What’s in it for YOU: 5 Gains of Helping Others Find Jobs

Filtering to Gain Social Network Value

Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr

Even though most of the time people don’t even say thank you for sending them a job (unless they get it), and even more often they won’t actually apply – take a few minutes a day when you see opportunities for others and forward them on or share them with your social network.

Although this has always been an obvious one to me, there are a lot of benefits of helping others in any capacity – but for today let’s focus on helping someone find a job or better job than they currently have. I’m sure every person reading this knows at least one person, if not many who are out of work or who are underemployed currently.

Also, especially those out of work: while you’re surfing job boards, when you see interesting jobs that aren’t for you, why not take 30 seconds to send it to a friend or to tweet them to bring them to other people’s attention? I’ve helped countless people find jobs this way.

Let’s review a few of these perks so maybe you’ll feel encouraged (or guilty enough) to help someone else.

1. Financial benefit. Many companies offer referral bonuses, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Generally this comes a few months after the person is hired & passes a ‘probation period’, but usually you’ll see a check at some point for helping that friend of a friend get a job in a different department at your place of work.

*Always check your company’s policy – some require that you submit a resume before a person does on their own in order for you to be credited, so don’t tell them to apply online until you know how you can gain from their potential hire.

2. Moral benefit. You just did something good for someone else. You’re not a terrible person at this second for a tangible reason. Now pat yourself on the back and do it again. Do unto others….as they say.

3. Reciprocal benefit. A recruiter once told me something along the lines of that recruiters never have trouble finding a job & always know about new opportunities before others. Why? Because people remember that you helped them, and oft will return the favor one day. While yes it’s a ‘pay it forward’ kind of act to do, you never know when you’ll end up on the beneficial end.

4. Social benefit. It’s a great way to make friends. Networked with someone new? Help them find a new role and you just may end up friends (at least on linkedin) for life.

Your child’s best friend’s father was just laid off & will have to relocate the family if they don’t find a job. You help them find a local career, and voila, you just saved your child’s social life and a whole lot of family drama.

Don’t have kids? Perhaps if you find a job for someone within your community or within a cause you both support they’ll be able to contribute more to the cause which will benefit you (because hey, what cause or community doesn’t need money nowadays?)

5. Brownie points. While not a tangible thing necessarily, HR will remember you as that person who helped them find someone for that really hard to  fill role. Referred someone to work for a nonprofit you saw was hiring online? You never know when they’ll look you up to thank you or offer you to join them as well.

So these are just a few of the benefits, and I’m lucky enough to have gained them all from helping various people over the years. It’s even how I found my current job. Try it to today, and share what you gain by it. You have nothing to lose.

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What Not to Wear to Work

Bill Gates in business-casual attire.

Via Wikipedia - Gates in (Nerdy) Business Casual

I recently remarked to my husband that I wish I could wear PJ’s to work or something equally as comfortable. He said the only socially acceptable way to do this is if we move to Staten Island or New Jersey. But what about all the other people in the office who are wearing things I wouldn’t paint my house in?

I’m not saying my office per se, but in general lines have blurred when it comes to what’s appropriate to wear to an office. I think the suits-only companies left are few and far between – primarily high-end law & accounting firms. I’m sure there may be others, but generally most offices have taken the ‘business casual’ or plain old ‘causal’ workforce attire.

Casual

Anything goes, and if you wear a suit people will assume you’re going for an interview somewhere else after work – unless the head honcho is in town. That doesn’t even apply if you work for a start-up or trendy DUMBO place – the CEO’s there probably are wearing their hipster faded jeans too.

Business Casual   

The ultimate of gray areas. When people ask me what that means at interviews, I generally say, “No jeans, sweats, sneakers, t-shirts, large logo’s, or workout wear – and anything else goes.” What does it really mean in an office environment? It means 3 people in the same exact position & salary – one will be in a collared shirt, tie and slacks. The next guy will be in flip flops, shorts, and a t-shirt. The third person will be in a head-to-toe ed hardy or similar design/logo-covered sweat suit with expensive sneakers. Depending on where you work is how much will fly causally.

Business Attire

AKA suits. Or at least a shirt and tie with a jacket perpetually on the back of your chair. The ladies get to mix it up with either pencil skirts or pants. It is expected that your clothing is tailored to fit you. You should look and act like a professional.

Dress-down Fridays?

