WHY Focus on Achieving CareerFIT?

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!


THIS Week’s Session: Thursday, September 27th… Achieving CareerFIT,  Taking a look at the “real you” to assist you in making challenging career decisions, then creating your communication strategy to “get the word out.”


Ready+aim+fireEspecially 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.

WHY?

There’s a reason for the ol’ cliche’, Ready-Aim-FIRE! You actually hit more targets.  In job search terms, all your preparation and knowledge of the process is close to worthless without the vital AIM which is accomplished through Achieving CareerFIT

  1. Employers are looking for applicants who FIT work requirements, so why shouldn’t you be seeking the next appropriate work opportunity?  Your value proposition (what YOU offer) needs to be in sync with the employer’s needs.
  2. If you lack specific and clear career objectives, you WILL conduct a random search!
  3. Having appropriate offer criteria allows you to research efficiently and ask the right questions during networking and the interview process.
  4. When your employment ‘fits’ the real you, you are more likely to find your employment more satisfying.

What YOU Do Best, and are motivated to do for a future employer…

What do you do best?  What are your strongest transferable skills?  Think broadly in terms of managerial and technical/ functional strengths involved in what you have to offer.  Discovering your “pattern of success and satisfaction” is your goal, here.

Your ability to express the collection of your functional strengths will measure your marketability.  This collection of keywords and their supportive evidence creates your communication strategy, the basis of your value proposition.

NOTE:  The old “round peg in a round role” theory of career planning is dysfunctional.  In the typical professional environment today, job descriptions are changing faster than ever before to keep up with the challenges of an economy in transition. In the traditional job market, job seekers are the sellers and their potential employers are the buyers.  The commodity is JOBs and the competition is fierce.

In The OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process.  The commodity is available, productive WORK… When employers have a need for someone to fulfill a specific role, often the most desired candidates are employed individuals with the credentials they seek.  Thus the employer must sell their Company to potential employees in the marketplace in order to attract the best of the lot.  Once identified, they simply select their choice and buy their services.

Seize control of such challenges.   Understand the nature of FIT.  

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

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

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

 OFFER CRITERIA

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

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

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

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

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?

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RECOMMENDED Full Day Workshop

Stonebriar Community Church has been a long-standing community support group for job seekers and they’ve hosted this all day event for many years.  They offer FREE EATS and one of the best workshop manuals I have seen in my many years of career transition work….Did I say it was all FREE to participants?  Here’s the 411…

When:  Friday, September 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check-in opens at 8:30 a.m.

Where:  The Multi-Purpose Room at Stonebriar Community Church. Please enter on the Legendary Drive side of the building facing Hunt Middle School.

Cost:  No charge to attend. Snacks, lunch, and workbooks will be provided at no charge.

How to Prepare:  Bring at least one resume and business cards, and dress casual.

Content:  You will hear strategies on key elements of the job search from a panel of experts.

Registration here for the workshop  https://www.stonebriar.org/helping-others/community-care/career-transition-workshop/

STONEBRIAR Map

Volunteer here to help with registration, greeting, and hospitality. Volunteers need to be available to serve from 8 to 9:30 a.m. If you are coming as an attendee for the workshop, please be sure to also register for the workshop.

 

There’s An “OTHER Job Market?”

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

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

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


Next Week’s Session: Thursday, September 20th… Embracing The OTHER Job Market: Our introductory and overview session… a great place for new-comers to start!


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.

If an individual is actually UN-employed…. Or UNDER-employed, seeking a change, 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.

The Evolution of a JOB…

NEED IDENTIFIED

 

Replacement jobs often redefined. No definition to a new need. No competition
WORK ANTICIPATED

 

Discussion leads to decisions  on JOB definition Often job parameters are set based on market feedback
JOB REQUISITION WRITTEN AND APPROVED

 

Job Requirements must be defined… expectations creep into the recruitment process Internal candidates often get priority in employment process
JOB is “open”

 

Job Requirements are often refined based on market feedback Internal AND external candidates compete for the same jobs
JOB is published

 

Job requirements and qualifications define the screening process MAX competition!!

