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Why You Can’t Pick My Brain for Free

Can't Pick My Brain_daisywright.comThis blog post is directed primarily to solo entrepreneurs and service providers like me. Too often we are asked for free advice by individuals who have no intention of hiring us, and many times we are left feeling guilty if we don’t acquiesce.

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Related tweet from business diva, Marie Forleo: “If they want to pick your brain, ask them to pick a time and method of payment.” @marieforleo

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A few months ago I was returning from a career conference in Florida when my seat companion on the plane struck up a conversation with me. He told me quite excitedly about the new franchise deal he had just sealed. Realizing I was ‘a career expert’ according to him, he asked if he could ‘pick my brain’ and review his bio which he had written himself.  By the time I was finished editing it, it became a full rewrite.

A few weeks later he called to ask if I could give him a few pointers on his business resume. I told him I could, but it would cost him. He told me it was just a review and it wouldn’t take me that long.

Well, while seething under my skin, I asked him politely what his response would have been had I showed up at his deli franchise and asked for a free sandwich. He apologized and said he would call back.

Mr. Franchise Owner didn’t give much thought to ‘picking my brain’ for free for the second time. Consider this email I received last week:

“Hello Daisy,

[Joe Brown] gave me your email address, because I asked him for some tips.

I’m going to have a couple of high level interviews the following week, with two VP´s, can you give some tips??

Thanks in advance!!”

What’s wrong with this picture? Lots! Who is he? What profession or industry is he in? What interview challenges does he have? What position is he interviewing for?

I responded with one of my enquiry emails, asking some of the questions above and, of course, explaining how my coaching works. I have not heard from him since.

The above are just two instances, but I get these requests all the time, and in my client newsletter I discussed two such situations. Unfortunately, individuals like these don’t have any intentions of hiring me. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy helping people. That’s why I have been writing blog content and newsletters for many years, providing a wide array of job and career advice. That’s why, from time to time, I host free career-related webinars or teleseminars. In fact, I continue to offer pro bono services on a personal level, but that’s my choice.

Earlier on, I would have been overcome by guilt if I didn’t offer free advice to all who ask. But, and this is a big BUT…I think some people forget that I actually operate a real business, not a hobby. Successful businesses invest in their employees, making sure they have the resources they need, that they are well-trained, and allowing them to attend workshops and conferences. They want to make sure they have the skills they need to keep the business going. As a solo entrepreneur, I am no different. I do the same things…and they all cost money. That’s why I instituted my Introductory Power Hour Coaching service, which is a win-win all the away around.

Michael Hyatt, the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, wrote a blog post recently on what happened to him when he decided to charge for his blog content which he had been giving away for free for five years. Once he started charging for it, he began to receive some push backs, with some people even questioning his integrity and sincerity. While I am not Michael Hyatt, my time and services are just as important. Here are five nuggets I picked up from his post. (Point #6 is mine):

  1. People don’t respect what they get for free. (In many cases).
  2. Until people make an investment, they are not invested in the outcome.
  3. When you start charging for your services, you go from being an amateur to being a pro.
  4. In short, when you charge, you respect yourself and your own work more. It creates value in your own mind.
  5. Charging for your services is a necessity if you are going to support your family. If you don’t charge, you won’t be doing what you do for long.
  6. If you don’t value your time, neither will others.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do some brain picking myself, but I never assumed it is going to be free. If it is free, I always ask how can I return the favour. However, when someone is going to brazenly take me for granted, then they have passed my threshold of tolerance.

What about you? Have you faced such situations? How do you handle such requests?

A Twitter colleague of mine, Adrienne Graham, summed it up best in her Forbes.com article No, You Can’t Pick My Brain. It Costs too Much. She also has book of the same name.

Related Resources:

Why You Should Do It for the Money (and Stop Feeling Guilty About It)

Three Ways to Say No When People Want to Pick Your Brain

Going Beyond the Resume (P3): Launch a Social Media Campaign

Social Media Computer Key Showing Online CommunityThis is the final of our three-part series on Going Beyond the Resume. It is going to take you out of your comfort zone and on a limb that will scare the daylights out of you, but you cannot conduct a successful job search without it.

