• How can I tell if I am failing at my entrepreneurial venture or start-up?

    There’s an old joke about how to make a small fortune in angel investing: start with a large fortune and invest it in angel rounds.

    I guess you could say the same thing about how to fail at an entrepreneurial venture: start a new company and then do everything that could be reasonably expected of you.  And that’s how you fail.

    The world is not set up to make your venture successful, and in fact almost everything conspires against you and your new company.

    Because there is no natural constituency for the entrepreneurial venture, there is no way, reasonably, you can expect yours to survive. Customers aren’t clamoring for new vendors, employees aren’t looking to make half as much for their hard-earned skills at a firm that has a 50% chance of dying every day, and investors aren’t interested in taking risks or putting money into pipe dreams.

    The conceit that a new venture has a shot of winning at all, under any circumstances, was unknown throughout history, is still laughable across the globe, and remains rare even here in the United States.

    And that’s why it takes a special person to succeed.  Notice I said “special”.  Not charming, philanthropic, beloved, clever, popular, persuasive, capable or handsome.


    You know, I’ve attended several dozen “entrepreneur breakfasts” here in New York City hosted by various internet luminaries or fellow entrepreneurs over the past eight years since I started TheLadders.  Entrepreneurs can make good use of the dose of inspiration that comes from sharing, in the camaraderie of the breakfast table, the stories of challenges overcome, obstacles conquered, and victories won.

    And while it’s never easy to tell which businesses and which people will win big this time around, it’s pretty easy to tell who is going to fail.

    It’s the polite, patient, purposeful people.

    Being an internet entrepreneur requires a certain antic disposition, a degree of self-immolation, and a dorkish obsessiveness with seeing the digital bits line up in a row.  Not just an enjoyment, not just a desire, but a gut-level craving, an existential need, to see the machine come to life.  That burn that flares so intensely in the dark of the night that it awakes you: to  stare at the ceiling, to wonder expansively, to turn every part of the creation over and over and over in your head as the clock flicks the minutes into the small hours.

    Many, perhaps all, who come to entrepreneurship want the fame or the fortune or the fellowship, but it is only the ones who need it badly enough that will suffer through.

    I remember sitting next to one very, very nice woman at one of these entrepreneurial breakfasts in 2007.  She had a great idea and a clever execution for an advice site — something like Daily Lit for the self-improvement set.

    I asked what the URL was; she said the site wasn’t live yet.

    I asked when it was going live; she said, with some pride in the accomplishment, that they’d already spent 18 months on the design, copy, coding and business model, and were lining up famous names to endorse the site when it went live, which they were preparing for next year at about this time.

    She asked me if I had any advice for success.

    I said yes.

    “Put down your fork.

    Get up from your chair.

    Walk out this door.

    Go to your office and call all of your team together. Lock the door and let everybody know you are not opening it or leaving the office until your site is live and accepting customers.”

    I suppose another characteristic of entrepreneurs is our directness : )

    Well, of course, she objected: that’s not practical, it’s not considerate, we still have planning to do before we’re ready for launch, and it is essential that we be perfectly positioned because you only get one shot to go live with a consumer brand.

    And you know what?

    She was absolutely right.

    But so was I.

    You see, being an entrepreneur is unreasonable.  It is arrogant.  It is unusual.

    You are asserting that, despite the presence of 7 billion other people on the planet, and a US economy that produces $14 trillion in goods and services each year, and over 100 mm white collar workers in our country, that you, little old you, have come up with an idea, a business, a company that none of those other wonderful human beings have thought to invent yet.

    I mean, c’mon, there’s no denying that it’s arrogant to say that you are right and everybody else was wrong to not see the wonderful opportunity that your company is pursuing.  That they were fools to just leave the dollar bills waiting there for you to pick them up.

    And part of that unreasonableness is realizing that you are in a fight for your company’s life every day.  Every day that you are not “live” is a day you’ve lost the opportunity to make an impression.  Every day that you’re not bringing in cash is a day that you’ve lost the chance to expand your payroll.  Every day that you’re not pleasing customers is a day that somebody, somewhere else, will.  Perhaps they’re not doing it as well as you know you eventually will, but the plain truth is that they are pleasing them today and you’re not.

