Your Job Search Might Get You Fired

Your Job Search Might Get You Fired

Recently, I was speaking with a terrified job seeker. She wants to leave her current role ethically, with a new role secured. However, she’s terrified that word might get out she’s looking–in the past, a few of her co-workers were fired when the executive team learned they were on the market.

Like this post? Share it on LinkedIn:

Could you get fired for looking for a new executive job?

Can They Fire You Merely for Looking for a New Job?

Your Job Search Might Get You Fired
Utah in particular is an at-will employment state. In other words, according to the Labor Commission of the State of Utah, the employee can quit a job at any time, and an employer can terminate the employment, at any time, without giving notice. The exceptions to this at-will rule include “(1) when the termination violates clear and substantial Utah public policy; (2) when an implied or express contractual term requires dismissal only for cause; or (3) a statute or regulation restricts the employer’s right to terminate.”

Do any of these exceptions cover “employee is exploring other options outside the organization to further his or her career”? The answer is murky.

The Employee’s Position

Your possible position, as a potential job seeker:

  • Your current company is not supporting you the way you need to be, so you might need to explore other options.
  • Your career is important, so advancement outside your current company might be essential.
  • What you do on your own time, outside of work hours, is your own business.

The Employer’s Position

Possible outcomes, if your current employer finds out you are looking for a new position:

  • It might begin planning for your departure, a structural change that might legally force you out of your current role.
  • Your co-workers might no longer regard you as a team player.
  • Your executive leader might choose to assign plum project to other personnel, in case you choose to leave your current role.

The Confidential Job Search

Your company culture, irrespective of your state’s employment laws, might support an employee’s termination if he or she is engaged in a public job search. Here are a few tips to keep your job search confidential:

  • Do not post your resume to job boards.
  • Apply only for positions that you would accept if the job was offered to you.
  • Tell recruiters you are working with that your job search is highly confidential.
  • Do not use your work email and/or work computer for your job search (under any circumstances).
  • Turn off your activity notifications on LinkedIn so your contacts won’t get emails when you update your profile.
  • Do not mention that you are looking for a new position in your LinkedIn profile. Instead, make sure it meets LinkedIn’s guidelines for “profile completeness” and you will be more findable.

Need more strategies for a confidential executive job search? Reach out to me; I’ll keep our conversations in the strictest of confidence.

The Dreaded Informational Interview: What It Is, What It Is Not, How to Do It

The Dreaded Informational Interview: What It Is, What It Is Not, How to Do It

People hire people, not resumes. So you need to be a person before you’re a resume–to engage with individuals who can support your candidacy. You need to do informational interviews. Even if you’re a senior executive with 20+ years’ experience in your field and industry, you need to set up, strategize for, and do informational interviews. Your job search might fail without this critical job search strategy.

Informational Interviews: Not Your Grandfather’s Job Search

If you’re frustrated with your job search, I’d be willing to bet that your strategy included at least one of the following:Dreaded Informational Interview

  • Reading job boards, tailoring your resume to each position, and sending it out.
  • Skimming companies’ career web sites, and uploading your resume.
  • Generating a list of companies, and sending it out to “Dear Sir or Madam.”

There is a better way, and you can do it: The informational interview.

This Is Not an Informational Interview

“Hi, thanks for speaking with me today/having me here today. I’d like to tell you about my experience, assets, and abilities, because I’m looking for a job. Do you have a job for me? If not, do you know who is hiring? And furthermore, if you look at my resume [hands over resume], where do you think I fit in your company?”

Like this post? Share it on LinkedIn:

Tone: Desperate.

Content: Me-centered.

Only possible outcome: “Sorry, I am not hiring now.”

Subtext: I’m looking for a job.

This Is an Informational Interview

“Hi, thanks for speaking with me today/having me here today. I have heard so much about your company/product/service, and I’m truly curious about the processes and people that go into producing it. How did you get into the role you currently have?”

Tone: Curious and interested.

Content: Outwardly focused.

Only possible outcome: “Sure, let me tell you how I was hired here” / “I originally went to school for X, but I wound up doing Y” / “I’ve been in this company 15 years…”

Subtext: I’m looking for a job.

