The EMPLOYMENT EQUATION… What Gives?

The Internet has spurred many new, employment related businesses to flourish in the past twenty years, some with great financial success  Small start-up HR and recruitment/placement technology firms are receiving two to three times (or more) their revenues in new investment from private sources. Many ask, “What gives?  Placement numbers have barely budged in relative terms, and the job seeking public has become disenchanted and frustrated by this new digitized process that has created a huge ‘black hole’ from their perspective.”

Three trends are the main drivers of these valuations. First, employment is one of the few sectors of the economy that is showing long-term, positive growth potential.  Literally, it will never be “saturated.”

Second, there is an enormous overhand of capital sloshing around the United States. It’s not just the trillions of dollars printed by the Federal Reserve in its quantitative easing of a few years ago. You must also add in the trillions of dollars that have been pumped into our economy through deficit spending at the federal and state levels.

Then, add the $1.5 to $2 trillion of cash and marketable securities held by American corporations (for which they can presently find no use), and it is just one huge pile of money-money looking for a return. There are few easy answers, and few obvious places to put it-0.5% money markets anyone?

And that leads to the third issue, which is the lucrative world of recruitment and placement. Wall Street and Silicon Valley have been assaulting this “industry” since the inception of The Internet…  They cannot figure out why an industry that is so fragmented, so inefficient and dysfunctional (from their point of view), can’t be conquered.

Wall Street still doesn’t know what to do with all of the data that they glean from these sites and quite a few investors feel that someone will come up with an idea on how to monetize all of that data and, voila…  The next Microsoft/Google/Apple !   Much is prophesized by the many investors who represent huge sources of capital, and the conversation inevitably leads to “Why can’t real technology do to EMPLOYMENT what it has done to so many other businesses?”

Why can’t the capital and the smarts of Wall Street and Silicon Valley figure out how to disrupt traditional approaches to sourcing, recruitment, and the on-boarding of new employees and drive huge valuations for their efforts? After all, it has worked almost everywhere else.

The answer is the unique, and multi-faceted nature of professionals and how they attempt to manage their careers—and their relationship with “the sea of unwashed professionals” ready to assist in the process.

Corporate recruitment and hiring is a transaction that is infrequent, complex, and fraught with downside when things go wrong—driving consumers to use someone who knows how to reduce their fears, doubts, and threats and help them get a result they want: the smoothest employment transaction possible. And, in great part, the “industry” does deliver that.

However, the process, itself is flawed and dysfunctional.

That’s it: a great $multi-billion business, an oversupply of money, and investors who want to disrupt an industry and hopefully make a fortune doing it. Who knows, these smart investors may be right, and one of them will find the key to take the middleman out of this business and make a fortune.

Or, they may be one of many who have come before and not quite found a way to do so. Just don’t get hung up on the efficiencies promised in today’s market… they too will pass.

Posted in Uncategorized

Productive Participation in The Interview Dialog

Compass_Rose-pilotONBOARDThe next time you meet with a potential employer, open the conversation with this simple phrase:

“In preparing for this meeting I took some time to…”

Then simply highlight the two or three critical things that you did to prepare and watch what happens to the atmosphere of the call. You will blow away the last interviewee (your competition) who opened their meeting in silence, waiting to be interrogated!

The less you talk about yourself, the more you have to prepare to talk about them. And the more you talk about them, the more likely they will be interested in you. Not exactly the secret formula you were hoping for. But it is an obvious formula—so obvious that most job seekers ignore it.

Here are ten keys that you can use to create your own successful pre-interview habits:

