Your Career CompassEleven out of twelve steps in our job search process are aimed at obtaining interviews and performing well in them.  It is at that point ‘selection interview,’ a potential hiring manager decides if you are right for the job, and, just as important, it is your time to evaluate whether the job is right for you.


Thursday, August 4th… Closing The Deal I, exploring interview strategies, including MoneySpeak and PRE-Offer negotiation.

Pilot OnboardMost interviews follow a predictable format, with steps that both the interviewer and applicant follow to decide if both will benefit from working together.  The best interviews are ones in which both participants are equal and can have a mutually beneficial, interactive conversation regarding the opportunity at hand.

While I do not like to use the word “normal” as applied to any interviewing process (too many variables), I do encourage any job seeker to come into any interview with a strategic approach… Think of an interview as the natural extension, the successful result of your effective networking.

Many networking conversations actually become screening interviews, where influential contacts are assessing your qualifications, skill sets and experience relative to an opportunity at hand.  “Perfect practice” of the basics builds the confidence necessary to perform well in formal job interviews.

  1. Appropriate and productive networking TO an employment opportunity, coupled with supportive research, will allow the job seeker a solid notion of FIT going into the interview… How does their value proposition meet the employer’s needs?
  2. A couple of well thought out questions, asked in those first few minutes of the interview, will confirm that notion of FIT… and set the job seeker’s approach to the ensuing Q&A.
  3. Understand and be prepared to apply the guidelines of answering questions effectively…NO NEED for the memorization of anticipated questions!
  4. BE PREPARED to address money issues at all times, right up to your actual acceptance of the offer… Step #12 in all its glory.

“Take The Pulse” of Your Job Search Efforts

A lot of individuals with a rebellious streak resist structure, snub the idea of a schedule, and then find that their lives and creative output aren’t nearly as harmonious as they hoped.  As job seekers, they may find it quite difficult to get in to a productive and efficient routine, the implementation of their Personal Marketing Plan.

If you fall at this end of the spectrum and find it hard to accept — and even harder to follow — a standard routine, maybe it’s time to stop thinking about managing your time and effort as developing a set of strict rules to follow.  In fact, implementing your PMP wisely is to commit to averaging your activity counts and time management ‘numbers’ over a longer stretch of time.

Start thinking about increasing productivity as a process of finding and cultivating your unique creative rhythm — your cadence, your implementation beat… your job search “PULSE.”  Create a personal discipline for yourself, a way of being, where there’s a realistic goal (your next right employment opportunity) and recognize the need to maintain a consistency of fruitful activity to propel our 12-step process of career transition forward… all while allowing room for improvisation and job search/ LIFE balance!

If this sort of approach sounds appealing to you, here are some ideas based on my own anecdotal experiences with thousands of unemployed people over my 36 years of experience in consulting with job seekers around the U.S.of A.

Monthly Cadence

Job Seekers can typically get more done in a month when they plan for less. Most people have a natural rhythm where they can accomplish about one major professional project or one personal milestone in a month. As an example, think about developing your resume and related personal marketing materials.

  1. Resume
  2. “Tell me about yourself” or your ‘elevator pitch’ or even your qualification statement
  3. Your digital footprint: Branding yourself in your LinkedIn Profile

If you tell yourself that you’ll do three items of this stature in a month, you’ll probably make little progress on any of them. If you commit to one specifically for the month, there’s a high probability that you’ll accomplish it or get close to finishing in the four weeks. Honor that monthly project cadence, and you’ll feel much more satisfied.

It’s also essential that you honor your personal and emotional energy cadence over the course of the month. Of course, there are exceptions, but as a general rule, one or two distractions a month are the max that most individuals can take without getting thrown significantly off rhythm.

Also, consider pacing yourself in regard to events you host or visitors that you have in your home. All of these events add a nice sense of variety to life, but can make you lose the beat if the exceptions become the norm.

What IS The Next Right Opportunity For You?

Your Career CompassJust as the competent sailor must select their destination in order to have a successful voyage, so must the productive and efficient job seeker know what is a right work opportunity to identify, proceed toward…and secure!  While this seems like an incredible over-simplification, mere ‘common sense,’ it is knowledge that eludes most unemployed people.  You see, when you’re employed you tend to assume that your employer will help you to navigate those ‘next steps’ in your career.

