Archive for the ‘job search’ category

Mirror ‘their’ needs, not your ‘wants’ in #jobsearch

March 31, 2010

In honor of April Fool’s Day, the Career Collective is tackling a few important and timely questions: How are you fooling yourself about your career / job search? What can you do about it? How can you avoid being tricked by common job search blunders?

To see how other members of the Career Collective responded, please scroll to the end of this post, or, follow the #careercollective hashtag on Twitter. Thanks, once again, to Miriam Salpeter, @Keppie_Careers, for your partnership in organizing this initiative!

RESPECT WHAT YOU HEAR WHEN YOU SAY YOU ARE LISTENING

A recent computer shopping expedition with Rob (my hubby and co-author of this blog) reinforced for me the importance of

not just listening to another person, but respecting what you hear, mirroring what is being said, then shepherding the person you’re listening to toward a “them”-fitting solution.

Acknowledging their tone, their inflection, the areas where they emphasize phrases and where certain feelings erupt, depicting their passion and / or pain —is a very DIFFICULT skill to master, yet is integral in impactful communications. And it’s integral in how we respond to others’ needs.

And this is what job search is ALL about: respond to OTHERS’ needs first (as a result, thankfully, your needs of finding a job also will be fulfilled, ultimately).

Back to our shopping trip: Rob and I both agreed that he would invest in a notebook computer, one with certain software features and compatibilities with my computer. That’s easy to achieve in today’s technology! However, well into the process, I urged Rob to look at the brand names and technologies I favored, including features and benefits I just KNEW he would value, once he was on board and a super user, like me.

As the day progressed, and our shopping trip escalated, a lightbulb flickered, then brilliantly shone on our scenario: This purchase was about ROB’S current and future goals, and though my past experiences and preferences provided value to his purchasing decision, they wouldn’t heavily influence his decision.

His needs were, and will continue to be, different than mine, so I must selectively offer my opinions and learnings based on his unique needs. For example, though computer screen size and powerhouse technology are of large importance to me, they were not as critical to Rob as having a compact, lightweight machine that he could fold under his arm and transport to our sailboat.

As well, he didn’t need the latest and greatest graphic capabilities and other technology wizardry that only an iMac or certain, amped up Dells or other made-to-order technology would offer. These are just a couple of examples, but you get the drift. Rob’s computer was Rob’s computer, tailored to his lifestyle and business needs, not mine.

However, once his intrinsic needs were fulfilled, mine would also be fulfilled as we partner in business endeavors, creating a ripple effect. First, though, I needed Rob to have a computer that would equip him to fulfill his requirements, and then, as a value-add, my satisfaction would follow.

FOCUS ON THE HIRING MANAGER’S NEEDS AND WANTS

Likewise, in a job search, you may feel you bring to the table the most magnificent, savvy skills in marketing, sales, operations, finance, technology, design, etc. that you simply must convince the hiring manager that s/he needs. As a result, you become overwrought with enthusiasm, pushing YOUR message, and often, in the process, turning off the person you are most trying to attract. In this way, I think job seekers often fool themselves into believing if they exhibit the right passion about what they believe they can do for a company versus first focusing on specific company and/or industry NEEDS, they will win the interview.

I implore you: Stop for a moment and REALLY listen. What do THEY need? Research their position descriptions, and beyond. Move through their corporate website, Google them, find industry chat rooms, follow them on Twitter, meet their counterparts on LinkedIn, locate business journal articles, understand their positioning in the market and their next great goals. Other sites include Hoovers, Glassdoor, Forbes, Manta.com and many, many more. Twitter offers an absolute goldmine of opportunity to unearth information via conversation with and around your target company’s people who may be casually chatting or building business presence among this global community.

Find their pain (this isn’t easy – you must be listening to do so); understand if they are battling to gain market share, bring new products to market, propel profits, contain costs, or thwart specific economic challenges. Be the person they need you to be to drive new revenue, build new markets and stamp out painful business issues tied to economic woes.

MAP YOUR TALENT TO THEIR PAIN * COURT THEM * ENTICE THEM

Wrapping your unique value offering and promise of being their solution around their pain points is not easy, and is not a linear process. It often evolves a series of exploratory conversations, brain dumps and self-editing to create the tailored and meaty, meaningful approach that resonates with their needs. Court them, entice them, make them feel that you really ‘get’ them to engage their interest, draw them to you for an interview and ultimately, extend the offer.