    So here’s my 3-step checklist to figure out if you’re failing as an internet entrepreneur:

    1. Is the site live yet?

    Yes: you’re likely failing, but at least you’ve got a chance of getting some feedback from real, live users, which may, if you’re smart and perceptive, decrease your chance of failure a little bit.

    No: you’re failing.

    2. Do you have free customers yet?

    Yes: well, now you have a shot to establish relationships. And if you listen carefully and not pridefully, you just may have a tiny chance of hearing them correctly and improving your customer experience from awful to plausibly bearable.

    No: you’re failing.

    3. Do you have paying customers yet?

    Yes: congratulations! You have reduced your chances of failing from 100% to 99%.  There are many more chances to fail along the way, but you have graduated to some of the more interesting ones.  Good show!

    No: you’re failing.

    If, when you wake up in the morning, the answer to any of the above questions is “no”, then you’re failing. Not failing tomorrow, or next month, or next year, but failing right now, today.  As you read this…. Now.

    And what you need to do, what you must do, is to spend your entire day focused on changing the answers to yes.  Desperately, immediately, fully.

    The very nice polite woman who had purposefully set out to make an enormous splash with her internet company did indeed get it live the next year, and her patience paid enormous dividends… to her competitors from vertically-focused advice sites.  She struggled along for a couple years and then failed.

    You will too, if you’re still reading this, and not locking the door to the office…

  • How do you feel about going to work today?

    ** From my weekly newsletter to TheLadders.com subscribers **

    We’ve got over 400 people working here at TheLadders to make your job search faster, easier, less stressful, and more effective. Fortunately for you and for me, my colleagues are geniuses, and inventing new stuff all the time.

    This past week they launched “Profiler”. It’s a single multiple-choice question you’ll see when you log in. You don’t have to answer it, but when you do, we’ll show you how many other people on TheLadders answered it the same way. The Q&A looks like this:

    After each answer… we’ll ask you another question!

    It might be a question like any of these:

    - How do you feel about going to work today?

    - Would you relocate to another state for a 10% increase in pay?

    - How’s your boss doing?

    - How soon are you looking to get a new job?

    - If you were offered a better job in another industry, would you take it?

    - When you go into work in the morning, what are you most grateful for?

    … and more and more and more.

    Each time you answer one, you’ll be helping recruiters understand you, and the opportunity you’re looking for, even better. Each bit of information adds to a fuller, more complete picture of you.

    We’ll be writing more questions over the coming weeks to get to know you even better. Keep answering for better results!

    And if you think of a good question that we’re not asking, hit Reply and let us know. We are all ears…

    OK, Readers, have a great week in the job search. I’ll be rooting for you…

    Warmest regards,

  • How the newspaper business shrank 92% in a decade


    One of the most remarkable things for me as an entrepreneur over the past eight years since starting TheLadders has been watching the reaction of the entrenched incumbents to our business model.

    The chart below shows the U.S. newspaper industry’s Help Wanted Classified Ad revenue from 2000 to 2010.

    For the younger folks, help-wanted ads used to be how you got a job prior to the rise of the internet.  It was kind of like a Craigslist printed on newspaper and delivered to people’s doors each day.  (In case you think I’m being facetious with the explanation, in my “CEO Welcome” of new employees at TheLadders I always ask how many people have ever looked for a job in the newspaper – over the past eight years the number of hands going up has dropped from 75% of the two dozen people in the room, to usually only 1 or 2 each time.)

    So it may be no surprise that new industries and new technologies and new business models defeat old industries and old technologies and old business models.  But the surprising lesson for me over the past decade hasn’t been that the big guys, the incumbents, the old order, can’t beat you.

    The big surprise has been that they don’t want to.

    With all of their cash and resources, the newspapers sensed back in the ‘90s that the internet was going to change their business.  They correctly foresaw that it would change their news gathering, their reporting, their advertising, and even their local classified ads.

    In October 1995, the six most important newspapers in the country joined together to launch CareerPath.com in order to provide “electronic access… to the help-wanted advertisements printed in the six newspapers.”  CareerPath was an early entrant and was one of the predecessor companies to CareerBuilder.

    So how did the newspapers lose the industry? How did the chart above occur? With far more resources than any start-up, with century-old brand names, and with the foresight to predict what was happening to their business, how did the newspapers give away a $10 billion revenue stream? Why didn’t change their business model, their organizational structure and their people in order to capitalize on the coming Internet revolution?

