Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category
We have two months to go before 2011. You might be tempted to ease into the holidays and push into the New Year your work on landing a new job, starting a business, making a career change, or getting a promotion. But there are certain things you should do now to take advantage of the remaining days of 2010.
Prepare for end of year discussions. If your company pays bonuses or determines promotions at year end, this might be the time that decisions are made. Make sure people are aware of your contributions. If you have any emails from colleagues thanking you for a job well done, forward these to your manager. (If you have none of these, you should, so start collecting them for 2011!) If there is no formal review process, schedule a meeting proactively, so you can discuss in detail your contributions and your expectations going forward.
Use the holiday festivities to step up your networking. Many professional associations have holiday mixers, so if you haven’t kept up with your industry colleagues, now is a good time to play catch-up. If you have extra bandwidth, volunteer to assist at the mixer. You will make deeper connections with the group, and it’s a great way to ensure you meet with most of the attendees. Sending holiday cards is an easy but thoughtful way to build in a hello each year.
Plan and organize for next year. Clear out your office files. Mark your 2011 calendar for key meetings and appointments. Look at your company’s training calendar, and sign up now so you prioritize your professional development before your schedule gets too crazy. Think of your big career goals for 2011, and schedule your calendar now for reminders throughout the year. For example, if expanding your network is a goal, then schedule a weekly reminder to reach out to several contacts.
Finally, if there is a career goal you know you want now (e.g., land a new job, start a business, make a career change, or get a promotion), then start now. It’s a myth that hiring stops near the holidays. It’s also dangerous to wait for that perfect time to start. The above checklist of items are still good ideas, but should not displace efforts you make towards bigger career goals.
— Caroline Ceniza-Levine
A lot of job seekers lament that reading the feedback from HR is like staring into a black box. It is tough to know what recruiters are thinking because, as a former recruiter myself, I know that recruiters don’t like to share very detailed feedback.
But it’s helpful to know what the successful candidates do, so you can learn from them and use these tactics for yourself. Here are some strategies from current active recruiters when I asked them, “What is an example of something a strong candidate did very well or that impressed you?”
Emphasize what’s best for the long run, even it may not benefit you immediately
Jean Allen is a veteran recruiter in the financial services industry. She is currently at Exchange Place Partners:
Someone who was in the running for a job they really wanted once told me that her boss would actually be a better fit and that she thought he might be interested if I approached him. I did approach him and he was hired. (Good news: He then hired her.)
Follow up over time and let genuine relationships grow
Toni Thompson is the Diversity and Inclusion Manager for McCann Erickson NY:
A candidate I interviewed over a year ago continues to send me bi-monthly emails with interesting articles about technology and diversity, two interests I mentioned in our initial meeting, and updates me on his current job responsibilities. There are very few people who know how to build a meaningful relationship with recruiters. This guy did it well.
Be confident, but not too much
Lindsay Browning is a Recruiting Specialist based in Dublin, Ireland, who specializes in recruiting language-based clients for online sales and marketing roles:
Confidence without being arrogant but belief that they are the right person for the role and the company. You cannot beat a candidate with a positive attitude!
You don’t have to close at the interview – what you do after sometimes matters more
Henry Lescaille is a Vice President of Human Resources at Time Inc:
I interviewed a woman several months ago, who, in my opinion lacked one critical piece of experience. She listened to my feedback, thanked me for my candor and said she wanted to “reflect” on our discussion. Her follow-up included concrete examples of how she did have that experience base and how she would be an asset to the organization. She was respectful, thoughtful and strategic – and now happily employed at Time Inc.
–Caroline Ceniza-Levine, SixFigureStart
What is a career anyway? It’s not a question that’s likely to come up in too many college level Philosophy courses (at least not until they’ve solved that one about the tree falling in the woods), but as the Wall Street Journal reports, it’s at the heart of a debate over just how many careers each of us is likely to have before we reach retirement age.
Most of us will be familiar—at least in theory—with the well-worn trope that the average job seeker can expect to have seven careers over the course of a working life. The Journal has assembled an impressive number of experts, however, to refute the likelihood of that claim—it turns out no one even knows where it came from—and who raise the question posed at the outset of this piece in the process.
So what exactly is a career? Is it simply a job? One or more jobs with a similar function or skill set? And how does duration factor in?
The Journal points to BLS statistics that show “Three in four workers age 16 to 19, and half between 20 and 24, have been with their current employers for under a year.” While that’s hardly surprising given the ages of the people involved, it also suggests that young people switch “careers” more often. But as the Journal again points out: “early, frequent switches, which can include jumps by students between summer jobs, aren’t what many people would consider career changes in the same way as a midlife switch after a decade or two in the same job.”
So how do we define a “career change?” Speaking from personal experience, I’d say I’m on my second: having spent several years as a teacher, I’m now in a completely different field, relying on a completely different set of skills. Other metrics might put me at five: I’ve had stints working in a bank, pulling pints in a variety of bars, and even working as a sales assistant at a certain giraffe-festooned toy emporium. But none of those felt like permanent choices: each job was entered into with one thing in mind—making enough money to pay my bills until I figured out what it really was I wanted to do and gained the qualifications to do so. Entering teaching, however, felt like I was taking on a profession because it was something I wanted to do, and could envision myself doing for a long time. Ditto with my current profession.
Perhaps that’s the reality of what constitutes a “career”: that each job ultimately comes down to what an individual chooses to make of it, and the meaning they find within it. Just as I found myself in toy retail as a means to an end, so there are others who have entered professions that most would consider solid career choices—law, teaching, finance—with an eye simply on the paycheck, biding time until they can do whatever it is they’re passionate about. But if that’s going to be how we define it, many of us will be lucky to have even one career.
As ever, I’m keen to hear your take on the subject. How do you define a career? And how many do you consider yourself to have had?
If you’re looking for work as a lawyer, or hoping to transition into an alternative career, be sure to check out the resources available through your state and local bar associations. Most bar associations have a career portal on their websites, and many have established committees specifically to deal with the recession’s impact on the profession. For example:
- The American Bar Association has an Economic Recovery Resources web page with a plethora of information, from job search and networking advice and articles on practice management and career transitions, to tips on managing stress and student loan debt.
- The New York State Bar Association Committee on Lawyers in Transition, formed prior to the recession, now focuses on helping attorneys who have been laid off as a result of the economic downturn. Among other resources, the committee has a Lawyers in Transition blog and a series of webcasts on career strategies and development.
- The Los Angeles County Bar Association has a career site devoted to Career Transition Resources, including a Resource Guide for Unemployed Lawyers.
- The New York City Bar Association has a variety of resources for lawyers looking to start their career or to make a transition.
Some upcoming events:
- September 14 and 16, 2010, New York: The NYC Bar’s Center for CLE, the Committee on Career Advancement and Management, and the Committee on Law Student Perspectives are holding a Boot Camp: Basic Training for Lawyers, a two-day program “to provide recent law graduates and current law students with career planning information particularly relevant in today’s economy, as well as practical and substantive insights into the practice of law.” (Note: the program is free to students and alumni of sponsoring law schools).
- September 15, 2010, Massachusetts: The Lawyers in Transition Committee of the Massachusetts Bar Association is sponsoring a program by Stephen Seckler on “Revving Up Your Fall Job Search.“ Seckler is a law firm marketing coach whose services include a new program called SLC Jump Start SM — Making the Transition from Associate Who Does the Work to Partner Who Generates the Work.
–Posted by Vera Djordjevich, Vault’s Law Blog