  1. Learn about their business—their products/services, customers, industry trends, key initiatives, financial status, and competition… what are THEIR specific needs?
  2. Discover something about the person you are meeting with. Google them, talk to their colleagues, or call others in the industry who have insights. Use a targeted organization networking approach.
  3. Identify the benefits of your value to this potential employer. The benefits need to be clear, concise, credible and compelling!  It is important to remember, they are looking for the best FIT… so should the job seeker.
  4. Prepare ideas that hold value for your ‘next employer.’ Your language needs to reflect a focus on solutions…meeting their needs!
  5. Move from ‘meeting their requirements’ to ‘meeting and exceeding their expectations… let them experience your motivation and performance potential.
  6. Plan questions that establish your expertise and get them to think in new ways. The more thought provoking, conversation generating your questions are, the more your prospective employers will respect and remember you!
  7. Communicate your “value proposition” prior to the actual interview.  Ask them to review and provide you with feedback. Getting their buy-in before you walk in the door is critical, and it demonstrates your commitment to delivering value.
  8. Identify the resistance that you are most likely to encounter and prepare ideas, case studies, testimonials or expert opinions to help reduce their reluctance to move forward.
  9. Plan how you will close the interview appointment and decide what agreements you need to ask for…for example, follow-up timing.
  10. Remind yourself to be warm, friendly and courteous to everyone that you encounter. Your potential employer is constantly deciding how much they like you, how much they believe you, how much they trust you and how much confidence they have in you. It takes time—often a long time—to build your personal brand. And it takes only a few seconds for it to be destroyed.
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Posted in Interview Preparation, Interview SKILLS, INTERVIEWING, Interviewing STRATEGIES, Uncategorized

CREATING Your Digital Footprint

Social media is a great place to learn about and create a digital conversation with your market. Potential employers do not want to be talked-to, or worse yet sold-to on these platforms. Your “followers” want to know they have a place to come learn, to ask questions about things THEY care about, and to know they are being heard.

Here are some things I’ve learned from listening to those I’ve served since the advent of LinkedIn, the preferred place for professional level job seekers to leave their “digital footprint.”

Listen MORE than you TALK

In the Groups that you choose to join and participate in, start with treating them as a place to listen.  Getting followers to your Profile and white papers is the start – not the end. You can learn so much more about your market if you are careful to read what Group participants are posting and commenting on. See what things they “like” and look for trends that can direct your future efforts. This is also a great place for ideas you can use to refine your positioning and targeting approaches in other personal marketing formats like your resume, value proposition, and various verbal pitches.

Engage your colleagues in digital conversation

The goal is to get other professionals with similar interests to engage in the conversation by posting intriguing content that connects to your audience and engages them to “talk.” Once you get people talking with you, you can learn about what matters to them, and then provide more of this type of content to build into your “story.”  This inter-action is the front end of high-quality relationship building… pathways to your next work.

Know your Market

You should know your market BEFORE you start applying for jobs and posting things in Social Media of any kind…and listening first to your market will accomplish this.

Once you DO post something, look to see how it’s received and use this to direct future personal marketing efforts.  The response you get from people in your various Groups of choice can tell you things about your potential employers that you can use to direct your future communication efforts.

“PUSH” without being Pushy

In “PUSH Marketing,” you need to take a low-key approach and offer 90% of insights and education to your market, with only 10% of things that would be seen as a sales pitch. Of course, ALL your social media content is “selling” in one way or another, but your market will be turned off if it comes across as a hard sell.

On the other side, don’t just post silly photos or motivation quotes. Position yourself as a subject matter expert and a source of real help to your followers, by sharing valuable information your market cares about (using UPDATES to post white papers).

Listen to what your colleagues and potential employers are talking about and then provide information, links, stories, and examples that connect them to what they care about. This makes you a trusted advocate and when you DO begin to request info and referral activity, they will be more willing to accept it because they like and trust you.

Move Toward the Next Step

Make sure to ask questions or lead them to further activity with your postings.  Direct people on opportunities to engage with you… your call to action.   Recall WAYPOINT #2: Always communicate yourself in a positive, future oriented manner!

Answer EVERYTHING

You need to monitor your presence on all your social media sites, and, during active job search, specifically LinkedIn.  Potential new contacts, potential employers, and others may be evaluating you based on how responsive you are to comments, so you need a plan to find and respond to these postings in a timely and professional manner.

Often recruitment and selection decisions are influenced by what others have said about you, so you need to work hard to direct the conversation, or the market will.