    The answer is that they didn’t want to.

    The truth is contained in this kernel from the 1995 article: “Among other concerns, analysts say newspapers’ electronic advertising could eventually compete against the papers’ own print advertising.”

    And competing with your own business is uncomfortable.  It means the executives, organization and processes associated with the old way have to be let go, pushed out of the way, and cut out of the picture.  And a whole new group of people, who aren’t current employees, have to be recruited, trained, and given positions of power in your company.

    In my decade in this industry, I’ve seen it time and time again: newspaper executives knew what had to be done to compete successfully in the future but were afraid to upset the people responsible for the past.  It was a lack of courage, not a lack of clarity.

    As Ronald Reagan said, “There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers.”  The newspapers knew the simple path to success, but took the easy path to failure.

  • Pick up the phone already!

    ** From my weekly newsletter to TheLadders.com subscribers **

    Why haven’t they called you back?

    The interview went well — you’re pretty sure you nailed that question about how you could contribute to the team’s new mobile initiative — and you really hit it off with the HR person. You’ve got a background in exactly the area they’re looking for and you know you’re perfectly qualified for the role.

    So why haven’t they called you back? After all, it’s already been two whole days! Don’t they realize that you’d be perfect and you’re just itching to go?

    To paraphrase John Wayne, “Now hold on just a minute there, pilgrim.” (Or maybe that’s Robin Williams impersonating John Wayne, I’m getting my childhood TV mixed up…)

    I know you are very, very excited and very eager to find your next role. After all, you deserve it!

    But you need to be aware of the company’s timing as much as your own. Of course, because more than one person is involved in the decision, there will be a hiring process. Feedback needs to be collected, budgets need to be consulted, and meetings must be held.

    All of which takes time.

    So expecting that you’ll be getting feedback or another interview request the very next day after your visit is just a bit unrealistic. As a matter of fact, expecting and assuming that they’ll be following up at all is probably unrealistic these days. You’ll need to be proactive and do the following-up yourself after a reasonable amount of time has passed.

    What’s a reasonable timeframe? It’s long enough so that it doesn’t seem you’re breathing down their necks, and it’s soon enough so that they don’t think you’ve forgotten.

    My advice is to wait a week between call-backs.

    Just put it in your calendar — after you’ve had a call, an interview, an e-mail — just jot a note to yourself to follow up seven days later. And forget about it until then — fretting doesn’t make it better.

    What should your follow-up calls (better) or e-mails (OK) read like?

    “Hi, Mrs. Lee, I had such a wonderful time speaking with you last week and I think I could contribute a lot to Acme. So I’m just following up on our conversations and would love to hear back from you. You can reach me at this phone or that e-mail address.”


    “Hello, Tom. When we met three weeks ago I mentioned how Ink, Inc. would be a great opportunity to apply my software development management skills in an industry I’m familiar with. So I would very much appreciate the chance to connect and hear what you’re thinking about my candidacy. You can reach me at this phone number.”

    In each conversation, you’re trying to remind them of the three Es: you exist, you’re excited, and you’re expecting to hear back from them.

    You exist. Now, of course, you haven’t forgotten this since you last spoke with Mrs. Lee or Tom Pruitt, but you know what?, they might have forgotten about you. And it’s not because you’re insignificant or not qualified or not wanted. It’s just with hiring on the upswing, and HR departments and recruiters still under-staffed from the recession, they don’t have time to follow up with all of the people they’ve spoken with. So a gentle reminder that “Hey, I’m here” can remind them of how much they liked you.

    You’re excited. Sometimes the candidate with the consistent and persistent enthusiasm can get the nod just for showing sustained interest. Make sure you communicate why you’re interested in the role and why you’d be great.

    You’re expecting. Don’t ask them to call back “only” if they’re interested or “only” if there’s an update. You burned up a good few minutes of your time doing the favor of reaching out to them, so ask them to give the favor back in return. Go ahead and politely suggest the return call — it will give you a chance to get them back on the phone, sell yourself some more, and find out what the scoop is on their side.

