PLAN Before You’ll Need a Plan

Compass-seaLWhile involved in ‘the challenging waters’ of career transition, the same chaotic, jobless, trying times are very productive times. Don’t waste them by floundering with lack of focus and direction, falling into the dark, depressive attitude of distractions and, worst of all, inaction…

When we are employed, we tend to function under the guidance of our employer’s business plan, or, more specifically, our job description. Our ‘routine’ is defined by:

  • Personal accountability to a labyrinth of responsibilities, some structured— some not structured at all—but all contributing to productive work activities…
  • We create productivity and efficiency with our sense of time management…
  • And as ‘top talent’ professionals, we often take initiative, make process improvements, and contribute to the Company’s growth.

This Week’s Session, Thursday, August 2nd, 8:45 AM, at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison… Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan


chalk1So, why not recreate all that with OUR OWN PLAN, a Personal Marketing Plan, to move toward job satisfaction, commitment, and appropriate compensation, for the rest of our careers… including any current, short term job search?   But, before looking at what such a Personal Marketing Plan would look like, let’s review the PREPARATION Portion of the 12-step Process Model (on the left).

If an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services. Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!

And, employed or not, Modify and improve your Personal Market Plan’s implementation model as needed… As you move through your career transition or ‘job search campaign,’ make adjustments as you would a business model.

BRANDING Yourself In The OTHER Job Market

Your “market-tested” RESUME TEMPLATE can now serve as the basis of your correspondence templates. Become familiar with the AUTO TEXT and MAIL MERGE applications within MS Word to create efficiency in the editing of your templates to meet the needs of specific opportunities that you are marketing yourself to.

Now it is REALLY beginning to feel like YOU are market-ready… but, THE Careerpilot encourages you to be totally prepared before you do. Let’s not forget to be prepared for the digital face of the job market…

 LinkedIn Task#1: INITIATING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

The Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of using social networks to recruit top talent and for job seekers to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves. While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.

Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts… Where to begin? The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions… LinkedIn.

INITIAL RESEARCH:  To Create Focus

 Make a concerted effort to research trends and target organizations of geographies, industries, and functions that interest you. Access market research reports, the Internet, your own network… start with the resources with which you are already comfortable. Develop your research awareness and abilities.

Begin to assemble your INITIAL Target Organization List.  Start your list of companies and industries that are attractive to you. Your targets are companies that utilize the functionality and RESULTS that you can bring to the table. A great start is to consider industrial trends in the marketplace that point to an organization’s need for your services.

 INITIAL CONTACTS List

 Make a list of coworkers, bosses, customers, suppliers, associates, external consultants, etc. Make a list of family, extended family, friends, relatives of friends, neighbors, people you know from special interest groups like bowling or bridge, church contacts, former classmates or alumni, and professionals like your doctor, dentist, or hair stylist.

Elements of a GREAT Resume: Your Positioning Statement

bob-maher-4587-editWhat YOU Do Best, and are motivated to do for a future employer… What DO you do best? What are your strongest transferable skills? Discovering your “pattern of success and satisfaction” is your goal, here, in Achieving CareerFIT. Your ability to express the collection of your functional strengths will measure your marketability.

However… A lesson that the marketplace has taught us over the years is that realistic requirements and accurate job descriptions are elusive, moving targets. That said, a GREAT resume, then, is a journey that SMART professionals choose to pursue for the rest of their career… NOT a destination sought before entering the marketplace during active job search.


NEXT Session: Thursday, July 26th…Developing In Sync Personal Marketing Collaterals, HAVING a GREAT Resume!


chalk1Look at your “journey” like your own personal marketing LABORATORY—one in which you’ll spend significant time during active job search in order to develop an effective communication strategy and tactics. Be your own best Marketing Department… know the time tested, vital ingredients and components that you will need for your laboratory…

CONTACT INFORMATION

This component sounds like a ‘no brainer;’ however, even this basic requires some experimentation and choices. A great resume is written for the reader, not to please the writer.  So, even YOUR NAME requires that you select exactly how you want your reader to access your background and credentials… Their ‘offer criteria.’   Your choices…

  • FULL legal name, including recognized credentials… or,
  • Your full name, including middle name or initial… or,
  • The name that you are usually called, potentially including… or,
  • A nickname (a rare choice for a professional resume)

YOUR MAILING ADDRESS also requires some choice. Does it potentially create a discrimination based on your ‘neighborhood’ or geography? In today’s digital world of recruitment, your actual residential address is rarely used until hired. So, you may elect to use just your city and state… or simply use your email address as a preferred method of contact.

