Conferences: A Great Networking Strategy

A Not-So-Obvious Strategy for a Career Change

from Gary North, May 08, 2017

This was posted a few days ago.

Coincidentally, after a few years I realized that I have the necessary experience to get into medical sales. I have registered to go to a convention next month and will do this very thing before biting the bullet and getting involved in medical sales. There are always going to be cons to each industry, but it’s better to know what you’re getting into than to not know at all.

A few days later, he posted again.

As I mentioned, I went to a medical device conference. It was definitely well worth the trip. Everyone there was friendly and couldn’t believe that a guy from another industry spent his own money to fly out and network for a job. They answered any questions I had and were all willing to point me in the right direction. I actually got some emails on LinkedIn recommending me to talk to people that might be interested in using my experience dealing with Japan and Asia to help sell their devices. Since I wasn’t in the industry, I was also able to negotiate a discount for the convention fee itself with the host.

Other than the actual effort of showing up and taking time off work, it wasn’t difficult to meet people at all. Not only was this more effective than just sending out resumes, but no one there even asked about my resume. One person said to send them a 5 sentence paragraph on LinkedIn (essentially an elevator pitch of who I am and what I’m looking for) and they will see if they know anyone that can help. I was also pointed to the larger conventions in this field and what cities in the US are key in this field.

Another interesting note is that the host of the conference emphasized that people need to be blogging about the industry. This validates Dr. North’s advice about having a blog for your field. There were a few people there that had a company business card and their own personal blog business card. Youtube channels were also emphasized.

http://www.garynorth.com/members/forum/openthread.cfm?forum=21&ThreadID=237630#238656This is a very good strategy. First, it lets you get a sense of what is required in the industry. Obviously, at a convention, everybody puts his best foot forward. Or, to switch metaphors, all the pigs are wearing lipstick. But if you get the sense that you really would not want to be in the industry after going to a convention, you probably should not be in that industry. Reality is going to be worse than it appears at a convention. At a convention, everybody is either trying to sell you something or sell himself.

Second, it is a form of networking. You pick up business cards; you hand out business cards. I think it is interesting that what he did was considered unique by people who were attending the convention. Here was an outsider coming to a convention to do networking. Yet, from the point of view of information gathering, this ought to be an obvious strategy. But it isn’t. Here is one more case of what seems to be obvious to members of this website turns out not to be obvious to anybody else.

Third, you get some sense of what the competition is going to be. People who attend the convention are probably in the top 20% of the people in the industry. They have spent money to attend. They have allocated time to attend. They probably will pick up brochures that will help them, and it is at least conceivable that they’ll come away with three or four ideas from the lectures. Any time you can come away with three or four ideas from anything, it’s worth your while. Getting good ideas dropped in your lap is not a normal experience.

Fourth, you should take some kind of action within 72 hours after you get home. If you wait longer than this, the opportunities will still be there, but your willingness to follow through is not. You have to discipline yourself to take some kind of action. It may simply be contacting somebody. It may be writing for more information. But you should do something.

Fifth, you really do need a website, and a YouTube channel would not hurt. But the website is more important. The website should have videos that are embedded from the YouTube channel. A website is more comprehensive than a YouTube channel. There are things that you can do with a website that you cannot do with the video. There is nothing that you can do with a video that you cannot do with a website.

Sixth, if you are looking for a job in a new industry, and you don’t want an entry-level job, you need to create a website related to the industry you want to get into. Initially, you should not voice any opinions. You should use the site as a clearinghouse of information: summaries with links to articles. This site will persuade a potential employer that you know more than you really do. The very fact that you have a website that serves as a clearinghouse of information indicates that you are on top of things. You may not be on top of things, but the website testifies otherwise. It’s not exactly false advertising. It is lipstick on the pig. Oink, oink.

The above article originally appeared at GaryNorth.com, reprinted here with expressed written permission from Gary North.

What Does That Job Pay?

One of the challenges to finding the right job at Craigslist is the fact that the posters very rarely post the wage for a position, unless it is a customer service or driving position that might pay $12 to $13 an hour.  But if it is a sales position or a tech position, the usual refrain is “EARN $50k to $240k.”  That’s so large of a range that it is nearly meaningless. This means that you’re going to have take your salary negotiating skills to a whole new level while you’re in the middle of a job interview.  But there are places where you can find what certain jobs pay.  Business Insider has done some of the work for you.  See it below. Also, when you search for salaries or top paying jobs, be sure to specify your industry, like “top paying jobs tech industry” or “top paying jobs IT Manager.”

Glassdoor just released its list of the 25 best-paying jobs in the US for 2016, and, as usual, tech jobs dominated the list.

Glassdoor sifted through the salaries reported by employees who have these jobs, limiting its search to salary reports from the past year, to come up with median salaries.

The website also looked at the demand for these jobs, based on the current number of job openings on its site.

No. 11: Information Systems Manager, $106,000

Median base salary: $106,000

Number of job openings: 147

An information systems manager is an IT job for a corporation, a person who is responsible for various tech and tech projects used within a business.

No. 10: Analytics Manager, $106,000

Median base salary: $106,000

Number of job openings: 988

It is the analytics manager’s job to gather the data that business leaders use to make business decisions, and it runs the gamut from choosing and managing big data/analytics systems to finding the important insights to share.

No. 9: Product Manager, $107,000

Median base salary: $107,000

Number of job openings: 7,758

A product manager guides a team responsible for producing a product for the company. Tech companies frequently structure themselves with product managers who act as liaisons, translating what the business wants from its new tech products into instructions for engineers.

No. 8: Data Architect, $113,000

Median base salary: $113,000

Number of job openings: 762

A data architect is a role that once belonged in the world of databases but has grown because of the big-data craze. Data architects design data-management systems, looking through all of a company’s potential data sources from inside the company and other sources and then figuring out how to gather, store, manage, and update.

No. 7: Data Scientist, $115,000

Median base salary: $115,000

Number of job openings: 1,985

The data scientist has become a super-hot job as companies look to store more data and use it for more insights. The data scientist’s job is to run the systems used to store data and to find those insights in massive amounts of data.

No. 6: Systems Architect, $116,920

Median base salary: $116,920

Number of job openings: 439

A systems architect designs complex IT systems for companies, which may include rolling out a new huge software system including the new computers and networks needed for it to perform well.

No. 5: Applications Development Manager, $120,000

Median base salary: $120,000

Number of job openings: 263

An applications development manager supervises a team of application developers who may be writing software for PCs, enterprises, or the web.

No. 4: Solutions Architect, $120,000

Median base salary: $120,000

Number of job openings: 2,838

A solutions architect is a role that is often at the consulting arm of a software provider or IT company. This person helps design the IT systems that meet the customer’s need.

No. 3: IT Manager, $120,000

Dan Frommer, Business Insider

Median base salary: $120,000

Number of job openings: 3,152

An IT manager is responsible for the technology used by companies such as their PCs, servers, and the software the company buys.

No. 2: Software Architect, $128,250

Median base salary: $128,250

Number of job openings: 655

A software architect designs complex computer software.

No. 1: Software Development Manager, $132,000

Median base salary: $132,000

Number of job openings: 3,495

A software development manager manages a software project from the design phase through completion.

“. . . measuring does not apply to writing, other than direct-response copywriting.”

Dr. Gary North has an article at his site, titled “Prove You Are Better Than All the Job Applicants in Two Steps” that is about positioning yourself stronger as the coming recession increases the number of qualified applicants exponentially.  He points to speaking and writing.  Speaking is the real skill.  Writing, well, every junior editor who edits mocking commentary in his head a la Beevis & Butthead fashions himself a writer. But it was actually a comment that North made in one of his forum posts that nailed it.  IT came upon a question from a member about how to measure one’s writing.  Dr. North wrote “. . . measuring does not apply to writing, other than direct-response copywriting.” That’s exactly it.

That’s exactly it.

In high school, kids are taught to write essays–expository, persuasive, narrative, poetry, book reviews, short stories at best.  But these exercises have only for their audience their teacher, who to many I am sure is either tiring, a clown, or a task manager.  Not the ideal audience.  And that’s what is required for anyone to get inspired and create decent work.

Direct marketing suddenly gets the boys involved, boys are fired by the prospect of making a profit and turning a dollar with their talents.

The forum member recommended the SMART approach, fashioned by Michael Hyatt, to measuring one’s writing.  SMART is the acronym for 1) Specific, 2) Measured, 3) Actionable, 4) Realistic, and 5) Time-constrained.  This is too close to what Michael Masterson taught as well; in fact, this is the standard formula for goal setting, not so much for measuring one’s writing abilities. The best way to do that is to write and then work to publish, either through Kindle or sell your writing through direct marketing clients.

To produce a book or write copy or sell ads, review the insights of these gentlemen here: Bill Myers, Bob Bly, or AWAI.

 

After 10 Years on the Job, What Next?

In answer to the question of what one should do after 10 years in your field, leave or find ways to advance, Dr. North writes this:

Once you’ve hit the 7-10 year mark in your field, should you keep on getting those hours of experience for master status or should you switch to another field touching yours and start that experience clock over?”

If you quit 100%, you will get rusty. The new field should be complementary to your main field. Alternative: become a consultant. You will then be forced to learn marketing. Or become a writer/consultant. Inside the firm, become a teacher.

“On the other side of the table, if you hire for a job that needs a journeyman but not a master, would you rather offer a master a journeyman salary assuming an excess of masters or look only for journeyman candidates?”

Go for the journeyman. You may get a hot shot. The master has seen his day. But if the master could be a teacher or mentor, hire the master at a wage in between. A good teacher is worth paying for. He will get journeymen up to speed.

“I am sure you have a range in mind.”

Chris Voss, ex-FBI hostage negotiator, gives excellent advice on how to ask for a raise without getting demoted or fired.  Watch this short video.

What follows are my transcripted notes of his presentation:

You want to push your opponent to the highest limit of a negotiation range without taking them out of the comfort of that range.  People respond to ranges where they won’t respond to specific numbers.  When they ask you how much you’re looking for, your first response to that should be “Are you making me an offer or are you just fishing?” Give them an opportunity to respond to that.  Again, when they ask you about salary expectations, say, “I am sure you have a range in mind.”  Take the end of it that favors you.  They’ll actually feel somewhat relieved that you’ll want to stay at that number.

If they’ve given you a number that doesn’t work for you, the first response is the world-class way of saying “No” and keeping the conversation going, “How am I supposed to accept that?”  which let’s them know that it’s really a problem for you.  You’ve empowered them by giving them the opportunity to make it better.  Always important in any negotiation to be able to say “No” pleasantly.  So be pleasant. They’re going to evaluate you in a job negotiation about how well you can represent them!  and represent their interests and be pleasant while you’re doing it.

Gary North has good insight on how to deal with employers and raises.  Check this out . . .

Do not expect to be appreciated. If they are not giving regular raises, you are not appreciated. If they are loading on extra hours, you are not appreciated. You are simply a pack mule. You will be exploited, not appreciated.

This is why you have to be working systematically to develop your reputation outside the business. You have to let them know that they do not have their clamps on you. If they think that you have no alternatives for employment, they will treat you unmercifully. Expect this. It is standard operating procedure in business today. They don’t expect loyalty on any basis except this: fear. They don’t offer loyalty, and they don’t expect it. This was not true a generation ago, but it is true today.

When the bean counters from the business schools began to take over American business in the 1970’s, that ended loyalty downward. On this point, you would be wise to read The Puritan Gift. It shows the world we have lost. I don’t think we’re going to get it back. We may get it back in small, upstart businesses, but not in a business that has been operating for more than 40 years.

 

Free Resume Templates? Really?

The reason why so many people don’t opt for FREE resume templates is because they don’t inspire. Have you seen these stark concoctions?  It feels like some kind of Soviet beauty pageant.

Not a big fan of Wendy’s either.

But you get the point.  Templates don’t get you a call to interview.  It’s readability. And placement.  It’s the specific content of your resume that matter and where it gets placed. And after looking at the different free templates, I have to say I do not see solutions to my problems of representing myself in print.  Nothing reflects my uniqueness.  And if it does, it is often too far out.

There are things to consider when it comes to a resume format.  One, who is your audience?  In every attempt at communicating in print, your audience is the first consideration.  Are you writing to the President of the United States or to the head of Sun MicroSystems or your local city councilman or to a teacher in East Los Angeles?  Audience determines your tone.  Now if you’re unsure of what you’re writing about, then first need to take some time to gather your thoughts and the points you want to cover, but even the points you want to cover are greatly influenced by your audience.  You’re not going to include talk about condoms to daycare board members.  Does this make sense?

free-resume-template_8

I’ve actually tried a similar resume style.  These don’t work.  In fact, they put the resource manager off because it is such a shameless attempt at being frou-frou.  Oh, stylistically, yes, they are quite interesting, quite out of the box, quite disappointing too. If a manager is reading a score to a hundred of these a day, do you really think that a tw0-column resume is going to make him stand up and shout?  Obscenities, maybe.  But no, it will only be received with some annoyance, because he’ll have to adjust his whole frame of mind and eyes to your arrangement when after an hour or two he’s seen only the standard one-column format.  I would not try these.  In fact, the resume I wrote with the two-column was better looking than the one above.  Mine had colored logos of the places I’d worked.  So there.  I had two resource managers tell me gently, “Ah, Sir, this format doesn’t work.”  One reason why is that you actually create a more narrow space for relevant information and elaboration on your achievements.

Here is another.

free-resume-template_11

Seriously?

Two column resume formats don’t work, I’m tellin’ ya.  This splits the reader’s attention initially until he finds information relevant to the position he’s hiring for.

Write Code or Learn Excel? For Business, It’s Excel

Gary North  (his site is behind a paywall but is an immeasurable wealth of resources) had a subscriber write in to his forum. The subscriber wrote,

I’m 37. Should I learn how to code? Is this the lingua franca of the day irrespective of my field?

North’s full response is here behind a paywall.  But let me cite a two points of the many that were covered.

The ability to write code is more genetic than technical. Some people have an innate talent. Most do not.

. . .

If there is a lingua franca, it is spreadsheet development. It is used in every business setting. I recommend mastering Microsoft’s Excel. It is like learning a foreign language. Become fluent in this language.

Database management is another basic skill. Again, you might as well learn Microsoft’s Access. This is the program most used in business settings.

Coding places your career on the chopping block. One mistake, and the program can come crashing down . . . on you. Shooting a video is not dependent on digits.

A spreadsheet had better be accurate. So should a database. But these are normally not so crucial to an operation that a misplaced digit can collapse the project.

Simple video production is applicable in business and education. The software is cheap: under $75. Start here:

http://www.toptenreviews.com/software/multimedia/best-video-editing-software