Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Looking for a job: I'd rather search for the holy grail

Finding a job is hard work. You work on your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, "personal brand," and online presence. You network like it's going out of style. You apply through a friend of a friend of a friend who knows somebody at your target company. You have a phone interview. You have an in-person interview (that may require travel). You interview with multiple people, perhaps multiple times. You send thank you notes. You finally hear back from the recruiter when they said they'd let you know....





(If you haven't seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, these pictures make no sense to you.)

Fortunately, not being selected for a job doesn't turn you into this guy, but it kind of feels like it, doesn't it? It sucks. It sucks a lot. But you know what? IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU SUCK. If you did the best you could do during the entire process, then it's the company's loss for not hiring you. So you need to dust yourself off and continue your search for your holy grail. Indiana Jones didn't quit. And neither should you. Eventually, you'll find this guy 

You'll select this

And you'll stop the Nazis, save your dad who's been shot, kill the bad guys, and ride off into the sunset.

Ok, maybe not, but at least you'll have a great job that's the right fit for you. 

That's just as good.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Benefits of Follow Friday #FF

This post may make more sense if I explain FollowFriday to those either not on Twitter or to the more pedestrian Twitterites reading.

FollowFriday is a weekly Twitter practice in which you tweet a list of people you follow then add either #FollowFriday or #FF (for short). It introduces your followers to new people that they may not otherwise know. FollowFriday is a great way to help share resources and expand your network in a more directed way.

I’ve been a #FollowFriday (or #FF) participant for a while, and I’ve always made sure to have #FF posts. However, this week, I decided to create more targeted Tweets to tell my followers a little more about each person. I figured that if I’m going to tell you to follow these people, I ought to be nice enough to tell you WHY you should follow them. So, direct from the Twitter’s beak (or the horse’s mouth), here are my FollowFriday tweets.

#FF #HireFriday Fellow @JulieWalraven profile-ee @KimbaGreen

#FF #HireFriday Fellow Chicagoan, savvy financialista, and unfortunately, a Sox fan @Jenbaty

#FF and welcome to #Chicago @JulesAKramer

#FF I saved her bacon. Nuff said. @controllergirl

#FF #HireFriday Fellow social media user & abuser who has her own FB Fan Page! @hireannabavido

#FF #HireFriday Highly talented HR pro, expert wino, and hilarious gal @tlcolson

#FF another #HireFriday supporter & awesome HR Pro @sbrownehr

#FF the Queen of Red Stick who brings WI Farm to the Bayou @RobinSchooling

#FF for starting #HireFriday, the Queen of Cincinnati, @HRMargo

#FF for great support, encouragement & great guys @HRFishbowl @lockard7 @davecarhart

#FF #HR pro's w/GREAT advice @ChicagoHRgirl @CincyRecruiter @jkjhr @mandycooley @crada

#FF Career pro's who have been invaluable to me @winningimpress @JulieWalraven @TheJobQuest @InscribeExpress @blogging4jobs

Friday, May 7, 2010

You Don't Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Remember this tagline from those old Head & Shoulders commercials? Well, despite the fact that they were selling dandruff shampoo, the mantra does apply to all facets of life - especially the job search. (Lesson #1) If you're in transition, you never know who you're going to meet, nor what opportunity will present itself to you. That's the first of three important lessons I'll give you about how to be an opportunistic job seeker.

However, sometimes you do know who you'll meet. For instance, I'm going to be spending the majority of the next day and a half with some of the brightest and best minds in forward-thinking HR (in and out of social media)  at the HRevolution un-conference here in Chicago. As such, I should probably take the shampoo people's advice and make sure I've got my ducks in a row. I'm in transition, so I want to make the most of every networking opportunity. I want to show these 100+ people the best Jonathan Krass there is, in hopes of creating a long-standing, collaborative partnership. Sure, I'd like to network with the right people, hopeful that a potential employment opportunity will arise, but at the same time, I'd like to be a resource for the people I meet. So I have to bring my A-game this weekend. 

See, networking is a two-way street. Sure, there are people who will give and give until they're blue in the face, but those are few and far between. A good networking relationship is give and take. You have to have something to offer those you're networking with (or with whom you're networking, mom.) If you’re always taking, you won’t be seen as a good networker. (Lesson #2)

So back to my A-game. High confidence level, big smile, good sense of humor, good questions, and good suggestions. Oh, and lots of business cards. (Lesson #3) Personally, I’ve been offering to be a local resource for the out-of-towners, so I’ll also need to be the best Ambassador of Chicago that I can be. That should be easy, because I love this city, and you should too. As I’ve been writing this, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. You’re welcome.

