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March 29, 2017

Archives for April 2013

#JobHunt Lessons Learned in Early Age of Social Business

By michaelpace on April 23, 2013Jobsearchhelp

AOL, getting film developed, Blockbuster stores, paper maps, the classifieds, pay phones and phone books, fax machines, record stores, …

AND how you searched for a job 3 years ago.

If you don’t know what all these things have in common, put your flip phone down and hit pause on your VCR or CD player.  For everyone else, you know all of the above are obsolete.  Sure, they exist somewhere out there in the world, but either they are highly inefficient or just broken.

This week, I will be beginning my next great adventure at PerkStreet Financial, and finding this fit was an adventure all on its own.  The past several months have been a roller coaster unequalled by anything I would have predicted.  The highs of freedom and new opportunities were amazing.  The trials of hope rejected pushed my mental boundaries.  Throughout the ride, I’ve kept a running list of what worked, what didn’t, what was broken, and other lessons learned from the ride.

LinkedIn is the most important social networking tool. (PERIOD) – It is also your most valuable job search tool.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp and whatever else can go away or be replaced without much impact, but LinkedIn is the PDA, rolodex, resume, community, business card, job search site, search engine, presentation portfolio, and subtle introduction of today.  No other tool is as powerful and useful to a person in search of a position.  Whether you are employed or looking, you should be maintaining LinkedIn DAILY.  No, it is not the sexiest application, and you don’t get to play games or see what your ex-girlfriend is up to today, but unless you plan on never being downsized, laid off, fired, bored with your current company, or change your mind, it is critical to your career.

My best LinkedIn practices:

  • Always start with the company search, and see who you know or who you know has influential relationships.  If you see posting from another site, never apply without exhausting all of your LinkedIn resources first.
  • Pay for the Premium Job Seeker services – you end up higher in recruiter search results, can see who has viewed your profile, see if changes to profile change your views/day, prioritized applications upon submission, job seeker badge
  • Link In with every person you meet and have a conversation with at an event.  Make sure to write a note in the LinkedIn invite relating to your meeting.
  • I found their job search functionality as strong as the best job search sites
  • Provides fantastic research on companies and people you may be interviewing with
  • Becoming a “go-to” place to curate content from (especially with new mobile app)
  • Groups and the discussions within groups provide great ways to make introductions to people
  • If you have presentations available to view, add to slideshare.net and you can add it to your profile
  • Follow the companies you are interested in working for, content is pushed to you

Learn how to Inbound Market yourself

When you are looking for a position in your field, you are essentially trying to sell yourself.  Just like a Marketing/Sales funnel, you need to create awareness, develop consideration, create intent, and hopefully sell the interview and yourself.  Mailing a copy of a resume makes as much sense as direct mail.  Sending your resume to someone in a company without a relationship is a kin to spam.  Finally, banner ads have a better success rate than randomly submitting information to Monster or Careerbuilder.  Hubspot defines inbound marketing as the process of using content, social media, search engine optimization, email, lead nurturing, and marketing automation to attract and retain customers.  In the job hunt process, the companies are your customers.  Individuals or companies that come to you based on prior experience or word of mouth are much more likely to consider you for hire, even when they do not have the current need.

Inbound Marketing should start well before you ever need or go looking to be employed.  During the past couple years, I have made a number of relationships (and friends) that stemmed from a piece of content I created or curated.  Many of those relationships help make introductions to influential hiring personnel or were the hiring managers.  The content you create or curate helps develop your credibility and trust with peers and individuals within your industry. 

Best Practices in Inbound Marketing for hire

  • Re-read everything you just read about LinkedIn above
  • I am assuming you have something to say about your industry, find a platform that allows you to express your thought leadership (blog, video blogs, speaking opportunities, use slideshare to show off your presentations, comment in communities, twitter chats, speak up at events, etc…)  Not only will this build your resume, your content repository, your digital rolodex, but it will give you something to do during the doldrums of the job search.
  • Curate content – use tools like Flipboard or Feedly to find articles from other authors you find to be thought provoking, and share on or with your professional networks.  Thought leadership by association.
  • Just like Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, your information need to be searchable.  Make sure your information and resume is available on the major job search sites, such as Monster, Careerbuilder, ZipRecruiter, and Experteer.  Make sure you resume includes the keywords that you believe will drive the recruiters to your phone.

