Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the January 15, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Are You Job Hunting? Or Running Job Hunt Inc.?
The new year is beginning for job hunters much as the
old year ended. Telecom is still in full retreat, executives are in
no hurry to upgrade their IT infrastructure, and companies in all
industries are busy devising clever new ways to do more with fewer
employees. In short, it’s no fun to be out there looking for a new
With competition for jobs so fierce that even retailers are enjoying
the unaccustomed pleasure of picking and choosing among the dozens
of candidates who want to staff each of their sales clerk positions,
the unemployed need every trick they can muster to land the few great
jobs out there. They also need a way to keep depression at bay while
the job hunt goes on.
In his new book, "Princeton Management Consultants’ Guide to Your
New Job," Niels Nielsen offers tactics for landing a great job
— and a unique strategy for keeping spirits up along the way.
He urges the unemployed to ditch the whole job hunter persona and
to become interim entrepreneurs. Forget about looking for a job. Instead,
he counsels, consider yourself a businessperson looking for one really
Nielsen speaks and signs copies of his book on Thursday, January 16,
at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble. He is founder and principal of Princeton
Management Consultants, a firm with offices at 99 Moore Street that
specializes in advising companies on human resources issues. He is
also the founder of Jobseekers, a support group for those looking
for work, which meets on Tuesdays at Trinity Church in Princeton.
Jobseekers has just celebrated 20 years of helping the unemployed
work toward new jobs.
Nielsen flips the job hunt on its head, and along the way strips it
of its supplicant attributes. His approach is invigorating, leading
to an embrace of cunning planning and turning away from conventional
— and generally fruitless — tactics, including most resume
mailing and cold calling. Here is the thinking behind his plan of
action, as well as some practical advice on putting it into place:
at finding the ideal job if you treat your job search as if you are
starting a business, with yourself as the interim entrepreneur who
provides the best products (skills and experience) to the right customer
(your next employer) at the right price (compensation). The difference
between the start up business and you is that the start up is looking
for many customers; you are looking for only one.
you are a supplicant. You take every rejection personally. If you
do that, you run the risk of believing yourself undeserving of a decent
job, and that shows as a lack of confidence when you are interviewing.
As an entrepreneur you understand that you are selling a service that
your prospect may or may not need at the that moment. That makes it
more professional and a great deal less demoralizing when you don’t
get an interview or a job offer. Then you move on to the next prospect.
first thing you need to do is to set up a dedicated home office space.
Then prepare a financial plan. Like it or not, it is going to cost
you money to find a job, but you should see that as an investment
in your future income stream.
search in the middle. They write their advertising (cover letter and
resume) before they define what services they are offering and who
their prospects are. That’s a huge mistake, because you can’t possibly
make a persuasive sales pitch if you don’t have a clear image of what
you’re selling to whom.
Many people are scattershot when they are looking for a job. They
think if they send out enough resumes, answer enough ads on job boards
or help wanted ads, sooner or later they will hit something. Rather
than scattering your resume among anonymous prospects, target individual
employers who have specific needs only you can satisfy.
way that a business owner launches a new product or business. Define
and write down your job-getting strategy and your short and long-term
goals. Know what your near and long-term goals are and how you are
going to achieve them.
You may have to change your business model, that is, your career.
Reinvent yourself by upgrading or repackaging your skills, creating
a new version of yourself, or embarking on a whole new career.
of future success is past success. Describe all your past accomplishments
in a way that demonstrates the benefits you can bring to prospective
employers. Prepare a product catalog from which you can create your
advertising (cover letter and resume) and your services (interview)
as a top performer.
that you are doing business-to-business marketing. Do market research,
define your market concept, package your services and yourself, and
get the word out through the distribution channels.
is an elaborate and complicated issue. There is an enormous array
of salary plans, incentives, stock ownership programs, employee benefits,
human resources policies, and perks to consider and negotiate.
that you know what you are going to sell, to whom, and at what price,
are you ready to prepare your advertisement materials: cover letter,
resume, E-mail newsletter, and website.
sales call. You need to know how to sell your services in the interview
and how to ask for the offer.
land a good job, even in this dismal economy. But, he emphasizes,
that is just the beginning. Do not use the first days at the new job
as a rest break from the arduous job hunt. Rather, he writes, "hit
the ground running, find out what your employer expects, and start
developing a new game plan for meeting and exceeding your employer’s
expectations. Basically, it’s time to deliver what you sold."
