May 5, 2015
by Diane Crompton
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The Passion for Passive (Job Search that is!)

When it comes to communicating your job search status, the landscape is, well … confusing at best. It creates a dilemma for the job candidate and in many cases, for the career coach.

clock pointing to human silhouette

To provide an illustration: let’s say you fall into the category of being in an open, non-confidential job search. This means that you are no longer attached to your former employer and are openly looking for a job. Here’s where it gets tricky. You have the choice of being transparent and openly communicating your job-seeking status (I fall into this camp in terms of what I would typically recommend). Counter to this, you can portray yourself as still working for your last employer, keeping the “until present” time frame for this work engagement.

So, what’s a job seeker to do? Even within the career space there are strong differences in opinion regarding whether to share that you are openly looking for a job, or to keep this masked and appear as though you are still employed. Not only is this confusing for the job seeker, it’s muddied on the career coaching front too. Within the career coaching space, there are coaches who subscribe to the belief that sharing your job-seeking status can effectively kill your chances of being found attractive by recruiters and hiring managers. Here’s my question: why?

Having worked in the outplacement industry for many years, otherwise known as corporate-sponsored career transition services, I coached a wide variety of professionals on how to market themselves in their job search. These individuals received these career transition services as part of their separation package to help give them get a leg up on their next steps.

During these years in outplacement, I coached many talented individuals who were strong contributors to their organizations, with sound achievements related to their work. In hearing their stories, the majority lost their positions as a result of a corporate reorganization / restructuring – literally “caught in the line of fire” in terms of their job loss. It was an extremely rare occasion to coach an individual among these ranks who was obviously let go and pushed out due to poor performance.

It’s relevant to look at the motivation behind some of these corporate downsizings. There was an interesting article in the Washington Post that highlights the strong pull that shareholders have on corporate America. It’s not uncommon for key organizational decisions like corporate restructurings and layoffs to be triggered and encouraged for short-term tactical gains, potentially benefitting shareholders.

With all this being the case, why are we still working off of a model that may have applied during a robust economy, when job search was much more candidate-centric, and there wasn’t such a wealth of talent ready to be hired? And then there’s the change to what’s considered an average time frame of employment, job to job, which has morphed over time.

“Changing jobs every couple of years is the new norm and it might even benefit your career. Just ask a millennial.” –Fortune, 2/2/15

Notably, a recent survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites the average number of years for salaried workers to be in a job as 4.6 years. In an article by Kim Lachance Shandrow of Entrepreneur.com, published in partnership with Fortune Magazine, among millennials / Gen Ys and Gen Xers, a job move after several years of employment is not considered unusual and, and is in some cases is expected to showcase career advancement.

With all this being the case, isn’t it time for the career and recruiter space to keep pace? We encourage job seekers to embrace change, maybe it’s time for us to do the same.

April 1, 2015
by Diane Crompton
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Why the Iditarod is like your job search

As we launch into spring, I can’t help but think of the tough winter we’ve had. And what more humbling climate than Alaska? This is the time of year that the Iditarod, a 1,409 mile trek through Alaska’s wilderness, occurs. The race is a slog through unpredictable conditions, obstacles, and intense weather during the race, with a “musher” leading a team of 16 dogs. The more I learned about the Iditarod, the more I could see the similarity between the Iditarod and the challenges of job search.

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Iditarod 2010 – photo by Frank Kovalchek. Licensed under Creative Commons, CC By 2.0

“A distant place”:

The naming of the Iditarod might be derived from the Athabaskan “haiditarod,” which translates to “far distant place.” Job search can certainly feel like this, taking on an almost abstract quality: the longer the search goes on, the farther the endpoint feels.

Job search tip: Setting achievable daily and weekly goals can help ground you when you feel like you’ve lost your footing in your job search activities.

A challenging road:

The route of the Iditarod is somewhat constant, but there are often changes to adapt to:changing weather conditions; altered checkpoints, and there is a start and a re-start. Just like job search, when you think you have the lay of the land, the landscape changes. Perhaps your resume is no longer working or earlier successes you had with scoring interviews are no longer presented.

Job search tip: Consider trying a new approach: poll your peers, get into a job networking group to audit your process and identify what changes are needed. Explore getting the help of a professional coach if needed to streamline your approach and potentially shorten your search.

The last dash:

Before the sprint to the end, mushers rest their dogs to get ready for this final push.

Job search tip: Looking for a job is demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you are really working your job search like a job, build in rewards to replenish yourself so that you don’t exhaust your emotional and physical resources. In some cases this means taking a break altogether to get a new perspective and restore your focus.

Mush!

December 29, 2013
by Diane Crompton
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Shifting Your New Year’s Resolution

003I spent time over the holidays with family and was especially thankful for the visit. My niece is leaving immediately to begin a year away working in western Africa. She’s a new grad with degree in environmental science, so this internship is a great opportunity for her to build skills, work internationally in another culture and pave the way to her next job, future academic pursuits and much more. As I thought about the raw novelty of this opportunity for my niece – working in a remote locale, meeting and sharing experiences with new people, I couldn’t help but think – how many of us bring this same novelty, this same wish for rich experiences into our personal and professional lives? And, how can we merge the two? While we can’t always have everything we want or need, can we look at our lives holistically and think of creating a list for the New Year that marries those things that resonate with us personally and professionally? This post by Paul Brown provides some food for thought on the subject. While you’re ringing in the New Year, why not toast a new beginning to that master list that gives weight to your work / play / family self?

March 8, 2011
by Diane Crompton
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How Groups on LinkedIn can amplify your networking success

Whether you’re in active job search, looking for networking contacts or trying to grow your business, exploring and leveraging Groups on LinkedIn can make a difference with what you’re trying to achieve. It’s not unusual for me to see a lot of LinkedIn profiles where Group affiliations include alumni organizations or a few industry specific Groups. There’s way more below the surface to explore relative to Groups so here are some tips to help you get as out of LinkedIn Groups as possible :

  • Groups provide ready access to other “like minded” people who can increase your networking “reach,” provide a vehicle for knowledge sharing, give you access to more leads and keep you up to date on important news in your industry.
  • If you share a common Group affiliation with someone else, you can send them a message as opposed to paying for an InMail or going through a request for Introduction.
  • Sharing a Group affiliation with someone else makes your first approach with this person “warm” at the onset and potentially more productive.
  • There are a wide range of interesting discussions, tips and “insider” job leads shared on Groups that may never hit the LinkedIn membership at large. This puts you on an inside track to get access to critical information.

If you haven’t checked out and joined relevant Groups on LinkedIn, you can do this by going to Groups > My Groups or Group Directory. You might initially check out the “Groups You May Like” section to see if any of these are of interest. LinkedIn aggregates these Groups based on the information you share on your profile. Or, you can do a keyword search for appropriate groups using Boolean logic. For instance, a Boolean search like “HR OR ‘Human Resources’ AND Director” could yield Groups that could be appropriate for senior level HR professionals.

Some good things to consider when looking for ideal Groups to join include checking out the nature of the membership. You may want to target smaller niche groups or larger, global Groups, depending on your objectives.

If you’re in job search you might benefit from joining more Groups to help you amplify your networking efforts and build your referral base more quickly. If you go this route, consider streamlining this process by changing the default for how you receive updates from the Group to “weekly” (the default on LinkedIn unless you change this is “daily”).

If you found this to be helpful or if you have other tips for LinkedIn Groups please share…