Pennsylvania home…all with a big, whitened-tooth grin on his face. He should be shooting for Father of the Year honors.
  2. If you get let go, go gracefully. If you don’t, that’s what people will remember most about you.¬†For goodness sake, don’t¬†bad-mouth your former employer, either. Making the national talk show circuit with your lawyer in tow isn’t going to do much¬†for your reputation except make you¬†look like a crybaby who lost a third grade kickball game.¬†See also ¬†Melissa Rivers on “Celebrity Apprentice”.
  3. If you’re looking for a new job, put your best face forward. The best face you’ve ever put forth in your life. If, like Jon, you’re partying with jailbait, busting the budget and spending your time courting sleazy tabloids, your reputation is going to stink like bad cologne¬†I imagine Jon is wearing.¬†People will avoid you like the plague.

What else can we learn from Jon Gosselin? When will TLC finally give Kate the boot? When will the kids launch an internal revolution and overthrow their captors…er parents?

5 Basic Manners and Why They Matter in the Workplace and on the Job Hunt

kanye-swift_0Like millions of others, all this hubbub surrounding inappropriate outbursts by Kanye, Serena and Russell Simmons has gotten me thinking about manners…and the lack of manners present in our current society.

I’m not going to go on and on about my feelings on those celebrity slips (everyone’s got an opinion), but I do want to talk about how important it is for us to mind our manners in the work world.¬†So here are MPS’ top¬†5 basic manners and why they matter in the office and on the job hunt:

  1. Say “please” and “thank you”. It will be remembered. In an interview, it shows potential bosses you can be trusted with high-level clients and other important folk.¬†In the workplace, it shows respect for co-workers and appreciation for those working with or for you on projects. People will feel good and work harder for you when they know you care.
  2. Learn proper table manners. If you don’t know them, learn them. Now.¬†You might have a breakfast or lunch interview. You might¬†be invited¬†by your boss to lunch or dinner or dining with clients and other colleagues. Believe me, no one wants to see anyone digging into their meal with extraneous gusto, no one wants to see you chew your food, and please pick up the right dinner roll and water glass. I don’t want you grabbing mine. ūüôā
  3. Embrace the “golden rule”. Regardless of your faith, you should adhere every day to the “golden rule”: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This relates to #1 and goes for everyone from your boss to the mail clerk. Be kind. Smile. If someone makes a mistake, don’t scream and yell like a psycho.¬†You will make everyone afraid and refuse to work with you.¬†Why does this matter on the job hunt? Because word spreads¬†quickly among your network when you’re known internally as the office devil. It will crucify you in the job market.¬†¬†On the flip side, if you’re known to be fair, supportive and a champion, it will open all kinds of doors for you.¬†
  4. Wait your turn and listen. When in a meeting or a job interview, remember to sit back, take pauses and breathe so you can best control yourself. When someone’s talking, wait for them to finish their thought before you chime in. This will do two very important things: 1) keep you from missing something important and 2) keep you from saying something that makes you look like a jackass. This one is so hard for me (I love to talk), but I try!
  5. Be a good sport. Win or lose, be gracious to everyone on the winning and losing teams. If you’ve beaten someone out for a promotion, don’t gloat. If your team’s lost a client, don’t be negative;¬†go back to the table and figure out how you can improve. If you’ve been laid off, take it graciously and exit gracefully. Don’t bad mouth former employers and colleagues. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “karma’s a bitch”.

Some Web sites I find handy for manners and gracious living:

Let’s Unleash the Experts: Five Ways to Pay the Bills While Looking for Your Dream Job

So many people are so busy looking for that perfect job that they forget there is work they can be doing that not only brings in cash to pay the bills but also keeps your name and experience circulating among those who may be hiring.

Betsy Richards, Director of Career Resources at Kaplan University, has 18 years of career resources experience and has helped build career services at Barry University, Florida Atlantic University and now at Kaplan University  www.kaplan.edu, where she helps Kaplan’s 58,000 online and campus-based students achieve their professional goals. She offers her top five tips:

  1. Make sure you have income coming in while you are searching for your dream job. If you have a job, keep it, regardless of how different it is from your ultimate career goal.   While enthusiastically and effectively fulfilling your current job requirements, you can actively prepare for your next career move.  This includes working with the human resources department in your company to find out about open positions or internal training opportunities to help you develop the skills to market yourself for your dream job.  You can also take on new or additional assignments to build your qualifications.  Likewise, you should research what is available in your community and through professional associations that would enable you to develop the right skills.
  2. If you are starting your job search and aren’t finding many positions you would love to apply for, start applying for temporary to permanent positions.  Many may shy away from these jobs because they don’t include benefits or promise security for longer than a few months, but more and more companies are expanding their temp-to-perm opportunities into the future spanning two to three years.  Since most companies prefer to hire from within, once you get a job, you have a better chance of positioning yourself to be considered for a permanent full-time position, and hopefully your dream job over time.
  3. You may need to find part-time hourly wage work in order to have income flowing in to pay basic expenses while figuring out what you will do next.  You may need to lower your bills by cutting out unnecessary expenses, taking in a roommate or moving in with a family member.  If you are in this position, you may consider going back to school to earn a degree in their desired field or taking courses to advance your knowledge. You could also find a relevant internship (paid or unpaid) or volunteer for a non-profit or start-up to develop experience and build your resume.
  4. Freelancing is another option. Employers don‚Äôt have expectations that you‚Äôll work with them during their normal hours, so you can do the work late at night from home or whatever works for you.¬† When marketing yourself as a freelancer, you are offering to complete a project for a company or a consultant.¬† There are many places to search for freelance opportunities, including job Web sites, such as craiglist.com, newspaper classified sections or supermarket bulletin boards.¬† You‚Äôll need to tailor your resume for the type of freelance work you are seeking and prepare an ‚Äúelevator speech‚ÄĚ and letter for phone and email replies to listings.¬† Be sure that it communicates the skills and experience you have that are specifically relevant to the freelance work advertised.¬† You can also list your services on professional organization and industry-related Web sites and job boards.
  5. If you have years of experience or expertise in your field, consulting is an option.  While you will probably be working less than eight-hours a day, the client typically determines how much they want you to work and you set the hours. This is a way to use your MBA-level expertise to provide companies with strategic counsel and get paid a professional rate as you continue your job search.

Thank you so much, Betsy! Great information!

GUEST BLOGGER: Ken Herron Shows and Tells ‚Äď Create an Online Portfolio to Help You Get Your Next Job

You have a resume.  Your competitor has a resume.  So how can you show your unique background, skills and experience to maximize your online presence and shorten your job search?   Create an online portfolio.  Beef up your existing LinkedIn profile, and create additional online resumes with VisualCV (I practice what I preach, see: http://visualcv.com/kenherron).  You can only have one profile on LinkedIn, but you can have multiple VisualCVs.  

 Here are five things you should include in your online portfolio to stand out in front of recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers.    

#1 Your Book on Amazon  For those of us who have not (yet!) written our first book, we have likely written an article, demonstrating both our expertise and our writing skills.  If not, and if you do not yet have your own Web site or blog, self-publish your document on Slideshare.  

#2 Your Recommendations  Third parties can always tout our talents more aggressively, and more credibly, than we can ourselves.  LinkedIn has an excellent recommendation tool, and you should pursue specific recommendations from recent executives, supervisors, peers, subordinates, customers and industry leaders. You can also cite relevant recommendations in your thank you notes to interviewers to reinforce why you are the best candidate for a position.  

#3 Your Work Samples¬† Show off the best public domain (i.e., non-proprietary) samples of your work. For team-based work, be sure to articulate your specific contributions. ¬†This isn’t just for marketing folks who have produced sales collateral.¬† Top technical executive recruiter Marsh Sutherland says software engineers should showcase samples of their best coding for download and review. ¬†Don’t forget to include any work which has won awards! ¬†

#4 Your Press Clippings  If you have been interviewed by, or quoted in the media as an expert in your field, be sure to include it.  If not, sign up today on Help a Reporter Out to identify opportunities to share your knowledge with a reporter on deadline who is seeking someone with your exact expertise.  

