Every now and then you need to step back and assess how your search is going. We take you through a step-by-step approach how to do that. This show is all about building on what is good and improving or fixing what isn’t working. These 8 steps will make sure you identify why your resume isn’t getting noticed, why you aren’t getting referrals, why you are getting interviews but no offers and help you fix the problem. But it also makes sure you don’t diagnose the wrong problem. Candidates often work on the wrong thing, mainly because they don’t know the real problem. In addition, we give you access to our free job search assessment tool to help you. You can download this tool and follow along as we discuss each topic. Download your assessment first it is free and will be helpful as you listen to the show. CLICK HERE to get your assessment.
Just the other day, my son sent me a graphic he had downloaded on his ITouch. The graphic showed someone falling down after slipping or tripping. He sent this to me since many of the girls on my HS Basketball Team are constantly slipping, falling, tripping, flopping down on the ground without being within 10 feet of anyone else.
I suddenly started thinking that it takes skill to screw up a job search. How many managerial or executive candidates are stuck in a job search with no “real” prospects, leads, referrals, or opportunities? How many job search candidates have NO light at the end of their tunnel?
Conducting an effective job search is EASY – NOT Difficult – when you use best practices that are widely published and a systematic approach, such as our Career Success Methodology.
How many job search candidates have failed to conduct an effective job search when the quality and quantity of great ideas, best practices, and creative solutions are staring them in the face?
NOT taking advantage of the wealth of content in published materials, templates, audio programs, video demonstrations, and other tools is like “slipping on a flat surface – it takes real talent!”
One of only three things that can be measured during a phone interview is communication. The interviewer is determining how well you communicate and how well you will work with the management team. Communication style is critical to cultural fit. If you are thinking verbal communication, in this instance you are half right. Most candidates think we are talking about one’s use of the English language and proper use of verbs, avoiding the word “like,” being succinct, and all the other verbal components of communication. Generally you are correct, but not this time.
This time I’m referring to listening skills. This is also a component of communication. Before you click away, recognize that study after study revealed that most people are not good listeners. In the case of candidates not being good listeners, this happens not necessarily because you are not generally a good listener, but rather because of the interviewing process itself.
Too often candidates don’t hear the complete question because mid-question they start thinking of an answer to the question that hasn’t even been asked yet. The candidate anticipates what they think the interviewer is going to ask and then starts formulating an answer in their mind. Too often to the wrong question.
I have interviewed over 10,000 people in my 30 years as a recruiter, and this is a constant battle. This is even more profound on a phone interview. I believe it’s due to the fact that the candidate can’t see the interviewer, and can’t tell by body language or eye contact when the end of the question is coming is one reason why it is such a problem on a phone interview.
Failure to listen to the complete question and then targeting the answer to actual question is one reason why so many qualified people never get the job. I hear this from hiring managers all the time.
Most candidates will be better off taking a slower approach and listening carefully prior to jumping in with an answer that isn’t relevant to the question.
Work on your listening skills. Don’t just assume you have good listening skills in an interviewing situation. This is a unique environment. You may be a great listener day to day, but when the pressure of an interview and your desire to do a great job collide during the interview, listening is usually the first thing to go.
If this was helpful to you please help others by passing it on. Everyone needs to help everyone until the economy turns. Consider emailing it to your network, posting on a blog, adding to your status on Linkedin or Facebook or Tweet it. Let’s help others. It will come back to you.
Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group for a lot more discussions and articles to help you with your job search. CLICK HERE to join in.
Download our FREE 8 Point Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your job search so you jump start your search in 2010. CLICK HERE to get your free copy.
You can also download a free sample cover letter that has proven to align your background with what the company needs. Thousands already have and it really works. CLICK HERE to get yours.
I welcome your comments and thoughts.
So many candidates struggle with finding a position. I’m not going to insult you by telling you it is easy. It isn’t. In fact, for most it is hard work. Mainly because this may be new to you and with the exception of a few, this is not your area of expertise. It is always difficult to do something when you are not an expert. In fact, it is frustrating because most professionals make it look so easy. Have you ever watched one of those home improvement shows do a complete kitchen remodel in just 22 minutes? They never have any problems, everything fits the first time, they never cut a board wrong, and it looks great in the end. Have you ever done a kitchen remodel and have it done that easily?
