Sunday, July 11, 2010

If you are transitioning industries or careers

Even in this amazingly tough job market, job seekers are successfully transitioning into new industries and new career fields. I went from being in the Information Technology industry for over 20 years to successfully launching my own job search coaching business in 2009.

For anyone transitioning from one field or industry to another I recommend the following:

1) Conduct informational interviews with people who are in the field / industry you want to pursue to find out what skills and experience they value. Also ask about the good and bad aspects of the career / industry so you really know what you are getting into. See the article on the RightChanges blog about the do and don’t of informational interviews.

2) Inventory your skills, abilities, and prior accomplishments so you can speak to how the experience you have to date positions you to be successful and help the company with their needs quickly. Use the STAR format to communicate your accomplishments.

3) Network into the new industry. Go to networking groups where employed people in that career / industry network.

4) Many industries and careers are going through changes. Join Linked In groups related to the new field so you can stay current.

5) Tell the people you know in your current field that you are considering the new career / industry; you never know who they know. A tool that will help them help you is the Marketing Plan.

6) If you are missing or are weak in a core skill, use this time to take training. There is free training available on so many subjects; you just need to be determined to find it. I recommend starting with a Google of “free training ”. Many software companies offer free tutorials, on-line demonstrations, even a trial copy of their software.

Take this moment in your life to determine your passion and purpose and to identify who is hiring and where you want to work. You may end up being grateful for this period of transition.

Judi Adams


Monday, July 5, 2010

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Step 4: The Search

If you have been following the steps outlined in this series, then you have completed steps one through three: every day you have chosen to have a good attitude, you have inventoried your unique skills and accomplishments, you have identified your target companies, and you developed and polished your marketing materials. You are now ready to find job leads and secure interviews.

From antidotal evidence, the percentage of job seekers who are using the wrong approach to the search is 80%+. Let’s look at the various approaches and it will be obvious where you want to spend the majority of your efforts searching for that next opportunity.

Applying On-line

The majority of job seekers spend most of their job search time applying to jobs on-line. Did you know that only 10% of people find their job through on-line ads? Let’s look at the reasons behind that statistic.

The Hidden Job Market

Most of the available jobs are not listed on-line; 85% of the available jobs are hidden. You have probably read about this Hidden Job Market. You may ask the question that other job seekers ask: “If they are trying to hire people, why would companies hide the jobs?”

One of the reasons for the hidden job market is that of the hundreds or thousands of applications filled out on-line and resumes sent in response to every job posted on-line, only 10% of them represent people who are even near to being qualified. There can only be two reasons a person would apply for a job for which they are not qualified. One: fulfilling the DOL requirement of x applications per week, Two: the job seeker is under the misconception that resumes are read by individuals and the reader will say “hey, this guy is not a match for this job but we can use him for another we have open”. What these job seekers do not understand is that people do not read every resume.

Larger companies now use keyword software to scan the resumes, from which only 10% of them will pass. 10% of hundreds or thousands is still a lot. Recruiters and hiring managers then select a batch of resumes from that number to visually scan. Your resume may or may not be in the batch that was selected for viewing. If your resume is lucky enough to be a part of the batch, your skills and experience must jump off the page in the 8 – 12 seconds given each resume.

Instead of going through this whole process to get qualified candidates, companies are getting the word out through employees who in turn refer people they know.
Another reason companies have hidden jobs is to keep from tipping their hand that they are about to fire someone. Take the position of CIO for example. There is only one CIO in a company so if the company is about to fire the existing CIO, the company would not want to place an ad and chance having the current CIO seeing it.
Now, all that said, although the odds are not great, 10% of people do find jobs applying on-line.

Working with Recruiters

The statistics say that 15% of job seekers find their jobs through recruiters (also known affectionately as headhunters). Recruiters are paid by companies to locate and present qualified candidates. As a job seeker, you are not the recruiter’s client, the company is. If the recruiter has two or three highly qualified candidates of which you are one, they will present all three candidates to the company, you and two of your competition. The recruiter does not really care if it is you or one of the other candidates who get the job; they just want the company to select someone they present so they have a happy customer and they get paid.

The number of job orders each recruiting company receives has gone down over the years yet the number of candidates has gone up. You practically need to know someone to get a recruiter to return your call.

But, again, 15% of job seekers do find their jobs through recruiters.


The statistic on the number of job seekers who find their job through networking is 75%. It’s also through networking that job seekers find the hidden job market. So ask yourself, where do you need to spend the majority of your time in your job search? Correct: networking.

You may feel you don’t have a very broad network, just a few friends, family, and peers, and they have been tapped out. The process of networking, when done correctly, will actually expand your network.

The powerful nature of networking is that the decision makers get to know you and all that you bring and they would rather hire you, a known entity, than someone they only know from a piece of paper, the resume.

