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Your Executive Resume: Hard Numbers and Visuals

Your Executive Resume: Measuring Your Outcomes with Hard Numbers and Visuals

Using Numbers and Metrics in Your Resume to Prove You’re Really “That Good”

Normally, when we think about resumes, or historically what they looked like, we think of an HR job description—a colorless description, or “This is what I did.” It’s bland, it reads like HR-speak, and often includes the dreaded “responsible for.” Your executive resume needs more than this.

Wouldn’t it be better to prove in your executive resume that you’re good at what you do by showing results? There’s no guessing when you can prove to your future hiring executive that you have succeeded in exactly the kind of ambiguity that their company is facing.

Using Numbers in Your Resume Adds Color and Depth to Your Career History

The best way to prove that you can deliver results is by providing measurements of your success—literally quantifiable numbers, metrics, KPIs (key performance indicators), or measurements of ROI (return on investment). Additional fairly simple avenues to explore include:

  • The number the things that you wanted to and completed
  • The number of people you recruited and onboarded (and maybe promoted)
  • The number of new customers you drove to the business
  • The total dollar amount of revenues, or their percentage increase quarter over quarter or year over year.

So these kinds of counts or measurements of change show a couple of things in your resume. The first is that you’ve accomplished the goal that you set out to, and you can benchmark those numbers against company expectations or industry standards. The second is that it shows that what you are presenting is incontrovertible evidence of your success. This is really important, because a hiring manager might read your resume decide that your strategies are not what their company needs right now, but they can’t argue with the veracity of your claims to success. They can’t look at that number and believe that you’re not telling the truth.

Because you’re always telling the truth in your resume (cardinal rule of resume strategy—don’t eve lie), then you are leveling with your audience. You’re saying to your audience, “I did this thing, and here’s the proof. Right here is the number that says I did what I was supposed to do.” If you’re targeting your resume appropriately, your audience is going to love what you have demonstrated, and if they need someone like you, you’re the ideal candidate for them to reach out to.

So, in your resume now that you have these numbers, how do you present them effectively in your resume? These metrics become the “results” in your “challenge – action – results” bullet points. Furthermore, you can present them visually. The first way to do this is to present your data in a table of figures. A well-constructed table, with labels, grids, and colors, can help your audience interpret the data the way you need them to understand your message.

Another way to present a series of data is to visually represent those numbers in a graph. It’s so easy for someone to look at a chart and understand that the numbers “go up.” Of course, your chart is going to be detailed, so a savvy reader who wants to drill down into the data will be able to do that, but even a cursory look at the chart will give a great high-level message.

You might be thinking that these are unorthodox approaches–I promise you they are not. Visual representations of sales figures that started out low and then went high, or operation costs that started out higher and then wet low, are going to hit your audience right in the gut. These images are plugging into exactly what your audience expects to know about their ideal candidate. So give them what they want and show them what they want in multiple modalities, not just in the text but as a visual representation as well.

Person on Hamster Wheel

The 80/20 Rule and Your Executive Job Search

The 80/20 Rule and Your Executive Job Search

You might know the “80/20 rule” as the “Pareto principle,” and you might have heard that, in most cases, 80% of your effort producing 20% of your results. You can apply this to your job search as well. So, if you think about your job search as having a beginning and an end, and it takes some amount of time to complete it, you can spend 80% of your time doing all the thinking upfront and 20% of your time doing the strategizing, or you can spend 20% strategizing and 80% spinning your wheels. So, which would you rather do? How would you rather spend your time?

Efficient Networking for Your Job Search

Let’s start with looking at the things that you can do to maximize your job search and put the most amount of strategy into it so that your only executing on the 20% and being really, really efficient. So, the first thing you should do is think about your network, and how you’re going to increase it effectively in person, on the phone, or on LinkedIn.