Later, when you are on the job, immersed, interacting with your colleagues, customers and others up and down the chain, you can deepen you message, elevate your mantra of change and beat the drumbeat of your other special offerings. For now, step back a moment, quiet the noise within and without, and focus your attentions on them.

Earlier this week, a Twitter pal and Business Coach, @AliciaSanera wrote an excellent blog post on the art of listening as it applies to business. Click here to read her valuable words.

The April, 2010, Career Collective Links


10 Ways to Tell if Your Job Search is a Joke, @careerealism

April Fool’s Day – Who’s Fooling Who?, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

If It’s Not You and It’s Not True, You’re Fooling Yourself, @GayleHoward

Don’t Kid Yourself! (The Person You See in the Mirror is a Good Hire), @chandlee 

Avoiding the Most Common Blunder, @jobhuntorg

Are you fooling yourself? Bored at work? Is it your own fault?, @keppie_careers

Hey, Job Seeker — Don’t Be a Fool!, @resumeservice

Job Search Is No Joking Matter,  @careersherpa

Is Your #Career in Recovery or Retreat? (All Joking Aside), @KCCareerCoach

9 Ways You Might Be Fooling Yourself About Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman

Don’t get tricked by these 3 job search blunders, @LaurieBerenson

Trying to hard to be nobody’s fool?,  @WorkWithIllness

It’s not all about you, @DawnBugni

Mirror ‘their’ needs, not ‘your’ wants in #jobsearch, @ValueIntoWords

Stop Fooling Yourself about your Job Hunt: Things you may be doing to sabotage yourself – @erinkennedycprw

Same as it ever was – @walterakana

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What Would Hemingway Do?

February 23, 2010

“I think body and mind are closely coordinated. Fattening of the body can lead to fattening of the mind. I would be tempted to say that it can lead to fattening of the soul, but I don’t know anything about the soul.” ~ Ernest Hemingway in The Good Life, According to Hemingway.

In our recent travel to Key West, I was captivated by Ernest Hemingway’s estate, which my husband and I toured, drinking in the many pictures, artifacts and letters, endearing us to Hemingway’s chaotically adventuresome life.

We chose a casual, unguided tour, allowing us to privately imbibe the words and other visual stimuli, as we lingered, moving from one charming, old-style room to another. Each delightfully spare, tropical room met us with solid wood floors, quaint, uniquely carved furniture and vast windows that led from floor to ceiling, enhanced with fluttering, light curtains.

In reflecting upon our tour and subsequently reading a Hemingway book, cover to cover during our return flight home, I felt myself stretching and growing as a woman, as a wife, as a business owner and as a career advisor. For example.

  • I truly believe that mind and body are connected, and thus with the softening of either, there is an often gentle, sometimes dramatic rippling effect that occurs, impacting every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally. I encourage job seekers to reflect on their day to day activity (or inactivity) that may be impacting, positively or negatively, their productivity and overall quality of life.
  • What can you do, today, to strengthen your physical self in a way that will shore up your mental self?
  • What can you do tomorrow? What fat-reducing and energy boosting activities can you integrate into your life on a daily, even hourly basis? Is it simply removing yourself from your chair to take a 30-minute brisk walk or to take a tour of your household chores, energetically, briskly, while breathing hard and perhaps sweating just a bit?
  • Or perhaps it’s more than that:  join a gym, making a pact with your spouse, your friend, an accountability partner that you will shed a certain amount of  weight, adopt a fitter diet and exercise routine; buy a bicycle and ride it daily; perhaps it’s that you will cease smoking or reduce your drinking … or, you get the drift. What will help you win the war against lethargy?
  • What can you do in-the-moment, every moment, to improve your vitality and convert calories to energy? What can you change up in your manner of operating, writing, communicating, speaking, acting that may seem awkward, hard and unnatural at first, but which may actually move you more meaningfully toward your deeply desired goals?

In Hemingway’s words:

I like to write standing up to reduce the old belly and because you have more vitality on your feet. Who ever went ten rounds sitting on his ass? I write description in longhand because that’s hardest for me and you’re closer to the paper when you work by hand, but I use the typewriter for dialogue because people speak like a typewriter works.

  • I loved this line, as I’ve actually tried ‘standing while writing’ before, and more recently, have spent an exhorbitant number of hours just sitting. I think it’s time to stand again!
  • Not only will it burn more calories, but the idea of improved vigor is reverberating … improved mental capacity, improved ability to manage difficulties that erupt, improved muscle strength in my legs and my buttox! I must not only hope, I must aspire to make it happen!

