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


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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.

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The Other Side Of The Table: Reverse Engineering of INTERVIEW STRATEGY

Compass-seaLSo, how does a concept from the field of engineering get itself into the dysfunctional event called INTERVIEWING? Reverse engineering is a detailed examination of a technical product or service, with the end-game of producing something similar. In fact, this method could also apply to the job interview because sometimes, in a job interview, the candidate does not properly understand the question the interviewer has asked, and therefore the answer, of course, would likely not be the best.  In other words, the most important element of the job interview is that the candidate clearly and fully understand the context and issue involved with each question if that candidate’s answers are to meet the interviewer’s expectations.


THIS WEEK’s Session, Thursday, June 14th: Closing The Deal I, exploring interview strategies, including ‘MoneySpeak’ and PRE-OFFER Negotiation


chalk1It’s a sad fact that many of the people who conduct job interviews, those representing your potential employers, have never taken even one structured course about carrying out a thorough and productive interview. And it’s disturbing that many professional interviewers do a less than satisfactory job of actually conducting an interview.

Anatomy of the interview

The job interview itself is a professional conversation between employers’ representatives and job applicants (EQUAL participants) for the purpose of selecting the applicant who appears to be the best candidate. Of course, interviews vary in many ways based on type of job and on level within an organization. But in all cases there are similarities.

So, what are the criteria that interviewers must satisfy for themselves in order to go ahead and recommend the hiring of an individual? The answer, of course, includes many criteria, which will differ from one interview to the next…and which at times will be influenced by prejudices, not unlike a job seeker’s offer criteria and the influence of emotions, anxiety, and other pressures.

The interviewer will want to confirm that YOU MEET REQUIREMENTS, usually set forth in a company job description.  They attempt to assure your willingness and ability to meet their JOB performance EXPECTATIONS… and finally, the most subjective of all, both parties should be optimizing how well you FIT the job and team cultural issues.

In addition, in most cases more than one interview takes place before a final decision is reached. Let’s examine the types of questions asked in many interviews… and the intentions behind the questions.

Questions for the screening interview

Here the first criterion is communication skills, and a typical question is, “Tell me about yourself.”  On hearing the answer, the interviewer has the opportunity to access how the candidate frames that answer. Is it clear and concise? Is the candidate engaging me?

The next criterion is competency. The question could be, Can you give me a specific example of a time you used a (particular) skill and the outcome (a behavioral question)? Now the interviewer listens for whether the answer indicates that the candidate is a team player. Does the candidate truly demonstrate well-developed skills in the area of my interest, and what were the main results?

At all companies, cultural fit is extremely important. Several common questions are pertinent to this area. For example, What was the biggest team project or task you’ve undertaken in your career? They may dig deeper, with specific follow-up questions, like:

  • What is the size and scope of the project team. Was the objective reached?
  • Who benefited by the outcome?

Was the candidate’s answer well communicated? Was it too long? Too short?

The next area to explore is motivation. Here they may probe the interviewee on what they have researched, or know about the company, testing whether the candidate has done their ‘homework.’  Is the candidate really interested? Does the candidate know more details about the organization than what’s available on the Web site?

You’ve made it through the screening process…NOW What?

 Questions for the second interview

Because the motivation factor is so very important, it’s likely that this criterion will come up in the second interview as well, when other members of the interviewing team look for it. Common questions are:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why did you leave your last position? Were there hidden problems?
  • Do you wish to grow professionally? Do you have a clear vision of your professional future?

The next area to look into would be trust of colleagues and customers. A good, probing question would be, Can you cite examples that best demonstrate your ability to relate well to others?

  • Have you been invited to contribute to other teams?
  • Did your team and other teams celebrate their successes together?
  • How about repeat business? Or returning internal or external customers?

People in management are expected to identify and establish goals. Listen closely here, because the context of goal-oriented questioning is important.  They may inquire about your plans for the first 90 days after hire. Does the candidate know the product or service? Has the candidate given thought to a plan? Is the plan detailed enough?

If at this point the candidate appears promising, they may turn to the salary issues.  What kind of money are you looking for? The answer will enable me to decide whether it’s worth continuing the interview if a candidate’s expectations are out of the hiring manager’s salary range budgeted for the position.

The DARK Side

They may ask a question about a perceived liability. For example, Aren’t you overqualified? I will determine whether the response is defensive or equable.

And the last area involves predicting future behavior.  The best predictor of future success is evidence of related accomplishment in the past.  Questions about future behavior are typically based on behaviors or situations. For example, Tell me about a time you had to defend an idea and what the outcome was.

Asking interview questions is not difficult. Making judgments based on candidates’ answers is where interviewing skills get severely tested.

And perfect practice makes perfect for both parties.

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.

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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.