That’s a good start to an informational interview. It focuses on what the audience can offer about his or her experience and asks open-ended questions, none of which are “Will you hire me?” Of course, the subtext in any informational interview is that the candidate is in a job search, but that’s not really the focus of the discussion; it hovers in the background, but it’s not at the center of the discussion. The center of the discussion, then, is the person with whom you’re speaking. Give them the platform, be authentically curious, and learn from them.

How to Engage in an Effective Informational Interview

Overall, Informational interviews are not actually interviews. They are not about you, the candidate. Informational interviews are opportunities for you to ask questions and learn. Informational interviews are not only for new college grads; they can be useful for senior executives as well. They might be formal in-office conversations, or they might be brief phone calls. Either way, any way, they are targeted discussions about the individual with whom you’re speaking and the company.

Get ready for your informational interviews:

Prepare: Learn as much as you can about a handful of individuals with whom you wish to speak.

Secure meetings: Ask for 10 minutes on their calendars; follow up in a week if you do not receive a response. Move on from those clearly unwilling or unable to fit you into their busy schedules.

Ask open-ended questions: How do these people interest you? What do they know that you don’t? What drives them to go to work every day?

Capitalize on the connection: Who do they know that you might benefit from knowing (and vice versa)? Are they willing to make an introduction?

Follow up: Thank the individual at the end of the call or meeting. Send a follow-up thank you, expressing gratitude and referring to the action steps the person agreed to take on your behalf, if any.

Reach out to recommended connections: Start the process over; fairly soon, you’ll have added dozens of people to your personal informational interview pipeline.

Service Orientation for Your Informational Interviews

Remember, informational interviews are two-way streets. Be service-focused, and give as much as you take (or ask for). Be a helpful resource in any way you can for the individual with whom you’re speaking.

Feeling Overwhelmed in Your Job Search?

Still daunted by the prospect of developing and executing a strategy for executive job search? Not sure why informational interviews will help your specific executive job search? No idea what you can offer in return for someone’s assistance in your job search? Reach out to me; I will help you construct your executive job search plan and coach you/teach you to execute it.

Quit the Job Search Panic: Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

Quit the Job Search Panic: Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

Every week, I speak to at least one executive job seeker who is in panic mode. These executives are in job search panic, and you might be, too, for a variety of reasons:
Quit the Job Search Panic Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

  • You heard the company is restructuring and you might lose your job.
  • You know the company is laying you off soon.
  • You have been assigned to a new manager or executive.
  • You’ve been out of work for some time.
  • You’re a go-getter, and any time spent job searching is better spent actually working in your next role.
  • Or, the biggest cause of job-search panic: The wait between developing your resume and hearing back.

If you are experiencing any one of these panic-inducing scenarios, then you’re probably very concerned about when that next job offer is coming. You might even be applying like mad to every likely possibility on job boards or LinkedIn. I’ll bet money that it feels like a ton of work. I’ll bet it also feels like you’re a hamster on a wheel, exerting a ton of effort and going nowhere fast, and increasing your sense of panic all the while.

Calm the Job Search Panic: Get off the Job Search Hamster Wheel

Can you imagine a job search that fees calm, controlled, and panic free, not to mention EFFECTIVE?

Having worked with hundreds of clients throughout their job search, I’ve seen these situations come up dozens of times. In every case, an executive job seeker can shorten the time between job search panic and job search success with one or more of the following strategies:

Define your job search goal: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. Drive your job search forward by determining the type of company, the industry, the level, and the role you’re after.
Read voraciously: Explore industry resources, regional business journals, company web sites, and public relations pieces to inform your knowledge of the industry. You’ll learn more about the state of the employment economy by learning which companies are getting funded or are growing by reading about their goals and strategies than you will by reading their job postings.

Talk to people of influence: By “influence,” I mean people who can inform your strategy. These can be peers, industry insiders, and hiring managers. Remember: Not every conversation should start with a question about whether the person is willing to hire you.

Set up a job search project plan: As Rudy Giuliani said, “Because ‘change’ is not a destination, just as ‘hope’ is not a strategy.”