After all, we are the only ones who control what WE are doing with our bodies, our fingers, our toes, our eyes, each breath we take, each drink we imbibe, each food calorie we ingest.  Starting now, this moment, this next breath, make that commitment to yourself and to your career that you will invest the energy in both mind and body to infuse energy, enthusiasm, hope, health, and ultimately generate the success results you deserve!

Is Your Job Search Strategy a Snore?

January 19, 2010

As co-coordinator with my colleague, Miriam Salpeter, I am pleased to participate in our first round of posts in 2010 from our community of expert career advisors and resume writing professionals called the Career Collective.

This month’s articles address the topic of helping job seekers transition and make the most of the new year. Please follow our hashtag, #careercollective, on Twitter. Responses from other contributors linked at the end.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I lay in bed at 3 a.m., distracted by dear hubby’s snoring sounds erupting in my ears, I realized a correlation between this not-so-gentle disruption and the disruptive tenor of today’s job search.

From unrealistic resume expectations to the run-rampant highways of the digital media highway, the din of multimedia job search in 2010 is, at times, earsplitting.

During daily conversations with job seekers, I often am asked how they can ensure their resume words are heard and spark that elusive call for an interview. This is when the clatter begins, as new-to-the market resumes often are just  regurgitations of laundry lists of to-dos and ‘responsibilities for’ peppered with a handful of percentages and dollars–both ineffective and, well, noisy.

I witness job hunters’ zealous ‘hope’ to hand off  this unfiltered career brain dump to someone to magically push through a chute and out the other end, causing the resume and job opportunity to now miraculously and harmoniously be linked together.

As I navigate Twitter, wander through LinkedIn and tread lightly through FaceBook, I’m often overwhelmed and overcome by the unfiltered content and constant chatter, each voice escalating just a bit to outshine the next.

That said, with a bit of ferreting and organizing of my preferred groups, I also find eloquently targeted conversations. Such elegant conversation is fleeting, however, and like the snoring that disturbed my ears this morning, the constant Twittering, chatting and self-promoting often is distractive and disruptive. For these reasons, I find myself publicly signing on and off Twitter, so as not to be perpetually distracted.

As such, my advice for job seekers to tune up their job search in 2010:

1. Develop unique career lyrics that add value to the social media orchestra. Hone your search goals, then create and share your message aimed at a well-tuned ear. This voice artistry, like a hummingbird to nectar, will attract the right-fit audience.

2. Be somebody with unique talents and problem-solving abilities focused on precise employer needs; avoid the ‘everything to all people’ approach. Tune your instrument to fit within a particular employer’s ensemble.

3. Be proactive. Remember, your resume rhythm must resonate with an employer’s needs; research those needs and adjust accordingly to create a befitting tone. Like stringed, brass and woodwind instruments that coalesce to create a symphony, the combination of your skills with the right complementary environment will ultimately harmonize to help you achieve your goals.

4. Toot your own horn, but not in every room of the social media house. Because you blasted your value on Twitter doesn’t mean you must stream it into LinkedIn and Facebook. Loud and omnipresent doesn’t create a buzz; instead, it creates the buzz-saw snoring sound that drives people away.

5. Stop listening to all the voices. If this means, ceasing to Tweet for a bit, donning your coat, gloves and boots and taking a brisk walk, do it. It’s VERY noisy out there—find your quiet place, refocus and then return to the Internet highway. As well, getting a good night’s rest — 6, 7, 8 hours – is helpful to your staying alert alert, hopeful and energized in the rigorous job search.

Bottom line:  You can control your actions, and ultimately, the outcome to achieve YOUR target goals during the 2010 job search, and beyond. It’s about observing and researching the corporate symphony with which you wish to unfold your music stand. Find your dream company, court them with your career notes and contribute to an  orchestral new year career.

Please read what other Career Collective members are saying:

@KCCareerCoach, Career Chaos, “The Art of Being Gracious: Much Needed in Today’s Job Search,”

@MartinBuckland, Elite Resumes,  Career Trends and Transition 2010

@heathermundell, life@work, Kaizen and the Art of Your Job Search

@barbarasafani, Career Solvers, Looking Into the 2010 Careers Crystal Ball

@resumeservice, Resume Writing Blog, The Resume and Your Social Media Job Search Campaign

@kat_hansen,  Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog, New Year: Time to Assess Yourself and Your Career

@keppie_careers, Keppie Careers, Help for job seekers in a rut

@heatherhuhman, HeatherHuhman.com, Job seekers: 5 tips for making the most of 2010

@DawnBugni, The Write Solution, Ya, but

@ErinKennedyCPRW, Professional Resume Services, Advice to Job Seekers in 2010–learn Yoga?

