Career Briefs: Job Search Dos and Don'ts

In this issue: Reality of todays job market, Join me on LinkedIn TODAY, be different in your job search, craft an effective open to work post, impact of current events and more...

Dear Reader:

Do you ever feel like you are living two different realities? On one hand, you're reading headlines like:

  • U.S. Economy Added 353,000 Jobs in January, Much Better than Expected

  • Job Market Starts 2024 With a Bang

  • More New Jobs Created in Silicon Valley in the Past Year Despite Losses

Then, on the other hand, you're seeing layoff notice after layoff notice. Nearly 32,000 people were laid off in the first month of 2024.

So, what is the reality? What is the truth? Does the US Labor/Jobs report match what is happening in the market?

I recently asked my LinkedIn followers, and the consensus was that the reports were unrealistic. 89% don’t believe they are accurate. Read more about my results here.

In response to my LinkedIn post, Taylor Myers shared this article, 7 big things you should know about the monthly jobs report from Journalist Resource. This article provides key insights to remember before diving into job reports and the information they share.

I’ll leave you with this: it’s important to be aware of trends impacting your industry, but it’s even more important to focus on what you can control. Numbers don’t tell the whole story. People are still hiring. Jobs are being created. When you apply to an open position, you are not competing with every single unemployed job seeker for that opportunity. Your job is to present the very best version of yourself on paper and in person. I hope this newsletter and all the tips I share on my blog, free courses and LinkedIn help you elevate your messaging and targeting efforts.

Rooting for you,

Leverage Thought Leadership Content On LinkedIn

I look forward to joining content strategy expert Chris Anderson TODAY @ 12:00 ET on LinkedIn in an audio conversation to discuss how leaders can move the needle with thought leadership content on LinkedIn. Join us here!

Crafting an Effective “Open to Work” LinkedIn Post

Hannah Morgan recently shared this article by Alison Doyle in her Career Sherpa Newsletter. In this step-by-step guide, Doyle walks job seekers through writing an effective “open to work” post on LinkedIn. There are many ways to leverage LinkedIn for a job search. Crafting an 'open to work' post can be a powerful personal branding and strategic communication exercise. Doyle reminds us that these posts are not just a request for assistance; they offer an opportunity to showcase your value proposition to prospective employers. When engaging with your network, reciprocate by sharing opportunities and advice, thus fostering a culture of mutual support beyond your immediate job search.

Different is Better than Better: Stand Out Among the Crowd

I find myself saying this a lot. Being different is superior to being better. As we look at crafting an impactful “open to work” post, I found a perfect example of one that is DIFFERENT and, therefore, BETTER at helping a job seeker stand out among the crowd.

I don’t know Marta Peurto, but I am in awe of how she leveraged her product manager expertise, searching for a PM position to market herself. In her viral LinkedIn “open to work” post, she created a marketing video - for herself! In the post, she calls out the marketable skills applicable to her target audience - those hiring for product management positions. As of the last time I checked - her week-old post has been reacted to over 135,000 times, commented on 6,800x, and shared close to 5,000! Again, different is better than better! I am following to see where Maria lands next so that I can celebrate with her!

How to Stay Resilient In Your Job Search

With the average duration of unemployment in the U.S. currently at 21 weeks, you must prepare for a long-term search. This article by Forbes emphasizes the importance of accepting that you may not (probably won’t) land a new job overnight. Rejections are more frequent than job offers in today’s market.

According to the article, job seekers need to understand their financial situation, or “personal runway”, to ensure they have the resources to sustain their search and unemployment for six months. Setting boundaries around job search activities can help maintain balance and avoid burnout. The article suggests confining job search efforts to a 90-minute daily window, thus freeing up time for other enriching activities. Lastly, it encourages job seekers to find community through volunteer work or joining clubs, which can offer structure, networking opportunities, and a sense of purpose during the uncertainty of job hunting.

A couple of years ago, I sat down with a Briefcase Coach client who had been job searching for nearly two years. In the interview, he shares his key takeaways from the process and advice, in retrospect, that he would have given himself at the onset.

Are Job Search Bots Effective?

Many apps, bots, and websites promise to “simplify” or “streamline” your job search while saving you time and frustration. But are they worth it? Do they work?

Aki Ito of Business Insider shared her first-hand account of utilizing several bots in her job search. She found mixed results, as some bots are glitchy or shut down, while others send out applications with incorrect information. Despite the inaccuracies, she still received a 6% callback rate, which is surprisingly decent given the low effort involved.