When actually hired, however, be prepared to give your employer more complete and accurate mailing address.

Make a choice of which PHONE NUMBER you want to use. The traditional stacking of home, office, and cell numbers gives you little control. Rather, select the single best number to reach you during normal working hours— remember your are writing for the reader. An alternative is using a number that can be forwarded to you, where-EVER you are… and when-EVER…BE ACCESSIBLE!

…And what about your EMAIL ADDRESS? Please be aware that while your family and friends might enjoy communicating with you at ‘happymom@aol.com,’ you will be more professionally received at ‘JaneDoe1@gmail.com,’ one of your FREE alternatives.

Google allows you to forward from an email address that you can create to present a more professional “brand” for yourself—for example… ‘QCPro@printmedia.com,’ an opportunity to express your positioning and targeted industry. You’ll want to create and control for accessibility during active job-search.

You thought these were going to be EASY choices?  Remember that, in the digital world of recruitment, your contact information is your best ‘unique identifier’ of who you are in the mega-databases out there.

 POSITIONING STATEMENT

When a reader makes it through your contact information, in the top portion of a great resume they must have a clear picture of what you are motivated to do for them. In today’s digital world of optimized screening and recruitment, THE Careerpilot encourages a very simple, straight-forward approach—one example…

                        DISTRICT OPERATIONS MANAGER                                                                        Business Development | Operations Analysis | Project Management | Process Improvement | Quality Assurance | Staff Development

Note the ‘defining keywords.’  It would be ideal to edit your resume template to precisely FIT each job or employment opportunity’s title and requirements. However, this professional’s more generic template might start with the following positioning…

GENERAL MANAGEMENT

Strategic Planning… Operational Analysis… Manufacturing Process Improvement… Multi-unit Leadership… Customer Service

ACHIEVING CareerFIT

chalk1In order to market yourself, you must first know yourself.  The job search process is essentially a highly personalized marketing process.  The process starts with your candid self-assessment, which allows you to gain a thorough and workable understanding of who you are in product marketing terms.

When a Company looks for qualified employees, they seek functional evidence that demonstrates a job seeker’s ability to perform to their best expectations… JOB REQUIREMENTS represent the HR screening process!


THIS Week’s Session:  Achieving CareerFIT, an exploration of the product analysis phase of Personal Market Planning


bob-maher-4587-editEspecially if you are starting a resume “from scratch”, or if you are truly unsettled on next steps along your career path, this becomes a necessary first step in the process.

What YOU Do Best, and are motivated to do for a future employer…

What do you do best?  What are your strongest transferable skills?  Think broadly in terms of managerial and technical/ functional strengths involved in what you have to offer.  Discovering your “pattern of success and satisfaction” is your goal, here.

Your ability to express the collection of your functional strengths will measure your marketability.  This collection of keywords and their supportive evidence creates your communication strategy, the basis of your value proposition.

The old “round peg in a round role” theory of career planning is dysfunctional.  In the typical professional environment today, job descriptions are changing faster than ever before to keep up with the challenges of an economy in transition. In the traditional job market, job seekers are the sellers and their potential employers are the buyers.  The commodity is JOBs and the competition is fierce.

In The OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process.  The commodity is available, productive WORK… When employers have a need for someone to fulfill a specific role, often the most desired candidates are employed individuals with the credentials they seek.  Thus the employer must sell their Company to potential employees in the marketplace in order to attract the best of the lot.  Once identified, they simply select their choice and buy their services.

Seize control of such challenges.   Understand the nature of FIT.  