But what you want to do is start amassing some advocacy within organizations so that your first approach is not to the hiring manager. So what does this mean in practice? So what you need to do is think about the companies first of all that you want to apply to. This is really important. So start researching the organization and come up with a top 10 list of your favorite companies that you think would be perfect. You don’t have to commit to these companies right now, but you have to think about, are these the right organizations?

Make that list, do a little bit of research, and see if those companies are right for you. Now, within those, start looking at the people who work there. And these don’t have to be in your area of expertise. Rather, they should be people that you think are approachable and people you wouldn’t mind spending time with, but they don’t have to be in your area of expertise, and, by far, they shouldn’t be the hiring executive potentially looking for roles. And the really interesting thing about this is they shouldn’t be able to hire you anyway. So whether you have target positions in those companies in mind or not shouldn’t matter right now you’re just looking at the industry, looking at the job function and seeing if this organization is the right place.

Person on Hamster Wheel

Get off the Job Search Hamster Wheel with the 80/20 Rule

Now take a hard look at who you want to talk to within those organizations. Make a top 5 or 10 list of people that might be interesting new contacts, and start making inquiries. And recognize that not everybody is going to respond to you, but those who do – because you’re curious and interesting and you think they’re interesting –  are going to be happy to set up some time to chat with you. And so you go through this conversation and you ask them about why they’re there and what makes their organization interesting or what makes their day-to-day a fascinating ride.

At the end of your chats with each of these people, always remember to add a key question: “Who else should I be talking to?” And they may give you a name or two, or refer you to the right person, who is now even more valuable as you get closer and closer and closer to the person making hiring decisions.

So, as you’re doing this you’re asking everybody you talk to who else can I talk to, and pretty soon your list is going to grow and you’re going to have a lot of people – some who won’t respond to you at all and won’t be interested, but you’re going to have a lot of people who will be interested, and you’re going to turn those LinkedIn connections and warm leads and cold calls and whatever else it might be into actual conversations.

Efficiency in Learning about Ideal Executive Roles

What else can you do with this 80% of your time? You can start looking at job postings. And again, they may not be jobs that your top 10 list, but what you want to do is figure out are the commonalities across those positions. What are you really targeting? What is the critical mass of stuff you need to talk about as you have these conversations and ultimately get to the point of the interview? What kinds of things are they going to want to know about you? And, furthermore, what kind of requirements are outliers, meaning they’re only specific to individual opportunities? The more you know about your audience’s expectations, the better armed you are as you determine the strategy you’ll use in your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter, and the rest of your career portfolio.

What Not to Do with Your Time

Don’t Write Your Resume

So that’s a good sense of what you can do with that 80%. Notice that none of these include writing your resume or your LinkedIn profile, although you probably need both of those things. At this point in your search you can’t write your resume or LinkedIn profile, because you don’t know what to say until you learn what hiring executives’ needs are. So once you get to the point of having a really good understanding, not to mention a really good group of advocates within these organizations, then write your resume and career portfolio and make sure that the things that you have learned appear in multiple ways in each of these documents and you’re showing that you’re speaking directly to that audience.

Don’t Find and/or Pitch to Hiring Executives

The absolute wrong conversation to have starts with “Do you have a job for me?” or “Will you hire me?”. Both of those questions are binary, they’re yes/no questions, not to mention the fastest way to shut down a conversation. There is the chance that you walk in the person’s door and they immediately say, “Your’re hired!”, but that’s highly unlikely. The most likely answer is that the person responds, “No, I don’t have a job” and the conversation is over. In fact, there’s nothing else for either of you to say because you’ve both agreed that the transactional approach has yielded nothing on either side. So make sure that the conversations you’re having are not transactional–that they continue to be conversational and mutually beneficial. No doubt, you might talk about jobs that are available in the organization, but because that person you’ve chosen to speak to on a strategic level is not doing the hiring, you have to use that opportunity to get additional introductions to people who might be beneficial to your search. Eventually, you’ll triangulate on the right company, right networking contact (who might become your hiring executive), and the right job.

