Thursday, December 2, 2010

Which Statistic Are You?

More importantly, which "statistic" do you want to be?

In the beginning of my workshops, we first look at some statistics.The statistics provide a reality check. They are the facts of the job-seeking/career management world. Like them or not, they are what they are. All job seekers have a choice about which statistic they become...including you.

Think of the job market in terms of advertised jobs and unadvertised jobs. Going forward, I will refer to the AJM—the Advertised Job Market—and the HJM—the Hidden Job Market. Next, think of job seekers—people who are looking for a job—in two categories: the unemployed, and the employed who are looking, for whatever reason. Now consider the following statistics:

• The AJM comprises 20% or fewer of all available jobs in the US*

• The HJM comprises 80% or more of all available jobs in the US

• 95% of all job seekers—employed or not—compete for jobs only in the AJM

• Only 5% or less of all job seekers pro-actively look for jobs in the HJM

So what meaningful conclusions can we draw from these statistics? If you are like 95% of those people looking for a job, you are competing for jobs only in the AJM, where 20% or fewer of all available jobs exist.Conversely, 5% or fewer of all those looking for a job are pro-actively looking in the HJM, where 80% or more of all available jobs exist.Which job market do you think offers you a better chance of finding your next job? Now let’s look at the actual numbers these percentages represent.

• The AJM represents 3-5 million advertised jobs in the United States at any given time, depending on the economy

• The HJM represents 25-30 million unadvertised jobs in the United States at any given time, also depending on the economy

• The world of job seekers represents 47-72 million people, including the employed and unemployed

• Approximately 44.7-68.4 million job seekers are competing for 3-5 million advertised jobs in the AJM

• Approximately 2.3-3.6 million job seekers are competing for 25-30 million unadvertised jobs in the HJM

Think about these numbers. If you are looking for a job only among advertised jobs, you are one of 44.7 million to 68.4 million people competing for 3 to 5 million jobs. Good odds? Good luck.

However, if you are  pro-actively looking for jobs in the Hidden Job Market you are one of  2.3-3.6 million competing for 25 million to 30 million jobs. Good odds. Good choice.

Over the years, I have consistently surveyed my workshop participants about their job-seeking experiences.In addition to finding better odds in the HJM participants also reported dramatically better experiences and results with jobs they found in the HJM vs the AJM. Here is what the participants reported.

Job Seekers Who Found Jobs in the Advertised Job Market

• 75% found a job that was not as good as their last one.

• 70% earned less than before.

• 50% of the time the jobs lasted 18—24 months.

• 50% were unemployed every 3—5 years.

• Unemployment lasted 4—11 months.

Job Seekers Who Found Jobs in the Hidden Job Market

• 90% found a better job than the last one.

• 80% saw a 10—40% increase in earnings.

• They had little if any competition for the job.

• Candidates were often pursued for the job

• They were rarely unemployed.

The key to taking control of your career is to learn how to proactively create multiple opportunities in the hidden job market. Then you can choose—what you want to do and where you want to do it—rather than letting your employer or the economy determine your future for you. Remember, everyone has a choice about which statistic they become...including you!

* In 2009 job boards represented only 13.2 % of companies’ external, full time hires.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Are You Effectively Leveraging Your Relationship Capital?

And, more importantly, do you have enough (relationship capital) to get you where you want to go?

I attended a meeting of a job club networking group this past week and at one point the facilitator asked the group of about 100 what challenges they were facing in their job search.

One well dressed articulate man in his 40's (I'll call him “Steve”) stood up and announced that he was attempting to break into Alternative Energy and asked if anyone knew anyone in the field who could help him. Steve's problem is a common challenge job seekers face not only when attempting to change fields but also in getting an interview  for an advertised job and or securing a project interview with a decision maker of a target company. In each instance the question (challenge) is the same:

How to identify who the decision maker is and get a meeting with him (or her).

Steve's request is a common networking tactic employed not only by job seekers but by anyone needing to identify a key decision maker and secure a meeting. In some cases such a request produces quick and effective results in the form of a contact or two. In this instance, however, the room of about 100 was silent. Apparently no one knew anyone in the Alt Energy Field. Or perhaps they did know someone but were reluctant to share the names of the people they knew with Steve... and the rest of the 100 who were present.

In an attempt to help, the facilitator pressed the audience to think hard, they must know someone, right? His request was also met with more silence. Spotting me in the audience and knowing that I have search clients in the Alt Energy Field the facilitator called me by name, saying: "How about you Dennis, surely you know someone you can refer to Steve." Since I was on the spot in front of all present I introduced myself and offered to help if I could and invited Steve to talk with me offline during the break.