I know you are wondering why you should launch such a campaign. Well, the traditional way of conducting a job search is not working. For too long you have been engaged in ‘push marketing’ where you are sending resumes to every possible company and contact. But, your resume is being held up in the resume black hole and not getting to the decision maker. It’s time to engage in ‘pull marketing’ where you become a target for potential employers. Here are some reasons to embrace this concept. A personal social media job search campaign will:

(1)    differentiate you from your competition – all those vying for the same position you are after.

(2)    give you opportunities to engage with your target employers, connect with colleagues working in your industry, and expand your network.

(3)    allow you to leverage your brand using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other platforms where recruiters will discover you and learn about you.

If you have a LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+ account, you already have the tools to begin. Participate in discussions on these forums where your target employers are. It is pointless to join social media groups without becoming an active participant. That’s like attending a meeting but not contributing to the discussion. Ask and answer questions, Give or request opinions on your areas of interest, create your own discussion topics or write articles that will generate conversations.

Don’t hesitate to comment on a company’s blog. Remember the story of the young man from Oregon who tried for two years to get a job at Microsoft. It wasn’t until he started to contribute to conversations on the company’s blog that they took notice and hired him 10 days after he was discovered.  A well-defined social media job search strategy will help boost your reputation and have employers seeking you out than the other way around. It also helps you stand out from your competition who, in all likelihood, is spending all their time on push marketing.

Here is a simple way to start your campaign:

  1. Find a blog post, a tweet or an article from one of the employers you would like to work for.
  2. Read it thoroughly. Decide if you would like to ask a question or give your opinion about it. If someone has already made comments, engage in the dialogue to showcase your expertise.
  3. Don’t let it end there. Take the conversation to your preferred social media platform. Offer it as an update on LinkedIn where people in your network could ‘Like’ it, or offer their own comments. Take the discussion to one of your LinkedIn groups to garner additional exposure.

In a Fast Company Article, the writer of this tells a story of how a 16-year old high school student emailed her out of the blue, and asked to join her as a guest on her TV show. He did not send a resume, but instead included links to his website, Twitter account, Facebook page, and three relevant YouTube clips. (This kid launched his own social media campaign!). This initiative earned him an invitation to be a guest on the show. Read the kid’s story in the second paragraph of this link: Social Media Campaign

Let’s Remember…

In_Flanders_Field Today’s Monday Morning Rx is dedicated to the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our countries, as well as the families who celebrate the victories and bear the pain. We honour and appreciate you…

If you are like me you don’t like wars of any kind. That said, in an effort to bring peace around the world, however fleeting it might seem, many people have sacrificed their lives, (and continue to do so), families have lost loved ones, and friends have lost friends.

As the heroes of WWI & II, pass on, we have a new generation with different challenges. Regardless of which side you are on, at least for today, let’s remember…

Last year’s post – Lest We Forget

Who is Hindering Your Career Growth?

GrowthThis is your Monday Morning Rx. It is something I saved in my archives from 2008. I have been unable to find the author, but in re-printing it here in its abridged format, I am paying tribute to that Unknown Author:

One day all the employees reached the office and they saw a big sign on the door on which it was written:

“Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. Please go straight to the gym to pay your last respects.”

In the beginning, they were all sad for the passing of one of their colleagues, but after a while they became curious to find out who was the person who was so powerful to hinder the growth of his/her colleagues and the company. The nearer they got to the coffin, the more their curiosity peaked. Everyone thought: “Who is this person who was hindering my progress? Well, at least this person is out of the way!”

One by one the employees looked inside the coffin and they suddenly became speechless. They stood nearby, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul. There was a mirror inside the coffin, and everyone who looked inside it could see a reflection of himself or herself.

There was also a sign next to the mirror that said:

“There is only one person who is capable of setting limits to your growth: it is YOU. Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your partner changes, when your company changes. Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs.

Pause for a minute. Look in the mirror. Could this be you? Have you been looking outward and blaming someone for your lack of progress in your job, career or your life? Have you been the one hindering your own growth? If so, it’s time to stop playing the blame game and take ownership of your growth. And, even if someone is deliberately trying to hinder your growth, think of ways to circumvent that. Harness all the power that YOU have and begin to make a difference in your job, your career or your life.

Motivational speaker, Les Brown said: “The only thing that can possibly keep you from going after your dream is the person standing in your shoes, wearing your clothes, and thinking your negative thoughts.

