Guest blog on neurosciencemarketing.com!

Hey everyone! Please take a minute to check out my guest blog post on Roger Dooley’s neuromarketing website. I’d love to hear your feedback!

http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/moneyball.htm

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How the job hunt is actually going

Beloved blog readers and job seekers! I seem to have missed my point a little bit. As I’ve posted here, I’ve realized that I haven’t given my readers much of an idea of how things have actually been going. I’m a logical person so I like to see how the big picture works before explaining things, but that’s not really the point of this blog. I want to tell people about it as I’m going through the experience, not just how it worked out after the fact. I’m approaching my job search differently than many – I’m networking and reading as much as I can, and haven’t seriously applied to any jobs online. (In person, yes – just not through online job postings, because over 80% of jobs aren’t posted online!)

After about 2.5 months of working with “6 Steps to Savvy,” here are the highlights of where I stand with my job hunt situation:

I’ve been referred to a number of jobs around Denver that I’m not interested in, so I’ve respectfully declined those upon hearing of them. I did get referred to a psychology based sales coaching firm inDenverand I talked with them for about a month. I met with them a few times, and eventually their President had me go through a few personality tests which apparently went well. I think they do very well and there are great people involved, but honestly I’m looking for something a little bit more neuroscience related than being in a sales role again. I respectfully rescinded my application there and told them I’d be happy to refer others to the opening they have for a new associate. Since I was introduced to the firm through a referral, sending my resume was basically a formality after meeting with them a few times. That seems to be a recurring theme.

There is another person I met around Denver (through Twitter, actually) who is helping a South American neuromarketing company expand operations to the US. She and I met for a couple hours in Boulder, CO, and she mentioned that they might want me to help out starting US operations in early 2012. It’s a young company, but both her ideas and that situation are intriguing for me.

One of the more important things I’ve done (other than following the “6 Steps” plan) was to go to Pubcon, a search engine optimization/social media conference in Las Vegas. A person fairly influential in the neuromarketing industry was set to do a few presentations there, so I decided to go and meet him. I booked the trip without actually talking to him first, and without knowing anyone that would be there. After a few attempts to contact him, we were able to set up a meeting over lunch at this conference. When we met, he suggested that I do a guest blog spot on his website and also referred me to the co-founder of one of the largest neuromarketing company in existence. However, my purpose of the meeting was truly to get his perspective on the industry, which was very helpful. One of the things that he mentioned was to not necessarily disqualify a company based on the specific technology they use, and to look more comprehensively about how they’re doing their consulting.

I also did my best to network all over the conference in Vegas. I ended up meeting (at least) 2 people that have been important to my job search. The first I met at a networking event the first night of the conference – I went up and introduced myself (I’m at a networking event, what else am I going to do?) and after a few minutes of conversation and communicating via email we decided to have coffee the next morning. He is actually this company’s director of operations, and we talked for about three hours over coffee. He then referred me to talk to some of the rest of their executive team, and his company is flying me out to their headquarters in Milwaukee and putting me up for a couple nights next week to take a look at their HQ. It sounds like a great business and has a way to work in the neuromarketing that I’m looking for. Again, the resume was almost an afterthought – after the flights were booked and the hotel chosen (they’re gracious enough to sponsor both) they asked for a resume just so they can give their other execs a heads up before I get a chance to meet them.

Another valuable connection came from a vendor at the expo hall at Pubcon. Again, I went up to him and introduced myself (probably introduction #100 or so that week) and we talked briefly. He mentioned that he has a neuromarketing connection in the UK that he’d be happy to refer me to. He also said that he was having a get-together at his hotel that evening, so a friend of mine and I stopped by the MGM to say hi that night. (Not all business connections have to be done in the “formal” sense) We all had a great time, and we were able to communicate after the conference. He introduced me via email to his friend, who is the founder of a neuromarketing company outside of London. This individual and I are planning on chatting via Skype next week. (I’ve always loved the UK and I have some family doing work over there these days)

All in all, I’d say things are going very well on the job hunt. I’ve turned down more jobs than I’ve applied for, and I’m talking with companies on 4 continents. I will only work with an opportunity that I’m extremely interested in. A challenge I have that I didn’t anticipate is that many companies that work with this sort of research tend to keep it fairly quiet, due to some public perception and fear of neuromarketing. I personally don’t believe that the fear is justified, but I can see why these companies would keep things on the down low. (Just makes it a little tougher to find things online)

If I don’t run across what I’m looking for within the next couple months, I’d rather bartend (or do anything short term) than to accept a job I don’t want just because it pays. I don’t consider myself “above” or too good for any particular job; I just have an idea of what I’d love to do. If I end up having to hold out a little while to find my dream opportunity, I’d honestly rather dig ditches to make money than to work with a company I’m not interested in. However, bartending has been one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had so I’d probably look there first. All in all, I’m not too worried about it.

Takeaways for job hunters:

1) Read and follow “6 Steps to Savvy”

2) Figure out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do

3) Build your brand and don’t rely on your resume

4) Network, network, network!

5) Follow up with referrals quickly

6) Stay positive! Have fun!

