Saturday, December 04, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Posted: 30 Nov 2010 12:16 PM PST
Word of mouth sells products and services every day. In fact, 67% of consumers say that WOM is the #1 influencer of their buying decisions.
Why would work any differently when someone is "buying" a new employee?
Here's how you can amplify some word of mouth for your next job search.
I end up having coffee with many people looking for work. They might have been fired, downsized or are a college graduate just starting out. They're looking for someone to run their resume by, someone who might be able to help them make connections and often, just someone to listen. (I have some specific advice I give college kids but I'll save that for another post.)
I try to offer them as much help as I can. One thing I always do is describe what I believe is the surefire way to find your next job. I've seen it work every time someone has tried it. But it requires some work and discipline. Which is why most people never bother with it.
And why many of them are still looking for work.
If you're serious about finding the next job -- follow these instructions and then watch what happens.
1. Make a list of 100 or so people (you will need email and phone numbers) that you believe would want you to succeed. This might be family, friends, former co-workers, professional group colleagues, neighbors and the people you know from the PTA, gym, church or softball league.
In other words, think long and wide. Ideally, they should all either live where you want to work or be wired into the industry you want to be a part of. If you are looking for a job in your hometown of Chicago, your cousin in Houston isn't as good a choice as your next door neighbor. Unless he's connected. Then, keep him on the list.
2. Write an email that basically says:
I am looking for my next job and I am trying to build an army of people who will help me find that new job by making introductions, sharing their knowledge of companies and people, keeping their ear to the ground, etc.
If you'd be willing to be a part of my team, I promise I will not abuse your kindness and that I will pay it forward by helping others when they ask down the road. My plan to to send you one update email per week.
In this email, I will include any meetings, interviews, ads answered and other activity done that week. I will also share what I have on my to do list for the following week. All I ask is that you read the email and if you know any of the people or companies and can put in a good word - you do.
Would you be willing to get this weekly email from me and help if you can?
3. Wait for replies and based on the yeahs or nays you get -- build your mailing list. Most people, if you choose wisely, will say yes and be genuinely glad to help.
Send them your updated resume and a detailed description of the type of job you are seeking. Be candid about your strengths and weaknesses. Help them help you.
4. On the following Friday morning, compose and send your first email. Include:
- Coffees/meetings held
- Phone contacts made
- Ads answered/jobs applied for
- Interviews set up for the following week
- People you are trying to make contact with
- Any specific things you need help with (review the resume, mock interview practice, etc.)
- And then, send it on it's way and let the army go to work.
If you are going to employ this tactic, you absolutely MUST send an email every week. Share the good weeks and the bad. This isn't the place to whine, complain or gossip.
This is not your diary, where you can air all the emotions that come with a job search. This is a top line report of your efforts. Nothing more or less.
If you activate this job search army, you will be amazed at their reach and their willingness to help you. Be respectful of their time, be humble and say thank you often to those who help.
Most important - once you land that next job, remember your promise to pay it forward.
Note: I am not negating LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other social media tool. When you're looking for a job -- it's all hands on deck. But there is something very powerful, affirming and effective about mobilizing a team of people who truly can get you past the gatekeepers and onto a short list of candidates.
Word of mouth sells products and services every day. In fact, 67% of consumers say that WOM is the #1 influencer of their buying decisions. Why do you think it would work any differently when someone is "buying" a new employee?
Thursday, December 02, 2010
I use it as a guide, but I usually set my own goals which are higher than the numbers given to me.
Here's some tips that I've used to exceed my budget (from the DLM Blog):
Posted: 16 Nov 2010 05:46 AM PST
I suspect that, like me, you've had times when you've thought if only I could work a bit harder...
Maybe you're worried that your only claim to fame is going to be "World's Greatest Procrastinator" or "Biggest Farmville Addict". You've got some great dreams and ambitions – but you secretly doubt whether you can work hard enough to achieve them.
I've got good news for you. There are a bunch of great little tricks you can use to encourage yourself to work harder. No sweat, no tears.
These aren't just for your paid work or your small business: they work for any goal you have in mind, like losing weight or quitting smoking.
- Use Your Competitive Spirit
I've got a huge competitive streak. Give me someone to compete against, and I'll find reserves of energy and motivation that I never knew I had.
You might well be wired the same. Perhaps you love the idea of competitions like National Novel Writing Month (just rope in your friends and see if you can beat them to 50,000 words) or maybe you'd be great at losing weight if you were competing with your partner.