Ah, but when you’ve lost your job, your fellow employees, and your employer… WHOA… the rules seem to have changed!

Pilot Onboard

While the sailor’s journey could be defined by its destination, his success is determined by the course he selects, and, most significantly, having an appropriate ship to make the passage as smooth as possible.

In Steps #1 and #2 of our 12-step process we learn to assess (know the features of our ship) and set our objective (select our destination and course) so that we can develop a GREAT Resume, one that allows our future employer to help navigate our journey, thus we embrace the OTHER job market!

Right Resources for An Effective Search

In Steps #3 through #7 we assemble supportive ‘tools and resources’ for the job search ahead (a competent sailor ‘provisions’ his ship for the journey)… the most important of which is having a plan, a Personal Marketing Plan (our charted course to get us to our destination)…which is Step#8.

3. Develop Personal Marketing collateral materials (Resume, etc.)

4. Test Market with References

5. Branding via social media (LinkedIn ‘footprint’)

6. Basic market research to determine trends and targets

7. Determine potential marketplace (your initial contact list)

8. Develop your PMP (chart your course)

Eight out of your 12 Steps and you haven’t even left the harbor yet!

The “First Wave” of Networking Activity

fourth-of-july-fly-overFirst and foremost, enjoy the long Holiday weekend!  Our freedom has never been free, nor has our independence been shaken.

Your Career Compass

Job search does not happen in a digital vacuum.

I have long suggested that steps one and two of our 12-step Process M.A.P. give us all the ingredients we need to “get in the galley” and cook up a three course meal of our personal marketing collateral materials.  Most job seekers seem to prefer starting with a resume, so that they can begin simply applying to any job that seems remotely close to what they can do…

Thursday, July 7th… Implementing your PMP: The ‘First Wave’ and beyond

Pilot OnboardI encourage you to work with all your ingredients at the same time…if your desired result is a nice prime rib dinner, don’t start with the meat—start with the seasonings and vegetables, even get your dessert started…

Because that “meaty” resume is the easiest and quickest of what you need to prepare!

So…job seeking ‘chefs,’ let’s look at the ingredients that you have identified through assessment of your galley shelves, and your dinner of choice.

You have learned in earlier sessions that the key to the whole notion of productive and efficient networking is to generate INTERACTIVE communication, the initial basis of relationship building!  When involved with active job search, part of our preparation is to develop our set of Personal Marketing collateral materials, the vehicles by which we deliver our “story.”   We season our job search performance by building confidence in that story through practice and research.

Ah, and finally our just desserts… the CAREER pay-off is the network we build through the focus of targeting and the management of our contacts.

Networking is a contact sport!

The ‘FIRST Wave’

Your purpose in this ‘first wave’ of networking is to gain information, advice, and most importantly names of other individuals you can call.  You can create INTERACTIVE communication with NO rejection!  The lifeline of networking is to always get more ‘contacts.’ So, be sure to ask each person if they have a minute to talk to you, and when finished talking thank them for their time.

Make networking calls in a block of time. Each call is more comfortable than the one before. Do not call people and ask them if they have any openings at their company… This is almost always totally non-productive.  By starting with people you already know, or have a reason to know, you will be gaining confidence with every conversation!

THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND A SUCCESSFUL JOB SEARCH ARE ALWAYS THE SAME: the search process itself is time consuming work, and the more productive time you spend on your job search the more interviews and job offers you will generate.

So the question at this point is “Where do you find out about job openings and on which avenues of job search should you spend the most time?”


Technology has done a terrific job of consolidating posted job leads. Web crawling software can reach out and consolidate classified ads, recruitment posts and company posted job opportunities. We know these consolidated sites as Internet Job Banks… and some of them contain a huge amount of postings.

Unfortunately, their very size makes it challenging to stay current and eliminate redundancy. Also unfortunate is the fact that these very same job banks have consolidated your competition and rejection from Corporate America. This is not even mentioning that Corporate America is also missing it’s goal of better qualified resumes to fuel its recruitment effort… they’re simply getting MORE resumes to process!

Solution? Use the Job Banks to generate your most attractive leads, then network your way into those targeted organizations.  This is getting the most from your use of technology instead of being abused by it!