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A New Strategy for Job Seekers

Given the upcoming Thanksgiving binge-fest, today seems like a perfect time to stop and reflect on some key lessons learned for the job-seeking populace.

You cannot attempt to job search using old strategies. Today’s global contract workplace demands new strategies that position you for success.

FINDING YOUR DREAM JOB WHEN IT DOESN’T EXIST (YET)
Even in the best of times, no more than 10-15% of all available positions are advertised. Research shows that Monster, Career Builder and Yahoo! Hot Jobs contain no moe than 6-7% of all available jobs.

Rather than spending most of your time searching job sites, you would be much better served by identifying the 3-4 industries you are interested in pursuing. For each industry, find 6-8 firms that possess a culture that matches your values and belief system. Research as much as you can about them, and find the person you would be reporting to in the role you would want from them. Develop a script on how you will engage that person, then pick up the phone and CALL THEM. Tell them you have done research and can help them, and ask for 15-3 minutes to meet with you so you can explain how.

BE PREPARED TO SELL YOURSELF.
You have to be able to “sell yourself” like a product. To do that it is critical that you know your product features and benefits. Consider your past work experiences, your key skills, certifications and accreditation, language proficiency, software applications, experiences working/living/studying abroad, professional Association memberships, volunteer/community work, etc.

YOU ARE A SOLUTION TO THEIR PROBLEMS
You MUST be prepared to convince them how you can provide a set of solutions in three key areas:
1. How can you help them make money;
2. How can you help them to save money; and
3. How can you help them to improve their operational efficiency.

In today’s global contract workplace the old ways of job searching no longer exist. After the Thanksgiving turkey day binge-fest, start thinking how you can sell yourself in a whole new way.

Our Crazy Relatives & "Uncle Joe" Biden


Quick, what do they have in common?

You know “THAT” one relative in your family that everyone is afraid to have at family functions? The ones who others think are swimming in dementia or a bit “off. The people who are not afraid to speak their minds even if it means saying those highly embarrassing things others don’t want to hear, no matter how truthful and indisputable the facts.

When a 4-year old tells you you’re fat you don’t have big bones, or are carrying around pregnancy weight for 20 years…you’re JUST fat!

Like the crazy uncle in the family that has had a “few too many” at a party and divulges deeply guarded secrets to complete strangers, they say the politically insensitive, factually true things that most other people are too embarrassed to admit.

As we commemorate 9/11…now more than ever our country could truly benefit from that same straight talk, damn the consequences discourse if we REALLY going to turn around this great American train wreck.

For 40 years we’ve allowed our captains of industry and Wall Street tycoons to amass huge fortunes, at the expense of the American middle class. Decades of lack of thought leadership have led to a higher education system that most Americans can’t afford, and does a horrible job of preparing graduates for success. Our two-party political system see-saws back and forth between a constant power struggle with both parties incapable of working together for the greater good of our citizenry.
America has been in a 20-year “Holy War” between the Judeo-Christian path aligned on one side and Islam on the other.

Thoughtful, sensitive dialog has given way to vitriol and close-minded hatred. The recent furor over burning Korans and establishing a mosque at Ground Zero are flash points that have exposed this deep wound that has not healed.

Small businesses (500 or fewer employees) have historically created 95% of all new jobs in America. In these economic times, our government is doing nothing to help small business owners grow. We have allowed our banks, insurance, and financial institutions to rob us blind. Our large corporations have outsourced and off-shored nearly all of our American industrial competitive advantage. We cannot create enough jobs to support our society even as family life savings are being worn away.

This is a call for all those “crazy Uncle Joe Biden” types who are not afraid to ruffle feathers by sparking frank and candid discussions about the course we have been on since after World War II, and the way for America to regain its “MOJO.”

Where are those great public works projects. Why not return to glory days past when this Nation built things? What about that dashing Yankee spirit driving home new innovation and forging a path towards new industries?


Where are the Ralph Naders, Craig Venters, Howard Deans, and H. Ross Perots when we need a leaders who exhibit creative thinking to challenge our conventional thinking more than ever before?

What IS crazy? Following the same failed behaviors that have gotten us into this mess i nthe first place.

The summer may almost be over, but given the awful state of the economy, the job market continues to falter, and there is NOTHING good on TV, NOW is a GREAT time to lose ourselves in the clssics! I submit for your viewing pleasure, my personal “TOP 10” list (in no particular order) of the greatest all-time films that many people I know have NOT seen. What are yours?

Breaker Morant

Gallipoli

Mad Max

Eye of the Needle

Ordinary People

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The China Syndrome

The Manchurian Candidate

12 Angry Men

What "Social Media" REALLY Means

No matter where you are or what you’re doing, we’re constantly being bombarded with the importance of “social media” and “social networking.” But, what does it all really mean? And how do you use it to your benefit in your every day life, whether finding a service provider, searching for a job, finding new clients, starting a career, making contacts in your personal and professional lives….how do you actually “DO IT?”

First off, it’s important to understand that social media and social networking is all about making relevant contacts ONLINE to build a relevant community for whatever your ultimate purposes are.

