Are You Blundering Through Your Job Search?

on line classifieds hr Are You Blundering Through Your Job Search?

This blog post by Eliott Lasson in the Baltimore Business Journal triggered an observation I’ve been thinking about during this depressing job market.

Most of the executive job search candidates I come across appear to be “blundering” OR “stumbling their way through a job search. I’m not surprised it’s taking the average executive over a year to find a new opportunity. When are you going to stop the blundering and start using job search best practices.

Wait – do you even know what are the top ten job search best practices? If not, how do you plan to learn them?

Or, do you prefer to muddle through your job search in a state that Steve Covey called being “unconsciously incompetent?”

Although Elliot’s article focused on young graduates, the same concepts apply for more experienced executives. Here’s a comment Elliot made about resumes that I find are a major source of blunders:

 

Always have a resume that is good-to-go to include in your email or promptly forward after a phone call. A turn-off is a resume with spelling errors and spacing issues. It is always a good idea to have some sort of objective at the top as to what you are looking for. The resume should not be over-the-top for where you are at in life, whether educationally or professionally. Make sure to list your technical skills with software, systems, and professionally relevant social media. Just saying non-descriptive terms like “proficient in Microsoft Office” might be construed as “I have a 5th grade literacy level.”

Your move – what are you going to do right now to put your job search back in effective mode and land a great opportunity in 90 days?

Barry Deutsch

Have you test-driven our Job Search Workbook – This is NOT the Position I Accepted

To read the full article by Eliott Lasson, please click below:

Top 5 job search and networking mistakes of the young — and not so young – Baltimore Business Journal.

Is Your Job Search Updated For This Decade?

man impaled by down graph hr Is Your Job Search Updated For This Decade?

Robyn Greenspan published a recent article on Huffington Post about what has changed over the last 6 plus years for executive job search.

A lot has changed. Brad and I find that most executives are STILL conducting their job search like it was the mid-90s. That doesn’t work any longer for conducting an effective job search. How are you using new techniques, best practices, social media, and other tools to work your job search that you didn’t use 6 or more years ago?

Here’s an excerpt from her article:

 

What has changed in the 6-and-a-half years since their last job search? Here are the problems job seekers recently told ExecuNet they were encountering, and our solutions to mitigate them:

Not enough opportunities found at their level – This complaint is not surprising since the large majority of $200K positions are not openly posted, for fear that the recruiter will be inundated with unqualified résumés. Use job boards to research companies, but use your network to find and create roles.

Taking longer to land – You can easily shorten your transition time if you are in a perpetual state of career management. C-level executives always have an eye out for the next business partnership opportunity and so should the professional who is effectively managing his or her career.

Available positions are put on hold – “On hold” does not necessarily mean “eliminated” so stay connected to the recruiter/hiring manager and ensure they continue to see you as the solution to their problems. That doesn’t mean regularly checking in to see if the position has been re-opened; instead keep them apprised with market trends and relevant information.

Recruiters are not returning calls – Friends and acquaintances generally return calls; people you call out of the blue for jobs, might not. Establish relationships with recruiters well before you need something.

No multiple offers to consider – Just over half of the ExecuNet-surveyed executive recruiters reported that candidates had more than one offer to consider, up from 35 percent in 2010. Adjust your job search activities to reflect contemporary conditions and you might have more options, too.

 

What are you doing different in this job search vs. the last one you did over 6 years ago?

Barry Deutsch

If you would like to read the full article, please click the link below:

Robyn Greenspan: How to Update Your Job Search Strategy to Land Faster.

Making A Career Change After 25 Years. Is It Possible?

Q. I’ve been looking for a position for just over a year. Many have recommended a career change, but I don’t know if that is even practical. What have you seen with regards to people making career changes? I have a lot of skills after 25 years in my current career.

Jumping into a career change is tough enough, but not knowing what skills you bring to the party and how you can leverage these skills will make the transition even tougher. Many candidates believe that just because they have a skill it makes them marketable. This is not necessarily true. You are only marketable if a need exists for that skill. You can’t assume that there is a market, and that the market is willing to pay what you are asking.

Also, others may have the same skills, and some additional experience using those skills, which makes them more desirable.
A suggestion would be to first conduct a skills assessment (download a free Skills Assessment at www.bradremillardcareercoach.com). I suggest that you complete this, but also have others complete it for you too. Those that know you the best will see your skills from a different perspective.

Next you will have to determine if there is a market for these skills, where the market is, and the value of these skills in the market. It will be important to leverage these skills on your resume and when you interview. You can’t forget that others have these same skills. If they have some additional or unique experiences that you don’t, then your market and value in that market is decreased.

To download the free chapter on Conducting an Effective Phone Interview from our book “This Is NOT The Position I Accepted” CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resources link.