Surviving and Thriving in “The Sea of Unwashed Faces”

AjustDaSailsIn the traditional marketplace, potential employers seem to have the upper hand… but like the ol’ half full glass of water, remember that from the employer’s view available top talent seems like a sea of unwashed faces, too.

So what is it that the job seeker can control to make THEIR face stand out…network to and interview with the true decision maker… BE the chosen one?


THIS Week’s Session: Thursday, July 12th at The Egg and I…

Embracing The OTHER Job Market


bob-maher-4587-editStanding-out in the “sea of unwashed faces” becomes the simple matter of adjusting ones sales when in the challenging waters of career transition.

Create an expectation of who you are and what you can do for your next employer by clearly positioning and targeting your collateral materials, both written and verbal.  When stating your career objective, clearly state your appropriate work and make an offer of your services.

Here are some tips on becoming a valued partner…

Walk the talk.  Nothing speaks louder than results…. From the recruitment perspective, the best indicator of one’s potential for success is one’s prior experience and results gained.  A partner helps others within the organization achieve their goals. And results require actions, not just words. The better the results you get, the more likely you are to be invited on to ‘the team.’

Deep knowledge. You must have a true understanding of every aspect of the business, how all the moving parts work together, the obstacles ahead, and intimate knowledge of the competition in the marketplace. In other words, you’ve done your homework and understand your potential employer’s need.  And you must be able to articulate your understanding to anyone involved in the decision-making process in a manner that demonstrates that you truly get it.

Two of the many ways of accomplishing this image are to…

  1. Keep a file of relevant articles to share with key decision-makers, take advantage of the approaches that email and social media have to offer… create and maintain top-of-mind awareness.
  2. Further, create a set of ‘white papers’ that express, from your knowledge and experience, your perspective on relevant issues to your Profession or industry of choice.

Listen well. Everyone loves to feel that they have been heard and understood. One attribute of leadership is being known as a good listener. And if you can reiterate and articulate what has been said, you will be valued as a partner in the decision-making process.

Remember, as a job seeker, NETWORKING is your way to share knowledge, ‘branding’ yourself as a valued resource.  It is also your best source of confirming the subjective information you seek to supplement your research of factual information about a potential employer.

Big picture thinking. Having a strategic vision requires you to see all areas of the business, internal and external.   This is a valuable trait well beyond the C-suite.  If you only have a deep understanding of one area, you are more likely to be tactical in your decisions, rather than strategic.

You must be able to foresee problems from the stakeholders’ perspective in order to offer the most highly valued and comprehensive solutions.

Tying all of this together, the best way to be treated like a valued partner is to act like one. The more you demonstrate your value, the more you will become recognized as the new go-to person in the organization.

Your ‘Digital FOOTPRINT’

Your Career CompassSocial media is a great place to learn about and create a digital conversation with your market. Potential employers do not want to be talked-to, or worse yet sold-to on these platforms. Your followers want to know they have a place to come learn, to ask questions about things THEY care about, and to know they are being heard.


THIS Week’s session:  Thursday, March 15th… Turning OPPORTUNITIES into INTERVIEWS: a how-to look at networking your way IN to a targeted organization.


chalk1Here are some things we’ve learned from listening to those we’ve served since the advent of LinkedIn, the preferred place for professional level job seekers to leave their “digital footprint.”

What’ll IT Be, Push or Pull?

In “PUSH Marketing,” you need to take a low-key approach and offer 90% of insights and education to your market, with only 10% of things that would be seen as a sales pitch. Of course, ALL your social media content is “selling” in one way or another, but your market will be turned off if it comes across as a hard sell.

On the other side, don’t just post silly photos or motivation quotes. Position yourself as a subject matter expert and a source of real help to your followers, by sharing valuable information your market cares about (using UPDATES to post white papers…or sprinkle them in to your Profile).

PULL Marketing,” on the other hand, requires a concerted effort to optimize your keyword concentration (SEO) to attain high page ranking in keyword searches.  This is where most beginners start as they learn and gain confidence with the various functionalities offered by LinkedIn

The challenge is that either approach, when taken to an extreme, could be viewed as manipulative or ‘gaming the system’ (extreme pull)… or just too much narrative fluff (extreme push).  So in this brief handout we will be taking a down the middle approach which will give both beginning and intermediate users of LinkedIn the ‘best of both worlds’ in LinkedIn utility.

