Quick Tips -- Autumn Edition
10 Tips, Techniques, and Tactics
Quick Tips offers you tips, techniques, and tactics especially suited to assist you with your job search this season.
We're moving into those final months of the year when many job seekers get down to the business of finding a new position or changing the direction of their career.
They may be acting on the promise they made to themselves way back way at the beginning of the year to make a change. Or, as the year went by, they may have made the decision to change jobs to something that was better suited to their abilities and experieince. Either way, fall is a great time to act on this decision.
Autumn is one of the most active times of the hiring year. Companies, resuming their normal hiring activity following the slower pace of summer, now focus on meeting the staffing needs of programs and projects that are underway or in anticipation of needs for the coming year. So make the most of it! The tips listed below can help.
1. Getting Started? Build a Solidation Foundation
2. Perform a Job Search Audit to Get Your Search Back on Track
3. 10 Key Precepts of a Successful Job Search
4. A Resume -- It's Not What You Think It Is
5. Craft Your Marketing Plan to Avoid Spinning Your Wheels
6. Manage Your Job Search Like a Project Manager
7. Looking for a Job? . . . Then You're In Sales!
8. Managing the Folks Around You - It Takes a Village BUT You Have to Manage It
9. Networking Unlocks Opportunities
10. If You're Talking . . . . . You're Interviewing
For more information about any Quick Tip, click on the Articles Archives tab and scroll through the many articles available to help you help yourself find your new job!
Getting Started? Build a Solidation Foundation
Build your foundation by first assessing your goal(s) to get clear about the work you want to do. If you think this a waste of time, I can tell you it's not! You would be amazed at the number of job seekers who jump into their search without being able to describe the type of work they want to do, only having then to go back and do damage control for having broadcast the wrong message to network contacts, recruiters, and employers!
If you are unclear, a simple exercise is to go back through your resumes, performance appraisals, volunteer experiences, and life activities. As you recall each think of the stories you tell about previous positions and recall accomplishments you achieved that make you smile. Make a list. As you review your list, chances are you have just identified the characteristics of a job(s) you would like to perform.
Second, develop your marketing materials to support achieving your goal. Develop a strategic resume that exhibits experiences you have had and accomplishments you have achieved that support your claim that you would be a good fit for the type of position you are seeking. Develop a strategic elevator speech. Next list people you want to convey your objective to and tell about your search . . . your Networking Plan. Now, make a list of Target Organizations you want to contact who hire people who do the work you want to do . . . your Marketing Plan.
Third, get organized. Think of yourself as a small independent business owner who is getting ready to interact with your target market. An important part of small business success is to develop your own infrastructure so that you are able to work, interact with potential buyers of your services (network contacts and employers), make business presentations (interviews), and keep track of it all. So. take time up front to set up a good working office/office space, along with your computer, phone, email. And, work out your budget so you can afford the expenses that are inherent in search for a job as well as knowing what is an acceptable salar.
Autumn is a busy time in the hiring year. So, it is a critical time to maximize your activity. Decide to make the most of these critical months.
Need more information. Click on the Articles Archives tab, and scroll through the many articles in the Planning and Strategy Section of the AJC - Career Strategy website.
If you have been at your search for a while with little to show for it, it may be time for A Job Search Audit.
- If you have been searching for 3 or more months with few substantial networking meetings, few or no interviews, and no job offers, it’s time to dissect your activity and analyze how you’re doing.
- If you're doing well, but have not yet landed a job, an audit will help too. It'll show you what you’re doing that’s effective and what’s not.
- To perform your audit, set aside a block of time in which you can devote your total attention - no interruptions!
- Next, if possible, find a job search buddy who you talk through the review with. It’s really helpful to have someone there to bounce things off of, ask questions, and offer suggestions.
- Review your Career Strategy - Marketing Plan: What response have you received from your target companies?
- Review your resume. Based on your now current knowledge of your industry, and its target companies, as well as what you’ve learned about what you REALLY want to do, does your resume need revision? Has your goal changed?
- Review your interviews (Serious, substantial networking meetings count as interviews too.). Note the top 5 - 10 questions you have been asked and the answers you provided. Does something need to change?
- How close did you get? If you’ve come in in the top 3 a few times, find out why?
An audit can help clear up the mysteries of where your job search campaign is faltering. It is a smart strategy!
Need more information about how to perform an audit. Please refer to my articles:
End-of-the-Year Audits Work for Job Search Too
Re-Focus & Re-Energize Your Job Search For Fall
in the Planning and Strategy section, of the AJC - Career Strategy website.
10 Key Precepts of a Successful Job Search
How you think about your search can make it or break it.
