John Hadley's Career Accelerator Blog
Seek Answers to Your Career / Career Search Challenges

November 2021
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Describing Yourself In An Interview
Filed under: Networking, Interview
Posted by: John Hadley @ 10:47 am

In both interviews and one-on-one networking meetings, you want to have a good answer to “Tell Me About Yourself.” 

Even if you are never asked the question, you want to find a way to work this into your presentation.  This is how you draw
for the other person the picture you want of what you bring to the table. 
Instead of the other person focusing a lot of their attention on trying to
draw their own picture, you’ve put your own stake in the ground first.

One way to present it that I have found to be quite successful is the “HERO Story” approach.  Here is my template for crafting a powerful HERO Story:

Just don’t make the mistake of memorizing a story that
comes out exactly the same every time you tell it. As soon as ANY answer is
the “Best” answer, it ceases to even be a “good” answer, because it starts
to sound rehearsed and phony.

I often advise people to come up with the
best answer they can, and then to tear up the script. Having your story (or
any answer) come out a little bit different every time you tell it keeps it
fresh and real.

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Flaws In Your Résumé or Background
Filed under: Résumé, Networking, Interview, Cover Letter, Recruiters
Posted by: John Hadley @ 7:48 pm

I was reading Abby Kohut’s excellent book, Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets, and came across this statement:

“Prepare a good reason for any gaps on your resume in addition to an explanation of what activities you were involved in that may have enhanced your career, including personal activities.  Gaps are typically not the reason why candidates are rejected.  It’s the inability to explain them sufficiently, and or a lack of confidence about them that is likely to be a concern for recruiters.”

I concur 100%.

Candidates are always worried about their flaws.  This is natural.  However, it’s generally not the flaws themselves that hold them back, it’s how they deal with them.

If you present with confidence, and have a good response to questions about your flaw, that will go a long way to minimizing the impact of that flaw.

For example, consider this most difficult situation - where a candidate was actually fired (unfairly) from their last job - this post walks through how to deal with that simply and with confidence:

The key in these cases is to not dwell on the flaw, and to focus on the future - what you can do, what you hope to do, what you have learned from the problem that will ensure it will never happen again - whatever answer best fits your situation.  Make it simple, and then shift attention to what you can confidently do.

One other point:  Any time there is a gap or other flaw in your background, you are going to be much easier to screen out when you are trying to come through the front door, competing head to head with every other candidate who knows about an opening.  The busy HR screener or recruiter who is thumbing quickly through 100’s of
résumés to find the handful to present to a hiring manager is that much more likely to take a pass on yours.

This cries out for even more emphasis on networking.  When you talk to someone outside of the “is he / she qualified for this job” evaluation mode, you have a chance to get that person engaged.  You can talk about your package.  You can explain (briefly) the flaw in context.  And you can get then thinking about why you would be a great candidate, so that you can come into being evaluated for a position with a supporter.

For more on how to make this networking happen, see these articles:

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Building Stronger LinkedIn Connections
Filed under: General, Networking, Career
Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:42 pm

Did you spend time building up a good set of LinkedIn connections?

Have you spent an equal amount of effort keeping those as strong connections?

It’s easy to forget to build on the relationships we have, particularly when we are busy at work, and allow them to slowly wither on the vine. 

What do you think might happen if instead you implemented a regular keep-in-touch strategy with all of your contacts, to keep them fresh and vital?  Do you think that might occasionally mean that one of them would approach you about an interesting opportunity?

Here a thought for how you might approach that…

1. Decide how often you want to stay in touch.  If it were, say, once a quarter, then divide your 1st level contacts by 12 (3 months x 4 weeks), and that’s how many you need to reach out to per week to accomplish that.  Divide up the list into those 12 segments.  (OK, if you want to get technical, there are actually 13 weeks in a quarter.  I was just trying to keep the math simple for you.)

2. If your 1st level contacts are filled with lots of people you don’t know, who just happened to reach out to you or you to them without any relationship, then you might want to first pare down your list into the ones you at least know, before creating the 12 segments.

3. Mark an appointment in your calendar for a half hour each week.  Use that half hour to drop notes to each of the contacts in that week’s segment.

4. Make periodic updates to your Status that remind people you are out there in interesting ways. For example, you could post something about a new blog entry you put up, a new resource you stumbled across, an interesting article you read, …

5. Read the periodic LinkedIn update summaries you receive to see if there is a change, status or other update to someone’s profile that create a good excuse to write to them.

