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Job Hunting – Fools don’t back horses

My horse gambling career started when I was 15 and finished that same year to the great disappointment of Paddy Power. I lack patience and didn’t think backing horses was a quick enough way to lose my money :-). Backing horses is gambling and gambling is defined as placing money on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money. To me gambling is risk-taking as you are taking actions that might have unpleasant or undesirable results. This article is not served to promote gambling on horse racing but instead to promote gambling/risk-taking when job hunting or in business. As Robert F. Kennedy said “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”.

Head in the sand – Many jobseekers suffer from Ostrich Syndrome and bury their heads in the sand avoiding the honest reality that things are not working. Some of these jobseekers are stubborn and stick with traditional methods. It is important to be honest and accept the truth. A simple review of activity highlights results and results never lie. Are you getting the results you desire? If not then it is time for change. This change will involve moving out of your comfort zone, injecting creativity to your approach and inevitably taking risks. For those jobseekers intent on sticking to unsuccessful approaches I recommend Dublin Zoo. For those who lack the know-how to change or are stumped by fear then please read on.

Is there a risk? – I prefer to see risk as creativity as this disguise makes it seem less daunting. Jobseekers must realise that if they are not landing interviews or job offers then there is actually no risk as there is nothing to lose. Injecting creativity into job hunting can help jobseekers get noticed and stand out in the crowd. Pushing the limits to increase visibility exposes jobseekers to more opportunities. Depending on circumstances this creativity or risk can be subtle changes or major overhaul. For those jobseekers lacking inspiration seek out SME owners, work colleagues, friends or career professionals – I get my inspiration from like minded business owners!!

Ready, Fire, Aim – Fear is another hurdle and a paragraph certainly doesn’t do the topic justice. I stole “Ready, Fire, Aim” from Jack Canfield’s book “Success Principles”. He indicated that too many people spend their time getting ready and aiming but never actually pull the trigger. Perhaps we should get ready and just fire. Then review and adjust our aim to get closer to the target. Some of your efforts will crash and burn but you know what I crash and burn daily. Rather than stop me it actually helps me because what others call failure I call learning opportunities. I believe there are too many fantastic and highly skilled jobseekers holding themselves back when a bit of creativity and risk taking could transform results. As Andre Malraux says “Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.”

I will leave you with two questions. Firstly “Do fools back horses when job hunting or in Biz?” and secondly “Are you placing enough interesting, freakish, long shot, weirdo bets?” (Tom Peters) Interested in you comments and views …..

P.S. For jobseekers interested I am providing a FREE presentation at 6.30pm on 25th March sponsored by the Dublin City Central Library. The topic – “Job Hunting – Creative ways to increase visibility & land more opportunities”. For more information and to book a place email You can also access me at Measurability Careers & Jobs Club.

Paul Mullan is an experienced career and outplacement professional with 14 years experience working within careers, outplacement and recruitment in the UK & Ireland. He is a former owner of Eden Recruitment and founder of career firm Measurability in 2006. Paul has delivered outplacement programmes for many leading organisations and ran graduate career workshops for leading third level institutions. He has worked with many individuals helping them define and achieve career goals through creative approaches to personal marketing and job hunting. Paul integrates traditional strategies with new Web 2.0 strategies to deliver optimum results. He is known for his up to date, creative and friendly approach to delivering career solutions. Paul is a recognised career professional regularly commenting on career related topics in the national media. He has acted as Career Doctor with Irish Independent and he is currently an online career expert with RecruitIreland.

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  • Nice one Paul! Regarding your question, unfortunately I do know some people that “back horses” by pulling the trigger on the same, empty business structure and proposition. I guess they feel tat they’ll eventually make money magically while they sleep… This idea of becoming a millionaire without effort just doesn’t exist. It does for other apparently.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Fred and you are dead right. I know a few of these people too. This is “bungie jumping without ropes”. An addiction to hard work is a key attribute for any successful jobseeker or biz professional.

  • Awesome post! This article basically sums up and confirms what I had determined earlier today. For the past 4 months I had been using traditional methods to find a new job with no success. What worked for me 5 years ago no longer works (in addition to the now defunct U.S economy). So, obviously, the goal is to stand out and the only way to do this is to be creative and to think out of the box!

  • Anonymous

    Good luck with the new creative approaches to job search Jeri.

    And thanks for the comments


  • Eva_heffernan

    Hi Frank. Do you ever use an interesting image or video at the beginning of a call, as people are joining?

    Also, when giving training over a conf call, I think it’s good to have a photo of the trainer smiling on screen as people join. Corny, but friendly!

  • Great tips Frank & quite obviously borne from your experience. I love you point about the wiki, I’ve never thought of it as a tool to prepare for conference calls before but now that you bring it up, it’s perfect for the job 🙂

  • Facundo

    Nice one Frank. I’m taking in some good tips. This year we’ve started doing webinars and most of what you say applies. Specially knowing the technology inside out so as to concentrate on the content. People can tell when you are hesitant and they can become silent hecklers 🙂

  • Hi Eva,
    As a trainer I absolutely agree. When there physically, name, title and company is sufficient on a slide, but when it’s remote training, a pic says a “thousand words” and builds a sense of familiarity with the group.
    Casual chatting is also beneficial as people are entering, and if a relatively small group, try and address everyone individually, trying to match a voice to a name 🙂

  • Great post Frank and so relevant these days as conf calls, conf training, remote training and webinars become the norm.
    I love the video and have watched it twice, as I often hear my husband on lenghty conf calls when he tele commutes – it sounds so sproadic from the outside, but one can clearly see there is absolute structure applied, esp the mute button 🙂
    The 60 mins is a good length, and definitely a Q&A session, to allow for interation of some degree, without losing the plot of course!!