Don’t Send Out Hundreds of Resumes to Online Postings

Simply stated, you’re not right for hundreds of jobs, and no hundred jobs are right for you. I’ve explored why you should apply for only 6 jobs in your executive job search deeply, but the gist is this: Focusing your job search will yield much better results than a scattershot approach. Put another way, get off that hamster wheel and start doing the real work of executive job search.

Benefits of the 80/20 Rule in Your Executive Job Search

The benefit of doing 80% of thinking up front and using only 20% of your effort to engage in activities directly related to your job acquisition is that you get off the hamster wheel, on which you continually are working very hard and working up a sweat but getting nowhere. In other words, do not equate effort with output–rather, equate strategy with output.

Different Types of Cover Letters and How they Compare to E-Note

5 Types of Cover Letters and When to Use Them vs. Using E-Note

Which of the styles of cover letters is right for your job search?

Different types of cover letters? Isn’t one enough? Providing a great cover letter can be tough, and now we also need to know which type to use? Yes, yes you do. The correct type of cover letter will show that you REALLY know your stuff. We will also discuss E-Note. Haven’t heard of it? Maybe you have just never tried it? Let’s get familiar with all things cover letter.

Types of Cover Letters

Different types of cover letters are available to serve different purposes. Instead of thinking of it as another obstacle in the path of your desired job, think of the different types as tools. What good is a toolbox with only one tool? We need a variety to get the job done. Don’t use your cover letter as another way to reiterate your resume. Use it to show your assets and what makes you unique.

Let’s look at these tools in more detail:

Application Cover Letter. This is the one that you are probably the most familiar with. You use this to apply for a job opening that you know exists and that is hiring. Be sure to use a proper introduction and closing in a true professional letter format.

Interest Cover Letter. If you are trying to determine if there is an opening at the company this is the one for you. It is also called a prospecting letter. By taking the initiative and sending a cover letter and your resume you open the door and show them that you’re available and interested in working for their company.

Referral Cover Letter. Name dropping can actually be a good thing, at least when applying for a position. If you know someone who can offer a referral that could make a difference in you getting that coveted interview, don’t be afraid to use it. Of course, always be sure that you have permission to do so. Ensuring they will give you a good reference is also very important.

Job Promotion Cover Letter. If you are well overdue for a raise or promotion, it may be time to submit a job promotion letter. Be sure to lay out your reasoning in a well-written cover letter. You may also include an updated resume. Discuss any skills, additional training, etc. that they may have overlooked.

Networking Cover Letter. This type of cover letter can serve as a letter of recommendation to a company that may or may not be hiring. This letter will introduce you to a company illustrating your past experience. The neat thing here is that these letters can be written by other individuals who may be in the position to recommend you for a job.

E-Note vs. Cover Letter

So now that you are up to speed on the most common types of cover letters, let’s throw in on more up and coming star, the E-Note. If you have been in the job market for very long, you have probably pondered the question of whether or not the e-note is replacing the traditional cover letter. Is seems to be more of a personal preference than a rule. What type of application you are submitting may play a large role in that decision also. The e-note is best when applying through email or through a social media contact. It also has many advantages, such as:

Attention grabbing subject lines – Something like “Jane Doe asked me to contact you.” The name drop will create a connection and help you stand out.

Short and Concise– In doing an e-note you are able to cut the length in half making it quick and easy to read. Odds of your note being read increase the more polished and direct the note is. Think about the usual length of an email.

Side note: Remember not to attach it to the e-mail; you will want the e-note to be the body of the e-mail.

Be Interactive- Be sure to include links to places online where the employer can find additional information about you. Using helps like a link to your LinkedIn profile will save them time and give them a direct path to your professional background. You could also guide them to your Twitter, Professional Blog, Online portfolio, etc.

With technology changing every day, so does the way we search for employment. We need to learn new skills and methods of making contact so that we are not left behind. When used correctly, the e-note certainly has an important place in applying for a position.