Quit the Job Search Panic: Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

By taking control of your job search and establishing your process and goal before you start, you will manage your job search panic, whether you’re concerned about your company’s layoffs or in the midst of an active job search now. You know the pieces of the puzzle you can control, so take action on your executive job search now to avoid that paralyzing job search panic.

Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Executive Job Search

Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Executive Job Search

How many first-degree connections do you have on LinkedIn? 40? 100? 500? 10,000? That number is indicative of the number of people you have influenced to join your inner circle. But it’s not indicative of the power of your influence overall on LinkedIn. The most powerful number on LinkedIn is your total third-degree LinkedIn connections.

What Are Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections

Before we talk about the value of these third-degree connections, let’s define what we mean. Imagine you’re standing in a circle that contains only you. Everyone with whom you’re connected directly is your first-degree connections. Now imagine one of those first-degree connections standing in his or her own circle; everyone to whom that person is connected (unless they are also your first-degree connections as well) is your second-degree connections.

Example: You are connected to Mary. Mary is connected to Joe, Tom, Jack, and Donald. Joe, Tom, Jack, and Donald are your second-degree connections (assuming they’re not also first-degree connections of yours to start).

Now imagine that Joe is standing in his own circle. He has first-degree connections, too. These individuals are your third-degree connections (unless they’re more closely connected to you in some other way).

Example: Tom, Jack, and Donald (your second-degree connections) also have pools of first-degree connections. This entire set of connections-of-your-connections’-connections comprises your third-degree connections.

What Happens to Your LinkedIn Connections When You Connect with Someone New

Your Third Degree LinkedIn Connections Count

Your Third Degree LinkedIn Connections Count

As the graphic illustrates, your inner circle is only as large as it is; of course, you can expand it via a number of techniques, and you definitely should do so as you progress through your executive job search. When you do add a first-degree connection, your second-degree circle expands, but your third-degree circle grows exponentially. Furthermore, when one of your second-degree connections adds a new member to his or her inner circle, your third-degree pool also grows. Considering that LinkedIn has 364 million global members, with 2 reported to join every second (2013 metric), the number of connections in your broadest circle is growing exponentially, even while you sleep, even when you are not active on the platform.

Why Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Job Search

Third-degree connections matter on LinkedIn because no relationship activity valuable to you specifically happens outside of your network. In practical terms, this means that you can’t know about someone’s participation on the platform if you do not share some type of relationship (connections being only one flavor, but certainly the most powerful and reciprocal).

From a search standpoint, all search results on the platform are dictated by relationship status. When a hiring executive or executive recruiter who is looking for someone like you conducts a search, for practical purposes, his or her results will include only those who are first-, second-, or third-degree connected. For you, this means that this hiring executive or executive recruiter will not be able to find you unless you are part of that person’s extended network. You simply will not appear in the search results for that individual. You won’t be on that person’s radar, and if you’re not in the differential, you won’t be in the diagnosis–if you’re not in the pool of candidates, there is no way you can be chosen even for initial evaluation of candidacy.

How to Build Essential Third-Degree Connections

In many ways, the number of third-degree connections you have is largely out of your control. However, if the majority of LinkedIn users abide by roughly the same principles, every new connection that you make or someone else makes deepens and strengthens all levels of connections. To actively increase the number of third-degree connections you have, start by connecting with individuals whose brand is to be a hub on LinkedIn. These individuals are called LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs. Search these LIONs out by region, industry, job function, or company, and connect with them; most do not reject connection requests.

Connect with me on LinkedIn now.

I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Savvy LinkedIn users know the value of the circles of connections–why my first-degree contact has first-degree contacts, who are now my second-degree contacts, the contacts of whom are my third-degree contacts. Some become LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs; some keep their contacts more or less private. Wherever you are on the spectrum, you need to know that despite LinkedIn’s best efforts, some profiles are fake. Be wary of these false profiles, so you don’t get sucked in to their scams.