Sometimes, we literally stand in our own way and block our own chance for finding success. Job search is no exception. How you think about your search influences what you do and how you go about doing it, whether it’s the time you put into writing a resume, or preparing for a networking meeting, interview, or job offer negotiation. I call this critical thinking the 10 Key Precepts of a Successful Job Search.
10 Precepts of Success
- Finding a job is a job. A lot of job seekers waste a lot of time, energy, and resources trying to find a way around this precept.
- Your Career Management is YOUR responsibility. No one else’s! The fact is no one else holds your career as near and dear as you do.
- Think positively. Attitude is important. No one wants to meet or spend too much time with a down, negative, or sarcastic person.
- Think strategically as you plot your job search course. Job seekers rarely achieve success by happenstance.
- Don’t settle: A job . . . any job WON’T do.
- WHO you know does NOT get you the job. However, who you know helps you get the opportunity to demonstrate what you know, and what you know is what gets you hired!
- You’re in sales. You are offering, or selling, your skills and capabilities to your customer, our employer, as a solution for their needs.
- It’s not about you. It’s all about them . . . Their needs, their requirements, their job. Not understanding this basic concept is where sales are made or lost -- jobs too!
- Hiring IS subjective -- critically subjective. But understand that it is a decision made by a team of people with the skills, abilities, experience, education, aptitude, and attitude to identify, screen, evaluate, and ultimately make the decision to hire the best candidate who can do the job, fit in, and stay awhile.
- They're not looking for you. That's why a 20-page resume, containing everything you've ever done, does not help. Instead, submit a resume listing those things you've done that satisfy the hiring company's job requirements and needs.
For how to techniques and information, please refer to my article, Key Precepts of a Successful Job Search,
the AJC--Career Strategy website.
A Resume . . . It's Not What You Think
What is a resume? Everyone knows what a resume is . . . . . Right? . . . . . . . . . Wrong!
It is not a tell-all.
It is not a dissertation.
It is not a treatise on your philosophy.
A resume is simply your sales brochure. Nothing more . . . . . nothing less.
It is a document that tells the reader the type of work you can do and want to do, and sells your abilities by showing successful experiences you have had -- called Accomplishment Statements -- doing this type of work.
To write your resume, review the employer's requirements and make sure your resume shows examples of you having performed work that meets their requirements (or at least the majority of them) and therefore qualifies you as a candidate, and potential employee.
● If it does its job well, your resume:
(1) Creates a positive impression of you as a capable performer
(2) Opens doors
(3) Generates interviews
● If your resume does not do these things, then it is not working for you and bears revisiting, reworking, and rewriting.
For additional advice on crafting a resume that gets results, please refer to these articles in the Resume and Marketing Tools section of the AJC--Career Strategy website:
What is a Resume?
What is the Purpose of a Resume?
Getting Started - How to Write Your Resume
A template for crafting a resume is provided in the Tools You Can Use section of this website.
Craft Your Marketing Plan To Avoid Spinning Your Wheels
Your resume is only the first of several tools you will need to market yourself in today's competitive employment marketplace. A key marketing tool -- and probably one of the most overlooked tools -- is your Marketing Plan. It will help you get further faster because you'll spend less time spinning your wheels!
Your Marketing Plan creates order out of chaos! With so many companies to explore, leads to explore, ads to apply for, and people to contact . . . it can leave your head spinning unless you have an orderly way to capture and use the information you acquire. Use your plan to (1) identify your areas of competency, (2) and then the types of industries, (3) and companies within those industries, that employ your skills, use your knowledge, and value your experience.
A template for crafting your Marketing Plan is provided in the Tools You Can Use section of this website.
Manage Your Job Search Like a Project Manager
Managing an effective job search is akin to managing any important project. To successfully and effectively achieve your goal, plan to employ your project management skills as you would on any important project.
Prepare: Preparation is key to succeed at getting the job you want. Whether you are:
- Starting your search, or
- Taking a step back to regroup an ongoing search.
In either case, establish your goal and write it down.
Plan: Continue your planning with market research. Gain information and knowledge about the need and market for the type of work you want to do.
Acquire: Acquire the project management tools you’ll need to get organized and perform the work of the project:
- Establish your workspace.
- Create or revise your marketing tools, and focus and update them to align and support achievement of your goal.
So, begin at the beginning. Invest the time up front to get organized and plan a strategic search. The investment will speed you on your way and pay off in conducting a more focused, faster, and rewarding search.
For how-to techniques and information, please refer to my article,
Be a Project Manager to Find a Better Job, Faster
in the AJC--Career Strategy website.
