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  #1  
Old 14th November 2006, 09:00 PM
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I Say... The Job Hunt - Tips & Tricks & Traps

Let's talk reality. If you are not currently in a job hunt, odds are you will be in the future and it usually will be at a time when you are least prepared emotionally, financially, or psychologically. You may find yourself out of job for a number of reasons (wholesale "rightsizing;" company failure; personal conflicts with bosses or coworkers; your own personal choice for ethical reasons; etc.) The point is it will happen.

We often tell each other "save for a rainy day." The day you find yourself without a job and no immediate prospects is one of the rainiest days in your life, ranking right alongside death or major illness of a loved one and divorce.

This may seem like "stream of consciousness" rambling, but only because there is no particular priority of preparations and some of us may have special circumstances which sets the priority.

Preparations:
  1. Start now to set aside money to cover expenses for you and your family for at least six months while you go through the job hunt. This can come from a combination of retirement accounts, inheritance, loans from wealthy relatives, unemployment pay, severance, etc. The point is to have a cushion so you aren't forced to take a bad job just to feed, clothe, and house your family.
  2. Pay attention to the politics and rumors in your company about company problems, layoffs, customer dissatisfaction, etc. so layoffs and company failures don't catch you by surprise.
  3. Pay attention to what's happening in your industry and to your company's competitors. If you find yourself out of a job, will the cause be industry-wide, forcing you to look at another industry?
  4. Take a frank look at your personal relationships at work with bosses and coworkers. Studies show the "oddballs," loners, and other social misfits are at the top of a boss's list when it comes time to pare payroll, no matter how technically good they may be. If you are one, go see a personality coach to help you change to fit in. It will pay off when you are in the job hunt. Pay special attention to making confrontations into win-win negotiations instead of win-lose arguments.
  5. Stay current and, if possible, ahead of the curve in new developments in your industry or field of specialty. (Like it or not, Six Sigma has buzz. If you are openly critical of workers or bosses who champion Six Sigma, you are setting yourself up to be the first to go if they reach full power. "Knowledge is power" in this case. The bottom line is creating an image of a person who is the "guy always up on the latest development, not a hide-bound dinosaur."
  6. How's your resume? Do you network and help folks currently out of work? Do you have friends and acquaintances at suppliers, customers, trade and professional associations? Do you keep your professional registrations up to date, even if your employer won't pay the fees? You won't have much opportunity to make those connections when you are out of work.
Future posts on tips to polish your image at work and your industry and profession.

Other future posts on traps at work and in job hunts that can severely hinder your success.

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  #2  
Old 14th November 2006, 09:54 PM
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Re: The Job Hunt - Tips & Tricks & Traps

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by Wes Bucey View Post

Let's talk reality.
Indeed.
Quote:
Studies show the "oddballs," loners, and other social misfits are at the top of a boss's list when it comes time to pare payroll, no matter how technically good they may be.
References? I always start to twitch a little when I hear "studies" referred to without citations (not that I expect it in relationship to a forum post).

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Old 14th November 2006, 10:01 PM
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Re: The Job Hunt - Tips & Tricks & Traps

Wes, thanks for another 'installment' of very informative post. Honestly, I wonder how many had taken note and benefitted from these very 'real' and 'street smart' advice. I wish I had such resources years back when I needed them most.

Having said that, these words of wisdom are very much applicable as a reminder/refresher in the current phase of mine working life where job is equivalent to new projects or assignment.

We tend to lose track of ourselves while involving in the mundane day to day work. Its only when you read of such articles do you stop and take a look at yourself and ask yourself what had you done right and what had you done wrong! Otherwise, you wait for problems to crop-up before asking such questions - albeit late.

Thanks again for the many post of such nature and I look forward for your next installment!

Regards.
  #4  
Old 14th November 2006, 11:55 PM
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Re: The Job Hunt - Tips & Tricks & Traps

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by Jim Wynne View Post

Indeed.


References? I always start to twitch a little when I hear "studies" referred to without citations (not that I expect it in relationship to a forum post).
Good point! Like most high-ranking executives, I often fall into the trap of expecting my statements to be accepted without question. In this case, I am compiling both actual surveys performed by a Chicago icon (Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm) and anecdotal evidence from my 40 years experience as an executive listening to colleagues, friends, and acquaintances talking about their employment/firing decisions in a variety of settings. The Challenger data uses a euphemism "fit the company mold" for folks who are on the survivor list and, obviously, "fitting the mold" is a subjective opinion of the firing officer.

In this case, I can be considered a "prime source" in how executives think and act. I spent 40 years dealing with folks in the C-level suites. Most times, executives use the "wink and nod" [euphemisms] when talking about screwing over employees, customers, suppliers, and competitors when talking with each other, especially when they may be overheard. The real truth and frank language comes out on the golf course, at private parties, and in the executive washroom. Survive long enough and the wink and nod becomes like plain English and all the insiders know exactly what is meant and intended.