Their remodel happens so easily because they are an expert in it and we are not. So how does this relate to finding a job?
Companies in today’s market want the expert. They don’t want the jack of all trades, they want the king or queen.
Candidates have a very hard time accepting this. It is better to be great at one thing than good at many. Experts do 1 or 2 things 10,000 times, not 10,000 things once or twice.
What is your expertise? What unique passion, unique experiences, unique skill set, unique talent, unique accomplishments do you have that will, if not separate you from the 100’s of resumes received, at least get your resume to the pile of 5 to 10 to interview?
We live in a 140 character world. Millions tweet thoughts in 140 characters or less. Status updates on Linkedin are 140 characters or less. Can you describe your expertise in such a way that you stand out in 140 characters of less?
If not, then this is a great thing to work on over the holidays.
A CFO with extensive experience in international finance within X industry and X sized companies
Sales professional that enjoys the challenge of cold calls, increased first time customers by X% in first year directly by cold calling.
HR executive that excels at union neg, reducing benefit costs by X% and 70% of hires from employee referrals up from 20% when I started.
These are just some examples that at least help you stand out, identify your unique strengths and accomplishments.
I have worked with hundreds of people helping them identify what makes them unique. It always starts out the same, “I’m probably not all that unique. I do my job and so do others.” That may be true, but every person doesn’t do the same thing, even in the same functional area.
Think about becoming great at 1 0r 2 things instead of good at many. Do this, and watch how your job search results change.
If this was helpful to you, then help others in your network by passing it along so they also benefit. Helping others will always help you in your job search. You can add this to your status on Linkedin, tweet it, add it to your Facebook page, or email it to your network. Let’s help everyone that is seeking a new job.
For more help on this, join our Linkedin Job Search Networking group. It is free and loaded with helpful discussions and articles. CLICK HERE to join.
Get our FREE 8 Point Job Search Self Assessment Scorecard to evaluate your job search. You can’t fix it if you don’t know what is broken. This will help you. CLICK HERE to get yours.
You can also get a FREE sample cover letter proven to get you noticed. Thousands have downloaded this, and it is FREE. CLICK HERE to get one.
In Part 1 I discussed the need for getting an accountability partner and what an accountability partner is. This article will be about what an accountability partner should do to help you.
A good accountability partner can make a major difference in one’s job search. I have seen people spend months looking, but once they engage an accountability partner their search takes off. 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.
So what should an accountability partner do? Here are some of my thoughts, and please add your thoughts and experiences in the comment section so others will benefit.
1) Accountability. Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but this is the main goal. A good accountability partner will hold your feet to the fire. First and foremost, they will hold you accountable to do what you say you are going to do.
2) No Excuses. They will listen intently to your excuses and then hold you accountable to what you say. A good accountability partner knows the difference between excuses and real road blocks.
3) Empathy Not Sympathy. Accountability partners understand the emotional ups and downs. They understand your feelings but don’t become emotionally involved or attached. They can separate their feelings from yours, which allows them to stay objective.
4) Listen Well. They know when to let you blow off frustration and vent. They recognize this is part of the process. However, they don’t let that get you off your plan or off track. They will still bring you back and hold you accountable to what you say you need to do.
5) Help and Guidance. Most job searches get stalled at some point. An accountability partner has the experience and knowledge to help you redirect your search. They have the experience to recognize opportunities you, the candidate, may never have thought of or when you are just not doing something effectively.
6) Tough Love. A good accountability partner is not there to be your friend. Get a dog if that is what you want. They are there to give you tough love when needed. Sometimes even make you angry or embarrassed if you aren’t delivering what you said you promised to do. They call it as they see it. Would you really want anything less?
7) Willing to Meet Regularly. They will meet you at least weekly to discuss progress and lay out a plan for the following week and month. If your plan is weak, they will push you to improve it. They keep you on schedule and on track. They will take your calls and reply to your emails. Yes, it is a lot of work and time.
