Accountable to WHO??

accountability-partnerA good accountability partner can make a major difference in one’s job search. I have seen many job seekers flounder because they launch their search efforts before they are totally prepared for the unique adventure ahead.  The power of partnering comes in to play when two well prepared job seekers come together to hold each other accountable for the activities and time management involved in productive search efforts.

You can call this coincidence if you want, I did for a while until I saw it happening over and over, and the people using the accountability partner were giving them the credit for their success. Or you could call it peer pressure … but whatever you call the ‘fuel.’ The resultant energy cannot be denied… it works.


Don’t miss TODAY’s Session at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison, Thursday, May 10…

Developing YOUR Personal Marketing Plan


chalk1Too many times, we fall victim to distractions from the job search. The trap of sleeping late, watching TV, and playing on the Web can ensnare us. With no one but ourselves to hold us accountable for our job-search goals and plans, time can just slip away. It’s so easy to lose balance between personal needs and wants and our job search.

The other end of the spectrum is becoming a “job search-aholic.” For many of us, our identity is tied up tightly in our career, while others need a job right away just to make ends meet. No matter how great the need or desire for a new position, conducting a job search 24/7 non-stop can actually be a detriment to a successful campaign.

Once burnout sets in and enthusiasm begins to wane, how can you be at your best when you interview or even network?  The buddy system is an ideal way to protect against burnout while keeping on track!

Advertisements

PRODUCTIVE Job Search Strategy

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

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

• Personal accountability to a labyrinth of responsibilities, some structured— some not structured at all—but all contributing to productive work activities…

• We create productivity and efficiency with our sense of time management…

• And as ‘top talent’ professionals, we often take initiative, make process improvements, and contribute to the Company’s growth.


THIS Week’s Session, Thursday, May 10th… Preparing to execute YOUR Personal Marketing Plan

PLEASE NOTE:  Scheduling changes listed in “Plan Ahead” Tab.


chalk1So, why not recreate all that with OUR OWN PLAN, a Personal Marketing Plan, to move toward job satisfaction, commitment, and appropriate compensation, for the rest of our careers… including any current, short term job search?

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.

“Coaching” Your Chosen REFERENCES…

It is essential that you make certain that persons you use as a reference will respond in a positive manner. A good rule of thumb is to select four to six references, including supervisors, indirect supervisors, customers, peers, and possibly someone of stature in your profession.

Contact every person you are using for a reference, get their permission, discuss what type of position you are targeting, and send them a copy of your ‘market-ready’ resume draft. There are times when you can actually negotiate what you want them to say.

Your reference sheet is an addendum to your resume and is taken to the interview, not sent with the resume. One way of looking at contacting your references at this point is that it marks the beginning of your focused networking, the first stage of your more active career transition efforts.

Practice your networking skills while you validate your resume DRAFT, tweaking as appropriate based on feedback from those that know and respect you.

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.

 

Exactly What IS The OTHER Job Market?

roadsign-banner2In 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.


Our next session, Thursday, April 12th: Embracing The OTHER Job Market… an exploration of our basic philosophies and The 12-Step Process M.A.P.


chalk1In 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.

Thoughts on Behavior-based Interviews

Compass-seaLLike falling in love, interviews can be like a next step on the career path of the rest of your working days.  However, interviews can also be mind-numbing disasters that cast you into the depths of self- doubt and depression.   In EVERY interview, you can plan, prepare, and practice your way to a more confident, high performing YOU that can persevere and succeed through this critical stage of a job search.  Even rejection can be turned in to a positive outcome.

sq-knot2

For some time now, ‘behavioral interviewing’ has been a strong trend in the recruitment process.  Being aware of this as a recruitment strategy, planning to take advantage of it, will help you to avoid an otherwise nerve wrecking experience.  In fact, acing that particular sort of interview could be the stepping stone to the career path of your dreams.

Interview Preparation:

Do your background research on industry, company, interviewer(s), and, importantly, the value proposition you offer in the role, the opportunity at hand.

  1. Understand the requirements of the position and how they create expectations of you. Get the Company jo description in advance and understand it! 
  2. Know who will be conducting the interview… use LinkedIn to be aware of their background.
  3. Utilize target organization networking to gain insight into the organization’s needs.
  4. Prepare 2 – 3 points in advance that clearly communicates why you are an excellent fit for the position—and don’t overlook company (department level) cultural issues.

Behavioral Interview Questions: What are they?

They are common questions based on the premise that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. They can

·         Provide proof of your potential demonstrated through description of past situations

·         Instead of being situational e.g. “If you are faced with a difficult customer issue, what will you do?” a behavioral question is more like, “Give an example of a situation here you were faced with a challenging customer issue… and what did you do?”

·         This type of question is open ended and allows the interviewer to probe and zero in on specific behaviors and skills to find out more about the candidate

 Interviewers use behavioral interview questions to assess leadership, problem-solving, analytical thinking, time management, communication and interpersonal skills.

Candidates need to prepare examples and stories that demonstrate the themes mentioned above. In addition, as a candidate, you should prepare examples and stories for additional key competencies that are outlined on the job description.

Practice, practice, practice! (Where have you heard THIS before?)

Your self-confidence in your presentation, and belief that you’re the best candidate for the role, is paramount. It’s important to practice responses out loud. Practice with your accountability partner. Practice with family. Practice with friends, fellow job-seekers and an experienced, skilled and knowledgeable Career Services Professional.

Practice so you’ll have a flow and can articulate your examples clearly and concisely. The flip side is, of course, don’t memorize examples verbatim…  as you might sound too rehearsed an unnatural. 

Be YOURSELF.