What’s the one thing you could do today that would put you on a path of growth?

To our success,

daisyname

 

Why the F-Word Could Be Good for Your Job Search

faith  word in wood typeThis is your Monday Morning Rx!

…and, yes, it is possible that the F-Word could be good for your job search. However, it is not the F-Word you were thinking about. This F-Word is called FAITH!

Before you believe I am going off on some religious tangent, let me explain that one doesn’t have to be religious to have faith. Faith is about one’s belief system.

Do you believe in YOU? Do you have faith in your capabilities? Have you been so knocked down by your current job situation that you have lost faith in YOU? It’s time to realign your thinking. Here are three facts about Faith:

  • Faith is progressive. It keeps you moving forward. When you are about to give up on your job search it reminds you to keep going.
  • Faith doesn’t linger long at the pity party being sorry for itself. According to Jentezen Franklin, “Faith never gets into a bad situation and says, “I’m just going to sit here and die. It’s over. Faith never stands in the desert, having a pity party with everything drying up around it.” Faith brushes itself off and tries one more time.
  • Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). Sometimes you just have to trust the process; trust that you are doing and saying the right thing, even when you can’t see it.

Here’s your challenge for this week. Forget the other F-Word, and hold on to your Faith. Begin, one more time, to have faith in yourself and your capabilities. Tell yourself that there is a job out there with your name on it, and you are going to do whatever it takes to find that job. That’s called FAITH!

Happy job hunting!

 

 

Why Job Seekers Should Get on Board the Social Media Train

SocialNetworkingIf you are a job seeker who has been avoiding the social media recruiting train, it’s time to get on board. That’s because more and more recruiters are riding that train and will continue to do so in future. According to a recent survey from Jobvite, 94% of the 1,600 recruiters they interviewed either use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts. If that’s the case, wouldn’t be a good idea for job seekers to get on board and be found?

Key Findings from the Survey 

  • 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts.
  • 78% of recruiters have made  a hire through social media. Of this number, 92% hired through LinkedIn.
  • 42% of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate positively or negatively, based on what they saw after viewing their profile.
  • Social profiles give  recruiters more  confidence in a  candidate’s  professional  and cultural fit.
  • Social recruiting generates strong ROI,  both in dollars and candidate quality.

LinkedIn Dominates 

While these recruiters are using multiple channels to find top candidates, LinkedIn remains the dominant channel according to the report:

  • 96% use LinkedIn to search for candidates
  • 94% use it to contact candidates
  • 93% use it to keep tabs on candidates
  • 92% use it to vet candidates, and
  • 91% use it to post jobs.

Facebook and Twitter round off the top three channels of choice for recruiters at 65% and 55%, respectively.

What Recruiters Look for on Social Profiles

Recruiters not only look for professional experience on a candidate’s social profile, but also for length of tenure, hard skills, industry-related conversations (via blog posts for e.g.), and cultural fit. Sixty-five percent of the recruiters view volunteering and donations to charity as a plus for candidates. The report also shows that when a candidate has a strong social profile, it gives recruiters more confidence about their professionalism and potential as a good cultural fit.

Social Recruiting Generates Strong ROI 

Some recruiters have found that companies that have implemented a social recruiting strategy, have seen a positive impact on the companies’ ROI. For example, they have seen a 33% jump in the time it takes to hire a candidate, a 49% increase in the quantity and quality of candidates, and the quantity and quality of employee referrals have jumped 43%.

These recruiters have said what many people already know: that the best-quality candidates come through referrals from employees’ networks. As a result, 68% of the companies interviewed offer referral compensation to gain a competitive advantage.

Based on the survey, it is even more important for job seekers to become more strategic and develop and nurture relationships with people within the companies they are targetting. Are you ready to ride the social media recruiting train?

Grab a copy of the report here: 2013 JobVite Social Recruiting Survey

Are Thank You Letters Really Annoying?

Thank You Letter

Are thank you letters really annoying? It didn’t occur to me that they could be until very recently. A client mentioned a few days ago that a corporate recruiter with a financial institution told her that some people find thank you letters annoying. Suddenly, I was reminded that some recruiters detest cover letters and will not read them. But thank you letters?