In Summary:

A traditional cover letter follows the format of the formal business letter. An E-note is a message typed in the body of an email sent with your resume attached and has no additional cover letter. E-notes differ also in that they are easier to skim—short and concise.

Keep in mind that E-notes are relatively new and follow emerging technology trends. They may not be most desirable format in every situation. Use your best judgement. The same Cover Letter will not work for every position applied for. You will need to be flexible and study up on the prospective job, advertisement, or reference before making a decision about which letter is most appropriate. Now that you have all the necessary information, you will be able to do just that!

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Fitting Back In: Rebounding Back to Corporate After Entrepreneurship

Fitting Back In: Rebounding Back to Corporate After Entrepreneurship

 

Owning your own business is hard work. It is definitely not something everyone can do — even the best business ideas don’t come through. Going back to a corporate job after owning your own business can feel like you’re giving up, but there are also advantages to making that change. When trying to fit back into the corporate puzzle, make sure you think through all of your options and determine exactly what you want.

THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR JOB SEARCH FOR ENTREPRENEURS

ONE: Many business owners quit entrepreneurship because they are tired of wearing all the hats from CEO to janitor. Entrepreneurs work longer and harder hours because they must fulfill every job role for the company unless they are able to hire other employees. As an entrepreneur, you aren’t just implementing someone else’s business model. You:

  • Create the business model
  • Network with clients
  • Make and take the phone calls
  • Implement plans
  • Take out the trash

Corporate jobs offer stability and direction of position. Many factors can play into leaving a self-started business such as a drastic life change or just simply not wanting to do it anymore.

TWO: When you do decide to go back to corporate, know how your skills translate to the job you want. More than likely you will try to go back to a desk job at the level or position title previously held. While that is well and good, you need to make sure all of your new skills from owning your own business are also applied to your repertoire. Prepare your resume with those skills, be proud of your accomplishments, and any knowledge you have gained. Don’t promote yourself as the ‘CEO’ but use a title that best describes your position — what you actually did during your business.

THREE: Make sure you address the pink elephant — the question that needs to be answered, not ignored. Why did you leave your business? You should be thinking about this long before your first interview. It should be a well prepared explanation and make the company feel at ease instead of worrying about how long you will be with them. You want to prove that you can and will be an asset and a member of their team. Make them realize you do have value, skills they need, and are not just looking for a rebound job. Don’t be overly detailed in explaining why you are leaving entrepreneurship, but give enough information to indicate your current and future intentions. If the business failed, own up to it, you tried, you put yourself on the line and did the best you could have done. State accomplishments and take what you have learned from the crash and use it to better yourself and the company you want to work for.

FOUR: Do your research. When you go back to corporate, you don’t want just any job. There was a reason you decided to pursue an entrepreneurship and you should follow the path you are passionate about.

  • Fitting Back In Rebounding Back to Corporate After Entrepreneurship Image by iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Fitting Back In Rebounding Back to Corporate After Entrepreneurship
    Image by iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Take advantage of networking opportunities with former colleagues and supervisors.

  • Find companies of interest and reach out to people who work there.
  • Schedule informational meetings and interviews.
  • Have a concise description of what you are looking for.

FIVE: You may encounter the grief roadblock — feel like you’re ‘selling out’ or ashamed of leaving your own business. Try your best to be positive and focus on your accomplishments, not your failures. Plan for a change in environment and adjust accordingly.

SIX: You need to learn as must as you can. Don’t walk into the job thinking that you already know everything about the position. There will be things you need to learn and things you have never heard of before. Pay attention to things that will give you an edge and how you can effectively cooperate in this new job. Conversely, you may be able to teach them something from your own experiences owning your business. Offer creative and constructive suggestions in a way that doesn’t make you sound like you know better than the boss.

