Nothing hurts worse than being rejected, and it happens all the time during a job search. Nicolle Pelletiere of Good Morning America reports on Amanda Mester, a job seeker who edited a poorly written rejection letter and sent it back to the employer. Mester says that she wanted the company to follow proper grammar rules. She also posted her message on Twitter, where some commentators said she was jeopardizing her career. I wouldn’t go that far. Some employers might see this action as an indicator of a bad attitude. Others might see it as a sign of an employee with good communications skills, attention to detail, and a sense of humor.
My problem with what Mester did is that she is looking backward. Her response to the company and tweet did nothing to move her career forward. I advise clients to give rejection letters the time they are worth: none. Getting hired is a numbers game. It takes time, positive energy, and much patience. Use your time to network and apply for new opportunities. Look back only to look forward.
Bill Simmons was recently suspended by ESPN for comments he made about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Whatever you think about Simmons, Goodell, or any of the players recently suspended by the NFL, here’s the thing to remember: Doing or saying something that hurts your employer’s reputation can lead to being terminated. The same is true of another type of speech: social media. Many people have taken to Facebook or Twitter to be critical of their employer or supervisor. In many states, such action is grounds for dismissal. Be careful before you do something that can put your income at risk.
One more word about Bill Simmons. I often find him funny and sometimes insightful. He is also a good businessman. If ESPN decides to get rid of him, he will have other opportunities. We should all follow his example. Have a Plan B for your career and build a reputation that will make other employers want to hire us.
Several companies have instituted policies related to the use of social media. I’ve met people in the insurance and financial service industries who are not allowed to have Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts. In some cases, the company is afraid that employees could give advice or make statements that would open the company to litigation. In other cases, disgruntled employee has post rants about their boss or company. Employees have been fired for making disparaging comments or violating policies. Be careful about what you post on line. Don’t let a moment of anger or the need to give advice cost you a job.
I saw an odd note in today’s Chicago Sun-Times. New York Knicks player J.R. Smith was fined $25,000 for “directing hostile and inappropriate language to another player via his Twitter account.” My first puerile thought was: What did he say? After that, however, I considered the amount of the fine in relation to a recent post I wrote about the median income in the U.S. Most people in the U.S. make $27,000 or less. One ballplayer was nearly fined that much for a tweet. The next time someone argues that there is not income inequality in this country, remember J.R. Smith’s expensive tweet. It says a lot about what is happening in this country. What it says is not good.
Terms come and go in the job search world. The one thing they have in common is their ability to scare people looking for a new job. An example of this would be “the hidden job market.” No job is ever “hidden.” Your access to that job might be limited or – if a company is hiring internally – it might be impossible for you to get certain jobs. To conduct an effective job search, you need to find different ways of looking for work.
The first step I recommend is networking. People who know you and respect your skills are more likely to promote your skills. Your network connections might also point you toward types of work and companies that you had not considered. Remember that networking is a two-way street. Look for ways to help people who you want to help you.
Track industry and company news. Know where your skills are needed and track job openings at companies in those industries. If you know that a company is growing, it is likely that they will be hiring. Tracking industry news will let you know which companies are growing. That’s a great starting point for your job search.
Use the job boards effectively. Look at several job boards, not just one. Some of my clients have even had luck posting their resume. However, many others have been deluged with invitations to apply for low level sales jobs. If you post your resume, be ready to deal with junk email. Also know that posting is a passive way of looking for work. When you are looking for a job yourself, that is an active job search, which is the way most people find work.
Online networking is another way to look for work. The most common and best way is to use your LinkedIn network. If you’re looking for work and you’re not on LinkedIn, it’s time to join and bring your professional network on line. Some people are also using Twitter and other social networks as ways to engage potential employers.
For executives and employees with high demand skills, recruiters may be a good way to look for a new job. Keep in mind that working with a recruiter is a passive way of looking for work. If a recruiter finds a client that she thinks is better qualified than you, she will promote that other client. You need to maintain an active job search even if you are working with a recruiter you trust.
Almost every job search is difficult. To find a good job and find it faster, you need to employ more than one way of looking for work. The most important thing is that you keep a positive spirit even when your phone does not ring. If you maintain a persistent, focused effort, you will find work. As Tavis Smiley says, “Keep the faith.”
Revolts in the Middle East have been mostly political in nature. Labor unions have been prominent in some countries, such as Egypt. Now Spain is erupting in protests that target political and labor issues. Aljazeera reports that Spaniards, especially young adults, are protesting high unemployment and a political system that favors the needs of bankers over working people (sound familiar?).
Using Twitter to share information and messages of inspiration, young people have protested in more than 50 cities. They gathered in Madrid’s main square despite a government ban. Madison meet Madrid. Maybe something is changing in the world. Maybe the politicians will listen.