Career Advice My Mom Gave Me!

My past away a couple of years ago, but I’m constantly reminded of advice she gave, or more accurately, things she told me, but at the time I probably blew off as stuff your parents tell you that you believe they have no idea about! Sound right, parents!?

I had someone come into our office recently to interview. Right before this person came in, I was driving into our parking lot and it struck me that every single vehicle in the parking lot was newer and clean. A bunch of nice-looking cars! How stupid is it to notice something like that?

That’s when I remembered my Mom telling me that when you go on an interview pay attention to the cars in the parking lot. She said you want to work at a company where the employees drive nice cars because that means they pay well. If there are a bunch of junkers and a few nice ones, only a few people are getting paid well!

And there it is – Mom’s advice that I thought was stupid at the time it was given, and all of sudden it was pretty accurate!

I’ve given out a lot of career advice over the years. Some are probably based on my own experience, and some were given to me by all those mentors in my life (parents, grandparents, respected leaders, and peers).

Here is some of my favorite career advice:

Don’t chase titles, chase responsibility. I chased titles and I missed out on some great career outcomes by not being patient enough. All along I had the responsibility I wanted, and that should have been enough.

Culture always wins. We think as leaders we can just come into any company and make the culture our own. You can’t. You can make the culture something new, but it will be a mix of old and what you bring to it, it will not be just yours entirely.

Find ways to stand up for your trusted advisors, publicly, and never break that trust, privately. Professionally, you are the measure of your circle of trust. You will have times when you can demonstrate that trust both publicly and privately. Make sure you do both, as often as you can.

Don’t be a disgruntled employee, ever. If you are underpaid or underappreciated, just leave. Being disgruntled will follow you in ways you don’t even know. Being a strong employee that leaves to pursue other employment, will not follow you.

Hire people who are so talented, they scare the sh*t out of you. I want to be surrounded by people who should have my job. That’s how I will continue to push myself to be better and actually create the greatest outcomes for all involved. I’m scared because they are so good, they will take my job unless I get better! One of my mentors once asked me, before she hired me, “Are you better than me?” The only way she could hire me was if I said, “Yes”.

What is the best career advice you have been given by someone close to you, that at the time you might not have agreed with, but over time you’ve come to appreciate?

Hit me in the comments!

 

1 Free Job Posting from @LinkedIn if You Read This Post!

Pretty cool news coming out of LinkedIn this week! LinkedIn has made a few changes to help job seekers (#ImOpenToWork photo frames, Career Explorer, free skill courses, etc.) and also will be helping employers, especially SMBs, who need help connecting with this talent with FREE job posts! No, really, you don’t have to put a credit card or anything – no bait and switch!

Check out the video below…

How do we post that FREE job? 

Basically, if you’re a hiring manager, HR, TA, etc. and looking to hire, you just go and create a new job posting. You can find the job posting button by going to your main LinkedIn feed page, going to the upper right-hand corner, and clicking on “Work”. A drop down will show you a “Post a Job” button and you can click on that.

For SMBs who aren’t already using LinkedIn to post jobs, you will get one free job post to use. If you fill that job, you can post another. Basically, you get one free job to post at a time. If you are an enterprise LinkedIn user, you’ll get pushed into your account to post a job.

Once you add a job, you will be given the option to add the “Hiring” frame around your profile picture.

Check out this LinkedIn Blog post for additional details and links.

It’s pretty rare for an organization like LinkedIn to give away something so valuable for free! We know LinkedIn job postings work, we also know they can be quite expensive for SMBs to use.

I’m sure the cynics will say this is just another way LinkedIn is getting more people to use the platform and get addicted. Maybe! But, if it works, who cares! And, if it works and it’s free for an SMB to test, seriously, that’s a great thing! Take advantage!

Go post a job out on LinkedIn and then send me a note and let me know the results! I’m super interested to see how this works for everyone!

 

Here’s how to fall in love with your job!

Do you know what it felt like the last time you fell in love?

I mean real love?