I’ve seen the flip flops with shorts in one department of a company on a Friday, where a different department a supervisor remarked, “I couldn’t help but notice you were wearing jeans on Friday…” When in Rome…even if there is a dress-down policy in some departments, it may not apply to all. Take a hint from what your supervisor wears. Also if you have an important meeting on a Friday, that’s a good reason to dress well anyway.

Dress for the Job You Want, Not the Job You Have

This is old advice that many have lived by, and I’ve seen it work successfully. It may come across as awkward if you have a large divide in what the next level of administration up from you wears, i.e. if you’re level dresses casually as call takers, but the supervisors wear suits, it might seem weird if you walk in suddenly one day and going forward in suits. I suggest taking it up one step, but never over-dress. If the boss doesn’t wear a tie or suit, you shouldn’t either. It doesn’t mean that you have to go casual. Wear sleek, classic styles that would make you stand out from the jeans crowd, but not peg you as someone trying too hard.

Dress = Atmosphere

Business clothing brings with it the ‘business’ atmosphere. You wouldn’t yell out, “Who wants to come for pizza with me for lunch?” in a business environment. But if everyone’s dressed casually, why not? I saw an article featuring a start-up that had clothing for the start-up CEO. Yes, I’m serious. It was basically very overpriced durable hipster suit jackets to be worn with jeans and collared shirts. The craziest part? All the comments left on the article were either commending the company – that it’s so hard to figure out what to wear when you don’t want to overdress – but also don’t want to be the brunt of ‘Zuckerberg’ jokes because he’s still wearing sweats with flip flops a few billion later.

Then women got in on it in the comments section – like how men don’t need $400 suit jackets to wear with jeans – women do! That the men are all wearing collared shirts & jeans – but what do the women wear to look put together but casual, and still get taken seriously?

The women were jealous and were hoping this company would do a women’s line. Wow. All I could think was that uniforms are great. That high-paid executives, even business owners, have trouble presenting themselves with clothing – and wouldn’t it be easier to take out all the guessing?

Even if the uniform is black suit, light colored shirt, at least you won’t have to spend hours guessing what’s appropriate for work that day!

So in conclusion  –  know that whatever you wear will be judged in your place of employment. It may never be expressed to you, but the overall impression your coworkers and superiors have of you will be largely based on your appearance. Yep we’re that superficial, now you know – don’t pretend you don’t.

Wearing beach clothes to work is fine if you’re in a dead-ended job and plan to burn your bridges with them on your way out – but if you even think you might want to use them as a reference for your next ‘real job’ – dress up a bit more.

You have nothing to lose except a little comfort. Go get into your t-shirt as soon as you get home, pop open a cold beer, and return to being the unprofessional sloth you really are deep down inside. At least this way no one at work will ever be on to it, and you’ll have a professional reputation!

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“80% of Jobs Are Not Advertised” – by Lavie Margolin

Lavie Margolin

Today I have a contribution from a guest blogger who also has a successful career coaching blog & book to assist job seekers. His practical advice helps many find great positions – even in this economy. He also happens to have been the inspiration for my blog, so I have to give major props and encourage you to buy his book.

Lavie Margolin is a New York-based Job Search Advisor, Public Speaker and the Author of Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers. To read more of Lavie’s advice, check out his blog at www.lioncubjobsearch.blogspot.com

“80% of jobs are not advertised” is just not true.

It has been said over and over again that 80% of jobs are not advertised. It has been written about so many times that it is taken as fact.

Having the experience of helping professionals in their job search for nearly eight years, I think this 80% number is inflated and false.

How many midsized to large companies do you know of that do not list their jobs publicly? To prove that fact, think of any company with more than 200 employees. Search for the company on Indeed.com and and you will notice that many of their job vacancies are listed. After all, why would they not list job openings and keep them a secret?

By repeating this 80% myth over and over, it is dissuading job seekers from looking for work. The thinking goes: “why should I apply for work when most jobs are not advertised?”

It is true that some smaller companies do not advertise their jobs as it will be cost prohibitive but this is a tiny fraction. 

Perhaps this 80% number comes from a strict definition of the word “advertise”. An advertisement is defined as a PAID announcement or promotion. There are many jobs publicly available for viewing that are not PAID for:

1. The official company website
2. Job Boards that do not require a fee from the employer
3. Industry news publications
4. Industry blogs
5. Yahoo/Google Groups
6. Linkedin Groups
7. Social Network postings
8. Bulletin boards

The truth of the matter is that most jobs ARE advertised (or at least publicly available for viewing). A key to receiving a successful response is to apply for those jobs in a dynamic way:

Are you sending the same resume and cover letter for every job or taking the time to make sure it is an appealing advertisement for that job specifically? 