In-Sync, NOT Duplicate Personal Marketing Collaterals

While one’s resume is all about wise use of two pages worth of ‘vertical space,’ your LinkedIn Profile has no such limitation, but contains the very same elements of content: A clear positioning statement, a concise qualification summary, evidence of your supportive experience, and your education/ training.

Task#1: A Dynamic Profile

Your RESUME Your LinkedIn Profile
A clear and specific positioning statement + defining KEYWORDS A compelling HEADLINE that speaks to your professional branding efforts
A Qualification SUMMARY that directs the reader to your value proposition “Your story” in a nutshell, providing the reader a SUMMARY of your value to them
Professional Experience: Provides the reader with proof that you have the requisite experience to meet requirements and perform well A chronological look at the jobs you’ve held:  Proof that you have the requisite experience to meet requirements and perform well
EDUCATION or related training and certifications EDUCATION or related training and certifications

When employed, your HEADLINE might present you as the <<Billing Manager at LSC Communications (formerly RR Donnelley) >>.

However, when seeking your next right employment opportunity you have some choices.  Using “Pull Marketing” tactics, you could present yourself as…

OFFICE MANAGEMENT: Financial Analysis | Operations Accounting | Customer Service | Database Administration

-or-

Using the more narrative “Push Marketing” tactics, you could present yourself as…

Resourceful OFFICE MANAGER, skilled in Financial Analysis, Operations Accounting, Customer Service, and Database Administration

You’ll want to use all the space available to you in your headline if possible as this is where search engines ‘look’ first, leaving  your “digital footprints” throughout your usage of LinkedIn’s functionality.  Your ‘editing window’ will stop you at the maximum character level.

SUMMARY

The SUMMARY is one of the most important parts of the jigsaw and usually the first thing people will read on your profile. While there’s no strict template to stick to, there are certain approaches and techniques that have proved successful.

Your Digital Footprint

Compass-seaLJust as the competent sailor must select their destination in order to have a successful voyage, so must the productive and efficient job seeker know what is a right work opportunity to identify, proceed toward…and secure!  While this seems like an incredible over-simplification, mere ‘common sense,’ it is knowledge that eludes most unemployed people.  You see, when you’re employed you tend to assume that your employer will help you to navigate those ‘next steps’ in your career.

Ah, but when you’ve lost your job, your fellow employees, and your employer… WHOA… the rules seem to have changed!


This Week’s session:  Your LinkedIn Primer, TASK#1 and TASK#2…Creating your Profile and extending your network.


chalk1Just what IS a right work opportunity for YOU?

While a sailor’s journey could be defined by its destination, his success is determined by the course he selects, and, most significantly, having an appropriate ship to make the passage as smooth as possible.

In Steps #1 and #2 of our 12-step process we learn to assess (know the features of our ship) and set our objective (select our destination and course) so that we can develop a GREAT Resume, one that allows our future employer to help navigate our journey, thus we embrace the OTHER job market!

What YOU Do Best, and are motivated to do for a future employer…

What do you do best?  What are your strongest transferable skills?  Think broadly in terms of managerial and technical/ functional strengths involved in what you have to offer.  Discovering your “pattern of success and satisfaction” is your goal, here.  Your ability to express the collection of your functional strengths will measure your marketability.

This collection of keywords and their supportive evidence creates your communication strategy, the basis of your value proposition.

The old “round peg in a round role” theory of career planning is dysfunctional.  In the typical professional environment today, job descriptions are changing faster than ever before to keep up with the challenges of an economy in transition.

In the traditional job market, job seekers are the sellers and their potential employers are the buyers.  The commodity is JOBs and the competition is fierce.

In The OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process.  The commodity is available, productive WORK… When employers have a need for someone to fulfill a specific role, often the most desired candidates are employed individuals with the credentials they seek.

Thus the employer must sell their Company to potential employees in the marketplace in order to attract the best of the lot.  Once identified, they simply select their choice and buy their services.