These are some of the key functions of an accountability partner. It is not by any means a complete list. If you get these in an accountability partner you will be off to a great start in 2010.
Please add other key functions that you think are important or have benefited from in the comment section. We welcome and encourage your thoughts, comments and input.
Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group. 3400 other people are benefiting from the discussions and articles. CLICK HERE to join, it is free.
Turbo charge your search in 2010 by evaluating its strengths and weaknesses with our FREE Job Search Plan Self-Assessment Scorecard. This will help you and your accountability partner get your search started out right. CLICK HERE to download your scorecard.
Need a great cover letter? A free sample cover letter that has proven to get you noticed is on our Web site for you to use with your resume. CLICK HERE to download yours.
If this was helpful, then please help others by forwarding it on to your network, posting on your Facebook page, Tweet with the link, post to your Linkedin groups or status update. Let’s all do everything we can to help those looking for employment.
As the new year starts, many will be either restarting or launching a job search. One thing missing from so many in the job hunting mode is accountability.
We see this all the time in our job searching coaching practice. Most candidates go it alone. If 2009 was a go it alone year for you, I might suggest that 2010 be get a partner year. Not just any partner but an accountability partner.
What exactly is and is not an accountability partner:
1. It is not your spouse or close friend. I know they hold you accountable in many ways, but this is not the right person. They are too close to the situation and not objective.
2. They will support you. Not financially. Rather emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. You trust them and they will listen to you.
3. They don’t feel your pain. They understand your pain. There is a big difference. Understanding, rather than feeling, keeps them objective and they don’t become emotionally attached.
4. They understand your history. They must understand your background, strengths, accomplishments, what you’ve done to date in your search, and also what not so obvious talents and strengths you have that might be transferable. They also understand the flip side – where you don’t excel and even your weaknesses.
5. They are not your therapist. If you need a therapist, get one, but that is not the purpose of an accountability partner.
6. They are open, honest and tough. An accountability partner must be capable of telling you exactly what you are and are not doing. Many people can’t be this direct. Sometimes it is necessary to tell someone that they aren’t doing enough or that they need to kick it up. This can be even more difficult for candidates that have been looking for some time.
7. They need to be knowledgeable. They should be someone that understands a job search process or methodology. If they aren’t very knowledgeable in helping those in a job search, then helping you might be difficult. This is particularly true if your job search is stalled. You don’t hire a law clerk when you need a lawyer and amateur golf instructors make amateur golfers.
8. Experience. A little different than knowledgeable, in that this is hands-on experience helping people in a job search. We all thought we knew everything when we graduated from college, but once we had some experience most discovered something different. This is the knowledge versus experience I’m referring to.
There are others, but when you find these in an accountability partner, you are starting 2010 on the right foot.
Some other things you can do to start on the right foot:
Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group. It is one of the biggest and most active groups dealing with job search issues on Linkedin. CLICK HERE to join.
Download our FREE Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. Take the evaluation and discover if your search is all it can be. CLICK HERE to download.
Visit our audio library. No library card required – all audio files can be downloaded for free. Extensive amount of files on all of the different topics surrounding a job search. CLICK HERE to review the library.
Part 2 will be about what to expect from an accountability partner.
If this was helpful, then please help others by forwarding on to your network, posting on your Facebook page, Tweet with the link, post to your Linkedin groups or status update. Let’s all do everything we can to help those looking for employment.
Most everyone in the market is out doing all the networking they can. Sooner or later they will hear the saying, “Networking is about helping others.” or “Networking is giving before getting.” Both are true and critical to a successful networking process.
But what exactly does this mean? How do you implement this concept?
My experience has been that most are more than willing to help out when asked. Most will make introductions when asked. This is great, but there are other things one can do to give and help others. Even when not asked.
I think one of the best things you can do is share information. My partner Barry and I try to do this daily. We post articles so others can read them and benefit from our 30 plus years of experience. From time to time we will get an email thanking us. In fact, I received one today which was the catalyst for this article.