Look for a way to turn your work into a competition: this could be something informal with your friends, a competition that you find online, or even something you start up yourself.
- Tell Yourself "I'm Just Going To..."
You're keen to write a book. The problem is, you never feel like starting. Every weekend, you promise yourself you'll spend two hours on it ... but somehow, you never find the time and energy.
Instead of trying to make a huge commitment, start ridiculously small. Tell yourself "I'm just going to open up the document," or "I'm just going to spend five minutes writing." Usually, you'll find that initial resistance vanishes once you get going.
This works for almost any goal, too:
- "I'm just going to tidy this one shelf."
- "I'm just going to put my jogging kit on."
- "I'm just going to pick up my guitar."
- "I'm just going to tidy this one shelf."
- Set a Timer (and Try to Beat It)
This is one of my favorite methods at the moment (I've got a timer running as I type this!) When you want to squeeze out a bit more work in a bit less time, one of the best ways is to race against the clock.
Give yourself a challenge: if you think that cleaning the kitchen will take a half an hour, set your timer for twenty-five minutes.
Using a timer encourages you to stay focused – partly because you know that time is ticking away, but also because you know that after half an hour (or whatever), you'll be done!
- Listen to Music (Fast or Focused)
If you exercise regularly, you'll probably know already how useful music can be. A fast paced, powerful album can get you working harder in the gym than you'd otherwise manage.
The same goes for almost any work that you're doing. If you're trying to power through your emails or get your filing done, fast and energetic music can help you feel awake and energized.
For more cerebral tasks – like writing, designing, programming – you might prefer music which helps you to feel calm and focused. I won't give specific recommendations as my tastes in music may be very different from yours: experiment, and see what works best for you.
- Be Accountable to Other People
Have you ever worked hard just because you knew someone else would be checking in with you? Perhaps you hired a personal trainer who asked about what you'd eaten during the week, or maybe you worked with a life coach who helped you set specific goals.
Accountability is a really powerful motivator. It can be incredibly simple to put in place, too: perhaps you're planning to do a certain amount of work on a website you're designing, so you put a quick message on Twitter or Facebook to say what you're working on. You'll find that you want to do the work because the world is watching! It's a great feeling when you can let your friends know that you did do what you said you were going to do.
You can go further with accountability, too; perhaps setting up a small, focused group of friends or colleagues who meet regularly to discuss progress and future goals. By being accountable to one another for the work you're putting in, you'll all find that you're more motivated and focused.
- Give Yourself Rewards
Although completed work is often a reward in itself, it's sometimes the case that the pay-off seems a good distance away. If you're dieting in the hopes of being at your ideal weight in a year's time, then it's hard to stay motivated from week to week.
By giving yourself small rewards, you can make difficult tasks seem much more desirable. If you promise yourself a long bath after you've cleaned out the garage, or a new video game once you've lost 15lbs, then you've got a short-term reason to keep going.
(You can even combine this with some of the other tricks – like competing in a competition which has a prize as the reward, or asking a friend to take custody of your reward until you've done the work that you've committed to.)
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I did this last week to protect our desktop computer.
This is the time of year that you have family and friends over and friends of friends of family, in other words: Strangers.
And if your computer is available, someone will want to hope on and check their email, or surf to some sites that could lead to bad stuff ending on on your computer.
Then, there's the nosy folks who might want to look for some of your personal stuff on your computer.
There's a way to keep your stuff private and provide access to your guests if you have a Windows based PC...
Password protect your logon and enable the Guest Account Option. I even logged into the guest account when we had people over so they could easily access the internet. Also with the guest account, you can restrict what guests can do, without messing up your own account settings.
Click here if you have Windows XP: https://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/tips/advanced/guestaccount.mspx
If you have Windows Vista, follow these instructions from this site http://www.real-knowledge.com/turn-guest-account-on.htm:
To Turn On And Enable The Windows Vista Guest Account
- Click the Start button located in the lower-left corner of the Windows Vista desktop.
- Then click on Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel, click on User Accounts and Family Safety.
- Then click on User Accounts.
- Now click Manage another account.
- If you are prompted for a password or confirmation, enter it or provide confirmation.
- Then click on the Guest icon, which should also say Guest account is off.
- Now click the Turn On button to enable the Guest account.
- Windows Vista will then enable the guest account and leave it on until you turn it off.
