Job Search Notifications / Alerts Off

Yesterday Glassdoor sent me a notification, advising me that they’d found a few jobs for me that matched my request to be told when Employment Counselling roles were available.

Now in the beginning, I thought this feature would be quite useful. When I first checked the box to indicate I’d want such notifications, in my innocence I assumed the jobs they’d share with me were what I’d keyed in, an Employment Counsellor in my case. Not so. What I got in my email yesterday was a job as a Senior Legal Counsel specializing in Employment Law. Now I can see they pulled in the words, “Counsel” and “Employment” for that one. However, the next job they suggested matched my search? Optometrist. Yep, Optometrist.

LinkedIn I thought would be better at this, and to be fair, I do get some jobs there that are good matches for what I’m looking for. However, I still get notifications for jobs I’m just not at all qualified for, nor interested in.

As an Employment Counsellor, there’s another factor at play that distorts what I’m personally after as well. You see, I’m often on job search websites, searching on behalf of the people I’m working with. However, just because I’m looking for jobs outside my own field, doesn’t mean I myself want to be notified when a Personal Support Worker or Administrative Clerk job opens up.

Maybe the good folks at LinkedIn and others should have a feature where you can notify them that you only want notifications about certain jobs, not every job you search for. You don’t have to be an Employment Counsellor to search for a friend, your spouse or adult children etc. To get the volume of returns I was getting on such diverse fields of interest and qualifications, I’d have to be an amazingly qualified individual in dozens of professions.

So I’ve turned off my notifications; for now at any rate. I mean am I job searching? Well, no not intensely. I am open to other opportunities though. I’ve done training events for my own employer with co-workers and management in attendance as well as for other organizations, While some people find it best to focus solely on their current job, I’m open to other possibilities. What’s out there I wonder?

Now, to be clear, I’m not an employee who, upon making some decision to move on, lacks the focus and commitment to excel where he is at the moment. No, at work, I’m zoned in and passionate after all these years about the privilege and opportunity I have each and every day to make a difference for somebody I meet. I love the people I work alongside in partnership – you’d call them clients or customers I suppose. Me? I call them people; after all, they were people long before they were ever seen as a client and I’ve found that more dignified.

At present, I’m working 95 kilometers from home, and commute daily to work and home gladly. Would I like to be closer to home? Sure! However, only in 5 years of my working life have I lived and worked in the same town. Longer commutes are something I’m used to. However, living in small town Ontario, there just aren’t the jobs to support what I do in great quantity. Oh I’ve tried, but one organization won’t look at me because their pay structure is so much less – they assume I’d have no interest. The only other organization in town I could work with is one I can’t due to nepotism; my spouse is a senior Manager and I can’t work there and answer to her.

So I’ve looked around. The notifications feature on some high profile social media job search websites has been useful at times. It’s of interest when a position indicates salary, range of duties etc. for comparative purposes, but few jobs actually peak my interest enough to apply.

The grass is green and lush where I work, and I’m not blind to that fact. It might be greener somewhere else – or at least as green – but if so, I’ve yet to find it. It’s not perfect though, and there are opportunities I don’t want to miss because someone else assumes I’m fixed forever in my current job with my present employer.

The thing is though, I know I’m needed where I am. The people who receive my help tell me this weekly and this gift they give me in wanting me to stay makes me feel like Sidney Portier in, “To Sir With Love”; wanted and needed. There might be opportunities elsewhere but no one is beating down my door.

Like most companies I suppose, people come and people go around me. Co-workers move up, take lateral moves, resign for jobs outside the organization and some just hang on for dear life hoping to ride out changes in the profession. Now I’d love the chance to work with a few colleagues I know in another organization. As unlikely as that is due to the current political climate and its impact on our profession, that chance would be worth a conversation.

As for today, the notifications are off and the email less cluttered with jobs I’m not interested in or qualified for. Optometrist! Seriously, not a chance. Just imagine getting your eyes tested and coming out with new glasses and motivated to change jobs too. Hang on a second…

LinkedIn Notifications

When I open LinkedIn I can see right away that there’s some notifications waiting for me to open. The more connections you have, the more likely you are to have a number of these, and so with quite a few connections, these notifications come daily.

As I move to click on the small red dot on the notifications image (in this case what reminds me of a school bell), I wonder less and less what the notification will actually turn out to be. This is because more often than not, the notifications are to either wish one of my connections a happy birthday or to congratulate them on a work anniversary or perhaps starting a new job.

Now I’m not under any obligation to actually do anything with those notifications. I can ignore them and choose to move on with whatever else I want to do, or I can click and up comes a standard message I can send as is or edit. Typically the standard message is, “Happy Birthday”, “Congratulations on the new job” or “Congratulations on your anniversary”. With a second click I can send the message as is or as I say edit the message by sending an additional thought of my own.

Now me, I always choose to acknowledge the event connected with my connections. I know however that this is not a practice shared by others, and I’m actually not going to suggest or advise you as a reader of this article one way or the other. I’m going to share with you why I personally do think this is a practice I will continue to engage in however. I would think the only reason I’d stop to do this would be if a number of my connections contacted me and requested I stop. It would seem to me however that this practice must be working for the majority of LinkedIn users or LinkedIn itself would disable this functionality and stop promoting the practice of acknowledging events going on with ones’ connections.

One thing I have to say is that like so many other users of this social media platform, I have contacts I know intimately, others I know well, some I know moderately and some I’ve accepted as connections whom never really entered into dialogue with beyond initiating or accepting a connection. My response to these people will vary when I see a notification. To the extent I know the person and/or the actual time I have on my hands at a given moment dictates what I choose to do. Not much time and I send the standard LinkedIn proposed message; more time and I add a personal note of my own.

The real question of course is why. Why do this at all? Of what value is there in sending any acknowledgement? Well to me, I believe it’s one small way of maintaining a relationship with the person. Take the person I know well but not intimately. Maybe I’ve exchanged some messages back and forth over the years, provided some feedback on something they’ve said or they’ve commented on a blog of mine. Acknowledging their birthday costs me nothing but 4 seconds and aren’t they worth that? I think they are.

Should my contact change jobs I’d also want to know about this and I wouldn’t expect they’d individually notify all their connections about the change. This service provided by LinkedIn is a quick way to get the news out and new jobs are always cause for celebration. I think most people enjoy being congratulated and so I do so.

What of the person then that I don’t know all that well but who is nonetheless a connection of mine? I still take those few seconds to click on the, “Say happy birthday” message. Here I might opt to just send the standard greeting. Again, it requires so little effort I can’t help but think if I really value the connection why wouldn’t I give them 4 seconds of my time?

You might wonder why I’d even have a connection that I don’t really know that well or whom I don’t exchange much conversation with. Perhaps for you this is a bigger question. Well, yes there are people who just go about collecting connections at random and think it’s a race to have the highest number possible. I’m not one of those. I do think that in addition to building a network of people in my field, there is value in knowing people in other lines of work; connections where the benefits are not immediately obvious. I’m laying the groundwork for the future, and if they initiate a request with me, perhaps they are looking to benefit from me as a connection. So it’s not always what I can leverage from someone but more often than not what I might do for them.

Clicking on that ‘Congratulate so-and-so on their work anniversary’ is also important I think just because it’s nice to do. There’s no strings attached to sending the congratulatory message, I’m not asking for anything. It does from time-to-time result in a few messages back and forth; a check-in if you will and my relationship with that person gets some attention and nurturing.

So there’s some of my argument for the LinkedIn Notifications feature and it’s value. Sometimes it’s all the little things that cumulatively make a difference.

Reminders And Notifications

Ever noticed how the word, ‘organized’ or the term, ‘strong organization skills’, seems to be a qualification employers are all searching for these days? Well no wonder, because it’s a busy world and everyone seems to have tight schedules.

I’ve noted how LinkedIn sends me automatic notifications each time one of my contacts is celebrating a birthday. A very sincere wish by the way I want to send out to Nancy V.H. who celebrated hers just yesterday. Hope your birthday was celebrated with those you love most around you Nancy!

Now you might find those reminders annoying, you might delete them as soon as they pop up in your email, but then again, you might just dash off a very short greeting and best wishes for the day. The folks at LinkedIn certainly make doing so easy. I mean as soon as you get such a notification, they also give you options to send the person a reply in several ways. If you hit ’email’ for example, they even compose a standard, “Happy birthday” message for you and you just hit the send button. Nice.

One other example of an electronic reminder I just have to mention is from my auto service centre. I’ve booked this appointment 2 weeks ago for this morning to have a new door lock put into my driver’s door. In the last few days, I received no less than 4 reminders from the dealership reminding me of this appointment. How can I forget it with that kind of service? That’s the point isn’t it? They thrive on a constant flow of people bringing in work to be done, so they can’t afford many people saying, “Oh sorry, I forgot.”

Whether it’s my automobile service centre, my optometrist  or my dentist, these reminders ensure I keep my appointments. Yes it must be a sign of my tremendous importance that they keep me so organized. Or is it my failing memory that causes them to remind me constantly! Actually it’s just an example of a very good business practice so that ultimately the service center, optometrist and dentist keep making money.

Now you and I can and should be equally organized on the job. Putting those team  meetings, project deadlines and client meetings in our electronic schedules and day planners keeps us equally organized. It prevents us from double-booking, forgetting entirely, and wasting the time of others. If you are not using some form of electronically shared calendar at work, you probably should be. For many, it’s equally important that others in your workplace are able to see what you are up to, like the Receptionist or your team clerk.

Need to get your daily, weekly or monthly work life organized? There’s an app for that! By the way, if you are one of the people who doesn’t quite see the value in sharing all your schedule with the people you work with, or you can’t figure out how to actually use your electronic calendar, learn how! If you are an older person, it will come across loud and clear to some that your age is a big part of your reluctance to use technology. Isn’t this just feeding into that old adage about old dogs finding it hard to learn new tricks?

Resisting organizational procedures by refusing to enter your personal activities into the electronic scheduling software at your workplace can lead to some performance issues too. So your reluctance or flat-out refusal could be seen as a disciplinary issue if clients, customers and co-workers are negatively impacted. From the Receptionists point of view, he or she is going to look bad if they say to someone standing in front of them, “I don’t see your name down as having an appointment today. No, you’re not in Mr. C’s schedule.” If it turns out you do have an appointment with that client, now you and the Receptionist look disorganized, and by association so does the company.

Things are really no different when you are looking for work. How organized is your job search? You could just wing it and apply for jobs, keep no records and then hope if someone calls that they tell you what company and job they are calling you about, but how does it look if you have to ask?

I recommend to all my clients that they keep track of the date they apply for a job, the company name, the name of the position, the contact information for the company including fax, email, phone and address. They should track the name of the person they applied to or spoke with (including anyone they phoned like the Receptionist for more information), and they should track the date of follow-up correspondence.

I think it wise too to schedule time and days to update your social media profiles and of critical importance, organize your resumes and cover letters. I mean after all, you should have folders set up for resumes sent that make it easy to retrieve those same resumes and cover letters when company’s call. You want the right resume open before you to make your phone call less stressful.

Put reminders and notifications into your own calendar a day or two before an event so you are on top of things. If you aren’t use to this concept, start with things of low importance like a shopping trip for groceries. Get organized!