The kind of love where you talk 42 times per day, in between text and Facebook messages, and feel physical pain from being apart? Ok, maybe for some it’s been a while and you didn’t have the texts or Facebook!  But, you remember those times when you really didn’t think about anything else or even imagine not seeing the other person the next day, hell, the next hour. Falling “in” love is one of the best parts of love, it doesn’t last that long and you never get it back.

I hear people all the time say “I love my job” and I never use to pay much attention, in fact, I’ve said it myself.  The reality is, I don’t love my job. I mean I like it a whole lot, but I love my wife, I love my kids, I love Diet Mt. Dew at 7 am on a Monday morning. The important things in life!  But my job?  I’m not sure about that one.  As an HR Pro, I’m supposed to work to get my employees to “love” their jobs.  Love.

Let me go all Dr. Phil on you for a second. Do you know why most relationships fail? No, it’s not cheating. No, it’s not the drugs and/or alcohol. No, it’s not money. No, it’s not that he stops caring. No, it’s not your parents. Ok, stop it. I’ll just tell you!

Relationships fail because expectations aren’t met.  Which seems logical knowing what we know about how people fall in love, and lose their minds.  Once that calms down – the real work begins.  So, if you expect love to be the love of the first 4-6 months of a relationship you’re going to be disappointed a whole bunch over and over.

Jobs aren’t much different.

You get a new job and it’s usually really good!  People listen to your opinion. You seem smarter. Hell, you seem better looking (primarily because people are sick of looking at their older co-workers). Everything seems better in a new job.  Then you have your 1 year anniversary and you come to find out you’re just like the other idiots you’re working with.

This is when falling in love with your job really begins. When you know about all the stuff the company hid in the closet. The past employees they think are better and smarter than you, the good old days when they made more money, etc.  Now, is when you have to put some work into making it work.

I see people all the time moving around to different employers and never seeming to be satisfied.  They’re searching. Not for a better job, or a better company. They’re searching for that feeling that will last.  But it never will, not without them working for it.

The best love has to be worked for. Passion is easy and fleeting. Love is hard to sustain and has to be worked, but can last forever.

What Is Your 3 Minute Interview Monologue? This is mine!

Right now, with high unemployment and seemingly endless competition for jobs, nailing your interview is critical! Almost every failed interview can be traced back to the first three minutes. Experts will tell you the first ten seconds, but these are the same experts who have never interviewed or haven’t interviewed in the past twenty years. The reality is a little longer, but not much.

An interview doesn’t really start until you’re asked to open your mouth. And, not the small talk crap that you do while people get settled and wait for Jenny to get her coffee and find your resume.

When you get asked that first question, “So, tell us a little about yourself.” Bam! It’s on. Start the clock, you have 180 seconds to show them why they should hire you.

Here’s what I would say:

“I was raised by 6 women. My grandmother is the matriarch of our family. I was raised by a single mom, who had four sisters, my aunts, and my sister was the first grandchild born into the family. As you can imagine, I was dressed-up a lot! The women in my life love to laugh and I have always had a stage with them to make this happen. 

The other thing it taught me was to cook, sew, and iron. All of which I do to this day. My wife is a baker, but I’m the cook. Mending and ironing fall in my chore bucket around the house.

The real thing it taught me was the value of women in the world. I did my master’s thesis on women and leadership. My mother started her own company in 1979 when no women started companies. Not only that, but she also started a company in a male-dominated technical field.  I was nine years old, and she would pay me ten cents to stuff envelopes for her. We would sit on her bed and she made calls to candidates, and I would stuff envelopes with the volume off on the TV.

Living with a single mom, who started a business during a recession was a challenge. I learned the value of work and started my first real job the day I turned sixteen. I paid my own way through college, my parents who could afford to help, but believed I would get more out of college if I found a way to pay for it on my own. I did. In hindsight, I’m glad they taught me this lesson. It was hard but worth it.

All of these experiences have helped shape my leadership style. I set high expectations but work hard to ensure people have the right tools and knowledge to be successful. I hold people accountable for what we agree are our goals. I believe hard work leads to success, and in business when you are successful you have way more fun! 