Navigating back to a corporate job is challenging. You need to re-market yourself, rework your resume, and present yourself in a way that fits into a corporate lifestyle. You’ve gotten used to working for yourself — being laid back about some things and taking your time on projects but a corporation does not operate that way. You need to figure out how to work effectively on a 9-to-5 schedule and leave work knowing you were productive and worked hard. Knowing the culture of the company you are moving into can help you adjust more easily as well as let the company know your motives align with theirs. Once you have worked through all of the details, you will be able to see how every piece fits together and your function as one part of the corporate picture.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Networking is not about you, but it certainly can help your executive job search.

5 Skills for Successful Job Search Networking

5 Skills for Successful Job Search Networking

Having the right contacts can help you get information about the company and what they really want. Building your network is important, especially during your job search. Ideally you will already have some foundation for your network, but further developing it can help you find an opportunity. The following tips will hopefully provide advice for interacting with your network during your job search.

1. Don’t ask for a job (they don’t have one for you).

While most jobs come through personal connections, like those in your network, it is not likely that everyone in your network will recommend or offer you a job. Your network should be a two-way relationship. Instead of asking for a job, work on your elevator speech.

Networking is not about you, but it certainly can help your executive job search.

Networking is not about you, but it certainly can help your executive job search.

  • Be clear about your employment goals.
  • Do some careful self-assessment so you are able to communicate pertinent information about who you are, what you want, and what you can do for them.
  • Prepare and practice.

2. Make it about them, not you.

Offer assistance to people in your network or new contacts you have made. It is much more likely that they will open to the idea of helping you later if you reach out to them first. Go out of your way for them, show interest, and make sure they remember you. The relationship needs to be built on trust. Once the foundation is stable, your contacts will think of you the next time an opportunity arises that you are fit for. Create quality relationships with people — don’t make a contact just to make a contact, actually have a relationship with them.

Make sure you don’t just reach out to people in your network when you need something. Try to contact at least two people from your network a week — check in and ask them questions in general about their well-being as well as offering to help them. Volunteer your services when appropriate.

Remember to say thank you. Write thank-you notes to any recruiters you meet with, referring to the conversation you had with them so they remember who you are. Emails, with un-abbreviated and appropriate content, are a fine way to say thank you to other people in your network. When you get the job or promotion you were working toward, don’t skimp on showing your appreciation, send flowers or a gift basket. Being thankful goes a long way.

3. Get outside your industry (your job function might be transferable).

Schedule and attend two or three networking events per month to find groups you want to join. Use those meetings to make network connections and build relationships. You should have business cards ready to hand out, but don’t be racing around to collect them. Be ready to exchange cards after a conversation. Make the connection, but don’t appear desperate. You want to be genuine, ask questions, and remember that you are trying to help them first. Stay positive and be aware of your body language to create a memorable conversation and to appear more approachable.

4. Ask for more contacts to reach out to.

Contacts within your network have a network of their own. If they mention people in the industry you are pursuing a position in, ask your contact to introduce you to them. After developing a good relationship with your contacts, you will be able to ask them things like:

“I would like to land the marketing manager job at XYZ company. Would you please introduce me to the VP of marketing and follow up with a recommendation phone call telling them why I am qualified for the position?”

You can also utilize social media — sites like Twitter and Facebook — to stay in touch with people after meeting in person. Social media can also be used to start networking with others, like people who currently work for a company you’re interested in being part of. As you grow your network, keep track of who you talk to, what you talk about, when you talked, and what the outcome of that conversation was. If you hold on to that list, you won’t run into any issues of confusion or forgetting communication with that contact.

5. Have a resume, but wait until you build a relationship before sending it.

This goes along with not asking for a job. People in your network don’t need your resume unless they have asked for it. Giving it to them without being prompted to can appear rude. You want to make sure your resume is up-to-date for job opportunities that arise, but don’t force it on people in your network. Presenting your contacts with a resume without being asked can also make you look desperate.

Networking can be a great way to find your perfect job. In general, you want to think long term regarding your network. Relationships don’t develop overnight – it takes time, patience, and dedication. Make a point to consistently meet with new people and people already in your network to start and develop those relationships. You should work on networking skills throughout your professional career and while job searching. Through your network, you can learn from others about the industry, profession, and the companies you are interested in. You shouldn’t discount the connections and opportunities that can come with building your network.

