Does your “Digital Footprint” PUSH or PULL?

Compass-seaLHow 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.


THIS Week:  Thursday, March 2nd LinkedIn PRIMER: TASK#1 Your LinkedIn Profile!


Pilot OnboardMore 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.’ 

TASK#1: Your Profile

Your LinkedIn Profile can be your optimal DIGITAL aid to networking.  You can ‘design’ your Profile to draw interested parties TO YOU… this is called a ‘pull marketing’ effort and is heavily dependent on your search engine optimization (SEO) score.  This is an over-simplification, but the name of that game is to find creative ways to stack your keywords, using every allowable boundary of LinkedIn.

The challenge is to create this heavy barrage of keywords in a less than obvious manner, so that your Profile is still reader-friendly to those potential contacts, recruiters, or hiring authorities.

On the other hand, you may elect to use your Profile to get your story out to potential interested contacts, recruiters, or hiring authorities.  This would be utilizing a ‘push marketing’ design and would integrate a more narrative approach, with all due grammar in place…making it much more reader-friendly.

The challenge is to create such a narrative ‘storyline’ which has sufficiently high SEO score to rank you in the first several pages of a keyword search, AND…

…AND narrative enough to be appealing to the actual reader of your profile.

I encourage the Candidates that I serve to get the best of BOTH marketing approaches—both push and pull marketing strategies.  Remember, the LinkedIn search algorithm looks for your activity level FIRST and your SEO score SECOND (a close second)… so let your desired results be your guide.

While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.

It’s not a mistake to start with cutting and pasting from your resume.   It becomes the core of this high tech, written ‘personal marketing’ collateral. But then edit your storyline and put personality back in to it.

The site will walk you through filling in the blanks, or you can simply use the “edit profile’ area… but you’ll want to think ahead about two areas:

Branding Yourself… Directly underneath your name will be a short headline of four or five words. More than anything else in your profile, these words are how people find and define you. Are you seeking to connect mainly with others in your field and industry?

‘Professional Experience:’ What you’ve already accomplished, and your potential, your value proposition… or what you want to do, looking forward.  When listing your past job experiences, use verbs as much as possible. Show what you’re passionate about, and what you’ve learned from each job.

 

 

 

Consistency and FREQUENCY

Compass-seaLConsistency 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.

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.

ACHIEVING CareerFIT

Your Career CompassIn 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.


Thursday, February 9th… Communicating and Achieving YOUR CareerFIT


Pilot OnboardWhen a Company looks for qualified employees, they seek functional evidence that demonstrates a job seeker’s ability to perform to expectations… 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.

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.  

What is a Good, Career FIT For You?  To achieve a good “fit” between you and any future opportunity, you have to ask yourself some basic questions about yourself and your prospective employers. The fit depends on how well the jobs meets your needs and how well your skills and abilities meet the employer’s needs. The employer will make a decision and extend an offer to you: now it is time for you to make your decision.

Write out the factors that are important to you in a job… actually write out your list.  During your career transition, learn the value of setting your offer criteria, a key element of your Personal Market Plan:

  • Creates an objective target for your efforts ahead;
  • Gives you a meaningful set of questions to ask during research (factual information) and networking (more subjective information);
  • Provides an objective way to analyze and react to offers as they occur.

 

OFFER CRITERIA

Write out the factors that are important to you in a job…actually write out your list. During your career transition, you learn the value of setting your offer criteria.

1. Creates an objective target for your efforts ahead;
2. Gives you a meaningful set of questions to ask during research and networking;
3. Provides an objective way to analyze and react to offers as they occur.

To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concept.

  • Keep your “offer criteria” in that dynamic state of change that allows you to adapt to market conditions.
  • If your current goal is to find a new position, then you should prepare your search as a “business model”, manage it accordingly, be flexible, and be ready for the unexpected.

Discovering CareerFIT

Your Career CompassUltimately, your goal is to secure the next 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.


This week’s Session:  Discovering Your CareerFIT… Thursday, February 2, 8:45 AM at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison.


Pilot OnboardUnderstand that managing your own career involves three key ingredients:

  1. Confidence in knowing that your career is on the right path;
  2. Continuous research and networking leading to awareness of potential “next steps…” to keep your career moving forward;
  3. Competency with job-changing skills.

To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concept.  Consider some of the factors listed below … Examine each factor through the questions listed – and then ask “does this opportunity fit me?”