What else would you like to know about me?”

That’s it. I shut up and wait for a response.

What did I tell them in my three minutes?

I told them my story.  People don’t hire your resume, they hire your story.

If you want to get hired, you need to craft your story. A real story. A story people want to listen to. A story people will remember when it comes time to decide whom to hire.

Once you craft that story, sit down with as many people as possible, and tell them that story. You need to perfect it. You need to be able to “perform” that story in the interview so that it’s 100% natural. Pro tip: try and get people that don’t like you very much to listen to your story and give you feedback. They’ll still be nice, but you’ll get more honest feedback from them, then your fans.

You have 3 minutes! How are you going to use that time?

The 4 Lessons I Learned From Job Searching During the Pandemic! #TheProjectTakeover

Hi everyone! I’m back! If you don’t know me, I’m Cameron (Tim’s middle son) and I have been featured several times on my Dad’s blog, podcast, and social media. Recently, I have been featured heavily on his social feeds and blog because I am doing what no one wants to be doing right now: searching for a job. I recently graduated from the University of Michigan into a horrible economy and job market. Just my luck! While this job search so far has been frustrating and agonizing (and is still ongoing), I have learned a few lessons that I hope might be helpful for anyone in the same position as me. 

1. It takes a village

In order to find a job, most times you will need some help. I have needed some form of help to get almost every job that I have ever had. During this period, I have reached out and asked for help from more people than I ever have before. Although I really don’t like to ask for help, I have received so many encouraging and positive messages from people that have been trying to aid my job search  in whatever way that they can. Thanks to my Dad, I have a plethora of HR pros to help me through this, but I have received help from so many of my friends, adults in my community, and random people who saw a post on social media and reached out to me. When I do find a job, I will have a village of people to thank when I’m on the other side. 

2. When you’re stuck, try something new

One of the first things that I started at the beginning of quarantine was learning how to podcast. I have been a huge fan of podcasts for years and I have always wanted to be a part of the production of one. My Dad asked me to help out with his podcast and now, I am a producer and editor of the HR Famous podcast. When I started, I had very minimal knowledge of audio editing and the production/distribution of podcasts, but I have been able to learn more and add a new skill to my resume. Not only has podcasting helped me feel productive during my job search, but it may potentially open up a new door for me in my job search. 

3. It is a full-time job to get a full-time job

I think anyone who has job searched before may already know this, but as a recent college grad, I had no idea how much time it would take to get a real job. I thought I would be able to spend a few hours a week applying to 5-10 jobs and that would be enough. Oh, how I was SO wrong.  After 6 months of being on the job search, I cannot even fathom the number of hours I have put into looking and applying for jobs, networking with people, and updating resumes, cover letters, and portfolios. Although it is extremely exhausting and at times debilitating, I am (kinda) grateful that I have had something to fill my quarantined days. 

4. Don’t be ashamed

I would say I am a pretty outgoing person and I am not too afraid to talk to new people, but it is scary reaching out to people who have no idea who you are and asking for help. I was very reluctant at first to reach out to strangers on social media or through email and try to make a connection, but I am so glad that I did. After doing this for several months, I am starting to see the beginning of the benefits of doing this. Some new opportunities are starting to open up and people have been reaching out to me about them. It is scary to put yourself out there in a vulnerable way to new people, but most likely they’re going to be nice and try to help.

All four of these lessons add up to one bigger lesson that is something I am still working on: you cannot tie your identity to the amount of rejection and failure you receive. It has been agonizing to see my friends start their jobs at incredible companies or get ready to head off to grad school, while I sit and wait for any company to email me for an interview request. However, I know that I did almost everything I could have done during college to aid me in this job search and the cards are just stacked against me right now. In the future, I will be grateful for all of this rejection because I will be better equipped to handle it then. It just feels pretty damn bad right now. But it will get better for me and for everyone. 

Cameron Sackett is a recent Communications and Marketing graduate from the University of Michigan with internships in social media and marketing at MTV/Viacom, Quicken Loans, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Skill Scout.

