We’re Published!

Fifteen years ago I had an idea for a book about job search.  I’m delighted to say that that book: I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable About the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another, is now available as an ebook in multiple formats. Click here to purchase your copy.  (Free through September!)

Enjoy – and feel free to post a recommendation or share with your friends. 🙂


What are your great memories of anticipation? Trying to go to sleep on Christmas Eve? The last day of school? The last day before school started? How about right before your wedding ceremony?

Now think again about some of those times. Mixed in with that excitement was there also a touch of fear or a note of doubt. You were sure that whatever was going to happen was going to be great – or at least you were pretty sure; right?

Your job search will probably be filled these times. Maybe you’re a finalist for job, going in for your last interview. It would be great to get back to work, this sounds a like a good place to work, the people have been very nice, but … the work seemed a little tedious – not exactly what you’d like to do. What if you take the job and it starts off great, but after a few weeks the shine is off and now it’s just a job. Did you make a mistake? Should you keep looking?

My advice is to do your best to ignore that little voice of doubt. You need to control what you can control – and that is you. Rather than stress before (or during) the interview about what you’ll do if they do (or don’t) offer you a job, be in the moment. Put 100% of yourself into the interview and wait to see what happens. If you are in a new job and feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse – set it aside and do your job the best you can do it.

I heard the phrase once that worrying was “borrowing trouble” – taking tomorrow’s problems and making them issues in your life today. As best you can, don’t do that. Live in the present, do what you can to be successful today, and let tomorrow take care of itself. Take it from a guy who’s lost his job six times. Things work out. Control what you can control and let the rest take care of itself.

BTW – Here is some real life anticipation. Check back to this site soon. I expect I’m Fired?!? to be available as an eBook in the next few weeks with a paper version to follow not too long after. Details soon!

Linking In

I can see you now, sitting at your kitchen table, blank laptop in front of you, drumming your fingers on the table thinking – “who do I know?” You know you are supposed to be networking but you’ve thought of everyone you can think of. “Where can I find more people to talk to?” Or maybe you’re thinking “I really want to learn more about ABC Company other than what’s on their website, where should I look?” Or “How can I let all of my business contacts know that I’m looking for a new job?”

The answer is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a vital tool for the job seeker. (BTW – this is not a paid endorsement.)

Go to www.linkedin.com and join – it is free. Start with creating a profile. Make it complete – add a professional photo (not a photo taken by a professional but one where you look professional – this isn’t Facebook) – build in your career history and education (include what is on your resume – these two things should match – see Resume Magic I and Resume Magic II).

A key section of your profile is your current job title and summary. If you are unemployed, I suggest a title like “Seeking new professional opportunities,” “Job Seeker,” or “Human Resource Professional” (obviously with your career of choice if you’re not an HR Person). You don’t want your “current” job to be the one where you don’t work anymore; you want it to be obvious that you are a job seeker. Your summary should be your “elevator speech” – three to five sentences that say who you are and what you want to do.

But LinkedIn is more than a place to post information about yourself. LinkedIn is a place to connect. Use the search engine to find people you know and connect with them. Send requests to everyone you think will recognize your name. Make your network as large as possible. The more people you are connected to, the more likely your profile will be viewed, which increases the chances that a recruiter will find you even before you find them.

LinkedIn can also get you introduced to people you don’t know. When you view the profile of someone you are not directly connected to, LinkedIn shows you if you have a path to them. Through LinkedIn, you can send a message to your contact asking them to introduce you to their contact. Then you can broaden your network even further.

LinkedIn is a great place to learn about the companies on your target list (see Who are You Targeting). There are corporate profiles on LinkedIn, but better than that, use your network to connect with someone at that company and ask them to tell you about it. Use that connection to identify the hiring manager for a posted position so you can contact them directly.

I’m afraid I’m rambling. LinkedIn is an invaluable resource for the job seeker. Join, build a profile and get searching. Check out my profile at and connect with me (mention this post).

BTW – check back to this site soon. I expect I’m Fired?!? to be available as an eBook in the next few weeks with a paper version to follow not too long after. Details soon!

References – Part II

A few weeks ago I wrote about references, how to prepare your reference list so that you’re ready. In this post I want to talk about serving as a reference for someone else.

If someone asks you to serve as a reference for them, before you say yes ask yourself, “Can I talk positively about this person’s work experience, professional skills and/or personality? Would what I honestly think about this person help them to secure a new job?” Unless you can emphatically say yes to these questions, politely decline to be a reference.

Serving as a reference is often a balancing act. Most people have some things they did well and some things they need to work on. You want to be able to give as much of the good information as you can while only providing the less-good information when required. You may choose to quality parts of your reference with words like generally, usually, or sometimes. That way you leave room between the lines that this person might not be perfect.

In my mind, the most important thing about being a reference is honesty. No one will benefit from you giving false information about another person. Let’s say Bob has horrible attendance – maybe you even fired him for it. Then someone calls for a reference check on Bob and asks about his attendance. Being honest may keep Bob from getting the job, but lying about Bob’s attendance may not help him either. Possibly he gets the job and then gets fired again for attendance. Nobody wins in that situation.

From your employer’s perspective (if you and the job seeker worked together – especially if you were the supervisor) what is critical is that what you say is consistent with the employees’ personnel record. There is no law that prohibits you from giving negative feedback during a reference check. The problems come in if the negative information you provide is not supported by the records. Back to Bob and his horrible attendance. Let’s presume that Bob had horrible attendance and you fired him for it. Then a recruiter calls and asks about Bob’s attendance. You reply honestly and that ultimately you fired him because of it. You were honest – so no problems, right?

The problem comes when what you said is not consistent with the file. Maybe Bob was an exempt employee who did not fill out a time sheet. There is no written record of his poor attendance. You didn’t really write him up for attendance – you just talked to him a few times and then when you were fed up you fired him. In his last performance appraisal you checked “satisfactory” on the attendance line because you didn’t want to get into it at the time – and he had been doing better the few weeks before the review. Now we have a situation where the facts – his attendance was horrible and you fired him for it – disagree with the formal record. If Bob were to file a defamation charge, you (and your company) would not be able to defend your comments.

Serving as a reference is important and if you can do so in a manner that can help someone get a new job, I encourage you to do so. But, be honest with yourself and the recruiter and follow your mother’s advice, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”