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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.


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(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 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.


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.

Reality check time! August 14, 2010

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The stock market was down again for the fourth day in row Wednesday. The great recession continues. National unemployment is still over 10% despite what the media quotes.

So what is the reality check your preaching to the choir!

Here is the check!

If you are still devoting a lot of time to job boards then you will be out of work for a longer period.

If you are not getting out of the house and networking you will be out of work for a longer time.

If you are not using social media (LinkedIn Twitter Facebook) effectively you will be out of work a long time.

If you have lost your focus and drive for what you want to do then you will be out of work along time.

If you are using the shot gun approach well good luck to you.


Learn what the hidden job market is! Research make a list of target companies and then form your strategy, your game plan to land a position there. It take work and determination.

If you want the job and you want to work there, then do the work. The pay off is better than sitting there reading this.

If you have or others around have convinced you that you will never get another job doing what you have been doing, then what?

What is your passion? Is there a market for it? Can you develop a business plan for it?  Well then just do it! You will probably be happier doing what you have a passion for and working for yourself. Then if it takes off you can hire other people to help you.

As Nike says Just Do it!

How do you stay focused and positive after a year? March 24, 2010

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Well I have been unencumbered by employment  now for 1 1/2 years.  I have heard of people giving up, I have heard of people changing careers, I have heard of people loosing focus and taking anything, I have heard of people that have gone from focus to the shotgun approach.

They say desperate times call for desperate measures. Do they really? Or is that a cop out statement?

When they talk about people over 40 they always mention career transition like after 40 you have to seek a new career. What was wrong with the one I was in?  It is still around and I still like the work so why do I have to transition?

I might be an enigma. I have worked in the same industry for a number of years. I still have a lot I can contribute. I still have the time to do it also. I really like my industry because it is constantly changing and you get to learn new things all the time. I have worked with some great people and I have worked with some real pain the asses.

I have hired people and I have fired people. It was just part of the job.

They tell you in these times to surround yourself with positive people who will support you. People who have been out this long have a hard time staying focused and being positive.  I have my ups and downs but I try hard to have more ups than I do downs. When you start having a down day it can drag you down fast. You have to be aware and not let that happen.

How do you stay focused? I know  what I want to do. I know that I can do it very effectively. I know there is a position out there for me. I just have to find  it . So I keep looking for it and nothing else.

I know I have hurdles that I have to overcome. Knowing what these are gives me the advantage to address them in positive ways. This allows me to stay focused and up beat because I know that I can jump these hurdles with ease.

Staying positive is hard especially after all this time and then loosing my last 2 extensions because I worked a part time gig for a friend of mine.  I have stopped watching TV there was nothing worth watching anyway except maybe the DIY and NAT GEO channels. Not listening to bad news everyday helps you stay positive. I would get my information online in daily emails from the business journals and the tech wires. This allowed me to be selective on what I read especially if it related to my industry. I could see if my target companies received a contract or bought another company or merged with someone.  It kept me informed with what really mattered.

Getting into discussions and answering questions on LinkedIn helped a lot for me to stay positive because it provides a sense of worth. Especially when you get voted best answer or someone in a discussion gives you kudos for your part.

Writing this blog helps me stay positive as it has been my hope to help others who are job seeking. I have received good feedback from other seekers thanking me for it.

I guess what it really comes down to is the person character. Do they have the discipline to keep themselves focused and upbeat when the world is crumbling around them? Do they have that dogged determination required to go the distance to achieve what they desire or are they going to throw in the towel and take what ever and be miserable until something better comes along?

If you have been unemployed for a year or more please tell me here what you have done and what you do to keep focused and keep going. I would like to know and I am sure it may help others who read this blog.

Whats with Unemployment and Career Centers? March 17, 2010

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Here in Massachusetts there is a growing concern about a particular issue. That concern is about your UI benefits and extensions when you hit the one year mark in your endeavor to find gainful employment.

The career centers are encouraging you to find part time and contract work. They will tell you upfront that you can only make X number of dollars over your unemployment before it has an effect on your weekly UI check.

What they neglect to tell you is what effect it will have on your UI benefits if you are still unemployed after a year.

The eligibility amount is $3,500 to get UI benefits. I only worked a 3 week part time gig for a friends company and only made $2,300. When I went to file for my next to last extension I was told I was not eligible due to the fact I only worked 3 weeks in 2009 and did not make sufficient monies to collect. So now I am at zero income and no safety net left.

What others in Massachusetts are finding out is that there benefits are being greatly reduced because of their part time work. I know of a number of people who have gone from the maximum to $94/wk because of part time work. This places a further financial burden on these people and myself. It makes it many times harder for us to job search when we cannot afford gas to travel other than an actual interview. It hampers our ability to network as we cannot afford to buy the contact a simple cup of coffee much less the gas to get there.

So if you are starting or have been on unemployment and are working part time and /or contract I would suggest strongly that you go to your UI office and ask how this will effect your benefits down the road. The job market is going to be slow to recover and many of us will be unemployed or underemployed for years to come.

Volunteer work while unemployed. What does it get me? March 14, 2010

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Volunteer work will provide you some benefits that may or may not advance your career.

One it provides a sense of worth that you lost when you lost your job.

It allows you to keep your communication and interaction skills honed for that interview.

Then there is the networking aspect of it as it broadens your network and allows you to meet interesting people.

Depending on the work it can maintain, enhance, or hone your skills. It may add new skills also.

Where do these volunteer opportunities come from?

You can search them out or they may present themselves in chance ways.

My latest work is based on a chance encounter at the local Post Office. It was based on my former volunteer work and the fact that I was wearing an old uniform jacket with  embroidery.

I ran into Al who is running the Ram Island Restoration Project off of Mattapoisett, MA.

The project is to fly dirt out to the island to fill in 2 erosion spots, add planting and make it ready for the nesting season of the Common tern and the Roesetta Tern (endangered). 1/4 of each population nest on this island to breed.

The project uses 3 helicopters to fly the dirt out using mud mats that carry 750lbs of dirt at a time. so it takes many flights. We have moved 650 yards to date.  We have another 3 -4 days hopefully to finish the dirt move.

The pilots requested a water safety aspect in case they go into the water. This is where I come in having performed underwater recovery for 20 years I have the experience to train, plan and execute such an operation.

So my leadership and operation skills are in use once again. The operation provides me a feeling of great worth and responsibility. It has put me back on my game. Something that I have been missing this last  year.

It has also provided me with a new skill — navigation. I navigate us out through a narrow and obstruction avoidance  from the marina to the island and back. I also have to select the anchorage point daily for optimum response.

I hopefully have 3-4 more days of doing this before my part is completed.

This has helped me exercise my leadership skills and get me back on game.

I hope that all those volunteering are finding it helpful. To those who are thinking about it I hope this gives you that push to go for it. It is rewarding and will help you in the short and long term.

Seekers we still need humor! February 26, 2010

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I was establishing a network contact today. It is a stretch in that I am trying to go to a 4th degree.

My 1st degree knows his 1st degree ( my 2nd) knows someone (my 1st 2nd and his 1st 1st) at a company that I am interested in. Did you follow all that?

So my 1st send me a note about the introduction to his 1st about his 2nd. Then he tells me to be patient.

Here is the funny part;

I reply that I learned patience from my volunteer work performing underwater recovery.

He replies, “That’s funny it is a trait that I was born with”

I reply, ” Then I guess I have a weakness to talk about in an interview”


Okay! since I am loosing my mind about loosing my last 2 extensions my mind has warped!

So I am thinking about misleading job postings. You know the ones that get you excited them let you down.

For example here is the title of the job: Engagement Manager or even Sr. Engagement Manager

For us who know what that is it is a really good job and position.

Now here is the company: E-Harmony.com

Now just think of your own ad here! It could be hilarious!

Responsible for ensuring that our matches based on 39 points of compatibility get engaged to boost our standings in the matchmaking industry. Allowing us to grow market share and put Match.com out of business.


I saw this on Twitter today it is a cute one.

What would you have if everyone bought a white car?

You would have a white car-nation!

I told you I was loosing it didn’t I warn you. LOL


I know why Obama has big ears! It is from his parents and friends grabbing him by the ears and banging his head into a wall to get his attention!

Do I hear any takers America????????


Add your jokes to this post  to help us keep our sense of humor during these trying times.

Volunteer Work and your resume February 16, 2010

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This question gets asked a lot. Should I put my volunteer work on my resume?

Your volunteer work shows that you have interest outside of work that is considered life-balance. It shows the type of person you are by what you volunteer for. It shows that you can handle certain things better than others.

I was at a networking meeting the other day and this question came up. I was discussing how I have been told that my volunteer work (underwater recovery) should be on my resume. I was saying how I leave it on there. I am the Assistant Dive Chief and help run the operation or I am in charge of the operation. Since I have been on the news a number of times I asked when you see divers on the news do you know what goes on when they are there? No one had a clue.

The following is a typical operation that I would run;

I get a phone call between 1AM and 4 AM that there is a drowning (usually in the quarry). I have to figure out the risk involved and then pick from 139 fellow volunteers those that have the skill set to get the job done. I also have to support personnel for each diver so I have to call others. I then have to get the truck and report to the scene. Once on the scene I have to secure an area for my divers, find the Officer in Charge of the Scene and get filled in on what the story is. I have to interview witnesses. Then after assigning a few tasks I formulate the plan and pick my first team of divers to get in the water. I hold a brief press conference for the media that has shown up. Then it is back to running the operation. I debrief the first team of divers as to the conditions they encountered. I call all divers to a meeting to let them know whats ahead for them. Then the next set goes in. Each team of divers get a debriefing on exiting the water so that I can revamp the plan if required. In the middle of the operation I call another press conference to update them and to let them know what conditions we are diving in and to give them an estimate of how long I think the operation is going to run. At the end of the operation I give the last press conference. I give a final report to the Officer in Charge of the Scene.

So to break that down into skills that I go through; team building, logistics, relations(public and media), planning, risk/benefit assessment, leadership, crisis management(at times), communications and politics(on occasion).

After explaining this to the group I was told by one person that I was running an Agile operation. I said we run as a paramilitary organization in that we have one person in charge and one voice to the outside world. They said that is Agile. So I guess you could say that I understand how Agile works.

You could also say that I understand LEAN also. Think about it! I have limited resources to work with( I do not call out everyone for a dive) and I have to do the best job I can and get results that lead to a successful completion of the operation.

You could liken an operation to a project; I have a start and end I have dependencies and interdependencies and milestones.

So you can see that my volunteer work needs to be on my resume as the skills that I use (all at once) are beneficial to the company that I work for.

I am sure that your volunteer work may not be as involved as mine but I bet you have some great transferable skills from yours.

The other thing about volunteer work is that you may interview with someone who also volunteers to that organization or is interested in it. It will provide a talk point and relax the interview as now you have a common point.