    Also, it’s worth mentioning for good order that there are also three Es you want to avoid. You don’t want to tell them that you’re enraged that you haven’t got the job yet, over eager because you’ve got nothing else going on, or an egomaniac who thinks they should feel lucky that you’re considering them. Nobody wants to hire an angry, desperate jerk.

    Keep calling back each week, politely and persistently.

    If you’ve got the patience of Job and the stamina of Lou Gehrig, then keep at this for 8-10 weeks. But for most folks, I suggest limiting it to 5. If they haven’t called you back after five weeks, then you probably aren’t going to be hearing from them after 10, and your time is best spent elsewhere. (But don’t give up after three, which is what too many people do — I’ve seen too much luck created on those fourth and fifth calls for you to skip them!)

    I hope that takes some of the anxiety and mystery out of the follow-up call, Readers…

    So have a great week, folks! I’m making a note right now to follow up with you next week!

  • For your favorite recruiter or HR person

    ** From my weekly newsletter to TheLadders.com subscribers **

    Do you know a recruiter or HR person who could benefit from TheLadders?

    Well, here’s your chance to get them something fast, effective, easy and free.

    Send your friend, colleague, contact, or recruiter this link:


    And they’ll be able to post jobs free (1 at a time), and create their own hiring network of professionals that make over $100,000 per year.

    We launched Passport on January 6th and we’ve already had over 5,000 recruiters sign up.

    So when you forward this email to their attention, you’ll be doing them a big favor!

    Have a great week!

  • Safire, also a refreshing spirit…

    With the demise of On Language this weekend, I’m reminded that during high school, I’d decided that I was eventually going to write “On Language” when I retired.  (And, presumably, so had Safire.)

    While that looks unlikely now, it does give me a convenient excuse to re-post my favorite correction ever from the Times:

    An interview transcript in The Times Magazine last Sunday about Bernard Shaw, the CNN anchor, misspelled the brand name of the gin in a martini he savored the day after the election. It is Bombay Sapphire, named for the gemstone. (Safire, also a refreshing spirit, was the author of the column five pages later.)

    To the memory of Safire, we raise a glass…

  • Hired!

    ** From my weekly newsletter to TheLadders.com subscribers **

    It’s a national holiday, so I thought today would be a good day to celebrate the successes of your fellow subscribers in landing jobs so far in February.

    There are too many to list in their entirety, so here is just a sample of jobs accepted by your fellow subscribers so far this month:

    Job Title Salary
    Director of Training $160K
    Sr. Middleware Administrator $110K
    Branch Manager $120K
    Director, Client Service $130K
    Vice President of Human Resources $118K
    Director Product Management $160K
    Director of Marketing $140K
    Associate Director $125K
    Director of Operations $120K
    Region Director $190K
    VP of Sales $125K
    Manager, Commodity Purchasing $110K
    Senior Manager $140K
    Director of Marketing $115K
    Learning and Development Manager $130K
    Director $150K
    Healthcare sales manager $100K
    Marketing, Communications, Branding Manager $130K
    SVP Web to Print Solutions $220K
    Southeast Sales Director $110K
    Principal Consultant for Government Healthcare $142K
    Senior Sales Engineer $115K
    Controller $120K
    Sr. Supply Chain Manager $105K
    Manager of Business Technololgy $140K
    Financial Advisor $120K
    President of Investments $175K
    VP and Senior Product Manager $123K
    NA Operations Manager $150K
    Manager, Training and Development $100K
    General Site Manager $145K
    Sr Client Executive $115K
    Senior Manager, Digital Marketing $115K
    VP of Development $125K
    Six Sigma Black Belt $110K
    Consultant $120K
    Performance Engineer $120K
    Product Manager $126K
    Acthar specialist $100K
    Manager of product Development $125K
    Global Logistics Director $190K
    Partner $150K
    Senior Account Executive $110K
    Project Manager $100K
    OIM Technical Developer Lead $120K
    Vice President $170K
    Senior Sales Engineer $137K
    Brande Manager, Nuclear Cardiology $120K
    Vice President $150K
    IT Manager $100K
    Business Development Rep P#7 $120K
    CEO $100K
    Client Partner Publishing $180K
    Director – Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) $130K
    Director of Client Services $140K
    Director of Consulting Financial FS Strategies $200K
    Director of Customer Service Contact Center $100K
    Director of Market Research $165K
    Director, NA Operations $160K
    Eastern RSM – Computers $110K
    Global SAP Center of Excellence Head $100K
    Head Sales Lifesciences and Healthcare, USA $120K
    Manager, Strategic Sourcing $150K
    Payer Strategy and Marketing Manager $110K
    Pre Sales Systems Engineer $180K
    Process Engineer $100K
    Regional VP, Services $130K
    Sales Executive (Sales Team Management) $200K
    SalesForce.com Consulting Project Manager $125K
    Senior Engineer / Project Manager $135K
    Senior Executive Practice $100K
    Senior Program Manager $215K
    Sr Information Assurance Systems Engineer $145K
    Technical Project Manager $100K