Are you then finding a contact in the company through your network on Linkedin and asking them to advocate on your behalf? 

Most jobs are out there for you to see. Be dynamic to have the best chance at receiving a response.

 

Thanks Lavie! Again, to read more check out Lavie’s blog or to buy his book go to:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1453668357?ie=UTF8&tag=louboorev-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1453668357

…and for my opinion on getting jobs advertised online: http://wp.me/pWfpN-4K

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The Lousy Networking Advice of Others – Top 5 Tips to Ignore

SAN DIEGO (April 26, 2007) - A member of the U...

Image via Wikipedia

So back to all the holiday parties and networking events you’ll be attending this season. While lots of people have their own do’s and don’ts – here are what I think are surefire ways to make networking events a waste of time by following the type of advice they offer in Yahoo! Home Page articles. More on considerate networking in my article Hi, Nice to Meet You. Me, Me Me, Me, MeMeMe… at: http://wp.me/pWfpN-2M

1. Ask for a Reference

At networking events, some suggest asking people you respect and have had positive working relationships with ‘for a reference ‘, hoping they’ll get the hint that you’re on the market. They imply that this is less awkward than asking for help with a job search.

I think this may backfire as that people aren’t generally so forthcoming with helping others, and will mistakenly assume you have opportunities already if you need references, as that no one checks them early in the hiring game.

2. Use Elevator Speeches in Conversations, A.K.A. “30 Seconds of Bragging” 

I think they’re great ideas in general, to present subtlety in conversations at interviews. But in social, networking environments? You sound like a used car salesman, but even sadder is that you’re selling yourself. I was recently at a networking event, having a lovely conversation with someone, and then he started ‘accomplishment dropping’. I don’t know why he was compelled to give me his pitch, I started spacing, looking for other people to talk to, before I had to hear more. Did you know I’ve improved recruiting for my for my company despite a five million dollar recruiting budget cut?

 3. Offer Unsolicited Advice

No one likes to hear what they could improve or are doing wrong in life. Calling people on their “stuff” doesn’t help you make friends faster. Some take it more gratefully than others, but generally if you’re trying to get someone to help you (i.e. find a job, buy your product, etc.) complimenting them is a better approach.

At a family event, someone complained greatly about their employment situation. I suggested they try reading my blog for advice, as that hey, it’s there for that reason. The person volunteered to me that they think my blog is too negative. That I ought to have a more positive tone, and be more encouraging.

While this person meant well, all I could think was, hey, I’m offering to help you, and why don’t you write a preachy blog? See how many readers you get?

But instead I was a good girl and kept my mouth shut, and I was humbly reminded that this is why I don’t write touchy-feely self help books and stick to my ever-so-snarky blog.

 4. Hand Your Card to Everyone Who Will Take It

It’s like the people who stand on street corners handing out menus or the fliers for the shady ‘suit sale’ a few blocks over.

No one wants to take it, and if they do, they’ll be looking for the nearest garbage to toss it into and be bothered. Few will say, hey, thanks for YOU! Unless it’s a promotional item with your info. If you’re handing them a pen with your info, they might just happily pocket it and look at it again later

5. Politely Blend In & Be Quiet

No one likes the loudest person in a room, but no one notices the quietest one either.

Wear a black suit, white shirt, black shoes, bland accessories, black and white business card, and you’re guaranteed to stand out as much as a penguin in a group on penguins…which one were you again? Especially if you’re on the quieter side, now’s the time to practice speaking about your assets and let your own style stand out. Be confident and assertive in starting conversations with those who you feel you may have a potential association with. 

Throw on a brightly colored accessory, men, that’s your tie, ladies, a professional yet spunky scarf, shirt under your suit, bag, or shoes – but definitely not all of these combined. You don’t want to scare people off or give them the wrong impression that you’re one step away from more colors than the muumuu’s in a Florida retirement community…unless you’re trying to land a gig in the arts or fashion district. They allow for more flamboyance.

Social Media Careers & Networking Your Way to Fame and Fortune

A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in i...

Image via Wikipedia

 

My husband was mentioned (not by name though http://bit.ly/aYwmJo) in a recent article about Social Media  – Yes, we happen to have met a friendly writer for Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek at a Social Media day networking event – see the power of networking people???