So what did we learn today, children?
  •      Lesson #1: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
  •      Lesson #2: Networking is a two-way street. Give and take.
  •      Lesson #3: Confidence, smile, humor, good questions & suggestions, and business cards.

If you apply these three lessons to your job search, you’ll find that your network grows quickly and with the right people. You’ll make good connections, and your search will be more fruitful.

For me, following these lessons will ensure I have a great weekend at HRevolution. I’m very excited about this event, and I’m confident it will lead to great things for all of those in attendance. Welcome to Chicago, HRevolution! I’m glad you’re here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Show Me How Much You Love Me

Calling all friends...My most recent blog entry has been selected to compete in a job search blog contest at And there's a cash prize for the top 3 entries, with the winners determined by YOUR COMMENTS. So go comment, so I can win a cash prize. For someone without a job, it helps! DO IT!

I have now blogged about my blog. What's the term for that? Self-blogger? Narca-blog-assistic? Am I full of my blog? Whatever. Just go vote! Voters get a personalized shoutout after the contest ends. And a big hug. 

Here's the link:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I feel the need, the need for speed (networking)!

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the Business Network Chicago After Hours Event, which included a terrific, informative presentation on social media by my new friend Dean DeLisle ( or @deandelisle) and my first experience with speed networking. I’ve been to regular networking events before, but speed networking was completely new to me.

The schedule of the event was pretty standard: check-in/network, first session/network, break/network, second session/network, go home and follow up with your new friends. There were people from almost every industry there, employed and in-transition. As such, the evening totally met my expectations…until we got to the speed networking session. Now, it’s not that my expectations changed for the speed networking session – I just didn’t have any, because I had no idea how speed networking worked! I’d never done speed dating either, so the only thing I knew of the concept was the speed dating scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and I was praying that speed networking wouldn’t be that awful. Fortunately, my prayers were answered, and the speed networking session proved to be outstanding.

There were 8 tables of 6, and we were randomly assigned a four-table sequence for the duration of the session. I went from table E to B to E to H and was lucky enough to meet new people every time. The process at each table was as such: trade business cards (see my post about networking), then give your elevator speech, explain why you attended the event, then work the connections you’ve made at the table until the moderator says it’s time to switch. 15 minutes was usually long enough for the aforementioned process to occur, and just short enough to consider it “speed” networking. Honestly, I was a little rusty at the first table, but as the session went on, I found my groove. By the end of the hour, I was a speed networking pro. And I had 20 new connections to prove it. (Math guy says: 6 people/table (minus the Author, so 5 people) x 4 tables = 20 people.) Sure, not everyone was “the perfect” connection, but you never know. I came home and immediately connected with those people I knew were the best connections for me. FYI, I’ve been corresponding with those new people all day. My LinkedIn stats prove it.

For those of you who are curious about speed networking, try it. It’s a very quick way to expand your network. You never know who you’ll meet! Maybe you’ll meet me.

So maybe it wasn’t Maverick and Goose launching F-14’s from an aircraft carrier to take down the enemy, but it was 3 hours very well spent. I have another speed networking event in a couple weeks with the Loyola Alumni Association, and I’m VERY excited for that one.  I think I’ll continue to look for more speed networking events, because I feel the need…the need for speed (networking)!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hi, my name is Jonathan, and I'm a job seeker.

GroupWelcome, Jonathan, to Job Seekers Anonymous.

Me: Anonymous? Wait...I'm in the wrong meeting. I don't want to be anonymously searching for a job. I want people to know that I'm looking for a job. 

Group: You want people to know? You aren't embarrassed and ashamed to be unemployed?

Me: Well, I'm not saying I'm happy that I was downsized, but by no means do I want to keep this a secret. I want everyone to know that I'm looking for a job in Human Resources. That's how I'm going to get my next job. Don't you all feel the same way?

Group leader: No, I mean, uh, I'm...we're all looking for jobs, but anonymously. You know, using Monster or CareerBuilder, and the classified ads. We're confident that a job will come along one day for us. 

Me: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that hasn’t worked for you at all, has it? You really should be doing some networking. It's the way to go. I wrote a great blog post about it last week ( that promotes the value of networking. But the one thing it didn't mention enough was self-promotion. You have to let anyone and everyone know that you’re looking for a job. Employment isn’t going to fall into your lap. You have to make it happen. You never know who you’re going to talk to that will say “Oh, yeah, Jonathan, I know so-and-so in HR, and she’s definitely looking for an HR Manager with your background. Here’s her contact info.” Sitting at home and waiting for it to happen isn’t good enough.

