Friday, July 26, 2013

Job Search Alignment

I receive all kinds of questions about what I do. People know what resume services do, (hopefully) create a resume that will help in their quest. They know what headhunters do, they find people to fill existing slots usually getting paid by the hiring party. But what do you do, they ask? And why would I need someone to help me with finding a job?

Fair questions and I plan to address them here in the blog from time as they come up.

First of all, I believe every job seeker can benefit from what I call Job Search Alignment. In a nutshell this means getting you, your resume, and your overall approach in sync with your Job Search Objective. And in order to do this, there in fact needs to be an Objective.

So (and back to the what do you do question) one of the most important things I do is help seekers discover their Objective. Once accomplished, we move together to alignment. Its not a one shot deal however. This is where coaching comes in. You could say its an ongoing process of alignment retention, to coin a phrase. For many people this is really really hard. They may see the need and get their head around the initial syncing, only to abandon it when they encounter the least bit of resistance (sometimes only taking place in their head). The result is a scramble of sorts, hopefully no more than a blip on the screen, but sometimes its way worse, requiring monumental effort to get back on track. But we'll get there.

Here's an example. Let's say that you do see the merits of taking on job search as if it were an actual job (a job search 101 concept). You go hard at it Monday through Friday, taking time on the weekends to regroup (sorting through the week just finished and planning for the one coming up).

Monday comes. You get up, check your phone (no business related messages) and email (nothing new there) then you look at your usual job posting sites (again, not much new). Its quiet. You sit there starring at the screen. So you decide to nibble around a bit. Sure enough you spot something, its not really in alignment with your Objective but not too far afield, so you have at it. Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? You then modify your resume to more closely fit the posting and fire it off. Once done, you look for other similar jobs where the newly tweaked resume can also be used.

And so it goes. All quiet on the original front, so let's open a new one. And when that quiets down, well then, do it again, all the time staying busy (yah!) working at it. Really.

Here's the theory.

Your best opportunities for finding and staying with a job come when you work within the channel created by your Job Search Objective. And the farther you drift from the Objective the worse your odds of success. Come on, this is Las Vegas for crying out loud, play the odds!!! Sure, fine this seems reasonable but staying the course requires - what, discipline? - I guess so, and lets face it, not all of us have it or better said, we don't have it at all times and in all situations.

Here's the wrap.

I want you to stay focused and within the channel. I will help you to do this and will encourage you not to do things contrary to it. I know that a well executed search plan requires all your attention and any energy expended (lost) jumping channels without exceptionally good reason, will hurt you.

Its my business that you succeed. Period. I want you to get what you are out to get. And, I know that the road leading there is much straighter if you stay in alignment with your Job Search Objective.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Are You The Perfect Candidate?

Of course not. Get serious. Yes I know you have to be positive, projecting that you are in fact just the perfect fit for the job - that you are indeed what the prospective employer is looking for.

This is true if done for the right reason. But starting off there puts you on the wrong track from the get go.

First of all, what are you looking for? What is it that you are out to accomplish? If your answer is (just) to get a job you are most certainly running in the wrong lane.


First of all, you are looking for a job to get what you want or need. Which is to say, there is something motivating you to search for a job. Unless you are independently wealthy and searching for something to occupy your time, you are motivated (induced) by something other than fulfillment.

Otherwise you wouldn't be doing any of this. Right? Right? So what's your want or need?

Secondly, it's all temporary. The median (the middle, 50% above 50% below the total) employment tenure of all workers 25 and older is 4.7 years. If government workers and all those over 55 are excluded, the median plummets to around 2.6 years. If you are under 25 and in an industry such as hospitality, drop it way more. Statistics, gotta million of um. Fine. The point is 


So, you need to know...

  • What you are out to accomplish
  • Why you need it
  • And that it (your next position) is in all likelihood, temporary

And if its the wrong fit? Plan for it. Deal with it. Make encountering the wrong fit part of your plan - the plan that takes into account that you won't be providing services to any particular employer for more than 3 or 4 years anyway.