@Chandlee, The Emerging Professional Blog, Starfish, JobAngels, and Making a Difference

@ValueIntoWords, Career Trend, Is Your Job Search Strategy a Snore?

@debrawheatman, Resumes Done Write, Making the most of a new year

@walterakana, Threshold Consulting, Starting anew – tips for truly managing your career

@careersherpa, Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa, The Year of the Tiger

@WorkWithIllness, WorkingWithIllness.com, Dogs Can Do It, Can You?

@JobHuntOrg, Job-Hunt.org, Lifelong Learning for Career Security

@AndyInNaples, Career Success, What Are You Getting Better At? Make This the Year You Become the Best You Can Be!

@GLHoffman, What Would Dad Say, A Flash of the Blindly Obvious

There’s a Hole in Your Story, Sir

January 8, 2010

So on       morning, I got up around        , and decided it was time I finally took care of that        which had been bugging my wife and I for quite some. I fixed myself a couple of         with some        on the side, then headed out the           to pick up the items necessary to complete the         at hand.

Soon enough I found myself speaking with a knowledgeable            at the         store and he was able to give me some much needed            . I got the           back home and right away figured out the       was missing. So back to the         I went. I hate making more than     trip when I set out to accomplish something, especially something as important as getting the         fixed so we can finally start using the        .  I was able to locate the        that had helped me earlier and expressed my dissatisfaction with him by          in the          . Well that certainly got his attention, and  he was much more           this time . He wanted to be absolutely sure I got the         and wouldn’t come back to         him in the          again.

Long story         , I finally got everything set up right and wife and I can again           . What a           .

You may have noticed that a few words, a few key words were missing from the story above. If you went back and read it several times just to make sure you weren’t missing anything, you weren’t. Many of the words left out, most people could fill in themselves and come to the correct conclusion. Some of the missing words could only be filled in by the author for the story to make any sense.

How often people will turn in a resume that makes about as much sense to a hiring manager as the story above makes to you. Just one missing piece of information could very well send your resume to the land of no return; no matter how qualified you may be for the position.

Hiring a professional resume writer will help you fill in the blanks, making sure the reader is getting a clear and concise message of who you are and why you are the best candidate for the open post.

