Biggest Mistakes Job Seekers Make

19 Dec

I conducted a very non-scientific survey of ten experts on job search. I asked them: what were the three biggest mistakes they saw job seekers make? I received eleven replies with 22 ideas, but the following five were by far the most frequently cited:

  1. Not knowing what you want in a job that would fit your skills, interests and values,
  2. Relying only on applying for jobs and ignoring the value and power of networking,
  3. Not researching companies, using information in the public domain and also what you can learn from personal networking,
  4. Being unprepared for networking and job interviews, and
  5. Using “one-size-fits-all” communications, such as cover letters and resumes.

The consensus makes great sense to me, and I’ll continue to comment on each of these in future posts.

There are training videos on the web site of my faith community and a handout the videos reference. This content is free. Please consider passing along:

#career #careercoach #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch

My thanks to you…

18 Dec

For the last six months I’ve engaged far more with you on this platform. I’ve learned a lot and been challenged in some ways I now view as important in my development.

I’ve made a number of new contacts and found some new business partners.

And I hope a pearl or two I’ve shared has been of some value to you.

As a friend of mine often said: “we all are beggars, and we should try to help each other on our journey to find a bit of bread.”

If that’s true, I’ve gotten more than my share of nourishment, and for that I’m grateful.

I’m going to take a break from this platform and will return after the New Year.

Wishing you and yours all the best, Mark

Disability doesn’t mean inability—“driving” customer satisfaction with the right employee.

16 Dec

A car dealership hired an individual on the autism spectrum. He had a driver’s license, which allowed him to be hired for a job as a car detailer.

In the case of this gentleman, he was fussy, even perfectionistic, in his approach to his work. He made sure that each car he cleaned and detailed met his exacting standards.

Customers loved his work.

In fact, customers would call ahead and request he detail their car and would even wait until he was available.

He was that good.

He did have some challenges when it came to social interactions, but the dealership was happy to work with him so that he could be in a job he enjoyed and was valued by customers.

Instead of looking at what a person doesn’t do, perhaps we can turn our attention to what a person can do, where they have skills and abilities that can be of value.

Because the car dealership was willing to look for abilities they employed a person who, to turn a phrase, “drove” customer satisfaction.

JOB SEARCH TIP. Networking helped me secure half of my jobs. Networking can help you.

15 Dec

In my almost 40 years of post-college work experience I’ve had six employers. In three of those cases I secured the job because of networking. In a quick survey of thirty friends and colleges, four in five of my contacts indicated they had come to at least one job in their career via networking.

Over the last six months I’ve taken many calls from folks who are looking for work. I’ve learned from these conversations and have not seen them as a burden, a feeling I think most share.

I know it’s not easy to network, but if you’re having difficulty here’s a place for you to start:

Contact me.

If you’re not a connection let’s get that done and you can review my 3,000 contacts.

Looking forward to chatting!

There are free training videos on the web site of my faith community: 

#career #careercoach #jobhuntingtips #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch

Want a more inspired and engaged sales team? Lead with compassion.

14 Dec

In these changing times we need to help our sales leaders inspire and engage their sales teams to meet new expectations, including how customers buy.

These changes require strong leadership and, according to our research, the right kind of leadership.

This summer we conducted a study of engagement patterns of sales producers. We asked them how they felt about their work experience. We looked at several factors we know align with the Compassionate Leadership model researched by Brad Shuck.

Sales reps rated factors such as:

~ Did the sales representative feel they were understood by their leader?

~ Were their ideas taken seriously?

~ Did their leader act with their best interests in mind?

~ Did the sales representative believe that if they did good work their efforts would be recognized?

The results are clear—sales employees who rate these parts of their work experience and sales leadership are, on average, more engaged, committed and inspired than those who aren’t.

Compassionate leadership is the call for our challenging times. When sales employees are more inspired and engaged, they’re more likely to produce better sales results.

Image 12 Dec

Why getting a new golf club didn’t get me in trouble at home– the concept of justifiability.