Looking for a Job? . . . Then You're in Sales!
Carrying around a boat load of negative preconceptions about sales, selling, and sales people? Well get rid of them. Because looking for a job is all about sales – selling yourself. Understanding this is key to success and will move things along faster to a better quality result.
It is really important to understand that when you are looking for a job, and talking to people, you are selling yourself. In other words, you are talking about and selling your capabilities, experience, knowledge, and accomplishments as potential solutions for needs their firms have. Understanding this simple, yet highly complicated, concept is key to:
- Identifying opportunities that could be right for you, and then to
- Landing a good job quicker.
So, understand that if you are looking for a new job, new role, expansion of your current role, or venturing off into a new independent contracting, consulting, or business role, you are in sales! And, you are selling the most important product/service you will ever sell – YOU!
For more information on "how to" sell yourself, please refer to these articles in the Planning and Strategy section, of the AJC--Career Strategy website:
Looking for a Job – You are in Sales!
Looking for a Job - You are In Sales . . . . . . . "The Job Seeking Sales Process"
Managing the Folks Around You
It Takes a Village BUT You Have to Manage It
You’ve heard the expression: It takes a village. This old and familiar expression applies to many things in life, and your job search is no exception.
When it comes to thinking about the village of people who will be involved in your job search, most people’s thoughts first turn to their Professional Network. This village consists of your professional contacts and colleagues, employers, recruiters, hiring managers, and movers and shakers in your field. It is a group whose support you will seek out. These are most definitely people whom you want to involve in and focus their attention on your search.
Family & Friends Network
But there is a second group of people who will also be involved in your job search. It is a group that many job seekers fail to take into account when planning their search. And, unfortunately, ignoring this group can make or break your search!
This second group is the village comprised of family and friends that surrounds you and with whom you, in many cases, interact daily. Unless you take the time and make the effort to involve them in a positive and productive way, this group can impede or stop your search altogether!
So, include family and friends in your planning for your Job Search:
- Take the time initially to talk about and prepare them for coming changes that by way of affecting you may also affect them too.
- Hear, really hear, their concerns and solicit their suggestions.
- Finally, keep them informed of your search's progress.
For how to techniques and information, please refer to my article,
Preparing Your Network for the Changes of a Job Search,
in the AJC--Career Strategy website.
Networking Unlocks Opportunities
If you dread the idea of going up to strangers whose paths you cross and striking up a conversation, you are far from alone. Many, if not most folks -- if truth be told -- dread the idea. They’d rather have a root canal.
However, the truth is that many, if not most, opportunities are found through networking.
These wonderful positions never see the light of an advertisement. They are found in what is called -- and aptly so -- the Hidden Market. It is the employment market that is accessed through people and it is the market where some of the best positions reside.
Networking opens the door to the Hidden Market. Positions here are found by talking and connecting with folks who work for a firm and know of needs or open jobs, or by talking to folks who know some folks who know of opportunities . . . You get the idea.
Face your fear and NETWORK
So, if networking is a scary thing, face your fear, . . . bite the bullet, . . . and do it anyway. There are many benefits to be gained from networking, and it just might help you find your dream job!
For how-to techniques, please refer to these articles in the Networking and Interviewing section of the AJC--Career Strategy website:
Networking: What is it and . . . .Do I have to?
Networking at Events and Large Meetings: How do I do it?
Networking in Small 1-to-1 Conversations: How do I do it?
If You're Talking . . . . . You're Interviewing
Question: When does interviewing begin?
Answer: Any time you open your mouth and begin talking!
Many job seekers believe they are only interviewing when they are sitting across from a hiring manager or HR recruiters. Not true. When you are looking for a job, any time you talk to anyone, you are interviewing. It's that simple.
Why? Because you never know where a conversation will lead. You never know who the person you are talking to knows or what they know.
So, consider every interaction during your search an interview. Be cautious about what you share or reveal, be on your best behavior in your interactions - even when you think they don't count, and be prepared with business cards in hand, Elevator Speech in mind, and best foot put forward as you:
- Attend association meetings
- Attend job seeker leads and networking groups
- Send an e-mail
- Drink coffee and eat doughnuts after your religious service or a community fundraiser
- Cheer on your child's little league team
- Participate in your neighborhood homeowner's association . . . . . You get the idea.
During your job search, to use a fencing team, be en garde! Hone the message you want to deliver as you talk with people. And, remember, If You're Talking . . . . . You're Interviewing!
For "how-to" techniques, please refer to my article, If You're Talking, . . . You're Interviewing, in the Networking and Interviewing section of
the AJC--Career Strategy website.