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Old 15th November 2006, 07:45 AM
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Re: The Job Hunt - Tips & Tricks & Traps

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by Wes Bucey View Post

Good point! Like most high-ranking executives, I often fall into the trap of expecting my statements to be accepted without question. In this case, I am compiling both actual surveys performed by a Chicago icon (Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm) and anecdotal evidence from my 40 years experience as an executive listening to colleagues, friends, and acquaintances talking about their employment/firing decisions in a variety of settings. The Challenger data uses a euphemism "fit the company mold" for folks who are on the survivor list and, obviously, "fitting the mold" is a subjective opinion of the firing officer.

In this case, I can be considered a "prime source" in how executives think and act. I spent 40 years dealing with folks in the C-level suites. Most times, executives use the "wink and nod" [euphemisms] when talking about screwing over employees, customers, suppliers, and competitors when talking with each other, especially when they may be overheard. The real truth and frank language comes out on the golf course, at private parties, and in the executive washroom. Survive long enough and the wink and nod becomes like plain English and all the insiders know exactly what is meant and intended.
I should point out that no snarkiness was intended; this is a subject that interests me in view of my overall interest in management competence, and the ways decisions get made. I am aware of (but can't cite without going to a lot of trouble) studies that indicate, for example, that attractive people of both sexes are both more likely to be hired and more likely to be promoted when there are less attractive people with equal or better skills. So I wasn't doubting the proposition, just interested in the details.

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Old 15th November 2006, 10:37 AM
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Re: The Job Hunt - Tips & Tricks & Traps

Like this? http://www.newswek.net/id/7420983/page/2/

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Last edited by SteelMaiden; 15th November 2006 at 10:37 AM. Reason: fixed link
  #7  
Old 15th November 2006, 01:56 PM
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Re: The Job Hunt - Tips & Tricks & Traps

Quote:
In Reply to Parent Post by SteelMaiden View Post

Exactly like that! I am aware of corporations where average or below-average looking folks were relegated to back offices and file rooms with little chance for advancement while above-average folks were put up front where they were "in the loop" and the first to be considered for promotions and raises because of their visibility.

I hadn't expected to give a point-by-point countermeasure to extract oneself from the trap of being "marginalized" because of appearance or personality traits. I am certainly not an expert, but in lieu of having a team of metrosexuals remold you, here are some hints to determine if you need "appearance and attitude adjustment."
  1. Compare your clothing to that of your bosses and coworkers. If it is different (much better or much worse style and condition, flashier or duller, sexier or blander, etc.), odds are you should be getting a wardrobe consultation from a reliable source (definitely NOT the local "Goth Shop") The point is "small difference is OK, being slightly better than coworkers, and equal to bosses is best."
  2. Compare your grooming and hygiene - better to be cleaner, neater than dirtier, shaggier, smellier.
  3. If you are considerably overweight or underweight, clothing and grooming are absolutely crucial - read books and magazines to get good tips to appear more "normal."
  4. Check your attitude at the door when you go to work. WE (executives) used to joke [on the square], "You can't go wrong with God, mom, apple pie, and the American Way when it comes to how to answer questions about your beliefs." It may be politically incorrect, but the simple fact is "sincerity is key!" (once you can fake that, you have a leg up on the competition.) Folks who appear to be radical are viewed with suspicion and fear by mainstream executives. That means strange appearance or minority attitudes about controversial topics should be reserved for private times away from the workplace. (That means no blogs emblazoned with your name and picture - that's NOT private.)
  5. How do you resolve disputes with coworkers and bosses? If you aren't using WIN-WIN negotiation, you are putting up roadblocks to advancement. If you humiliate someone by winning an argument, that person may retaliate at the worst possible time for your career. It is a truism that "Revenge is a pie best served cold!" Lots of folks have been sabotaged by well-timed barbs from former coworkers, bosses, and subordinates as revenge for past slights. Often the retaliation is out of proportion to the original slight which festers and grows with time.
Reference data?
In working with International Standards such as ISO9001-2000, we are cautioned against using/accepting anecdotal evidence. Sorry to say, when it comes to folks being sliced and diced by the biases of other folks, often the ONLY evidence is anecdotal.

You can choose to believe what you wear or how you look or smell doesn't matter, but you'd only be denying the truth. If you have an abrasive personality, each person you abrade is a potential assassin out to destroy you and your career at the first opportunity. If you are a milquetoast, always available to be someone's doormat, you can be sure an opportunist will wipe his feet on you.

This is like walking in a bad neighborhood at night - stick to the middle of the road, out of the shadows, take off your earphones, stay alert, look confident, not like a fearful victim, and don't provoke anyone with rude comments.

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Old 15th November 2006, 06:11 PM
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About that atttude . . .

In our premier threads about job hunting
Resume and cover letter - How good are yours?
Tips to get past the "gatekeeper" when job hunting
I make no bones about my respect for Richard Bolles, who has made a career out of updating his seminal book "What Color Is Your Parachute?"

He and I have similar views about "personality" tests. I won't digress with my views, but you can read his and get some links to free tests you can take over the internet at this page on Bolles' website
http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/libra...ing/ptests.php

Caveat:
These tests can be "gamed" when you are forced to take one when applying for a job or promotion. If you are looking for some real clues to your own personality which may surprise you, be scrupulously honest in making choices when answering questions.

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Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904) in Thoughts, Feelings and Fancies, 1857
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