And if you do remain longer? If everything is progressing well and according to your game plan, fine. But be heads up about it. Know why you remain there and how its meeting your needs.

The bottom line is this: don't be impulsive about your job search. Make the effort to align your search to your goals. But I get it. I know for many the mere thought of searching is a big negative, one to be put off and avoided until the last minute.

So what to do?

Give me a call and I'll walk you through it.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dealing With The Status Quo

Last week I pulled a few sales books off the shelf. As readers of this blog know, I believe that job searching is another form of selling (well, marketing and selling). The job seeker's objective is to eventually make a sale (of their service) to a buyer of that service (the employer).

Going back and refreshing periodically is helpful. There are lots of sales books in my bookcase, however those by Stephan Schiffman are favorites. I started reading one of his and to no surprise the material pulled me right in.

The subject at hand? The status quo. Specifically, that a sales person must first of all recognize that the competition is what the prospect is currently doing. Furthermore, they must get it that this existing state of affairs will continue unless there is a compelling reason for the prospect to make a change.

Make a change ... that's at the heart of job searching and job upgrading. Saying that change is desired or needed is one thing, getting on with it is quite another. Even though people are not happy or comfortable where they are, many are just content enough to be reluctant (resistant?) to change. So they stick with what they have going, the status quo. They have settled in.

Change itself now becomes an obstacle. The status quo is familiar, patterns develop, things are built around the same old same old. The longer this continues, the harder change becomes. Like the man that hasn't kept up on dental hygiene, who ends up with a bad toothache. He's forced to go to the doc, not to make a course correction, but rather to relieve the pain. The tooth is pulled, the pain goes away, but nothing has changed in the stauts quo. He goes right back to the same habits that led to the pain and visit in the first place.

I believe one's employment status quo and personality are intertwined. Whereas behavior may be learned, I subscribe to the notion that personality is largely innate. People end up in career and employment situations that conform to basic personality sets. This works for those that know exactly what they want or are able to find it, a situation that is enhanced when there are lots of opportunities to pick from and try out.

However, what happens in the current economic climate if you are displaced or for some other reason have had to drop out, and then find that you must re-enter the workforce? What happens when labor supply and demand is way out of whack? Or when settling in has led to thinking the status quo will go on indefinitely?


Free Agency suddenly confronts. To be sure, it was there all along (the individual is and has always been a Free Agent operating in the Marketplace) but they didn't see it. In extreme cases, this realization completely overwhelms, causing panic and life crisis. We know this. Furthermore we know that it can be especially acute for men, the traditional family breadwinner - hardly not as it once was but still, it can take generations before roles of this type fully evolve.

Shephan Schiffman's instruction that we first get a handle on the existing state of affairs, applies to so many facets of life. In this case it's good advice for those of us doing the helping as well as for those being helped.

These days the status quo in the work world is that THERE IS NO status quo. Ask someone 18-30 years old. The concept of settling in, is foreign. Not only because this is the traditional wild-oats time of life but because as an aspiration, the flame is barely flickering.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fitting The Pieces Together

Although I did take a welcomed 4th of July holiday break the majority of my time has been spent working on a new and affiliated business, Success Partners. The website is still a work in progress but it's up so please check it out.

Success Partners is an important puzzle part. As with Success Finding A Job the goal of the new venture is to build a business by helping others better their economic situation. Success Finding A Job as the name implies assists people in securing and improving on their employment. Success Partners' mission is to build a team of entrepreneurial minded Free Agents desiring to own their own businesses.

The concept of being a Free Agent is shared by both. In fact, it is the cement that binds them. In a nutshell, being a Free Agent means that you have awakened to the fact that you are out there on your own, making your way in the Marketplace. If you are still a bit sleepy on the subject (read this: feeling secure if not insulated in your current position) consider that you may be one layoff away from a forced realization.

In any case, there are three ways to transcend the job/work/economic situation that confronts most Americans.

