We continue but over there…

May 11, 2009

Isabont is now CleverCareerist


A New Beginning….. CleverCareerist.com

October 7, 2008

I am very excited to report that this is my last post on the isabont blog.  (drum roll please)

Because we (isabont) have become CleverCareerist.

“The only constant is change”

We realize that the employment landscape is changing and WE must change with it.  So we have changed our name to Clever Careerist. We really want to help people find a better job, faster.  To not waste their time with “the illusion of progress”.  We have built the best site on the internet to manage your job-search.  The tools are powerful yet simple, the whole system was built for the job-searcher.  But we want to take it to the next level.  We want to be better, stronger and faster (nnnnnnnaaaaaaa).

Anyway, we have just begun at CleverCareerist.com you can follow the blog over on CleverCareerist.com/blog

See you there,


Best Practices in Job-Searching – What about the economic meltdown?

October 1, 2008

The last thing any job-seeker wants to hear is that the economy is getting _worse_.   While our government struggles with how to avert meltdown, job-seekers don’t have much of an option but to continue to search.

This impacts the job-seeker in three ways:

1) Companies will have access to less credit – so they will spend less.  If companies spend less, there will be less job-openings.  This will make the job-search more challenging.

2) With this crisis, companies are becoming more conservative, this will result in both less hiring (they may have the money but not want to risk the economy getting worse) and more firing (to cut costs).

3) There will be more unemployed people and less new jobs…..

What is the silver-lining here?  Unfortunately, unless you can get the government to bail-out you, your job-search will be longer and more challenging.

With the search getting tougher, you, the searcher must get smarter.  You must use your time efficiently in your search.  Yes, you can spend more time on Monster, which may _seem_ like progress, but increasing the focus and efficiency of your search will help the most.

Increasing your focus is not a trivial task for most.  Think back to the past when you had to increase your focus (say to study better in school).  The first thing you do is to try to change your environment so that there are less distractions.  Now that you are in a better environment you look for other ‘tools’ to help you focus.  Chances are, if you are feeling lost, you will go back and re-read your objectives and/or start a to-do list.

We can also thing about tools that will help with organization and focus.  Some of the standard tools are:

to-do list

calendar

contact list

file organizer

email

But even keeping those tools organized is tough.  The fact is, that most of these applications were not made for the job-searcher but for a ‘generic’ office worker.   Therefore, finding and using the _best_ tools will really help your focus and efficiency.

To sum it all up.  The meltdown will mean that your job search will be tougher.  To increase your chances in this worsening economy you should focus your search to be more efficient (so you are not wasting time).  Using the right tools greatly helps with efficiency (yes, I can mow my lawn with nail-trimmers, but it is a whole lot easier/more efficient with a lawn-mower…).  The most common tools are the ‘office’ type of applications, but there are tools that were made specifically to help focus your search.

This is why we created CleverCareerist.com – a website that was specifically created to help job-seekers maximize the focus and efficiency of their search.


Job-Search Best Practices: Getting the most out of Networking – Research

September 19, 2008

Everyone these days seems to have just discovered the power of networking.  Network, network, network is offent the mantra of the job seeker.  While everyone talks about he power of networking – most of the folks that I have spoken to do NOT do simple things that will maximize their networking.  Remember, this person could know of the best-job-ever but if you think that simply setting-up the meeting and ‘showing-up’ is going to maximize your networking you are both wrong and wasting a lot of time. 

Ideally, you make some type of ‘connection’ with the person that you are networking – and the more you know about this person and/or their company, the easier it will be to open and maintain a discussion with the person.  So what is the best pratice?  Simple research.  Go to the company’s website and look at recent press-releases – find out what they are thinking/doing in the market.  If the person’s bio is on the website, then see if there are things in their bio’s that you can speak to in a networking discussion.  I know that many sites will tell people to read a companies Annual/Quarterly report and everything else they can find, but that too is wasting time.  Most company employees DO NOT read their annual report and or 10Ks, they know the overall performance of the company + what is said in the press, but if you think you are gaining points by repeating some minuta that you dug-up in one of their financial records you are kidding yourself (of couse this doesn’t apply if you are going for their CFO role…). 

So do a little homework, it will make the discussion much easier, help build a connection, and educate yourself about the company.  Remember, the person you are meeting with is doing you a favor by taking the meeting, DON’T WASTE THEIR TIME (and your opportunities).


Maximizing your Job Search – The Numbers Game

September 12, 2008

Some will say that the job search is a game of numbers – the more ads you see and resumes you send, the better chances of landing a job.  Others will say that this approach is like a ‘shotgun’ (not particularlly acurate, but hits a broad target).  These folks would argue that the ‘rifle’ approach is better – know exactly what you want then look only for that ‘perfect’ match.  With this approach there is little wasted effort in ‘spraying’ your resume all over the internet.

Unfortunately, the ‘rifle’ folks are generally wrong.  Why? Because the internet has brought job seekers (and people looking for work) massive exposure to open positions.   The effort to send a resume to 5 companies is not much more than sending it to 5,000.   So, use the ‘law of large numbers’ and hit as many as are relevant.  That last word is important.  Relevant – as in ‘a basic fit’ for your skills and desires.  This does NOT say ‘spam’ your resume to every listing that matches any keyword, but hitting all the opportunities that ‘are in your sweet spot’ is better than relying on a few and tayloring your resume to specific opportunity and hoping that whoever is screening the resumes sees the clear differentaition between your resume and the rest of the pile.   For most people, the chances of this making a difference are next to nil.  In general, your resume is being scanned for about 15 seconds.  So changing your hobbies to the hobbies of the company’s CEO or adding something ‘pithy and relevant’ to your cover-letter is no substitution for writing a good, but generic resume or cover letter.


Untold Job-Market Stories: “I thought I was in a relationship”

September 8, 2008

My father worked for the same company for 35 years.  Now, if you work for a company for more than five years there is the stigma of “drank the kool-aid/can’t teach new tricks”.

In the past, the employee/employeer relationship was a long-term relationship.  The definition of a ‘good career’ was staying with the same company for a long time.  Companies valued ‘loyalty’ and employees with a long-tenure.

However, this relationship has changed dramatically as companies have become increasingly focused on revenue and profit.  In this new world, employees need to be productive on day-one and are to be replaced when their “usefulness” to the organization is limited.    Basically, we have become ‘interchangeable tools’ and the employee/employeer relationship has become one of ‘transactions’ with both parties focused on near-term rewards.

One factor driving this change is a change in corporate values.  In this new economy, profit is king and revenue is queen and employees can be hired and fired with little impact to the perception of the company.  In fact, companies are rewarded if they ‘dramatically cut headcount’ before problems occur thereby (hopefully) heading-off any slide in corporate valuation.

Why do companies do this?  First, they do it because they can.  There is very little stigma with ‘right-sizing’ your company.  Second, they do it because internet technology has given them an almost unlimited pool of resources.  Why take care of an employee when you can hire someone who is (generally) cheaper?

These changes have a profound impact on how we view our careers and search for a new job.


The evolution of the job-search process

September 3, 2008

Well, I will simplify by stating that I am going to focus on the past 100 or so years and not have to explain what happened before then.  Anywho, we find ourselves (Americans) in a thriving farm/agriculture based economy.  The way you found work was to look for it – and I really mean “look for it” – physically and directly.  The process was simple – ‘you wandered around and asked people for work’.

Then we got the industrial revolution + our communication infrastructure got much better.  So now the process had evolved to include ‘looking in the paper’ for a job.  In fact, you can actually look in a formal list of jobs for one that you like/suits you.    Of course, you mostly looked in the local papers for local jobs.  You generally didn’t have easy access to employment opportunities (and stats) from other areas.  Weather they be in the next county or on the opposite coast.

So the job-search process was (1) write a resume and cover letter and (2) look at the job listings in the paper and (3) send your resume and cover-letter to jobs that you want.

As our communication infrastructure improved, job-seekers had increasing exposure to non-local jobs.  And the job-aggregation industry started because now you could get a lot of information from many different places to try to match supply and demand (and make a few bucks in the process).

Then came the internet.

Now we have instant access to anyone connected to ‘the web’

and social networks,

and automated search engines,

and resume builders,

and pretty much everything that a person needs to search for a job in this ‘networked age’.

Oh, and networking is really important because you can access just about anyone through your network.

Which now makes us current.

So now we can see any job that is online (and all jobs are online)  – any job, any place.

And call anyone up at any time (or send them email).

Therefore, the ‘modern’ job search process is:

1) Write a resume and cover letter (with hundreds of fonts, styles and formats thereby ‘customizing’ your communications to ‘best position yourself’ for the role)

2) Email/snail-mail to very specifically researched roles and/or spam every listing that is somewhat close to what you want (or even better, all that contain a keyword)

3) Network with anything and everything.   Why?  Because 80% of all job-changes are through ‘networking’ AND the bigger the network, the better the network.  Why?  Simple, you now have ‘direct access’ to an exponential (lot) number of folks.   So, how do you network?  Well, you join linked-in and then look for everyone that you could possibly add to your network (and do so).

Oh yeah, and social networks, join those too to expand your network.

Now you have access to many, many people and job listings.

Managing these ‘moving parts’ becomes increasingly challenging as you increase the volume.

But we have super-fast computers!   And super-fast computers are, well, “super fast” – so they can do a lot of things very quickly.  And software!  There is software out there for just about anything!


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