Other Quick Lessons Learned

Know Your Audience:

  • Are they a progressive company with a casual dress code?
  • Even if they are a progressive company, is the person or people you are meeting with more traditional?
  • Do you know someone at the company who can give you an inside to the company’s hot topics?
  • Find something you have in common with the people you are interviewing

Job Search Sites: Use job search site email subscriptions and job alerts to help you learn about new companies and to learn who is hiring, but use your relationships and research to apply.  Applying online for through the company’s website or a job site should be your last resort to engage a company.

Job Title Discrimination: Don’t pass over a company because the job title is “beneath your level” or “too far above your current level”.  If the company is interested in acquiring great talent, they will gladly have the conversation with you.  You can always negotiate title.

Priorities: Before you even start your search, be clear with your priorities in your next great opportunity.  For me, my priorities were as follows:

  1. A company with a culture and values that fit my own
  2. A role with the right scope and velocity (velocity – I wanted high growth)
  3. A company and a role where I can do work that is bigger than myself

Mobile: There are plenty of tool to conduct your job search on the run.  Go ahead, hit the beach or go skiing; you will not have time later, and most apps are fully functional.

Human Resources has forgotten they are a customer facing part of the organization: This topic will need a whole customer service post on its own.  Take a minute to understand how many people apply to a company in a year, these are all potential customers or people who can refer your company, how are you treating them?  Do you even acknowledge their application beyond the automatic email reply?

Finally – it’s a mental game.  Find resources to help you with the ups and downs.

I hope these lessons I have learned will help you in your eventual search.  Odds are you will not be with the company you are currently with for the rest of your worklife.

And the Winner is ….

By michaelpace on April 18, 2013

PerkStreet Announcement

Drum roll please …

And the Winner is …

Ladies and Gentlemen we have a tie, a three way tie.  The winner of an amazing opportunity goes to PerkStreet Financial, Me, and Everyone who is tired of broken banking as usual.

PerkStreet Financial

PerkStreet Financial (located at 114 State Street, Boston, MA) will be my new home away from home, and I couldn’t be more excited.  PerkStreet Financial is changing the way we can bank.  If there ever was an industry that needed to be disrupted, it’s Banking and Financial Services. 

  • Get rewards for using your debit card, rather than going into debt (Hmm … that would be nice)
  • Reach a person 24/7 (Stuff happens, we’re there to help)
  • Use social media to create community (Yes it is possible in Financial Services)

People say things happen for reason, and while the search for the right opportunity took longer than anticipated, PerkStreet is a perfect fit for my customer service experience, social and community management skills, and financial services background.  PerkStreet doesn’t approach business with typical functional silos like marketing, operations and customer service. Instead, they organize around the business objective* with team members with different skills working together in stand alone teams. My job will be to spearhead Customer Care and Cultivation in 4 critical areas:

  • Customer Dialogue – How do we engage with prospects and customers across channels to help them get the most out of PerkStreet?
  • Issue Diagnosis – It isn’t enough to fix things that go wrong, we are applying analytics to our customer interactions to understand how we fix things that went wrong and take friction out of the process.
  • Scale and Flex – How do we grow without losing the human touch?
  • People Leadership – All great businesses have cultures that drive success, how do we maintain and build upon a strong foundation, particularly when we leverage outside parties?

Banking customers and their money deserve better, and I intend on changing their perceptions and realities.

Special thanks to Jennifer Spencer for advocating internally for me to bring me in to speak with such a great team!

*Discussion regarding the need for change in traditional organizations from 2012

 

 

How to Get Promoted – for Managers and Reports

By michaelpace on April 2, 2013Corporate ladder - How to get promoted

Want to make your manager uncomfortable?  Try one of these below out on them.

“When am I going to get promoted?”

 “I’ve been in this position for two years, I should have been promoted by now.”

 “Why does <insert first and last name here> get promoted, and I get looked over every single time?”

Want to NOT get promoted? Try one of these above out on them.

In my 15+ years in being a people leader, promotion conversations are some of the most difficult to have with an associate.  After all, these promotion questions and statements are almost always difficult conversations where the manager needs to explain to a (usually) solid employee that a promotion is not in their near future.  Possible promotion talk is a welcomed conversation to a manager.  Many managers “give away” the promotion news too early because they too are excited about the news.  Odds are if you have to ask, you are not ready in your manager’s eyes.