In the nonprofit world, just as with for-profit businesses,
"who you know" is as important as "what you know."
That’s why an annual conference for volunteers, Community Works, emphasizes
networking as well as information-giving. It opens with a lively networking
session and the registrants’ contact list is one of the most useful
handouts that conferees receive.
The sixth annual Community Works conference is set for Monday, January
27, from 5 to 9:15 p.m. at Princeton University’s Frist Student Center.
Cost: $25, including a box supper. Call 609-924-8652, fax to 609-924-4361,
or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Registration deadline is Monday, January
Following the networking will be a keynote address by
Thomas, New Jersey’s secretary of state.
head of the Princeton YWCA, is the founder and organizer of this event.
Co-sponsors are the university and the Rotary Club of Princeton.
So as to make the best possible use of everyone’s time, the conference
organizers arrange for participants to eat their boxed suppers during
the first of the two workshops. This year there are 19 workshops to
choose from, everything from how to write a grant to how to get your
organization’s picture in the newspaper. Workshops are assigned on
a first-come, first-serve basis, and the deadline for pre-registering
is January 20.
Bzdak, chair of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and director
of corporate contributions at Johnson & Johnson, give tips to grant
Schools, offers "Strategic Planning for Boards and Organizations."
to "Jazz Up Your Presentation."
president of marketing for Waterford Crystal, gives a market research
workshop. A newspaper panel — including
of U.S. 1 newspaper,
explain "How to Get Your Picture in the Paper."
College, has perhaps the hardest job. She teaches "The Informed
Ask: How to Ask for Money in Tough Times."
Participants can attend two of the 19 workshops. Send $25 registration
to Rotary Club of Princeton, 78 Montadale Drive, Princeton 08540.
Mercer County Community College has announced that it
is extending its in-county tuition rates to students from Plainsboro
and Cranbury. In making the determination, the school notes that Plainsboro
and Cranbury, which are in Middlesex County, send students to Mercer
County schools for grammar school and/or high school. Cranbury youngsters
attend schools in the Princeton system and Plainsboro shares a school
system with West Windsor.
The savings work out to nearly $30 a credit. In-county students pay
$79 a credit, while out-of-county students pay $107.50 a credit. The
total savings for students earning a 66-credit associate’s degree
is $1,881. Most credit courses start the week of Tuesday, January
21. Call 609-586-4800.
Starting later this month, residents of Somerset and
Hunterdon counties have the opportunity to take courses leading to
baccalaureate and graduate-level certificates and degrees right in
their own backyard through partnerships with Fairleigh Dickinson University,
Kean University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University,
Seton Hall University, and Stevens Institute of Technology.
Course offerings include grant writing, epidemiology health care,
business organization, introduction to pharmaceutical manufacturing,
and infant and child development. All classes are held on Raritan
Valley Community College’s North Branch campus. The spring semester
begins on Monday, January 27. Call 908-526-1200, ext. 8557 for more
Mercer County Community College’s Foundation seeks sponsors
for its Saturday, March 8, Golden Oldies dinner dance at the Princeton
Hyatt. Tickets are $200 ($100 is a tax deduction), and sponsorships
range from $1,500 (including two tickets) to $10,000. Music will be
by the Fabulous Greaseband, and there will be a cocktail reception
and silent auction. Period dress or black tie.
The evening honors Al Koeppe, president and COO, PSE&G; Donald Tretola,
PSE&G regional manager; and alumnus Scott Kent, area manager of Wawa
Inc. Call 609-586-4800, ext. 3607.
to a Russian Winterfest on Friday, February 8 at the Princeton Hyatt.
Sponsoring a table costs $3,000 for a table of 10, $5,000 for Stravinsky’s
table, $7,500 for Prokofiev, and $10,000 for a Tchaikovsky table.
The evening includes a VIP caviar and vodka reception, silent and
live auction, dinner, entertainment by Margaret Lattimore, and dancing.
The evening honors festival founders John A. Ellis, Michael Pratt,
and Peter Westergaard plus founding corporate sponsor Merrill Lynch.
Dress is black tie.
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