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New College Grads What are they to do? December 11, 2010

Posted by jvmullin in Job Searching, Job Searching.
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We have been taught all our live that to get a good job you need a good education. So after we graduate high school we go right off to college. The jobs they have held during high school and college are not even related to what they are studying.  It is just the jobs they can get to make some cash.

Now they have hustled to earn that degree and graduate hopefully in the top of their class only to be told now that they need the experience to get the job.

Oh to be stuck in the Catch 22 syndrome I can’t get the experience without the job and I can’t get the job with out the experience.

I tell my clients and my children who are in college to get the summer internships to get the experience. I suggest that if the college or University has a coop program that they take that extra year to get the experience. This way they are in a better position than those that didn’t because they will have both the education and the experience.

I guess those that came up with this policy have forgotten what it was like when they started. I guess they have forgotten that they want the latest techniques and subject knowledge which you get from school. They forget that as they move people up they need the new people to train to become part of their succession program.  Or have they abandon that train of thought?

I guess that I am too logical and forward thinking to get a grasp on the idea of not hiring new grads because they lack experience. I guess in my head it comes across as ignorance and incompetence. A lack of ethics and morales. I feel that I should compel a list of these companies so I know where to tell my clients not to apply to because it would not be conducive to their future plans. That their future will more likely be stifled by the mind set controlling these companies and that their future will more than likely be in jeopardy.

To date I have not had one person who could provide a good rational or business explanation to this practice. Why is that? What does that tell you?

IT tell me that it is based on some irrational thought process and what does that tell me. Red Flags!

 

Holiday Attitude feelings December 6, 2010

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I have one wish for the unemployed underemployed and soon to be unemployed this holiday season.

I wish you HOPE for the future for you, your families and for America which as lost its way.

While I have been trying very hard to keep my attitude in check. After 2 years of unemployment and my benefits having Oct 1st. I find my attitude has turned to one a bitterness. I am sure that I am not alone.  I am thankful and grateful for my oldest son who is paying my rent for Nov. and December. Then he is not going to be able to help after that as he has his own financial problems. I am applying for anything and everything but don’t seem to be getting any takes on any of it. Is it the fact that I have 2 degrees and that I am a professional that scares them off? IS it the fact that I am 59 years old? I still have plenty of good years to contribute as my view is that I am 2 twenty year olds. I have a vast array of experience and have performed very well in each, yet I cannot find a job anywhere. As my youngest would say WTF!

As I sit here trying to contemplate what my future will be after December, I can’t help feeling like I am stranded on the Island of Misfit Toys. I feel like I do not belong anywhere any more.  Like the toys on the Island all I have left is Hope that some hiring manager will like me and want to have me. Like the misfit toys I would be so grateful I that I would be the most exceptional employee they have.  But alas I have no Rudolph, Abominable, Yukon Jack or Cornelius to tell Santa to rescue me.  So I guess I remain on the Island with the rest of the Misfits. The only thing that is a real analogy here is that we Misfits know that we are not Misfits but are very good.

I wish you all the best holidays that you can muster up. Remember this, it is not about material things but about each other and the love and support that you can give each other. This my friends is worth more than all the gold in the world.

Peace Love and Hope!

 

The economy is getting better but unemployment is up 9.8% December 3, 2010

Posted by jvmullin in Job Searching, Job Searching.
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This post is going to cover 2 topics; 1.) rise in unemployment and 2.) the uneducated statements of Cathrine Rampell of the New York Times.

We keep hearing that the economy is getting better yet despite that the unemployment figure is not declining at the same pace or is even rising despite the fact that some companies are claiming better numbers.

There are a number of ways companies can make it appear they are doing better while actually they are flat or in decline. Look at the news for Toll Brothers they claim a good 4th quarter but that is based on a tax write off.

An article the other day says that credit card use is down significantly. Then they go on to say that it is mainly due to banks cancelling cards or people being overdrawn on the cards they have. The only credit a few people in actually cutting up the cards or just not using them.

So if banks are not lending and credit card companies are not giving credit then how do they expect the economy to recover any time soon?

It appears that business has forgotten the basic economic rules of business.  What I see going on is not going to help matters either. Larger companies are buying up smaller companies they see as a future threat or a way to help build themselves up against the other competitors. While this is good for the business it usually means more unemployed as there is always a reduction due to eliminating redundancies in the two companies.

So pardon me for not believing the hype that the economy is improving based on some roller coaster numbers. I will stick to the reality of what is going on based on real economics not voodoo economics.

