Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Job Fair Cocktail

Job hunting is hard enough as it is. If you can make it a little easier or less stressful, why wouldn't you.

Well, has done just that. They have put a fun twist on job fairs...they call them Pink Slip Parties! As puts it: "You might say that this is a casual version of a job fair, minus the tables and the lines!" Not to mention a cocktail to boost the networking.

The Party is held at a pub or tavern to set the right mood. You can check out the website to see the companies that have signed up for the event and the types of positions available. And it only costs $10 for job seekers. is the largest independently owned and operated job board in the Mid-Atlantic region, connecting employers and jobseekers in PA, NJ, NY, DE, MD and DC.

Though I'm not looking for work in those areas, I find offers resources that are helpful and so I follow them on Twitter.

If I were in the area, I'd definitely attend a Pink Slip Party.

Tweet this:
Pink Slip Parties - Mid Atlantic Region - the job fair cocktail

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Free LinkedIn and Social Media Seminars

Through the JobAngels group on LinkedIn, I learned of Paul DeBettignies, Co-Founder of Minnesota Recruiters who is offering free online seminars for job seekers. I call this paying it forward and personally thanked him.

There are 3 seminars scheduled this week:
  • May 19th, 3 PM CDT: Job Search Toolkit - Be Your Own Headhunter
  • May 20th, 3 PM CDT: LinkedIn A to Z - Use LinkedIn Like A Headhunter
  • May 21st, 3 PM CDT: Using Social Media For Networking, Lead Generation And Job

Click here to register for the May 19-21 free seminars.

If you miss any of these seminars, they are offered again next week:

  • May 27th, 12 PM CDT: Job Search Toolkit - Be Your Own Headhunter
  • May 28th, 12 PM CDT: LinkedIn A to Z - Use LinkedIn Like A Headhunter
  • May 29th, 12 PM CDT: Using Social Media For Networking, Lead Generation And Job

Click here to register for the May 27-29 free seminars.

More about Paul DeBettignies: By trade he is an IT Recruiter, writes the MN Headhunter blog and for the past seven years has been doing job search, networking and LinkedIn seminars in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and in January 2009 started doing them online.

Tweet this:
Free LinkedIn and Social Media Online Seminars for the Job Seeker

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Experience Unlimited" - EDD Job Club

Found another source of networking beyond your personal circle.

The Employment Development Department (EDD) has a program called Experience Unlimited job club where people can network to find new employment opportunities.

"A wide range of professional, technical, and managerial job seekers participate in these voluntary, networking groups to lend one another job hunting assistance and direction. Provided at no fee, the program provides a place where job seekers can meet regularly with other career professionals to share job leads, provide support, and update their job search skills."

Resources include:

  • Workshops on job search strategies, résumés, interview techniques, and networking
  • Résumé evaluations and mock interviews
  • Networking opportunities
  • Access to on-line job listings
  • On-line résumé postings through CalJOBSSM
  • Special events and guest speakers
  • Use of computers, printers, copiers, telephone, fax, and Internet

Find a local chapter near you to learn more or join.

Tweet this:
"Experience Unlimited" - EDD Job Club - no fee assistance program for job seekers -

Friday, May 15, 2009

Free Skill-Based Online Training

Since my last post - Paying It Forward Can Pay Off - I've been searching the Web for free online training. And not just training that I'm particularly interested in, but whose offering what, if any.

I was delighted to find through the EDD website (and buried so deep I think it took me about 20 clicks to find it) that the E-Learning Center offers free online courses.
Here is the list of courses they are currently offering at no fee:
  • A+ Certification
  • JavaScript
  • Business Management
  • Visual Basic .NET - DataSets and XML Data
  • PHP and MySQL
  • Customer Service
  • HTML and XHTML Basics
  • Windows Server 2003 - Working with Active Directory
  • Excel 2007
  • Leadership - Creating and Communicating Vision
Take the time to pick up a new skill. Adding a new skill to your resume can help you compete better in this tough job market. Or sharpen some of the ones you already have. When you're asked in the interview about your skills, you can more confidently say how well you know them.

Tweet this:
Free skill-based online training to help you compete in this tough job market.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Paying It Foward Can Pay Off

I read somewhere reputable that the job market is the worse it's been in the past 25 years. And from my personal experience, that sounds about right. I believe people, and companies, need to step up and help out - pay it forward.

On an individual level, people are helping people. I experience it every day on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A great example is JobAngels started by Mark Stelzner whose vision is for everyone to help just one person find gainful employment.

On an enterprise level, what are corporations and organizations doing to help? This question arose when I reached out to a corporation to get training that I needed to compete better in the job market. I was told, "sorry, can't help you."

I thought to myself, why not?! I'm not stealing any company secrets. And I'm not asking to give me their product for free. I had suggested a training account for a limited time so that I could practice and sharpen my skills on their application.

I tried persuading them to consider me an evangelist for their product and how this would be an investment in their customers as I most likely will become a client when I get a job. And that it would be a way to promote themselves and build and boost a positive reputation through social network marketing. They weren't persuaded.

