Why layoffs are a jobseekers best friend

I feel a poem coming on.

Layoffs suck.
I hate ’em.
I know you do too.
Economy sucks.
The End.

(Insert the sound of fingers snapping here)

Okay, besides the sentiment of my poem, what else do layoffs make you think about? Is there anyway a layoff can be a good thing? Well, actually, yes they can be… for the unemployed. How? Consider this, one way to get ahead in business (or the job market for that matter) is to be connected to the right people. If you wanted to connect with say… a VP of Engineering working in the Semiconductor industry and you did not know anyone that could introduce you, how much luck would you have getting past an Admin who is screening his (or her) calls? Probably, not much, especially if you are trying to position yourself for a job. However, how much would your chances improve if the person you wanted to talk to was just laid off? (Don’t answer. It was a rhetorical question.)

Layoffs (and a down economy) are good for at least one thing – future business opportunities. Why? People are more open to talking to you now because possibly / maybe you might be able to help them down the road. And the longer they have been out of work, the more open they are to networking. I suggest that you take advantage of this now because as bad as things are now, they will not always be. When the job market returns and business returns to “normal” everyone will have less time to deal with your request for job opportunities and simply refer you to a recruiter who will refer you to a blackhole of resumes and you may never be seen or heard from again. Make sense?

Nowadays, I hear a lot about layoffs, but they do not all interest me. Nor, should they interest you. What should pique your interest are layoffs in your industry. If, say… Xerox was laying off people left and right and your skills would be a good match for that company, connect with their employees. Even if they are not working now, they will be eventually and most likely it will be for a competitor where your skills are still valued. Make sense?

Let’s imagine that you are looking for networking connections in the finance arena. Sure, there are a lot of Wallstreet companies you can pursue, but who would be more open to talking to you? Let’s do a search on Google and see.

I look for companies that are announcing a hiring freeze and see that Morgan Stanley has announced a hiring freeze and people are concerned about layoffs. Yikes! Well, now may be a good time to reach out to Morgan Stanley employees and say that you would like to network with them. Perhaps in the near-future you may be able to refer job leads to them and vice-versa. Get it?

If you like the direction this is going in, here are a few more searches to get your brain in motion. Of course, you may want to change the keywords to fit the industry you serve. (Smile)

Happy Hunting!


Which online college is the most popular with jobseekers?

I was online (as always) and stumbled across an advertisement for an online college. It was not the first time I had seen an advert for an online school and it won’t be the last. I don’t know if its just me, but I have been seeing a lot of “back to school” ads these days. Have you ever been curious as to how many people attend these institutions? Maybe not, but I was, at least on one occasion. So much so, I decided to do a bit of research. I wanted to know how popular these online schools were with jobseekers. So, how do I do that?

The first thing I did was search Google for articles listing for “top online universities and schools” and found a top 10 list of online universities.

Using this list as my basis I realized that I was not considering several others that should be on this list. As a matter of fact, when I searched out these online universities, I noticed several Google Ads from other schools I had never heard of. So, when considering my research, take that into account.

I used Google initially to run my searches, but it kept blocking me so I switched to Yahoo and then back to Google because I’m a glutton for punishment. In my searches, I looked for the term “resume” or “CV” in the title of the document and the name of the school, but not see terms in the title like sample, tips, how and fake. Why? When I ran my searches initially, I would see a lot of resume samples, resume tips, things like that. I also saw results entitled “How to write a resume” as well and… Okay, I think I am seeing your eyes glaze over a bit, so let me share my data. (Click here for a sample of one of my searches.)

  • In both Google and Yahoo, University of Phoenix was represented in online resumes the most and by a WIDE margin.
  • In both Google and Yahoo, Devry University was in second place when it came to being mentioned on online resumes.
  • In both Google and Yahoo, American Intercontinental University (AIU) was in third and Kaplan was fourth.

Does this suggest that the University of Phoenix is the best online university there is? Um… I cannot say. What I can say is that in the sampling of schools I considered, University of Phoenix attendees had the most resumes online. So, there you go.

In case you want to look at more numbers, here is how the stats lined up.

I found on Yahoo:

  • 1,910 University of Phoenix resumes
  • 531 Devry University resumes
  • 495 AIU resumes
  • 311 Kaplan resumes
  • 169 Liberty University resumes
  • 162 South University
  • 37 Post University
  • 36 Ashford University
  • 29 St. Leo university resumes
  • 16 Everest University resumes
I found on Google:
  • 9.940 University of Phoenix resumes
  • 2,630 Devry University resumes
  • 1,700 AIU resumes
  • 1,850 Kaplan resumes
  • 605 South University resumes
  • 523 Liberty resumes
  • 506 Ashford University resumes
  • 447 Everest University resumes
  • 274 Saint Leo resumes

Hmm… quite a disparity of search results, but I digress. I hope you found this information of interest.



How NOT to get the job you really, really want

Have you considered renting a billboard and promoting your resume that way? If you have, can I make a suggestion? PLEASE DON’T do that.

  • Mark4Hire <– Did it work? No.
  • HirePasha <– Did it work? No, but she started her own company. God bless her. How much did it cost to rent the billboard? $7,000.00)
  • Julie Sarpy <– $1200.00 for 3-days of Billboard hype. Not sure if it worked.
  • David4hire <— $5,000.00 billboard. No success story posted. (Anybody have an idea?)

