Jul 312012

Do you know that there are literally thousands of job boards available to you? And not just the ones we have all heard of but really specific ones dedicated to particular industries, job titles and professional, geographies and lots of other topics.

By far and away the most comprehensive listing we have seen is provided by AIRS, an online recruitment training company.

Take a moment and go to this link which will take you to the free registration for their directory. Registering takes just a few minutes and the download you receive is their job board directory. You will not believe how many job boards are just waiting for you to visit.

The really cool thing about niche job boards is there is less traffic meaning less competition. Also since you will most likely only visit job boards that are related to your profession and job search preferences, the positions advertised will most likely be more relevant as well.

Check it out, it just might change your life!

Jul 312012

Preparing to Conduct an Informational Interview

You should have already learned how to research information about organizations and people. If you have not, get started by using websites, blogs, employer reviews, your personal and professional network and social media for a start. The more you know about an organization and the people you want to speak with, the more effective you will be in your conversation with a hiring manager. The Hiring Managers you will be contacting expect potential members of their team to be capable of holding a conversation about the industry and the work involved.

You should have also identified stories to communicate your accomplishments to others. If not, get on it! The stories of your accomplishments are your selling points and you will use now more than ever. You have to be able to help others see why you are a value add to an organization. If you cannot communicate your value, no one will be interested in hiring you. Remember that you have skills, you are capable of working hard and accomplishing tasks and it is up to you to be able to relate those things to others! Some things to keep in mind:

Research The Company & The Hiring Manager

  • The more knowledgeable you are about the business or industry and the Hiring Manager, the better questions you are able to ask.
  • Research will allow you to eliminate asking questions of a Hiring Manager that should be “common sense” to a professional who does their homework.

Practice Telling Your Stories of Accomplishment

  • Answering a Hiring Manager’s questions with a polished and well thought response is helpful to your image.

Being prepared with this information prior to a phone call increases your confidence and reduces stress, providing Hiring Managers a better presentation of your capabilities. You are going to be speaking directly with a Hiring Manager and need to be as polished as possible.

Get Your Questions Prepared

To be sure you don’t have any fumbling points, prepare a list of 10-15 questions that are of importance to you. Among those questions choose the top 5-7 you must ask during the call or conversation. Be certain to have this list in front of you when you have the conversation along with a pad of paper and pen.

Our Next Installment in the Series…

We will discuss exactly how to get an Informational Interview started…

Jul 252012

Just in case you weren’t familiar with Cisco Systems, they are one of the largest computer networking companies in the world…and they are about to get smaller.

After they released 10,000 people last year, another 1,300 are about to be handed their walking papers. You can read the article from the Huffington Post here for full details.

No matter how big a company is, job security is not something people should count on.

Be prepared!

Jul 252012

So often a job seeker will work all day to find a job…and constantly find him or herself spinning his or her wheels lost in action but failing to be effective. A key reason is lack of planning.

In the job search you will have lots to do. One company is hiring and you need to check them out, you are referred to someone, a job description is sent to you by a friend, following up with networking contacts, working on your resume, researching, interacting with people on social media, phone calls… It can be hard to keep things together.

These actions can become a huge “to do” list that gets so long that things fall off your radar.

The solution is daily planning.

At the end of your work day (and full time job search is work lest you have any doubts) you should spend fifteen to thirty minutes planning out the next day’s activities. Understand what actions are a priority and schedule them. Keep a daily calendar and stick to your plan. By simply organizing your time in this manner you will begin to realize what activities are crucial to get accomplished and those that can be put on the back burner.

Taking these simple steps will maximize your time spent on job search and make your efforts more effective.

As Winston Churchill said:

He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”


Jul 252012

The job search can be very discouraging and many feel like it just doesn’t make sense to move on. The only solution is to find something that motivates you.

Know now that you are going to run into challenges and they will often seem insurmountable. Develop a network of people that you can communicate with, online and in-person, who can act as a support group and a sounding board. Hell, join a support group if you have to.

Becoming demoralized and unmotivated about your job search can end up causing your self-esteem to spiral downward. Not only is this a terrible thing to experience but it also lessens your chances of getting a job. You will become desperate, wondering what to do next, why isn’t this working…employers can smell it on you and they will not hire you.

Motivation can come from almost anywhere. What ever motivates you to get to work should be in the front of your mind every day. You should turn to it like a 2 year old turns to a blankie when the going gets tough. Force yourself to stay positive and realize you are worth a job and you deserve a job. You can do it!

If you don’t believe it now, just lean on our belief in you. There is a job out there for everyone!

Jul 242012

More bad news for people in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. According to the Chicago Tribune “Gov. Pat Quinn’s office has issued layoff notices to nearly 600 workers.” You can read the entire article here but once again it is important to realize you must protect yourself from layoffs. No job is safe.

Protect yourself and your family by constantly updating your resume and always keeping your ears open for an opportunity. Try to go on at least one interview per year. Control your career!

Jul 232012

In case you missed the report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week, the layoffs across the nation continue. You can read the full report here but to summarize:

  •  131,406 people were affected part of a layoff
  • 1,317 companies were forces to release staff
  • 17% of these actions occurred in the manufacturing and mining industries

Just remember that layoffs happen every day and many people are caught off guard. There is no reason to find yourself without a plan.