Second topic:

I read this on Yahoo this morning it is titled “Unemployed, and likely to stay that way” by Cathrine Rampell of the New York Times.

Here is a reporter that needs to get out of the office and talk to the 9.8% unemployed to get to the truth not just based on her conjecture.

She starts out by claiming that Europe has already come to grips with the long term unemployment situation while America is only just starting.  Well Cathrine you are dead wrong! We have come to grips along time ago. We saw the handwriting on the wall well over a year ago. Organizations like WIND Networking for Unemployed Professionals here in Massachusetts and a myriad of job hunt groups on LinkedIn have been all over that topic for well over a year.

The fact that you like many other uninformed employed workers look down on us is atrocious and perpetuates the misconceptions about us. Shame on you!

Yes in past recessions the layoffs were companies dumping their dead wood that I agree but this recession the major number of unemployed are highly qualified people, who have been deemed over qualified as an excuse not to hire them. Companies are looking to save cost by hiring younger cheaper labor. This of course costs more money in the short term as they have to pay for repeated mistakes that we already knew to avoid.

To infer that we just sit around waiting for the next job while doing nothing to improve ourselves is another perpetuation of a big business lie to not hire us. Now we are dealing with big business blatantly saying in post unemployed need not apply.

Cathrine the old saying goes if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.  I am sure business thanks you for perpetuating their myths about us so that they can sleep better at night.

As far as the people I represent, thanks for nothing. We do not think that highly of you either!

Survival or Take any job! December 2, 2010

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It amazes me that people with a comfortable job can tell someone who is struggling to keep a roof over their head, food on the table and their family in tact that they shouldn’t succumb to taking any job. I mean what world are these people living in? Place yourself in their shoes before you make such a thoughtless statement. You have a job and your dealing with inflation they do not have a job their benefits just got cut and they are dealing with a depression. So isn’t your world cozy!

Sorry but I am a realist. I am trying to live both sides. I am trying to get a company going so that I have a job and I am one of those who benefits have run out and I am trying to survive by talking anything. Most days my food intake is 1 hamburger patty no bun or condiments. I have lost about 30 lbs lately. So don’t try to tell me that I should stay focused on the career that I really want. Not when there are more and more companies out there getting away with unemployed need not apply.

My recommendation is to not give up on your dream job while you are also looking for anything that will allow you to survive. Put your dream job on simmer while you bring survival to a full boil.  Until Corporate America gets their head out of their rear end, it is what it is in the new America.

Remember the movie Soylent Green with Edward G. Robinson and Charelton Heston? It isn’t far off if things don’t change.

 

Reflections on 2 years of Unemployment & Lessons learned November 10, 2010

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I have been unemployed for 2 years now and I am still looking for that elusive career that I want.

What I have found out is that the so called experts and we know there are thousands out there are full of it. They have not had to look for a job in some time and are totally out f touch with finding one. There view point is one from the hiring side who has no idea what they want. Trying to find a job in this economy is like trying to hit a moving target. Every time you think you have it figured out they change the rules.  But the experts are still spouting the same thing. Then there is the social media side with all these experts. What they are experts at is filling the media with spam ads or the same information all day every day. Not so much in a passion to try and help you but to make a few dollars off of you. They tout free webinars which is a guise to sell there books or their programs. Like we have spare money to waste on such stuff.  Think about it if we followed everything they told us we would all be employed. Well I have listened and I have tried and I am still here after two years. I did it all right just they way they told us and no results. Ye sit has worked for some but then that is the Law of Averages I think more than what they said. The best hook is the “Hidden Job Market”, well let me clue you in it is so hidden they can’t find it but if it existed they can teach you how to find it. Well it exists and they can’t.

The Hidden job market is not advertised and not discussed. So how do you find it? Networking into your target companies and through the right person and the right questions you will find it. But what is it? It is three things;

Positions that are vacant and funded but not filled

Positions that were created but not funded and not filled

Position that you have to create and convince them they need you in that position.

Are they worth pursuing?  Yes if it is a place you want to work.

Please send me $20 for that advice. I might as well jump on the bandwagon too I need to money.

The most important thing I have learned is that those close to you are not your friends they are self centered and care about themselves. They do not listen to your dreams or passions. They could care less what you want they only care that you are working for their own selfish reasons.