Image by supahkit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Think about your bridge job as an opportunity, not an obstacle.

A Bridge Job Can Help You Get to the Next Level

A Bridge Job Can Help You Get to the Next Level       

A bridge job can be taken while building your own business or working on goals to attain your ideal position.  A bridge job is an interim job that pays for the necessities while you prepare for a better position or work on building your dream business.A Bridge Job Can Help You Get to the Next Level 1

What Should I Look for in a Bridge Job?

Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or are working your way up the career ladder, a bridge job will help you build skills and take care of your financial obligations as the future you have planned becomes viable.

Some musts for a bridge job include the following:

  • A bridge job must provide you with stable and consistent hours.

You must be able to clock in and clock out – so to speak.  There should be consistency in scheduling so that you can plan around the job and use your remaining time wisely.  You must be free to focus on and expand your more important areas of expertise.  You will need the ability to plan easily for conferences, networking activities, and other strategies that will enable your experience and business to grow as quickly as possible.

  • A bridge job must provide a dependable paycheck.

To allow you the peace of mind to be able to concentrate on progressing toward your future goals, your bridge job must cover the necessities of life each month therefore freeing your mind from the financial stresses of everyday life.

  • A bridge job must not take more than it gives.

You want a job that you walk away from at the end of the day.  There should be no residual baggage.  That is to say, you do not want a position that requires more energy or effort from you after you have “clocked out.”  There should be no after-hours work such as phone calls, finding new clients, homework, etc.  You should not work more than regular weekly hours at a bridge job so that you are able to have the necessary time to devote to your goals and personal business building.

  • A bridge job provides structure.

Most of us function most effectively with structure. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person?”  This statement is so true of human nature.  For some crazy reason, many of us tend to work harder when we are up against a deadline.  Is this true for you?  We seem to crave routine and structure innately and we can use that as a weapon to keep our creativity and productiveness running at maximum efficiency.

  • A bridge job provides on-the-job learning.

Whether you are trying to move up the corporate ladder or gain the confidence to go out on your own with a new business, getting paid to learn might be the best perk of all in terms of a bridge job. How you approach this in-between time of your life, the attitude that you bring to the table will have a lot to do with how successful you are. We increase our abilities constantly when we strive to better ourselves. The possibilities are endless.  We can learn something valuable from almost everyone around us if we allow ourselves to do so. 

Some Points to Ponder…

  • One of the biggest obstacles that hold many people back from starting their own business is the fear of not being able to make enough money.
  • A bridge job often pays less than what you make in an actual career position.
  • Even if you have substantial savings, even a year’s worth saved to cover expenses, you still need a bridge job. Working while enduring ongoing or daily financial stress isn’t going to be effective.

And the Biggest Point…

Think about your bridge job as an opportunity, not an obstacle.Getting out there into the work force, even in a less-than-ideal job, will . . . get you out there. You’ll be in a work environment; you’ll be meeting new people; you’ll be learning new things. In other words, you won’t be alone, and you won’t be stuck on your couch wondering about how you can contribute. Take advantage of all of these new opportunities a fresh approach to working can provide. You never know who you’re going to meet and how you might help one another.

There are so many different ways to achieve success. We must all find the path that will provide the ending that we are working so hard for.  A bridge job just might be the missing link that will help you reach your destination.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net / Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

Resume Writing Prepares You for Your Next Interview

Comprehensive resume development is great prep for your next interview.

If you have spent any time at all looking into the best interview strategies, then surely you have come across the all-too-familiar “four P’s of interviewing:”

  1. Preparation.
  2. Practice.
  3. Personal presentation.
  4. Pertinent questions.

These are all important for different reasons. However, I would like to plead a case for the one that I feel is the crucial piece of the puzzle, the “glue” so to speak, that will hold all the other components in a nice straight line, PREPARATION.