Your digital footprints are all over LinkedIn and other social media platforms, whether you put them there or not, and you need to commit to keeping up with them or suffer the consequences in the court of customer opinions.  LinkedIn is a powerful tool to assit you in both PUSH and PULL Marketing of your branded “value proposition… YOUR Digital Footprint.

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Posted in LinkedIn Contact Development, NETWORKING, Personal Marketing Collateral Materials, Social Media, Uncategorized, Your VERBAL Collateral elements

Developing Your “Digital Footprint:” Your LinkedIn Profile

Before you connect to others, you must first set up a profile page on Linkedin. While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it… although that IS a good place to START, assuring that you are in sync with your resume.

Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.  It becomes the core of this high tech, written collateral.

As you proceed, keep your goal in mind…

  • Do you want to have that fully optimized, SEO-centric magnet that attracts interested parties TO you? (PULL Marketing)  -OR-
  • Do you want that terrific, user-friendly home page and profile that is easy for a reader to navigate? (PUSH Marketing)  -OR-
  • Do you want your profile and homepage to be appealing to both? (<== MY preference)

 A checklist of things to include:

  1. A picture. It’s been said that, “People do business with people.”

  2. A specific and high impact “headline” with keywords relevant to your industry… your headline follows you around through several of the interactive applications.

  3. Preferred contact method and data… At the bottom of your profile, you can let people know how you want to be contacted — through LinkedIn, by e-mail, or over the phone.

  4. Desired information, networking “targets”… What you want to be contacted about… At the bottom of your profile, you can select interests like reference requests, consulting offers, or career opportunities. Be sure to update your profile to stay in synch with your career.

…and don’t overlook the “power” of recommendations… start thinking of who you might want to encourage to endorse you and your services.  Job seekers: your references are a great start!


The LinkedIn site will walk you through filling in the blanks, but you’ll want to think ahead about two areas:

Positioning Yourself

Just like on a GREAT RESUME, directly underneath your name will be a short headline of four or five words. More than anything else in your profile, these words are how people find and define you.

Are you seeking to connect mainly with others in your field and industry? Then a simple, title-oriented headline like “Senior Product Development Director at The XYX Corporation” is best. Are you seeking to branch out into other areas? “Leader of High-Performing Engineering Projects” alerts others quickly to the value you would bring to an organization. Regardless of how you phrase your headline, make sure to use keywords that will help others find you.

Be Clear on What You’ve Done, and What You Want to Do…

Whether you are an active job seeker, or simply using LinkedIn to extend the reach of your personal marketing plan, POSITIONING yourself clearly is the epicenter of efficient networking… just as if you were beginning to launch an active JOB search to implement your Personal Marketing Plan!

When listing your past job experiences, use verbs as much as possible. Show what you’re passionate about, and what you’ve learned from each job. Consider listing “non-jobs” you’ve done, like chairing a conference or leading a panel.

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Posted in Social Media

“Adjusting Your Sails…” Re-Charting Your Course When Faced With ‘the challenging waters of career transition.’

Have you ever had to take a step backward in your career, perhaps accept a lesser position or lower compensation? Or a step backward in the marketplace-deferring a near-term opportunity in favor of a longer-term one? The path forward isn’t always a straight line.  If you’ve ever gone backward in life you’ve probably found it difficult at best.


As most of us are achievement oriented, we push forward, not backward. We look for ways to make progress, not digress. We don’t like the thought of giving up ground. Psychological studies confirm this.

  • We place more value on what we have than what they don’t have.
  • We will spend more money to keep something than to replace it.

Yet sometimes digressing or giving up something along our careerpath, at least temporarily, is exactly what we need in order to grow and succeed in the long-term. If we are currently in or approaching an unsustainable set of circumstances, we may need to stop and take a step backward.

Going backward can be a trivial decision or a life-changing one. It can involve a minor inconvenience or a major overhaul. It can be a brand new career or a slight role change.  The key is that it be OUR decision and not one thrust upon us by a soft job market.  When faced with the decision to keep forging ahead or taking a step backward, the first decision is “can I make what I’m currently doing work by continuing ahead?”

If your informed answer is “no” then the next question is “how far backward do I need to go?”  You generally wouldn’t need to go back to the very beginning or want to give up any more ground than you have to. Any amount of going backward can be tough, but starting over can be overwhelming.