Pandemic Job Searching with @LRuettimann and @CamSackett

I’ve been exceptionally fortunate in my career to find friends and mentors willing to give me their time and resources to help me succeed. One of those people who help support me when I first started writing is Laurie Ruettimann.

I tease her a lot and frequently call her HR’s Big Sister because she helps so many people! When you write, speak, have a successful podcast like she does you tend to get a lot of people reaching out for advice and Laurie finds time to help out so many folks.

Today, she’s helping out my son Cameron, who is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, and in the middle of his first ‘real’ job search. Enjoy their podcast together!

Resources from this episode:

Cameron on LinkedIn

HR Famous Podcast

Laurie on Instagram

Laurie on LinkedIn

Read more from Laurie

Work with Laurie

 

COVID Career Pivots – The One Thing You Need to Know!

On a daily basis, I get messages from folks who are ready to make a pivot in their career, and with so many folks losing their job because of COVID the amount looking to pivot seems to be increasing. Career pivots aren’t a new thing. On average people change jobs like 358 times during their career or something like that.

Here’s how that conversation normally goes when I have a conversation with a friend who’s deciding on a pivot:

Friend of the Project: Tim! So, I lost my job (or I hate my job) and I’ve always wanted to be a Professional Puppy Petter!

Me: OMG! Me Too! I love puppies! So awesome!

FOP: Okay, so I’m currently making low six figures, like $127,350. And while I know I won’t make that same amount in my pivot profession, I still need to make $127,300. What advice do you have for me to become a Professional Puppy Petter?

Me: Don’t.

FOP: Haha! No seriously, petty puppies are my passion! I’ll do whatever it takes!

Me: You have to be prepared to take a pay cut of at least 99% (in reality, for most career pivots, it’s probably 30-40%).

The reality is, most of the actual examples are people asking me how to get into HR. They are usually coming from a sales job or management job where they are making $65-85K. Some even have an HR degree, but little or no experience.

That’s awesome. I love HR! But, you have to be ready and prepared for an offer around $40-45K for your first HR job, depending on the market. That means you need to adjust your lifestyle to make that career pivot. I find about 1 out of 25 people are willing to make that adjustment.

When I first jumped from agency recruiting to HR I took a 65% cut in pay to move into straight corporate HR. I actually lied about how much I was making because it was probably double what my new corporate boss was making. They never would have hired me knowing they were making me an offer so low from I was currently at. But, I truly wanted to make that pivot!

Career pivots take major sacrifice, but often they are worth it if you find a career doing something you truly care about. It’s easier to pivot at the beginning or end of your career. You have less to lose. When you are mid-career with a house payment and kids and a dog, career pivots are almost impossible, without major adjustments to lifestyle.

The one thing you need to know…

Career pivots have less to do with your ability to do the new job and everything to do with your willingness to take a major step back in life comforts.

Good luck out there my friends!

Interview Pro Tips: The “You” Show!

A bunch of folks have been doing some work at home or furloughed at home, or some laid off at home over the past few months. Depending on your situation I’ve been hearing more and more from people who are out interviewing for the first time in a long time and looking for advice.

JDP did a survey recently and found out that the average candidate preps for 7 hours to prepare for an interview! I’m not sure I buy into that piece of data, it seems like there might be a bit of exaggeration going on from candidates who want to make you believe they actually did way more than they actually do.

Let’s be honest, you looking at a companies website and reading reviews on Glassdoor doesn’t take you seven hours. It probably takes you about 30 minutes, and I would bet my career on the fact that is about 99% prep that happens for most candidates.

How should you prepare for an interview? 

There are two types of candidates I see in an interview. The first type just lets the interview happen to them. They basically react. I’m here, you have questions, let’s see how this turns out.

The second type of candidate, which is much rarer, come prepared to put on a show. I’ll call it the “You” Show! This candidate comes in and has prepared to show you why they are the person for this position. They risk that you might be the type of person who won’t like this, but more times than not I find leaders are actually impressed by these candidates.

What does the “You” Show script include?