(p.s. – I keep names of individuals and companies here quiet because some of them want to keep things quiet on their end, so I won’t post any identifying information unless they have specifically granted permission)

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The Advantage of Drilling Down

You want to make it as easy as possible for people to help you and refer you in your job search. It’s human nature to help out our community because it helps our species survive. Problem is, most of the time people don’t know how best they can help, so they’d rather do nothing than to lead you in the wrong direction. If you don’t know what you want your connections don’t know what you want, either.

“So, what do you want to do?” If you’re looking for a job, you should hear this question just about every day. I believe that most people who ask this question want to help. If you were looking for water, what would you rather do: drill 100, one foot holes, or drill one, 100 foot hole? Many job seekers (and businesses) fail to achieve their goals because they cast too wide of a net and don’t specify their target demographic enough. This seems counterintuitive – traditional logic may say that if you want something (a job, a customer, etc) be as broad as possible to attract all possible matches. However, that doesn’t fit with how people actually think and make decisions. (You may have a few “holes” you’re digging but you get the point)

I’m looking to go into a fairly specific job market. Psychology/Neuroscience based consulting, somehow answering the question, “how can we do better business by understanding how the brain works?” is not a common company out there. (yet) There are around 15 neuromarketing companies in the world (http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/companies) and some other psychology based consulting/coaching firms I’m looking at. The crazy thing is, the more specifically I can describe my purpose the easier it is to get referrals. In the last 4 days, I’ve heard back and scheduled meetings from the owners of 3 companies as I have further narrowed down my focus.

The majority of people you run across in your job search will wish you the best of luck but probably won’t have any referrals to throw your way. However, if they do know someone in your chosen field, their memory recall will be easier and they’re more likely to give you someone to talk to.

Lastly – while it is great to have a solid idea of what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to interview for positions that may be a little outside of your target, especially if it’s a company you’re interested in. In the last two months, 2 good friends of mine have found solid, well paying, enjoyable careers that came from interviews for lower level positions. One friend, an engineer, interviewed for a installer position at a company he was interested in (basically a construction gig) and landed a Engineering Project Manager position supervising 4 installers. Another friend knew that he wanted to be in a sales-related customer service type of position, and did well enough in his interview to be sent up to the brand new digital marketing division of this company. For both of these friends, the pay for the jobs they landed is about twice as much as the jobs they originally applied and interviewed for. Remember that since many companies don’t immediately post their jobs online, you may uncover some hidden gems by accepting interviews slightly outside of your focus and being aware of opportunities for upward mobility. You probably need the interview practice anyway!

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My Bucket List

Figuring out my bucket list was tougher than I expected! The 2nd step in Christina Lohman’s book 6 Steps to Savvy is to come up with your own bucket list. It’s very important, but easier said than done! Right off the bat, I could only think of 19 things. It took some serious brainstorming (and letting my dreams get bigger) to get comfortable with the 50 goals my list, and I also added rough dates for when I’d like to accomplish these by. I can’t say that this list will happen exactly the way its written or that things won’t change. (One of my goals was to meet Steve Jobs. RIP Steve) I know I need to be flexible in life and to continuously reevaluate my progress and goals. I would also love to have many of these happen earlier than I mention here, but the first step is to define what you’re aiming for in life.

The most important thing is to have defined, written, and actionable goals that excite you and ignite your passions. When you do this, your subconscious mind (the 90-98% of your brain processing that you are usually unaware of) will align with your goals and that’s why this activity is so imperative to accomplishing them.

always Go to as many of my family and good friends weddings as possible
2011  Meet Roger Dooley (neurosciencemarketing.com)
2012 Sign on with a neurmarketing/neuroconsulting or psychology based consulting firm
2013 Be a part of a billion dollar non-profit
2013 Visit Max Jaeger in China (M. Jaeger Trading Company)
2013 Go couchsurfing again
2013 Visit the Pacific Northwest
2015 Meet Timothy Ferris
2015 Meet Jay Z
2015 Meet Mark Zuckerberg
2015 Meet Seth Godin
2015 Get paid to give a speech
2015 Be in a non-violent flash mob
2015 Take my parents on a trip overseas
2015 Go back to South Africa
2015 Vacation in Amsterdam
2015 Throw networking events in Denver
2015 Be a neuroconsultant
2015 Get a skydiving license
2015 Meet Warren Buffet
2020 Give a speech to 10,000+ people
2020 Get married
2020 Own a house
2020 Go to Dubai
2020 Get a dog
2020 Write and publish a book
2020 Go to Somalia
2020 Go back to Israel
2025 Meet Peter Thiel
2025 Start a management consulting/private equity firm
2025 Have access to a private jet
2025 Have at least 1 kid
2025 Speak at a Southwestern Sales School
2025 Go to North Korea
2025 Own an investment property
2025 Own a ski house
2025 Fund a scholarship
2025 Win a Toastmasters national competition
2025 Get a pilot’s license
2030 Meet a current president
2030 Meet Richard Branson
2030 Meet Angela Merkel
2030 Buy a company
2030 Own property internationally
2030 Run a charity that promotes mental health
2035 Meet the leader of a communist country
2043 Have my kid(s) start a business before graduating high school
2045 Own a business on 6 continents
2050 Go on Semester at Sea again
2065 Beat my age on the golf course
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How Twitter helps my job search

Ok, I’ll admit it – I’m one of the Twitter users who signed up about 2 years ago, didn’t quite get it, and never tweeted. Until recently. As the microblogging service has really come into its own, I decided to take another look at how I could use it.

