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Considering A Change In Your Career?
Top 10 Tips To Get The Career You Want – In Any Economy!

1) What Do You Want?

Write down your top 3 to 5 “Must Have” criteria before you start your search.  The list is used to keep you focused.  This process can and will become emotional.  

A major mistake made in “buying decisions” (cars, houses, marriage proposals, job offers, etc…) is making decisions based on emotions verses facts.  Take control by having your list and reminding yourself what you really want.

Examples include: minimum compensation needed (while preserving your self worth), maximum commute miles (to maintain sanity), specific work environment (window office or cube), etc…  Still at a loss as to what you’d include on the list?  See my next Tip.

2) Why are You Looking?

Write down your top 3 to 5 reasons you're looking.  Even if it's an obvious reason such as a layoff, there were probably other reasons you would've eventually left for.  Become clear on why you're leaving, that will help you decide what needs to be on your list of “Must Have” criteria.

3) Recruiter, Solo or Combo?

Determine early if it makes sense, given your particular situation, to work with a Recruiter.

How do you determine this?  Be honest about your skills and marketability.  If you're in the Top 10% of your peers, you should run, not walk, to your nearest phone and call a recruiter who is also tops in your industry.

Quick Tip: If you're in the Top 10%, please see if you qualify for the Private Executive Talent Pool Program I am piloting.  I've had great interest to date; I would love to hear what your thoughts are!

How do you select a Recruiter?  This is a whole topic in itself.  Much more on this in Top 10 Questions To Ask Your Recruiter .  In the meantime, go Here or Here to see if I have a Recruiter that specializes in your industry.  If you find one from those links, chances are excellent they’re tops in their industry.  If you are feeling otherwise, I would like to know about it.  Email me. Tell me why you’re dissatisfied and what I can do to fix it.

If you are extremely good at what you do but are not in the Top 10%, you still should contact a Recruiter (or better yet, several - just not from the same office/location) in your area of specialty by using one of the links above.  Much more on this in Top 10 Reasons To Work with a Recruiter (if you're in the Top 10%), coming in a Blog entry shortly.

In the meantime, here’s the short answer.  First, introduce yourself via email.  State briefly the top 3 to 5 reasons you’re good at what you do.  State them in terms of evidence, not opinion (i.e. I was #1 in my region for the last 3 years, with $3 Million in new Revenues and $2 Million in continued relationships, that’s 20% more than #2). Next, call the Recruiter.  Chances are good you’ll get voicemail.  Leave a message.  In your voicemail, state you sent an email and reiterate the top 3 to 5 reasons you’re good at what you do.  There're several reasons why (nothing personal to you) you may not hear back from the Recruiter.  Curious? Much more on this in Top 5 Reasons Recruiters Don't Call Back.

After 2 days, (hopefully you’ve reached out to several Recruiters at once thereby increasing your odds of someone calling you back) it’s reasonable for you to start planning your own Career Search.  Take control!  Use Lorena’s List to help you along the way.

If a Recruiter does reach out after you have started your own campaign, be honest as to what you have done to date and ask if they’d still like to work with you. If they’re good and are in the business for the right reasons, they should still work with you as long as you're working in full disclosure and not hiding anything from them.  If you really are a Top 10%er, you may want to consider turning over your campaign completely to a Recruiter with an exchange of commitments on both parts.  It's in both your best interests to work this way.

4) Be Proactive.
Plan your specific approach.  List as many companies you would like to work with.  Don’t stop at 5 or 10.  Challenge yourself to find 20 or more.  Next, research their competitors.  Now you should have a healthy list to start with.

Start researching everything notable about each company on your list.  What current events are happening with each?  What challenges are they facing?  See which ones have openings on their site that match your qualifications; but that’s just a bonus.  The best openings are the ones not advertised. Fill out a general inquiry if their site has one.  Register yourself and let them know what kind of opportunities you'd be interested in.

Find out who the hiring manager is for the position you want to be hired for. See if there is anything noteble about them on their site.  Directly send your resume to them, including your cover letter with the 3 to 5 things that make you stand out from your peers.  Turn the challenges they're facing into opportunities for you, by addressing how you would deal with them. If they have a specific opening, tie your experiences to their needs based on the opening.  Make sure the cover letter is high impact, but brief.  Just give them a taste for what you can do for them.  Make them want to read your resume.