It starts off with an introduction that includes a good story that will instantly get those in the room on your side. It might be funny, might be inspirational, but it was definitely planned and prepared. Anywhere from three to five minutes of this is who I am and why I’m unique, and why you should like me.

The You Show candidates have also prepped by doing research on those who will interview them. They probably know more about the people interviewing them, then the people interviewing know about you as the candidate. They’ll stalk your LinkedIn profile, your social footprint, Google name search, people from my school who work there, etc. I want to know my audience if I’m putting on a show, so I at least have a chance to producing a show they’ll like.

If I have one hour, planned, for the interview, I want them to hear 55 minutes of me, and very little from them. I want them leaving that room, call, video conference being wowed! Being of the mindset that we really don’t need to interview any longer, since we just found the person.

The “You” Show is probably an exaggeration of your true self. Kind of like, “Hey, this is the best me” and while I might not be this person every minute of every day, when you get the best of me, this is what you can expect. The “You” Show is high-energy, fully caffeinated, I’m going to energize you and when I leave you’ll feel better about yourself.

As you get ready for your next interview ask yourself if you would want to watch you do that interview. If your answer is “no”, it will probably be “no” from those interviewing you as well.

The Single Biggest Factor in Finding Your Dream Job!

I’ve been given the opportunity to speak to a number of high school and college graduating seniors. The one common question from both groups, I get frequently, is “how can I get my dream job?”  It’s a simple question, with about one million possible answers.  Which makes it a tough question to answer in front of a group.

I think I might have found the perfect answer to this question.  From Penn State football coach, James Franklin, when asked at a conference how does a graduate assistant move up in the college football coaching ranks:

“It comes down to people and opportunities for growth. I always tell people to stay broke for as long as possible.  When you have a car payment and other things like that, it becomes a factor. Keeping money out of it allows you to chase your dreams longer.”

Stay broke as long as possible.

Internet personality, Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee), says basically the same thing when people ask him how they work at something they just love to do. He will tell them you need to then live the lifestyle that affords you the ability to do what you love. If you love to pet puppies all day, you can’t live in a mansion! You’ll probably live in a box.

But, if that’s truly your passion in life, then that’s what you need to do to make it happen. What he finds is people who are willing to lower their lifestyle to do what they love are usually the ones who end up making money doing what they love. The theory being they found a way to live doing what they love, and little by little, they’ll find a way to make money doing what they love. Most people are unwilling to change their lifestyle to do what they love.

I remember back to when I first got out of college and was making $20,000 at my first job.  The reality was, I could have gone almost anywhere and made $20,000.  The money wasn’t the draw of the position, the opportunity was.  If it wasn’t for me, I could go and try something else. I had a crappy car and a $400 per month apartment. I didn’t have life obligations that were going to stop me from chasing a dream.

Fast forward five years and now I have a new car, a new house, and a new kid.  Chasing a dream would be much more difficult.

You hear it all the time, chasing dreams is for the young. Not because the young necessarily have better dreams or are better equipped at chasing dreams, it’s because the young can ‘afford’ to chase their dreams.  They, usually, have little holding them back, financially.  The older you get, the more responsibilities you have and the larger tax bracket you’re usually in.

Leaving a $20,000 job to chase my dream wasn’t going to be a problem. Leaving a $100,000 job to chase my dream was going to be a problem.

No one really wants to tell you this in their ultra-motivational writings and speakings.  “Go chase your dream! Don’t let anything or anyone stop you!… Just be prepared to have nothing for a while!”

We never get to hear that last part.

Want to be an NFL Referee? It’s a great gig! You just have to put about 15-20 years in at being a referee at every other level where you make peanuts and have to work other jobs to make ends meet. Yes, you can get there.  No, you won’t get rich getting there.

You can definitely go out and work towards getting your dream job.   Being broke will help you with that.  It takes away the fear of failure and losing what you have.  If you have very little, losing it doesn’t seem as bad.  If you have a nice life, giving it all up, seems extremely hard.

Being broke, in a very ironic way, gives you more options, when it comes to a dream job!