Case in point:

I belong to an organization for unemployed professionals. I help out as much as I can as we are a community and I believe in Pay it Forward. My landlord and GF started pushing me to be a career coach because of all the help I was giving others. I was laser focused on an Engineering Manager position(My passion). I finally succumb to there bantering and started my business to help others with their careers their business and to develop leaders.

Foolish me thought that they would be willing to help promote my business and see me succeed at what they so vigorously pushed me into. Well like a couple of David Copperfields they vanished. I guess they figured well he is doing something that will make money our jobs are done. Thanks for nothing!!!!!

Ah but like David Copperfield they have reappeared to push me into taking anything to make any money. No concern for my mental state or attitude. No concern about helping me get the business going, no concern about what I want. Just as long as their selfish concerns are met they are happy. What about my happiness does it matter or count in all this?

Now I know why so many unemployed people feel they are going it alone. Now I know why we try to band together for support. We are the only ones who truly know what we are going through and we need each other to help each other. But even in these groups there are takers and do not see the need or feel the need to give back. This is baffling to me why someone would do that to a fellow human being when they understand what is at stake.  But I guess that is human nature and Karma will get them someday.

So I guess the lessons are:

Do not depend on friends and relatives to help you or have your best interest in mind when they tell you things you should be doing.

Stay laser focused on what you want

Take what the experts tell you with a grain of salt. Remember they make a living off of you.

Listen to what you fellow seekers have found that works. Learn as much about it and then figure out if it will  work for you and try it.

No matter how strong you think you are…. you are not to strong to be alone and cry once in awhile. It helps clear the mind and gets you recharged and focused. It give you a renewed determination. It also relieves stress.

Be your self! Especially in an interview. I have interviewed a number of people and yes we can tell when you have been “coached”. We want to see the real you. It counts against you if you’re not.

Treat interviews as a business meeting where you are selling a commodity and they need it. Tell them why your’s is the best.

Do not stop looking no matter how bad it seems. The day you stop is the day you missed the opportunity of a life time. It is just Murphy’s Law and the Law of Averages.

Smile and have a sense of humor it sucks being gloomy doomy all the time. Take the weekends off and have some fun. Go streak your kids soccer game. Well maybe not that. They do not have computers in holding cells (see the last point).

GTHOOTO!!!!! This is a great one from Tom Peters that he tells leaders. It stands for Get The Hell Out Of The Office. So get the hell out of the house. I do not know of nay door to door job offers or networkers. Plus it is good to be out and meet and talk to other people. You feel less like you have that  dreaded highly contagious unemployment disease. At least that is the way everyone treats you.

If you are reading this then vent in the comment section. Add your two cents! Get it off your chest or just add to it.

Positive attitudes win!

Focus and determination are key.

My attitude when I get rejected is; The jerks don’t know a good thing when it hits them in the face. Oh well their loss not mine. If a company cannot see the talent and skills you provide and what it means for them in a very positive way then they do not deserve someone as great as we are.

Out of Unemployment and savings What now? November 5, 2010

Posted by jvmullin in Job Searching, Job Searching.
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I was and still am trying to get my business going with zero budget. I have asked my friends to help spread the word but they have not done a good job.

I am trying to rely heavily on Social Media to get me noticed and get the word out. But I think most of the people are too self involved to help others.

I have two people who are trying to help me and one is someone who I am still getting to know better and one is someone I just met. But the people who are closest to me ….nothing.

I have helped a number of unemployed people in the WIND group and ask for them to help but again nothing.

I am sure there are those of you out there going through the same thing. You have helped others and now that you need help everyone has seemed to disappear from the radar and immediate vicinity.

Makes you wonder what this word has come to. Being unemployed gives you time to reflect on  what is important to you and who is important to you. To re-evaluate your relationships and friendships.

It is a struggle and you feel so alone.

However, it is not a time to give up. Failure is not an option in my book and you should think about it as your mantra also. I refuse to demean myself no matter how bad it gets because I know who I am and what I am capable of doing and I mean something damn it!

I just haven’t found the company that deserves my talents or the company that has taken the time to recognize them. In this fast pace, take the easiest route world we live in there are a number of highly qualified people that are being overlooked for the dumbest of reasons.

My neighbor came over yesterday with a small care package of food for me. It is nice to know there is still some charity left in the world. It renews my hope and faith in mankind.

I will succeed in my new venture somehow some way as I said failure is not an option for me.

We should ban together and figure out how to fight the fight together for there is safety in numbers as well as strength.

Thee is no weakness in asking for help only strength!