This gave me the idea that corporations should develop "pay it forward" programs to help the unemployed. This doesn't have to drain company resources. They can have self-paced online basic training, video practices, and time-limited training accounts for online access to software. This idea is about skill training and not career training that you can find through the EDD and other places. Maybe the government could give them acknowledgement for participating in helping rebuild the economy, and even some type of subsidy. (You heard it hear.)

I looked around to see if any companies were paying it forward and I found that Microsoft was. They offer free self-paced training courses for Office programs. Microsoft also has a program called Elevate America where they are providing 1 million vouchers to states for no-cost access to Microsoft E-Learning courses and select Microsoft Certification exams. Good for them. We need more corporations doing the same.

Paying it forward can pay off. Corporations can:
  • create evangelists for their product/services
  • promote themselves
  • build a positive reputation
  • gain exposure
  • foster goodwill

And, when THEY need to hire someone, there will be more qualified candidates for them to choose from.

Tell everyone to read this post. Maybe more corporations will step up and pay it forward.

Tweet this:
Paying It Forward Can Pay Off...for everyone. (Retweet please)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

LinkedIn Introductions

I'd like to start out saying I'm a big fan of LinkedIn and have found it very helpful in my job search. That said, I'm a little frustrated with the Introduction feature and have quite a few questions.

When I find a job opportunity on LinkedIn, one of the first things I do is see if I'm connected to the person who posted the job or the hiring manager.

Most of the time, I have found either a 2nd-degree connection where someone I know directly knows the hiring manager. Considered a direct connection. Or a 3rd-degree connection where someone I know knows someone that knows the hiring manager. There are two middle men.

Is it a quantity versus quality issue? I write my introduction email and send it off to my connection and I often get a reply saying, "I don't really know her/him..." But then why are you linked? Do you need to know her/him just to send an introduction?

Is an introduction being interpreted as a recommendation? Asking my connection for an introduction seems to elicit feelings of putting themselves out which sounds more like a recommendation than an introduction. But I'm not asking my connection to recommend me, at least not in an introduction.

Is passing on the message effective? I'm simply requesting my connection to pass on my message to their connection. But I've submitted a resume with a well thought out cover letter. And now I'm sending a message often through a chain of 2 or more people. What would the message say that my cover letter didn't? Or do people find it impressive that I've gone through the trouble of sending a message through this human link?

Is there something I'm missing? Have you been asked to introduce someone? Did you do it or did you decline?

Tweet this. Just copy and paste:
The effectiveness of LinkedIn introductions.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Keep On Selling Yourself Even After The Thank Yous

We all know that you should send a thank you note (or email) to the people you interviewed with. And that you should add more information about your skills and accomplishments to further sell yourself.

I'm finding that you need to keep on selling yourself even after the thank yous. You need to stay foremost in the mind of the hiring manager as s/he interviews other qualified candidates and eventually needs to make a choice.
Keep on selling yourself and don't stop until you have an offer or you are no longer interested in the job. Here are some ideas and real-life examples:
Elephant In The Room - I had a phone interview and my gut told me it didn't go well. I looked up the hiring manager on LinkedIn to better get to know her. I sent her an email confessing that I didn't think the phone interview went well but I'm a great candidate for the job and explained why. One hour after I sent the email, she contacted me to schedule an in-person interview. When we met, she confessed she wasn't going to call me but she was impressed with my email. I thanked her for giving me a second chance for a first impression.

Pizza Interview - A candidate was referred to a job and was suppose to connect with the hiring manager, but the hiring manager was too busy to schedule a meeting. The person who made the referral said the hiring manager was still interested in interviewing him but was just having difficulty finding the time. The candidate had to get in front of the hiring manager somehow, so he bought a pizza, printed out his resume and drove to the offices of the hiring manager at lunch time. He told the receptionist that he had a pizza for the hiring manager and when s/he came to the front, the candidate proposed a lunch interview.

Coffee On Me - My friend wasn't convinced the hiring manager was "wow-ed" with her in the interview. She bought a coffee cup and a $5 dollar gift card from Starbucks. She delivered them with a well-crafted letter saying she didn't think he was impressed with her so "have a cup of coffee on me and let me tell you more about myself." The hiring manager replied that he had been impressed with her and now even more so.

Recipe For Success - Another friend delivered home-baked cookies with her "recipe for success" which outlined how mixing her skills and experience with the employers needs would make a perfect creation.

If you're submitting your resume online via email or a website, it's
bound to get buried under hundreds of other emails and submissions. Try to stay on top (literally) by submitting your resume every 5-8 days with a different subject line each time. Submit at the end of the day so that your resume is on top of the pile in the morning when the hiring manager logs on.

How often you connect after the interview and what interesting way you stay connected depends on who you are, what job you interviewed for and what you think is best. Just keep selling yourself.

Tweet this. Copy and paste:
Keep selling yourself after the interview.