Q: Dear Dr. Culp, We have a big trade show coming up. I wont be presenting, but I will be at our booth much of the time. People keep telling me that trade shows are an excellent place to build contacts, but Ive never done double-duty before. How can I job hunt in the time Im not scheduled for the booth without letting my employer know thats what Im doing? Torn
A: Dear Torn, You wont be if you schedule your time effectively.
You didnt mention the number of days youll be attending the trade show. Look for open blocks of time before it starts, during lunch and at days end. These are your best times to job hunt, just as they are when youre at the office.
Check the companies scheduled to exhibit. Which ones interest you most? Call the presenters before the trade show to arrange for a time and place to meet, off premises, if possible.
If you cant do that, be Mr. or Ms. Friendly by meeting people at their booths briefly. Focus on getting their card rather than distributing yours. Create a 15-second elevator pitch and move on. If a person at your company asks what youre doing, say that youre trying to learn more about the industry. mlc
Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Ive been trying to job hunt, but I cant keep focused. I feel pulled in a lot of directions. My husband agrees that Im overextended. However, its impossible for me to stop job hunting, because my position will be eliminated in four months. Help me get on track, please. Skidding
A: Dear Skidding, If youre overextended and you cant drop anything, make it easy to be more productive. Reduce stress by ignoring or minimizing non-urgent telephone calls and in-person intrusions.
Tell people who tend to call you that you really need time to concentrate. Ask them to email instead or keep a list of things to discuss at one or more times throughout the day. They dont need to know youre job hunting and that you feel youre at the tipping point, but they do need to know that youre behind in your work and desperate to catch up.
Tackle your most difficult tasks for parts of the day when your energy is high. Save the others for when your energy is low.
When your mind wanders from the task at hand, stop, take a deep breath and renew your focus. mlc
Alex Forbes was job hunting, up against the system (quickbase.intuit.com/blog/). He submitted a resume to his professional association, which was clearing submissions for an organization. No one called, emailed or wrote.
This wasnt just any job. It was one he really wanted.
He picked up the phone. HR answered. For 5 minutes he listened to drivel about how they get hundreds of resumes, etc., etc., Forbes says. I told her I should just come in and start working for them like George Costanza from Seinfeld.
In case youve forgotten, this is where a new employee, dressed in a suit and carrying an attache, arrives at an office where everyone is nonplused. They fumble, hem and haw, then give him a choice of two offices. He chooses the small one, because he likes to nestle, and goes inside. Costanza opens the file hes given, shuts it, sits there watching the clock until five and then leaves.
The gatekeeper laughed so hard I think she dropped the phone, Forbes reports. She set up a meeting with the hiring manager that week. Got the job.
Disarm em. Lighten up a little yourself. Then, make em laugh.
Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2013 Passage Media.