Work Requirements and Expectations: What is the next  appropriate work for you? Is the work process or project oriented?  If it’s process oriented, are the requirements and expectations clear?  What kinds of projects will you work on? Will you work on one project at a time, or multiple projects? Are the projects long term or short term? Will you work on a project long enough to see the end result? Is it important to you to be able to see the project as a whole, including the result? Or will you be content to do the work without a big picture understanding?

Work Environment: Will the work space be a source of comfort and confidence for you? How formal or informal is the environment? Hectic, fast paced? Will you have the opportunity to have flex time, or to tele-commute? How many hours a week does the employer expect you to work? Will you have the freedom to wear casual clothes? What is a typical day like at the company you are considering?  Would they allow a “trial visit” or at least a site visit?

Career Path: Is there a defined succession plan? What position(s) can you move to next? How long do new hires generally stay in the same job? How quickly do people get promoted? Are your opportunities for professional development well defined and available to you? Are mentors available?

Training and Personal Development: what kind of training will you get from the employer to do the job? What kind of training will you get to stay current in your area of interest? Are the answers to these two questions different? Does it matter to you if the answers are different?

And, What about YOU???

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.

NEXT WEEK’s Session: Communicating and Achieving CareerFit.

What IS This OTHER Job Market?

Compass-seaLIn every marketplace, there are buyers and sellers.  In the traditional job market, the one that our Department of Labor measures for us, job seekers are the sellers and their potential employers are the buyers.  The commodity is productive work and the competition is fierce.

It doesn’t matter if you are an operations manager, an internal HR professional, senior finance executive, or a key player on the IT team—ANY experienced and valued professional job seeker—ALL want to become a valued partner in the business of their next employer.

Everyone wants a voice in strategic decisions and to be included in ‘the conversation.’ To truly be included, you need to be invited. And you will only be invited if you are seen as absolutely essential to the TEAM.  Remember, team player and team leader CAN BE interchangeable terms.


THIS Week’s Session: Embracing The OTHER Job Market

Thursday, January 26th at 8:45 AM


Pilot OnboardIn the OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process.  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.

The JOB Market The OTHER Job Market
Characterized by “requisitioned” jobs being filled by chosen job seekers. Characterized by available/needed work being fulfilled by job seekers, contractors, internal candidates, third-party consultants, retirees, part-timers, temporary workers, etc.
JOBS rigidly defined by requirements and qualifications… reflected by the screening process aimed at identifying key candidates. Work expectations are subjective, defined by mutual agreement, fulfillment of need or contract… reflected through the identification of qualified candidates.
Process overseen by Human Resource professionals, regulated to consider minimally qualified candidates, hopefully within salary guidelines. Process directed by hiring authorities seeking best available talent at marketplace salary expectations.
JOB Seeking PUBLIC is screened for most desirable candidates. Qualified and available candidates are sourced and recruited, often through process of endorsement or internal referral.
Screening defined by KEYWORDS, often accomplished through computer/internet job banks and resume databases. Screening accomplished by word of mouth and endorsement, often supplementing the organization’s formal process of recruitment.
Recruitment process subject to scrutiny of regulation and political correctness. Often selection process has occurred before active recruitment has been fully engaged.
Actual selection still subject to formal process and subjective choice. Actual selection often a rubber stamp formality to satisfy regulation requirements.

On the other hand, 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!

Personal Marketing is a contact sport.

WORKSHOP OPPORTUNITY

The Careerpilot doesn’t ordinarily endorse other Career Transition events… but THIS one gives a comprehensive look at all the significant elements of a good, traditional job search…and attendees receive a supportive workbook providing excellent, hard copy resources.  The Frisco Career Transition Workshop is scheduled for Friday, January 20th from 9 am until 4:30 pm at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco.

While the workshop is free, registration is required so they’ll know how many lunches to provide and how many workbooks to assemble. Registration will closed on Tuesday, January 17th at close of business.

Registration: http://www.stonebriar.org/helping-others/community-impact/frisco-connect/

The 411: Frisco Career Transition Workshop 

Friday,  Jan. 20th, 2017   9am-4:30pm

Instructors:
Rex Saoit – Director of Human Resources at Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Gail Houston – Social Media Program Manager and Recruiter at Intuit
Lori Davis – Technical Recruiting Services Manager at Improving Enterprises
Locke Alderson – Recruiter Resource & Career Consultant with Alderson & Associates
Gayle Bridgeman – Career Consultant with Lee Hecht Harrison
Jim Curry – Private Wealth Manager at Upstream Investment Partners

What:
Frisco Career Search Network, one of the Dallas area’s largest church-based groups to help people searching for employment, is hosting another free Frisco Career Transition Workshop.  Human Resource professionals specialized in recruitment and staffing will teach advanced skills, techniques and secrets for job-hunting strategies:
• Utilizing the Internet in your job search
• Job search strategies
• Resume writing
• Networking
• Interviewing
• Negotiating techniques

The workshop is for those who are un-employed, under-employed or just seeking new employment. Many participants have taken the workshop more than once because of the encouragement it provides. The workshop opens with a time of prayerful support and encouragement from God’s Word, the Bible.

