Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday is Networking Day in Portsmouth

After traveling to Wilmington, MA, a for a couple of WIND (Wednesday is Networking Day) meetings, I decided to check out the one in Portsmouth, NH. It's held twice monthly instead of every week. Having seen the growing "success" of the one in Wilmington, I wasn't sure what to expect as I arrived at Franklin Pierce College branch at the Pease Tradeport. The first problem was finding the meeting. The building was mostly deserted and there were no signs indicating where the meeting was being held. I finally noticed a guy climbing the stairs at one end of the building and decided to follow him. The meeting was there and a number of people had already arrived. I did the usual thing, introducing myself to some of the others and having conversations about what people did and how their search was going.

The group was decidedly smaller than the Wilmington one. With two new members to Wind, and two or three people I recognized from Wilmington, there were a grand total of 12, not including the facilitator and the speaker. This made it easier to get to know a few people, and to learn more about the people you did meet. The speaker was really good. She was a 60+ year old career counselor. I mention her age only because she had more energy than most people half her age. She was also very funny, as well as being useful. She did a bit of talking, then we all worked on our "commercials", which is about the same as an elevator statement or positioning statement. Some of us got to give them to the group and got critiqued. I wrote one and was chosen to give it to the group. I received a few good ideas for improvement which I will add. I also need to practice saying it some more.

The meeting was useful and in the whole, entertaining. One thing I got out of today's meeting was that there are so many project managers on the market that I need to find something to differentiate myself from the other project managers. I think I'm going to go with my ability to rescue projects in trouble, a.k.a. "The Closer" as my hook. You have to do something to stand out.

I liked the closer venue, the smaller size and if they keep having speakers as good as the one this week, the MIND is definitely a win over the WIND.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


One of the most essential tools for job seekers is LinkedIn. My buddy Kreblog wrote an excellent post about it (click here). I'm here to tell you it actually works. I've had two situations in the past few weeks where people have used LinkedIn contacts to commuicate with a person at a company they were targeting, in both cases with two people in between them and the contact. In the first case, I was the first one in the middle. An associate I met at my outplacement wanted to get a message to a woman who was a connection of a connection of mine. LinkedIn produces a nice graphical view of the chain so you know whose in it and which link you are. I emailed (via LinkedIn) my contact asking him to forward the message to his contact, vouching for my associate. He did this and they connected.

In the second case, I was the second one in the middle. A woman I had linked with from my outplacement (a career counselor who taught a course on LinkedIn) forwarded me a message from a contact of hers to reach a contact of mine. I framed my message appropriately and passed it on. Very easy and all done through the service.

Finally, yesterday I used LinkedIn to research a person with whom I was going to have a phone interview. I found that two of my connections were directly connected to the interviewer. I emailed them both asking for information, and one of my connections turned out to know him very well. He gave me permission to name drop and during the course of the interview, I did so. It was like getting a seal of approval. I'm sure it doesn't always work out this way, but it was very helpful in this case.

It's not dating, but it is a great way to build and maintain relationships. I encourage even people who are not job seekers to sign up. Why not build your network now, before it becomes essential? We used to have to do this stuff on the phone, which is hit or miss. LinkIn now, babeee.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It was September 11, 2001. I had been out of work for over two months. After finishing my morning routine, I sat down to my computer to check the emails, job boards, etc. I noticed a story on my home page about a plane flying into the World Trade Center. Immediately, I turned on the TV to watch the situation. I was horrified to see the second plane hit, and riveted to the TV for the day. With the gloom of that event, I felt a decided loss of hope - in a personal way, hope that I'd be able to find a job in the near future.

Today, I sat in the same family room at the same desk (different computer and TV). I've been unemployed for 4 months to the day. I decided to watch the inauguration and listen to President Obama's (doesn't that sound good?) message. This time, instead of hope draining from me, hope began to fill me. If you've been reading my blog, you know that I'm some kind of a mix between realistic and optimistic. So I know that I'm not going to get that call tomorrow about my perfect job. And I realize that economically, things will likely get worse before they get better. But the messages from the President, and his world view, give me hope. Hope that we can once again have an economy based on peace and not war. Hope that the US will lead the world. Hope that will translate into a rebound for the economy and selfishly, a job for me.