If you just do this much, you will continue to foster stronger LinkedIn connections within a manageable time commitment.

What other thoughts do you have?

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Always Show Value
Filed under: General, Networking, Career, Performance
Posted by: John Hadley @ 11:25 am

“You don’t have to be the first to be a success.  You don’t have to be unique.  You don’t have to be revolutionary.  What you do have to do, however, is give people value.  Give them a reason to buy from you instead of from somebody else.”

Tim Berry, author and founder of multiple companies, writing in the Blog Network, on “Startups:  Unique and Revolutionary, or Forget It?”

This statement is very apt for the job seeker, and for those already in a company, and seeking to accelerate their career growth.  The way to get noticed, and ultimately to get hired or awarded a new opportunity, is to give prospective employers value, and a reason to buy YOU instead of someone else.

The only reason I hire someone is because I firmly believe you will solve the problems I face, and achieve the results I need.  This is the ‘value’ I seek.

Expressing how many years you have been doing something, all of the credentials you have, and the various duties you have performed over the years doesn’t equate to value.  Those are what the unimaginative candidates fall back on, often because:

Unless you get very good at expressing your value in all venues, in a very natural, conversational way that isn’t ‘pushy’, you will always be left wondering why others get hired for the best jobs, or get awarded the most interesting opportunities for which you really wish you had been considered.

One key to doing this is to build a visibility campaign.  I wrote about 7 ways you could start to go about this in my most recent issue of Career Tips.  Write to me at if you would like a copy, or you can review the contents and selected articles from past issues and sign yourself up at

And don’t forget that you can subscribe to my RSS feed of this Career Accelerator Blog at:

Phrases to Kill Your Search #4
Filed under: Résumé, Networking, Career, Search Killer Phrases
Posted by: John Hadley @ 2:13 pm

“I want …”

Your marketing message, your résumé, your cover letter, etc. should all be focused on what THE OTHER PERSON wants, not on what you want.  Your goals will come out in the process of the discussion, but you want to be sure that the emphasis is on why I as the listener or reader should be excited about helping you achieve those goals.

One example is the “Objective Statement” many candidates use to open their résumés.  An objective is all about you, not about what you can do for me.  For a more complete discussion of why these are counterproductive on your résumé, see

Here’s one example, from a real résumé I received:

To utilize acquired skills leading and supporting cutting edge system development and implementation efforts to further my management career within the Insurance/Financial Services Industry.

What message does that send to the hiring manager who reads it?

Including what you want somewhere in your message is OK, as long as you do it in a way that shows why you would be an outstanding candidate for it - then it’s making it interesting to the listener / reader.  It’s equipping them to know how they could help you or refer you.

Just be sure to do it later in your message, after you’ve engaged them.

The best result comes if you only get to what you want in response to the other party’s follow-up question…

Phrases to Kill Your Search, #3
Filed under: Résumé, Networking, Interview, Cover Letter, Search Killer Phrases
Posted by: John Hadley @ 3:07 am

“I’m a results-oriented professional…”

or this variation:

“Proven results in…”

These are used all the time in résumés and cover letters, or even in oral 30 second pitches…and they do absolutely nothing for you. 

Remember the adult voices on all the Charlie Brown specials, how they were purposely designed not to be understood?  That’s basically what empty phrases like these sound like; all the other party reads or hears is “blah, blah, blah.”

The problem is that these are just statements that you produce results, instead of demonstrations.  It’s easy to simply say you produce results or are results-oriented, and saying it doesn’t make it true, or make me any more likely to believe it.

Instead, give concrete examples of the results you produce.  Let the readers and listeners conclude from your examples that you are ‘results-oriented’, instead of trying to hit them over the head with it.

For example, if I was trying to show someone that I was “results-oriented,” instead of:

“I have proven results in helping my clients with their job searches.”

This would be much more powerful:

“Kevin had been out of work for 2 years, and within a few months of working together was back at the job and pay he deserved.  And a simple technique I showed him earned him an additional $10,000 of base salary.”


“Tom had 15 months of interviews without a single offer.  Within 1 week of attending my Winning Interviews course, he was weighing 2 competitive job offers.”

So strike empty statements that say you have results from your repertoire, and instead show the proof of the results.

And have a Happy New Year!