Where to Network

Job Networking Groups

If you are fortune enough to have job networking groups in your community, such as Crossroads Career Network (, then you should take advantage of these meetings. Join Linked In, Yahoo, and Google job search interest groups; they are a good source of information about the various groups in your region.
Go to more than one of these groups, each has their own personality and offers different things: spiritual support, job search tips, and one-on-one mentors.
Spend part of your networking time attending these job search groups. However, you do not want to limit your networking time to events where most of the members are unemployed. You want to also network with employed people who have the inside information about the hidden job market; you want to attend meetings where your prospective hiring manager networks.

Industry Networking Groups

Industry networking groups are target rich environments in which to network. These groups are attended by employed people in your industry. When you actively work an industry networking group, you will expand your contacts, you will keep up on the industry, and the right people will get to know you and what you have to offer, getting you closer to decision makers and that next job.

How to Network

Now, many of us do not LOVE to network. In fact many of us would rather have a dental procedure.

Two good books on how to network are: Susan RoAne’s How to Work a Room, Your Essentials Guide to Savvy Socializing and Jeanne Martinet’s The Art of Mingling.
When I was in a job search in 2002, before I learned how to do it right, I would attend industry networking groups but I would gravitate to the people I already knew, most of them from the job search networking groups I attended. I soon realized I was not expanding my network. I read Susan RoAne’s book and took one of the tips, to give myself an assignment to meet a subset of the people in attendance. Since at this high technology event, there were more men than women, I decided to meet the other women in attendance.

Using another tip from the book of approaching a person who is standing by themselves, I walked up to one lady, introduced myself, mentioned that I am not comfortable networking, explained my goal, and then invited her to introduce herself. After we talked for a minute or two, I said it was a pleasure meeting her, we exchanged contact information and, as I was about to move on, she asked if she could come with me. The two of us walked up to another lady standing by herself, introduced ourselves, told her of our goal, and asked her to tell us about herself. After talking and exchanging contact information, she asked if she could join us.
At the end of the networking portion of the meeting, we had all of the women on one side of the room. The reality was apparent: most people are not comfortable networking but given a goal, it is more productive.

The next time you go to a networking event, try serving as a host by introducing others. Find someone sitting or standing alone and after introducing yourselves, find another person walking by and invite him to join your group and introduce himself. You will meet many more people this way.

Other Networking Tips

There are a few basic principles that are true in networking as well as other aspects of life:

• When faced with a daunting task – like eating an elephant – do it one bite at a time
Set a goal for every networking event.

• People say the most interesting conversationalist is a good listener
Do not feel you have to do all of the talking. Ask questions about the other person and truly listen to what they say.

• You will receive back if you help others
People feel used if they realize your main purpose in networking is to see what they can do for you. Start by first finding out how you can help them and follow through.

Have Business Cards on Hand

You developed business cards as part of your marketing materials. Keep a large stash of the cards loose in your right hand pocket. Having your cards in a card case makes it hard to get a card out quickly. As you receive business cards from other people, put them in your left hand pocket so they do not get mixed in with your cards.

When you have a moment alone, note on the back of each card the event at which you met them and anything specific you want to contact them about.

If you receive enough business cards to make it cost effective, there are card scanners that scan the individual business cards and update Microsoft Outlook Contacts. This is a real time saver.

Keep Your Hands Free

Your main purpose at these events is not to eat and drink; your main purpose is to meet and deepen your network. If you need to eat and drink something, arrive early to grab something to eat and drink and leave the prime networking time for networking and your hands free to shake hands and exchange cards.

A Handshake Does Not a Relationship Make

Too many job seekers network with the misconception that just because they met someone, then that person will be committed to helping the job seeker. Even if the person said he would help, it does not mean it will remain in the forefront of his mind. Life happens. It is your responsibility, as the job seeker, to follow-up with the people you meet at events.

Different people have differing degrees of availability and interest in helping you. Determine who to stay in touch with. Make it more than a single meeting or an e-mail relationship. Offer to treat them to coffee/soda or lunch so you can develop rapport with them. The better they know you and the closer you are to them, the more likely they will be to open up their network of close contacts to you or recommend you to a colleague.

Even if you do not enjoy networking and are not good at it, these steps will make your networking events more productive and maybe even a little more tolerable.

To be successful, job seekers need to use the various search approaches proportional to their rates of return. Spend no more than 10% of your job search applying on-line. Do not spend more than 15% of your time working with recruiters. The majority of your time should be spent networking.

People who are currently employed should be networking too. Your next job is not your last; develop your network now before you need them. As the title of Harvey MacKay’s book indicates ”Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty”.

In the next installment of the “Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job” series by Judi Adams, Senior Job Search Coach of, we will cover Step 5 – Sort (The Interview).

Copyright: The 6 Steps of a Job Search are copyrighted by Crossroads Career Services.