5,647 was the number of applications I had submitted online, or at least that is how many it felt like. Fresh out of college and ready to start my career, I was in a new city and felt like I was banging my head against the wall searching for a job. Surely my spray and pray application method would pay off eventually, right? I did have a college degree after all. After several months of job searching without much traction, I stumbled upon the silver bullet of the job search: the informational interview. Whether you are just starting your career, like I was, are considering a new field, or are just seeking out a job, the informational interview is a great step to succeeding in your search.
My strategy for conducting the informational interview was four-fold. First, have a compelling reason for meeting with the person you contact. I was a recent college graduate who had just moved to the area and was interested in learning more about the local nonprofit sector. Your situation may be different than mine, but that does not mean you do not have a unique reason as to why someone should sit down with you. Maybe you are interested in learning more about a specific field or want to find out what it takes to be in your new contact’s position. Whatever it is, do not make it about the fact that you are job searching. Let that fact come out naturally. Mentioning it before you have even sat down will tie the person’s hands and make it tough to get appointments with people.
Second, keep it short. Only ask for 15 to 20 minutes of their time and was sure to keep that promise during the meeting. If the meeting goes longer, make sure it is on their terms and not because you forgot to keep an eye on the time. People are busy, so asking for only 15 to 20 minutes of their time makes it more manageable for them and more likely that they will meet with you.
Third, ask questions about them. Do not make it about yourself. You are there to find out more about them, their background, and the field they are in. Listening is an excellent skill to develop and communicates that you are genuinely interested in the person across from you. Plus, most people love to talk about themselves. Your ability to ask the right questions and actually listen to the answers will speak volumes about yourself without saying a word.
Finally, do not get out of that chair until the person you are meeting with has given you 2 to 3 more people with which to meet. In order to keep the ball rolling, you need to continually meet new people. In addition, with their permission, you can use their name as your compelling reason for meeting with your next contact, saying, “I recently met with John to learn more about the field, and he recommended I meet with you. Can I have 15 to 20 minutes of your time this week?”
Conducting informational interviews will expand your network and help you to learn about the community and industry you are pursuing. Not to mention getting out and meeting new people will boost your morale tremendously after sitting on the couch endlessly churning out applications to no avail. But how does it help you find a job? The people you meet with will have a pulse on the local job market and will likely know of openings in the field. If not, they will know somebody who does. Even though your meetings are not about the fact that you are job searching, it will likely come up organically. Even if it does not, you can reach out to your contacts later if you see they are connected to a position you are interested in for a reference or advice on your application.
If you are stuck in your job search, connect with people through the informational interview. Consider it a useful tool to add to your toolbox of job search skills. In my experience, limited as it may be, landing the right job really is all about who you know. The informational interview is a great way to quickly expand your network and gain some traction in what can be a difficult and discouraging job search.
CFEC Guest Blogger for Job Seekers in Central Florida:
"Do you have vague, childhood memories of milk being delivered to your door? Can you recall when your Mom would bring your shoes to be fixed at the shoe maker on Main Street and you might get a Root Beer float at the counter at Woolworth’s afterward? Was your older sister learning to type on an IBM Selectric so she could get that great job after she graduated high school?
Did you think when you choose your career as a young adult that you would work in that field until you retired and are now finding out that’s not quite true? As a job-seeker over 45 years of age, loaded with experience and wisdom, are you finding it hard to get a good-paying job (or any job)? Are you discouraged? Then this segment is for you (honestly, it’s for everyone).
Our time together will be fun and productive. We will explore what it takes to overcome your obstacles, how you can present your added value to a potential employer and how to effectively position yourself for a good paying job in a difficult job market through branding. Laugh if you must, but let me ask you this: ”What brand of bottled water do you buy?” You think about that until we meet together."
To find out more about this great topic by Tracy E. Trimblett, Consultant join us Thursday evening, April 3, 2014 from 6-9pm for our Re-Charge and Re-Energize Your Job Search Seminar© in the fellowship hall at College Park Baptist Church 1914 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL 32804.
Guest Blogger for Job Seekers:
Tracy E. Trimblett, Consultant
I was recently speaking to a local licensed mental health counselor, Cheryl Malone, M.A., about the mental struggle we all go through while looking for employment. She stated, “Humans feel the most stress and anxiety during a cross road in their life.” Think about it and look back in your life to some of the worst times. Some of those times were due to events in your life that caused a cross road. What is a cross road? A cross road is a time when your life seems to be stuck or literally standing still. You feel like you don’t know what to do or that there isn’t anything moving forward. Cross roads can be mentally and physically painful.