Group leader: But you aren’t ashamed when you do that?

Me: Have you read the news lately? Do you know that the economy sucks and that over 10% of the available workforce is unemployed? That’s one out of ten people. It’s not like having the plague; it’s unemployment – and it’s very common these days. There’s even a new term for it: “in transition.”

Group leader: “In transition.” That doesn’t sound so bad. I could tell people that I’m in transition without feeling bad.

Me: There you go. Now get out there, tell people you’re in transition, and you’ll start meeting new people left and right. Soon enough, you’ll have a great new job, and you’ll be able to pass along the great lessons you learned and practiced from reading My HR Job Search to your friends in transition. Then you’ll look like the job search guru, even if you learned it all from me.

Group leader: Thanks, Jonathan. It’ll be our little secret.

Me: the job search community, there should be no secrets. Good information is for everyone. So please, share what you’ve learned from me by sharing my blog and Twitter (@myhrjobsearch). And if you know of anyone looking for an MBA-level HR Manager, have them contact me directly. Thanks!

[Author's note: THAT is what you call self-promotion!]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

CareerBuilder/Monster, it's not you, it's me.

(or How I Learned to Move on From the Job Boards and Love Networking)

2-4% of jobs are found by online applications through websites like Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, etc.

80% of jobs are found by networking.

65% of reported statistics are made up.

Ok, the last stat may not be true, but my sources tell me that the first two are true. So that means that time spent networking will yield a job 20-40 times more often than time spent getting lost in the reams of applications companies receive via the big job boards. Most people would say here "I'm not a math whiz." But I am a math whiz, and I can tell you that if you're spending the vast majority of your time job hunting via a method that has a 2-4% success rate, you're wasting your time.

So how should I spend my time?  NETWORKING!!!

How do I network? That's a good question, but the answer is easier than you think.

If you're reading this, it means you can use a computer and the internet. Good job. Here's an easy step-by-step set of instructions that will help you discover networking opportunities.

  1. Go to (or if you believe the commercials and haven't been completely brainwashed by Google). Does anyone actually search with Yahoo or MSN anymore?
  2. In the search box, type "networking [insert name of your city here]"
  3. Please be smart enough to replace [insert name of your city here] with the actual name of your city, ie. Chicago, New York, Kalamazoo, Intercourse.
  4. If you aren't smart enough to follow step 3, I'll save you the trouble of googling "networking insert name of your city here":
  5. Yes, Intercourse is a city. It's in Pennsylvania.
  6. Start clicking on the various links and reading about your options for networking opportunities.
  7. If you live in a small town, use the name of the closest big city (or bigger town) instead of your town.

(Shoutout: If you live in Chicago, check out the calendar posted by @InteractiveAmy at - This is good good stuff. Amy has her digital fingers on the pulse.)

Now that you have a solid list of networking events in your area, here are some key suggestions and guidelines that will help you network like a pro:

  • Try out different types of events in your area. Some are better than others.
  • Use the local chapter of your industry-specific organization (ie. PRSA, SHRM, Bar Association, etc) for industry-specific events
  • Note the pricing: Most events have a cover charge. Just make sure that you're getting something good out of it, like an open bar, appetizers, or a new car. But if it's a really awesome event that you know you can't pass up, and there's absolutely no chance you'll walk out of there with keys to a new car, that's ok, you can go to the event.
  • Bring business cards. Sure, if you're employed, that's easy. Your company probably gives you business cards. But if you're in transition like I am, you have to make your own cards. Do not (I repeat, do not) print them at home on the Avery business card templates. Those look bad. Instead, order them online. I used OvernightPrints and found their designs, shipping and pricing to be the best. Plus, I found a coupon for 500 cards for free. All I paid was shipping. 
  • ZZ Top said "every girl's crazy about a sharp dressed man." Well, this isn't the 80's, but the principle applies. You're going to meet people who may be able to help you find a new or better job, and they're more likely to offer themselves as a resource if you make a good first impression. So be a sharp dressed (wo)man. It's better to overdress than underdress. And many other things that Tim Gunn would say.
This seems like a lot, because it is. But it's the way to find a new or better job opportunity, expand your list of contacts, or just make new friends. Career professionals may have varying viewpoints on a lot of issues,m but the one thing they'll all agree on is that you have to get yourself out there if you want to make something happen, and networking is the way to do it.

So I'm sorry Careerbuilder/Monster/etc/etc, it's not you, it's me. I'm on the search for a new job, and I'm focusing my energy on the method with the proven higher rate of success. 

But that doesn't mean we can't still be friends...