Job Seekers

Job Search: By the numbers

Job Search Tips for Over 50sAs soon as you are in transition, like it or not, you have to become a sales person.

For people already in sales, this isn’t much of a problem.  But, for people in other disciplines, it can be hard to adapt to this new role.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts on the process of searching for a new position.  Our goal is to help job seekers focus their activities on high value activities instead of low-payoff activities and introduce you to the underlying process behind the JobSearch GPS™ tool we use in our outplacement programs.

This week, we’ll start out by describing the landscape of the job market – specifically how jobs are found and suggest how best to manage your time while in transition.

If you think a recruiter is the answer to all your job search problems, guess again.  Recruiters actually fill only about 10 – 15% of all jobs. 

Here’s how jobs are actually found, according to US Labor Department statistics:

  • 70% of all jobs are found through networking (personal/professional contacts and research)
  • 15% are through search firms (and these are primarily managerial and executive positions, not entry-level)
  • 10-12% through want ads/classified ads
  • 4% by people going into business for themselves/creating their own jobs
  • 2% by blindly sending out resumes

(It may be US data, but we couldn’t find reliable estimates from StatsCan that are comparable. You may hear other numbers being cited by other sources but, overall, they all agree networking is the most important technique and recruiters and job postings are secondary.)

So, what does this tell you?

First, while it may seem like you are generating a lot of activity by sending out resumes en mass, the reality is that it has a very poor payback on effort (as well as out-of-pocket costs.)  Think about it. Postage for lettermail in Canada is now $0.85.  Envelopes cost $0.06  . Four sheets of printer paper will cost $0.07. Ink/Toner is another $0.03, which means each mailing costs about a dollar.

Therefore, focus most of your time on networking and, if you don’t feel you network very well, try to find a course or a coach who can help you improve networking skills.

Recruiters and job postings/ads together represent about a quarter of the jobs found.  So it’s entirely appropriate for you to allocate 25% of your time to cultivating relationships with recruiters and scanning job boards. You can even make the time you set aside for job boards more productive by setting up alerts for the types of position you’re most interested in.

By prioritizing your job search activities as we’ve suggested above, you’ll be making most effective use of your time. And time is one resource you can’t make or create.

Next week, we’ll give you a short course in sales strategy that you can apply to your job search.

You Mean I Need To Pay For Assessments Too?

This week’s post was contributed by Aline Ayoub, of Aline Ayoub HR Consulting. 

So far, we’ve discussed assessments in a broad context.  However, Aline’s expertise is in psychometric assessments, which are more formal and what we typically consider assessments to be.  Aline’s post doesn’t dwell on the specific types of assessment tools used, but rather describes the reasons you should consider using assessments as part of the hiring process.

Getting it Right the First Time

Small Business owners usually have limited budgets. At the same time, they’re not able to devote a lot of resources into their hiring process. Since you don’t hire in large volume, you may not have extensive experience in screening and evaluating candidates.

You need an efficient way to ensure you select the right candidates at the right place and the right time, without requiring a huge investment. Employment assessments can make the process easier and more reliable.

There Is More

Employee assessments can give you consistent, in-depth, and objective information about the people you interview. This includes the candidate’s:

  • Fit with business culture
  • Knowledge, skills, job performance, and developmental needs
  • Preferred learning and communication style
  • Integrity, reliability and work ethic, and attitude towards substance abuse
  • Response to conflict, stress, and frustration

Information uncovered from assessments helps you rely less on gut instinct and make smarter people decisions.

Specific Benefits

  • Selecting people most likely to succeed in a job
  • Accelerating time for people to become fully productive in a new role
  • Improving alignment and communication between managers and employees
  • Reducing workforce conflict and improving employee satisfaction
  • Maximizing each employee’s contribution to the organization
  • Reducing employee absenteeism and turnover
  • Reducing frequency and cost of theft
  • Increasing sales performance and customer loyalty
  • Enabling strategic workforce management and succession planning
  • Increasing overall workforce capability, productivity, and agility

 The average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first year potential earnings. Also, bad hiring decisions account for 30% of employee turnover in small businesses.

Employment assessments are a solution to your hiring nightmares. Are you convinced?

About Aline Ayoub

Aline has made a lifetime career in HR and has worked for major brands such as Hudson’s Bay Company, Loblaw’s and Sears Canada and founder of Aline Ayoub HR Consulting.  She is an award winning coach and has been recognized by the Leadership Action Centre.

Aline is fully certified to administer Myers-Briggs personality style assessment tools and is a strategic business partner with Profile International, global employment assessment organization. She is an active member of Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA). Aline is an expert in helping small businesses recruit and hire the right people through a unique hiring process she has developed. Aline is fully bilingual in English and French. 

You can contact her by email at aline@ayoubhr.com or by phone at 416-368-0720

 

Designing an Effective Business Card

Here are some tips to help you create better, more effective business cards.

Information to include

     Mandatory      Optional
  • Your name (include degrees and professional designations.
  • *Mailing Address, if female
  • Your Profession
  • A Logo or graphic device
  • Mailing Address*
  • Positioning phrase
  • Phone Number
  • Mobile No.
  • Email Address
  • Personal Website
  • LinkedIn Profile URL
 

Design Considerations

Fonts

The fonts you use should project professionalism, so stick with standard fonts such as Times New Roman, which is very traditional, or Helvetica/Arial, which is clean and modern. There are lots of other similar fonts available as well. 

Avoid unusual or artsy fonts. They may make your card look funky to you, but potential employers might not find them appealing.

Some fonts tend to print smaller in the same point size than others. The font Copperplate for example will look like 6 point while set in 7 point. Keep this in mind while testing your card.

Use a single font family throughout your card. Mixing fonts makes you look disorganized and unprofessional.  Within a single font family, you are free to use different sizes, bold, underline and italic styles.

Your name should ideally be in 12 point type. We suggest using boldface for your name to help it stand out from everything else.  Normally, your business card would be set up so your title would be the same point size as your address details or even 1 point smaller. For job search, your title defines what type of position you are seeking, so it’s more important than ever. Make your title smaller than your name, but no less than 10 points.

Your address and phone/email information should be no smaller than 6 points. Anything below this will be hard to read. A good target for most body text is to use 7 to 8 point.

Layout

Unless you are going to have your cards professionally printed, avoid having borders close to the edges of the card or graphics that go up to the edges.

A clean simple background is probably the best.  Dark coloured text, printed on white or light coloured stock is more readable than white text printed on a dark background.

Avoid cluttering the face of the card with too much information. It will no longer be inviting to read and does not look professional.

Develop a one-line slogan

If what you do isn’t immediately apparent from your business name, create a one-line slogan that will help people remember what you sell. Include the slogan on your business card.

Make your card readable

Use (or insist your designer uses) font sizes that are big enough to be easily readable without using a magnifying glass. Be sure the type color stands out against the background of the card, too. Light gray type on a white card makes it hard to distinguish letters and numbers. Remember, your goal isn’t to produce a work of art. It’s to produce a business card that clearly communicates what you do and how to reach you. If recipients can’t read the contact information you’ll lose sales.

One Side or Two Sides?

In most cases, printing all your information on one side of a card will be sufficient. This leaves the back of the card clear so people can make notes as you speak with them.

If you have particular skills you want to highlight or promote, you can list these on the back side of the card. This helps you avoid having a front side that is cluttered with information, However, still try to leave room for note-taking.

Printing a second side can add a small premium to the cost of having your card printed, but usually not much. You also can purchase print-it-yourself card stock that can be printed both sides to experiment with layouts until you are satisfied enough to have them printed professionally.

Make your card stand out from the rest of the pack

Yes, your business card may wind up stuffed in a desk drawer with a stack of other business cards. Make it stand out from the rest by using bright colors, including your photo on the card, or using high gloss card stock.

Have your business cards printed on good card-stock

If the card feels flimsy or looks like you printed it yourself on a cheap printer, it will leave people with impression that they are dealing with a small company that will disappear as soon as the owner finds a real job. Have your business card professionally printed on good heavyweight business card stock.

