Stephen Harris' JobStuff, a blog for Your career

Stephen Harris, your humble blogger
Welcome to JobStuff
Your Career Transition Blog

Welcome to Job-Stuff. I hope the information and musing here are helpful in your journey through the "Transition-Zone". Please also check out the "Zero To Network Blog", since Business Networking is a major weapon in your job seeking arsenal.

First and foremost, I have walked in your shoes. I had a senior level position at a Fortune 500 company and felt my career was invincible. In prior years, I merely wrote my resume, called a headhunter and posted my job on Monster. And the hiring executives came a callin!

When I was asked to step into the "transition" zone, I dreamt of double dipping on my severance package. Reality: Over a year later, with my severance a distant memory, I finally found a great job.

During my transition, I started a contract services company and also became an Executive Recruiter (aka HeadHunter). I learned a lot about myself during this chapter. And - oh the mistakes I made - which I will share with you here. I believe it is important to laugh at yourself, your mistakes and share them with others, so that you don't make the same ones (I am sure you will make your own, which is how we learn).

I hope you find Job-Stuff Blog helpful in your career transition. Stephen Harris

SPH Associates, Online Marketing Agency

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Career Websites & Blogs:

ZeroToNetwork, a Business Networking Blog

Edugree Career and Education

Work with Passion, Purpose & Profit; Worthwhile Magazine

Senior Success

Semi-Conductor Jobs

QuintCareers, Career Search Resources

Jim Stroud's Revenge of the Jobseeker

Women at Home Networking

BoldCareer, Take Control of your career

Business Opportunities Weblog

Jason's Recruiting Blog

George's Employment Law Blawg

Canadian Headhunter

Dr. Bamster - Career Doctor

Hire Works


Occupational Adventure - A Career should light your fire!

Get That Job

Other Blogs you might enjoy:

Apprentice Views - TV Series

David Newman, Marketing

Lori Richardson's Sales Process Diva

FastCompany Blog


Creating Customer Evangelists

Tom Peters (Brand Called You and much more)

Think eBiz, eBusiness Strategy News, Views and Ramblings

SPH Associates, An Online Marketing Agency

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Sunday, March 26
Resume Writing Services - special offer

Jobstuff recommends Rita Fisher for resume writing services. As we wrote in a prior Jobstuff entry, sometimes a quality impact resume is best written by a 3rd party. Carefully select a writer to make sure they understand your objectives - and ask for samples. Contact Rita Fish Resumes today and receive 15% off your resume.

Posted at Sunday, March 26, 2006 by sph001
What do you think?  

Saturday, March 25
The Virtual Handshake - A Free PDF eBook

Please visit the Jobstuff sister blog; zerotonetwork, a business networking blog for details on how you can receive Scott Allen's The Virtual Handbook eBook for free.

This is a very well written book on the power of business networking, and provides advice and support for this in a career transition. And the Virtual Handshake eBook is free!

Posted at Saturday, March 25, 2006 by sph001
What do you think?  

Sunday, March 19
Job Search Solutions - Final Comments

JobStuff Readers: I could write more about Tony Beshara's book, The Job Search Solution - but in a way, I have since starting this blog. Hmmm - was Tony reading my blog? At one time I thought of writing a Career Transition book - and if I did - this would have been the book.

Tony lists the Top Ten Reasons why People have trouble finding a job. I'll list '3' that resonate strongly with me (buy the book to learn the others -- and how to get past these "walls".

  • People don't make finding a job a "job" itself!  (#1)
  • People don't acknowledge the psychological and emotional stress that changing jobs entail.  (#4)
  • People don't sell themselves in interviews. (#8)

One final note - and then on to how you can get my copy of Tony's book for free.

Tony offers a seminar where he takes participants through much of what is in this book, like a boot camp. It is pricey at $499, and is not something I recommend. I think you can gain much of what you need to know through his book and other sources, such as this blog and many others. Unless your company is paying for such a service, I would do the research first before spending your money.

Now, I will be pleased to mail this book to you (USA only please). Please send me an email - letting me know your current job search challenges and provide a piece of advice that is worth sharing to others seeking a new career. The best advice and situation will get the book. The decision of the judge is final...   Stephen

PS: Or order Tony Beshara's book, The Job Search Solution from Amazon today.

Posted at Sunday, March 19, 2006 by sph001
What others are saying (2)  

Saturday, March 18
Job Search Solutions - continued

Tony has an excellent section on how to use the phone in your career search process. He offers specific scripts for nearly all situations. On page 78 he discusses whether to leave a voice mail. Long time readers will recall where I left an unscripted voice mail for a referred contact - and fumbled it. Then - when I went to delete and re-record, instead - my embarrasing message was saved. OUCH. And of course, I never ever heard from that contact.

Be prepared - have a script at the ready. Tony also recommends not leaving a voice message unless it is clear you are not going to get the person live.

Another point that I learned - keep notes and keep track of your calls and contacts. Seeking your next career is a ful time job - it's business. Keep a form at hand that keeps track of your calls and contacts. Include the date & time, the contacts name and phone/email. Where did you find this contact (or who gave you the persons name and how do you know that person). And of course, the results of the call - and next steps.

Like many, I started with yellow stickies and found myself in a situation where I could not keep track of my calls and contacts. I then put together a simple form and a note book. It makes sense and you will find it in Tony's book - well organized.

If you'd like to buy Tony Beshara' book - click on the link on the Jobstuff Bookshelf. And let me know what you think. Up next - how you can get my book for free.

Posted at Saturday, March 18, 2006 by sph001
What do you think?  

