Your status while in transition is that of a consultant, especially when you’re interviewing for a job. The would-be employer needs you because you might be able to solve certain company problems. To prove that you can, you must stay on top of things and demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about the employer’s industry in general, about the sector the company is in in particular, and even about the most current issues and developments in the hiring manager’s field. So, how do you do that?
I’m a career coach helping people in transition every day. I, too, must demonstrate to clients that I’m on top of my industry. To achieve that, at least one hour a day seven days a week I read about general subjects in daily papers (mostly online), about business subjects in several business magazines I subscribe to, and about current events via the Internet when such news flashes onto my screen. Naturally, I focus more on issues that pertain to jobs and the like by reading articles by people I follow on Twitter.
I find an equally important source of information at various networking forums by meeting and chatting with people in attendance. For example, the other day I was the presenter at a job search networking group, but because of the inclement weather, the turnout was significantly smaller than expected. The situation allowed the presentation to turn into more of a focus group chat, which was even more appropriate because the presentation was called How to Be Effective When Networking. Most of the attendees had basic familiarity with job search networking, but they had special interest in the comparison between classical, or traditional, networking and social networking.
People in transition should learn, embrace, and actively participate in social networking. This is admittedly a totally new, up-and-coming element in the job search armamentarium, and those who master it benefit the most.
On another subject during that meeting—but an especially pertinent part of the group’s learning—a participant recounted an interview situation he’d recently experienced. The interview was with a human resources representative half his age, who blatantly and repeatedly violated the age discrimination law. Frustrated and furious, the job seeker ended the interview, later reporting the experience to higher-ups in the company. The interviewer was fired three days later and dared to call the candidate on the phone to complain to him. For me, this certainly sounded like a learning experience.