Although some of the preprinted paper that you can buy to create your own business cards is heavy enough to pass for a “real” business card, most people will get better results by having their business cards professionally typeset and printed. Professionally printed cards may cost less than the print-it-yourself variety, too. If you order business cards online from a site like Vista Print, you’ll pay about $20 (or sometimes less) for 500 full-color professionally printed business cards. (Shipping is extra.) By comparison, good, heavy-weight preprinted business card stock that you use to print your own business cards is likely to cost you $30 to $40 or more — and that doesn’t include the cost of the ink or toner to print them.

Be careful about high gloss coatings.

High-gloss coatings can add brilliance to your card that helps it stand out from all the rest, but they can create problems as well.

The very high-gloss coatings used by printers are UV cured and usually contain waxes or silicones that can make it difficult for someone to write notes on your card.  The more common gloss coating that most printers use is water-based and can be written on.

Advice for high gloss coatings is to use them on the front side only and leave the back side uncoated or coated with the normal grade of coating so people can take notes.  Another alternative is to use a high gloss coating only on select areas of your card – e.g., a logo or your name.   The contrast between high gloss and little or no gloss helps make these elements stand out, though expect to pay a premium for this type of treatment.

Print your own cards if you don’t have time to order them elsewhere

If you need cards in a hurry because you’ve run out of them, the print-it-yourself variety is a viable option. Avery’s Linen Textured Stock has a good feel to it and prints beautifully on an inkjet printer. For best results, use the “Best” printing mode of your inkjet printer. If you follow Avery’s directions for separating the cards, there are no tell-tale rough edges or perforations.

The most important element on business cards are text sizes. If your text is too small, clients might struggle to read information on the cards. There should be a visual balance between the size and position of the address and the name and title.

Testing

Be sure to print your business card a couple of times while designing it. If printing on standard sized copy paper, take some effort to cut away the rest of the paper to see if the layout balances well.

An Example

Here is an example to illustrate some of the principles we’ve set forth:

Anatomy of a Business Card

 

Our next post will show you some examples of business card designs to give you a better idea of the creative scope you have.

 

 

The Importance of Business Cards

Why We Need Business Cards

One thing I find especially frustrating at networking meetings is when people have no business cards. 

For those of us who are older, not having a business card makes it harder for us to remember a person’s name or other details.

Business Cards NetworkingUnless you’ve run out because you’ve been deluged with contacts who want your card, not having a card at a networking meeting is a cardinal sin and a sign of not being very well-prepared.

Some people complain that it’s expensive to get them.  It’s not.  You can get business cards for under $30.  You can even design and print off your own cards at home for under $30.

Others complain they can’t afford a designer to do their cards.  Many printers have templates you can use that have 4-color professionally-created designs and offer these free in return for your business. Even Microsoft Office has free business card templates you can use.

Here’s why you should have business cards with you at any event you attend.

Clarity. Business cards carry your contact information in a small, easy-to carry format that anyone can use.

Relationship building. After shaking hands, the exchange of business cards is a signal of interest in continuing a relationship. In effect, you are sharing your personal contact information with someone else.  It also makes it easier for the other party to follow up with you at a later date because they have your contact information – and in an easy-to-read format.

Image. The design and materials used in making your business card convey messages about who you are and what you stand for. A cheap-looking business card on poor quality stock can make you or your company look untrustworthy. A heavier card stock feels more substantial, and can suggest you pay attention to the details.

Promotion. Business cards can tell someone what type of business you are or what kind of profession you belong to. One rule in networking is to let people know what you do and what you are looking for.  Without that information they will have a hard time helping you.

Memory Aid. When you hand someone your business card it can help them remember your name and/or business.  They can write notes on it for future follow up.  By giving them your card, you’ve made it easy for them to work with you.

TIP:  When you receive someone’s business card and you wish to make a note, write what you can do for that person.  It helps keep you in a “giving” frame of mind, always a factor for successful networking.

Business Cards for Job-Seekers

As soon as you find yourself in transition, no matter what your previous profession, you are in sales – selling yourself to prospective employers. A business card is one of the most important marketing tools you will ever create to support your job search.

The business card identifies who you are, what you do and how to contact you to help networking contacts understand how they can help you.

As a part of your personal brand image, your business card should make you memorable, distinctive and professional.

 

Our next post will describe the essential components of a good business card and provide some design suggestions.