#5 You, Speaking Publicly¬† The golden ticket is an online video of you presenting to a roaring crowd (regardless of size). ¬†If you do not already have this, present yourself as a confident, competent public speaker in your field by seeking out an appropriate local organization, and ask to speak at one of their upcoming meetings.¬† Have a friend video you ‚Äď be sure to practice first, you don’t want an unexpected technical glitch to keep your brilliance from the world! ¬†If you don‚Äôt yet have the skills to effectively speak in front of a live audience, sign up today for your local Toastmasters. Finally, if just the thought of public speaking terrifies you, upload a PowerPoint presentation to Slideshare to show your ability to clearly communicate your ideas. Use the audio feature to add your own voice to your presentation. ¬†

Be remarkable.  Be different.  And think outside your resume!    

An award-winning global marketer, Ken Herron lives in Boston as he networks, online and offline, to find his next job.

Three Tips for Going “Back to School” the Miss Pink Slip Way

As I drove to work yesterday morning, yellow school buwelcome_back_to_school_chalkboardses were again lurching down Atlanta’s roadways, reminding me that kids are heading back to school and the hallowed halls of learning.

When I got laid off, I thought for an entire 10 seconds that maybe I’d go back to school…maybe try for an MBA or go full-force for an MFA. Alas, it was just a fleeting idea. I returned to reality quickly when I realized that would mean student loan debt on top of the credit card bills I was already paying down.¬†

Still, I feel like I’m always in need of continuing education. I’ve been wanting to learn more about art, photography and writing – all subjects that can be covered outside¬†those ivy-covered walls. So I’ve decided to go back to school the Miss Pink Slip way. How? It’s pretty simple:

  • Books – I have spent $$$ on books over the years and have dozens of volumes on art, writing, history, etc. Many of them have barely been cracked. It’s time for me to put them to use…by actually reading them! If you don’t own books on topics you want to¬†study, by all means get yourself to the library and find anything you want for free
  • Online courses– Almost anything you want to study is available online in some format. Whether it’s an e-learning feature on your local college’s Web site, Wikipedia¬†or YouTube, just surf the ‘net. You can find information on anything from the history of the Peloponnesian War to the rules of rugby to how to dice an onion. Some Web sites I’m checking out for courses include learnthat.com (free),¬†Mediabistro(paid) and¬†Better Photo (paid).¬† Look up “online classes”, your desired¬†topic and go
  • Community classes – Pour over your city’s free weekly (such as Atlanta’s Creative Loafing) to discover free or minimal cost events and courses. Attend Toastmasters or a local business mixer. Check out museums, churches and universities.¬†Most colleges offer continuing studies programs each semester. For a fee, you can immerse yourself in the worlds of art, business, film, history,¬†tennis and anything else you can imagine

Whether you have money to dedicate or not a dime to your name, you can continue learning and bettering yourself. And if you’re searching for a job, any of these activities can only help expand your perspective, enrich your network and open up new avenues for your life.

I’m excited about going “back to school”–how about you? Got any other helpful sites you’d like to share?

Pink Pick: Rock Unemployment!

Get your job-seeking booty on over to Rock Unemployment and visit with my friend Melanie.

RU_headerShe’s a marketing guru and has established a site for resume writing, portfolio design and job search strategies for “creative folks”. Read her blog, subscribe to her¬†daily job search tips and see what she recommends for “cheap fun”.¬†¬†Like me, Melanie just wants to inject a little fun into this drudgery we call job hunting.

Melanie also sent me her three favorite ways to re-energize your job search after you’ve exhausted everything else:

1. Offer to help others – Can you put your talents to use, to help out a friend? It’ll keep your skills from getting rusty, and you could get referrals for side jobs or even full-time positions.

2. Consider similar positions in different industries – Have you looked outside your field for jobs like yours? You may have developed highly specialized skills in one area, but also have easily transferable abilities (such as office management, filing, word processing or marketing). Check other industries and job titles to see if you match what they’re looking for.

3. Ask friends for recommendations – Using the theory of “six degrees of separation,” ask friends and family to recommend one person they know who might put you a step closer to the job you’re seeking. Then ask that person. Then the next… You’ll often find that it only takes a few steps before you’ve made a great new connection.

Thanks, Melanie! You Rock!
http://www.rockunemployment.com/