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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

job.

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

good client.

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:

Become an interim entrepreneur. You will be most successful

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.

Offer your services. When you’re in job hunting mode,

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.

Get set up to conduct the business of finding a job. The

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.

Define the services you offer. Most people start a job

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.

Write down your strategy. Treat a job search the same

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.

Identify your best "products." The best predictor

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.

Formulate your marketing strategy. Start from the premise

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.

Price your services. What to charge for your services

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.

Prepare your advertising. Now — and only now —

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.

Ace your sales calls. Remember this: an interview is a

sales call. You need to know how to sell your services in the interview

and how to ask for the offer.

Nielsen is quite sure that those who follow his advice will

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."

Top Of Page
For Volunteers, Networking & Training

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: mlsprin@aol.com Registration deadline is Monday, January

20.

Following the networking will be a keynote address by Regina L.

Thomas, New Jersey’s secretary of state. Marge Smith, former

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.

Richard Quandt of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Michael

Bzdak, chair of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and director

of corporate contributions at Johnson & Johnson, give tips to grant

writers. Claire Sheff Kohn, superintendent of Princeton Regional

Schools, offers "Strategic Planning for Boards and Organizations."

Sallie Goodman, director of Public Presentations, tells how

to "Jazz Up Your Presentation." Lisa Paine, former vice

president of marketing for Waterford Crystal, gives a market research

workshop. A newspaper panel — including Kathleen McGinn Spring

of U.S. 1 newspaper, Ida Furente of the Times of Trenton, and

Frank Wojciechowski, a Princeton Packet photographer — will

explain "How to Get Your Picture in the Paper."

Stephanie Bray, development director at Thomas Edison State

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.

Top Of Page
Tuition Break

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.

Top Of Page
New Courses

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

information.

Top Of Page
Donate Please

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.

Opera Festival of New Jersey offers $225 or $500 VIP level tickets

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.

black tie.

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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