When you are looking for employment you are at a cross road and it’s very easy to think negatively, get depressed, and lose hope. Every application that you submit goes into a black hole, your phone never rings, and your email inbox is empty which all has a physical and mental effect on your body and self-esteem.
In my book, “The Recruiting Snitch, Recruiting Secrets to Help Land Your Dream Job”, I’ve provided an arsenal of tips and ideas to help get you through this time in your life. I never admit to have all the answers but I know after reading “The Recruiting Snitch” you will feel empowered to keep going and achieve the success in life that you deserve.
Please join me at the CFEC Job Search Seminar on April 3rd, 2014, to learn more about the “employment game” and secrets recruiters don’t want you to know. I would love to meet you!
Change your circumstances today by following these tips:
1. Stop saying, “I’m unemployed.”
Whatever you say and put in the universe will come following you. So if you keep telling people you are unemployed, guess what? You will stay unemployed. Change that sentence to, “I’m currently in transition and on a mission to find my next career.” Then guess what will happen? You are going to find your next job. I know it sounds crazy but the power of your words is beyond mighty, so begin by putting an end to sending negative words in the universe.
From here on out, only positive statements and words will be released from your lips.
2. Stop saying, “No one is hiring.”
If no one was hiring, I would be unemployed. I’ve been a Recruiter for 10 years. This means for the past 10 years I’ve been working for companies that are hiring. I receive hundreds of emails, LinkedIn messages, and see all day companies who are hiring and looking for talent every day. So, the truth is, companies are hiring, you just aren’t holding the skills they are looking for or you are looking in the wrong places.
By using the excuse, “No one’s is hiring”, you are immediately showing your lack of research in the current economy and job market because the fact is companies are hiring everywhere. You are also sending negativity out in the universe, which again will only breed negative reactions.
So the best way to rephrase that sentence is to say, “I hold a very niche skill set so I’m currently looking for a company that can use my skills to provide me with an opportunity.”
3. Stop sitting behind your computer.
In “The Recruiting Snitch”, I provide a detailed plan on how you should spend your days looking for employment. In summary, the first 2 weeks are heavily on the computer but then in week 3, I advise the reader to get out of the house at least 2 times per week to meet up with other people. This can be at a professional networking event (www.meetup.com), meet up with a family member, old co-worker, past teacher, professor, cousin, friend, or just start a friendly conversation with anyone at the mall, gas station, grocery store, or library.
The fact is you have a better chance of receiving employment through a personal referral. So you need to expand your personal network as much as you can. This does NOT mean sending more friend requests on Facebook or liking more pictures on Instagram. Have a face to face conversation and interaction with at least 2 people a week. You may meet someone out at the library and find their cousin is a manager at the company you’ve wanted to work. That’s all it takes sometimes.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Social media has made it easy for us all to look in to everyone’s life and immediately think, “Man, they have an awesome life.” Then what do you do? You immediately think, “Gosh, my life is horrible, I wish I had what they have.” The depiction of your friend’s life is based on the pictures they chose to post, it’s an edited or Photoshoped version of their life. So of course! They post the most attractive pictures or the most exciting stories to share.
Here’s the truth, we are all going through our own struggle and you are not in the boat alone. When you are feeling bad about your current situation say to yourself, “Everyone goes through this and I’m not alone, it may be a tough time, but I know this is just a moment in my life that isn’t fun but it will get better very soon.” See how you changed the negative to a positive?
In summary, this method of positive thinking will not come easy but it is worth the change. Once you can start viewing this time as an adventure, a change for the better, and just a bump in the road, you will start to see little opportunities open up for you. The universe will bring you people that will inspire and help you get to where you need to go, and you will take your life and happiness back.
If you enjoyed this reading or want to hear more, please join me at the CFEC Job Search Seminar on April 3rd, 2014. I will be speaking on recruiting secrets, how to ace the interview, networking, and resume writing. All very valuable topics if you are looking for employment.
Also, make a $15 investment in yourself and pick up a copy of “The Recruiting Snitch” at www.recruitingsnitch.com today!
The Recruiting Snitch
Some say that after 55 (I’m 66!!) you are “set out to pasture” to graze for the rest of your life. I take issue with that. The question really is what’s in that pasture?
I see a pasture with 3 distinct sections. Section one has an abundance of grass. The “Senior Citizens” (SC) there are grazing to their hearts content, loving it. They are making money, they are relaxing doing what they really want to do and don’t care what their age is.