How to Recognize a Fake LinkedIn Profile

  1. Your name is in all lower-case letters. I’m not sure why improper capitalization correlates to a fake LinkedIn profile, but it does, anecdotally speaking.
  2. No photograph or headshot. Although not having a current photo is not necessarily a reason to decline to connect with a prospective contact, the fact that a profile has no personal or professional information leads me to believe that I’m reading a fake LinkedIn profile.
  3. The LinkedIn profile does have a photograph, but when a quick search of that photo on Google’s image search function yields some alarming search engine results. Typically, these images show that these images are being posted to multiple profiles, none with the same name. Sometimes they come from paid image sites. You need to judge whether the photo is credible.
  4. The text of the LinkedIn profile is thin. The person’s education is unlikely, given the person’s location and current profession. The work history is spotty, unusual, or unrelated to anything else in the profile. There is no description of the person’s employment, and there is no summary statement explaining the individual’s career path and what he or she offers the marketplace.
  5. The LinkedIn profile has fewer than 50 contacts.  Of course, every new entrant into LinkedIn has zero contacts–this is hardly the worry. A new profile with legitimate content and built out appropriately raises no red flags. But if the profile has few connections and some or all of the foregoing issues, there is high probability for this to be a fake LinkedIn profile.

A Real-World Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Let’s take this to the streets and evaluate a connection request I received yesterday. The email included the generic request for connection. While this isn’t a huge red flag necessarily, it’s never a great idea to generically invite someone to connect. But a fake profile “owner” can’t invite someone authentically, with a real request, because there’s no actual network to invite someone to.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

When I clicked through, I see the following LinkedIn profile:

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Take a look at the elements of the profile relative to the enumerated description above:

  1. The person’s name is in all lower-case letters.
  2. There is a photo today, but there wasn’t yesterday, when I first viewed the profile.
  3. The photo is not of the profile “owner.” I saved the photo and searched for it on Google Images. As I suspected, the image is someone’s private photo (as posted on Flickr, of an individual celebrating Manila Day). Clearly, this is not a professional photo of the profile “owner,” as the individual named in the private photo is different.
  4. The content of the profile is thin, misspelled, and not descriptive. Typically, profile owners write their actual job titles, not a vague description, and savvy LinkedIn users fill out their complete profiles. Moreover, the place of employment is listed on the company’s web site as Iowa. The profile owner lists Houston, TX, as his place of employment.
  5. The profile has <50 connections.

Are These Faults Enough?

You might say that none of these faults in this particular LinkedIn profile definitively indicate that the LinkedIn profile is fake. You’re probably right–any one of these, independent of the others, is not cause for particular alarm or disconnection. However, taken together, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I’m 99 44/100% sure that this is a fake LinkedIn profile. It lacks authenticity and honesty, and doesn’t even attempt to represent a real human being.

How to Be Authentic in Your LinkedIn Profile

There are many resources on how to write a terrific LinkedIn profile. Rather than describe the many ways to engage in an effective LinkedIn strategy, I’m going to offer one piece of valuable insight: Be authentic.

To design and implement an effective LinkedIn profile, not only do you need to complete the fields within it appropriately, you need to demonstrate that who you are online is who you are in person.

The reason fake LinkedIn profiles raise eyebrows–if not all-out alarms–is that there is no substance behind the skimpy text. What is your substance, and how does your online presence match your true self in the eyes of your audience?

Want to report a fake LinkedIn profile? LinkedIn’s customer service can help.

Connect with me (Amy L. Adler) at http://linkedin.com/in/amyladler.

Call (801) 810-5627 or Toll-Free (800) 590-2377

Proudly serving professional and executive job seekers in Salt Lake City, Utah, across the United States, and internationally.

WINNER: TORI AWARD 2012 & 2013 Best Executive Resume
NOMINEE: TORI AWARD 2013 Best Career Re-Entry Resume



Connect with Amy L. Adler on Amy L. Adler on LinkedIn | Amy L. Adler on BrandYourself | Amy L. Adler on Twitter
Executive Career | Amy L. Adler | Amy L. Adler, Executive Resume Writer | Salt Lake City Utah Career Coaching | Salt Lake City Utah Executive Resume Writer | Salt Lake City Executive Resume Writing
Five Strengths
×
Menu