Do I know people in the field who could help this man? Absolutely! Does anyone else in the room know anyone who could help? Most likely yes. So why didn't anyone, including me, just give Steve a name number and email address on the spot?

Well, I can't speak for the others but in my case I was not only reluctant but unwilling to share the names of any of my trusted relationships because they are exactly that... my trusted relationships, relationships that I have built carefully over time that I am not going to jeopardize by handing them over to someone I have never met before. I suspect the others in the room had similar reasons and perhaps other reasons as well, such as: they too were looking to "break into Alt Energy" and did not want Steve or any of the other 100 present competing with them.

You see, what Steve or anyone needs to do before I will share my trusted relationships with him is to develop a trusted relationship with me. Steve also would have been well served to make his request individually to me in private not in front of 100 other people I don't know (or trust).

The secret to identifying and establishing relationships with decision makers is to first build your relationship capital with their trusted relationships and to do so in person, one on one, not in a public setting.

What are you doing to build your relationship capital?

What strategies / techniques have you found most effective?

Please comment, I’d love to hear your success stories! And ”learning experiences” especially the entertaining ones. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Are You a "Pro-active" or a "Re-active"?

Who’s in charge of your career?

Most of us want to answer: “I am”, of course. And, of course, some people are. But, are you? Have you planned in advance what you want to do in your career? Do you know what your next job will be? Are you making it happen? Or, do you allow other people—or circumstances—to determine your future? More to the point, did you choose your last job… or did you take the best you could get?

If this is you, you are not alone. You see, in my nearly 20 years as an executive recruiter and career consultant, I’ve observed that many, if not most, people are re-active versus pro-active when it comes to jobs and careers in general. If things are going pretty well at work, people often just go along in the job they have. Maybe they think about a promotion, hope for one, or even apply for one. Maybe.

But people often stay with the status quo until something happens to change their circumstances. They get right-sized, down-sized or out-sized. Then, they react. When they need to find another job, these people—I’ll call them “re-actives”—typically do two things: they update their resumes; and, they respond to advertised jobs. Re-actives generally take whatever happens to come their way. They don’t take the time to think carefully about their next career steps, create a plan and take control of what they do next. By not taking the time to proactively make a clear, conscious choice about their future, they unconsciously make choices that determine their future. Not that anything is wrong with what they do. They're just not in charge of their career.

Maybe you don’t want to change fields entirely. Maybe you’d just like to find a better job in your current line of work. Or, maybe, you are out of work and desperate for anything to pay the bills. Whether you are out of work now, want (or need) to get a better job in your current field, or want to change fields altogether, the question is same: what to do and how to do it?

I had to answer that question for myself years ago. As a recruiter, I basically have to find a new job every 90 to 120 days. When a company hires me to conduct a search, the entire process usually takes about that long. If I don’t have another search lined up by the time the current search ends, I am out of work.

I learned pretty quickly that I had to constantly create new opportunities for myself. First, I determined what I had to offer as a recruiter. Next, I identified who might have a need for my particular expertise and services. While conducting the searches I had going, I still had to network, not just randomly, but deliberately, with decision makers who could potentially hire me for a new search.

I found that people were much more likely to talk to me if they perceived me as a possible solution to a problem I knew they might have. If I approached them about their problem instead of my own, they perceived me as a professional, a colleague, not just another headhunter looking for a search (read: job hunter looking for a job).

Over time, I saw that I had developed a method to generate new work for myself. If I did certain specific things consistently and repeatedly, I usually created not one, but several opportunities for myself ongoingly. Knowing that I could reliably create multiple new opportunities for myself gave me peace of mind and a sense of freedom. I was happy when others in my firm used my method successfully as well.

But I got really excited when I realized that my method works equally well for others looking to create new opportunities for themselves in their own professions. Many job seekers have used my Method with great success. It is easy to learn, duplicatable and repeatable. I’ve seen demoralized job seekers regain their confidence as they stop chasing advertised jobs and start proactively taking control of their job search and career.

Did you know that 80-90% of all jobs are not advertised? They are created and filled without the general public ever knowing about them. (That’s why it’s called the “hidden” job market.)The key to taking control of your career is to learn how to proactively create multiple opportunities in the hidden job market. Then you can choose—what you want to do and where you want to do it—rather than letting your employer or the economy determine your future for you.

Take control of your career - become a “pro-active"

1-     Decide what your next career step will be

2-     Build a list of companies you would like to work for

3-     Identify the decision makers at those companies who could hire you

4-     Establish relationships with those decision makers

Have the security of knowing that you don’t have to depend on your boss, your employer or the economy for your job and career. Join the less than 5% of the workforce who proactively manage their career and secure their own professional destiny.

Because  you are… only four degrees from your dream job.