You’ve worked too hard for the awards and promotions you’ve earned to allow one missing word here or there to completely dive bomb your chances for success.

~~~~~

Written by Robert P. Poindexter:  Blogger, Sales Executive and Sailor

DIGGING OUT FROM UNDER THE SNOW STORM OF JOB LOSS

January 4, 2010

I’ve known loss. Haven’t we all?

A blizzard storms through our lives, creating paralyzing white-out conditions.

In my life, a painful storm from which I not only survived but from which ashes I arose to rebuild a new and BETTER life, occurred when my first husband requested a divorce. Within months, I was thrust into life-altering decisions that, even under the best of emotional situations, would have been difficult.

Initially, life lines were tossed my way by family and friends. After years of self-sufficiency, I was faced with either “going it alone” or accepting the help of sincerely caring people. I swallowed my pride and chose the latter.

As well, I acted: traction was the name of the game to maintain my sanity, my emotional stability and my overall fortitude. As in job search loss, the death of a marriage or following the actual death of a spouse or other loved one, the storm requires mourning, but then requires forward movement to recover. Sometimes, even, the two must be managed concurrently.

During my divorce, I did not have the luxury of flying off to a tropical island and licking my wounds or even spending a few weeks resting and healing; instead, I had imminent bills to pay and clients to attend to. Miraculously, I was able to “fake it ’til I made it.” For example, I recall one client telling me (during the thick of the storm) that I was always such a positive person when he and I met! I was strengthened by his sweet comment – further reinforcing the need for forward movement as a key to recovery.

Similarly, job hunters in the midst of career storms often must keep plunging through the cold hard ground of job search. I will venture to say, with persistence and willingness to make changes, these forward-moving job seekers will see sprouts of growth emerge even during the harshest of climates.

Traction Steps Beget Confidence, Courage and Recovery

I imagine the wind-knocked-out-of-me experience I knew following divorce is something people experiencing job loss or major job transition can relate to. I hope some of the practical and soul-fortifying steps I took also may assist job seekers in moving forward in recovery. Here are a few steps I took:

1. Sold my home and downsized to a townhome (saving money but also dramatically reducing my commute to a then brick-and-mortar office from 45 minutes to 5 minutes).

Unfortunately, I hear too many stories of job seekers hanging on to what was versus adjusting their sails and course to mesh with the wind. Sometimes letting go of real estate, other belongings and past lifestyle desires is just the antidote and relief to calm the storms and further work on rebuilding a newer, stronger and often better-than-ever-imagined foundation for the future!

2. Immediately began the process to transform my business, which, at that time was only three years young and not really ready to be self supporting. I had no choice – I was now my sole supporter! I amped up my industry credentials; I now wanted to increase my service offerings (and revenue), so in addition to my Certified Professional Resume Writer credential, I achieved the Certified Employment Interview Professional (interview coaching) training in Dallas, Texas.

3. Earned the globally unique Master Resume Writer credential and received near-immediate PR and revenue.

When encountered with a hard-hit economy and job search, I encourage job seekers to consider future needs, research and listen to other professional opinions and then ACT: if you may benefit by earning a new credential to better market yourself  – go get it! Or, simply, reach for more training, more training and yet, more training. Continuing education opportunities abound either virtually or within brick and mortar settings!

4. Assertively pursued industry partnerships and refocused time and energy on building relationships that would further build my business reputation, visibility, and ultimately, revenue.

Likewise, I encourage job seekers to seek out and build relationships with key partners who may propel their job search. Encourage Recruiters, Hiring Managers, Companies and Human Resources to follow you and your value proposition via Twitter and build your career reputation. Unfurl the sails, look beneath the layers and get curious. Step by step, you’ll learn the ropes of job search, and it will not only flex your untapped job-search muscles, but it will even be fun–an adventure, at times!

Moreover, visit LinkedIn and set up an account. Click on @eExecutive’s informative article: 5 LinkedIn Resources. Order Jason Alba’s LinkedIn DVD by emailing me to help you navigate the ins and outs of creating meaningful relationships within and without your professional industry.

Start stimulating conversations with other professionals and with recruiters, hiring decision makers and human resource managers. Boost your visibility and credibility via a website established exclusively for movers and shakers who not only take pride in their careers but seek to boost their image and career opportunities.

5. Hired another writer and career coach to help shepherd me through a career repositioning and hold me accountable to implement action steps.

As well, job hunters may revisit their career story arsenal: refit, rewire, reword. A plethora of free articles on building a meaty, value-laden resume may be found, starting with articles on my blog and extending through to a plethora of blog posts by resume writers, career coaches and recruiters. Visit bloggers at Blogs I Read to search for how-tos on resume writing.

You may also hire a Master Resume Writer or other professional career writer, coach and/or consultant from Career Management Alliance, Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, Career Directors International or National Resume Writers Association. Resume writers, coaches and consultants will help uncover the snow-shrouded career story-book and then parse chapters, sub-titles and talk points that reveal your true value to your target audience!

6. Transitioned my business from a locally based, brick and mortar office (with premium office space leasing costs) to a globally focused, completely virtual operation serving clients from coast to coast in the United States, in Canada and also in far-flung places such as Europe and Asia!

Likewise, job seekers should embrace the global design of 2010 job search.  The Internet, and in particular, Twitter, offers a treasure chest of career strategy resources. First, I recommend joining Twitter, creating a pithy profile, and start following others.

As well, my colleague and Twitter friend, Miriam Salpeter and I initiated a Career Collective of 20+ bloggers focused exclusively on job hunters’ needs. Stop in, read a while, find and then personally connect with a couple career experts that appeal to you and with whom you feel a connection. Conversations beget action which beget results–moving from a career hull cloaked in snow to a brightened and buffed career that sails the high seas.

7. Focused on my personal life recovery and fulfillment; getting out there and dating–making it an adventure versus a drudgery. I ENJOYED (for the most part) the interesting conversations and new opportunities to meet new friends. The world was my oyster! It was a series of shared experiences that added value to my day to day life until one day I met and married the love of my life. He is leaps and bounds beyond my expectations, and not because he is perfect (sorry, darling!), but because he is my heart-mate.

Just as the snowstorm that swept through my fare city this holiday season (or that swept through my personal life several years ago), career slamming challenges erupt from time to time, packing your  job-search hulls with snow that weighs you down, virtually paralyzing movement.

After you’ve licked your wounds, commiserated with others about the tragedy that has beset you, Iencourage you to take action. Grab that shovel and start digging! Get out from under that avalanche of job-search snow and regain your career footing.

Captain your career, mend your sails, learn the new rules of career navigation, partner with career experts and SET SAIL!