Search Killer Phrase #2
Filed under: Networking, Search Killer Phrases
Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:55 pm

“I can work in any industry”, or providing in your message 2 or 3 different industries as your targets.

Candidates who say this may think they are keeping their search open, but they are actually closing it down.  It has the same problem as “I have transferable skills” - it sounds like you are unfocused, and are willing to work in any industry if I’ll just consider you for a job.

You might think you are displaying confidence through your willingness to apply your skills in a variety of industries.  Exactly the opposite is true.  You come across as lacking the confidence to present a specific target industry, perhaps even a bit desperate.

Think niche marketing.  The strongest marketing efforts are tailored very specifically to a target.  The same is true in your search - the more focused you appear to be, the more likely it is that I will pay attention and be engaged by your message.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be open to other industries, jobs, etc., but you will never get my attention if you start by providing a laundry list of what you might be open to.  Once you have my attention, and the conversation leads to a discussion about another industry, type of company, job, then you can pursue that with me.  If you never get my attention in the first place, you will never have the chance to have that conversation.

Phrases To Kill Your Search
Filed under: Résumé, Networking, Interview, Cover Letter, Career, Search Killer Phrases
Posted by: John Hadley @ 2:13 pm

In my travels, I get to hear and see a lot of elevator pitches, marketing messages, sales pieces, cover letters, résumés, engagement bios, etc.  Most of these include phrases that range from meaningless to unhelpful to seriously detrimental to any attempt to market yourself or your practice. 

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to publish my thoughts on many of these.  I invite your comments, and suggestions as to other phrases that frustrate you.  Drop me an email at, or simply insert your phrase in a comment here, and I’ll promote it to a new topic.

OK, here’s the first:

“I have transferrable skills.”

Ask yourself what the potential hiring manager or networking contact is hearing.

“I hope someone will consider me for something that my skills might apply to.”


“I don’t have confidence to present myself directly for a role I might want, so I’ll simply say my skills are transferable.”


“I’m not willing to commit to any one thing.”

Not exactly awe-inspiring messages, are they?

Instead of saying this, come up with a description of the type of problem you can solve with those ‘transferrable skills’, as relevantly as you can make it to your ideal target area, and then talk about that!


Don’t Give Out Business Cards
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: John Hadley @ 5:06 pm

Here’s a quote from a column by Michael Port, the NY Times bestselling author of Book Yourself Solid, in the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine. The title of the column: “Keep Your Cards To Yourself.”

“Don’t share your business card. Take some contrarian sales advice:  Never give out another business card again (unless someone asks for it, that is).  Ask them for their card without reaching for yours.  Simply ask permission to follow up with a call or e-mail on a specific date and/or time.  Imagine what happens when on that very day (and perhaps even at the precise time) you follow through and do exactly as promised….Your first interaction with this new person is based entirely around an experience when you’ve made a promise and fulfilled it.”

Michael makes 2 critical points here that exactly match what I tell my clients:

1. It doesn’t matter how many cards you give out.  People who wander around a networking event giving out lots of business cards rarely are effective networkers.

What matters is the cards you get, from people with whom you’ve had enough of a conversation to build some R&R (rapport and relationship).

How much R&R?

My guideline is that it should be enough that I feel confident this person will take my call and agree to meet me for coffee.

2. Whenever you have an important interaction with someone (a 1-on-1 networking meeting, a job interview, a sales call, or even just sending a letter requesting a meeting), leave yourself with both an action step YOU will take, and an explicitly communicated time frame when you will take that step. 

This lets you do exactly what Michael is suggesting above, build the opportunity for interactions based on you making a promise and then fulfilling it. 

When you meet with me, and tell me that you will call me on Monday to follow up on that contact you promised me, I may get busy and forget what you told me.  However, when you do, in fact, call me on Monday as you promised, I will remember it.  I will see you as someone who makes and keeps promises, the sort of person I want to work with.

Keep both of these points front of mind in everything you do.

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to my RSS feed at:

And you will find many useful articles on my website at:

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Don’t Slow Your Search During The Holidays!
Filed under: General, Networking
Posted by: John Hadley @ 4:56 pm

Many job seekers make the mistake of thinking that the holiday season is a terrible time to be looking.  They assume that no one is going to hire during this season, and that they are wasting their time.  As a result, they put their search on hold from Thanksgiving until New Year’s.

That’s great news for those candidates who go ahead anyway…reduced competition!