People get to know one another and exchange information about possible employment. We also connect people via the Internet to a wide variety of local job leads.

• Dress code is casual. It’s a cell phone friendly environment so you won’t miss that important call.
• Bring business cards for networking with others if you have them.

Cost: There is no charge: Free snacks, Lunch and workbook.

Register NOW, while you’re thinking about it

Where:   Stonebriar Community Church at 4801 Legendary Drive in Frisco 75034. Southwest of the intersection of Lebanon and Preston in Frisco.

Being PREPARED To Interview Effectively

Compass-seaLOK, so you’ve secured and scheduled an interview…NOW what???  Do you understand that you will be an equal participant in this employment conversation? Are you prepared to take advantage of that and perform to the best of your ability in the interview?

 


Thursday, January 12th we will be discussing Closing the Deal

(Part I: Interview Strategies)


The Three Phases of Every Interview

There are three things that must be discussed in every interview:  First, the Candidate, a discussion usually conducted in the past tense to assess experience, knowledge, and skills… do they meet the potential employer’s REQUIREMENTS?

Second, the job itself.  Beyond meeting requirements, each Candidate must be judged for their potential to meet EXPECTATIONS.  As important, will the Candidate “fit in” on the team and Company culture?  This discussion occurs in the future tense… very obvious transition in a “good” interview.

Last, but certainly not least, is the quality of FIT.  While this is the most subjective and dysfunctional part of the process, it is where both sides must come together for a desired outcome.  When both sides like and find the other to be attractive, a “right” employment opportunity can result.  This is also where the QandA can become more defensive in nature.

And YOUR Tools…

Your VALUE PROPOSITION

Prepare for your interviews (and networking meetings) by understanding the value you bring to a potential employer and hiring company.    Incorporate portions of this information into your interview responses, or use some of the material in your interview closing remarks.  Tell them why you are good at what you do!

ANSWERING QUESTIONS EFFECTIVELY

The key to being successful in an interview is to answer each question well, with strong content and credible delivery. To do this, you must anticipate and practice what to say, display confidence and enthusiasm and show that you have a positive attitude. The way you deliver your responses can be just as important as what you say.

Look directly into the interviewer’s eyes; give short, crisp, smooth answers that don’t sound memorized.  Put energy and ‘texture’  in your voice.

Consider one of the following guidelines in answering questions relative to your communication strategy…

  1. ANSWER the question.
  2. Highlight strengths, giving examples as appropriate… plays to behavioral interviewer style and tactics. Minimize weaknesses.
  3. At least address the issue of the question before
    • Blocking
    • Turnaround
    • Answering in your terms
    • Confronting or changing the subject!

Behavioral interview questions

Many employers are moving away from a resume-driven style of interviewing to a behavioral format. Behavioral interviews are very probing in nature and are based on the concept of “predictable future behavior.”

In other words, what you have done in the past strongly suggests what you will do in the future.  It is about patterns of behavior, both good and bad.

Navigating these interviews successfully requires that you know yourself inside and out.  This will require a lot of introspection and soul-searching on your part.

You must be able to:

  • Know why you have made the decisions you have made that have brought you to this point in your life… and be prepared to explain and defend your decisions.
  • Provide concrete, specific examples of where you have demonstrated the proficiency employers are seeking.

Do you have any questions?

Have at least two questions ready.  They could relate to: the procedures; the systems; reporting relationships; size of working group; equipment; or immediate goals of the department or position.  Do not ask questions about benefits or holidays until you are close to a job offer.

MONEY$peak

 How do companies Pay?

Thanks to the Fair Labor Practices Act of the early sixties, salary administration is quite predictable. Companies are regulated/ audited to maintain the midpoints of their base salary ranges. Therefore the job market tends to collapse around salary range midpoints, regardless of job market conditions.

What is often very misunderstood is the difference between salary survey information, driven by reported salary ranges-and-salary offers made within the job market, driven by negotiated dollars. It is important to realize this simple fact of economic life. That’s why we must always be prepared to negotiate!