Note: The guest account allows a user to browse the Internet, log on to a network, and even shut down the computer. Therefore, when the guest account is not being used, you should disable it.
Click here if you have Windows 7: http://www.tothepc.com/archives/enable-guest-account-on-windows-7/
If you have something older than Windows XP, try following the XP instructions, or just buy a new computer!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors. Besides writing books, he also has a blog that he updates daily.
Recently on my Collective Wisdom blog, I started a Sunday Seth feature at 6pm where I feature some thoughts from his blog. Here's a sample:
- For the money
- To be challenged
- For the pleasure/calling of doing the work
- For the impact it makes on the world
- For the reputation you build in the community
- To solve interesting problems
- To be part of a group and to experience the mission
- To be appreciated
Why do we always focus on the first? Why do we advertise jobs or promotions as being generic on items 2 through 8 and differentiated only by #1?
In fact, unless you're a drug kingpin or a Wall Street trader, my guess is that the other factors are at work every time you think about your work.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Yesterday morning I had a conversation with a friend of mine at the Firefly Coffee Shop.
It fit into some of the reflection that I had been going through for the past couple of days.
On Thanksgiving, we thought we had 14 sitting around the table, it was actually 15 we soon found out. (My youngest, Tiffany and her husband Jon are expecting a baby in May, they announced.)
This was the first time in about a year that all three of my kids, and both of my wife's kids and everyone's spouse or soon to be spouse with a couple of off-spring and a family friend had been together.
There was such a contrast at the table. I saw some who are struggling to put food on the table, some who will earn more in their 20's than I do in my 50's. But money isn't the real issue.
Everyone, except the 4 month old had experienced some form of relationship struggles and lived through it. The next day, I did a road trip to a place near Dayton, Ohio to see the farm where my son works and to meet his boss, whom I missed meeting last month at Josh's wedding.
I wanted to see what Josh does these days. I've been to my oldest daughter, Rachael's workplace, both current and some of her previous places; the same with my youngest Tiffany.
Each of my kids have experienced something I never did, and that is the divorce of their parents.
But they also got to see the successful 2nd marriages of their Mom & Dad, and how their Mom & Dad have worked together as parents, even after divorce. I'll be honest, it wasn't easy and we tried to keep the kids from being in the middle of their parents conflicts.
I've seen tremendous personal growth with each of my kids.
Each of them has gone through their own individual personal "hell" in their young lives, and made it through stronger, wiser, more mature, and better adjusted to what comes next in their life.
So my wish and prayer for each of them, and for everyone, is not an easy life.
Here's a portion of my story:
It's not easy. But it's not supposed to be.
I got fired from my 2nd full time radio job. Then they hired me back about a month later.
3 years later, I was married and we were expecting our first child when my job was eliminated.
I got another radio job and a few weeks later, the radio station that just hired me to do mornings, hired someone else as their program director who also wanted to do mornings. They said since I had a pregnant wife, I could stay, but I'd have to do the overnight airshift.
I stayed, and outlasted the program director, eventually got his job and then the station was sold and this time because I was in management, all the managers lost their jobs.
This time we had two kids and expecting our third. We ended up moving to Detroit where I worked for eight years. During those eight years, I stepped forward from my comfortable job, took a chance, became the morning air personality and less than a year later was fired to make room for someone else who wanted to come back to the station.
I fought for my previous position back, which I got but at a lower rate of pay. I stepped forward again and moved into advertising sales and was doing well, but my boss was jealous of some of the accounts that I had, and I ended up working for him in a lessor position. Finally I left on my own terms.
Fast forward to the past eight years, where I have risen from one of a dozen sales people, to managing a sales staff for two stations, to surviving an extreme reduction in our workforce (25 down to 6).
I ended up as an interim General Manager for our group of radio stations for a few months, and now I am of the senior radio advertising sales persons with responsibilities over one of our 4 stations.
Except for some of our air staff on WXKE, ROCK 104, I have been there the longest. And my position is just as secure as any other sales person. Sell and earn a living. Don't sell, and you lose not just income but your job. Pretty basic.
See, my life has not been easy, nor has it been hard. It is life, my life, and blessings abound.
Like I said, my wish and prayer for you is not an easy life.
It is for a life filled with learning, of growing, stretching, of cherishing the important, enjoying the moment, and to make wise decisions as you learn from the lessons life gives you.