This is actually one of the best times for networking.  While it may be a bit more difficult to get meetings with people because of vacation schedules, those that you do get are likely to be more productive than usual.  Networking contacts will tend to be in more of a holiday spirit, more relaxed and more open to helping you out.

While some hiring managers might put hiring decisions on hold until the new year, others may actually be anxious to fill that key position while they still can count it against 2009’s personnel budget!  If that head count I’ve been permitted to fill might evaporate in 2010, I guarantee you I am going to work hard to make an offer before the 31st!

Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that I have less of a need to fill my critical openings.  In fact, I may have more incentive to fill it so that I’m not stuck doing all of the work myself when I could instead be enjoying the holidays with my own family.

And even if you are networking in to a situation where any hiring decision is going to be deferred until after year end, don’t you think it will help your case to be first in line because of your persistence now, rather than to wait to try to make your presence known when all the other candidates start looking again in January?

It’s OK to take some vacation time from your search, and to enjoy the holidays yourself.  Just be sure you are doing it because you want to enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation, and not through the misguided belief that this is a bad time to be looking!

And for more on how to make the most of those networking efforts, see these articles:



At a meeting of a local networking group, someone stated that while this may be a good time of the year for networking, no one makes offers.

As a matter of fact, one of my clients received the job offer she wanted this week, for a position she was only made aware of around Thanksgiving.

Another client was approached this week by his former boss about a job, and was basically told that if he wants it, it’s his.

So don’t let the holiday season pass you by!  Get out there and make the most of it…

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Be On The Ball In Your Search
Filed under: General, Networking
Posted by: John Hadley @ 4:29 pm

What would you do with this situation?

I spoke at a Career Campaign event in NYC last year.  A week or 2 afterwards I had a long conversation with one of the attendees.  He complained about how difficult it was to find interviews, and I asked what he had been doing to move his search forward.

“Going to events like this one.”

I then pointed out that he had heard me talk for 45 minutes on exactly what made a killer resume, yet the resume he had just sent me had clearly not been revised to take any of my points into account.

“I can’t remember everything you said.”

It turned out he had come to a 4 hour career event, with 6 guest speakers sharing a great deal of expertise, and hadn’t even taken any notes!  When I pointed that out, he agreed that it would be a good idea if he started bringing a pad and pen to future meetings.

Now only a small percentage of candidates are as clueless as this person, but a very high percentage have never learned how to market themselves all that well. 

A career search is a sales and marketing campaign, and your job as a candidate is to be the EVP of Sales and Marketing for You, Inc.  That is a mindset that many candidates have difficulty mastering, or sometimes even accepting.

So don’t worry so much about the competition, just focus on doing everything you can to market YOURSELF as effectively as you can.


Don’t forget that you can subscribe to my RSS feed at:

And you will find many useful articles on my website at:

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Uncovering Company Culture
Filed under: General, Networking, Interview, Career
Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:34 pm

This is the question that was posed:

“The more you know about a company’s culture, the easier it can be to tell what what you can offer to them if there is a match. I wanted to know how you would go about finding which company is the right fit in an industry:

My response

Face to face networking doesn’t require attending expensive events. It would be a good idea to get involved with a professional association or other networking group focused on your industry / job target, but that is only a piece of networking. True networking is 1-on-1 meetings with people outside of events, where you have their undivided attention for 30 minutes or more to equip them to understand your target, and why you would make an outstanding contribution there.

Attending selected events where you will meet the right sorts of people is a great way to make initial connections to some of the right people, so that you can then follow up and schedule those 1-on-1 meetings. You can also make connections through:

You can reach out through LinkedIn and other social / business media to find people of interest, and try reaching out to them to get a chance to chat and build them into your network. You can write directly to senior people at companies of interest expressing what you might bring to the table for their operations and asking to meet with them. You can read the trade press, and search for press releases and other stories on the industry and target companies.

And, of course, you can go on interviews and ask probing questions about the way the company operates to establish what sort of culture they have.

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Better to Search While Employed?
Filed under: General, Networking, Career
Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:13 pm

Comment from one of my readers:

“I say “WOW” to the comment “have the courage to walk away from the position you don’t want”.  (From Career Tips, March 2009 - email me at for a copy.)

I find it interesting that one wouldn’t know if they wanted the position prior to the interview. However, I have found that once you’re on the job you may find out the position isn’t what was described and therefore not what you want.  In the current economy it’s an employer’s market where they have hundreds of applicants, so one may feel lucky, blessed or otherwise gifted to have been selected for a position.

I’ve heard it’s easier to find a job when one already has a job.  Do you subscribe to this philosophy and if so, wouldn’t it be better to take a not so perfect position and network in house to get to the position you want or continue to seek the desired position while you’re already in a position?”

My Answer:

No, I do not.  That was the thinking years ago when layoffs were much less common. 

If you don’t have a job because you got fired, or if you have a history of short duration jobs, or if you have a long gap (at least 6 months), then it’s a different story.

Generally, it is much easier to find a job when you aren’t employed, because then you have all of the prime working hours to devote to your search.  The most effective technique for job search is having lots of 1-on-1 networking meetings, mostly with people who are employed, and which therefore tend to take place during the working day.

If your goal is to get into a particular company, then an effective technique can be to find a job that is more or less a lateral move to get in the door, prove yourself there, and then work to get into the job you want.  This can be done whether you are already employed or not.

The challenge is that if the position isn’t one you are truly interested in, it will be harder to sell yourself for it.  Hiring managers want someone who is passionate about their work, and who are therefore more likely to put in the extra time and effort when needed.  If you don’t have that passion, it will be hard to fake it.  This is doubly hard if you are applying for a position beneath what you might qualify for, as then the hiring manager will be suspicious that you are just taking it to get in the door and make a move as soon as possible.

I’ve worked with more than one client who had been out of work 2 years, and by showing them how to market themselves effectively (with a strong emphasis on networking), within a few months both had landed at jobs they were thrilled with, right back at the responsibility and compensation levels they had been at before their layoffs.

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Networking Faux Pas
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:33 pm

I find that a large percentage of job seekers have misconceptions about networking that hold them back in their search. Take this email I received, for example:

“I have been out of work for 7 months and I have not been on one interview for a job. I am networking, I have joined groups such as Linkedin, Yahoo at RUMC, and etc… However, searching for jobs seems to be leading me nowhere and time is running out. I’m thinking at this point that I need a headhunter to help me in my search. Growing weary!”

Don’t confuse attending networking events or sending emails to on-line groups with networking! Sure, they are an element of it, but a very small one. The truly effective career search networking comes from one-on-one in person meetings with as many contacts as possible.

Don’t assume you are advancing your search by emailing your resume to everyone you know. In fact, you are probably setting your search back several steps.

Here’s how I responded to the question above:

You say you are networking. What exactly are you doing?

Are you spending most of your time networking on-line and going to networking events, or are you meeting with people 1-on-1 to equip them to understand exactly what you want to do and why you would be an outstanding candidate for it?

  • When you talk to people at networking events, do you get polite responses, or do people get engaged in what you are saying, asking you to tell them more?
  • How much of the time are you spending telling people things vs. asking them things?
  • Do you send networking contacts your resume, ask them who they know who’s hiring or has openings, etc., which is ineffective and tends to turn off connections?
  • How often do your networking meetings result in a referral to someone else you can talk to? If you are doing it the right way, my experience is that you can expect a 100% or better replacement ratio – that, on average, for every 10 contacts you meet with, you end up with at least 10 new contacts to talk to.

    If you want to work with headhunters, that’s fine, though you will have to ‘sell’ yourself to them just as you would to a new networking contact or hiring manager. Make sure you are working with the best headhunters – here’s an article that may help with that:

    And for anyone who wants a primer on how to go about really effective career search networking, read these articles:

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    Think Outside The Box
    Filed under: Networking, Interview, Career
    Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:41 pm

    In my August issue of Career Tips, I wrote about the benefits of volunteering to make yourself more marketable, and some potential traps to avoid.  (If you would like a copy, just drop me a note at

    Another form of ‘volunteering’ is the unpaid internship or ’sample’ consulting project.  Basically, you are giving a prospective employer something for free to demonstrate the value you can add.  Be sure to make this a quid pro quo - where you are getting something substantive in return.  Your received value could be a reference / recommendation, the chance to build up your skills and accomplishments in a new venue, or even just a commitment to consider you for a future paid opportunity. 

    I’d suggest making the value you are going to receive explicit. 