Seize control of such challenges.   Understand the nature of FIT.  

Your personal brand cannot be desperate, or your brand will not help you. It will hurt you, in fact.  What hiring manager would have confidence in your ability to walk into their department and make a difference when your branding says you aren’t sure what you do professionally?

When your LinkedIn profile says “Multi-skilled Business Professional” you have already eliminated most of your potential audience.

They’re not looking for a Multi-Skilled Business Professional.

Who in history ever was?

Hiring managers have pain in specific areas.  When you have pain in your body, it’s specific, too. Nobody says “I have pain!”

They have a back ache, a tooth ache or a pain in their knee. You can’t brand yourself to appeal to everybody — that’s not how branding works!  Good personal branding is more specific than any of these overly general self-descriptors:

Diverse background in aerospace, consumer products and legal services  (who cares what you did already, unless you want to do it again? Tell us what you intend to do, and why you’re qualified for it!)

Skilled at Marketing, Sales, Operations and Customer Support (what does this even mean? No one who has dug into any of these functions in depth would continue to describe themselves as skilled at all four!)

Trainer/Instructor/Instructional Designer/Training Specialist (tell us what you are dying to do most of all. Commit! The world will reward your belief in yourself)

What’s a better branding approach? Choose the sweet spot at the place where your experience, your talents and employers’ pain intersect.  You’ll find that sweet spot by thinking about and writing down your favorite activities and favorite past roles, as well as things you love to do and are good at outside of work. Then, you’ll check out job ads to learn which positions companies are looking for.

Many people are confused about their career direction. That’s okay. You can leave your overly-broad branding on LinkedIn until you figure out what you want to be when you grow up — at least for this job search!

Read LinkedIn profiles to spot job titles, job descriptions and specific responsibilities that sound like a fit for you. Now, brand yourself for the jobs you really want — not every job you’re qualified for:

  • Freelance Travel Writer and Editor
  • Sales Manager for Pharma/Neutraceuticals
  • Office Manager/Bookkeeper Seeking Overbooked CEO to Support
  • Startup Marketing Manager with Press Contacts

Your LinkedIn branding is important because it tells the world how you see yourself.

ADVICE OVERLOAD vs. “LISTENING TO YOUR MARKETPLACE”

Compass-seaLMany people talk about “information overload” and “decision fatigue” when it comes to how to conduct your job search, or write your resume, or develop your LinkedIn Profile…or answer those challenging interview questions.


This Week’s session, Thursday, November 30th… Development of YOUR Personal Marketing Plan (PMP)


chalk1THE Careerpilot  believes there’s another side to the coin… Receiving options is actually motivational and liberating, with the right mindset.  Asking for someone else’s advice isn’t about getting the right answer out of them. Rather, it’s about adding perspective to your view so you can choose the right answer for you.

So, how can you ensure another ‘second opinion’ doesn’t cloud your judgement?

First and foremost, understand that your ‘core personality,’ defined by your unique strengths, skills, interests, preferences, and values (Step#1: ASSESSMENT), drives your “gut feel” on matters of choice.  TRUST that!

In THE Careerpilot’s 12-Step M.A.P. for career transition, Steps #1 and #2 are in place for one simple reason: If you don’t have a grip on what you want to do next in your career, work toward giving yourself that grip!  Your core personality should be represented in your offer criteria BEFORE development of your Personal Marketing collateral materials, like your resume!

If you cannot connect your motivated skills and strengths to supportive and confirming episodes from your actual experience, you should be utilizing your first wave of implementing your Personal Marketing Plan (Step#9) to identify and resolve this vital issue. Only then will it become effective to proceed with Step#3 in the development and practice of your collective communication strategies (keywords) in the design of your collateral materials, both verbal and written.

Remember: Perfect practice makes PERFECT!

Who IS that masked man?

chalk1In order to market yourself, you must first know yourself, peeling back the layers of learned behaviors (Everyone has a ‘mask’)

The job search process is essentially a highly personalized marketing process.  The process starts with your candid self-assessment, which allows you to gain a thorough and workable understanding of who you are in product marketing terms.

