More Job Search Problems And Solutions

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: May 4, 2009 - 9:23 AM

More Job Search Problems and Solutions

Yesterday, I took phone calls from clients across America. Together we tried to brainstorm solutions. And we came up with some pretty creative ideas, as it turns out.

In fact, I’m sure you can use at least one of them to find a job, even in this economy.

So, here are two mini case studies from the people I talked to, with solutions you can adapt and adopt in your job search…

Sandy in New York called with two problems:

Problem #1: She can’t figure out which employers she wants to work for. (You, too?)

Solution: I told her to visit LinkedIn.com and click on the names of all the employers listed in her profile. This usually brings up a description of each company, along with the names of companies people work at before and after that employer. It’s a fantastic way to discover more potential employers in any industry.

She can continue this exercise by viewing other peoples’ profiles and clicking on names of their employers, to learn more about career trajectories in her field.

Problem #2: Sandy needs to quickly learn more about social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, because these will figure prominently in any marketing job she takes.

Solution: Here’s a fast way to research almost any topic, so you can talk intelligently about it to employers. Go to Google and search for “INDUSTRY press release” and “INDUSTRY news release,” replacing INDUSTRY with keywords related to your next job.

Try these example searches on Google -- “social media press release” and “high-tech marketing news release” -- to see what I mean.

You’ll find press releases, written by companies with news to announce, that are intended for newspapers, TV stations, and other media. This is often cutting edge information that’s too new for books or magazines.

You can use press releases to prepare for a job interview (“Do you know what your competitor just announced yesterday?”) or to write a white paper and deliver it to employers, to showcase your knowledge of industry news and trends.

Every reporter, at some point, reads press releases to get story ideas. Now you can read them to show employers how “in the know” you are.

Cindy in Illinois called with this problem: She’s meeting resistance from an employer, who’s concerned that her 40-minute commute time could hinder her performance if hired.

Here are two solutions …

Solution #1: Cindy told me that she’s commuted long-distance for 15+ years, so it’s simply a matter of convincing this hiring manager.

I told her to get a letter of recommendation from each past employer and, along the top of each, write “Commute time ___ minutes,” filling in the blank with how long it took to drive to each job.

That way, in addition to reading an endorsement of her skills by a past client or manager, prospective employers can see -- in writing -- that a commute time of 30-40+ minutes in past jobs was a non-factor in her performance.

Solution #2: Cindy can turn a long commute into an advantage by telling hiring managers something like this: “Driving an hour a day gives me an edge because I listen to audio books in the car. Five hours a week equals about 250 hours a year, enough time to digest 100 books on subjects that would help me do my job better. Have you interviewed anybody else who is willing to spend more than six weeks a year (250 hours divided by 40) of their own time on self-development for you?”

Heh. Suddenly, commuting doesn’t seem like such a big deal, does it?

Now. What can you take from these stories if they don’t apply exactly to you?

  1. The creative solution to your job search problem can be as simple as using a standard practice (reading press releases for story ideas) in a non-standard way (reading press releases to research employers).
  2. It’s one thing to make a claim about your skills/experience. It’s another to prove it in writing. Letters of recommendation can do this for you. Get and use as many as you can.
  3. It’s almost always possible to turn a negative (long commute times) into a positive (the opportunity to educate yourself by listening to audio books). Start thinking about how you can turn your own negatives into positives. Stuck? Ask three friends for help.

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