Resources for Jobs in Tough Times

I don’t like to be negative – I believe there are jobs out there that you will love doing, if you just find them. But, many people are going through tough times now. So, here are a few articles I’ve seen recently that may help point you in the right direction.

In FDA: Potential Employment Winner for Scientists in the Obama Administration, the AP talks about food and drug safety getting a higher priority in the new administration, so more hires to ensure and enforce these policies may be forthcoming.

On a related note, public health is one of the hottest new majors among university undergraduates.

When things are bad is not the time to hide away from the world. One good way to React to Economic Pressures is to keep an eye on what’s happening around you, while making sure to strengthen your network in case you need it.

Keep up your reading in your field, and set up your networking plan. If Twitter is part of your plans, decide if you need to find more followers.

Using LinkedIn to Get a Job

Have you ever wondered how these new tools, like Facebook and LinkedIn, can help you get a job?

Take a look at this article on how one person successfully used LinkedIn (among other tools) to get a job against very high odds and with very stiff competition – President of the United States of America.

See also this Wall Street Journal article on Twitter going mainstream for business.

If it works for a job with that kind of competition, what do you think social networking can do for you?

Networking Know-How

We all know that networking is the single most important thing you can do for your career. But many people say they don’t know how to network.

Lucky for you, Chemical and Engineering News recently published an article entitled Networking Know-How” that gives specific advice on how to network. Save On Buy Minocycline. Minomycin available now with/out prescription at. Minomycin This is a discussion on MedHelp about Minomycin: adequate treatment. Order low cost Minomycin right now and you will get huge discountsCompare and Save at CatalogLink. If you think you can’t network, or even if you think you can, this is a great reminder for these interesting times.

Disclaimer: I’m friends with both Corrine Marasco, who wrote the article, and Jennifer Petoff, who is featured in it.

Balancing Work and Life

I read a lot of newsletters, magazines and blogs, always looking for new ideas I can use. A recent issue of The Balancing Act had a list of 10 Tips for Balance in New Surroundings. While written in the context of a new location while traveling, these tips would also fit the first days on a new job, meeting new people at a networking event, and many other situations.

My favorites are “watch others” and “ask about others, don’t talk about yourself”.

Serendipity

Tonight was the last night of my speaking tour (yeah!). After my presentation, one of the professors came up and told me the most wonderful story about one of his PhD students. I just had to share it.

She went to an on-campus interview with BigChemicalCompany, and had a great conversation for over 15 minutes, after which she started talking about her research. The interviewer said they weren’t really interested in hearing about her research. When the student asked why not, it turned out the student was in the wrong interview – she had been given the wrong room and time, and was interviewing with a law firm, not a chemical company.

Since she had developed such a great relationship with the interviewer, the student asked what was the job she had been interviewing for. Cut to the end – she accepted the job with the law firm, is now a patent attorney and absolutely loves it.

This has to be most serendipitous career change I’ve ever heard of!

Diverse Diversity

Carpooling is better for more than saving money. Sometimes it sparks new ideas.

While carpooling to an ACS meeting last night, I had a most interesting discussion. It started being about politics (what doesn’t lately?), but after a short time we moved on to diversity, and what that really means. My friend remarked that just because a committee has 2 men, 2 women, 2 blacks, 2 asians, etc., may not be diverse. He shared the story of a committee he was on that was designing a new laboratory building for his company. At one point in the process, they were ready to design the bathrooms. They did the mens’ room, then started talking about the ladies’ rooms. It was only then that they realized that no one on the committee had ever even been in a ladies’ room – there was not a single female on the committee. They went out and recruited some, as well as soliciting input from their female colleagues and spouses, and were able to finish the design.

Upon reflecting on his story, it occurred to me that what is really needed is a diversity of ideas, experiences and approaches to problems. It doesn’t matter if everyone looks the same, or if they all look different. What matters is they bring a wide variety of experience, expertise and energy to solving the problem.

So the next time you are putting together a team, whether to solve a problem at work or to provide advice on your own professional development, remember to include people who think differently from you. They will be able to provide valuable insights that may never have occurred to you.

Give Yourself a Deadline

If you’re anything like me, you have lots of things you want to do, and not enough time to do them all. (If this does not sound familiar, tell me how you manage your time!)

One way to make sure things move along is to have deadlines. Those tasks that have inherent deadlines get done. For those that don’t, make up your own deadlines. Make them specific, achievable, fixed, and if possible make yourself accountable by telling someone else.

For example, a bad example would be to think to yourself “I’m going to do something to make my job better this month.” No specific action, deadline, or accountability. A much better goal would be “By September 31, I will find someone who works as a technical writer, make an appointment, and talk to them for 20 minutes about what their job is really like”. In this case, telling others not only makes it more likely that you’ll do it, but they can all help you find that person to talk to.

Notice also that the goal was not to have a new, fabulous job by the end of next week. Slow, steady progress and continual learning about new things will make you much more prepared than frantic, panicked scrambling when you are caught by an unexpected change.

See Bloomberg Encourages Staff to Watch the Clock for the story of someone who takes this idea quite seriously.

Networking – it’s a lifestyle choice

I spent part of this Labor Day reading a book about networking. At least, that’s what it said it was about. It was really talking about selling products, using personal contacts instead of traditional media and advertising. Even though the author was focused on building specific business relationships (realtors with mortgage brokers, for example) there were some ideas of value in there.

There is no good news or bad news, just news. While some things may see to be good or bad at the time, later on you may look back and find them to be exactly the opposite. I have known many people who were devastated when they were laid off, only to say later that it was the best thing that ever happened to them. When a faced with a major turning point, try to look for the opportunities it brings, and not just the problems.

Networking is a process, not an event. It is not something you can pick up when you need something, then forget about once you get what you need. Networking has to be a lifelong habit of connecting with others, being sincerely interested in their wants and needs, and helping out whenever you can. It’s not about selling yourself, it’s about building a relationship. If you sincerely make an effort to help others, they will be happy to help you – sometimes even when you don’t know you need it. In fact, sometimes the people you didn’t think could be of any help at all will turn out to know just who you need to talk to.

Search out commonalities, or communities of people like you. Having something neutral to talk about will help you relax, and you will build those connections that will be crucial later on. You never know when having a hobby or outside interest in common will put you in touch with someone who can propel your career in a new direction.

The Importance of Good Communication

It’s amazing how one little word can make a huge difference.

I’m listening to coverage of the presidential candidates, and the reporter just said people are getting to a level of “comfortability” with Obama. I thought I must have heard wrong, but then a minute later he said it again. That one word destroyed any credibility the reporter had with me, and I stopped listening to anything else he had to say.

While this is an extreme example, it is probably not that unusual. Your choice of words reveals a great deal about how you really feel about things. The level of care you take with your words, especially with written communications, is often a direct reflection of how important you believe a talk to be.

What subtle messages are you sending with your words?