    OK, Readers, good luck in your job search this week!

  • I love these recruiters…

    Well, it’s Love Day, everybody, and it’s time for you to make a connection. And while I don’t have a dozen roses for you, I do have a dozen recruiters to suggest that you “follow” — following recruiters is the easiest way to get the jump on brand new jobs directly to your inbox…

    Michael McCandlish

    Follow Michael McCandlish

    Michael McCandlish

    President at The McCandlish Group, LLC

    Sales Executive, New York, NY

    Sales Executive, Mountain View, CA

    Sales Executive EH&S Software Montreal, Montreal, QC

    Pad Swami

    Follow Pad Swami

    Pad Swami

    CEO at UrpanTech

    IT Portfolio Analyst , PMO Support, New York, NY

    Siebel Operational Reporting Analyst & Technical Lead, Columbus City, IA

    Performance Engineer, Cincinnati, OH

    Microsoft Global Talent Labs Team

    Follow Microsoft Global Talent Labs Team

    Microsoft Global Talent Labs Team

    Global Talent Prospecting Team at Microsoft

    TSP MTC – SQL – 746334, Southfield, MI

    User Experience Lead, Principal – Exchange – 746442, Redmond, WA

    System Architect – IEB – Xbox Kinect Team – 746079, Redmond, WA

    Brett Gray

    Follow Brett Gray

    Brett Gray

    Lead Technical Recruiter at Harvey Nash, Inc.

    Lead Application Analyst – Global Markets, NJ

    Lead Application Analyst – Global Markets, Charlotte, NC

    Lead Application Analyst – Global Markets, New York, NY

    Haven Blais

    Follow Haven Blais

    Haven Blais

    Principal at Simon Mitchell & Associates

    Sales Engineer / Solution Consultant, MN

    Account Manager, Nashville, TN

    Sales Engineer / Solution Consultant, Saint Louis, MO

    Roland Tamayo

    Follow Roland Tamayo

    Roland Tamayo

    President at GS3

    Software Sales Executive – Media/Entertainment, Atlanta, GA

    Database Support Engineer – Strong SQL / Unix skills, San Mateo, CA

    Database Sales Engineer – Strong SQL / Java skills, San Mateo, CA

    Dave Carvajal

    Follow Dave Carvajal

    Dave Carvajal

    Founder at Dave Partners

    Agile QA Engineer, New York, NY

    PHP Developer, New York, NY

    Systems Engineer , New York, NY

    Michael Pisano

    Follow Michael Pisano

    Michael Pisano

    Account Executive at The Execu|Search Group

    Senior Solutions Engineer, New York, NY

    WPF Consultant, New York, NY

    Senior Systems Manager , New York, NY

    Katie Kelly

    Follow Katie Kelly

    Katie Kelly

    Staffing Consultant at Microsoft

    Account Technology Specialist, Hartford, CT

    Technology Solution Professional – MTC, Waltham, MA

    Technical Solution Professional – Collaboration, Washington, DC

    Justin Chukumba

    Follow Justin Chukumba

    Justin Chukumba

    Recruiter/Business Developer at Harvey Nash, Inc.

    Director of Software Development, New York, NY

    Alan Bender

    Follow Alan Bender

    Alan Bender

    President / Owner at Bender Executive Search

    Account Director – Shopper Marketing, Los Angeles, CA

    Account Director – Shopper Marketing, CT

    Luis Pedemonte

    Follow Luis Pedemonte

    Luis Pedemonte

    Director-Lead Professionals, LLC at Lead Professionals, LLC

    Senior Software Engineer – Smartphone, Seattle, WA

    IT Security Consultant and Internal Auditor, Atlanta, GA

    Corporate Sales Executives (LPO), Atlanta, GA

    When you follow recruiters, every time they upload a new job into the system or have a new requisition, you receive notice directly in your email inbox. It’s social recruiting at its easiest!