One common school of thought has been to send a thank you letter very soon after an interview. Many recruiters, human resource professionals, and hiring managers see a thank you letter as a welcome change since most job seekers do not usually send one. In fact, most have said that sometimes such a letter, card or note, ends up being the deciding factor between two equally qualified candidates.

But, that corporate recruiter could be on to something. What if some recruiters interpret the act of sending thank you letters as schmoozing? What if they do not have the time to read yet another piece of correspondence? What if such a letter won’t impact their decision? Those may be plausible, but here are some other reasons for sending a thank you letter:

  • It demonstrates common courtesy and appreciation, even if the interview didn’t go well.
  • It leaves a positive impression, and keeps the candidate on the interviewer’s radar.
  • It reiterates interest in the position (if that’s the case), and enables the candidate to recap elements of the interview that might not have been addressed effectively.
  • It could serve as a request to withdraw from further consideration if the candidate discovers that the company would not be a good fit. (That happens too!)
  • It’s an opportunity to stay engaged and build or strengthen relationships.
  • It gives the candidate a chance to stand out from their competitor. Very few people send thank you letters.

While some recruiters might not like to receive thank you letters, there are enough reasons to send one even if it’s not read.  As a matter of fact, some suggest a handwritten letter sent by snail mail is a better idea. A letter or card with someone’s name on it is difficult to be ignored.

Communications Specialist, Alexandra Franzen, (@alex_franzen) says she “wants to live in a world where emails are short, love letters are brave and every ‘thank you’ note is scribbled by hand.” Interesting!

What are your thoughts on thank you letters? Should they be sent? Share your comments below so others will benefit.

 

How shall I answer that? | | | Career Zone | Jobboom

See on Scoop.itFreelance Writing On Careers & Resumes

Jobboom – Career Zone : Everything Canadians need to know about planning their working lives and advancing their careers …

Daisy Wright | Your Career Partner‘s insight:

The main reason job seekers fear and fail at interviews is that they are attempting to read the interviewer’s mind then give answers they think the interviewer wants to hear. This mind-guessing game will not work and is destined to fail unless you know the reasoning behind the questions. Also posted at Career Musings – http://ow.ly/lO9oM

 

See on career.jobboom.com

Put a Little Love in Your Career

Valentino-3

Today is Valentine’s Day…as if you didn’t know, and it’s time to “Put a Little Love in You and Your Career”. It’s also the birthday of one of my cats, Valentino, and he has certainly lived the past 17 years as if he’s ‘the cat’s pyjamas’ or ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. Look at him all curled up, with nothing else to do. In earlier years,we would tie a red ribbon around his neck and give him a special birthday treat, but today I have just enclosed him in a heart!

This brings me around to you. Have you shown yourself some love lately? What if today you decide to proclaim to yourself that you are, indeed, the cat’s pyjamas or that you are the best thing since sliced bread? What if you decide to stop being sorry for yourself, stop listening to your inner critic telling you that you don’t measure up; that you will never get the job or promotion you have always dreamed of? What if, just for today, you take a chance and put a little love in yourself?