You don’t need to build all new skills if you have existing skills you can leverage…can you spell transferrable skills and strengths?   Starting over may seem attractive, but it can create as many new problems as it appears to eliminate. While it may seem like the easiest option, it can be the laziest which is rarely the best.

When confronting difficult issues, address the source of them without creating unnecessary new ones. Keep what is working. Only go backward far enough to learn what needs to be learned and do what is needed to get back on track. Once addressed, refocus on going forward. Let go of your prior concerns. Accept that you had to take a step backward. It’s alright. It was actually part of a bigger step forward. As the cliché goes, just don’t throw out the baby with the dirty bath water… Keep the baby!

Consider what part of your life – professional or personal – may no longer be sustainable. Are you dealing with a chronic issue that is so debilitating that you can no longer ignore it?  Are conditions so challenging that you need to rechart your course… getting so difficult and complicated that the effort is no longer justifiable? Are your habits moving you further away from your desired future instead of toward it? Have the ‘next steps’ along your careerpath become so dysfunctional that you can no longer handle it?


Consider the following nautical wisdom…

The PESSIMISTS complain of challenging conditions…

                              The OPTIMISTS expect the conditions to change soon…

                                                          While the SKILLED Sailor simply adjusts his sails!


Back to ‘real life,’ now,  Ask yourself:

  • Has this situation gotten to the point that the effort is no longer justified for the return I am getting?
  • Would the time, money, and effort of going backward be repaid in a reasonable time frame if I chose to stop and go backward?
  • If I keep doing what I’ve been doing, will it merely exacerbate the situation?
  • Am I putting another temporary fix in place that doesn’t address the real issue?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your situation is a candidate for stopping whatever you are doing and taking a step backward. Rather than perpetuating your difficulty another day, release, cycle, or occurrence, accept responsibility for making a change.

Admit that maintaining the current direction isn’t sustainable. Rather than continue to treat symptoms, decide to address the source. Rather than maintain the troublesome status quo, identify what needs to change. Is it you? Probably. Is it also someone or something else?  Probably. Accept the need for change and rather than cover up, cope with, run from, or overlook the inevitable, decide to address it.

Once you have decided to stop and back-up, solicit the feedback and help of others… return to an informational networking approach in your job search, seeking wise counsel. Have the conversations that need to be had. Involve your key stakeholders. Do the research and analysis needed. Identify the issues to be addressed, learn any lessons to be learned, agree on the solution that solves the issues, and edit your Personal Marketing Plan to be implemented. Do what is needed to start heading in the direction that enables the future you desire.

Adjust your own sails!

Take heart. Most every great advancement was preceded by a step backwards. Most every success was preceded by a failure. Most every self-improvement was preceded by adversity. It is through mistakes and obstacles that we gain experience and grow.

Posted in Uncategorized

Are YOU LinkedIn???

Compass_Rose-pilotNEED The Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.  Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…  Where to begin?

The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions. That choice is LinkedIn.

Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and with more than 380 million users worldwide (110 Million + in the US), it serves virtually every industry and profession.

Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s how to build a network, leveraging your available time… and put it all to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.  I call this critical, rest of your career activity…

TASK#2: Building your network

Compass_Rose-pilotONBOARD Goal 1: As a beginner in LinkedIn, you’ll want to achieve your “tipping point” as soon as possible.  This is that magical ‘dotted line’ in your ‘connections’ count where you begin to benefit from organic growth of your network, with professionals you don’t already know inviting you to connect.

After you’ve created your profile, it’s time to begin to connect to others. LinkedIn will allow you to search for people you know to see if they’re already members. But once you connect to someone, you can also look at the profiles of anyone they know, and in turn anyone those people know.

Because of these three degrees of separation, your network can grow rapidly. Before you begin connecting, decide who you want to connect to. The low hanging fruit are people you already may have in your MSOutlook or Gmail contacts, alumni from your school, and employees of your current and past employers… Prioritize those who you feel are quite connected themselves, or influential in their profession or industry.