    I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day tonight, and a great week of connections this week, Readers!

  • Who’s got time for this?

    ** From my weekly newsletter to TheLadders.com subscribers **
    Balancing work, family and friends is tough enough without throwing a job hunt on top of it. Your schedule is already packed and now you’re supposed to add researching and following up on job opportunities into the mix? That’s a pretty tall order.

    So here’s what we’ve done at TheLadders to make your search for a high-end job easier when it comes to research, tools, resume, and understanding the hunt.

    Research — cutting out the busy work

    Yes, with an infinite amount of time, you could use the internet to find the names of all the companies who might have jobs for somebody like you, surf their websites, follow up on the phone, and keep an active eye on what’s new. But who has an infinite amount of time?

    We thought that was too much work to ask of busy professionals.

    So what we do at TheLadders is call recruiters and HR departments — over 15,000 calls per week from TheLadders to companies and recruiters looking to fill positions — and we get the information from them about upcoming hires they are making in order to post the jobs on our site or let them look through our resume database.

    Then, we screen through all the jobs they do send to make sure they are paying at the $100,000 or more level. We have two human beings review each job before it is allowed on the site — that’s a form of editorial oversight or curation that makes sense for you by eliminating the busy work.

    Recruiters and hiring managers like using TheLadders because we only have candidates at the $100K+ level. It saves them a lot of time when they don’t have to look through all the inappropriate applications that they might get when they post their jobs on a general job board. By screening for both sides, we here at TheLadders have created a community that is a lot safer, easier, and more efficient for high-end professionals to get connected with the jobs they are looking for.

    Jobs — how to get instant notice

    Here’s a great way to save yourself lots of time in the job hunt by getting instant updates when recruiters post jobs:

    Use “Follow Recruiter” to “follow” those recruiters with the types of jobs you’re interested in. No surprise, it turns out that if a recruiter has one job you’re interested in, chances are that he or she will have other jobs you’re interested in too. Operations recruiters tend to have operations jobs, finance recruiters tend to have finance jobs, legal recruiters tend to have law jobs, etc.

    So when you sign up to “Follow” a particular recruiter, you’ll be notified by e-mail immediately when they post a new job. It’s a great way to save time and get a jump on the competition…

    Resume — it should do the work for you

    The best way to save time in the job hunt is to have your resume do as much of the work for you as it can.

    While many of us feel sheepish about “bragging” about our accomplishments, it’s important to realize that your resume is the first contact your potential future boss has with you — and what he or she needs to know is how you can make their life easier by filling this job they’re hiring for and doing it really well.

    You’re not going to get a chance to speak with the hiring manager and let them know what a wonderful professional you are. You can try to explain your accomplishments on the phone to the HR department, or you can hope that your industry contacts let them know what a star you really are, but that’s not a guaranteed way to make sure you are being presented effectively.

    No, what you need to do is have a resume that does all of that work for you.

    Now, a resume is really an advertisement. It advertises not what you’ve done, but what you can do for your future employer. You might think that listing all your accomplishments, skills, and awards would be enough, but as we have researched it here at TheLadders, that’s not the case.

    A great resume is written from the point of view of “What can this person do for me, the manager that has a job that needs to be done?”

    So many resumes that we see have entries such as “Was hired to be the VP of the Western Region for the new product line ofAcme Corp.”

    OK, while that’s true, it doesn’t really tell your future boss what you can do, only what you’ve done.

    A great resume would say something like “Reduced operating costs 17% through streamlining of production processes and increased contribution margin by 510 basis points after being selected to lead new product line of Acme Corp.”

    By telling your prospective employer about what you can do and how you did it, a great resume advertises your abilities very effectively even though you are not there.

    So my professional advice is always, always to get your resume professionally written. There are people who do this for a living and they know the ins and outs, the tricks, and the most effective way to craft a resume that does the work for you.

    Information — get educated without having to read everything

    Looking for a job while you’re still employed is a challenge, and there are a lot of nuances to it: How do I keep things going well at work while I’m looking? How do I manage the wardrobe change when I’m going for interviews? How do I not get myself in trouble with non-competes? Etc., etc.