I was speaking with a friend yesterday who delightfully told me she wanted to do some thing for herself. She said she needed to put herself first for once, having put others before her for years, so she joined Toastmasters. She said, “That one hour is mine, and am going to revel in it!” Having said that, what about you? Are you ready to put yourself and your career first? Here are six tips to help you put a little love in yourself or your career today:
  1. Do what you have never done or go where you have never gone. Think of something you have always wanted to do, or somewhere you have always wanted to go. Is it something you could do today? If not, can you begin right now to develop a plan for it? Have you ever wanted to reach out to someone who could offer you some career advice, but you were afraid to ask? Today is a great day to reach out to that person. Forget all those butterflies in your stomach and take up the phone, send an email, meet them face-to-face and ask them to join you for a coffee.
  2. Commit to growing yourself. The fact you may have failed at something does not mean the end of the world. Reflect on that failure and ask yourself what were the lessons you learned from that event. Many years ago when I first applied to work with the United Nations, I failed Shorthand. In those days note taking was a requirement that came with the prestige of added pay. I was disappointed, but told myself that regardless of how long it took, it was going to happen one day. By the time I ended up at the UN, the skill wasn’t a requirement any longer, but I was well prepared. Sir Edmund Hillary was one of the first persons to climb Mount Everest. When he failed at his first attempt, he said to himself, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow, but I am still growing.” Have you, like Mount Everest, grown all you are going to grow?
  3. Invest in yourself. Some people invest a lot of time and money planning for exotic vacations, but little or no time investing in their own career development. A couple of Fridays ago, a man called to ask if he could come in to see me on Monday morning for a resume and cover letter as he wanted to apply for job that had a cut-off time of 5 pm the following day (Tuesday). I told him that resume development is a time-consuming exercise, and my turnaround time on a project like his would be 10 business days. He then told me that he couldn’t afford me anyway. That wasn’t even the point. I wanted him to realize that such a slap-dash approach to one’s job search, or waiting until a job appears on Workopolis before realizing you need to brush up on your resume is not a great plan and will most likely reap frustration.
  4. Be relentless in your pursuits. Whatever it is you are after, be relentless. You have heard the saying, “A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins”. Never give up on your dreams even if it appears insurmountable. Create a success plan and harness all the support you can get to see that dream through.
  5. Be generous and give of your time. Volunteer your expertise to someone. Wondering if you have the skills to be a mentor? Stop wondering, and start mentoring. You have skills that others would benefit from. Think of the world of good you would be doing by mentoring another person. Probably you’re facing the question, “What’s in it for me?” The Christian Bible says, “It’s in giving that you receive.” You’re actually getting something in return. Isn’t that awesome?
  6. Love yourself. Look in the mirror right now and say to yourself, ” I love you!” Sounds crazy, but when last have you told your unique self how much you love her or him? Compare that against the hundreds of times you have said to your unique self, “I don’t like what I see…I am too fat…too skinny…too short…too tall…I cannot become…”, and all those self-degrading negative conversations you have ingrained in your head. Stare at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, like Marianne Williamson said, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?”

There are many other tips you could come up with yourself, so use these as starters. See what you can do to put a little love in you and your career today.

Enjoy what’s left of Valentine’s Day, and even if you think you don’t have anyone to love, look within and love yourself!

 

10 Ways to Optimize your LinkedIn Experience

See on Scoop.itFreelance Writing On Careers & Resumes

It is said that LinkedIn is the number social network for professionals and job seekers, and I agree. However, many people are not taking advantage of this tool. This post, scooped from Scoop.it, ties in nicely with another recent post LinkedIn Endorsements: Fad, Foe or Friend!

LinkedIn offers value for all walks of life. This post tells you how you can optimize your LinkedIn experience . . .

1)      Keep your profile updatedGain more visibility by completing your profile and uploading a professional headshot.

2)      Customize your website or blog linkNo need to use LinkedIn’s generic “Company Website”. Personalize it with the name of your website or blog.

3)      Join Groups and EngageThis is where you meet people and build rapport. It’s not good enough to join groups but you must interact with members and contribute to discussions.

4)      Use the LinkedIn’s Endorsement FeatureWhile this feature has had its critics, it is a neat way to show appreciation to someone else.

5)      Recommendations – A recommendation is a more thorough representation of a business relationship. It can be time-consuming to write so if you are requesting one, proactively write it up yourself then send to the person to whom you are making the request. If someone is asking you for one, have the requester write up something themselves and you can tweak and edit accordingly.

6)      Content Curation – Take advantage of the LinkedIn Today feature where LinkedIn captures the day’s news. Stay informed!

7)      Post, Comment and Like – Create your own blog post on a topic, add your voice to a discussion by commenting on people’s blogs, and show appreciation by clicking on a ‘Like’ button.

8)      Tight or Loose Connections – You can determine how you want to use LinkedIn. Tight connections are those where you decide which invitations you will accept; loose connections means you are a LION – LinkedIn Open Networker – but it opens the flood gates to receive numerous invitations. This feature costs $10 per month.

9)      Premium Account – Read up on this option and see if it will be beneficial to you as there’s a fee structure.

10)  LinkedIn Advertising – Depending on your situation, you could take advantage of LinkedIn’s advertising service.

As it is with all other social engagement, you get what you put inIf you don’t stay active and participate consistently you will not get results from LinkedIn.

 
See original post on Steve Hughes’ geeklesstech.com