The Suck Less JOB SEARCH BLOG
Seeing Mr. Martens (the esteemed John Martens) at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills always made me feel right. He exuded so much grace, ease, sophistication. I grew up shopping with my mom, the Last of the Retail Jews, at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. It was more than shopping...it's where I learned how to be a gentleman. Having lunch with my grandmother, manners were formed. Talking tailored clothing with the gents, style became important. It wasn't about clothes or fancy shit. It was about attitude, kindness, and class. Now, like many, I am a distant cousin. I am a Marcus. No, I didn't get any discounts or special treatment but it felt like a marvelous little secret...that some how, some way, I was related to someone and something so great.
Watching Neiman's constrict and right-size is heart breaking to me. Today, watching those dedicated pros at NM try to deliver the highest of high standards under financial duress is a very tall order. I feel for those ladies and gents as they navigate into a time where they will need to make many changes. It's not news and it's been some time coming but retail, all brick and mortar retail, is dying or changing. I wanted NM to buck the trend and not just survive but thrive. I wanted my young son to experience, to feel the NM culture and get a taste of better times. I am fearful that he won't get this experience that helped shape me into a man and kick start my career in fashion.
I am not an expert corporate staffer in this world anymore. I am an expert on finding the next chapter for dedicated retail pros and fashion pros but it requires a hard reset as the jobs just aren't there anymore. The new world for retailers and fashion pros is robust but the hard part is figuring out what will feel like full engagement without a hard kick in the wallet. A successful transition is possible, probable and beyond fulfilling...you just got to see the writing on the wall and decide to make it happen.
I have included the PPT download with live links. If you would like to book a chat or have questions you can chat or schedule through the Scheduling App (lower right hand corner).
I was sitting between a super model and a sales executive for Bugle Boy Jeans (yes, Bugle Boy Jeans!). Across the table in a private room at a popular Vegas steak house was a passionate designer talking about the return of sweat pants as couture clothing. I was just a kid working my first staffing gig. My boss sent me to MAGIC (apparel trade show) to scout for talent. As the Bugle Boy sales guy told me he cleared over 600k last year the mound of cocaine in front of him was nearly gone..."you want a bump, kid?" I graciously declined. I was nervous, intimidated and way out of my depth. I wanted to get back in the kiddie pool but I was determined to show my boss that her gamble on me was worth it. Years later and many fashion staffing jobs later I wrote my first book, You Can Get a Job in Fashion. It was a good primer for young fashionista's looking to break into an industry that they were determined to crush.
I knew the industry was changing when I wrote the book but I didn't know how fast and how dramatically it was changing. Fast forward to last week, I was on the phone with an executive from a big Italian fashion brand as she wept on the phone telling me that she now hates fashion and that she didn't get into the business to be a digital media expert or web programmer. This talented merchant is an industry legend that built fashion brands and had a record of raking in double and triple digit growth at luxury. She was looking for a Chief Merchandising role with another brand but when it came to the question of certain 2017 skill sets she balked. For the last ten years, this veteran and name brand talent had taken a 10-20% pay cut, almost yearly. She told me that she made more money in the 80's than she does now. That's when I told her my Steaks, Cocaine and Sweat Pants story (there are more details but wanted to keep it short and PG-13).
Instead of focusing on the skills she didn't have we talked about the opportunity to lead the companies that lacked certain skills with her expertise. Where could we take her voice? Where could we leverage her ability to strategize? Where could she be the adult in the room? I wanted her to take advantage of a longer runway. To latch on with a traditional fashion company would mean that she may have to look again in a year. Nope, we needed to find the best last chapter of her career.
I am writing about this now because it was one of my shortest engagements. Our work together was just two sessions. Our timing was perfect. I knew of a VC firm that was engaged in a pure play eComm company and they wanted an adult in the room. She messaged the Managing Director and detailed her plan. She didn't want to go into clicks but the job was too good to pass up.
She may never make the huge bucks she used to. The world she loved, romanced about...that world is gone. But, instead of fighting the tides she packaged herself as an innovator and creative strategist again...just on a new playing field and she couldn't be happier. Mazel tov!
People will email me...they want to know why they aren't closing. They seem baffled. They tell me that their resume was awesome. They tell me they passed the screen. In fact, many will tell me that they always make it to the final interview and then get blown out.
Adam, help! Email me some tips, I am asked. I have a formula for crushing interviews, yes. I have written about it a half dozen times. It's buried in these blog posts. But, the truth is that I don't know why you aren't closing. Emailing you general guidance may not do the trick. Now, I do know how we can figure out what's missing. I certainly know how to eliminate issues that you think may be a negative contributing factor. But, without knowing you and void of a conversation I don't think I can help.
Well, thanks for nothing, Adam! Wait a sec...I always offer treats. If you are serious about your search then it's worth a chat. If you give me 20 minutes and you are open-minded we may be able to figure this out, together. Press the schedule button and we will either make progress or you will thinkI am full of it. I'm ready. Are you?
I did it. You did it. We all did it. But, let's not do it again. Yeah, I passed on actions I thought about taking in my own search because there was a potential job in play. I remember a string of 3 plus months where there was always something simmering. Sounds good but at the end of that three month period, I had nothing to show for it. I chased fools gold!