Twitter your hiring manager.  If they’re on there, start following them to see if you can relate your experiences to anything they are currently doing.  If nothing else, it will provide name recognition when Twitter lets them know you are following them.  Don’t worry; no one will think you are a stalker!  Since you're here, Twitter me, I'll Twitter you right back!
5) Your First Impression is Lasting.

Make sure you have a good professional image, starting with your email address.  Cutesy, witty and vulgar are not appropriate for applying for an opportunity.  That sounds like a no brainer, but 20% to 30% of the resumes I receive still do this.  Also, try not to use yahoo email if possible.  I have been told it hits most spam filters for some reason.  I haven’t personally experienced this, but employers tell me this all the time.

Google yourself.  You may be surprised at what comes back. Be prepared to talk about it if an employer asks.  Make sure your Facebook, MySpace and other social sites are free of anything you wouldn't want to be “out there”.  You know what I am talking about....  Quick, go fix it now while you are thinking about it!

Check your resume.  Have someone close to you read it and critique it.  Read it out loud and see how it sounds.

Resumes are a tricky subject.  Personally I don't think they are a realistic representation of who most people are and I've seen them used as a tool to screen people out.  Because candidates realize they are being screened by their resume, statistically, 50% of the time they falsify the information.  Don’t be one of those 50%!  If it doesn’t bite you now, it will later and you can be fired.  If you lie on a resume today, you never know where it will end up tomorrow.  If you fix your lie at a future date, realize someone may somehow obtain the one you had lied on previously.  Nothing is a secret anymore and you never know whose hands it may fall in.

If you don’t know how to write a winning resume, Go Here for some tips. I have been able to recommend good solutions to candidates depending on your personal situation. 

6) Take Them to Lunch!
It may sound a little corny or uncomfortable, but it goes miles for setting you apart from anyone else.  If you truly want to take control of your destiny, start setting up lunch meetings with the agenda being an informational interview.  It is a win/win.  Buy them lunch (hey, they're eating anyway right).  It's a casual setting so no grilling and no stress (how intimidating can it be if they have spinach lettuce between their teeth)!  Even if they’re not hiring right now, you'll get the skinny on what it takes to get hired at some future date.  The big bonus is you have now increased your personal network by actually meeting this person and building rapport.

If lunch is out of the question, I'd still request an informational interview.  You may not get as good of a response rate as lunch because everyone is pressed for time these days, but I'd still try.  Again, it sets you apart from the rest.  Perhaps Happy Hour is in order!
7) Let Technology Work for You.

Use aggregators such as Indeed or Simply Hired to help you search for opportunities online.  These sites reach out to cyber land to find jobs posted that meet your specs.  They find opportunities listed on the major job boards (CareerBuilder, Monster, Hot Jobs, etc…) instead of having to go to each site. You can also try Goggling your specs, but I think these two capture anything Google would.   

Here are a few specialty sites I recommend.  For those who are looking for opportunities $100K and more, I highly recommend The Ladders.  If you’re looking for Tech positions or Contract Staffing assignments, I would suggest using Dice.  My personal favorite site to search for opportunities that may not be listed on the open market is the MRINetwork.  Why?  Because there are over 1,000 offices which represents over 8,000 Recruiters that have active Job Assignments and are looking for you!  While that sounds great, let me explain this site isn’t panacea either.  Many Recruiters don’t post their openings.  They feel their clients will perceive them as less valuable if they found a candidate because of a posting, even if only on the internal MRI site.  There are so many reasons why this is an invalid perception, but that shouldn’t concern you (hey, maybe I should do a Top 10 List for Employers on this subject!).  The point is this is just another resource you should use in your arsenal of many.

Post or not to post your resume on these sites is your call.  Some Pro’s are companies sometimes don’t post their opening.  They pay the job boards for a resume searching service.  They input the qualifications they’re looking for and pull up matched resumes.  You would have no way of knowing the job was even available if your resume isn't posted.  The Con’s are obvious: you don’t want your current employer knowing you're looking, you don’t want your peers to know you're out of work, you don’t want to appear in desperate need of a job, it stays on these boards for years and even though they say you can take it down; they pop up again, spammers use this avenue to scrape names and sell you a host of items from pills, diets, eBay millions, and the list goes on.

Personally, I wouldn’t post my resume.  I feel you lose control of who's viewing you. (The only caveat to this opinion is the Private Executive Talent Pool Program I'm piloting.  This program allows you to remain anonymous until you review who's viewing you and decide if you want to reveal your identity on your terms).  I’m sure others feel strongly about not wanting to miss an opportunity they qualify for but never would have seen had they not posted their resume.  Now you know.  Make an informed decision on what’s best for you.

8) Network, Network, Network!

Nothing new to the idea, but hopefully you pick up a couple of new tips by reading this.  Make a list (I love lists!). Start thinking about who you know that should know you're looking.  Include your professional network you’ve built on LinkedIn.  What, you haven’t built one yet?  Start now by Linking into me, Lorena Stanley. I accept all invitations.  Start browsing my network.  I have a very large network of 7.000 direct connects, which represents over 16 Million who are in my entire network. You will have access to literally Millions of employers.  See, good things are still FREE!  Here's more.  Want to know a secret?  Recruiters use LinkedIn religiously.  It's an excellent networking source.  If you're a hiring manager, you’ve got to love the fact I just increased your odds of networking yourself to find your perfect candidate.

Okay, who and what else should be on your network list?  Friends and family of course.  You never know if Uncle Joe has the inside scoop at XYZ company.  Professors, former employers, and former peers are also excellent resources.

That's a pretty good list of the “who”.  As far as “what”, I'd suggest industry associations, any professional networking event including Chamber Mixers, and don’t forget your Alumni Associations.

The point is to get out there and network.  Have your 3 to 5 selling points ready so you can sell yourself and have your business cards handy.  Make some up if you don’t have any.  I suggest trying these out, they're FREE (+s&h).  As you give these out, collect as many cards in return as possible.

Quick Tip:  If the business card you collect happens to have a blank back (I love those) write a quick note to remind yourself why you collected this card.  Was it to follow up on a lead, were you invited to an event, did they offer some free advice at a later time, or did you just get a date (hey, you never know).

9) Have References Ready to Go Go!

Make sure you have a list of professional references and all their contact information ready.  Make sure you have contacted the references to let them in on your plan ahead of time.  When you give out your references for a specific opportunity, give them another quick heads up and tell them something about the opportunity so they can help sell you better.  Above all, tell them to be honest in their assessment.  The truth always comes out and honesty is always the best practice.

Who knows, all this contact with your references may bubble up an opportunity they know about but would’ve never guessed you’d be interested in.  Want to know another secret?  Recruiters love and hate checking references.  They love it because they want to get the real scoop on you to help sell you better to the opportunity.  And they love it because they have another person they just built rapport with and may recruit them down the road.  They hate it because 10% of the time, an unexpected job opportunity the reference knows about comes up!  Recruiters hate it; but you should love it!

10) Think Outside the Box.

Check my Hot Markets Hiring Now to see what industries are hiring even in this economy.  Can you make a case for your skills transferring into any of those listed?  Not sure?  Use Indeed or Simply Hired to research what openings they have to offer.  Match openings that require similar skills to yours.  This is a great time to take them to lunch and ask for an informational interview.  Explain how you benefited the companies you have worked for in the past.  Paint them a picture of how you can help them now.

Maybe it’s time to look at Contract Staffing opportunities.  Be confident and show them how they'll be amazed by your skills.  Tell them you would be willing to work for them on a Contract basis to prove your worth.  There's no obligation on their part to keep you for any length of time and you both get to take a test ride to see if it's a good fit.

One other thought is to look at starting your own business.  Experts are saying that given these times, and the highly publicized gloom and doom, we are creating the biggest pool of entrepreneurs ever.  Why not join in?   If you have an exceptional talent you can monetize, go for it!  Break some glass!

And finally, but not least, keep checking back on Lorena’s List for more Tips!  Take control of your Career and Finances right here!

Why not take a moment to check out my Blog!  Try this one.

Would you like to sign up for my Free eCourse: My Career eCourse?  It takes each of these steps and goes into greater detail with more examples.  Sign Up Here.

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