Episode #105 – Marc Miller interviews Susan Joyce of Job-Hunt.org fame for proactive advice.
In this episode, Marc interviews Susan Joyce to discuss the difference between a reactive and a proactive job search. Job-Hunt.org and Susan have been helping people find jobs since 1998. Susan P. Joyce holds a BS in Education and an MBA in Information Systems. She is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and two corporate layoffs. Susan worked in HR at Harvard University and recently finished an appointment as the Visiting Scholar at MIT Sloan. Since 1998, She’s been the Publisher, Editor, Webmaster, and Chief Writer for Job-Hunt.org. Susan has been studying, writing, and speaking about online job search since 1995, building on her own unique background in Military Intelligence, technology, and human resources. A LinkedIn member since 2004, Susan has been teaching about the effective use of LinkedIn for job search for many years.
[1:33] Marc welcomes you to Episode 105 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[1:45] CareerPivot.com brings you this podcast. CareerPivot.com is one of the very few websites dedicated to those of us in the second half of life in our careers. Take a moment to check out the blog and the other resources that are delivered to you, free of charge.
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[2:22] Marc has released the 2018 Repurpose Your Career Podcast Survey. Marc thanks listeners who have already taken the survey. So far, as of November 14, the number of surveys exceeds the number from last year, so thank you!
[2:40] To improve the show, Marc needs to know something about you — how you listen to the show; if you read the show notes; what kinds of episodes are your favorites.
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[3:15] Next week, Marc will be taking you on the next steps on becoming an expat in Mexico. Marc and his wife have returned to Austin for six weeks, where they are cleaning out their condo and preparing for their return trip to become semi-permanent residents of Mexico.
[3:31] Marc and his wife are coming to the end of their journey, and he wants to close things out, at least, for a little while.
[3:39] This week, Marc is interviewing Susan Joyce, of Job-Hunt.org fame. Marc reads Susan’s bio and welcomes her to the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
Now on to the podcast…
[5:13] Susan says she has been very fortunate in her career. In her last semester in college, she learned teaching would not be a good path for her. So, she joined the Marine Corps. It was the best job she ever had. Unfortunately, that was her first layoff.
[6:25] Susan next came to Massachusetts where there were lots of opportunities.
[6:29] Marc and Susan both feel that in their careers they’ve been more lucky than good. Marc only had one layoff, which was voluntary; otherwise, he chose to move.
[7:12] Susan explains the difference between a reactive and a proactive job search. Waiting for job postings and applying to them is being reactive. You are limited to the postings that you find. The reactive market is really random and the most competitive job market.
[7:55] In the proactive job market you leverage your network, make yourself visible, and give employers opportunities to find you. When you’re found by an employer, the shoe’s on the other foot. They’re pleading with you to work for them. It’s a stronger position for the job searcher, especially regarding salary and the choice of where you want to work.
[8:43] The proactive job searcher is not competing with everybody sitting at their computer applying through for jobs. There are a lot of advantages in being proactive rather than reactive.
[8:58] Someone asked Marc why recruiters weren’t finding them for jobs that they wanted. Marc advised them to make their LinkedIn profile state what they were looking for. You have to make yourself “look pretty” to be found for the job you want. If you look like a mechanic instead of an architect they will find you for mechanic jobs.
[9:42] The proactive approach is best. You avoid competition; you present what you want; you focus on where you want to work. Don’t call yourself a marketing professional. No recruiter is searching for the term “marketing professional.” They search for job titles like “social media marketing manager,” or “B2B marketing analyst.”
[11:02] In a proactive job search, use the exact job title of the role you want. Know the employers you want to work for and know what they call the job you want next. Use those terms in your LinkedIn profile, both in the professional headline and also in the description of your work. Including these keywords lets employers find you.
[11:48] Use the right keywords in the right places. Today’s search engines do not fall for using the same keywords over and over in white letters on white space. Use them in the text where they make sense.
[12:40] Think like a recruiter and how they search. Keep current with job titles as they change. Marc used to be a training manager. In today’s usage that would be learning and development. The old term MIS is replaced by IT. Using old terms stamps “old” on your forehead. Don’t refer to obsolete job skills, like MS-DOS Control Programmer.
[13:59] To start your proactive job search, first target employers and jobs at those employers. Don’t target two or three, but as many as are local to you. Ask for an informational interview to build your network. Find potential good places to work and then use your network to find out if they really are good places to work.
[14:43] Research the job title. Admin wizard might your current title. Most companies would call it a senior administrative assistant, so list it as admin wizard/sr. administrative assistant. That gives you the right keywords for the rest of the world.
[15:56] Use these job title keywords on LinkedIn, resume, your business card, and networking card (without your employer information.) If you are not employed you do need a networking card, with a Gmail address on it, because Gmail is the most widely respected email name. Get a free Google Voice phone number to forward to your cell.
[17:27] Marc tells people who wear many hats to put all the job titles that are applicable to what they do. Marc suggests using a vertical bar to separate them, but a slash also works. Always make sure you have the job titles for the job you want.
[18:14] Susan explains why you need to be specific in your LinkedIn profile about your location or your planned location.
[19:18] One of the best ways to use a proactive job search is to try to connect with an employee referral. Less than 20% of jobs are filled using job boards. More than 30% of jobs are filled using employee referrals. LinkedIn can find people who work for specific employers and can find connections you might have in common to reach out to them.