 

The end of year Holiday season and job hunting October 22, 2010

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Ah Fall in New England, the crisp air, the light breeze, the sunshine. Time to clean the shotgun, renew the permit and go out and hunt some jobs.

I do not recommend nor do I ever condone using the shotgun approach to job hunting no matter how desperate you are.

What I am alluding to is that it is fourth quarter for a number of companies and managers are busy burning through the rest of this years budget and developing next years.

What does that have to do with job hunting? Well it is the time they also have to look at future projects and manpower requirements. Which means they might have to hire some people. Some of that may be from attrition where someone retired or left for a better position.

So this is the time of year to kick your search up a couple of notches and get the networking skills honed to fine edge and land that position.

There should be little at home time this time of year. You should be at every career fair, trade show, professional organization meeting, networking meeting, holiday party, informational meetings you can go to.

If you are at home you should be on LinkedIn researching the company and the people you need to connect with. Making phone calls to set up meetings and providing an agenda for the meeting and sticking to it.

So why are you still reading this get going others are ahead of you on this.

Disclaimer:

No guns were fired or jobs injured during the writing of this post!

Do not forget to laugh and have fun.

Discouraged and despair are taking over? time to reflect! October 4, 2010

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This recession, I don’t care what they said on the news to us its still a recession, is lasting far too long. The end doesn’t seem to be in sight for a number of unemployed. More and more jobs and functions are being offshored.

That is the bad news so face it and get on with your life!

Really are you just going to give up?

NO !!!!

It is time to take a day off and clear your mind of all the baggage you have built up in the last year or two.

Start fresh by taking inventory again of all your skills and abilities.

Then get going on researching your industry and what is going on in it. Does it even still exist in your area. You may be chasing a ghost!

Next take a close reflection on your expectations knowing what is going on with companies. Are you being part of the problem with your search? Are your expectations too high or even too low?

Have you lost focus? Have you become so desperate that you can no longer think or see straight?

Are you depressed?

The best part of being an intelligent human being is that you have a brain and you can think logically strategically and calculate things.

SO take out the garbage in your head and get back to doing what you do best…..think!

You are a professional so act like one!

Develop a plan, write procedures that you will follow for every position, plot out a schedule. Reorganize and hit it hard!

Applying for a job is not just sending your resume. If that is all you are doing then there is no hope for you. It takes work and there are too many out there playing the whoa is me card. Well stop it!

There are plenty of resources out there for finding information on companies…use them. Use LinkedIn to search the company and find people to network with while you are waiting for your resume to miraculously bubble up to the to of the black hole.

If I sound harsh and rude it is for a reason. I hate to see talented people not using their talent when it counts the most.

Google the company to see what information comes up. If they are publicly traded then go to the SEC.gov website and read their 10K reports there is a vast sea of information there for you.

Research what companies are left in your area that could use your skills and talents and then target them. Set up an aggressive plan to network your way right to the decision maker. Develop your best this is what I can do for you speech. You r best this is how I can help the company do better speech.  Talk about it in business terms as well as solving problems. Tell how you can save or make time, save or make money and how you can solve problems that relate to the last two statements.

So remember you are a skilled and talented professional. Get focused and organized then write your plan, procedures and schedule, then execute it!

Have faith in your self get out of the house and network.  Ask for help and join a buddy group it will help you be accountable to others.

Career Fairs Great opportunities October 1, 2010

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We all know how Career fairs are run today.

Most of them have some flunky standing behind a table collecting resumes. Others have an low level HR person collecting them who can not tell you much about the company they work for or the position.

While others have hiring managers working the table but why is it they are not the ones that will be hiring you. Such is the realm of career fairs.

Oh one last pet peeve the fairs I have been to lately are great if you want to sell insurance, be a financial advisor, or sell Avon.

So with all this negativism why should go to a job fair?

Because it is a place of opportunity if you know how to work the floor!

The floor???? What are you talking about?

The most important people at the show in my opinion are the job seekers. Yes the job seekers!

These are people who have worked at companies that you may be interested in. These are people who may know someone that works at a company that you are interested in.

These are the people you should be talking to.

I started doing this awhile ago and it works great for a number of reasons.

One it builds your network and it gives you the opportunity to maybe help someone.

You may get the inside skinny on a company that you are interviewing with.

It gives you something to do instead of just standing in line looking at your feet.

It makes the time to get to the table to dump your resume go faster.