Goal 2: When you’re ready, begin to create and maintain your focus in developing your network.  Are you a gifted and available professional… or a motivated job seeker?  Stay focused.  Only connect with others who share your professional interests or are related to those interests in a complementary way… and can help you meet your goals.


I started with twenty contacts from my MSOutlook.  My first line has grown to well over five hundred by accepting and sending out INVITATIONS to people I know, are likely to be interactive within our network, or who could provide resources to me or the Candidates I serve… what’s really impressive is how this translates, numerically, into my second and third lines of contact… we’re talking, WOW!!! – The Careerpilot


Goal 3:  As you grow in confidence, and use of your social media network, consider the following…

  1. Check in on “Network Updates.” Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are kind of like your Facebook news feed. Check these periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections are up to and sharing.
  2. Be identifiable. Find out who’s checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs. Connect with those who have viewed your profile if their might be mutual interest.
  3. Export connections. Transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system. LinkedIn enables you to easily export your connections. Just click on “Contacts,” “My Connections,” and then scroll down and click “Export Connections.” You have the option of either exporting as a .CSV or .VCF file.
  4. Easily find email contacts on LinkedIn. Speaking of connections, the “LinkedIn Companion for Firefox” is a great plugin that helps you identify the LinkedIn profiles of people who are emailing you. It also enables you to easily access other LinkedIn features via your browser.
  5. Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. Did you know that if you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them? In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Some groups have their own job boards.  Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities. Don’t forget to engage in the Discussions of a group… your activity will enhance your search ranking.
  6. Take advantage of advanced search options. LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature provides a much richer search experience. For example, say you want to find out if you’re connected to anyone that works at a specific company. Type the company name in the company field in Advanced Search, then sort the results by “Relationship” to see if you have any first or second degree connections to any employees.
  7. Link your Twitter acct to LinkedIn. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, and vice versa. Learn how to connect your Twitter account in your “settings” area.
Posted in Uncategorized

Be YOUR OWN BEST ‘COACH’ During Job Search

Compass_Rose-pilotNEED Even the implementation of your job search effort can be a great lesson in ‘perfect practice’ almost makes PERFECT!  The job seeker will gain confidence and skills by going through the first eight steps of the Careerpilot’s 12 step approach to job search.  The ninth step is best accomplished in waves, again to buiuld confidence and create success…

WAVE I

You’ve already begun to implement your PMP when you connected with your intended references back in Step 4.  Your first efforts are rightly aimed at creating visibility for your candidacy, without causing premature rejection.  You may also be using this first wave to settle on your positioning and targeting (Step 2, leading to Step 3)… If you are truly committed to finding your next ideal employment, you’ve already dug a little deeper into assessment (Step 1) of your personality, experience, knowledge, and skill sets.

Compass_Rose-pilotONBOARD Your First Wave, then, is beginning to ‘get the word out,’ reconnecting with established contacts, and beginning to develop new contacts… both without prematurely creating rejection.  Waypoint #3 reminds you to “Always have a next contact to make… for the rest of your career.”  This is both an effective career strategy and an efficient job search tactic!

The by-product of a dynamic first wave is the identification of actual job leads… you may even be invited to forward your resume to influential people… and you’ll certainly begin to secure referrals to develop your personal contact network…

Networking is a contact sport

The real value in your first wave is gaining confidence in your job search manner, more comfort in telephone work… KNOWING that, YES You CAN take the chill out of cold calls down the line!

WAVE II

Your first wave of activity will actually create the impatence for turning the opportunities you identify into INTERVIEWS.  Further, having successfully developed visibility in the marketplace, you will now fold in your Internet-based search for open opportunities to supplement yourembrace of the OTHER Job Market!

WAVE III

You’ve broken the mysterious “code” of the traditional marketplace… You’ve taught yourself the value of efficient networking.  It IS a skill that can me practiced and mastered.  In your third wave, you’ll be combining your best practices, discovered in the first two waves.  You can become your own best coach!

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Posted in Career Decision-Making, INITIAL Contact List, Job Search OBJECTIVES, NETWORKING, Target Organizations
January 2019
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