There’s been a buzz recently about web 2.0 & 3.0 people to fill jobs companies are struggling to create as that they barely understand what they need in these spheres. Companies will fail if they try to use a traditional customer service/advertising approach. No one will follow someone on twitter because they constantly tweet ads. They need to offer value, insight, discounts, or entertainment in their tweets to get people talking & following. No one signs up for commercials voluntarily, and if they do, they will unsubscribe. Stop following is just as quick and easy as starting.

Mashable keeps a job board (http://jobs.mashable.com) for Social Media jobs, and I’ve stumbled upon (and then added it to my http://stumbedupon.com account) http://socialmediaheadhunter.com/ – interesting insight into an Executive Recruiter who’s specializing in Social Media job placement.

The issue you always have to consider in making any career move is the experience this will give you both for life & on your resume. I’ve wondered if social media jobs are dead –end career moves.

Will it put you closer to your career goals? Is it a goal on its own to be a ‘social media’ person? You might enjoy it while you’re young, but when you’re 50 if you have to tweet about a company if might not be so exciting. So as with any job you make take, always stay connected to others in both your industry and others to network your way to advanced positions. Although big places might eventually need a ‘director’ of social media, most places nowadays won’t get beyond the mid-level manager, probably reporting up to marketing.

What’s to say for the future really depends on the evolution of technology and networking, both social online & off. As long as you’re on top of the progress and evolve and continue to learn, you’ll do just fine. Limit yourself, or decide that you can’t understand or embrace a new technology, and you’ll end up like your grandpa who has trouble using his VCR, let alone a DVD player or DVR…not that he wouldn’t enjoy tivo’ing the game so he doesn’t miss it when he comes over for the great grand-kid’s birthday party…oh wait, that’s my grandpa!
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Do I know you? “Opportunity knocks once in a lifetime.”

My Name Is

Image via Wikipedia

– Lose Yourself, Eminem

Who to & not to connect with is entirely a personal choice, but you only get one shot to make a first impression, and it will be remembered.

My opinions for Linkedin, Facebook, Myspace & Twitter.

Some people are open networkers (LION = Linked In Open Networkers, thanks Lavie for clarifying) which means pretty much they’ll connect to anyone hoping that a wide net of a network will help them professionally. This is a great tactic probably for sales people, executive recruiters, marketing professionals, etc. that need to get their word out to a large crowd – however this can easily backfire. In this way you’re also competing with all the other LION people for attention. Buy my product! Hire my friend! Join my pyramid scheme (don’t worry, it’s not a pyramid scheme!)!

Delete, delete, delete. Oh, delete from connections too. I’ll even leave groups we’re in together if that happens.

(I’ll go more into networking manners & protocols another post.)

Linkedin: Link with everyone you know that you respect from schools, friends, workplaces, and one degree away that you know of. Always write a message to someone when you want to connect with them unless you speak with them on a regular basis. Remind them that you went to elementary school together, that you were both on the college chess team, or that you both barista’s at the same Starbucks…and you want to connect professionally.

You don’t want someone asking, hey, do I know you? Not the worst thing, but not the best impression to give someone that you are asking to welcome you into their network. You’re asking to be brought into their professional circle, not the other way around.

Facebook: I recommend keeping things private, settings private, and only friending friends. Moderate your friends into groups for the amount of access to your photo’s and info that they can see.

You just opened a headband store online? That’s beautiful, open a fan page or group. Do not request to be my friend, that’s called spamming, my un-friend.

 I keep seeing these articles about WHAT TO NEVER POST ON FACEBOOK: why not to post you’ll be away for a weekend, that it’s welcoming robbers…but I feel like if you only are connected to those you trust, this shouldn’t be an issue. No one else should see that you’re going to Hawaii besides people you’re close to. Even some of your facebook connections that you have but aren’t close with shouldn’t see this. That’s what privacy settings are for.

Myspace: Do whatever you want, friend whomever you want, act like whomever you want: but make sure that in no way can it be traced to being you. Keep things anonymous always. Never post personal info there (even like screen names) because google will easily direct an employer researching you then to your linkedin, and there goes your candidacy!

Twitter: I’m using it for public things. As I recently Twittered: Twittering feels a lot like facebooking with strangers without the creepiness of strangers on myspace.

 Don’t Lose Yourself!

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