Every week I speak to folks that just applied for the perfect job. Or, they just had a good phone screen. Some even make it to the final interview. The one thing most have in common is that they essentially shut down their search or they simply take it out of 5th gear and throw back into first. Then, there are those few enlightened candidates that know that you can't cash fool's gold. They don't stop until the offer letter is delivered and some don't stop ever. Channel these job seeking powerhouses.
Focus on the job search math equation. The more people the know you + feel a need for you= the better the job and the faster it comes.
Focus on your brand...you validated and unique value that is targeted to specific company pain.
Focus on your operating system. Build out the framework for how you do your voodoo so well.
And most importantly...Focus on taking massive action every day to add new Decision Markers, Influencers, and Connectors in your network.
Don't wait and see. You'll lose out on opportunity. Slam your foot down on the gas until that robust offer comes in the form of a 24k offer letter.
You're Gain, You're Gain.
It's a glorious time. We drink, we eat, we... Well, not what you think. I am taking my merry team to Vegas to meet Corporate Staffing and HR Leaders in sin city to hear the inside scoop. It's our annual confab where we find out the strategies, techniques and stories of candidates that are executing best or unique practices. We also learn about candidate success trends and how these talent leaders will be hiring over the course of 2017. We always learn and we will deliver this info to you. Win, win, win...and win. These insiders get a free trip. We get the tips. We pass them onto you. And the final win...I carve out two hours to meet local Vegas job seekers that need a little career advice. We will go over your specific career/job search goals and develop a plan to get you the jobs you want. This is a free gathering...it's informal. Just a good time to figure out how to get hired or amplify into a larger role.
If you are interested in attending, email my assistant, Chris, at email@example.com
Update: This event is full. We will have more events in the future. Keep checking the blog for other speaking events and workshops.
Date: Friday, 4/14.
PS Don't forget to bring your resume so I can work on it with you.
Courtesy of the best worst movie, Paramount's 2006 smash, Nacho Libre
I went solo
Going it alone felt right. I executed a job search all by myself. It was fun for a day and a half. That's the time it took me to apply for stuff online, call headhunters I knew and reach out to my network. By day three I didn't have much to do but repeat the process. By month three I was right where I started, nowhere.
I thought about getting help. My significant other asked me to use her as a sounding board. An accountability partner would be good to have. I'm in.
Step One: The Family Member
She tried, she tried hard to help. But, her guidance was mostly irritating, not helpful and poorly received. I am sure she had good points but she lived with me. We spent a load of time together, And, frankly, I was embarrassed to be in this situation.
She probably had some good points but I couldn't hear them.
Step Two: The Friend
I incinerated a friendship with this strategy. He wasn't taking it as seriously as I wanted. I needed weekly check-ins and we had known each other for so long that when we did chat it was about other stuff. And, my former pal didn't get what I was going through or know my industry. So, that was tough.
Step Three: The Colleague
A former boss signed up for the train wreck called, my job search. He was great for two weeks. He checked in. He offered real guidance. He was smart about the things I need to do. But, we had a difference of opinion on my value/brand and this bothered him. There was no week three.
Common denominator: ME
Solution: Less Me
Step Four: The Rando
I met a CFO that was looking. He didn't want to let me down. I didn't want to let him down. We were helping each other. We were pushing each other. We were giving advice to each other that we were not following in our own search, good stuff. We had multiple aha! moments that filed our search to success.
You want help. You need guidance. You deserve a great job. Solution. Find a job seeker that is non-competitive. You have your own network, LinkedIn... It's not hard to find someone that needs help with their search. And they need an accountability partner, too.
Can't find someone to work with...don't want to work with a stranger? I'll be your huckleberry. Schedule a chat and we'll figure out a plan.
When the job boards don't work and the waiting game sucks what do you do?
Here is my list of Job Search Tips to drive offers NOW!
1) Validate YOU! If you don't know what makes you unique you are in trouble. The foundation of your search is your unique value in the market it and who wants it. Identifying your unique value shouldn't be a feeling. It should be based on real testing, data.
2) Know which companies want you. Don't wait for job leads...that will lead to a protracted job search. Instead, identify companies that are experiencing a pain you can solve (this is a way to Identify and validate your unique value/brand).
3) Tap your network the RIGHT way. Over 60% of the successful job seekers I work with uncovered their next job through their hidden network, CONNECTORS. See this post for the success formula: http://www.sucklessjobsearch.com/the-suck-less-job-search-blog/now-not-like-later-right-now
4) Focus on Job Search Math: The more decision makers that know you + feel a NEED for you = the better the job and the faster it comes. You need to add Connectors, Influencers and Decision Makers to your network every day. Companies like to hire the people they know. There are loads of strategies here. You can schedule a chat with me if you want to start breaking out a job search math solution that works for you.
5) No Waiting! Waiting sinks a successful job search. There is always something cooking, another lead or another interview...then you find yourself months later with no offers. Fight it! Put a fine point on it...http://www.sucklessjobsearch.com/the-suck-less-job-search-blog/waiting-is-not-a-job-search-strategy
Nice candidates don't get hired. Need candidates do get hired. Are you NICE to have or are you a NEED to have? This question will drive your job search success. You will constantly try to amplify your value to be NEEDED by specific companies.