For example, if you want to build a social network for keeping in touch with friends or family, finding a spouse/mate, or building “contacts” you would create a profile/register with social networking sites like Facebook (www.facebook.com), Unyk (www.Unyk.com), MySpace, Stumbleupon (www.Stumbleupon.com),Friendster, etc.

If your goal is to create a business/profesional network of contacts, then you create profiles in “business” oriented sites like LinkedIn, Vox, MeetUp, Bizpreneur, TakingItGlobal, 43Things,etc.

In either scenario, your goal is to build an online BRAND. You are creating and projecting an image of yourself as a product or service to deliver a set of solutions. Branding is all about making a promise with your networks to deliver a consistent experience that is invaluable, unique, and memorable – consider it your own personal marketing campaign to establish and maintain your USP…Unique Selling Proposition.

But you also need to be seen as a subject matter expert to build your ONLINE credit. So, that means finding people in your industries or Associations of peers, and “hanging out” where they do online. Follow the most popular bloggers in the industries you’re interested in, post comments on their blogs and discussions, start your own discussions in LinkedIn, form Groups of your own, or start groups in MeetUp.

But wait…there’s more! You want to be engaged in as many areas as possible, so you also want to research the Forums/Groups that are populated with people you want to meet. You can do that by joining all relevant groups in Yahoo(https://groups.yahoo.com) and Google (https://groups.google.com).

Before you begin registering on these sites, you’ll need to create a comprehensive list of all the characteristics/key areas you want to use to define yourself. For example, if you are working on expanding your professional network using online media, you use all the combintations of relevant keywords that define you. Using myself as an example, I enter terms like career coach, career counseling, busienss coach, busiensscoaching, etc. when I create my online social network site profiles. Be sure to use all the phrases and all combinations of terms that define you.

You can ask people you worked for/with to give you recommendations to build the relevance of your professional profiles. Be sure to build the size of your network by expanding the number of people you invite to join you in your networks.

But it goes further. If you are a business owner, consultant or solo practitioner, you should be blogging on a regular weekly basis, have your own website, connect your blog with your website, and Tweet.

Social media ALSO requies you to apply these branding/marketing atrategies with your off-line or personal networking strategies. Again, with branding yourself it’s all about being consistent.

My partner Sherley Duncan of GoldPlaceNYC says that using social media is like twirling in a circle and wherever you stop, you are opening doors to your personal and professional self ONLINE. It’s a great metaphor.

My Year-long Ordeal With the GSA

This is a story of pain, suffering, persistence, and ultimately…SUCCESS…well, of a sort!

Last July, I decided that I wanted to sell my training and professional development, and my business coaching services to the U.S. Government. The Government is supposed to have all this money, right? So why shouldn’t I try to help train their people, and profit in the exchange?

First off, to sell “ANYTHING” to our Government, you have to submit what’s called a solicitation (kind of like a proposal.) There are soliitations for hundreds if not thousands of products & services. In order to sell to the Government, you FIRST need to have certain things. You have t have been in operation as a business for 24 months. You need to be able to report two years’ worth of financial performance for your business.

You also have to have your business registered with your state and have a taxpayer identification number. Next up, you also need a Dun & Bradstreet DUNS number (no worries, that’s FREE.) Go to https://www.dnb.com.

So, it takes me MONTHS to get through the process of completing ALL of the written documents (imagine pulling your lower lip over the back of your head) struggling the entire way. There is no one to walk you through the process. You have to read the hundreds of pages worth of instructions yourself. There are no Cliff Notes or little yellow book: “Selling to the U.S. Government For Dummies.”

After sbmitting my 25-page application last July, I received a rejection letter indicating the MANY areas that I incorrectly answered or failed to provide and information on.

So, being a glutton for punishment, I go back and rewrite the entire document (now approximately 50 pages LONG) and send it certified mail to the corrct GSA contract administrator in early July, 2010. Somehow, the document gets LOST on their end. I am informed that it really doesn’t matter that they lost it, since as of July, 2010 all solicitations can only be submitted ONLINE.


About to give up, I get a call a few weeks ago from my GSA contractor that he has located my solicitation (sitting on a fellow staffer’s desk). My GSA guy Joe (his real name) reviewed it, and gave me invaluable insights into additional areas I needed to fix. If not for Joe, I’d be DEAD!

I spend nearly a month completing it then save the document (now @ 100 pages)as a PDF then go to the website (https://eoffer.gsa.gov) to upload it. Turns out in order to send anything to the Government electronically, you need a digital certificate to authenticate who you are. So, I now have to pay $200 for the certificate, but in for a penny, in for a pound (of flesh!)

I get this electronic digital certificate a few weeks later, save all the documents then I go back to the website and hit another wall. For some reason they have me attempting to file the wrong solicitation – it’s not for the right services I want to sell. After a half day calling their “HOTLINE” where I speak with a moron “Service Rep” who accuses ME of not following directions since they cannot answer my questions, I get a Supervisor that actually DOES know what she’s doing. I finally get all my issues resolved.

So, as of 12:55PM Eastern standard time on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 I have now officially submitted a request to sell my services to the Government.

I even received an emal confirmation!

Can a rejection notification be FAR behind? STAY TUNED…

John Lennon's Song "IMAGINE"

Now more than ever, we as a society need to start thinking like this…

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one