Knowing salary administration strategy from the Corporate view, The Careerpilot is not surprised by the actual marketplace performance of today’s professionals in career transition. Even in the “soft market” conditions of today’s marketplace, Candidates have been seeing 15% increases to be commonplace… even higher with some highly marketable Candidates or from within high demand industries and companies. You can negotiate anything.

Your POSITION “WORTH”

While potential employers recruit within well-defined salary ranges, your position’s worth is so much more.  This total value is what you seek to improve upon, and it has several variables…

  1. Base Salary
  2. STRUCTURED BONUS… paid in a regular and frequent paycheck
  3. UNStructured Bonus… these are the elusive, discretionary money sources.
  4. Benefits
  5. Perks
  6. First year vacation
  7. Starting date, if currently employed!

Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan: A CAREER Strategy

While 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.

So, 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.


  1. ASSESSMENT: Inventory your skill sets, experience, and personality
  2. SET CAREER OBJECTIVE: Identify appropriate target organizations and be able to clearly position yourself for your next right employment.
  3. DEVELOP IN-SYNC Personal Marketing Collateral Materials: Written and verbal collateral materials will be in a constant state of development.
  4. REFERENCE SELECTION AND COACHING
  5. CREATE YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT: Your social media activity, specifically your use of LinkedIn functionality.
  6. CONDUCT FIRST LEVEL RESEARCH: Determine attractive target organizations, and trends in the market that are attractive to you.
  7. COMPILE YOUR INITIAL CONTACT LIST
  8. DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL MARKETING PLAN: What is your value proposition and how to you PLAN to offer it?

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.

 Personal Marketing is a contact sport.

Following the first three steps, it may feel like you’re ready to take on the job market… but, THE Careerpilot encourages you to be totally prepared before you do.

Think INSIDE This Box!

Your Career CompassFor the next two weeks, we’ll be looking at interview strategies and tactics.  Many people rely on their communication skills and basic research to get through an interview… It’s so much more than that…and it is different for everybody!


Thursday, October 13th... Closing The Deal I,  interview strategies plus MoneySpeak, including PRE-Offer negotiation.


Pilot OnboardOften, a skilled communicator who thinks quickly on their feet must learn to limit themselves, to stick to their message!  The opposite is true for the terminally shy… they may be researched and prepared, but must learn to make their points effectively.

The Three Phases of Every Interview

 There are three things that must be discussed in every interview:  First, the Candidate, a discussion usually conducted in the past tense to assess experience, knowledge, and skills… do they meet the potential employer’s REQUIREMENTS?

Second, the job itself.  Beyond meeting requirements, each Candidate must be judged for their potential to meet EXPECTATIONS.  As important, will the Candidate “fit in” on the team and Company culture?  This discussion occurs in the future tense… very obvious transition in a “good” interview.

Last, but certainly not least, is the quality of FIT.  While this is the most subjective and dysfunctional part of the process, it is where both sides must come together for a desired outcome.  When both sides like and find the other to be attractive, a “right” employment opportunity can result.  This is also where the QandA can become more defensive in nature.

Research the company/position

 Second level research will help you to identify attractive companies.  But, this is third level (in-depth) research.  Learn as much as possible about the company, the position and the individual who will be conducting the interview.

Your research goals ought to include developing information about the company’s products, people, organizational structure, successes (and failures), profits (and losses), capital spending, strategic plans, philosophy and labor climate. Showing your knowledge of some of this information can give you added credibility over other candidates interviewing for the job.

 Use the following research strategies:

  • Research the company web site, looking for information relative to your function and level… a company’s financial and annual reports can provide clues to their stability and market share. Don’t forget directories, trade journals, the “business press,” and databases of articles and other news.
  • Ask a friendly recruiter, business acquaintance or stockbroker what they know about the company… and by extension, call people with whom you have networked and ask what they know about the company and/or individual conducting the interview.
  • Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.
  • Call the company directly; request a sales brochure, annual report or other company information. Companies have to market themselves, too, you know.

Once your basic research is complete, you must next identify how your abilities, experience and expertise can meet the needs of the interviewer, the company and the job.  This point cannot be over-emphasized.

It is the company’s needs that you must fill, not your own.  Surprisingly, however, by meeting the company’s needs, your needs also will be met.

 Your VALUE PROPOSITION

Prepare for your interviews (and networking meetings) by fully understanding the value you bring to a potential employer and hiring company.    Incorporate portions of this information into your interview responses, or use some of the material in your interview closing remarks.  Tell them why you are good at what you do!