    We have a fantastic editorial team here at TheLadders and they’ve written or commissioned over 1,000 articles on every topic involving the job hunt — resume writing, salary negotiations, interviewing, and yes, managing the search for a new job while you’re still employed. They’re all available on our site, for free, here.

    OK, folks, that’s my advice this week on finding a job while you’re employed. I hope you find it useful!

    Good luck in your search this week — I’ll be rooting for you …

  • Your best offense is under your nose

    ** From my weekly newsletter to TheLadders.com subscribers **
    It was the spoof headline in The Onion (“America’s Finest News Source”) that caught my eye:

    “Study Links Adult-Male Smiling To Extremely Overweight Men Scoring Touchdowns”

    The article continued:

    “PHILADELPHIA – A study released Monday by the University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychology revealed a direct correlation between smiling in adult American males and the scoring of touchdowns by incredibly large or obese football players. ‘The initial results of the study proved that adult males offer at least a smirk at the sight of any extremely overweight man’s head squished into a helmet,’ said Dr. Caroline Nissen, who directed the study. ‘But without fail, if that man happens to recover a turnover and begins to run with the ball, the size of the observer’s smile grows exponentially, especially if the plump athlete attempts to jump over anything. By the time the obese player scores, literally every adult male we studied was grinning to the limits of his ability.’ Thus far, the study is being heralded by the medical community as a potential cure-all for males suffering from chronic depression.”

    Now, you might know The Onion is a satirical newspaper, so all their news is fake news, but there’s nothing false about laughter being the best medicine for what ails you.

    And in the job hunt, there is a lot that can ail you. The stresses of interviewing, writing cover letters, doing follow-up calls, taking phone screen interviews… all of it can pile up and leave you feeling uncertain and unprepared to thrive in your search.

    So I want you to forget all about that for a second and enjoy these outstanding, surprising touchdowns from unexpected heroes…

    Here’s Shaun Rogers returning an interception 66 yards for a touchdown:

    BJ Raji scoring big in the playoffs:

    And here’s one for the old folks… William “The Refrigerator” Perry from 1985 (we couldn’t find his Super Bowl touchdown online – if you have it please send it our way!):

    I remember watching The Fridge back in high school… did you know that his Super Bowl ring size (25) is the largest of any professional football player in the history of the game?

    So, look, there are going to be many times in your job search when you get down, or when you feel like your nerves are getting the best of you.

    It could be when you’re sitting in the car in the parking lot waiting to go in for an interview. You know the feeling – sweaty palms, pit in your stomach, you’re wishing you hadn’t had the Venti at Starbuck’s – but there’s also a nervous electric energy about you.

    It could be when you’re sitting staring at your phone in your home office. You know you have to call back the HR department for a follow-up interview and you’re hoping that you know the right thing to say, the right words to put together, the right answers because, dang it, this is a job you really want, you really deserve, and let’s face it – you really need. So it’s the nerves, nerves, nerves that have got you on edge.

    For these, and for any other occasion in the search that has you feeling wound up, the most important advice I can give you is to relax You’ll do fine. You’re one of the top professionals in the country (in the world, really) and I know you’ll do wonderfully.

    But as much as I say it, you’re not feeling it. It’s easy for me to write you this little note and tell you everything’s going to be OK, but, c’mon, I’m not the one sitting in the car or staring at the phone or fidgeting in your seat as you think about how important and frustrating this job search is for you.

    So, great, forget about me, forget about advice, forget about everything, and just let your head get out of the fog by taking your mind completely off the task at hand for a few minutes.

    Pull out these videos and hit play. Save this newsletter and any time you’ve got a big interview, watch The Fridge, The Freezer, and Rogers chug down the field for a score. It’s a great feeling. It feels like an accomplishment and success and triumph and you know, if those guys can lumber down the field and score improbable impossible touchdowns, perhaps it’s not really that tough for you to answer a few questions about what you do for a living.

    You’ll be smiling and you’ll probably be chuckling and then when you go into that interview or pick up at the phone, your confidence and your good humor are going to come across and make you sound great.

    I’ve been giving career advice to millions of people for the past decade and I can tell you this helps and this works. Try it out yourself, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to score.