Locked, Loaded, and Engaged: The Rules of Engagement

Posted on May 25, 2012. Filed under: Job Search Tips, social media | Tags: , , , |

by Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady)social media job search

Fully “Engaged”

I feel like lately I am surrounded by this word “engagement” and not far behind is the word “community.” Although I probably shouldn’t admit this, I am getting a bit tired of both of them. I sat in on a Twitter chat last week that threw the terms around so much during our one-hour discussion that I was swirling in a sea of peace, love and, well, engagement. The whole thing ended with one other fellow chat member quoting me Ghandi and to “be the change I wanted to see in the world.”

The problem was, I wasn’t as convinced about the reality of engagement as my chat friends were about the theory of it. In other words, in theory, I thought it was a lovely idea; in reality, I rarely see it working. I can be all that I can be, but reality is . . . reality. Or maybe it’s just my mid-life cynicism setting in (my Twitter chat friends chalked it up to my lonely childhood; more social media was their cure!).

Either way, I can’t help but get a little skeptical when words become buzzwords (and when people sum up useless debates with Ghandi quotes; no offense to Ghandi).

Community Matters, Dang It!

Because Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and everyone else are pushing us all to be “influencers” these days (do you know your Klout score, and your Kred score, by the way?), it’s hard not to admit that community matters. I read the other day that pretty soon we won’t even have a Google search engine; we’ll just have our Google+ profiles and “circles” who will influence all our searches based on their likes and postings. (So choose your friends wisely; just make sure you also happen to choose 3,000 of them so that you have lots of “influence” and “engagement”!)

Without a doubt, you hear the stories of those who have built up so much influence across social media, that they are superstars in the virtual realm. But honestly, many of them are just really good sales people. The others are just really good networkers. The sales people figure out a way to turn all that community love into cash. The networkers, well, they keep networking.

But in most cases, people are just putting themselves out there, and they’re kind of floundering, wondering what it is they are supposed to do now that they have joined this community or that one. The rules of engagement are completely lost on them because they aren’t all that interested in being engaged in the first place. It’s kind of like attending a mixer. Probably 80% of the people would rather be anywhere else doing anything else.

Be the Change

The one little item that my Twitter friends kept missing, but in my mind was the key to the whole puzzle, is that human nature is, well, human nature…virtual or in living color. Most people want something out of social media; they aren’t necessarily looking to contribute to it. With that type of mindset, it is hard to be “engaged” or “”influencers” of each other in this harmonious “community.” So you and I can lead the way, “be the change” all day long, but that doesn’t mean our circles will follow.

On the job search side, I believe, this is an important concept to understand because if you put too much hope in social media, you’ll just end up frustrated. You have to find the right balance between participating in communities and traditional job search methodologies. I’m not convinced that we are going to “change the world” because we now have social media; I am convinced, however, that we can use social media to our advantage by understanding how the world we live in works and then, you guessed it, engaging it.

What say you? We’d love to hear from you.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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Think Job Search Management Lifecycle

Posted on April 12, 2012. Filed under: Job Search Tips | Tags: , , , |

job searchby Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady)

Job Search Management 101

Job seekers often tell me that they have the skills for the job they want, but they don’t have the skills to conduct an effective job search. I find that interesting because so many of them have been exposed to concepts within their former companies that could provide them with good tools if they just knew how to transfer them to their job search/career.

The project management concept is one of those tools.

What Job Search Management Can Learn From Project Management

Spend a little time in the corporate world, in almost any industry, and you are bound to run into project management in one form or another. In fact, it is so pervasive that it comes complete with its own list of buzzwords and certifications: Six Sigma, development lifecycles, scope/requirements, quality assurance/testing, Green Belts, Black Belts, PMPs, PMOs, Waterfall, and so on. Just think about it: All of this relatively “new” terminology for a concept that’s anything but new: how to manage a project.

Separating Winners and Losers

The reason “project management” has taken on such a level of importance within most companies, even warranting its own department or division, in many cases, is because organizations now understand just how vital the rollout of a new product, service, or system is … and that you rarely get more than one chance to get it right (not to mention the significant cost involved in failure). See, you can have the right skill sets, resources, and innovation, but if you can’t bring it to market in a way that is clear, consistent, and backed with high quality, in the end, all you have are tools.

