BONUS: An Interview with Mac Prichard
Local radio station KINK 101.9 recently interviewed our very own Mac Prichard, founder of Mac's List! Host Sheila Hamilton spoke with Mac about how Mac's List started, what we offer today, and key job-hunting tips in today's local market. The broadcast originally aired Sunday, November 15, 2015. We want to share this interview with you, our podcast listeners, as the material covered in the broadcast is broadly applicable to all job seekers--whether you are based in Portland or anywhere else. In this 14-minute episode you will learn: The story of Mac's List from its early start to today Do's and dont's of the modern job search The 80/20 rule to follow as you look for work Resources to aid your search in Portland Thank you for listening to Find Your Dream Job. If you like the show, please help us by rating and reviewing our podcast on iTunes. We appreciate your support! FULL TRANSCRIPT John Sepulvado: This is “Find Your Dream Job,” the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m John Sepulvado, producer of the podcast. I’ve temporarily taken over hosting duties for this special bonus edition of Find Your Dream Job. You see, our usual host, Mac Prichard, has turned into a radio star! On Sunday, November 15, Mac was interviewed on a local Portland radio station, KINK 101.9. He chatted with the host, Sheila Hamilton, about the local job scene and shared several job-hunting tips. We want to share this interview with you, our podcast listeners, as we think the material covered in the broadcast is broadly applicable to all job seekers--whether you are based in Portland or anywhere else. So sit back and enjoy this bonus episode of Find Your Dream Job. Sheila Hamilton: It is such a pleasure to welcome into my studio, Mac Prichard, who is a long-time friend, the author of "How to Find Your Dream Job in Portland", the author of the Mac's List, the CEO of Mac's List I suppose you call yourself- Mac Prichard: I'm the publisher, yes. Sheila Hamilton: And a person who really is so important, so key in knowing if you want to work in Portland because you seem to have tentacles all throughout our community. It's so good to see you again. Mac Prichard: It's terrific to see you again, Sheila. Sheila Hamilton: Why did you ... I knew you back in City Government, we were both covering City Government a long long time ago, why did you decide to move into employment and helping people secure their dream jobs? Mac Prichard: Well, I went down to Salem after City Hall when you and I worked together, and I after working for the governor and as a spokesman for different state agencies, I took a position with Portland State and I wanted to stay in touch with my colleagues in Salem. We all get job postings, they all cross our desks occasionally, so in order to remain connected with people I just started forwarding the postings I got to a few dozen people in Salem. As the years went by, and Mac's List is a 14 year overnight success, I started hearing from employers I didn't know and people I didn't know who said, "Add me to your list". It grew slowly, at the end of eight years we had less than a thousand names but right now we have more than twenty thousand, and we have about eighty thousand people who take advantage, visit Mac's List, the website, the social media accounts, and the newsletter, and the podcasts. Sheila Hamilton: Now, I noticed your strength seems to be in non-profit and government work, but you're also doing private business now it appears, right? Mac Prichard: We are and I think you know, Sheila, I run two small businesses. One is macslist.org, which is the online community for people looking for rewarding creative work in Oregon and beyond, and the other is Prichard Communications, it's a public relations company that works with foundations, non-profits, and other social change organizations, and my career- I'm in my fifties now, has always been about making a difference on issues I care about or in the community where I live and work, ideally both, and I have used my communication skills to do that and what also connects both companies is we're really good at connecting people because we find when we connect folks, whether it's through our public relations work at Prichard Communications or at Mac's List, great things happen. Sheila Hamilton: If a person's coming to Portland and they want to know what the variety of jobs that are available, do they need to sign up for your list? Mac Prichard: Yes, we have a free newsletter. It goes out every Tuesday at 2PM Pacific Time, and they're typically about a hundred new jobs there every week, and you'll find three or four hundred on the website which is also free at macslist.org, but the newsletter comes out every Tuesday. Sheila Hamilton: And then are you actually connecting people with jobs that you think that you're like, "Your profile looks to me like you'd be really good over there", or are you leaving that up to them to do? Mac Prichard: We're leaving it up to the job-seeker. As we've done this work, we've learned an old lesson which is ... And I had this experience too. Most people, including me at the start of my career, we don't know how to look for work, and so it's not a skill that's taught in schools or universities, and we learn it by trial and error. That's certainly what I did, and so in addition to the job listings, we have a blog, a book, and a podcast that shares the tips and tricks people need to not only find their next job, but have a great career. Sheila Hamilton: What I loved, and I just listened to the podcast a couple of weeks ago, is you're providing content on that podcast that isn't just applicable to Portland, you're providing job-seeking tips and tricks of the trade that's applicable to anyone seeking a job in any part of the country. Mac Prichard: And that's by design because we do hear from people across the United States and the information that we're sharing can be used by anywhere. Sheila Hamilton: On your podcast you have structured it in a really interesting way. You kind of do the state of the job thing, you divide it into little specific tips, what people do wrong. What have you found to be the most popular segments on the podcast? Mac Prichard: Right now we're hearing great things about the expert interviews, people are hungry for that knowledge. Connecting people with those experts has been popular. We've also had good feedback about the information that my colleagues share, Ben Forstag every week shares blogs or books or websites that people can use in managing their career, and Cecilia Bianca, our community manager, she hears from listeners and readers all the time and she every week answers one of their questions. Sheila Hamilton: I want to get in to some of the do's and don'ts of the modern job search. It's so interesting because I haven't had to look for a job in almost ten years, but I'm constantly reading blogs and journal articles about job searching. I don't know why, it's just an area of interest to me. It seems to me that the old adage of being personally connected is still very true. Mac Prichard: It is and we strongly encourage people to follow an 80/20 rule. There's an estimate out there, nobody knows for certain, but up to 80% of all jobs may never be advertised, and it's not because there's some giant conspiracy, it's because it's human nature. People hire people they know, or they hire people who are recommended to them by others who they know and trust. Your challenge as a job-seeker is to crack that hidden job market, and the best way to do it is to spend up to 80% of your time networking, volunteering, doing informational interviews, so that you're building relationships and people are connecting with you. Sheila Hamilton: And the other 20% of the time? Mac Prichard: Look at job boards and there are many boards out there. Mac's List is one, lots of niche boards, whatever your professional, there's undoubtedly a niche board connected to it. There's also don't ignore traditional newspapers and whether online or in print because positions do get posted there, but most people because they don't know otherwise, they spend 100% of their time responding to job boards and newspaper ads. They really should only be spending about 20 to 30%. Sheila Hamilton: Wow. I want to talk about the generation of kids that just came out of college, 2008 to 2012, I just heard dismal statistics about their ability to actually find meaningful jobs. Have those improved at all in the last two years for that section of graduates who came out of college with a lot of debt and not a lot of hope in terms of the economy? Mac Prichard: There's research out there Sheila, which you probably seen that says whatever your generation, if you graduate during a recession, that's going to have a long-term affect on your earnings, and so that timing can be unfortunate. Your challenge if you're in that generation or graduating during the middle of a recession is to get really good about your job hunting and career management skills to make an extra effort because the market is always competitive, but it's especially competitive when the unemployment rate is as high as it was several years ago. Sheila Hamilton: There's another segment of job-seekers that I'm really concerned about and that's people in their fifties who end up getting laid off from a job and then they're highly skilled and yet seen as perhaps too expensive, perhaps getting into an age when they might use up medical resources, is there any advice you could give to that segment of job-seekers? Mac Prichard: I'm in that demographic group myself, I'm in my mid-fifties, and again mastering job hunting and career management skills is going to serve you very well, and it is challenging. Again, there's research that shows it's harder for people at that stage of life to find a next opportunity and that means you need not only to work harder, but you need to work as smart as possible. Sheila Hamilton: When most people are thinking about job searching, it's when they lose a job. Mac Prichard: Right. Sheila Hamilton: Do you advise people to be searching for your next job while you still have a job? Mac Prichard: I do and again, I speak from personal experience. Twice I've collected unemployment at different points in my career. Once I exhausted my benefits and it wasn't because I was sitting on a beach in Thailand. I was out there looking hard, and so I know how scary it is when you cash that last check and you're not sure what might happen next. From that experience and they both happened once in my twenties and once in my early thirties, it reinforced for me personally how important it is to think about career management and it's just from my father's generation, somebody who graduated from college in 1952, you really would go to a company and stay there most of your life, but for my generation and young adults now it's not true. Making career management part of your professional life is just essential. Sheila Hamilton: Is there an advisor that you can hire. I know that you can join your list, that you can read a lot of books, but should you have a professional in your corner? Mac Prichard: It can help a lot and you have a lot of options, so for those who went to college, connecting with your university career service office while you're both a student and an alumni can be very helpful. The first time after I cashed my last unemployment check in my twenties, my wife was working at Northeastern University in Boston and someone in the career services office agreed to meet with me. It was so helpful, Sheila. She took me through a goal-setting process, taught me the basics of networking and informational interviewing, and with that coaching I landed a job in about two months. Sheila Hamilton: That's fantastic. Mac Prichard: There are professionals out there who do this as a living, resume writers, career coaches, and as with any vendor you should shop around and be clear about what your needs are and interview people and get references, but they can be very helpful. Sheila Hamilton: Lastly, I just want to talk about Portland as I'm seeing it and I kind of try to pay attention to what's happening here. We are still really strong in the cultural creative realm where young people are coming and starting their own very small businesses. We're not that strong in terms of big companies coming here and developing a Fortune 500 and hiring hundreds of people. Is that model gone? Do you think that model is not really going to be the thing that drives Portland jobs anymore? Mac Prichard: Well, who knows if there's a Jeff Bezos or another CEO in Portland today who's going to create that company, so a lot of it depends on the community and the people within it, but I think small business have always been the largest employers overall. That's not a change and I think that is one of Portland's strengths actually compared to other regions. It's a place where I hear from employers and I experience this as an employer myself where you can start things and when I moved here from the East Coast in 1991, I was impressed by how open the political system was. People would make time to talk to me and I hear from other people in other fields that keep having that experience, and I think that's one of our biggest assets both economically and culturally. Sheila Hamilton: Mac Prichard is our guest today. I want to take the time to allow people to find the podcast, find the list, find all the resources, so why don't you talk about those spots now. Mac Prichard: Visit macslist.org/KINK, we've set up a special landing page, Sheila, for listeners who and if you visit that you can download a free chapter of our book. You'll also find links to the podcast. Every Wednesday morning we post a new episode. The list, the podcast, the blog, which is at macslist.org, they're all free and we would love to hear from people. Sheila Hamilton: You also have it available on iTunes as well, right? Mac Prichard: We do. Sheila Hamilton: Called? Mac Prichard: "Find Your Dream Job". Sheila Hamilton: "Find Your Dream Job". Mac Prichard, it's been so good to see you again. Congratulations on the new endeavor. Mac Prichard: Great. Thank you, Sheila.