Standing-out in the “sea of unwashed faces”

Create an expectation of who you are and what you can do for your next employer by clearly positioning and targeting your collateral materials, both written and verbal.  When stating your career objective, clearly state your appropriate work and make an offer of your services.

Getting ‘The Feel’ For FIT

Compass-seaLEvery step in the job search process is aimed at obtaining interviews.  It is at that point, a potential hiring manager decides if you are right for the job, and, just as important, it is your time to evaluate whether the job is right for you. Most interviews follow a predictable format, with steps that both the interviewer and applicant follow to decide if both will benefit from working together. The best interviews are ones in which both participants are equal and can have a mutually beneficial, interactive conversation regarding the opportunity at hand.


THIS Week’s session, Thursday, September 6th: Closing The Deal I, a discussion of interviewing strategies, including MoneySpeak and PRE-Offer negotiation


bob-maher-4587-editThink of an interview as the natural extension, the successful result, of your effective networking.  Many networking conversations actually become screening interviews, where influential contacts are assessing your qualifications, skill sets and experience relative to an opportunity at hand.  “Perfect practice” of the basics builds the confidence necessary to perform well in formal job interviews.

The Three Phases of Every Interview

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

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

Third, is the quality of FIT.  While this is the most subjective and dysfunctional part of the process, it is where both sides must come together for a desired outcome.  When both sides like and find the other to be attractive, a “right” employment opportunity can result.  This is also where the QandA can become more defensive in nature.

Research the company/position

 Second level research will help you to identify attractive companies.  But, this is third level (in-depth) research.  Learn as much as possible about the company, the position and the individual who will be conducting the interview.  Your research goals ought to include developing information about the company’s products, people, organizational structure, successes (and failures), profits (and losses), capital spending, strategic plans, philosophy and labor climate.

Showing your knowledge of some of this information can give you added credibility over other candidates interviewing for the job.

Use the following research strategies:

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

Know the needs of the company

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

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

Your VALUE PROPOSITION

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

Have your knowing NOTION of FIT going in to any interview!

Taking Digital Footsteps

roadsign-banner2Just 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.


Thursday, August 30th… A LinkedIn PRIMER: Task #2 and 3: Conducting an organized and efficient “campaign” using LI functionality


bob-maher-4587-editAh, but when you’ve lost your job, your fellow employees, and your employer… WHOA… the rules seem to have changed!

While a 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!

Many people are confused about their career direction. That’s okay. You can leave your overly-broad branding on LinkedIn until you figure out what you want to be when you grow up — at least for this job search!

Read LinkedIn profiles to spot job titles, job descriptions and specific responsibilities that sound like a fit for you. Now, brand yourself for the jobs you really want — not every job you’re qualified for:

  • Freelance Travel Writer and Editor
  • Sales Manager for Pharma/Neutraceuticals
  • Office Manager/Bookkeeper Seeking Overbooked CEO to Support
  • Startup Marketing Manager with Press Contacts

Your LinkedIn branding is important because it tells the world how you see yourself.

Everyone else will see you the same way the minute you stand in your power and tell us “Here I am!”

Just what IS a right work opportunity for YOU?

Make WAVES In Your Networking

Compass-seaLInitial research and the pulling together of your INITIAL contact list are in place to create focus to your efforts… What are the trends in the market that are attractive to you, and which target organizations are most needy of your value proposition?  Your evolving contact list will take you through the A-B-C’s of networking and the development of your distribution channels…


This Week’s Session, Thursday, August 16th… Implementing Your PMP, How to stay focused and organized with your networking efforts.


roadsign-banner2A. Start with people you already know or have reason to “should know,” as they are the most likely to be receptive to your initial efforts.

B. As you develop your network, identify key bridge contacts that can give you specific information or introduce you to key decision-makers and hiring authorities.

C. Critical to your success is building relationships with people who can influence your hiring. This ‘must see’ list of influential contacts and hiring authorities is the epicenter of your job search campaign!

Develop your networking prowess with your “A” List contacts, people you already know, have cause to know, or have known in the past… connect or reconnect with this less-threatening ‘audience.’

Then, exercise and practice your newfound skills within the job search support, local networking groups…beginning to reach toward a bigger “B” list, those people that you are referred to that can bridge your efforts to the people who can influence your hire. Begin to fold-in professional associations and trade groups as a way to strengthen and accelerate the development of your “B” list.

“See” list contacts WILL happen!

BABY STEPS Revisited

Be your own best coach… pay homage to the demon in the room, TECHNOLOGY, specifically social media… and your own communication preferences. Even the most passive communicators must learn to engage and interact… but with whom?
Use your FREE LinkedIn account to organize your contact list and to function like a road map of who to network to next.

Once identified, get on the phone and meet your newest “A” list contact.

You’ll never know when a ‘hidden gem’ of a “B” or “See” list contact will materialize in the process. When you’re networking, ask for a reference, not a job. Whether you’re doing catch-up drinks or grabbing lunch to reconnect, your main goal is to get an ally, not a tally of job listings.

Recruiting a helping hand to your search is your aim. So don’t ask your college buddy if he knows of any jobs for people like you. How would he know? And don’t ask your boss from two jobs ago if she has the names of any people who are currently looking to hire somebody like you. It puts her on the spot.

No, instead, ask for information, advice, or a reference. (A.I.R.)

Mention that you’re going to be moving on, or you’re already looking, or that you’re actively “out there looking.” Let them know the type of positions that are a good CareerFIT for you, and what you’re hoping to achieve in your next opportunity. And, if appropriate, ask them if — when it gets to the actual interviewing process — it would be OK to use them as a reference.

By letting them know that you hold them in high enough esteem to potentially use them as a reference, you’re actually paying them a compliment. By not putting them on the spot about specific job openings, you eliminate making them consider you as a Yes-NO-Maybe “applicant,” thus reducing the awkwardness inherent in the networking conversation.

You’re also making it easier for them to say “yes”, or convey useful information… or simply to feel good about themselves for being a good friend and helping you out with this little favor. All of which means that you have a new buddy in your search — one who’s going to be thinking about keeping an eye out for new opportunities and an ear open for fresh possibilities for their reference-able friend: you.

Now, this doesn’t work for just any old person you meet on the street. There’s probably a pretty good match between people you’d take to lunch and those you could ask to be a reference. So my advice would be to stick to asking those you know well enough.

Being realistic, the widely offered and deeply wrong advice from past decades of job search tricks and tips… that you should try to extract favors, concessions, names, jobs, and career assistance from people you’ve only met over the phone is not only useless, it can be counterproductive to your aims by antagonizing your broader network.

Reserve actual “information networking” for its more productive uses. By making your networking about positive interactive conversation and compliments, you’ll find it pays dividends.

A network is not something you establish overnight. It requires work and time, but the rewards are incalculable. If you are in a job search mode and do not have a good network already in place, there are several ways you can begin to build one. In the ‘challenging waters of career transition,’ your network development should be happening in waves…

The WAVES of PMP Implementation

The concept, here, is to keep a pulse of activity going consistently and regularly into the job market. When you let up, if you take time away from the marketplace, they will tend to forget you…the job market has no memory. It’s up to you to achieve top-of-mind awareness.

Get the Most From Your ‘first wave’ of Networking… Your purpose in this ‘first wave’ of networking is to gain information, advice, and most importantly names of other individuals you can call. The lifeline of networking is to always get more names. Be sure to ask each person if they have a minute to talk to you, and when finished talking thank them for their time.