Thursday, March 16
Job Search Solutions - disclaimer

Before I begin the next entry, I received an email asking if Tony Beshara paid me for this endorsement. He did not. In fact, I never spoke or communicated with Mr. Beshara. I did receive a free copy of his book, which I intend to give away. Ok - you caught me. I will earn 10% on each book purchased through Amazon. At about $12-$16 for this very well written book - it will take 650,000-833,000 purchases to make me a millionaire..  ha!

Seriously, I have reviewed other books and dismissed them. And except for a few dollars earned on Amazon - I have not been paid for an endorsement. Hopefully this helps. Stephen


Posted at Thursday, March 16, 2006 by sph001
What do you think?  

Wednesday, March 15
Job Search Solutions - The Book

Jobstuff readers: as the author of this blog, I often get books sent to me about job search techniques. Most are rehashes of what we all know. I practice the "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it". However, when I do find a book or service that has merit, I am willing to sing it's praise.

"The Job Search Solution" by Tony Beshara is a good book on this important topic. It reminds me of "What Color is your Parachute", but with more practical advice and suggestions for the active job seeker. Tony provides assessments and exercises (this the Parachute similarity), but also takes you through the experiences of Jeff (laid off from his job) and his wife Amy. Tony recognizes the affect of unemployment on the spouse.  

As I read the book, many of my own experiences leaped out at me - as was the advice I received from others. I have shared some of these in this blog - but will do so over the next few entries as it relates to Tony's book. It is that important.

Here is a quote that resonates well if you are in the early stages of career transition (and we've discussed this before):

"If you let conditions stop you from working, they'll always stop you"; James T. Farrell (Page 12). In other words, life happens - get over it and move on. Actually what Tony is suggesting is to get over the distress of losing your job, put things in perspective - pick yourself up off the ground - dust yourself off - and move forward again. Readers of Jobstuff know that in 2001, I was out of work for over a year - and am very much back into the job scene and in a much better place. You will be also!

On page 80, Jeff and Amy discuss how they figured it was going to be relatively easy to get a new job - and found that this was not true. Hmmm sounds familiar.

Over the next few days we'll dive into a few select areas of Tony Beshara' book - and then I'll figure out a way to give my copy away to someone that needs it more than me. Click here if you want to buy this very good career transition book or on the Jobstuff bookcase.

PS: don't email me yet about acquiring this book... please.

Posted at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 by sph001
What do you think?  

Sunday, February 26
Professional Resume Writers for your career search.

If you have been a reader of this blog you know I generally do not recommend services for finding your next career. However, a good resume writer could be a wise investment. Resumes represent your calling card, that first impression for your next career move. Resumes must be powerfully written and to the point. It must be well organized, detailed yet concise - and with no grammar or spelling errors.

I will write on this topic more in the coming days. However, one writer that I can recommend (based on reviewing her work and her relatively low price) is Rita Fisher. Rita is a Certified Professional Resume Writer. 

Mention my name (Stephen Harris/MENG) and receive a free job hunt eBook (valued at $28) - along with a 15% discount on the price of the resume service.

Posted at Sunday, February 26, 2006 by sph001
What do you think?  

Saturday, February 18
JobSerf; the test

Revisiting my comments on JobSerf: The president of JobSerf, Jay Martin has graciously provided me with a free beta account to test out his service. I have solicited for someone in transition to take up the test; and will report his/her candidate comments and observations in an upcoming blog entry.

At this point in time; I cannot say with any certainty whether this a good, great or poor service for career seekers. Stay tuned. 

Posted at Saturday, February 18, 2006 by sph001
What do you think?  

Wednesday, February 15
JobSerf: Outsource your Job Search?

Recently I heard about an innovative use of outsourced (Indian) labor; to help you find your next job - Jobserf. On one level, this service sounds like an odd or even ironic use of offshore labor; however - there may be some benefits. We try to be fair and balanced; so you decide.

After signing up and providing your job search objectives (for $98 USD), the offshore group begins searching the web for positions that fit your requirements. When the "Serf" locates an opportunity, they can either select one of your cover letters/resume and handle the submission or send you an alert. All this for between $49 - $98 per week.

The benefit is that this service can free up your time on a laborious search task.

However many job boards provide alerts when jobs fit your requirements and that the source of these positions are sourced from job boards. And as we have written about in the past, job boards are good at letting you know who is doing hiring; however in most cases, it's best to respond leveraging your business network.

The Serf will only submit your credentials if an email is found on the job listing. This tells me that your resume will be submitted with so many other candidates.

If you have had success (or disappointment) with this service, please let me know.

Posted at Wednesday, February 15, 2006 by sph001
What do you think?  

Monday, February 6
Cover Letters; revisited

The resume blasting seems to have stopped; however all these "C" level cover letters and resumes in my inbox (27) provided me with an opportunity to revisiting this important nuance of your job search. The following are a few quick points to keep in mind when writing a cover letter:

  • Address the needs of the recipient - give the reader a sense that you have done your homework. Let the reader know how you received their name (referral) and how you can be of benefit to his company (two paragraphs).
  • Keep the cover letter brief; two strong paragraphs and a call to action are more than most readers have time to read.
  • Call to action should be specific, which could include a suggested time that you will call to set a brief phone appointment.
  • Spell & grammar check! Let another person read your cover letter (and resume); since it is true that writers do not make good editors.

Every cover letter that I received from these "C" level career seekers had problems in one or more of these areas. And many violated all four - and these were from seasoned well experienced executives.

Remember, the cover letter is your first opportunity to call attention to your value proposition. Failing to make a positive first impression, starting with your first sentence, and your resume will never be reviewed.

Posted at Monday, February 06, 2006 by sph001
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