Promotions feel a little bit out of your control.  Sure you can work hard, smart, and long, but that will not ensure a promotion.  You need to understand what a manager looks at to promote you, regardless where you are on the corporate ladder.  I have never seen this written down in a book, and most managers don’t understand it themselves; therefore, they will not be able to tell you.

In general, there are 5 requirements for an associate to receive a promotion.

  • Results in your current role are reflective of potential success
  • Competencies demonstrated at the NEXT level to compete with your new peers
  • You possess the technical or job specific skills for the role
  • The role and scope of the role is available
  • You have advocates, preferably influential ones

Results in your current role reflective of potential success

If you want to get promoted, be awesome at your day job.  Yes, this appears as a “Captain Obvious” statement.  However, so many think their current role is beneath them.  Once an associate takes their role for granted, their best rarely comes out.  Don’t drop your day job.

One of my most valuable lessons in business came in my first “professional” job at Tiffany & Co..  I was a phone agent in the Customer Authorizations Department setting up private label credit cards for our customers.  I could do it in my sleep after about six months; it felt natural to me as a combination of art and science.  I was faster than others in my group.  I was more accurate than others in my group.  I was consistently requested by our internal customers to help them out.  I could have breezed, beat everyone out with a minimal amount of effort.  I did the opposite.  I busted out twice as much work, and volunteered and “Leaned In” while keeping up the pace.  I put in a lot of hours that were never recorded.  I never mentioned a promotion, but discussed my future.  I got promoted.  If I skated through, I may have been promoted at some time, but I could have just as easy been passed over for an external candidate.

Competencies demonstrated at the NEXT level to compete with new peers

Competencies are about how you get work done.  How you get the work done is just as important as the results.  Let me provide an example.  A Project Manager could get a lot done and possibly good results by being a ruthless barbarian of a leader.  It will not last long, as their relationships will suffer.  Most likely they are not showing strong communication or teamwork skills.  Competencies must be demonstrated at the next level or role.

Competencies most managers look for:

  • Communication skills – oral, written, and presentation
  • Results Driven
  • Teamwork – intra-team and cross functional
  • Understands and integrates data to make decisions
  • Ability to influence others
  • Focuses on the customer
  • Lives the Values of the organization
  • Can work autonomously
  • Efficiently leverages resources
  • Looks the part

Alright, looks the part is not a competency.  But portraying an image of someone who belongs at the next level is critical.  If you are fantastic in every way but look like you just woke up and threw on he sweatpants, you are adding an extra hurdle.  Even if the sweatpants fit in your corporate dress policy, you are doing the bare minimum.  Take pride in your appearance, and give yourselves a pant leg up, no shorts please.

You possess the technical skills or job specific skills for the role

Odds are if you are getting a promotion, you will have new responsibilities.  These new responsibilities may be managing associates, managing 10X the number of current associates, use a specific technology, budgetary, able to communicate to large audiences or public speaking, build strategies, negotiate a deal, understand influences on stock price, project or program management, etc…  It will be different for every role and level.  Find out what are the technical skills your manager does today.  Offer to help them next time they need to accomplish a like task.  Create a personal development action plan.  If you are promoted, you may need to use this skill on day 1.

The role and the scope of the role is available

You may be promotable for every reason, but if your organization does not need a person in that role, promotion is rare.  When this is the case, you have four choices:

  • Influence the need
  • Create a new role that is needed
  • Suck it up
  • Leave the department or company

You have advocates, preferably influential ones

Promotion is rarely decided entirely by one person in medium to large size organizations.  Most often, your manager’s manager is involved.  If there are multiple people at that level, each one may be included in the promotion thought process.  Most organizations, at least, include Human Resources in the promotion process.  Key take away: you need more than just your direct manager as an advocate.

How do you acquire advocates?  Here are a number of different ways to build advocacy:

  • Find mentors to build on your weaker competencies
  • Go above and beyond in your normal job so that you are impossible to miss
  • Join cross functional teams
  • Ask good thoughtful questions, perhaps over a cup of coffee
  • Lunch
  • Get out of your cube/office and make a physical presence
  • Buy doughnuts, and walk around meeting new people
  • Be visible

Understanding the key drivers of promotions puts you in control, removes the victim tonality out promotion conversations, and stops putting your manager in an awkward position.  Be awesome at your current role.  Build and demonstrate competencies at the next level.  Acquire the job specific skills needed for that new role.  Make sure it will or is available.  Find your advocates or make them.

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