    For example, if it’s the ‘consider for the future’ option, then get agreement in advace to a point in time when that consideration will take place.  This could be a time line, like 2 months after you start, or when a deliverable takes place, such as when you complete the project.  By making this tradeoff explicit in advance, you present yourself as a more confident professional, and someone with negotiation skills.  You also avoid the awkwardness of wondering when to ask, having the project just continue dragging on, etc.

    Another technique is to simply ask a lot of questions and offer concrete suggestions, demonstrating your insight and the value you can add.  This can get people in a frame of mind where they are interested in helping you, or in getting more of your insight for themselves.  One great example was just sent me by someone who had been struggling with her search for some time:

    “Here’s how I landed my job:  I was reading the classifieds, and noticed an attorney’s ad which had incorrectly stated an area of law.  I thought to myself, “does she know her ad is incorrect or does she not know what she’s doing relative to this area of law”.  I decided to call, introduce myself and ask her about the ad. 

    She thanked me for bringing it to her attention, and asked me to tell her more about myself.  She asked my availability to come in for an interview, and fewer than 72 hours later we met, and I’ve been there since that day!!”

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    Don’t Overlook Fit To Job
    Filed under: General, Networking, Interview, Career
    Posted by: John Hadley @ 10:20 pm

    I was struck by a phrase in a posting about a job as follows:

    “Cultural fit will be very important…looking for an all-around athlete that is easy to get along with”

    This is a point that many candidates overlook - they are so worried about ’selling themselves’ that they forget to take a really close look at the opportunity, and particularly the culture, to see if it’s a fit to what THEY want.

    This is a recipe for disaster.  I can cite 2 specific examples:

    1. Many years ago, someone I know was very distracted by family issues that were leading him to make a transition to be nearer family.  He accepted a job, only to realize immediately upon arriving that he really didn’t want that specific job.  He turned in his resignation after only a few weeks.  (The good news for me was that I ended up landing the job immediately after, and it was my Dream Job!)

    2. Not too far back, someone I knew was in a panic about landing a job, found a job title that sounded good and sold himself for it through a networking contact.  He neglected to dig into the specifics of how the job was done, landed it, and then called me his 2nd day on the job to tell me how miserable he was.  He quit within a week.  (The good news is that shortly thereafter he landed a totally different job that suited his talents and style very well, and has had great success with it.)

    On the other hand, operating from a psychology where you have the confidence to project that you are there to evaluate them as much as for them to evaluate you is a powerful position that produces a much stronger result for you in the interview.

    Here’s an article for anyone interested in more on this:

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    Using LinkedIn
    Filed under: General, Networking
    Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:22 pm

    People often ask me if LinkedIn is worthwhile for a job search.

    It can be very useful, if you put some work into it to make it effective. I found in my own case that once I passed a thresshold of around 100 direct connections, it made a huge difference in the results I saw.

    I would suggest:

    - Make sure your profile is complete, and marketing-oriented. By that, I mean focus on what you can do for others, what sorts of results you can provide, problems you can solve, rather than just a recitation of roles you’ve held.  Many people post a detailed bio, but unless it’s engaging, why would that make me excited about contacting you to connect?

    - See if you can get a few endorsements from people.  You should plan to have a conversation with any who might do so, and to interview them on what they might think of your work.  Offer to draft the endorsement yourself - this not only saves them a lot of work, but makes sure the endorsement covers the most critical points you want to communicate, and in a way that markets you well.  Of course you are going to let the other person re-write it any way they see fit, though most will make few changes.

    - Answer some questions on the Q&A section (thoughtfully), which can give people more reason to reach out to you.

    - Focus on building a strong set of direct connections, not just anyone who invites you, but people to whom you have a real connection.

    LinkedIn can be a great tool to uncover connections or potential connections to people in companies, roles, areas, etc. you are interested in.  It is especially strong as a research tool for your search.

    What ways have you found it most helpful to you?


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    Headhunter Needed
    Filed under: Networking, Recruiters
    Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:11 pm

    I’ve many times seen postings requesting leads to recruiters…and sometimes respond to them. Here’s a sample:

    “Dear Mr. Hadley,

    I am jobless and I was wondering how I can find a good headhunter?”

    Rather than simply relying on a headhunter, why not do some serious networking to also uncover great opportunities yourself? Here are 2 articles on how to do that:

    In any event, to get the attention of that headhunter, or anyone else who could help you with your search, think about the marketing message you are presenting.  You need to focus on answering the WIFFM question (What’s In It For Me?) for the reader/listener, and equip them to know why you would be an outstanding candidate.