Preparation is the Key

The best way to prepare for an interview is through comprehensive resume preparation, something you need to do at the start of your job search, anyway! Using your resume to prepare for your interviews is an amazing way to accomplish two things at once and ultimately save time in the process. We all want to be as productive as possible, especially when dealing with finding new employment.

Your Career Inventory

Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

Part of compiling or updating your resume is doing an extensive career inventory. First, compare what the employer is seeking to your qualifications, experience, and accomplishments. Through deeply exploring your past work experience and responsibilities you will actually be preparing for your interview. Think about these critical questions:

  • What was expected of you in each position?
  • What did you learn?
  • Did you find solutions to issues in the workplace that improved your situation?
  • How can the knowledge gained be used in a new position?
  • In what ways are you a better candidate because of your previous experience?

The answers to these questions could appear in any job interview. Studying them in the context of your ideal role will help you to build a detailed, informative resume as well as be prepared for the questions that will undoubtedly come in almost any interview. If this feels like a daunting task and you would prefer to have some guidance to tackle the most current trends in the job market you could go through an executive resume writing service. As experts in resume writing, we will develop the in-depth questions and information that will narrow the gap between your experience and your hiring executives’ requirements, thus putting you ahead of the competition!

Which Path Do You Want to Take?

Take an extensive look at the types of roles you have previously filled and compare them with where you would like to be in the future. Through doing this you are able to deeply analyze where you have been and where you are going. As the Cheshire cat told Alice, “if you don’t know where you are going, it doesn’t matter what path you take.” That is not the way that we want to approach the future. We want you to have a clear direction—a career search plan that succeeds. In short, we want to be prepared in every way possible.

Put Your Mind at Ease: Know How Your Resume Connects to Your Interview Strategy

Think about how at ease you would feel as the interview approaches if you have fresh in your mind a comprehensive view of your work history. Rather than having your resume be a vaguely familiar piece of paper that is printed off in a rush on your way out the door to the interview, use this tool as a preparatory strategy that supports your interview technique. Your resume is an important tool that is refined, accurate, and serves the right purpose in attaining the position you are interviewing for.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Quit the Job Search Panic: Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

Quit the Job Search Panic: Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

Every week, I speak to at least one executive job seeker who is in panic mode. These executives are in job search panic, and you might be, too, for a variety of reasons:
Quit the Job Search Panic Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

  • You heard the company is restructuring and you might lose your job.
  • You know the company is laying you off soon.
  • You have been assigned to a new manager or executive.
  • You’ve been out of work for some time.
  • You’re a go-getter, and any time spent job searching is better spent actually working in your next role.
  • Or, the biggest cause of job-search panic: The wait between developing your resume and hearing back.

If you are experiencing any one of these panic-inducing scenarios, then you’re probably very concerned about when that next job offer is coming. You might even be applying like mad to every likely possibility on job boards or LinkedIn. I’ll bet money that it feels like a ton of work. I’ll bet it also feels like you’re a hamster on a wheel, exerting a ton of effort and going nowhere fast, and increasing your sense of panic all the while.

Calm the Job Search Panic: Get off the Job Search Hamster Wheel

Can you imagine a job search that fees calm, controlled, and panic free, not to mention EFFECTIVE?

Having worked with hundreds of clients throughout their job search, I’ve seen these situations come up dozens of times. In every case, an executive job seeker can shorten the time between job search panic and job search success with one or more of the following strategies:

Define your job search goal: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. Drive your job search forward by determining the type of company, the industry, the level, and the role you’re after.
Read voraciously: Explore industry resources, regional business journals, company web sites, and public relations pieces to inform your knowledge of the industry. You’ll learn more about the state of the employment economy by learning which companies are getting funded or are growing by reading about their goals and strategies than you will by reading their job postings.

Talk to people of influence: By “influence,” I mean people who can inform your strategy. These can be peers, industry insiders, and hiring managers. Remember: Not every conversation should start with a question about whether the person is willing to hire you.

