Terrence Seamon, a senior career transitions expert at the Parsippany-based Ayers Group, as well as an executive training faculty member at Rutgers, has been in the training business since 1993 and has been through more than a few job changes in that time.
Along the way, he has learned several tricks, and he’s more than willing to share them with today’s job seekers.
Seamon will speak Friday, June 2, from 9:45 a.m. to noon at a free meeting of the Professional Service Group at Princeton Public Library. For more information, visit www.psgofmercercounty.org or call 609-924-9529.
In addition to his work as a consultant and teacher at Rutgers, Seamon writes a blog where he shares his expertise. In a recent post, Seamon discussed “life hacks” for job seekers:
What’s a “life hack?” Think of it as a proven way to make an onerous task more efficient or even easier.
In today’s job market, having a set of “life hacks” is essential for anyone faced with the burdensome task of navigating uncertain waters toward the future they desire.
For starters, there is the Pixley Formula [named after a Wall Street executive who lost his job in the recession, put on a sandwich board over his suit that said “hire me,” and stood on the street corner until he got an offer], which says:
“Believe in yourself. Improve yourself. Put yourself out there.”
Perhaps the most difficult part of the formula is the third part, to “put yourself out there.” A friend of mine once said, “Terry, You have good stuff, but you have to put it way out there, much further than you have ever thought possible.”
I have been pondering that guidance now for close to 10 years, always challenging myself to find new ways to put myself out there.
What I have learned is that one of the keys to “putting myself out there” is to always push myself out of my comfort zone. Somewhat of an introvert by nature, I have a built-in reluctance. Whenever I encounter a new opportunity, and that inner voice starts to say “no thanks,” I have learned to shove that inclination aside, and say “yes!”
The following “life hacks,” can be considered the rest of the keys I have learned that have helped me to “put myself out there.”
Network constantly. Always be in networking mode because you never know who you may meet and who they may know. (And don’t forget the maxim, “Networking does NOT mean not-working.” So don’t stop networking when you land. Keep the engine running and in good shape. You may need it sooner than you think.)
Be active on LinkedIn. If you are going to spend time on your computer, spend it on LinkedIn. There are a ton of job boards available today. But the only site that is a free professional social network is LinkedIn. Once you have created your profile, get active by publishing updates, joining and participating in groups, and interacting with others by getting into the habit of “Like, Comment, and Share” when others post things that you find of interest.
Also, on Indeed.com, create multiple alerts. Identify several sites that seem most relevant to your search objectives. Then create automated alerts to feed you fresh content on a daily basis. You can create as many alerts as you like. Use keywords that are relevant to your field and your objectives.
Then get away from the computer … and get out of the house!
Join professional associations. One way to advance toward your career goal is to join professional groups in your field. Groups like FENG, chempharma, PMI, and IFMA. Identify the professional associations related to your field and join one. Then attend the local chapter meetings and be sure to participate! This way you can harness the benefits of membership (namely, sense of purpose, learning, and networking).
Find a mentor. Job search and career transition can be lonely and it is not advantageous to “go it alone.” Much better to surround yourself with a cadre of advisers who care about your progress. Reconnect with people you know, such as a former boss or a professor from your school. Seek their advice on how to advance in your career.
Conduct informational interviews. Identify people who are doing what you want to do. Contact them and ask in a friendly way for a 20-minute informational interview over a cup of coffee. Prepare a few questions that you want to ask. Always end by thanking them and asking them for a referral to someone else they think you should speak to.
Volunteer. Give your skills away for free. Identify or create a project that is both of interest to you and of benefit to others that you could do for free on a regular basis. Join the alumni mentoring group at your college and offer to guide others. Strategically volunteer by selecting an organization aligned with your career objectives.
Design your professional brand image. Decide how you want to be seen and create a branding concept that would integrate your resume, your business card, your LinkedIn profile, and any other online components such as your website or blog.
Keep learning. Be improving yourself on a regular basis via reading, webinars, courses, and projects.
Build your Engine of Success. The phrase comes courtesy of computer science professor Ken Modesitt. The core idea is that the quality of your relationships (built via networking, professional associations, volunteering, mentoring, and conducting informational interviews) enhances the quality of your thinking (for example, helping you get more clarity on your career objectives, your brand, and your options), which enhances the quality of your actions and your results.
Take good care of yourself. The job search can stretch on a lot longer than you would like. There can be days and even weeks when you feel like you are spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere. Frustration can set in. And if you are not careful, depression. Here are a few tips for self-care:
Make time for yourself. Time to walk on the beach, to read a bestseller, to tend your garden. Whatever.
Exercise. Get up and out. Get moving. Push yourself into physical action.
Get a good night’s sleep. Take a nap during the day to recharge, as needed.
Spend quality time with people you care about. Family and friends are your social support system right now and they want to be there for you.
One last life hack to ponder: Reach out if you feel overwhelmed by the whole job search process. It is difficult. It is NOT fun. And it often feels like nailing jello to a wall.
When you are having one of those days, when nothing seems to be happening, pick up the phone and call someone in your network.