    Candidates often focus on their strengths and experience, but this leaves it to the reader has to simply take your word for it that you are actually good at these things. Experience doing something doesn’t automatically imply results - how many people have you met who have been doing a particular job for a long time, but never especially well?

    What examples can you give of the sorts of results you have produced for your past companies or clients?  How have you moved their own missions forward?

    For more on compelling marketing messages, see these 2 short articles:

    To search for recruiters, you can check out the Encyclopedia of Recruiters published by Kennedy – there may be versions in the public library, or you can order it on-line. You can reach out to people you know to ask who they have worked with and would recommend – but you want it to be ones who have expertise recruiting at your level, for your industry and type of job.  You can reach out to the HR departments of companies who would be the sort of target companies you would be interested in, and ask what recruiters they deal with and consider particularly good.One key is to make sure you are working with good recruiters, and working with them the right way – here’s an article on the subject:

    comments (0)
    How To Reach Out To Contact
    Filed under: General, Networking
    Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:31 pm

    “I’m listening to your networking sessions. I have a specific question re: “approach.” I have a contact that I’m linked to via LinkedIn. I also worked with her on a major initiative. She currently is at the Director level and there is a manager level position being advertised.

    I have her work phone number and email address, but obtained them from someone else. Also, I can contact her via LinkedIn or her personal address. How should I contact her? Should I indicate I found a particular job for which I am qualified and interested or ask for an informational interview or a few minutes over coffee?”

    Think about what you are trying to achieve via your networking. While your ultimate goal is to get hired, your goal for each individual networking contact is to:

    1. Equip them with your target, and why you would be an outstanding candidate for that target.
    2. Get them to introduce you to someone else.

    Think of it as building a spider web that catches possibilities for you. How well you do #1 is the strength of that node in your network. #2 is sending some more web out to build the next node.

    Now think of how to reach out to someone to accomplish this. As soon as it’s about a direct approach to helping you find a job, you have less chance of getting the meeting, and restrict the possibilities for both #1 and #2, particularly #2.

    I’d suggest reaching out to get a chance to meet over coffee and catch up. In the meeting, depending on how the conversation goes, you can mention that there’s a position you are interested in finding out more about.

    As to how to contact her, it depends on the relationship you have with her. If you have a personal relationship, there’s nothing wrong with using her personal email to reach out.

    comments (0)
    “Old Hand” Needs New Tricks
    Filed under: Networking, Interview, Career
    Posted by: John Hadley @ 9:00 pm

    “John, I took your “5 Secrets” seminar in 2005, when the software company I worked for essentially collapsed. I then went with another small software start-up, which was acquired last year “at below market rates” and was immediately laid off by the acquiring company.

    Since then I have pursued two directions:

    1. My passion, returning to my “roots” — a history in and marketing to the energy industry, and
    2. Small software companies where my senior marketing could help a company grow.
    Both industries are hurting, in spite of all the hoopla about energy, so the going has been tough. I’ve been networking extensively in energy and high tech arenas, but am not seeing opportunities. The market is such that companies are picking only “perfect” matches to their requirements, while I have a quite diverse set of leadership capabilities.

    I’d really like to get back into energy, but there seems to be a presumption on many people’s part that an “old energy hand” can’t learn new tricks, even though I was creating the new tricks up to 2002, and have stayed in touch with developments all along.

    Do you have any suggestions?”

  • What can you do to actively present your diverse set of experiences as an advantage, instead of allowing others to assume it’s a negative (lack of focused, current experience)?
  • Are you clearly expressing powerful results, rather than ‘experience’?
  • What are you doing to show you aren’t an “old” energy hand - to counter the typical concerns someone might have about that - not being up to speed on current developments, not being that good at current technology, being stuck in your ways, not having the level of energy & passion someone younger might, talking about ‘how we used to do things’, etc.?
  • Are you making sure you have an up-to-date appearance and style of dress?
  • It is my belief that there are jobs out there, if you develop a strong, focused marketing message and present it well. Just a few weeks ago, USA Today had a front page article about the boom in jobs in 3 sectors - Health Care, Government and Energy. In fact, I have an older client who is carving out a consulting business in the energy field, and expects to be in 6 figures by year end. He came into it from an IT infrastructure perspective, with no particular background in energy, and has quickly become a sought after expert in his particular niche.

    Good luck!