Start preparing for a job search before you need to find a new job!


Jul 212012

Do we really need a checklist of things to have and do prior to an interview?


For some, Interviews are the most challenging part of the job search and as a result the in-person interview proves to be a focal point of anxiety and stress. Many highly technical jobs like surgeons and pilots require them to complete a thorough checklists prior to starting their work. Professionals operate with systems to ensure the best possible outcome. So can you!

The best way to combat some of these insecurities and nerves is to make sure you’re as prepared as you can possibly be prior to going in. As simple as it may seem, you can’t just “wing it” at the last minute. Overlooking interview preparation can be the difference between getting a job and remaining unemployed.

The following is a list of things that you should have ready 24 hours before your interview so don’t find yourself scrambling at the last second.

Copies of Your Resume and References in a Professional Folder:

Now more than ever it seems like a growing number of people, especially younger people don’t own their own printers. If you don’t have a printer then you need to be aware of places that you can go to print out copies of your resume and list of references to present to the employer. Check out places like Staples, Office Depot, Fedex-Kinkos, the UPS store, etc.

If you have difficulty finding any of those places near you, consider asking a friend, neighbor, or family member who might have access to a printer.

Once you have three copies of your resume and three copies of your professional references put them in a nice folder. You don’t need to buy anything too snazzy but presentation of using a professional binder goes a long way. By doing this, you’ll demonstrate many intangible qualities like, you’ve got your act together, you’re serious about the job, and you’re organized.

Pen and Pad of Paper:

Even if you think you know the job up and down it’s still important to bring a pen and paper just in case you need to take notes. When you take notes while someone is speaking it appears that you’re listening intently and value the information enough to put it down to be looked at later.

Also, you never know what kinds of forms you may be asked to fill out so it’s always good to have a working pen handy.

Application and Forms:

This is only a request of an employer about a third of the time. Some employers may ask you to print out an application and fill it out prior to your arrival. This application would also sit in that folder you brought with you.

Your Interviewing Clothes:

What to wear to an interview can be a lengthy discussion on its own and we do cover that class in the Gigspire Program but you should set aside the clothes you plan on wearing. You want to inspect all the garments up and down and be sure the clothes fit prior to you heading off to your interview. There shouldn’t be any wrinkles, stains, odors, tears, etc. on the attire you’re interviewing in.

Most jobs for men: Dark Suit, ironed shirt, tie, dark socks, dress shoes.

Most jobs for women: Formal attire, conservative dress, nothing too low cut or short.

If you don’t own any of the above items check out thrift stores or discount stores for great deals. A simple google search should answer any further questions about this one.


If you’re taking the train or the bus make sure you know well in advance which stops you need to take and how long on average the commute will take. Give yourself plenty of time and bring a little extra cash in case time is tight and you need to grab a cab or you’ve run out of money on your quick pass for the bus or train.

If you’re driving and/or using GPS or your phone to get to the interview, make sure you also have a tangible or easily accessible copy of the directions in case your phone or GPS stops working at the worst time. We’ve all been there.

Give yourself plenty of time! Even if you know the area well and especially if you don’t; you want to arrive at least 15 minutes early to be sure you’re not stressing yourself out and racing through traffic just to be on time. You can’t plan on traffic jams, accidents, road work, etc, it’s just better to be early.

Information and Research:

Be sure to write down the names, job titles, and phone numbers of the people you’ve already talked to and who you’ll be interviewing with well in advance so you don’t have to scramble in case you’re asked who you’ve spoke to and which person(s) you’ll be seeing that day. It’s also good to have the phone number in case the “impossible” happens and you’re running behind.

We go over how to research the company and people within it prior to the interview extensively in the GigSpire Program but it’s a no brainer that you need to do some quality research before setting foot in front of anyone representing a company you want to work for.


You need to practice answers for some of the most basic questions and also have a list of your own questions for the interviewer about themselves or the company. There’s nothing wrong with having a cheat sheet with a few bullets but make sure it’s nothing more than an aide and not a full on crutch.

The Little Things:

  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Identification (ID)
  • Gas in the car
  • Deodorant
  • Drink enough water
  • Eat breakfast
  • Brush your teeth
Jul 202012

Just a little something to make you smile on a Friday. Had a great group for the workshop this week and many thanks to Elisa for providing today’s joke!

Remember part of being a successful job seeker is taking a moment each and every day to smile and give thanks for those good fortunes you have. This stress relief is very important to you presenting a professional image. Misery shows through during interviews and no one wants to be around someone miserable.

So keep on smiling! You are awesome and deserve a job!


Jul 192012

Writing your resume? Have you ever considered that the font you choose can have an impact on how an employer evaluates your resume?

It’s true.

The size setting of text in your document is important. The primary content should be between 10- and 12 point font. Anything smaller than 10-point font, and it could be too small to read. Anything bigger than 12 point font can be awkward to read.

The style matters as well. Many styles are available but we highly recommend using either Times New Roman or Arial. Using these font styles will ensure that the reader can actually read your document instead of having to decipher some of the more artistic fonts. This method will also ensure that any automated parsing on your resume will be correctly captured by computer systems.

People who choose to use different sizes and styles to be creative risk being eliminated for a variety of reasons. If I have to work to decipher your resume because the font is “stylish”…I am discarding your resume. Just something to keep in mind.