Your Career Management Resource Centre

Tag: job search

Circled Myth text, with Reality text and red pencil

5 Myths About Summer Job Hunting

One of the great pieces of bad job search advice: “You might as well take the summer off.”

Really? The misconception that the summer is a job search “dead zone” is common, but nothing could be further from the truth!

Summer job search myths have been around for a long time and are repeated like mantras. Like other myths, they’re fantasies that shatter when scrutinized.

Myth #1: Nobody hires in the summer.
Myth #2: Nothing ever happens after July 1st, so you might as well leave town and stop networking.
Myth #3: Even if an employer has an opening, the hiring manager won’t have time to meet you.
Myth #4: You won’t find the job you really want in the summer.
Myth #5: You will have a better chance of landing a job if you wait until September.

The reality is that in today’s highly-competitive business world, no company or organization can afford today to go to sleep for the summer.

  • There is too much change.
  • Too much new technology to absorb and launch.
  • The volatility of change is accelerating every day.
  • New competitors, big and small on a global basis are looking to seize the day, disrupt markets, steal customers, and grow.

Winners Come To Play – Get Out Front – Get An Advantage

Myth #1: Nobody hires in the summer.

There are 4 reasons companies may hire in July and August:

  1. The summer months don’t affect much of a change in most businesses. There may be more employees on vacation, but activities roll along just like any other time of the year. Few vacations are more than a week or two.
  2. Many companies have fiscal years that start in late summer or fall. This means they have new budgets, new growth plans, or new process-improvement initiatives and they will need resources in place to get the next fiscal year off to a solid start.
  3. Contract positions to cover for employees who experience immediate changes in their lives can open up at any time. And these contract positions, can lead to full-time employment.
  4. This is often a time to finally make resource changes to enable searches to build management or front line strength. That creates job opportunities for you.

Myth #2: Nothing ever happens after July 1st, so you might as well leave town and stop networking.

  1. Surprise! If you continue your job search throughout the summer, you won’t have as much competition. Because so many people believe in the myths, it’s a perfect time to be out there. And It is often a good time to meet with a recruiter.
  2. Active job seekers know the opportunities are there and go in with a positive attitude.
  3. We often hear that the summer atmosphere makes people more relaxed so when you do get in to see someone, they tend to be more open and available.
  4. The summer months create social opportunities to network: neighbourhood BBQs, sporting events, and cottage parties. Don’t let those opportunities slip away.

Myth #3: Even if an employer has an opening, the hiring manager won’t have time to meet you.

Scheduling networking opportunities may be slower during the summer due to periodic vacations, but even if the process slows, it doesn’t stop.

The interviewing process may also take a bit longer with hiring managers in and out of the office. And you may have to meet with the different company representatives at different times in order to meet all of the players involved in the decision-making process. But the process does not stop. If there is a sense of urgency to hire and on-board new hires, it may not slow at all.

Avoid “time anxiety”. It will only unsettle you and cause you to prematurely shut your search down. The old adage is true, patience can be a virtue.

Myth #4: You won’t find the job you really want in the summer.

Really? You’re just as likely to find the job you really want in the summer as in any other month. Our experience with clients over many years proves this.

Myth #5: You will have a better chance of landing a job if you wait until September.

If employers have a need, they don’t care if it’s March, July, December, or January. Hiring isn’t focused on the time of year – it’s focused on the business need.

Early summer is the perfect time to get ready, research, prepare SOAR stories, and do on site reviews. Then no matter what happens or when it happens, you are prepared.

During the summer, job candidates need to make sure they are available. The thought that someone will come in on Friday of a long weekend if need be will tell potential employers a lot about who you are. It happens.

Career vs job sphere in cubes to illustrate a great work opportu

Career Management + Career Accountability =Life Time Employment

Some of us are told education is the key for success; others are told to work for a large company, the government or a bank, and the expected result is a job for life. The truth is that in a very volatile marketplace in the 21st century, there is no one ingredient for success. You need to apply a number of strategies and approaches to ensure your marketability. You are the only person that can secure life-time employment.

People today need to deal with greater uncertainty in the marketplace and a good way to do this is to take ownership of your career. It is clear that individuals who consciously invest in their careers stand out from other employees.

Group of young business people sitting around table on office te

To take your career in your own hands, start with implementing these simple strategies:

1. Assessment & Mindset: Through self-assessments and self awareness, know your strengths and areas that need improvement, and determine if those are what are in demand in the marketplace. Make sure your skill-set is up to date. Know what you need for today, and for tomorrow.  Understand the challenges and influences within and around you.

