Archive for January 2014

How To Handle An Inverted Job Market   Leave a comment

Networking 2.0: Penetrating the Job Market

Networking has become the career buzz-term of the decade. It is everywhere; and Lord knows we business faculty pound it into the heads of our students on a daily basis. We tell them to use LinkedIn, make calls, rehearse elevator speeches, collect cards, do informational meetings, send out hand written cards, never eat alone, consider it a full-time job, and never ever stop doing it. But the truth of the matter is that most of us do not do it very well. If we can get off the dime at all, it is usually when we are losing our job. Then we say, “Uh oh, I better start networking!” Sales people are good at it, and consultants better be good at it, or the distinction between consultant and unemployment quickly evaporates.

And even when we do network, it may have a directionless, organic feel to it. We call someone we know, meet with them and see what happens. If we do enough of this we believe that the numbers alone will drive some good things to us, but we probably wasted a lot of time doing it. This lack of planning is a little like having a new product to sell and wandering around the street trying to figure out who might like to buy it. What company or brand manager would ever launch a product that way? And here we are launching the most important product of our lives that way. It’s amazing.

So beyond just brow beating us all about networking: What else can be done? First, we can start thinking of ourselves as brands that we are launching or relaunching. After we have defined our brand (a subject for another column) we need to do two things: 1) Decide what segment of the market we are aiming at, and 2) build a strategy to penetrate it. The first of these is probably the simplest, but it is also passed over by many of us.

This brings us to penetration strategy—really the point of this column. Most of us understand that we need to think of networking as information and contact gathering, and not job requests. We understand that all networking conversations should end with the name of the next person to call. But what we may not understand is that we should be thinking of each contact from a target marketing point of view. The value and opportunity that each network contact presents varies widely. The challenges and goals of a conversation with a friend of a friend needs to be thought of very differently from a conversation with a senior vice president that we have never met before. And the payout from these different “markets” is also very different.

The table below provides an interesting way to understand network target markets. It does this by using two contact variables (level of influence and level of contact). Each of these cells represents a different micro market with different advantages. The goal for each is to go after what they have to offer with a clear strategy.


Cells 2 and 3 are the ones that we are likely to have the clearest opinion of. Cell 2 is made up of influential people whom we know and who know us. They are our “rich uncles” because they are the ones who are the most likely to have the ability and interest in finding us jobs. But the truth of the matter is that most of us do not have a network heavily stocked with rich uncles. If you have rich uncles, they should be carefully maintained, because clearly they are the most likely to help you find the best opportunity.

Cell 3 is the other obvious cell because we are most likely to view it as valueless—so we ignore it. But these people are not valueless. They are the thin edge of the wedge of your network. They have the least influence, but they are the people who can introduce us to one of the most valuable groups—their ground floor friends. You never know who they know.

Cell 3, the “ground floor friends,” may be the most important group. They can do several things for you; most importantly they can tell you about their company. This information includes where the opportunities are, who the decision makers are, what the culture is like, and how the hiring process works. In essence, they can be your internal information network (spies)—and there is no other cell that will provide this for you. They are also relatively easy to reach. So the thinnest edge of the wedge can quickly get you to this most important cell.

The challenge with Cell 1 (Distant Moguls) is that you don’t know them, and they do not know you. Getting to see them will require a bridge from another network member—most likely a rich uncle. These people owe you nothing and they are doing someone else a favor just to see you. Once you get in front of them your job is to quickly find a way to make some sort of personal connection and then make a clear and brief presentation of your brand. You will need to leave them with a memory, so that they will be able to say: “Oh I remember Mueller, he was the guy who…”

So building and using a robust network means doing several things:

  • Focus on the segment of the market that you want to work in;
  • If you have a rich uncle, cultivate the relationship further;
  • Work from the thin side of the wedge by cultivating your internal informers; and if you get to a mogul,
  • Be prepared with a clear brand description and a memorable personal connection.

This micro analysis will take the randomness out of your network building and lead you more quickly to your next career opportunity.

Posted January 23, 2014 by mikaljackson in Uncategorized

YOUR LIFE…Why it is the way it is and what you can do about it NOW~   Leave a comment


What will your 2014 choices be my friend?

As most of you know, I am not one who is attracted to the latest trends or culturally “in” thought processes!  I am a realist, who delivers my words from a deep conviction and demands that those I serve do just the same.
What I do know is this, each of us make choices, and those choices effect our success.  Coaches are not critics of your choices, but the effective coach is a supporter of your choices, and helps you look at the risks associated with your thinking.  With so many people around us with agendas that serve their interests it sometimes can be difficult to know what “noise” to blend with your own thinking – right?   
On January 15 at 12 noon EST I will be conducting a free webinar titled “Your Life….Why it is the way it is and what you can do about it now!”  In the past 6 years I have helped hundreds of people change their focus and change their lives.  Most of them made a decision to attend a free webinar, and from there they started to construct some new thinking which resulted in hopeful futures!  
So I am inviting you personally to attend this one hour session. What will YOUR choice be?  It costs you nothing but an hour of your time and the results could be life changing.  What choice will you make? I hope to see you in the webinar, that choice may be just the jump start you needed!  
Yes Mikal, I am signing up right now…”To Live Is To Adapt”
I look forward to seeing you on January 15 at 12 noon EST.  
 V. Mikal Jackson CPC
on your mobile device:
IFPC isma

Posted January 13, 2014 by mikaljackson in Uncategorized

20 Tips For A Positive New Year In 2014!   Leave a comment



1. Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can trust that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.

2. Take a morning walk of gratitude. I call it a “Thank You Walk.” It will create a fertile mind ready for success.

3. Make your first meal the biggest and your last meal the smallest. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid.

4. Zoom Focus. Each day when you wake up in the morning ask: “What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?” Then tune out all the distractions and focus on these actions.

5. Talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself. Instead of listening to your complaints, fears and doubts, talk to yourself and feed your mind with the words and encouragement you need to keep moving forward.

6. Remember that adversity is not a dead-end but a detour to a better outcome.

7. Don’t chase dollars or success. Decide to make a difference and build meaningful relationships and success will find you.

8. Get more sleep. You can’t replace sleep with a double latte.

9. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in your purpose, people and the positive present moment.

10. Mentor someone and be mentored by someone.

11. Live with the 3 E’s. Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy.

12. Remember there’s no such thing as an overnight success. There’s no substitute for hard work.

13. Believe that everything happens for a reason and expect good things to come out of challenging experiences.

14. Implement the No Complaining Rule. Remember that if you are complaining, you’re not leading.

15. Read more books than you did in 2013.

16. Don’t seek happiness. Instead decide to live with passion and purpose and happiness will find you.

17. Focus on “Get to” vs “Have to.” Each day focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. Life is a gift not an obligation.

18. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:

I am thankful for __________.
Today I accomplished____________.

19. Smile and laugh more. They are natural anti-depressants.

20. Enjoy the ride. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.

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