Monday, January 19, 2009


The snow was so fine that it looked like smoke exiting the chute of the snowblower. 16 inches total. Snow like this make me love winter.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sign of the times

Yesterday I attended my first WIND meeting. WIND is an organization that has been around for at least 15 years. WIND stands for Wednesday Is Networking Day. People gather each Wednesday (and other days in other locations, although the name remains the same) and trade "clues" - clues being leads about companies that may be hiring or tips on searching for a job. Often there is a speaker at the meeting. Yesterday's meeting in Wilmington, MA, featured a recruiter who spoke on how to work with recruiters. The meeting was useful and informative. I plan to continue to attend the weekly one in Wilmington and the bi-weekly one in Portsmouth.

The "sign" was that there were almost as many first timers showing up as there were regular members. I was told that there were normally around 20 to 25 people who show up each week in Wilmington. This week, there were 18 newbies and about 20 returning members. This is on the same day that Good Morning America held their highly publicized job fair in Boston. I can't wait to see how many people show up next week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I get it!

Warning: Non-job search content below.

Enough of the digital TV conversion chatter on my local station. You'd think it was a major storm the way they keep yapping about it. What technological rock must you be under not to understand what is going on? Enough.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Not all bad

Yesterday was a relatively good one, in terms of the job search. I had an interview and met a person who may be able to help with another job.

The interview was for a very small IT shop (can you say "count the staff on one hand"?). They were looking for someone with my level of experience. Give the location (up north in NH), I never expected that they could pay me a salary in my range, but you don't get to find these things out unless you take the interview. So I traveled north (way easier than going south) and visited with the hiring manager and the person filling in the position right now. There are a number of challenges in the job and there's a lot of stuff that you take for granted in a big shop that isn't going on at this place right now. But I think I have a lot to add in terms of making sure this organization is on the right track. And they mentioned a salary that was acceptable to me. Both interviews seem to go well, but they'll be seeing other candidates, so you never know.

And last night I went to a networking event that involved beer (my favorite kind) where I met a highly placed individual at a more local company to which I had applied. We had a nice conversation and he said it would be o.k. to contact him. So today I sent him an email asking for help in identifying the hiring manager for the jobs to which I applied. Hopefully I won't get sent to his spam bucket and he'll give me a hand.

Now I can get ready for another weekend of working on the house. Woohoo.....

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Slow Start

I set myself a challenge with my last post, one that I may not be up to. I promised my next post would be more uplifting. But with the way 2009 is beginning, that's a tall order. The job boards are not filled with jobs, although I'm always finding a few to which I can apply. I got a call at the beginning of the week from a recruiter on a job I had phone interviewed for right before Thanksgiving. The company with the opening is holding off until March before filling any positions. Another possibility, a job a friend of mine had told me about, probably won't be created until March. I've received a couple of "thanks but no thanks" emails in the last week or two. So that's the not so exciting news hurdle I have to get over to be more uplifting.

One ray of hope. I have an interview tomorrow for a job that required 3 years of experience in an industry in which I had none. I submitted an application the Tuesday before New Years with a cover letter that said why I didn't need 3 years of experience in their industry. And the next day, New Year's eve, I got a phone call with a request to come up and interview tomorrow. You can be sure that I am researching that industry before the interview.

My friends and family are staying positive with me. They are continuing to help me not lose hope. My mother in law called with an article from AARP that she thought might be helpful. A guy I play hoops with who is also in the same predicament had a good phone interview on Christmas eve and he told me about it last night, as if to disprove any pessimism I may be having. So, if you want positive, the signs are there. After all, as my outplacement counselor tells me, even when companies are laying people off, it's just a matter of finding the right match between and employer and my skills. It can happen.

How was that? More positive?