Monday, March 16, 2009

jobscout on Twitter

I've started a Twitter account to share job development tips. My Twitter ID is

Follow me for jobscout updates as we grow our community.

Also please click the "Re-Tweet" link to share jobscout with your followers

See you on Twitter! 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Give to Get

Attended a wonderful dinner and conversation last night with some of the smartest, hardest-working, innovative people in the NYC advertising technology community last night.

One of the most fascinating aspects was to observe the networking. Dinner was followed by a moderated discussion of the industry, and with a room full of senior professionals and entrepreneurs who've grown or are growing the companies whose success will shape the industry itself, the opinions were deeply held and candidly expressed.

Afterwards, as we mingled and discussed the debate and got to know one another, I was struck by one participant, the most outspoken and forthright in his ambition to win big and define the industry on his company's terms. Terms at odds with several of his competitors in the room.

But in person he was charming, gracious, and seemed to put one thing ahead of all others, how he might be able to help you. And not consultative/sales help, investing social capital help. 

Now this individual was one of the most professionally successful in the room, and had already displayed a very healthy competitive instinct. Watching him looking for ways to help, questioning, learning more to see if there was any way he could be useful, was for me a powerful lesson of "give to get" in action. 

I believe the smartest entrepreneurs and professionals use this concept in virtually every situation, excepting perhaps the witness box of a courtroom, because they know, or have learned from experience, who "wins" in these situations. When one person receives your help, that's one person getting some help from you, be it knowledge, an introduction, a bit of free consulting, whatever. But when you /give/ your help to fifty people, and 20% of them "convert" on returned favors, that's 10 lifts for you and/or your business. Those focused returns can be the difference between closing or losing the next deal, the next investment, or in our case, landing the next job.

Give to get. Follow the lead of countless winners in the game of life and help as many people as you can in as many ways as you can possibly think of, and you will get back far more than you will ever give away.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Three Job Development Tips

Gina Trapani has a good post on effective working that you can apply to your job development activities. 

Here are her suggestions, along with my thoughts on how they can be put into practice developing your next job.

Choose three important tasks to complete each day.
  1. At least one significant networking-related activity: a phone call, a lunch, coffee.
  2. At least one targeted job application per day. Writing the cover letter and mapping your experience to the position will keep you thinking about these details and provide ammunition for your next interview.
  3. At least one psychically/emotionally rewarding activity. Read these tips for the upside to looking where your passions lead you in finding your next job. 
Turn off your email client.

Hmm, well this is a tough one for me. :) But I understand the interruption problem only too well. Personally, I find the "squeeze it in" approach of author Cory Doctorow more applicable to my own style. Of course sometimes you have to close down everything. In those moments I like to walk away from the computer entirely and work from paper.

Set up a weekly 20-minute meeting with yourself.

Assess the week past and prioritize the week upcoming. Over a longer term of a few weeks to a month, think about what's worked and what hasn't. If a particular event was productive then look for analogues. Having great conversations with old clients? Keep running down the rolodex. And remember again to make time to recharge the batteries in your personal life. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Interview: Question Tips

One of the areas I always feel most challenged by in an interview is the "Do you have any questions?" portion. In almost every situation, it is incumbent upon the interviewee to have a question, you do not look interested and/or maximally intelligent otherwise.

Of course every interview is situational so there are no specific scripts you can rely on, but here are three "question themes" you can take into an interview

What part of ________ is making this issue important for you now?

Intention: Get more background detail, firm up your understanding of the high-level motivation for the position. Example:

"So is this team expansion driven entirely by your recent growth or are you reacting to a recent competitive development?"

Near-term/long-term, how do the priorities break down?

Intention: Understanding what matters when you land at the desk and down the road. This depends on the presentation of the position up to that point. Example:

"I understand you are addressing A, B, and C in the near-term, and that D is your long-term goal. Who else is looking at B in the near term, or do I own that issue entirely?"

Has the company dealt with a similar issue in the past?

Intention: Is this a new strategy in response to a new issue, or are you being hired to manage a validated program?

"Where are you looking for any innovative thinking to be a focus, in creating the solution or executing the process?"

Again, these need to be tailored to the situation and your approach and language, but I've found them to be useful reminders that keep me on the lookout during an interview, and generally lead to a more detailed/pointed question during the follow-up.

What about you? Have any "question cues" that you rely on? Please comment and share.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Job Development Overview

My job development philosophy can be summed up in two points:
  1. Get your money straight.
  2. Be helpful.
Map your job development strategy to your budget. If you need personal finance help, here are some great posts on managing your budget during unemployment.

Being helpful is shorthand for aggressive networking. The goal is similar to business development, look for creative ways to develop win-win relationships with new partners and/or build on existing relationships.

Yesterday's Reverse Indirect Networking post was one idea. Over time I hope to bring you many more. But if you have the budget to give time to developing these relationships, rewards will cycle back and generate opportunities for job development.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reverse Indirect Networking

David Szary shares a tip for recruiters that can just as easily be flipped around and used by job seekers on the make.

Have you managed entry-level employees in your industry? Look for entry-level jobs comparable to your direct reports posted by companies in your field. 

When you find a position where you can make a referral, contact your former report and let them know you're seeing some interesting opportunities for them in parallel with your own search, and ask if they'd like to get connected and learn more. 

Then connect with HR and/or the hiring manager behind the position (this is probably the hard part) and let them know you have a referral for them. Make it clear you're not seeking quid pro quo, but looking to build new relationships in the industry.

Make the connection and create a new relationship with a potential employer. This is not likely a fast-track to a new position, but a long-term strategy that can put you on the radar of multiple companies/departments of interest to you.

Good luck with your search! Join us at and please send any feedback on the service and what you want/don't want to

Hacking job search -- Getting around the recruiter

One of the things we do at jobscout is to generally link directly to postings on the hiring company's career's page. Sometimes, we find an interesting posting by a staffing firm/third party recruiter and want to make sure that it's not a bait-and-switch ad.

For example, today there's a job posting on Monster for an International Product Manager posted by a staffing firm:

Clicking on the posting takes us to the job description:
One way to sniff out the actual company is to search for some unique copy in the posting on Google. In this case searching for the text:
"International Product Manager will play a key role in migrating our highly successful PredictoMobile service into international markets"
...delivers the below results on Google. The second result shows a link to what seems to be the same job description by the actual company on SimplyHired:Clicking on that second result takes us to SimplyHired and shows that the company name is NextWeb Media. The link there takes you to another posting on Monster.
But, a quick search on Google for "NextWeb Media", and voila, you can apply to the job directly via the company's web site and/or do further research to see if there's someone who might be able to refer you to a hiring manager.
I'm not saying that you should always skip the recruiter.. sometimes they might have a better line to the hiring manager than applying directly. But, I will say it's helpful to know that (1) it's a real job and (2) by knowing the company you're able to see if you can find a contact to help put in a referral.

It might seem like a bit more work, but in this economy, it's likely time well spent.