Why billboards are a bad idea:

  • Not targeted – On any given day, on a major thoroughfare, tens of thousands of cars pass through. Where are they going? To work? Maybe. Maybe they are job seekers like you? What percentage are people ideally suited to hire you? Can you tell? Nope!
  • Expensive – In these days and times, spending thousands of dollars on a longshot is very risky.
  • Can’t track who saw it – Sure, its in a great location for a lot of eyeballs (presumably) but how many people really paid it attention? Maybe they are listening to the radio, talking on the phone or they saw it but did not really see it. Case in point, if you drive the same way everyday to and from work, do you still look at the street signs?
  • Often in a bad location – Bad location is subjective. If you have a pizza joint near an intersection, then a billboard is GREAT! However, if you want to work in the semiconductor industry and there are no semiconductor companies near that location, then that location pretty much sucks. You dig? So, my final analysis?

Just say no!

However, if I caught you too late and you have already invested in a billboard. Sigh… Here are a few suggestions (for what its worth)

  1. Use a (free) service like Textmarks. With Textmarks people can text a phrase to a number (41-411) and the service will automatically send a message back to them. The message that is broadcast could be “Project Manager – 10 yrs experience – Six Sigma Certified – www.hiremenowplease.com”  When someone texts the service you get their phone number. So, follow up and say “Hi, are you hiring?”
  2. Find other suckers / umm, I mean other jobseekers to join you and thereby defray costs. Have the billboard point to a website where multiple resumes are posted. Hmm.. Maybe you can make a business out of it? If so, let me know (and send me a cut).
  3. Make sure that the billboard is not on a major highway. Beyond all the traffic, who is really looking at it? Do the research and make sure that the billboards are near office parks. The price may be lower since you are not near a major intersection, but at least the traffic will be more targeted. And speaking of location, do yourself a favor and put your tax dollars to work. The Department of Labor keeps stats on occupational trends. For example, http://www.dol.state.ga.us/wp/area_short_term_emp_projections.htm <– reports on what counties in Ga are projected to be hiring and in what and which counties are expected to be doing the hiring. Make sense?

Good luck with your search.


How to Get The Job You Really, Really Want (Part 3)

Let’s imagine that you are a Software Engineer and your dream job is to work for Microsoft and develop the next version of Halo. Do you want to stack the deck in your favor? Try this sneaky / strategic move. Find a resume of someone already working there and match your resume as closely (and honestly) as you can to it. For example, here is a search string that will help you find the resumes of Software Engineers who work for Microsoft and have had some experience with the XBox.

intitle:resume software (engineer OR developer) xbox “microsoft corporation” -your -submit -apply

For the unschooled, with the above search string I am asking Google to look for the term “resume” in the title of a web document, the term software, the term “engineer” or :developer,” also bring back documents that have the words “Xbox” and “Microsoft Corporation,” but not “your,” “submit” or “apply.”  The terms your, submit and apply are typically on job descriptions which is why I do not want them in my search results. I am seeking resumes. ( For more info on this type of thing, check out my recruiter training website. )

Out of those results, I found a resume of particular interest, a former “Development Lead” working in the XBox Division of Microsoft. Check out some of his work history.

Now why do I suggest that you mimic someone’s work history rather than say… a job description. Oh, let me count the ways…

  1. Job Descriptions tend to be too generic and often times do not give the job seeker enough information. I mean, think about it, how closely would a want-ad accurately describe all that you are responsible for at the office? (Especially when companies are ascribing more work, but not more money.)
  2. Who is evaluating your resume? An experienced recruiter with years of hiring in the industry or a junior recruiter who is only checking for keywords? There is no way you can know! However, if an experienced recruiter and a junior recruiter can scan your resume and see you doing things that present day employees are doing, chances are they will consider you more qualified. Furthermore, a hiring manager can look at your resume and their “gut” will tell them that you would be a good fit since you have done so much of what their workers are presently doing. Make sense?
  3. If you look at someone’s resume and you cannot reasonably adapt your resume to fit what they have done, then maybe its not really the job for you. Make sense?

Okay, I’m done for now. More tomorrow…


How to Get The Job You Really, Really Want (Part 2)

In my last post I mentioned Linkedin, so in this one I am going to keep that vibe going. In this post, I am going to go a bit deeper in what I posted yesterday. In so many words, find people who work for a company you are interested in and then ask them refer you to the company. If you are hired, they get the employee referral bonus.

Step 1: Look for a gig on Linkedin by going to –> www.linkedin.com/jobs In the screenshot below, I am (a) looking for a Project Manager role. (I also noticed that Linkedin has scanned my profile and (b) suggested jobs I may have an interest in.

Step 2: Click on one of the jobs. In this case, I choose to click on the job posted by Home Depot. If I wanted to change my mind, I would add more keywords to my search (see arrow below).

Step 3: I see who posted the job and I also see several people in my network that can connect me to that person. Cool!

What would I see if I had no networked connection to that recruiter? I would see other people in my network that work there (check out the example below) or (theoretically) I would see a message from Linkedin asking me to invite more people into the Linkedin network.

Happy Hunting!