The second section of the pasture is sparse. There is some grass and the SC who have “settled” there are complaining that there is some grass there, but they want more. They are working on a “Plan B” because during their prime (before they were set out to pasture) they were making a salary and loving it. Now they have to work, and work harder so that they can eventually meander over to “Section one” where there’s an abundance of grass.
The third section is sandy. It has no grass. There are a few SC over there, but they are constantly complaining that there is absolutely nothing out there (do I hear apathy?). They have worked hard and now they are standing there trying to find SOME grass to graze on, but they are just not finding it. They are not prepared for this eventuality. They have been given advice by dozens of people and have opted to take the wrong advice as those people didn’t have a clue as to what they were talking about but felt comfortable just “giving advice”. These are people who are “doubting Toms”.
Now, let’s revisit that second area. What led them to the path where there is some grass? Preparation? Great advice from those “in the know”? Networking with the right people? A high quality resume and LinkedIn profile? The answer of course is yes to all the above. Will they (or can they) meander quickly to the dense grassy area and make something of their life? The answer is a definite YES.
Preparation is the key word. There is no genetic or DNA issue here. There is no magic formula. There is no large bank account. There is no large “silver spoon”. It takes hard work to get to that middle patch. Yes, we all want to be in the far left grassy patch (Section one). We can do it….won’t happen overnight….it may never happen, but we can’t say we didn’t try. We all went to bed those nights saying, “we did the best we could all day and into the night. We are being paid what we are worth. We are not being paid what others feel we are worth. If we took a tablet and put two columns, we’d see something like the following:
Plan A (a paid position) Versus Plan B – The alternative
Plan A – The job we love to hate or hate to love
Plan B – I’ll do my own thing and make the best of it
A paycheck each week
A commission check saying this is what you accomplished
This chart depicts the difference between working for someone and working for yourself. As the “new crop of senior citizens, we all want to have a weekly pay check. We all want to have our bills paid on time. We want all stores to have “senior discounts”. This is a new age for us. We are used to working in our comfort zones, that “box “ called 1980 when we saw life a lot easier.
Newsflash, this is the 21st century and we are (by our own admission) BabyBoomers or “Boomers” for short. We were born post WWII. We didn’t have a choice!!! Now we have children and grandchildren. We are in the same or similar boat that our grandparents and parents may have been in during the 60’s and 70’s. Only the economy IS NOT the same. It is terribly different.
Are your skills where they should be? Should you go to school to update those skills? There is a mountain of questions to be asked and, yes, answered. Should you seek help? A resounding YES is in order here. What kind of help should you seek? Help comes from those who either “have been there” or from those who ARE there and are struggling just like you. The word NETWORKING comes to mind. These could be your peers and (yes) even your competition.
The biggest selling point YOU have is YOU. That’s right. Walk up to someone and smile. Stand on a street corner and look up. How many will stop and look up right beside you? Your “soft” skills are just as important as your “hard “skills. Soft skills are that grin or smile you always display. That sense of humor. Having “people skills” is over used.
The next selling point is your resume. Does it tell the whole story? Although I am an expert resume writer, I will not sit here and tell you to meet with me. This is not my time to self-promote. I will say this though, and that is that your resume is not an android. YOU are not an android! There are rules and rules governing how a resume should be written. I am not going to expound on ANY of them at this point. I will say, however, that if you talk to 12 different people, you are going to get 12 DIFFERENT ANSWERS. Some may be the same, some will be different. Who makes the decision ultimately? You do!!!
The last selling point is your LinkedIn Profile. It MUST match your resume. Again, I am not going to promote my seminars, aside to say that they deal with creating a polished LinkedIn Profile. If you don’t promote yourself….no one else will. Remember, if it is to be, it’s up to me. If you don’t self-promote, someone else will and that person (could be a good friend in the same field) will get the position before you do!! So you ask, “What’s in it for me”. Plenty….a job or new position for starters.
Being “put out to pasture” is no fun. No matter what section of the pasture you end up being in. Growing up and getting gray, is (hopefully) a time that we are all looking forward to. Better we are vertical than horizontal. We read obituaries every day about those in their 60’s who opted to take their own life because they admitted to being (in their own view) losers.
I heard the statement, “God didn’t make junk”. We need to regroup, realize that we have peers and we have support groups who exist simply to help. Are you taking advantage of them? Leaders of these groups can “lead you to the trough” but we can’t make you drink.
You have to do your part. What is your part? Simple, don’t stay in “Section three”. Meander over to the sparse grass and get used to it for a while. Build and keep building. Then, after you’ve built, meander over to the dense grass and START EATING. After all, we are “boomers” and we are what we make of ourselves. Plan B DOES exist. Will you use it? Or will you simply stay by the fence and watch others go for success?