10 Dec

My wife and I were making some home improvements, so buying a new golf club wasn’t really in the budget. But when I received points from my workplace that I could use to redeem an award, I used those points to get my new club, which didn’t dip into the home improvement budget.

This is an example of why noncash awards from employers are helpful. They provide what academics call “justifiability”, where in my case I can redeem for a new golf club from my company recognition program and not feel guilty about taking away from our home improvement budget.

A noncash award such as a golf club also has the benefit of one where I would likely socialize that I received the award from my employer, and if you want to know how many times I’ve said that to the guys in my regular foursome they’ll tell you I say it every time I hit a good shot!

The psychology around the value of noncash awards is sound:when you’re developing plans for your company recognition program, use noncash rewards to engage and inspire your employees.

For discussion: In what ways can noncash awards be used to inspire your employees?

#ThankYouThursday #recognition  #appreciation #gratitude #grateful #inspiration

Disability does not mean inability—a case study.

8 Dec

I consulted with a telecommunications company who had been working to hire individuals with disabilities in their call centers. The initiative had been in place for several years, and over that time they were tracking the results of individuals with disabilities in comparison to employees they had hired in similar roles who did not have a disability.

The results were stunning.

Individuals with disabilities, on average:

~ stayed with the company longer,

~ had better attendance, and

~ to the surprise of some, had lower benefits claims.

As you might expect, the individuals with disabilities did often require equipment to help them perform their job, so there was a “reasonable accommodation” expense…


Yep, the average “reasonable accommodation” investment reported over the years was, on average, $115.

To be sure, there were some accommodations that were higher, but the average was just a bit over a hundred bucks.

A tip of the hat to companies like this, who sincerely and earnestly work to recruit, hire and retain individuals with disabilities. In doing so they found committed, responsible employees who had good jobs for which they were more than qualified to perform.

Hear me– disability does not mean inability.


6 Dec

Have you tried this communications exercise?

Two people face each other. The first person starts to talk about a topic, say the results of the latest sporting event. The second person listens to the first, and as soon as they hear something where they can start another conversation they jump in with their topic. The first then listens for an opening and when they see one jump in with another topic.

The exercise is called “The High School Reunion”, and if you’ve been to a reunion you know exactly why it’s named such.

To be clear, there is listening going on.

But the listening is only occurring so that each person can turn the conversation to what they want to talk about.

This form of listening might help you get through an event like a reunion, but it’s an awful form of listening for a leader.

Rather than listening so they can turn the conversation to their side, effective leaders listen with the intent of truly hearing their team members: According to research from Dr. Brad Shuck of the University of Louisville, leaders who listen:

~ are present for the team member,

~ they listen without distractions, outside or otherwise, and

~ stay present in the moment.

Effective leadership is about listening, and doing so with compassion and empathy.

#leadership #engagement #compassionateleadership

JOB SEARCH TIP: What’s That For? Find the Flour and Brush Up on Some Skills.

5 Dec

There was a time when our daughter was in the kitchen with my wife and me. She looked across the room, pointed, and said: “Mommy, what’s that for?”

She meant our oven.

Yes, there was a period of raising our kids when we weren’t doing a lot of cooking. Having said that, I was trained to cook by my mom and grandfather, and when the pandemic hit we weren’t going out to each as much so I brushed off some of those cooking chops.

As you think about your job search, there may some skills you haven’t used for a bit, but if you cracked  open the recipe book and fired up the oven you could improve your chances of securing a new job:

~ taking some online training,

~ reading up or networking with folks from a former industry,

~ volunteering with others where you take a leadership role.

To be sure, most employers will be interested in the skills and accomplishments in your more recent history, but there may something in your skillset that is worth returning to; to revisit and to hone again.

Grab the knives and sharpen them. It’s time to draw upon the old to make something new.

There are free training videos on the web site of my faith community: 

#career #careercoach #jobhuntingtips #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch