Interview with Tim Tyrell-Smith of Tim’s Strategy
Today’s interview is with Tim Tyrell-Smith, founder of Tim’s Strategy: Ideas for Job Search, Career, and Life. He has authored two books. Tim works as a marketing coach, life coach, and professional keynote speaker, discussing marketing and social networking. Follow him on twitter @timsstrategy.
Kaleigh: After reading your bio, it sounds like you stumbled into blogging about careers and unemployment because you needed to keep the faith while searching for a job. Since then, the market has only gotten worse. Any tips for job seekers out there who are ready to throw in the towel and wait it out until things start to pick up? What kept you searching for a job?
Tim: Actually my blogging started as a way to give back after a successful job search in 2007. Once I figured out an efficient strategy, I wanted to help others succeed. Not that I didn’t have bad days during job search. I did. But I believed in myself and kept positive activity happening. For people thinking about giving up, make sure you are getting out of the house, meeting with others and connecting with your network. You are not alone and can find significant support and motivation from a strong and growing network.
K: Employers are probably more attracted to candidates who are driven. They know what they want to do. Do you think it’s better for a job seeker to have a strong idea of what position they’re looking for or should they be more flexible?
T: I believe very strongly that a job seeker needs specific job search objectives. Mostly for educating your network. People can’t help you with leads or connections if they have only a vague understanding of what you are looking for in the next job. In the end, you will be forgotten over the weeks after your first meeting with someone. For employers, they are looking for people who really want to work there and in that position. If you show a genuine interest in a position during interviews, that will help make you interesting.
K: Your blog has taken off and gained a strong readership. Did you have to learn the ins and outs of social media? What’s been helpful for you in facilitating conversation and keeping readers interested?
T: It’s about engaging people. And it took a long time in the early days. Many late nights answering question on my LinkedIn group, Twitter, Facebook page and on the blog. People want to know that there is a real person behind the curtain. Someone who has good, relevant experience and truly wants to help and connect with others. I ask a lot of questions to start conversations. I also send personal emails to key contributors thanking them for participating.
K: Recently you mentioned celebrating the small victories on the job hunt. Some people might be worried that they’ll get too confident having landed an interview and then be more devastated if the job falls through. How can they use this one success to keep the good news coming?
T: Recognizing and sharing small wins allow for you to focus on the positive along the way. It’s too easy to pay attention to bad news and no news. And sharing small wins helps others feel better while also providing ideas on how others can manufacture positive events. Interviewing with confidence is key. One way to do that is to continue pushing for more leads, more interviews and new connections at target companies. If you have only one option, there is a risk of being too dependent or desperate. Having multiple options allows you to be yourself and ask good questions knowing that if one interview doesn’t work out, you have others in the funnel.
K: Networking is always important, but is there anything else the younger generation should do before graduating from college to make the job search easier?
T: Sure, here are a few ideas. Be professional in your communications, responsible in online interactions and respectful of those you meet (the way you dress, the way you use their time). Also, younger candidates tend to be more comfortable networking online and less comfortable and active networking in person. Use a balanced approach to expose your brand in the best possible way.
K: Some people believe that a hiring manager won’t take the time to interview a candidate unless serious about potentially hiring him or her. Do you think that’s true?
T: Often times a hiring manager will choose from a variety of candidates with different strengths for comparison purposes. But more often, yes, they are looking for those with the best fit for the job description. Interviewing is a big time commitment so interviewing poorly qualified candidates doesn’t happen as often. Before the market got so crowded, people used to look for “the best athletes” even if they weren’t a perfect fit. Today, however, with so many perfect fits on paper you see fewer companies taking risks on candidates.
K: For younger candidates, experience tends to be an issue. Someone has to hire them for that first job or internship if they want to gain experience. What’s the best way for a candidate with less experience but a hard work ethic to shine in an interview?
T: First, you can show enthusiasm and an ability to work independently. Sometimes companies don’t hire interns because they take too much time to manage and deliver little value in a 90-day internship. Also, come recommended. You reduce the risk for the hiring manager if your resume comes via a friend or colleague.