Archive for May, 2009

Secrets of Interview Prep

May 21, 2009

Want to ace that big interview?  Professional Sales folks tend to have an advantage over others when it comes to interviewing.  Selling themselves and their product is what they do for a living.  There is something else that sales folks do to give them an interview advantage.  They research  a company in unique ways.  The best sales people do not show up at a customer visit, sit down, and ask: “What are your problems?”  The most skilled sales folks I’ve worked with already know the prospects problems.  But, how?  They do their homework on the company they are visiting.  This skill is something that we all need to apply to interview situations.  How do you do your homework in unique ways?  The key to really effective interview preparation is to have very timely information.  That means forget about digging into the annual report.  By the time it’s in print, it’s way dated.  A secret technique is to listen to the webcasts that are published on the investor relations page.  Most, if not all, public companies will post a link to their earnings conference call.  These gems are a wealth of up to date information.  They are also the source of current problems, challenges, and successes of the company you are targeting.  Use these nuggets of information to craft some very specific questions to ask in your interview.  Try this technique and let me know how it works for you!


Change the rules of job search

May 19, 2009

Let’s face it, we job searchers have a heck of a challenge on our hands.  With unemployment rates at near all-time highs, it’s easy to have your resume get lost in a sea of applications.  If you can’t win the game, change the rules.  Think of ways to get noticed.  Put aside the traditional approach of applying to jobs on line, and sit down and list five unique ways to find the perfect job.  Here’s an example of an experience I had last week.  A local prominent University holds an annual business plan contest every year and awards $100,000 to the winning team.  When the winning team/company was announced on Twitter, I sent the COO an introductory e-mail of congratulations and a request for coffee and a chat about the company.  I’m meeting with the COO later this morning.  Think way outside the box and get noticed!

Linkedin Groups and your job search

May 13, 2009

How do you separate yourself from the pile of resumes on a hiring manager’s desk?  The answer is to take a different approach in the way you reach out to your company of interest.  Applying on line to a job posting just puts you in with the masses.  The way to stand out is to apply for a position by is by having your resume get it’s own personalized introduction.  The idea is to search your connections for someone in your network that works for the target company.  Most Linkedin users know this technique and use it effectively.  But what if your Linkedin connections are not really connected to your target company?  This is where Linkedin Groups can help.  If you belong to some Linkedin Groups, you can search these Group members  for a connection to your target company.  You might send a Linkedin request to that person that sounds like this: “I know we do not really know each other, but I noticed that we belong to the same Linkedin Group”.  You can then go on with a request to learn more about the company, etc.  Give it a try. 

Good searching!

Networking 101

May 11, 2009

We’ve all heard that a key to a successful job search is getting out there and networking, face to face.  For me, the challenge of networking has been to find the events that I should attend to “press the flesh”.  Think of the task as a marketing campaign.  You need to target events that are closely connected to the type of job you are looking for.  Ok so far, but where do you find events in your local area?  I have three favorites sources of events.  Linkedin,, and local colleges and university websites.  Linkedin is my personal favorite because it not only has an excellent event search engine, it also shows you who in your network will be attending the event.  I find it helpful to send an email to someone in my network and say, ” I see you are attending the XYZ Event, see you there.”.  Always good to have someone you know to chat with when you walk in. is another good site for finding events.  These tend to be the more informal get togethers of like-minded folks.  The informality makes for great networking.  Most of the events are free to the public.  My third source of event search is websites of local colleges and universities.  My local favorites are Babson College, and  MIT Sloan Scool of Management.  For some tips on how to brush up your networking skills, check out  Have fun!

Twitter that job!

May 8, 2009

Twenty software companies.  There are twenty software companies on my target list of places that I would like to go to work for.  Job search career coaches all recommend that you base a job search on a definite list of target accounts.  This makes sense.  Staying focused in a job search is a good thing.  Now, here is where Twitter comes in.  First, go to and get yourself an account.  It’s quick and easy.  Twitter is all about following other Twitter users.  I’ve found that CEOs love Twitter.  Especially, technology CEOs.  Go into you Twitter account, click on “Find People”, and search for one of your job search target companies CEOs.  If you find them on Twitter, click “Follow”.  Don’t expect conversations to happen between you and the CEO.  Do expect a stream of interesting Tweets, straight from the CEO, unfiltered.  This is a great way to learn what’s happening with the company, in the CEO’s candid words, in real time.  Give it a try.

Interviews and Linkedin Profiles

May 7, 2009

“I hear you make a killer Baklava.”

What a great way to break the ice at the start of the interview.  Find something interesting and personal and out of the ordinary to get things off to a good start.  Shows your creativity and differentiates you.  Linkedin is a great tool to help you.  Before an interview, study the interviewer’s Linkedin profile.  I go to the recommendations that people have written about the interviewer.  In those recommendations, I found the mention of the interviewer’s “killer Baklava”.  Also, look at the recommendations that the interviewer has written for others.  People tend to use words in recommendations that reflect what they feel are important traits.  Words such as:  hard worker, ethical, determined; can give you insight into traits that the interviewer values highly.

Are you making the most of your College Alumni connections?

May 6, 2009

Hiring managers are bombarded with resumes for every job post.  It’s easy to get lost in this noise.  When I began my job search, I applied to many suitable positions that I found via job sites like  Not a single response.  With so many folks out of work, you need to take a different approach than the on line application process.  That’s right, you must have an inside connection to get in the door.  My two favorite sources of inside connection are Linkedin and my college Alumni MBA Career Center.  My career center has an excellent alumni directory that is searchable by company name, etc.  Find a company you are interested in, plug the company name into directory, and see what names/titles come up.  The next step is to send an introductory e-mail requesting a twenty minute informational coffee.  This works!  Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

Hello world!

May 5, 2009

The tools of Social Media are great for job seekers.  I decided to create this blog after having a conversation with a friend about Twitter. 

It went something like this… “Are you using Twitter?…Yes!  How are you using it to help your job search?….long pause….your joking, right?

It’s amazing how some very techsavvy people have not made use of the power of Social Media for their job search.  In this blog, I’ll publish tips and ideas to make these tools work for you.  Enjoy!

Elevate your visibity. In job search, anonymity is not a good thing.

May 5, 2009

Getting the word out about your employment status is critical.  Most would intuitively agree.  But you must use every communication opprtunity to keep folks up to date on your work status.  Make sure that your e-mail signature block includes the URL for your Linkedin page.  On your Linkedin page, make sure that your status clearly indicates, “in transition” or “seeking a new opportunity”.  This is a simple way to steer prospective employers to your profile.