Written by one of CFEC's Guest Bloggers:
Psychology of the Interview
-Emotional Intelligence Basics
-Peeling the Onion
-The W’s of the interview
-Parameters of Communication
The Journey to Whoville
-Who is here?
- STAR Approach
-Pre-and post questions
-Communication and Language 101
-It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later
Re-Charge and Re-Energize your Job Search Seminar, Orlando, FL Thursday Evening, April 4, 2013 at College ParkBaptistChurch / Fellowship Hall, 1914 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL32804. This Seminar will have two adjoining professional presenters to help you with your job search. You will not be disappointed, but instead you can expect to be re-charged, encouraged, and engaged. Help another unemployed friend by inviting them too. Reserve your seat below, mark your calendar, bring a few resumes just in case, and we will see you there! All Central Florida job seekers are invited to Rsvp for this event.
For more details and to RSVP for this event on April 4th please click here.
More information about this speaker:
"Farnaz Namin-Hedayati, Ph.D., is a doctor of corporate psychology, strategist, peak performance executive and leadership coach. She is the founder of Center for Work Life, a career and performance coaching and global human capital consulting boutique firm here in Orlando. Throughout her career, she has been the constant driver of key business results, such as increased revenues and profitability through decreased employee turnover, and peak performance for her coaching and corporate clients. She has more than 15 years of professional corporate experience in human capital consulting, leading top performing teams in the U.S. and abroad. She holds key roles on regulatory governing panels involving effective workforce planning and serves on various expert panels involving current workforce trends, leadership and career conflicts, mental health and healthy employer practices on networks such as FOX and CNN. She is a contributor to scientific and mainstream business publications such as The Huffington Post, and Orlando Business Journals. She conducts regular workshops and seminars on areas such as talent acquisition, career planning, leadership development, employee and team effectiveness, succession planning and work-life balance."
FUTURE EVENTS BY THIS COMPANY:
Career Planning Sessions
It’s difficult to be on a budget and hire a quality a career coach. At the Center for Work Life, we have made the choice to make that not be an issue. We offer career planning sessions free of charge once per month on the third Tuesday of every month at 4:00 pm at the Orange County Public Library located on Della Dr. in Orlando, 32819. http://www.centerforworklife.com/career-planning-sessions/
Next Career Planning Session
Tuesday, April 16th at 4:00 pm
Here you can have a 15 minute critique of your resume, obtain detailed tools on how to use social media, learn job search strategies including networking tips and learn interviewing tips to wow your audience. Whether you are looking to revamp your career, change it, or return to it after a change in your life, you can get great tools at these sessions to propel you forward.
At the Center we believe if someone is interested in landing the job of their choice, nothing should stand in their way.
Doctor of Corporate Psychology | Strategist & Peak Performance Coach
Center for Work Life
7009 Dr. Phillips Blvd Ste #260 | Orlando, FL 32819
"Scott Vedder is a Fortune 100 Recruiter and #1 bestselling author. Scott will share his expert insight and answer your résumé questions in a lighthearted, interactive presentation at the CFEC Job Seekers Seminar on Thursday, April 4th. Scott will give you the inside scoop on what recruiters are really looking for on a résumé. Learn how to write a résumé that speaks for itself. Find out why your résumé should be full of !@#$%, the Signs of a Great Résumé."
If you are job searching in Central Florida, we have the privilege to hear Scott’s presentation on this topic at our Re-Charge and Re-Energize your Job Search Seminar, Orlando, FL Thursday Evening, April 4, 2013 at College ParkBaptistChurch / Fellowship Hall, 1914 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL32804. This Seminar will have two adjoining professional presenters to help you with your job search. You will not be disappointed, but instead you can expect to be re-charged, encouraged, and engaged. Help another unemployed friend by inviting them too. Reserve your seat below, mark your calendar, bring a few resumes just in case, and we will see you there! All Central Florida job seekers are invited to Rsvp for this event.
For more details and to RSVP for this event please click here.
Additional Information about this speaker:
"As a Fortune 100 recruiter, Scott conducted over 5,000 interviews. Scott’s
book, Signs of a Great Résumé became the #1 best-selling résumé book on
Amazon.com. Scott has helped thousands of job seekers in presentations at
college and universities, networking groups, non-profits, chambers of commerce
and more! Scott’s expert insight has been featured in syndicated newspaper
columns and blogs and he’s been interviewed on national television and radio.