2. Reputation Awareness: Everyone has a reputation, and it is important to manage yours effectively. Understand your own credibility and track record, and how you are perceived by others. Speak to a manager, colleagues and even friends for feedback on their experiences with   you. Do some self-reflection through someone else’s eyes and then determine what qualities and characteristics to keep working on and what should remain the same.

3. Network: Cross network and really get to know the people on your team, within your company and in the marketplace. Taking the time to network is a crucial investment in your career. “Coffee” and “lunch” are important skills to learn and have. Networking while you are in a position is equally as important as when you’re looking for a job.

4. Sharing Goals: Managers can’t read minds, so give them a sense of who you are, what you want and your expectations. Seek out your manager, don’t just wait for your quarterly or annual review. Have ongoing career conversations in formal and informal settings.

5. Understand your Why:  Why do you do what you do?  We know the difference between a person that is truly passionate and aligned with what they are doing and the person that just shows up to work.  If you can, always articulate “why” your value to the organization will be clear.


New Mindset New Results

Transition – No Laughing Matter?

Remember the executive ‘tribe’ I wrote about in my last blog? I’ve been thinking more about what makes that concept work and what moves it from the equivalent of a support group for a bad break-up, to something special, unique and highly effective. One of the things that I keep coming back to is the importance of humour and having fun.

I know, I know, getting the heave-ho out of an organization that you’ve been with for some time, maybe even a long time, and where you’ve been a person of some significance and stature, is hardly amusing. Similarly, being unemployed and having to look for a job rarely makes anyone’s top five ‘fun things to do’ list, but bear with me a minute.

I’m talking about positive attitude and ‘growth’ mindset and all of those other good things, but I’m also talking about the liberating power of actually laughing. Laughing with other people, laughing at ourselves, laughing at the foibles of human nature and the ridiculous situations we can find ourselves in through a career transition.

Job search is serious business.  Truly it is and no one knows that better than I do.  But the ability to find the humour in a situation that is inherently not funny does a great deal of good!

People Laughing During Business Appointment

So often I have seen executives relax, listen better and really start to learn the key lessons of conducting an outstanding job search. I’ve seen them learn to laugh at themselves and share embarrassing moments – and help others learn, grow and keep it all in perspective by doing that.

Coming back to the ‘tribe’ concept, it is much easier to take suggestions, advice and counsel around the serious business of finding another job, from people that you’ve shared a laugh with. More often than you’d believe, I’ve heard executives say, “the best part of this awful experience was knowing that it would make a great story to bring back and share with all of you”.

I firmly believe that we learn better, more quickly and in a more sustainable way, when we’re enjoying ourselves – even a little. I also firmly believe that we do a better job of connecting, networking, interviewing and ultimately finding that next job when we’re able to keep it in perspective and continue to find the humour in the world around us.

Much bigger brains than mine confirm this. Carlos Davidovich, our exceptional neuro-management expert, says that “Positivism” allows us to take greater advantage of our intelligence, creativity and energy. Not only that, but it releases into our brain the powerful neurotransmitter dopamine, that has been proven to turn on the learning centres in our brain, allowing us to work harder, be faster and work more intelligently.

Now I ask you, who wouldn’t benefit from that during a period of transition and job search?

And the best part? This works even if we’re just ‘pretending’, taking the phrase ‘fake it ’til you make it’ to a whole new level in my opinion!

So let’s keep laughing – especially at ourselves!

Working Together.

Where did my ‘Tribe’ Go?

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” ― Seth Godin.

Group of happy business people walking together on street

You’ve just been told that you’re no longer employed by your company and in most cases must immediately separate from your current tribe. What’s next?

‘Career transition’.  Two words that many people are not familiar with – until they run straight into them.  It is a concept that is often very misunderstood (write me a resume, find me a job); and comes with some pretty scary implications (I’m alone, I’m adrift and I haven’t the first clue where to start to look for a job). On top of that, most senior executives have not had to look for a job for many years, and even then, the job often came looking for them. So you can see what I mean; this is a pretty unnerving set of circumstances.

When John Donne wrote “No man is an island entire of itself” he certainly didn’t have career transition in mind, but it’s highly relevant to this conversation. One of the most significant things you can do to turn the adversity of job loss into a powerful opportunity for challenge, learning and growth, is to surround yourself with a group of like-minded executives.

