Sunday, October 12, 2008

How Will New Media Affect the Newly Unemployed?

My sister lost her job a week ago. The direct marketing company she had started working for only four months ago lost two of their biggest clients and decided they couldn't afford their newest staff postions. My sister received the news and a small severence package on Monday of last week. The timing could have been better.

As the market searches for a place to settle so the world can herald a new beginning, people are losing their jobs and reports say it will only get worse. For my sister things weren't as bad as they could have been. She was able to pick up consultant work fairly quickly (by last Wednesday) for a previous employer in the DC Metro region. But for many others, who have families/overextended mortgages and who live in an area with fewer opportunities the results could be dire. This is a scenario many have predicted and warned about for years. Entire organizations have been built around the idea.

Here are four tips to set yourself up for success (courtesy of Yahoo! News):

1. Is the résumé passé?

Not entirely. Of course, anyone looking for a job will need a résumé. As always, it should be strategically crafted, truthful and spelling-error free.

But relying on a résumé to get you a job, or even to get you noticed, is no longer realistic in this highly competitive environment, according to Jennifer Kushell, employment expert and CEO of Your Success Network.

"I don't really love the idea of relying on the résumé anymore," Kushell says. "I think it is an antiquated piece of technology because the idea that any of us express ourselves on a piece of paper is very old school."

You have to connect with people and present your self to the people that have those jobs to offer, she suggests.

2. Work your network

You have to get in front of and "wow!" the people responsible for making the hiring decisions. "If you're not networking you're crazy, because you are limiting your options and opportunities," says Kushell.

She advises clients to get out of their comfort zone and join industry organizations, go to parties and events and introduce themselves to new people. In this job environment, the good jobs are not listed in the newspaper and, they are not on job sites all the time. You hear about them by having a network of people who are well connected in the industry and willing to help you.

And people should be doing this type of preparation all the time and not just once they lose their job.

3. Manage your brand

Social networking may be all the rage but it can be a career killer if you are not careful. Potential employers often search potential job candidates on the Internet and any inappropriate pictures or postings will sink you in the applicant pool.

According to a recent study by, a global work-force consulting firm, about 30% of young people surveyed said there is definitely or probably something online that they would be embarrassed for their employer to see. Take it down, clean it up, and protect your reputation like it's your job; Or it could end up costing you one.

4. Look beyond borders

If opportunities on the home front aren't materializing, Americans may want to turn their attention overseas. Some of the fastest growing economies -- Russia, China, India, Dubai and countries throughout Asia -- are eager to import American talent.

"Business is becoming very Americanized all over the world and talent is required that has training in America; they want people that have the work ethic and the DNA," says Michael Karp, CEO of executive search firm Options Group.

Multinational companies that are expanding overseas or international financial firms may be looking to snatch up newly unemployed American workers.

How else can you use social media to your benefit? Michael Port (who can be a little too over-the-top for my personal taste, but who has some sound advice) or William Aruda might help guide you into building your personal brand, if you haven't already.

What do you think?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thinking About Succession Planning for Chapters

Leadership is tricky business and it can become even trickier when you are trying to move on from a leadership position with a group...especially when there is no one around you who is fitting or desires to take over your role.

I just took part in a webinar at Cynthia D'Amour's Chapter Leaders Playground, "Three Good Thoughts for Better Teamwork With Author Erika Oliver" and received several good tips. I think my favorite idea came as a direct response to my succession planning issue from another webinar attendee. The mysterious "Judy" who typed in a response for my consideration provided a pearl of wisdom. To paraphrase...

"The first responsibility of a leader is to develop a person to replace them. The leader should identify four prospects. Identifying four prospects is important because, on average, one will refuse, one will disappoint, one will move, and one will accept."

I like that.

What are some of your own succession planning tips and troubles?