ANSWERING QUESTIONS EFFECTIVELY

 The key to being successful in an interview is to answer each question well, with strong content and credible delivery. To do this, you must anticipate and practice what to say, display confidence and enthusiasm and show that you have a positive attitude. The way you deliver your responses can be just as important as what you say.

Look directly into the interviewer’s eyes; give short, crisp, smooth answers that don’t sound memorized.  Put energy and ‘texture’  in your voice.

Consider one of the following guidelines in answering questions relative to your communication strategy…

  • ANSWER the question.
  • Highlight strengths, giving examples as appropriate… plays to behavioral interviewer style and tactics. Minimize weaknesses.
  • At least address the issue of the question before
    • Blocking
    • Turnaround
    • Answering in your terms
    • Confronting or changing the subject!

The Beat Goes On

Compass-seaLThe stress and spontaneous pressures of job search can take their toll, making it easy to give in to ‘the path of less resistance…’ aka: distractions.  Asa drummer, I learned that regardless of personal desire to provide a more creative beat for the corps to march to, it was important to maintain a steady and consistent beat (called a cadence) so that everyone could stay in step… or as we use to say, “The Beat Goes On!”


Thursday, September 29th… Implementing your Personal Marketing Plan: An exploration of routine job search activities.


Pilot OnboardThe same thing is true when implementing your Personal Marketing Plan… in order to create the desired result–top-of-mind awareness–you must maintain a steady beat of activities to brand yourself, to be remembered, in the job market.

Weekly Cadence

I would never attempt to define a “normal” week of job search…there are simply TOO MANY variables!  But, I do encourage those Candidates that I serve to commit to AVERAGING the numbers they select in the Personal Marketing Plan.  You can think about this in the same way you would a design template. It’s a format that you can then build and modify as necessary for any given project — in this case, your job search week.

  1. Include ramp-up time on Monday morning, so that the first few hours of the week are blocked out for weekly planning and processing after the weekend.
  2. Schedule focused practice or research time on Wednesday afternoons.
  3. Get out of the house on Tuesdays and Thursdays… go to a coffee shop and get quality, uninterrupted work done. This turns moving a major initiative forward into something that feels like a nice mid-week mini-break from the normal day-to-day.
  4. Wind down on Friday afternoons. I block out about three hours to wrap up anything that took longer than I anticipated or to work on non-urgent administrative tasks that are nice to get done before closing up for the weekend.
  5. At least one weekday evening, accomplish personal to-do items and recharge. I’m very involved in my community and lifestyle, but even extroverts need a day off.

NORMAL? … Don’t hold your breath, but you can, of course, adapt, adjust, and amend all of this as necessary. But this rhythm is what I suggest, and I find it leads to a productive week with closure before the weekend… and plenty of time for those “normal” distractions!

 Daily Cadence

There is no one right formula for having a productive day of job search activities. The trick is to be honest with yourself about what works best for you to get the most of your 24 hours.

Personally, I spend the first hour to hour and a half planning, answering e-mail, and completing small to-do items, and then I jump into more in-depth work and client calls by 8:30.

With some of my Candidates, the best daily rhythm is to check e-mail very quickly in the morning and then focus on in-depth work until lunch. After lunch they have meetings or respond to emergencies that have come up.

No matter which you prefer, you want to have clarity on when you do your best focused work, when you prefer to have meetings, and when you’ll make space for the processing and planning that keeps everything moving in the right direction.

Back-to-Center Cadence

Finally, it’s important to know what pattern can help you to get back on track when there are major variations to your Personal Marketing Plan. Being honest with yourself and giving yourself permission to spend time reorganizing when you need it keeps you from feeling perpetually behind and guilty.

For example, you will experience the least pressure when you block out a few days before and after any significant time away from your job search so that no one can schedule meetings with you on those days. That gives you the flexibility you need for wrapping up work and getting your head back in the game after being away…maintaining your visibility in the job market.

Also, consider blocking out at least a half day after a conference or major networking event to tie up loose ends, follow up, and sort through your notes. This will give you the ability to extract the value from what just happened. The more disruptive the event, the more time you’ll want to allot to resettle in and get back on a rhythm.

Rhythm on a weekly and daily basis can create the order, productivity, efficiency, and flexibility you need for the implementation of your Personal Marketing Plan to flow in harmony.

It’s time to “take your pulse,” and discover your personal marketing cadence, your BEST career strategy… always have a next contact to make and be aware of ‘next steps’ in your career.