Make networking calls in a block of time. Each call is more comfortable than the one before. Do not call people and ask them if they have any openings at their company… This is almost always totally non-productive. THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND A SUCCESSFUL JOB SEARCH ARE ALWAYS THE SAME: the search process itself is time consuming work, and the more productive time you spend on your job search the more interviews and job offers you will generate.

So the question at this point is “Where do you find out about job openings and on which avenues of job search should you spend the most time?”

THE BEST (And Worst) OF BOTH WORLDS

Technology has done a terrific job of consolidating posted job leads. Web crawling software can reach out and consolidate classified ads, recruitment posts and company posted job opportunities. We know these consolidated sites as Internet Job Banks… and some of them contain a huge amount of postings.

Unfortunately, their very size makes it challenging to stay current and eliminate redundancy. Also unfortunate is the fact that these very same job banks have consolidated your competition and rejection from Corporate America.
Solution? Use the Job Banks to generate your most attractive leads, then network your way into those targeted organizations.

JOB SEARCH IMPLEMENTATION…

Initiating an effective work-seeking campaign during ANY economic condition presents a terrific opportunity to embrace the concepts of Personal Marketing in The OTHER Job Market… with the focus on job search issues and the creation of a personalized knowledge base and an effective network for the rest of your career.

In the ‘first wave’ you will increase the REACH of your efforts and begin to reestablish old relationships, develop new ones, and identify opportunities. Each opportunity is its own ‘tipping point,’ where you initiate your ‘second, more focused, wave’ which is directed at targeted organizations.

This is one of those measurable, predictable ratios… the more regular you are with your ‘first wave’ contacts and follow-through, the more likely targeted organization contacts will begin to generate INTERVIEWS.

Branding Yourself For The Digital Recruitment World

bob-maher-4587-editThe Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.

Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…  Where to begin? The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions.


NEXT Session: Thursday, August 9th…A LinkedIn PRIMER:  Task#1, having a Profile that is in sync with your PMP


chalk1A terrific launching site for such an effort is LinkedIn. Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and with more than 25 million users, it serves virtually every industry and profession.

Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s how to set up a profile, build a network, and put it all to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.

TASK #1… Having a Compelling Profile

Before you connect to others, you must first set up a profile page on LinkedIn. While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.  It becomes the core of this high tech, written collateral.

As you proceed, keep your goal in mind…

Do you want to have that fully optimized, SEO-centric magnet that attracts interested parties TO you?  -OR-

Do you want that terrific, user-friendly home page and profile that is easy for a reader to navigate?  -OR-

Do you want your profile and homepage to be appealing to both?

A checklist of things to include:

  1. A picture. It’s been said that, “People do business with people.”
  2. A specific and high impact “headline” with keywords relevant to your industry… your headline follows you around through several of the interactive applications.
  3. Preferred contact method and data… At the bottom of your profile, you can let people know how you want to be contacted — through LinkedIn, by e-mail, or over the phone.
  4. Desired information, networking “targets… What you want to be contacted about… At the bottom of your profile, you can select interests like reference requests, consulting offers, or career opportunities. Be sure to update your profile to stay in sync with your career.

…and don’t overlook the “power” of recommendations… start thinking of who you might want to encourage to endorse you and your services.  Job seekers: your references are a great start!

The LinkedIn site will walk you through filling in the blanks, but you’ll want to think ahead about two areas:

Positioning Yourself

Just like on a GREAT RESUME, directly underneath your name will be a short headline of four or five words. More than anything else in your profile, these words are how people find and define you.

Are you seeking to connect mainly with others in your field and industry? Then a simple, title-oriented headline like “Senior Product Development Director at The XYX Corporation” is best. Are you seeking to branch out into other areas? “Leader of High-Performing Engineering Projects” alerts others quickly to the value you would bring to an organization. Regardless of how you phrase your headline, make sure to use keywords that will help others find you.