If there is by chance a hiring manager at the table you are more open to talking and asking the right questions because you just spent all that time talking to a bunch of strangers.

It makes the fair much more enjoyable.

So how do you do this?

While standing in line turn to the person behind you and say something like what do you do? My favorite ice breaker is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It usually gets a smile, a chuckle or a laugh but it breaks the barrier immediately.

So after a couple of minutes say excuse me and tap the person in front of you and get them engaged. Then the person behind the person behind you. Then the person in front of the person in front of you. You should know have a 5 person network meeting running.

Oh but you are not done because there are more people in the lines on either side of you so get them engaged in the network meeting also.

As the lines move and people drop out engage more people to keep your mini-networking meeting going.

I have found out some interesting information while conducting these meetings.  While at a Monster.com fair I had a woman who works for Monster come up and give me kudos for starting it.

So do not look at Career Fairs as boring and not worth the trip or effort go have fun and start your own networking event on the floor. Be sure to bring plenty of business cards and practice your pitch.

Social Media and the job search September 13, 2010

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Are you using social media in your job search?

If so which ones are you using?

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook MySpace etc.?

Do you know how to properly use them?

Do you  know the power they can have if you do use them correctly?

I am amazed at how many job seekers do not know the power of LinkedIn or how to use it to their advantage. I have a lecture that I provide on the very topic and the look of amazement that I get and the comments that I get after the lecture are mind boggling to me. But people are are grateful for me providing them the information.

One of the most powerful job alerts that I have found does not come from the job boards. It comes from Twitter. Well not directly, it is called TweetsMyJob and you have to have a Twitter account to use it. You can get it from TweetsMyJob.com.

There are books out there on the subject of using various social media and the job search. Some are good and others just glance over the topics without getting into much detail.

I think the detail is needed as to why you should be using this and how to use it and why it is important to use it correctly.

The one thing about my lecture is can be used for job search and then doing business after you land. It is about the power of networking and how it fits into todays and the future way of doing business.

So which do I use and why should I be using them? Well that is a personal preference as I see it. I can tell you that the top three as of this post are LinkedIn Twitter and Facebook in that order.

HR and recruiters are using these three more and more to find qualified candidates. Why? Because it is cost effective for them and easier to eliminate thousands of unqualified resumes. So shouldn’t you be learning how to use these three?

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn(LI) is a professional networking site for business and people in business. The language used and the discussions should be kept in a professional manner. There is an etiquette to networking and it adds to the power of this site.

Use all the features of LI in a way that adds to your value. How does one do this? Join groups relative to your profession. Select discussions that you are a SME at and provide alot of detail in your discussions. In the answers section you will want to do the same thing. In the books read section it shows that you are keeping your skills current by reading up on books related to those skills and your profession. Do not forget to select recommend, do not recommend or no comment and add your comments about the book. The ease of reading or the difficulty. Why you liked or did not like the book.

Applications that you will find useful. If you have a WordPress Blog you can easily link it to your profile through the WordPress application. You can use Slide Share or  Google Docs to share documents or presentations.

Twitter:

Twitter is not the same as texting to your children on your smartphone. You have the ability to follow who you wish and to control who is following you. You have the ability to connect to people you never thought would be possible.

The advantage of Twitter is that it teaches you how to converse in a 140 characters or less. It teaches you to be brief concise and to the point. Ah! but you will be surprised in just how much you can say in 140 characters.

Twitter is a vast number of communities and like all online communities it takes time for everyone to get comfortable with you and to learn who you are. So how can  you help them? You can help them by retweeting the tweets that you agree with or that you think make a point along with your way of thinking. You can help by ensuring that your Tweets have intellectual content to them.

An example of this would be that if you Tweeted a message that really didn’t have much meaning it sounded like a statement to be making a statement. As a reader you say what does that mean? Does it really mean anything?

I say use intellectual content because without it it is just words for the sake of words. Intellectual content gives your words power and this will attract people to you and they may want to follow you.

Ask questions or start discussion. You will have to learn to use  hashtags (#) for this. You can search subjects using hashtags. Search for people you know or want to connect with.

FaceBook:

This to me is more social than professional but HR and recruiters are using it to find candidates as well. There are business pages that if they are a target company you can like those pages so you can keep up with what is going on.

If you are job seeking you may want to make your profile both family & friends and professional.

So I suggest to job seekers who are not using these or are not using them to there fullest potential to find out how to. As this is where you will be found and your next job may very well come from.