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.

Find a Mentor for Executive Job Search

Find a Mentor for Executive Job Search

Throughout your executive career, you have probably mentored several people. Now, you are looking for a mentor for your executive job search. Finding a mentor for your executive job search is not difficult if you know your specific expectations, goals and objectives. You want to look for someone who will assist you in achieving what you desire. Their knowledge and experience will provide you with different perspectives on issues, career challenges and opportunities.Mentor for Executive Job Search

To find your mentor in your executive job search, you should be willing to:

  • Look outside your field–A mentor does not have to be in the same field or industry as you. Often, you can get insight and objective opinions from someone who is not involved in your industry. This type of mentor may expand your thought processes about your career.
  • Collaborate on projects–This is a great way to get to know potential mentors. You are both invested in a common goal. Working together can deepen your relationship and provide you with common interests.
  • Make your relationship reciprocal–Your mentor will want to know how you are doing, what progress you are making, and what is working for you. Share your results. Offer your insights should you be asked for opinions on projects that your mentor is involved in.
  • Determine when and how often you will meet–You both are busy people. Predetermining this information sets the expectation that you both will be professional and prepared to work. This is not a social meeting.

Your meetings with your mentor will vary in length and topic, depending on your needs. Prepare for your meetings and the ensuing discussion. Your meeting may consist of updates on your current projects, potential opportunities, and professional development strategy.

As you develop your relationship, your interaction with your mentor may change. Your mentor may discover that your opinion is a valuable resource for his or her own endeavors, and you might have insights that can inform that person’s growth as well.

Remember, you are sharing knowledge, insights and opportunities.

Your relationship with your mentor can become a long term commitment that is beneficial for both of you.

 

Job Search Research on Target Companies: Prepare for Your Interview Success

Job Search Research on Target Companies: Prepare for Your Interview Success

You’ve done a lot of work preparing and searching for a job and now it is time to research the company prior to the interview. Researching a company is critical to having a successful encounter with the hiring agent. You want to be able to walk into the interview with confidence.

Research the Company BroadlyResearch Your Target Companies for Interview Success

  • Check the website-you can discover a tremendous about of useful information about a company’s financial health, recent news and community involvement.
  • Check with your network-see what your partners know about the company-both pros and cons.
  • If possible talk to current and past employees-check out the work environment.
  • Learn who the competitors are and what impact they have on the company.
  • Research local business journals, national news, databases, and more. Learn whether the company is growing or contracting, if it has recently launched new products, or if it has received an influx of investment money—this can tell you a great deal about the company’s current trajectory.
  • Research the company’s top employees on LinkedIn.

As you prepare for the interview, keep in mind that you are not just learning about the company and its culture, you are learning about the type of people that they hire. Through this type of research you are developing your own presentation plan on how to handle the interview itself.

Narrow Your Research to Prepare for Your Interview

  • Review your information and target key areas that you may want to discuss during the interview.
  • Determine how your strengths can help the company move forward and achieve its goals.
  • Create talking points that you will be able to use to discuss the company’s unique values.
  • Be prepared to explain how hiring you will benefit the company.
  • Develop questions to ask during the interview. Show your interest in the company. Don’t be afraid to ask about future goals of the company.
  • Use LinkedIn and Google to look up the name of the interviewer. Learning names and titles can help you feel more comfortable during the interview. Check to see if you have any common interests.

The more that you learn about a company prior to an interview, the more confident you will be going into the interview itself. You will have an idea ahead of time if you are a good fit for the company culture.

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