Twitter is a prime example of “The Network Effect” where a technology becomes more valuable as more people use it. (telephones, the internet, and facebook are great examples as well) If you’ve looked into Twitter but aren’t using it now, keep in mind that it is now inherently more valuable than ever before.

I heard someone say a couple days ago, “I don’t think Twitter would be that valuable because if people are just saying what they think, does it really matter?” If it’s being used ineffectively, I won’t disagree with that statement. The caveat is that you have to follow the right people. I follow some of my friends of course, but the vast majority of the users I follow are directly related to the industry I’m going into. There are also some news sources and some other inspirational speakers/bloggers I follow as well, but most of what I see are related to neuroscience, neuromarketing, science research, etc.

It’s possible that I have the most (or close to the most) nerdy twitter feed of any of my good friends. That’s fine, because that fits who I am and what I’m looking for. By using Twitter this way I can keep very up to date on what’s going on in the industry, upcoming events, interactions between other neuro-related Twitter users, and so forth. I’m blessed that many people in the neuroscience world are fairly tech-savvy, so it’s typically not hard to find their material online. Many of the influential people in my industry have their own blogs as well. Looking at their blogs is useful not just to keep up on what’s going on, but as a way to see what works and doesn’t in your blog. (hint: Start your own blog. Give people a reason to see more than your resume can provide in 1 page and prove that you’re tech-savvy)

I’ve also seen job postings as well as news about company closures in my twitter feed. I won’t say that you shouldn’t follow your favorite celebrities and such, but make sure you aren’t missing out on what Twitter has to offer. Of course, with any social networking technology, remember that it is a public forum and be prudent in your posts.

http://twitter.com/#!/taharveyconsult
Happy Tweeting!

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Do your research!

Beloved blog readers,

I apologize for my recent relative absence! I’ve been busy spending time with friends and getting on top of my own job search. I submitted my first resume, cover letter and references a couple days ago for an international consulting position. I don’t know if I’ll get it, but if I want it I’ll apply for it!

I have a good couple books to read. I have a second meeting with a consulting firm I’m looking at on Friday, and I just applied for what might be close to my dream job. The founders of both of these companies have published books (both bestsellers in their respective categories) so before I talk more with these people I need to understand where they’re coming from and the worldview in which they’ve built their companies.

I did an average of 1-2 hours of research on each company before meeting with or submitting anything to these places, and I feel that’s a good starting point but is not enough. If you’re going in for an interview, know what you’re getting into. Read Glassdoor posts, reviews, etc, but know for yourself what the company does. In my previous life when I interviewed candidates, I had people that came in thinking we were a different company (double-check the address/website) as well as some who knew where to go but had no idea who we were. None of these people were successful in their interviews with us.

So I imagine I have a good 500+ pages to read in the next 3 days or so. I also have another Toastmasters speech coming up tomorrow (I’m presenting on Neuromarketing; I feel that a speech will be good practice for an interview) so I need to finish that as well.

The great thing is that I love neuroscience, so reading/writing/stumbling around the internet doesn’t feel like work! If you have to force yourself to research the industry you’re trying to break in to, maybe it’s time to consider a different field. After spending time looking at what I’m most passionate about (neuroscience and business consulting) I know this is the industry for me. It is liberating to finally feel that way.

 

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We become what we think about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0vRa3KiUEU

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Stay hungry. Stay foolish. (Steve Jobs Youtube video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

Please, please, please watch this video. I’ve watched it twice so far and the second time it made me cry. At one point in my life I would have been too scared to say that online, in public, whatever – I don’t care anymore.

Decisions based in fear are some of the most detrimental things in all of human existence. When you are scared to fail, you don’t take risks. Welcome failure, because it means you tried and because you can learn from it. Be yourself, because life is short. You have no idea how long you have on this planet, and you may not have any control over when you die.

“If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” – Steve Jobs

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Do what you love! Your brain waves say so

If you are doing something you’re interested in, your brain will function differently and more effectively at work than it would just doing something you are able to do. Your brain is basically working off electrical signals at all times, and this is measured by the “brainwaves” or what type of energy your brain is emitting.

If you are interested in something, your brain is more “excited” (beta brainwaves, 12-38 Hz) and you will be more productive. Doing what you love will actually make you better at whatever you’re doing.

Nobody can spend all of their time in that excited state, so you do need a good work/life balance and solid sleep as well.

This explains it a bit more: http://4mind4life.com/blog/2008/02/09/beta-brain-waves/

Have fun!

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a few things I’ve done right so far

Since I’ve been in “funemployement,” I have not done everything perfectly but there are a few things that have helped so far.

  • I have done some sort of physical activity/exercise each day
  • I have not watched TV during the day or by myself
  • I have been proud of my job search and told most people about what I enjoy doing
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