1) Luck and Miracles (which is to say, not having to worry much about it)
A winning lotto ticket, a windfall inheritance you had no idea was coming, or finding Black Beard's treasure chest buried, of all places, right in you backyard! Failing these...

2) Becoming a Heads Up Free Agent Seller of Service
This is what Success Finding A Job is all about. Waking up and making an effort to take control of how and where you sell your services. Most people spend their entire working lives as employees. For some it works out fine - for others, not really. For those wanting more control (through ownership) of their respective futures...

3) Building Your Own Business as Part of the Success Partners Team
If you have a strong desire to succeed and the work ethic to match, Success Partners has the vehicle for you to build your own business, at your own pace. The Success Partners business model eliminates the restrictions of a large investment, taking on inventory, hiring and managing employees, selling, and delivering products. Visit to find out more.

All this sounds quite commercial which I guess it is. However I know that one size does not fit all. Some of us are interested in owning and doing our own thing and others are not. What's more, I know that life in general provides no constants. The Great Recession, still very much with us, is a reminder of this fact. What seemed solid a year ago may be far from it today.

Consequently I see the merits of both businesses. Each offers something different while working toward the same end goal.

I believe in the concept of Free Agency as it applies to most Americans - AND - I'm positively jazzed about having the tools to help people do something about it.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell

Monday, July 1, 2013

Assault On (traditional) Retail Jobs

Those of us that came of age before PCs, cell phones, and social media, have experienced first hand the trends described in Death of the Salesman, an article by Derek Thompson in the June issue of Atlantic Monthly. Thompson describes the situation facing brick and mortar retail and the resulting plight of associated sales jobs. Compared to the pre-digital era, most retail workers today hold down J-O-B positions (just over broke). It's becoming the land of the part time and temporary worker. A near pure play in Free Agent-ism.

According to the article the two biggest factors are Walmart and eCommerce, with the latter posing the biggest challenge over time.

Walmart's impact on traditional retail is hardly a new story. As Thompson points out, its all about price.

Shoppers can save up to 30% over competitors, even after other retailers have adjusted to Walmart's presence. The counter balance to lower prices shows up in customer survey results, which are consistently lousy. This has created a Reverse Walmart Effect in a way. Consumers desiring a more satisfying shopping experience go elsewhere, for example to Costco, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Nordstrom. On balance, workers at these businesses are paid better and are more productive in terms of sales.

Nonetheless there's no ignoring the incredible tear that Walmart has been on since the 60's. Their business model has been formidable. And yet, as predatory and efficient as Walmart can be, they too have had to make adjustments. Since 2008 their workforce has decreased by 20,000 in spite of opening 455 new stores according to Thompson's research. The Great Recession has pinched all retailers.

But this is far from the whole story. Even the mighty Walmart can't ignore the growing threat from eCommerce. The challenge has been 20 years in the making and now its front and center. The paradigm shift is real and unavoidable. Estimates have it that the Web will capture 8% of all retail sales by the end of 2013.

The big dog in this category is Amazon which takes in 25% of all online sales. They're recent endeavour involves selling groceries in selected California markets after extensive testing in Seattle. Webvan couldn't do it 12 years ago but betting against Amazon, considering their online experience and warehouse network, doesn't seem very bright. Run this out another 10 years and Free Agency could be rampant throughout the ranks of brick and mortar retail.

Cetainly Walmart is efficient. But when it comes to sales per full time employee, Amazon's $600k per, is chilling. That's 3 times the retail average. Twenty years ago when the Web and eCommerce were just getting started, people went to the store to shop. Now they can do it from the beach using their smart phones.

To survive over the next 20 years, all types of retailers will have to adapt and adjust. Coming out of it will be employment opportunities in IT, customer service, and logistics. But efficiency will rule the day and old-school retail positions will be trimmed to the bone.

If you are there now, look to re-tool and get out. If you are thinking about working in retail, take a hard look at the category and find a niche within it - or move on to something else.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell