Thursday, 30 May 2013

Job Search Lesson 8 – using LinkedIn to find contacts to interview

LinkedIn network
LinkedIn is an excellent tool for identifying people to have an informational interview with. I know that when I was searching for contacts, I used the Advanced People Search tool extensively.

I began by searching for contacts in my network with the specific job title (including any derivatives) that I was interested in. For example, when I wanted to work in Brand Management, I searched for “Brand Manager” OR “Brand Management” OR “Marketing Manager”. Note: using the quotation marks around words returns that exact phrase. Using the OR operator, returns results with any of the items you listed (as opposed to ALL of the items you listed).

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Job Search Lesson 7 - who to target for informational interviews

In my earlier post on the topic, I recommended that you first conduct informational interviews with friends of yours who work in the field that you’re interested in. If you ask the right questions and do the right follow-up, you should be able to tee up informational interviews with your friends-of-friends… then their friends...and so on.

But who else should you target for informational interviews?

Here’s a brief list of people I reached out to when I was looking to change careers… feel free to suggest others!

People to target for informational interviews
  • Friends
  • Friends of friends

Monday, 27 May 2013

Job Search Lesson 6 – keep track of your networking activities

Tracking networking activitiesAs you conduct informational interviews and network to uncover unadvertised roles, I recommend that you develop a system for keeping track of your networking activities.

I approached this by taking notes just after I’d completed an informational interview while the material was still fresh in my mind. I then populated a table much like the one below. 

That way I always knew when I’d met with someone, what I’d taken away from the meeting, who had introduced me to them and whether I had done the appropriate post-informational interview follow-up.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Job Search Lesson 5 – post-informational interview follow-up

Interview follow-upStep 1 - Within 24 hours of your informational interview send a thank-you email to your contact. Not only does this show the appropriate amount of appreciation for the time and expertise they provided, but it’s also a useful reminder for them to put you in touch with their contacts.

Here’s how I might word the thank-you note:
Subject line
Thanks for your time

Job Search Lesson 4 – preparing for an informational interview

Informational interview questions
So you've teed up an informational interview and now you need to prepare.
First of all I recommend pulling together a list of questions that you want to know the answers to. Here are some thought starters to build your knowledge:
1. Would you please tell me a little about your role / what areas you’re responsible for?
2. What about your job history, what roles did you have previously?
3. What skills do you required succeed in your role?
4. What are the main challenges in your role?
5. What are the typical career paths after your role?
6. What do you like most / least about your role?
7. How is your success measured?

Friday, 24 May 2013

Job Search Lesson 3 – organizing informational interviews

Informational interviewsIn my last post I recommended that you build your network and knowledge base by conducting informational interviews.

When teeing up an interview, I recommend that you send an email to your contact asking for a half-hour coffee catch-up or phone conversation. Half an hour is about the right amount of time as it's short enough that most people are happy to spare the time to meet with someone to chat about their career and long enough to gain some really useful information.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Job Search Lesson 2 – conduct informational interviews

Informational interviews
In my last post I recommended that you spend half of the time you set aside for job searching, on roles that never get advertised.

One of the key activities in this regard is conducting Informational Interviews, where the objective is to learn about roles, requirements and industries… while building your network.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Job Search Lesson 1 – focus on both advertised positions and “unadvertised” positions

"Unadvertised" positions
I recently changed jobs, moving into a different function, within a different industry. This was no small feat and something that business school careers councilors advise against.

Going through this process and working with the careers councilors at my MBA school, I learned a great deal about successful job hunting.

Over the next few posts I will share with you those lessons.

The first lesson you should learn is that a significant number of roles never get advertised and you should split your time between advertised roles and “unadvertised” roles. As a guide, I recommend spending about half of your job search time on “unadvertised” roles.

A question you may well ask is “if roles are never advertised, how do I find out that a role even exists?”… and the short answer is networking.

I've already described the attitude that you should approach networking with, but read my next few posts for specific networking tactics for job seekers.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Learn to appreciate advice... wherever it comes from

Appreciate adviceMy grandfather once said to me "If someone offers you advice, no matter what position they hold, or whether you've heard the advice before, listen to them and say thank-you. If you do not listen and show appreciation then they, and others, will be less inclined to offer you advice in the future… which could mean that you miss that one golden nugget that could change your life".

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Is self-control like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets?

Self-control workout
Until recently, the strength of my self-control has been a source of great pride for me. Over the past few months however, I've found that self-control declining…and the lack of posts on this blog is a prime example of that.

Thinking about this problem I came up with the hypothesis that perhaps self-control is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets….the less you use it, the more it atrophies.
A quick Google search found this article on strengthening self-control, which supports the notion. 

It sounds like the solution to my problem therefore, is to identify opportunities to exercise my self-control and act on it. This means finding and undertaking activities that aren’t necessarily immediately gratifying, but are important and/or will benefit me in the long-run.

I really want to make strengthening my self-control a habit and as such, my goal (which I will assess each night) is to spend 21 consecutive days doing at least one activity that will strengthen my self-control (even if it’s as small as getting up without hitting snooze on the alarm).