[21:25] Marc also recommends finding people who have left the company and finding out how long they were there and why they left. They can give you an authentic view of what the culture really is. If you don’t ask, you won’t find out.
[23:17] If you are unemployed, you can be really open and public about your proactive job search on and off LinkedIn. Go to the local Chamber of Commerce meeting or a local professional association. Introduce yourself in terms of the job you are seeking. Don’t represent that “you can do anything.” Take the opportunity for personal branding.
[24:42] If you say you are good at everything, no one will believe you, or know what your strengths are or what you want to do.
[26:20] If you are employed, you will be much more subtle. You can’t be open about a job search. You can be fired for that. Leave out anything about “seeking new opportunities” in every public discussion you are in on LinkedIn. Keep it low-profile.
[28:00] This is where having the right keywords in the right places and being visible in LinkedIn groups associated with your work is helpful. Share more information about what your company does. Fill out your LinkedIn profile with lots of detail without violating corporate confidentiality rules. It will increase your marketability and help your company.
[29:01] When you increase your visibility in a proactive way, you will be noticed, and hopefully, by the right people. You can also join groups that aren’t particularly related to your job, but which are interesting to you, and that you can explain easily if anybody asks. You increase your visibility and your knowledge base.
[29:43] There are so many opportunities for personal marketing on LinkedIn. Follow people who work for your target employers, if they share on LinkedIn. Who you follow isn’t something that people can normally check on LinkedIn. Make yourself visible, without drawing your employer’s attention to yourself.
[31:11] Recruiters are getting so desperate. There used to be 250 applications for a job. Now there are 25 applications for a job. This may mean an increase in salary for your next job. Being out there, visible and intelligent and not ranting about politics or the Red Sox, or really, ranting about anything, unless ranting is the job you want next!
[31:44] Being seen out there as a professional in your field will bring attention to you. It’s not bragging to share a good article from a technical journal. Marc advises people to curate good content and then go share it, being sure to tag people that you want to see it. The idea is you are trying to be helpful and be a resource.
[33:06] If you’re providing them with useful information, it’s not being a pest.
[33:15] Asking people for advice is a whole lot more effective than asking them for a job. “What do you think about this? Does this strike you as a good idea?” Ask those kinds of questions when you’re tagging someone by sharing something. Or ask them for advice on how to make something happen for a particular situation, even technical questions.
[33:56] When you ask for advice it’s a compliment. Ask for AIR (Advice, Insights, and Recommendations). Always ask for the recommendation or the next step. It’s your close.
[34:55] The numbers associated with reactive job search vs. proactive job search should convince you to try the proactive approach. Susan estimates that 80% of the people she talks to have only tried reactive searching. As you keep track of how many jobs you apply for and how many times you hear back from a recruiter, you see it is bad.
[35:41] Applying for a job, to be successful, you need to thread the needle. You need to respond very specifically to the requirements of the job. Some of those job descriptions aren’t particularly realistic. If you’re applying well, you’re investing a lot of time. Instead, spend three hours a day interacting, curating and sharing good content, or networking.
[37:15] For the unemployed, job clubs are fabulous. Go to them and expand your network. Most of the people in the job club will end up with jobs. And you’ll stay in touch with those people on LinkedIn for the next job search. The lifetime job is gone.
[37:56] Marc refers to the Repurpose Your Career episode with Bob McIntosh where Bob talked about activity vs. engagement. Go engage!
[38:08] You can reach Susan Joyce through her contact information on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/SusanJoyce or email her at Susan@Job-Hunt.org. Don’t forget that hyphen! Marc thanks Susan for being on the podcast.
[38:59] Susan Lahey and Marc are working on the next edition of Repurpose Your Career, and they are looking for your help. Marc is forming a release team of readers who will get access to pre-release chapters of the book to provide feedback. You can be part of this team by going to CareerPivot.com/RYCTeam where you can sign up.
[39:35] When you sign up, you’ll receive the pre-release version of chapters when they become available. Last week, Marc read the opening chapter, and that will be available in several weeks. What Marc asks in return is for you to provide feedback and be prepared to write a review on Amazon when the book is released.
[40:00] Marc and Susan are adding about eight chapters to the book and re-writing several others. Marc’s goal is to have a chapter on the podcast and to the team every four to six weeks in the coming months. Marc may start a private Facebook group for the team to discuss their thoughts.
[40:39] Please go to CareerPivot.com/podcast-survey and take the 2018 Repurpose Your Career podcast survey on SurveyMonkey.com. Marc would be most appreciative for your help. Marc needs to know something about you so he can improve this podcast for you. Marc is getting a good response and would like to get as many as 100.
[40:53] The CareerPivot.com/Community website has become a valuable resource for almost 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project. Probably by the time this airs, Marc will have on-boarded the latest cohort. Marc will start recruiting for the next cohort by early January.
[41:16] If you’re interested in the endeavor and would like to be put on the waiting list, please go to CareerPivot.com/Community. When you sign up you’ll receive information about the community as it evolves. Those in the initial cohorts will get to set the direction for this endeavor. This is a paid membership community with special content.
[41:51] Marc will do a session, probably in early January, where he will be interviewing some of the members of the community about what they’re getting out of it. This is an evolving community ranging in age from the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties.
[42:34] Check back next week, when Marc will take you on the next steps to becoming an ex-pat in Mexico.
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