When a Company looks for qualified employees, they seek functional evidence that demonstrates a job seeker’s ability to perform to expectations… especially those “motivated strengths” driven by personal preference and choice.  Remember, JOB REQUIREMENTS represent the HR screening process!

Especially if you are starting a resume “from scratch”, or if you are truly unsettled on next steps along your career path, this becomes a necessary first step in the process.


THIS WEEK’s session, Thursday, October 19, is a look at “Finding YOUR Career FIT,” facilitated by Brian Allen


Pilot OnboardIn The OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process.  The commodity is available, productive WORK… When employers have a need for someone to fulfill a specific role, often the most desired candidates are employed individuals with the credentials they seek.  Thus the employer must sell their Company to potential employees in the marketplace in order to attract the best of the lot.  Once identified, they simply select their choice and buy their services.

Seize control of such challenges.   Understand the nature of FIT.

Strengths          Strengths differ from skills, in that your strengths were not learned or taught, but inborn.  The kind of things which you find easy to do, when others struggle with the same task, can be thought of as a strength.  Perhaps you have used strengths on the job in the past, and if so, you should consider leveraging that strength in your future.

Unfortunately, many people never recognize their strengths, or don’t see a way to use them in the work roles they have played. But, what if you could….?

 Skills                     What we have learned, developed, or have experienced in the workplace.  Those tasks you have performed for another employer, for pay, in the past.  You need to consider skills in two ways:

  1. Competency, or how good you are at the skill, as well as
  2. Motivation, how you feel about performing the skill.

You want to focus on skills where you have both High Competency and High Motivation for your future career development.

Be careful about those skills with High Competency, but Low Motivation.  If you would rather never perform a skill that you have done well for years, it might not be wise to include that skill in your personal marketing collateral materials.

Interests      What kind of things would you enjoy doing, or learning about, even if there was no paycheck involved? Can you identify some topics or activities to which you are, and have always been, naturally drawn?  These might be called your Interests, and they are a key to career success.

Passions are simply very strong interests, and you may have heard someone give career advice about “following your passion!) Interests combined with skills can be very rewarding in the workplace.

Personality/Emotional Intelligence We are all different from one another, in many different ways.  Those differences do not make us wrong, or bad, but they can create conflict or poor communication between people who do not appreciate or understand natural differences.

Learning how you “see the world” differently than other people do can provide clues to how to better understand or relate to people.  This can provide a major advantage in a person who has to work with others, or lead others.

What are your natural preferences? The answer to this question can guide a person to make better decisions regarding their career.

Another difference that has gotten a lot of attention in recent years surrounds the issue of Emotional Intelligence.  This is the degree by which a person is both aware of their and other’s emotional state, as well as the degree by which they manage those emotions.  It seems likely that the higher your EQ, the more likely you will find success in relationships and in the workplace.

Values     What is most important to you, and what will you protect or defend if necessary? How do you expect to be treated in the workplace, by co-workers and leaders? What are the “rules” by which you choose to live your life? These are the rules that define how you, and others, should behave in society.  These “rules”, or values, can be the most important self-awareness a person should draw from when considering career moves.

If the work you do, or the people and organization where you perform you work, share some of your highest values, you are more likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled in that work.  Where our higher values are routinely violated, or when we are required to abandon some of them on a regular basis at work, the result can be frustration, anger, dis-engagement, and ultimately burn-out.

The problem is that we rarely think about our values, and probably can’t list them if asked. Even though we constantly use them to react to people or events.  Most values are buried deep in our minds.

***

Ultimately, your goal is to secure the right employment for yourself…

That must start with your identification of what right is.  THAT requires some exploration, identification of key elements of your Career FIT, and planning to pull it all together, create focus… make it happen!

 

So You Have a GREAT Resume…NOW What?

Compass-seaLStep #3 in Our 12-step Process had you beginning to develop your Personal Marketing collateral materials.  Like any good chemist with a fully stocked laboratory, you’ve made all those 1001 decisions, you’ve begun to practice your verbal collaterals along with your resume’s development… it FEELS like you’re ready for an active job search.  Better prepared, YES… READY?  Not without confirmation and coaching of your references… BEFORE you tackle social media branding.