While the callback rate looks good on paper, this article serves as a cautionary tale and a spark for innovation in the job search process. The key takeaway is that while technology can aid in the job search, it has its pitfalls. Professionals need to balance the use of technology with a personal touch, especially when it comes to building and leveraging networks.

Starbucks Labor Pivot and What it Means for Other Companies

Starbucks has recently announced a new approach to dealing with its main union, Starbucks Workers United, aiming to resolve previous hostilities and establish a fair process for labor organizing. This marks a significant change from the company's historical resistance to unionization. The agreement includes discussions for collective bargaining, resolution of litigation, and extension of previously restricted benefits, such as credit-card tipping, to union members and back pay. Unlike prior practice, Starbucks will now negotiate with a collective group of baristas nationwide on common issues.

Key Takeaway: Starbucks' pivot toward union collaboration could serve as a blueprint for other corporations. It demonstrates that embracing unionization and improving labor relations can lead to a more harmonious work environment and potentially benefit employees and management. It sets a precedent that even companies known for opposing unionization can find a path to acknowledging and working with organized labor, potentially shaping the future landscape of labor relations in traditionally non-union industries.

Agency Recruiters and How They Work (and get paid)

Job seekers need to know the difference between an agency recruiter and a corporate recruiter. Agency recruiters work for companies (multiple at a time) and NOT candidates. They get paid for filling roles, not building relationships.

Agency recruiters can be advantageous for job seekers by providing access to more opportunities, insights, and support throughout the job search process. However, candidates should know the potential drawbacks and manage their expectations accordingly. Some things to remember: recruiters could be representing more than one candidate for the same job, and recruiters are working to fill positions quickly, so they may not be working to find the perfect fit.

Career Coach Neil Danzger recently shared a quick guide to navigating the world of agency recruiters. Job seekers must maintain an active role in their job search and use agency recruiters as one of several available resources.

Ace Your Interview: Prepare, prepare, prepare

Interview prep is key to a successful job search. Again, different is better than better. In this competitive job market, candidates must intentionally set aside time to prepare for interviews.

Most prepare for an interview in an hour or less. These candidates read over the job description, think about their value proposition, research company benefits, and develop a list of three questions. This person will do fine in their interview, but not as well as someone who:

Uses tools like AI to develop potential questions based on the job description and practice answering these questions. This person gets on LinkedIn and looks up the people they will be interviewing with to be somewhat familiar. This person will do well in their interview, but the person who will interview best:

Starts preparation process with "why" questions. Seeks to understand why they are hiring, their pain points, and why they are the best person for the job. This person dissects the job description and thoughtfully crafts answers to spoon-feed the hiring manager what they care about. They spend time doing several mock interviews. They consider their tone, body language, and pacing in their answers. Researches the individuals they will be meeting with. They go further and find commonalities that can be used to make personal connections during the discussions. This person will stand out as a top candidate in their interview.

Book Club Pick: Frenemies by Ken Auletta

I recently came across media executive Josh Kaplan’s recommendation of Frenemies, The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business, and I couldn’t wait to dig in. After reading (and loving), I am excited to share it with you. This is a must-read - whether in the advertising industry or not, there are takeaways for all. I would love to gift a copy to one of you - shoot me an email, and I will draw someone at random and notify them by email on Friday (3/15).

Frenemies by Ken Auletta presents an in-depth look at the tumultuous transformation of the advertising and marketing industry, a $2 trillion global business that reaches deeply into our daily lives. As digital advancements overhaul the industry, Auletta explores the shift from a traditionally instinct-driven art to a data-driven science, a transition from Mad Men to Math Men (and women). This metamorphosis has triggered fear among the old guard of the advertising world, who are now forced to confront an existential threat to their well-established domains.

For job seekers, Auletta’s narrative highlights the critical need for professionals in the industry to evolve and adapt. It emphasizes that the skills once guaranteed success are no longer sufficient in an age where technology, data analytics, and machine learning are reshaping the landscape. Auletta introduces readers to the new power players—such as Carolyn Everson at Facebook—and the innovators challenging traditional approaches, reflecting a broader trend towards disruption and change.

How Can I Help?

Do you know someone who is job searching?

35%. That’s the number of clients referred to us by previous clients. We view referrals as the highest compliment that we can receive. As a token of our appreciation, we offer referral gifts ranging from Ember mugs to Jeni’s ice cream boxes.

Is your company people-focused?

Consider sharing Briefcase Coach with your HR leadership. We are a great “white-glove” boutique option for executive outplacement.

Need to make updates to your professional documents or prepare for a high-stakes interview?

Briefcase Coach has an experienced team ready to help high performers wanting to work one-on-one with an executive career strategist.

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