Thursday, January 31, 2008

Marketing Statement

By Zebriod (c) 2008

We all need one, or two. We have all heard of the elevator speech, where you are caught the elevator between floors with the boss, you have 11 seconds of his time, you need to get your message across – clearly and fast. Likewise if an interviewer starts with an icebreaker question like “tell me about yourself’, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to put yourself in the best possible light.

Be sure you don’t ramble on about irrelevancies or get off topic! Instead, make your answer into a 3 part pre-planned marketing statement.

Part 1 – One short sentence as summary of career history to date.

Part 2 – A stand out accomplishment you are proud of that will capture the employer’s attention.

Part 3 – One sentence summary of what you want to do next in your career. This is a forward looking statement, positive (never bash a previous situation) and clearly answers the question why are you here now?

“I’ve had 16 years of experience in the industry while serving as a {job title} with company ABC for the last five years. While at ABC, I led the successful {accomplishment} which resulted in us achieving {bottom line impact…saving money, saving time, awards/recognition}. For my next career move, I desire to move to a company with more prestige where I can continue to add value for the long term.”

**An Extra Tip:If given the opportunity to ask a question at the very beginning of the interview – Ask, “What exactly are you looking for in a (title of position)?” Listen Carefully! You should target the rest of your interview answers so that they cover what the hiring manager’s response was to that question.

So you think a recruiter can find you a job?

(planning to find a new job)
Zebriod (c) 2008

If it has not happened to you yet, it happens more and more often, the work disappears and you need to find a new job. When this happens the first thing you need is a plan, a plan to land a new job. It is always easier to land a new job when you have a job, but you don’t have the time and that is not the situation I intend to cover here.

Any the plan needs to be more than finding a recruiter and sitting back. You need to be in control, not the recruiter.

Step 1. Ground work
Get you paperwork in order:
1a. Review your resume (See my article on writing your resume)
1b. Review all your accomplishments – write them up, no one is going to hire you because you need a job, they will only hire you if you bring something they need (See my article on accomplishments)
1c. Make a personal marketing statement (see creating your elevator pitch)
1d. Get copies of transcripts – many companies require these if you have post grad education.
1e. Prepare your references – this is very important, networking can land you the job you need. Call everyone you know and ask them if they would be willing to provide you a professional reference if needed – don’t be proud.

Step 2. How to stay in control
Make sure all recruiter have your permission directly from you prior to submitting your resume to any employer. Recruiters have a natural incentive to send your resume to as many companies as possible, just in case you get hired. Normally they can claim a fee if you go to work for any of these within a year of submitting your resume.

Create a spreadsheet of possible companies. Use the internet to research companies in your location or in your sector

Number Co Name Website Co Contact Recruiter Date sent Notes--->

Only self submit through the website as a last resort. Try to place a call into the company, use you marketing pitch and attempt to get someone in the company to get you in. If you submit through the website will be joining hundred of “chef and chauffeurs” and as a result your resume will first be read by a machine, so make sure you have as many “key words” as possible.

Step 3. Network

Most mid career job changes are a result of “networking” not recruiters, it is expensive for companies to find quality staff and as a result networking has a distinct advantage over using a recruiter. It maybe difficult to call previous colleagues and admit that you are searching for a new job, but it has to be done. Call them all, make sure you are prepared to market yourself even when you think they know you. Use an indirect approach “Do you know anyone that is hiring”, “Do you have anyone over at xyz company that I can call?”.

This is difficult but do it.

Step 4. Be prepared

The first step is to get an interview, but an interview is not the end, just the end of the beginning. Be prepared to interview well.
Try to be nice and well mannered at all t

Behavior Questions

By Zebriod (c) 2008

I’m not one for listening to party debates, but last night I listened to the Republican debate at the Regan Library. Largely to see how they answered questions, did they have any tips for successful interviewing?

My top observation was the ability of Ron Paul to listen and not get frustrated, just marvelous.

The debate centered on Romney and McCain. As an independent, that is not going to vote for any of these guys, with little or no baggage toward these guys, Romney was the winner on this day by a wide margin when judging the quality of his debating skills. Why? He used examples of “his” past to predict his performance in the future, verifiable accomplishments as examples of why the country should hire him.

When asked if the country was better off today than eight years ago. when the current President started, he clearly pointed out that was not a question he should answer. He had nothing to do with this performance, but instead reviewed his role as governor of Massachusetts, the Salt Lake games, his business career and how he left each better than he found them. McCain on the other hand focused on general, unsupported statements like “I will be the …” “I am the most qualified…”. One approach left me impressed the other unconvinced.

My take away was the importance of being a good listener and using accomplishments to answer questions about future performance.

Introducing the STAR or SOAR principle: STAR stands for (S)ituation, (T)ask, (A)ction and (R)esult, and would be used as follows. I was in this situation, I was given these tasks, I took these actions and the result was. So, going back to Romney, he said when he became Governor we had a 3 billion dollar budget shortfall, not wanting to raise taxes, he found many areas where Massachusetts had not raised fees for 20 years, such as food signs on interstates. In this way, he closed the budget gap by running government more sensibly, like a business.

(For SOAR the (O) is for obstacle)

Use this concept to answer any behavior questions, for example of which are ‘how would you react to…’, ‘give a situation how would you act/react…’

In order to be well prepared, you must sit down and create a list of accomplishments. Write these up, add to them, reword them and practice them. From this list you can now go many places. First , create your own personal marketing statement, a Features And Benefits worksheet and answer behavioral questions.

Accomplishments need to answer the following question “what did you achieve that helped MAKE MONEY, SAVE MONEY, or CHANGE A PROCESS to impact the BOTTOM LINE?”

Don’t forget employers are only looking for “Skills, Experience and stability”