Put Scott’s experience to work for you!"
Barbara Seifert, Ph. D., CPC
You may have heard that there are people "out there" who can help you find and land a job, but you may be wondering exactly who 'those people' are and what exactly do they do. Well, this article will explain what a career coach is, what they do, and how you could benefit from working with one.
In the broader context, a coach can best be defined as "a person who guides and supports other people on their life and work journeys to create more of what they are wanting; coaches act as partners with clients to discover what they want and how best to achieve it" (Levine, Kase & Vitale, 2006). According to Coach U, Inc., coaching works due to synergy – becoming a team with the client and helping them get more than they would alone; structure – helping the client take more action, think bigger, and get the job done; and expertise – helping the client make more money, make better decisions, set the best goals, and restructure their personal and professional lives for maximum productivity. Most people find that, even though they are reading self-help books or tapes, they wind up going back to their old ways so they need someone to give them the "push" they need, as well as the accountability – and that is what the coach is there for. While they help the client to set goals, develop the action steps, and then help them clear out the 'blockages' that may deter them from reaching the goal, it is the accountability system that helps clients to achieve these goals.
There are many areas and populations that coaches work with, but one of the major niches is career coaching, which is aimed at helping people to find a job, change jobs, phase into a new career, or to start their own business. A career coach can work with clients who fall into several developmental phases, including: high school students, who are unclear about college or a major; college students who are not sure about their chosen field of study or still question what they want to do; people who are in-between jobs or are unhappy with their job and want to find a new one, and older workers who are looking to reinvent themselves or retire from the workforce. A career coach can help you to discover your purpose and passion, define and set your career goals, and develop a strategy for getting there; they also assist with interviewing skills, resume review and writing (not all), salary negotiation, and business etiquette skills. In addition, they can help you develop professionally to enhance your skills and move up in your career.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the role and benefits of working with a career coach and will consider finding one to aid you. Coaching can help you be the best you can be and find the success you've been looking for!
Dr. Barbara Seifert, LCSW, CPC, NLP is the President of Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting in Orlando, Florida. She helps individuals to take charge of their careers, find the work they love and enhance their professional development to reach their peak performance. She also coaches in organizations to enhance employee engagement and leadership development. Dr. Seifert is an adjunct professor, a certified coach and certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. You can learn more by visiting www.cyscoaching.com and Your Career Success Blog at www.allaboutcareerssite.wordpress.com.
Dr. Barbara Seifert, CPC, NLP
In order to be recognized and noticed in the business community, it is important to have your own 'brand', or a catchy way for people to recognize and remember you. This could be done either through a motto, a phrase, or a logo, but it should be something that identifies you and your company or service. It also should peak someone's interest so they say, "tell me more." This personal branding also applies in your job hunt. It doesn't mean you have a fancy title or even a catchy phrase, but it does mean that you have a way to describe yourself - in a career perspective - so that a prospective employer will ask, "tell me more." This can be done in your 30, 60, or 90 second elevator speech, that is clear and concise, but lets people know the extent of your skills, talents, or experience.
To find your personal brand, the following steps may be helpful:
1. Write down all the skills, abilities, experiences you have in one or two words; be clear and brief; your brand statement should create immediate interest in you and get the listener asking questions.
2. Identify and include a benefit, such as reduce, enlarge, create, eliminate, which will make people listen; avoid verbiage, such as I sell, or I manage.
3. Don't use jargon that is too technical or slangy to your profession - others will not understand and it will prevent them from asking you more.
4. Avoid negative talk, such as "I helped my company increase sales by 50%, but it was really nothing". Showcase your achievements and accomplishments; after all, you are selling you.
5. Avoid boasting or bragging - this is the opposite of negative self-talk. While you are trying to get others interested in you and hearing more about you, overstating your talents and accomplishments can have a negative effect that can be long-lasting.
6. Make your introductory statement unique so that when people hear it they will remember you.
7. Practice, practice, practice so that you will feel comfortable saying it at any time or in any environment. Say it in front of the mirror and get feedback from friends or family.
Dr. Barbara Seifert, LCSW, CPC, NLP is the President of Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting in Orlando, Florida. She helps individuals to take charge of their careers, find the work they love and enhance their professional development to reach their peak performance. She also coaches in organizations to enhance employee engagement and leadership development. Dr. Seifert is an adjunct professor, a certified coach and certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. She is a writer for The Work at Home Woman and Forbes. You can learn more by visiting http://www.cyscoaching.com/ and Your Career Success Blog at http://www.allaboutcareerssite.wordpress.com/