NEXT Week’s session: LinkedIn TASK#1: Developing a Profile that is in-sync with yet amplifies your communication strategy


Pilot OnboardHow can one accomplish this critical element of your Personal Marketing Plan, your ‘digital footprint?’  Use the time you spend on LinkedIn to address your three critical tasks:

1.   Task #1 is to keep your profile as a dynamic reflection of what you learn from your networking experience, tweaking your way to better search page results.  This is worth more time in the beginning of your career transition, but regular time throughout.

2.   Task#2 is to be interactive by participating in appropriate Group discussions, ‘like-ing’ comments of your choice, private messaging the writers of those comments as potential new contacts, following targeted Companies, and regularly ‘updating your network by ‘share-ing’ articles or posting brief ‘white papers’ than express your knowledge and expertise.

3.   Task #3 is using available JOB seeking functionality.

More and more business professionals are using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves. For the uninitiated, however, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can be daunting. Where to begin?

For first-time users, or the “technologically timid,” or for anyone in career transition, the answer is LinkedIn.  While Facebook may be #1, it is more analogous to a cocktail party.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, while it is a solid #2, is more like attending a chapter meeting of a professional association.  Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and with its Membership base growing exponentially, it serves virtually every industry and profession.

Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy, some consistent time, and a commitment to controlling your ‘digital footprint.’  Set your job search habits to take full advantage of LinkedIn’s ever-changing algorithm and functionality.

LinkedIn can be your ‘digital roadmap’ to finding new contacts and being found!

Your Personal Marketing Collateral Materials

WRITTEN COLLATERAL… 

  1. A GREAT Resume that positions you clearly as a terrific FIT with your career objectives… and in today’s technologies, a database-friendly, asci version;
  2. A correspondence template package that consistently carries your communication strategy, your message… and in today’s technologies, a reformatted, text only version of your resume ready for email needs;
  3. A high impact, personal biography and/or NETWORKING PROFILE that you can lead with in your referral based networking strategies.
  4. A clear and complete LinkedIn Profile, one that is based on your communication strategy and in synch with your other written collaterals.

VERBAL COLLATERAL… 

  1. A well rehearsed “two minute commercial,” your answer to the most asked question during career transition, “Tell me about yourself.”
  2. Several, well though out, “elevator speeches,” examples that support your primary, positioning, key words. These are usually your representative accomplishments under the SUMMARY of your resume. (30 seconds to 1 minute)
  3. A succinct “qualification statement” that you can use as an introduction at networking events. (usually 20 – 30 seconds)
  4. An “exit statement” which explains your availability, to address the second most asked question during career transition.

Having your collateral materials prepared and rehearsed prior to active personal marketing is central to your success and builds confidence.

Consistency in the delivery of your message is what creates memory… and frequency of your message helps you get there… strive for top-of-mind awareness where it relates to your candidacy.

As we learned last week, your personal marketing communication strategy, your story, must be built around keywords and phrases that best describe your unique value proposition. These words come from your concerted self-assessment process. The challenge is matching the words that best describe your next right employment with the words that best describe a potential new employer’s needs.

A communication strategy that does not achieve that is doomed to otherwise controllable difficulties—and, worst…failure. So, understand that getting recruited involves two distinct elements…

  • Being screened for meeting a JOB’s requirements… a subjective process created by the potential employers of the marketplace. They set the bar HIGH, defined by functional experience, skill set, and knowledge standards so they don’t have to interview every JOB applicant.
  • Being selected by the hiring authority… another subjective process which now involves their assessment of a job-seeker’s FIT with their needs, including personality, work habits, and other ‘cultural’ standards. They cannot hire all qualified candidates. They must choose.

A job-seeker, then, can give themselves choices when they choose to embrace the OTHER Job Market. They improve their probability of success by nearly eliminating the pre-mature screening and rejection process.

 

Instead, the SMART job-seeker chooses to build relationships with potential employers first, researching attractive trends and targeted organizations in order to maximize probability of success, avoiding the HR-driven screening process to identify appropriate opportunities for securing their next right employment.