Set up a job search project plan: As Rudy Giuliani said, “Because ‘change’ is not a destination, just as ‘hope’ is not a strategy.”

Quit the Job Search Panic: Find Your Destination and Define Your Strategy

By taking control of your job search and establishing your process and goal before you start, you will manage your job search panic, whether you’re concerned about your company’s layoffs or in the midst of an active job search now. You know the pieces of the puzzle you can control, so take action on your executive job search now to avoid that paralyzing job search panic.

Find a Mentor for Executive Job Search

Find a Mentor for Executive Job Search

Throughout your executive career, you have probably mentored several people. Now, you are looking for a mentor for your executive job search. Finding a mentor for your executive job search is not difficult if you know your specific expectations, goals and objectives. You want to look for someone who will assist you in achieving what you desire. Their knowledge and experience will provide you with different perspectives on issues, career challenges and opportunities.Mentor for Executive Job Search

To find your mentor in your executive job search, you should be willing to:

  • Look outside your field–A mentor does not have to be in the same field or industry as you. Often, you can get insight and objective opinions from someone who is not involved in your industry. This type of mentor may expand your thought processes about your career.
  • Collaborate on projects–This is a great way to get to know potential mentors. You are both invested in a common goal. Working together can deepen your relationship and provide you with common interests.
  • Make your relationship reciprocal–Your mentor will want to know how you are doing, what progress you are making, and what is working for you. Share your results. Offer your insights should you be asked for opinions on projects that your mentor is involved in.
  • Determine when and how often you will meet–You both are busy people. Predetermining this information sets the expectation that you both will be professional and prepared to work. This is not a social meeting.

Your meetings with your mentor will vary in length and topic, depending on your needs. Prepare for your meetings and the ensuing discussion. Your meeting may consist of updates on your current projects, potential opportunities, and professional development strategy.

As you develop your relationship, your interaction with your mentor may change. Your mentor may discover that your opinion is a valuable resource for his or her own endeavors, and you might have insights that can inform that person’s growth as well.

Remember, you are sharing knowledge, insights and opportunities.

Your relationship with your mentor can become a long term commitment that is beneficial for both of you.

 

Job Search Research on Target Companies: Prepare for Your Interview Success

Job Search Research on Target Companies: Prepare for Your Interview Success

You’ve done a lot of work preparing and searching for a job and now it is time to research the company prior to the interview. Researching a company is critical to having a successful encounter with the hiring agent. You want to be able to walk into the interview with confidence.

Research the Company BroadlyResearch Your Target Companies for Interview Success

  • Check the website-you can discover a tremendous about of useful information about a company’s financial health, recent news and community involvement.
  • Check with your network-see what your partners know about the company-both pros and cons.
  • If possible talk to current and past employees-check out the work environment.
  • Learn who the competitors are and what impact they have on the company.
  • Research local business journals, national news, databases, and more. Learn whether the company is growing or contracting, if it has recently launched new products, or if it has received an influx of investment money—this can tell you a great deal about the company’s current trajectory.
  • Research the company’s top employees on LinkedIn.

As you prepare for the interview, keep in mind that you are not just learning about the company and its culture, you are learning about the type of people that they hire. Through this type of research you are developing your own presentation plan on how to handle the interview itself.

Narrow Your Research to Prepare for Your Interview

  • Review your information and target key areas that you may want to discuss during the interview.
  • Determine how your strengths can help the company move forward and achieve its goals.
  • Create talking points that you will be able to use to discuss the company’s unique values.
  • Be prepared to explain how hiring you will benefit the company.
  • Develop questions to ask during the interview. Show your interest in the company. Don’t be afraid to ask about future goals of the company.
  • Use LinkedIn and Google to look up the name of the interviewer. Learning names and titles can help you feel more comfortable during the interview. Check to see if you have any common interests.

The more that you learn about a company prior to an interview, the more confident you will be going into the interview itself. You will have an idea ahead of time if you are a good fit for the company culture.