Here are other ways you can help others.
How often do you forward articles you found helpful to your network?
How often to you post the link to your Facebook page allowing all your friends to benefit?
Do you post the discussion or forward the article to your Linkedin groups?
Do you share it with your Linkedin connections?
Do you Tweet and include the link so all of those following you can benefit?
Do you make announcements at networking meetings about how you benefited from this article?
Have you passed along YouTube videos that you found helpful?
Do you do this? Do you do it on a regular basis out of habit? Or like many, do you just read the article and never think about proactively helping others? If you benefited from it so will others. Just one right tip from you, one article reaching the right person at the right time, may help them land an interview or even a job.
Sharing information is just as important as sharing leads. I could make the argument that it’s more important. Leveraging your network by helping others, makes others want to help you. People generally want to repay those that have helped them.
It is also a tremendous way to keep in touch with people without bugging them. You are helping them and they will appreciate it. So stop worrying about bugging people in your network, instead start helping them by passing on helpful and informative information.
I would like to challenge you to not wait until people seek your help, instead be proactive. Send them information you find helpful so they can benefit. I bet you will start getting emails thanking you for helping.
What a great way to be branded as a ” giver.”
I think this is an excellent way to continue to engage your network and at the same time help others.
Isn’t that what true networking is about?
If this was helpful, then please help others by forwarding on to your network, posting on your Facebook page, Tweet with the link, post to your Linkedin groups or status update. Let’s all do everything we can to help those looking for employment.
For lots of articles and great discussions to start sharing, join our Linkedin Job Search Networking group. CLICK HERE to join.
Download our free sample cover letter that is proven to get results. If you like it, you can share it with others. CLICK HERE to download.
Build a compelling Linkedin profile to help you get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. Our 8 Point Linkedin Profile Assessment Tool can help you. CLICK HERE to download yours. Then share it with others that don’t have a compelling profile.
I was sitting in on an interview with one of my clients recently, when out of nowhere came a question that not only made the candidate take pause, but also probably eliminated him for the job. It wasn’t a trick question or illegal question. It wasn’t a question that the candidate couldn’t answer. In fact, it was so simple the candidate should have been able to answer it easily. Instead, he sat there like a deer in the headlights thinking, because he didn’t have an answer. The mere fact that he had to think on such a simple question was a problem to begin with.
So what was this simple question, “What is the most recent book you have read that will help you be a better employee?” This could be any business related book on, leadership, management, social networking, staffing, biographical, functional, organizational, self-improvement, etc in the last 6 months. The person has been unemployed for 3 months so it isn’t unreasonable to assume they read, or is it?
So what would you have replied? Please leave your answer in the comments section.
I find it amazing how many professional people don’t read on a continuing basis. If for no other reason than to stay up to date on trends, changes and advancements in their field. So many candidates stop reading non-fiction after college. We find that the very best candidates we work with are continually improving themselves by reading. Not just periodicals like the WSJ, trade magazines, or blogs, but books.
I started thinking back about other similar questions I’ve heard asked, usually by CEO’s, during an interview that most can’t answer. I’ve listed them below to help you out, so you don’t end up looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
1. What do you do to stay current and up to date in your profession?
2. How many workshops, seminars or training programs have you attended in the last year?
3. What is your favorite book on leadership?
4. What book has impacted how you manage or lead the most?
5. If you could only refer one book to someone coming up the ladder what would it be?
6. What do you do regularly to improve yourself?
7. In your annual reviews, what has your boss recommended you need to work on or improve on? After they answer, the follow-up is, What have you done to work on those issues?
8. How many books have you read in the last year?
9. What periodicals do you read daily or weekly?
10. What is your favorite business book of all time?
I have heard all of these asked in one form or another in my 30 years as a recruiter. In fact, I even ask them when I know a client will ask them.
The fact that these questions may not directly link to one’s ability to perform in the job, they do reveal a lot about the person and their understanding to constantly improve themselves. A CEO that wants to constantly improve the company wonders how a candidate can do this, if they don’t even work to improve themselves.
