To Tweak Or NOT To Tweak, THAT…

Compass-seaL THAT’s a huge question to address as a job seeker’s search wears on.

Many 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.

THE 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.


Thursday, September 19th…WRITING’s For The READER… what’s YOUR story?   guest presenter, Joy Perkins, will be digging more deeply into the what to tweak when you tweak your communication strategies.


bob-maher-4587-editSo, 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.  This part of the process HAS TO HAPPEN before you launch you job search…

And it could happen if your initial strategies are not well received in the market… Your “story” may evolve as your search plays out… Time to TWEAK!

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!

Within your network, as you seek Advice, Information, and Referrals… NOT a j.o.b., you will get a LOT of direction, sometimes creating conflict and chaos… You can let it overwhelm you, or you can pick and choose what you want to factor in, and let everything else fall to the wayside…

This is an over-simplification, but it’s truly that simple. Once you see others’ advice as something you can take rather than something you have to take, the pressures off, and you can make decisions that align with your values.

This also frees you up to make the more challenging decisions based on cumulative feedback that you have heard and listened to from the job market…  specifically influencing tweaks to your original communication strategies…

The more collective ‘advice and information,’ the better!  Keep your written and verbal strategies in sync and dynamic, an evolutionary process.

Remember, too, that the traditional marketplace’s over-reliance and obsession with keywords is what drives your dynamic need for feedback on your resume.  Besides, you should be constantly tweaking your market-ready resume to stay in sync with actual job descriptions and other opportunities.

Building on CareerFIT

JigSaw-partnershipYour work in Achieving CareerFIT led you to the determination of your career objective, exactly what is the best next step for you in your career transition?  It also suggested strongly that you set your straw-man offer criteria to guide you in moving forwardKnowing what your next right employment  is.

This will help focus your actual search. With clarity in your positioning and targeting goals, you can write a great resume to convey “your story.”


NEXT WEEK’s Session: Thursday, April 25th… Developing a GREAT Resume, and other Personal Marketing COLLATERAL MATERIALS


chalk1

WRITTEN COLLATERAL…

 A GREAT Resume that positions you clearly as a terrific FIT with your career objectives… and in today’s technologies, a database-friendly, .asci or .txt version;

  1. 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;
  2. A high impact, personal biography and/or NETWORKING PROFILE that you can lead with in your referral based networking strategies.
  3. A clear and complete LinkedIn Profile, one that is based on your communication strategy and in synch with your other written collaterals.

VERBAL COLLATERAL…

 A well rehearsed “two minute commercial,” your answer to the most asked question during career transition, “Tell me about yourself.”

  1. 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)
  2. A succinct “qualification statement” that you can use as an introduction at networking events. (usually 20 – 30 seconds)
  3. An “exit statement” which explains your availability, to address the second most asked question during career transition.

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

Execution

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.

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.

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

Yes, A GREAT Resume!

Compass-seaL

Your work in Achieving CareerFIT led you to the determination of your career objective, exactly what is the best next step for you in your career transition?  It also suggested strongly that you set your straw-man offer criteria to guide you in moving forwardKnowing what your next right employment  is.

This will help focus your actual search. With clarity in your positioning and targeting goals, you can write a great resume to convey “your story.”


Next Session, Thursday, May 3rd: In Sync Personal Marketing Collateral Materials


Your Personal Market Collateral

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.

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 collaterals 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.

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.

Getting “The (Key)Word(s)” Out

roadsign-banner2In 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 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.


NEXT Session:  Thursday, April 26th… Achieving CareerFIT II : Creating your communication strategies to drive your Personal Marketing collateral materials.


chalk1The important second step in the process is to specifically and clearly position your career objectives.  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… from YOUR perspective, making the process easier to control. 

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.

You understand 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?

Achieving CareerFIT: Assessing Yourself

Understand 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.



This week’s session- Thursday, April 19th… Achieving CareerFIT I, a closer look at the decision-making aspects of self assessment, the YOU part of the equation!



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

Your confidence in determining appropriate “next steps” along your career path, and then acting on them, is critical in determining the success of your career transition efforts.  This decision can be daunting if you don’t take the time to determine what you “bring to the tale…”

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.  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?  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.  Yes…. FIT Happens! 

 

Creating an action plan, your Personal Market Plan, during career transition, will reap rewards during your implementation campaign.

 

PLAN Before You Need To!

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!


Next Session is Thursday, March 1st: Developing YOUR Personal Marketing Plan… the epicenter of job search and time management, brings FOCUS to the process!


While the 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!

 PRODUCT’ ANALYSIS

 You are now the product that must be marketed.  In 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 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.

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.

You understand that managing your own career involves three key ingredients:

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

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

Right Resources for An Effective Search

In Steps #3 through #7 we assemble supportive ‘tools and resources’ for the job search ahead (a competent sailor ‘provisions’ his ship for the journey)… the most important of which is having a plan, a Personal Marketing Plan (our charted course to get us to our destination)…which is Step#8.

  1. Develop Personal Marketing collateral materials (Resume, etc.)
  2. Test Market with References
  3. Branding via social media (LinkedIn ‘footprint’)
  4. Basic market research to determine trends and targets
  5. Determine potential marketplace (your initial contact list)
  6. Develop your PMP (chart your course)

Eight out of your 12 Steps and you haven’t even left the harbor yet!