    The wikis are a great idea, but what amuses me the most, is the IM chatting going on in the background. It’s amazing, online or offline – personal or business, we are such chatterboxes and gossipers 🙂

  • Lol, Frank that video is priceless! Very effective way to get the message across. Thankfully I don’t often have to conference call, I do however see this happening with in-experienced people starting out doing webinars (note to self – hire someone to help when I get to that stage) and it really shows.

    I recently did attend a conference call where the person hosting it recommended (by email) that we join 5 minutes early to introduce ourselves – lovely idea and once the conference call started she muted and unmuted as necessary.

    Brilliant tips thanks for sharing them.

  • Hi Frank. Some very useful tips. Con-calls can be a nightmare to attend if poorly planned and executed. You can almost hear everyone working away on other things when it is not engaging.
    Thanks for sharing

  • You’re in the lead Mr Bradley, well done 🙂 Now hopefully that’s the last time I’ll say that to someone living in Killkenny this weekend.

  • Lorna Sixsmith

    REally useful tips here Frank – great blog post

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Niall. Use of Wikis for organising meetings has been great. In fact I’ve started using one for our local residents association committee. We’ve an AGM in 2 weeks, and instead of organising another meeting to plan it, going to try organising it with a Wiki.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Facundo. Silent Hecklers – I like that phrase. It’s just so useful to have someone else worry about the technology, and it really comes across in the feedback from participants, especially when things go wrong technically.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Elaine. The first time I saw the video I couldn’t stop laughing. It just summed up the majority of calls I’ve attended for the last 10 years.

    Structure is paramount in these types of meetings. Perhaps you might get away with a little less structure face-to-face (that’s another debate), but over the phone the meeting is in trouble if you don’t have structure.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Mairéad. What you say about newcomers to webinars is spot on. I know from experience, as the tips I’ve given have come from doing all the wrong things. I remember the first ever conference call I hosted – what a nightmare!!!

    I love it when people are punctual for my meetings, although in a large organisation it is not always possible with back to back meetings. I usually spend the first 5 minutes doing introductions to give people with back to back meetings. The key thing is to build this time into your content plan.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Barney. I think if people aren’t engaged they are always going to try to multi-task. I find getting the audience involved and giving plenty of time for Q&A is helpful. With a really quiet audience I like to do spot questions to test if people are listening. Amazing the number of times the reply got is “could you repeat the question – the line is very bad”.

  • Anonymous

    Well. so far so good. Still a lot of time to go, till the end.

    As a blow in I won’t be gutted if Kilkenny don’t win, although I can’t say the same about my wife and in-laws.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Lorna. Really glad you liked the post.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Eva. I’ve used this quite often and it’s a great tip which I forgot to include. Thanks for adding it. This really adds something to call, and is a great way to start.

  • Super post Frank and the video really made me giggle, just last week my husband was on a conference call just to catch up with what was happening with his team but his line was muted, lucky for him as our dog chased the cat indoors, the cat jumped on the table, knocked his phone to the ground and the dog barked for a full minute with the cat hissing and spitting before order was restored….. 🙂

  • Great post, Frank!
    I’d say it all boils down to discipline, one’s interest in the contents of the meeting and ability to focus on getting things done! 🙂

  • Annette Kratzer

    great thanks for this help

  • jackie

    Conference calls and webconferences are a way of life for us – I’m on one right now (shhh!!!). These are great tips that we often overlook. Thanks for the reminders, Frank!

  • The post is good, but I have not voted because I disagree with the principle.

    I understand that by offering a prize this is bringing more people to the Bloggertone community and part of their marketing strategy, however this now becomes more about the size of your social network you can influence to vote and not about quality of the blog itself.

    You tweeted this inside the company firewall “Last day to vote for my blog post “Creating a successful Conference Call”. I’m trailing by 2 votes at the moment. Voting ends at 4pm GMT”

    Apart from the obvious business / personal conflict of this tweet, it’s clear this is about winning and not about sharing some really good tips and for that reason I strongly object.

    But I still like the post…

  • Midgehand

    Great video showing the frustration of people not being on time. I’m continually surprises at the late arrival of people whether it’s in meetings, vid/conferencing or phone calls. A good idea would be to ask people to arrive 10 minute early so introductions can get done and the meeting can start on time.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the reply Midgehand. Sometimes late arrivals are unavoidable due to many meetings being scheduled back to back, which is quite common for a person who does lots of meetings over the phone. As an organiser I think the best way to deal with this is to turn off the beep that introduces new attendees, especially when you anticipate a large number of attendees. Also use the first 5 minutes for introductions and welcome. This will give enough time for ‘honest stragglers’.

  • John Twohig

    Ask for the business, the biggest failure of people because they fear rejection…Good post.

  • Pawel Grabowski

    Thank you John 🙂

  • Thank you Tori, I appreciate that.

  • Dan Clarete

    Well, nowadays people can connect from other people wherever they are that is why
    conference call is indeed a fad today. It is more cheaper and convenient especially if you are scheduled to have a meeting with other workers from another country. I honestly like your tips because people today need to learn the basic in creating a successful conference call, sure enough it is a hit.

  • HI great post

    which software for

    Conference Call will be best?


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