I hope this helps you better prepare not only yourself, but for an interview.
Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group. 3400 others have joined in on the discussions and articles. CLICK HERE to join.
Download our FREE sample cover letter. This is a proven cover letter that gets your resume noticed. CLICK HERE to download.
Have you browsed our FREE audio library? All of the recordings from our talk radio show are there for you to download and listen to for free. CLICK HERE to download.
In my recent article, Job Stalled? Do What the Pro’s Do, I discussed how when things aren’t going well or when results have changed, it may be time to get back to the basics. Take a look at what has changed from the past, reevaluate what was working and what wasn’t. Most processes have certain basics that must be followed. If we get away from these basics things go sideways.
One of those basics is following the three “P’s.” You can’t get much more basic than these. Take an objective look at your search and see if you are effectively implementing these in your search.
1) Presentation. I harp on this all the time. Candidates so often down play this or take it for granted. For some reason candidates just don’t focus enough energy here. This is the most basic of basics. Remember the most qualified person doesn’t always get the job, but the person with the best presentation and some minimum level of qualification will often get the job. PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION is the place to start.
Start with your resume. How does it present you and your accomplishments, experiences and skills? One big presentation error we regularly find, and also one of the biggest complaints by other recruiters, HR and hiring managers is that resumes leave off very important and vital information for the reader. Is yours doing this?
Video your interviewing presentation. If your body language, hand motion, voice inflection and eye contact is weak work on getting help to fix these. Again, very basic but one of the most overlooked problems by most candidates.
2) Preparation. If the presentation is working, now it is time to start preparing. This is a big job and again so often taken for granted by candidates.
Prepare your marketing plan. Are you in the right networking groups? Maybe it is time to change the groups you are attending. Are you meeting the right people? Look back over the people you met with in the last 3 months and evaluate who and what types of people have been helpful and those that didn’t provide any assistance. Identify companies and people you want to meet. Set up a plan to meet them. If you contacted a company 6 – 8 months ago things may have changed, so consider reconnecting or finding another way into the company.
If you haven’t video recorded yourself in a mock interview, I promise you it is time to do this. Before you do, prepare yourself for what you are about to see. Most don’t like what they see. Have someone else with you when you view the recording. This person needs to be someone who will be objective and honest. Listen to the constructive criticism.
3) Practice. This is probably the most important of the three “P’s.” Everyone has heard, “Practice makes perfect.” Well that also applies in a job search. Practice your body language. DON’T JUST THINK, “I now know that so I won’t do it in an interview.” Of course you will, it is your nature, and with all of the other distractions in the interview you don’t need one more.
Practice exactly how you are going to answer the standard questions asked in just about every interview. If you don’t know them, our book, This Is NOT The Position I Accepted, has a list of the most commonly asked questions in an interview. You can get the book now to review for just the cost of shipping $5. Might be worth it. (CLICK HERE for details).
These should be so well rehearsed that they come off as if it is the first time you answered the question.
Underestimating these three “P’s” is a fatal job search mistake most candidates make. They either take them for granted or will read this and say, “I already know this,” then go back and do the same things they have always been doing. For this group I highly recommend looking up the definition of insanity.
Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group. Over 3300 members and lots of articles, discussion and resources for you. CLICK HERE to join.
For help with your job search take a look at our University. All the support you need is available to jump start your job search. CLICK HERE for details.
Get a free chapter from our job search workbook, This Is NOT The Position I Accepted on the phone interview. CLICK HERE to download.
Stop attending networking events for the sake of just networking. If you aren’t getting the value and referrals you need from networking then why keep doing it. There is a better way. Most candidates think the more people at a meeting the better. WRONG. The more people at a meeting the harder it is to stand out.
If your goal for networking is to get job leads or meet people for referrals or get to the decision makers, and that isn’t happening then you are the person this show is about. Using the techniques we discuss you will discover there is a better and more effective way to network so you reach these goals.
These are the reasons people network during a job search but few have the expertise how to reach these goals. Listen and you will see dramatic change in your networking results.