Therefore, what makes project management so powerful is that, when done right, it can mean success, whereas when done wrong, well, no one can afford to let that happen (or at least they shouldn’t)!

The Job Search Management Lifecycle

Just begin to think of your job search as a “project” that you need to move through the essential phases of the project lifecycle: initiate, plan, execute, and close:

job search managementInitiation: Start by establishing your scope and requirements. You need to have a clear target so that you can have a “target market.” You also need to build your “project team,” those resources and network connections that will be the best assets to you. Take an honest assessment of your strengths (such as networking) and weaknesses (such as organizing!) and figure out who/what can help you overcome those weaknesses.

Planning: Now it’s time to set realistic goals (daily, weekly, monthly) and even a budget (a quality job search will involve some cost). It’s also a good idea to have an accountability partner or mentor that you can “report” your progress to along the way. Think of it as part of your “quality assurance.”

Execution: Once you’ve properly prepared, you are ready to set things in motion. Tap into your project team and begin to roll out your clear, consistent “brand” across both traditional and social media. Keep an eye on your goals and try to limit the “scope creep” that inevitably tries to worm its way in.

Closure: Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of your search, but before you abandon this project, don’t forget to give it the proper closure. Acknowledge your project team, keep in touch with your network connections (especially those new ones you developed along the way), and make sure to keep your “documentation” current (your LinkedIn bio, social media profiles, and resume).

So the next time you start to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of conducting another job search, remember that you probably have more skills and concepts available than you realize. Job search management, just like project management, isn’t really anything new, but how well you roll it out can make all the difference.

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it! Or send us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

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Executive Job Market Trends & Analysis (aka “Will I Stay or Will I Go?”)

Posted on March 20, 2012. Filed under: Job Market Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

by Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)

Good News for Some Technical Sectors

ExecuNet recently released some excerpts from their upcoming Job Market Intelligence Report for 2012. With a 14% increase in job placements (assignments) expected throughout 2012, the top 3 growth industries or sectors are projected to be 1) Healthcare, 2) Technology, and 3) Manufacturing. Of course, the number of technology-related positions in the healthcare and manufacturing segments has grown tremendously. So, for IT and technical candidates, this is a good sign for the upcoming year (check out some more 2012 figures).

6 Months for a Job Search Is the Norm

For executive-level candidates, slightly more than half (52%) thought about a job change over the past 12 months. For those candidates that are conducting a job search now or have taken part in a job search over the past year, the expectation was that it would take nearly 6 months to complete the job search but that it would yield a salary or total compensation package increase of about 13%. The 6-month time frame is consistent with the results over the past several years, so there weren’t any apparent “breakthroughs” during 2011, which confirms what most job seekers have believed about the job market in 2011.

So Will You Stay or Will You Go?

Finally, 70% of executives anticipated low or relatively low turnover for the remainder of this year. This statistic cuts two ways. First, the most common view is that people view this figure as a favorable indication that the economy and the job market (and unemployment) have stabilized. So, we shouldn’t expect to see major layoffs or large-scale downsizing initiatives across the board–although some are going to occur regardless of how high or low the market goes. Of course, one can point to the fact that most organizations have gone through their exercise of “right-sizing” to flesh out the dead weight, get lean, cut costs, etc. As a result, there is little need to do more cutting in 2012 unless the economy takes a major turn for the worse.
The second view–which still allows for the opinion above to be true–is that the expectation for little or low turnover is proof of just how tenuous the economy and job market really are. In our experience as resume writers and in the corporate world as hiring directors, when the economy is strong, people are more assertive in the job search. They hire resume writers to help them prepare the best possible document so that they reach for new heights and stretch for the dream job. When things are not looking strong, human nature is to hunker down, be cautious, play it safe, and weather the storm. People are more satisfied trying to hold on to what they have. In other words, for their own security, they decide to stay in their current job, thus reducing employment turnover expectations.

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it! Or send us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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