For those willing to fully engage in the transition process and commit to being an active member of an executive networking group, the benefits far outweigh the initial discomfort:

  • Confidence: gained in seeing other senior, smart, capable and successful professionals going through transition
  • Camaraderie: a sense of belonging and a place to share your experience, learn how to ask peers for help and an opportunity to offer advice and support to others
  • Straight talk: an environment of open dialogue and honest feedback
  • Feet to the fire: a sense of ‘accountability’ within the group and by the group and the forward momentum this creates
  • Intellectual stimulation: a forum for discussion, advice, ideas; adjusting your mindset from fixed to growth; exploring other markets, approaches, ‘work’ concepts

But knowing executives as I do, you’ll not just take my word for it!

I mentioned to some of my past executive clients that I was going to write a blog about the concept of ‘tribe’ as it pertains to transition.  After they stopped laughing at the thought of ‘Margaret’ and ‘blog’ showing up in the same sentence, I asked them for their comments.  With typical eloquence, candour and generosity they said:

“A tribe can help create a sense of normalcy in a rather uncomfortable situation. It helps to remind you that you are not alone and there are so many others going through a transition who have done amazing things and who will go on to do more amazing things.” – Executive Client

“I see the world through a more compassionate and humbling lens. My own transition has made me a person who is so willing to help others, even before they ask! I totally owe this new purpose in life to the whole transition process and the tribe that carried me through.”  – Executive Client

“Having a tribe or network of like-minded individuals there to support you through the process is priceless” – Executive Client

Speaking personally, I have been privileged to experience the magic of this powerful ‘tribe’ connection time and time again – there’s nothing like it and the value is huge.

So get yourself a tribe!!

Human Resources Interview Recruitment Job Concept

5 Tips to Move your Job Search Strategy From Passive to ACTIVE

What does it take to build momentum, maintain motivation and develop more opportunities during your job search? 

An active approach!

Many job seekers keep themselves very busy searching for opportunities. They spend hours a day searching through job boards, responding to ads, customizing their resume and writing cover letters. Some may even fuss over their LinkedIn profile and look for job postings on the platform.  Unfortunately, all of this activity can be very time-consuming and not very productive. This is what we call a passive approach to job hunting.

Portrait of a young business lady sitting in cafe working on a t

But, there is another way. Here are 5 ways you can move your job search strategy from passive to ACTIVE.

1. Check Your Attitude

The passive job seeker’s attitude is that of a victim; powerless and perhaps blaming others for their situation.  They may be seen as inflexible and defensive. Active job seekers have an attitude that demonstrates openness, enthusiasm and motivation. Knowing that they are in the driver’s seat, they take full control and accountability for their search. While they graciously seek out and accept help, advice and feedback from others, they do not expect others to do the work for them. 

2. Broaden Your Scope

The passive job seeker does not spend time researching industries to develop a broad target list and limits conversations to people they know well from their most recent company or industry. Although the active job seeker has taken time to clarify their targets and is very focused, they remain open to looking at a variety of industries and seek out unfamiliar organizations.  They have a target list and actively seek to talk to people in those companies, even when the company is not currently hiring. 

3. Use Multiple Methods, but Emphasize Networking

Passive job seekers over-rely on search professionals and other people to “let me know if you hear of anything”.  On LinkedIn, they only worry about their profile and use the site as another job board. Conversely, active job seekers spend 80% of their dedicated job search time on networking and have a networking strategy that emphasizes reciprocity and consistent follow-up.  They create and follow a plan for using agencies or search firms, answer ads and Internet postings, while also making time for self-care to keep their energy and spirits high.  Their use of LinkedIn focuses on building and leveraging connections and booking face-to-face meetings. 

4. Put in the Time

Active job seekers treat the search like their new job, putting in 30 to 40 hours per week on dedicated job search activities.  Just like when they are at work, they have a schedule, routines and short and long-term goals.  They limit their time on the Internet and spend more time on networking activities.

5. Build Resilience

Recognizing that landing a job can take up to 6 months (longer for very specialized or executive roles), the active job seeker has learned to pace themselves and depersonalize rejection.  Unfortunately, rejection is part of the process and not every HR professional or recruiter will provide timely follow-up, if any!  The active job seeker focuses on things they can control and continues their efforts full throttle, even when they are close to a possible job offer.