How effective is your job search?  If you are not sure, download our free 8 Matrix Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resources link.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Resume Tweaking May Be Better Than An Overhaul

I was meeting with a candidate today, we will call him Andy, who recently landed. He had been on the market for about 5 months. He did all the right things, went to the networking meetings, drank more coffee than he should have, reworked his resume over and over, all for nothing. He would get interviews but never make the cut. He had sent out lots of resumes with moderate success.

About 2 months ago I met with Andy and a group of financial professionals, mainly CFOs,  to do a resume review exercise. You might try this exercise.  Everyone brings their current resume and passes them face down to the person next to them. Then at the same time everyone turns the resume over and for 10 seconds reviews them. After 10 seconds all resumes go  face down again. The next step gets to the real purpose for the exercise. The person that read the resume for 10 seconds gives feedback on exactly what they learned about the person’s background, companies, position, location and any other information they took away in that short period of time. Why you ask? That is about how long most people first look at a resume, so the purpose is to find out if the person reading the resume for 10 seconds captures from the resume what the owner of the resume wanted them to. If not, then they need to change the resume.

After the meeting I started working with Andy as part of our Job Search Coaching program. The first thing I noticed was Andy’s resume had him as a CFO. The reality was that compared to other CFOs in the group Andy could not compete. He was really a controller. Andy was trying to play at a level that he wasn’t competitive.  He lost out every time, either when the resume was submitted, or during the interview.

We made a small tweak to his resume by taking off  all references to CFO and changed them to controller. Everything else remained the same. Within two weeks Andy started getting interviews and within 6 weeks he was working. He credits all of the activity and the job to this one tweak of his resume.

Sometimes one small change can make all the difference. Make sure you are playing in the right league. Andy wasn’t, and his resume clearly communicated that. Like most candidates I coach, candidates think only about themselves and not the competition. Andy had clearly done this. He would have been working months earlier had he thought about this.

To download the free chapter on Conducting an Effective Phone Interview from our book “This Is NOT The Position I Accepted” CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resources link.

If you would like to know if your job search is fully utilized and you are doing the right things, download our free 8 Matrix Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resource link.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

 

Prepare Sound Bites For Your Next Interview

A job search is much like a cable news show,  you have to get your point across in sound bites. You often don’t have time to give a detailed answer. Candidates need to get comfortable with doing this.

Think about all the times during your job search when you are required to give the famous, “30 second talk.” Many times during the interview process you have a short period of time to answer the question or give your introduction, you use bullet points on your resume and even your business card,  and all of these require you to express yourself in just a few words.

This is one reason why a job search is so difficult. Not only is it very difficult to speak in sound bites, most candidates are not prepared on how to do it. This technique takes practice and fore thought. This is not a case where you can just wing it. How many times have you left a meeting, only to realize you didn’t give a great answer to a question, didn’t get your point across as well as you would have liked to or thought, “OOPS I forgot to say ___.” This happens mainly because the candidate hasn’t taken the time to really get prepared.

A job search is not the time for on-the-job-training.

It is our experience that candidates wait too long to understand this point. You can’t wait and hope you will do just fine. First off,  “just fine” in this economy doesn’t cut it. Secondly, in this economy, there may not be a second chance for months.

As part of our job search coaching programs, we spend a lot of time preparing candidates for these short sound bites.  Although frustrating for candidates, we have seen these sound bites pay off so many times, we have to continually reassure the candidates of the need to prepare for them.

Candidates need to spend more time preparing and less time running to networking meetings, coffees, and one-on-ones until they are completely prepared. We find that candidates waste  excellent opportunities because they were not prepared on how to communicate in sound bites. I get calls weekly asking how best to do a do-over because the candidate believes they missed an opportunity.

There are rarely do-overs in a job search.

To learn how to speak in sound bites consider:

  1. Write out what you want to say. Then wordsmith it until it is less than one minute.
  2. Get help. This is a difficult task that takes experience. Don’t be afraid to invest in some professional help.
  3. Take the known items and the comments or questions, such as your introduction, elevator talk, the question,”Tell me about  yourself,” or “So, what do you do?”  Most of you know these, after all you have been asked them many times during  your search, and convert them into short sentences that get the point out in less than one minute.
  4. Practice them. Go to people in your network and test them. This is like any marketing campaign.
  5. Once you have the answers for these then add one more set of comments and answers. Having two different sound bites is always a good thing.

Take some time to step back and get prepared. I know every candidate wants to jump into a job search as soon as possible. The problem is this jump is often in the wrong direction.

Like most things in life, if  you do the ground work, get prepared, and do some planning things go a lot better.

To download the free chapter on Conducting an Effective Phone Interview from our book “This Is NOT The Position I Accepted” CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resources link.

If you would like to know if your job search is fully utilized and you are doing the right things, download our free 8 Matrix Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resource link.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard