Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The One Thing Your Executive Resume Has to Convey

The One Thing Your Executive Resume Has to Convey

The one thing your resume should represent is you.

You probably don’t realize that your resume is a tool to sell yourself. You are the product that companies want to ‘buy’ or invest in. The document itself is a lot like a marketing brochure. It has more information that a simple calling card, but it is not your complete career record. While not everyone has a background in sales or marketing, you have to think about yourself as the product and your resume as the promotional item.

Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Represent Yourself

Your ultimate marketing tool is also your first impression to some companies. Your resume needs to show that you are competent in your career and you would be the best candidate for the position. Take the time to reflect on your accomplishments, and failures, to open yourself to the library of expertise. Any one section of your resume should clearly display that you have what it takes. Once you’ve spent the time to think about it, you need to figure out how to turn that into words. Not being able to write your own resume with wonderful results is not a handicap or character flaw. Writing a resume is hard, not everyone can write an effective one. Resume writing is a craft. Looking at your accomplishments objectively is not an easy task. You need to ask the right questions to get the necessary answers and sometimes, the best way to do that is to hire a professional.

Format Your Brochure

It shouldn’t actually look like a brochure, but a clean and well-organized document. The well-organized resume considers the following:

  • Don’t worry about including too many details – keep your resume to a reasonable one-two pages in length. Specifics should come out in your cover letter and during the interview.
  • Order your resume with relevant information. If some of your work experience is not related to the industry you are applying for, you have two options. You can either discard that information from your resume, leaving it up to the interview to bring out any details that might have been relevant, or you can move it to a different section outside of your experience. Personally, I organize the experience by “related/relevant” and “other” while paying attention to length. If you are pushing into three pages, it may be time to cut some details.
  • Education is important but you need to highlight the experience. Most of the positions you will be applying for will want to see the experience base before considering your education level.
  • Don’t list every job, accomplishment, volunteer position, skill, or certification you’ve ever held. Be selective when ordering your resume. Again, this document is not a comprehensive report about your life but a short brochure about what makes you the best person for the job. Accomplishments should take precedence over responsibilities.
  • Skills should be displayed briefly in place of your objective statement.
  • Unique personal details are fun but don’t always belong on your resume.
  • What makes you the best in your field? What unique strengths do you have that no one else does? Use those descriptors instead of an objective statement. Most employers will not spend more than five seconds on a resume containing an objective statement. The reason for that being corporations do not want to hear the things you expect from a job or your intentions of the resume. That should be shown on the document itself.

With all of that in mind, you should also do some research about each company you are considering. Not every position or employer will want the same information brought to the top. Think about what the most important requirement is, for that company, and tailor your resume for that requirement each time.

Market Yourself

Your job, in the creation of your resume, is to focus on your value and skills. Talk about your value, not what you are looking to get out of the deal – that part comes later when you are negotiating your contract. You want something that is memorable – like that cat food commercial you can’t get out of your head. You’re more likely to buy that brand of cat food because you remember it from the commercial than you are any other brand. It works similarly with your resume. If there is something on that document that sets you apart, the employer will remember it.

Overall, your resume has to convey you – your expertise, what sets you apart from the rest, and what makes you their top choice. If you struggle with creating a resume for yourself, there are people who enjoy crafting these types of documents – use them. Hire a professional that you feel confident with in order to create that lasting impression of you to any employer.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Recruiter--friend or foe? Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recruiters — Friend or Foe?

Recruiters — Friend or Foe?

Recruiters are great to have in your corner when looking for a new position. Employers don’t always advertise job openings instead, they hire a professional recruiter. The people who make up this resourceful position keep an extensive network of contacts, know where open positions are, and are trained to place applicants into the best fit position.

Professional Recruiters will typically specialize in one career field. They will know which companies are hiring for those specific positions. If you are looking for multiple positions in multiple fields, you will want to work with more than one recruiter. That isn’t to say you should go to a recruiter for every position you think you would be qualified for, you do need to be selective. Not every recruiter operates the same way and you may tarnish your reputation by utilizing the service too much or with careless application.

Recruiter--friend or foe? Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recruiter–friend or foe? Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

PROFESSIONAL RECRUITER PROS

FREE

Professional recruiters are paid by their clients, employers, not by you. They should not ask for any compensation from you.

INTERVIEW PREPARATION

Most professional recruiters, once they set you up with an interview, will help you prepare for that interview. They can give you the details about what to expect, information about the company, and what they are looking for from you. Interviews, no matter how many times you go through them, can still be a nerve-wracking process. Any interview preparation that can be done will help you feel more confident and composed during that process.

CONSTRUCTIVE CONNECTION

You want a recruiter who communicates well and works with you to build a mutually beneficial relationship. This means they respect your contact hours, keep you up-to-date, and reach out to you with new opportunities. Having that connection will further your prospects and open new doors for you. While your recruiter may not have that perfect job for you today, they will keep you in mind when it does come along. It is all about matching the best possible fit for each position and a favorable exchange with a recruiter will help them determine where you fit into a new position with your career field.

FAMILIARITY WITH THE CAREER

Hopefully, the recruiter you select will have previous knowledge about the career field you are pursuing. If not, they should attempt to research the individual position and provide you with details about that open job. Some recruiters will have a relationship with companies you are applying at as the companies choose which recruiting agency they want to fill their position. With that relationship, they should be able to give you information beyond the simple job posting. This information could include actual job title, responsibilities, and insight into the company’s culture.

PROPER POSITION SELECTION

You should be confident trusting your recruiter. Knowing they are working around positions that require your skills, have your desired pay scale, and keeps your priorities part of their priorities. Make sure you do your part by submitting all of that information to them – it will make it easier in the long run and alleviate any confusion

POSITIVE INTENTIONS

When it comes to your job hunt, you want the truth. Your recruiter should work with you to set realistic expectations and let you know what is going on. They should make it clear if your line of work isn’t their specialty — maybe even going as far as suggesting another recruiter that does specialize in your field. Recruiters know what their clients want to see on a resume and should let you know if yours is selling you short. If your resume isn’t up to snuff, they should be able to point you in the right direction to get it up to the client’s standards. While the truth might be hard to hear sometimes, recruiters need to have that tough love approach in order to keep everyone’s best interests to heart.

PROFESSIONAL RECRUITER CONS

FRUITLESS CONNECTION

Some recruiters will only contact you if they have a position you would fit into. They focus on results — filling positions for clients. That doesn’t necessarily mean finding you a position or building any kind of rapport with you. It could take these recruiters weeks to get back to you, even if it is bad news for your job search. You really want your recruiter to respect your career path and your personal priorities. You don’t want that call to be in the middle of your work day with the expectation that you will drop what you’re doing and talk to them. And you don’t want an unreliable recruiter. If you are getting this kind of treatment from any recruiter, they are not invested in you and view you as their commission. Filling positions is their job, but if you’re just another number to them, recruiters will push you toward jobs that aren’t fit for you. The recruiter’s client is the company employer, not you. Their priority is finding a body to fill the position and helping you to gain employment is always going to be second priority.

NO INSIGHT TO THE POSITION

If your recruiter doesn’t take the time to get the details of the position, you can’t count on them to keep your priorities in mind. When they don’t know anything beyond what the job’s posting dictates, they can’t help you prepare for the interview or the position. You want a recruiter who is willing to invest the time and effort, to the company and to you, in order to guarantee the best person for the job gets the job.

ILL-SUITED JOB PLACEMENT

Some recruiters don’t bother finding the right fit. They have a canned style of recruiting employees meaning they put your resume out for any position that resembles your field. These recruiters don’t take the time to look closely at the job’s pay, location, or company culture to determine how you would fit into it. If you use a recruiter performing this way, you will probably end up with interviews or even a job that is ill-suited to your abilities.

MISLEADING MOTIVES

The truth isn’t always pleasant and some recruiters use that as the rationale for only telling you what you want to hear. A good rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Recognizing a recruiter’s language — candy-coated promises and overly enthusiastic expectations — is key to determining how they will communicate with you.

More honest recruiters than dishonest are out there. It is in their best interest to do their job well for both their clients and job seekers. They will do everything that they can to find the best person for the job, even if it isn’t you. If you aren’t right for the job, you want a recruiter that will recognize that. You don’t really want any job that isn’t a good fit for you. For example, if you are working for a great company in a low level position and apply for a higher position, but your passion is not with that job, you aren’t the right person for the job. Go after your professional passion. The right fit will make both you and the employer happy. When using a recruiter, part of their importance is their network and expertise at placing individuals into their ideal opportunities. Make sure you’re looking for a job on your own, recruiters aren’t the only way to find employment. Relying solely on the recruiter may cause you to miss out on an opportunity they aren’t aware of. Keep in mind: you are the best candidate for a job, it will just take time to find it.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason

Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason…

Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason…

Networking is the best way to learn about new positions.

Even though job search networking may sound intimidating, it is one of the most successful ways to find a new job. It is more common than you realize to be offered a job or to find a contact simply due to a friend or acquaintance knowing your background and skills. If you are serious about finding the best position for your next career, move as quickly as possible, you must reach out and network.Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason image 1

What are the Benefits of Networking?

To be successful as you network, you must find the hidden, unadvertised job market and use every resource available to you.

Networking, when done correctly, will lead to plentiful contacts and friendships that can help you in every aspect of your career, including job hunting and your future career endeavors. It can prove to be more important than any other facet of your search.

Before Networking – Review Your Goals

What do you want others to know about you? What do you need to learn from them?

  • What kind of job are you looking for?
  • Do you want to look for jobs in one city/state?
  • Are you focused on a certain industry?
  • Do you want to find a job at a particular company?
  • Have you attained the skills and experience required for this type of position?

Effective Networking Strategies

When starting out, remember, it’s never about blatantly asking for a job. It’s about talking things over one-on-one with someone you know (or someone who has been referred to you) about common interests and how you might be able to help them and their company.Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason image 2

Before diving into a lengthy narrative about yourself, be sure to ask common questions to get warmed up. Ask about family, friends, interests—topics that you wouldn’t mind discussing yourself. Once the conversation is flowing, you can shift gears the real reason for the call.

 “I’m calling because I’m planning to make a job change soon. I am looking for a new opportunity that will both challenge and expand my skillset. Do you happen to know anyone who works within my target field who may be able to lead me in the right direction?”

Using this simple script as a guide may give you the confidence you need to open up and freely discuss options and career paths that may be available to you in the future.

Career Networking Tips

  1. Create an inventory of your educational background, accomplishments and work history. You never know when a casual interaction may lead to a contact.
  2. Your career network should include, but not be limited to family, friends, members of neighborhood associations, past or present co-workers, supervisors, and colleagues from other business connections. If you are part of an alumni club from your college or university, you may also find leads there.
  3. Use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online communities can help you get in touch with other networkers. Maybe those with college affiliations or that are in a certain geographic area. Also, keep in touch with your network often. This can be as simple as sending a quick note or email to say hello and to ask how they are doing. You want to make an impression and be remembered.
  4. Attend networking events. If you belong to any professional associations, attend a meeting or social function. Many of the attendees will have the same goals you do and will be glad to exchange information.
  5. Add notes to business cards or organize electronically, so you’ll remember the details of who you have just met. Also, follow through with referrals, and always thank contacts in writing or email.

Career Networking Works!

As you can see, career networking isn’t as hard as it seems and it really does work! Knowing how to ask for, and receive, the valuable information you need is the key to finding the right job or career position. It is important to have a solid network in place throughout your career and to use your network whenever possible, when job searching or exploring career options.

Don’t forget to look for opportunities to help others along the way. Through searching for your own needs to be met you may come across a position that would be a great fit for someone else in your network. Share the love and pass it on! Others will remember your thoughtfulness.

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
A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Resumes display your accomplishments, are your marketing tools, and are the foundation of your brand. While keeping yours up-to-date can be painstaking or time-consuming, doing so is important. You never know when you will need your resume. Not only do you need it if, worst-case scenario, you are in the market for a new job or career path, but resume writing can help you reflect on your professional development and even prepare for your next annual review.A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Why should you update your resume?

Simply put, life is fluid and your resume should show every change you find important. If you only update the document when you’re looking for a job, you could sell yourself short. Taking the time to write down all of your accomplishments will give you an edge when you actually need your resume. Think of it more like a list of completed tasks than a dictation of your skills:

  • Presentations, Conferences, Interviews

You may be asked to or want to present at a conference, publish any of your work, or sit for an interview. Providing the media or conference organizer with your resume will back up your information. Then, you can add that experience to your resume!

  • Nominations

Colleagues can nominate you for awards, but your resume usually needs to be presented to the awards committee for validation. An up-to-date resume will reveal all of your achievements in a way you are confident and comfortable with. Waiting until asked will result in a rush to fix that years old resume and scrambling to come up with something that won’t represent yourself well.

  • Freelance work

While you might not be looking for a new job or career, you may decide to pick up side jobs. Freelancing is a good way to earn some spending money and add on to your skill set. However, most contracted work requires a current resume.

  • Recruiters

If you keep your social media (LinkedIn) up to date as well, a recruiter might reach out to you. Your skills and experience draw attention. Recruiters look for the best fit candidates despite job standing. Of course, you can turn down any offers or ignore recruiters, but keep that resume recent on the off chance you might be interested.

  • Promotion at your current workplace

Promotion opportunities don’t become available often. If your resume is current, you can apply for that promotion quickly, without having to take the time to change it.

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes

When creating your resume, think about what an employer wants to see. What are they looking for and what experiences will set you apart from other potential candidates? Resumes are a snapshot of you as a person and most employers spend about ten seconds perusing a resume unless they find something worth further inspection. Electronic documents are used much more often than paper, so keep that in mind. If your resume looks like everyone else’s, it will be treated in kind. Employers also appreciate consistency. When taking the time to recent your resume, be consistent — meaning don’t just update LinkedIn if your resume is posted on several other social media profiles. And take the time to tailor it to a job you are interested in. If you want to highlight your skills for one job but experience for another, create different copies of your resume to that effect.

Think about your resume like a long-term career management tool. When you sit down to update it, you have the opportunity to examine your personal values, communication-style, and experiences to display them in a manner that will set yourself apart from your competition. It is a great way to highlight all of your experiences and reflect on where you’ve been to how far you’ve come in your career. Using a resume to reflect on all of your positions and skills gives you an opportunity to be confident in your abilities and know exactly of what you are capable. Even if you aren’t currently looking for a job, you should keep it as up-to-date as possible. Don’t wait until you need a resume, keep one on hand for worst-case scenarios or if you are pursuing a step up in your career field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Image by phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Resume Writing Prepares you for your Next Interview

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

Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

Companies have ups and downs with the changes in the economy, and your employment status depends on the company’s stability. Being laid off is not the end of your career, as the layoff is not for cause—the job simply ceases to exist. Consider the following strategies to help you after a “separation,” an umbrella term for the various reasons you and your company part ways:

Take care of you.

Whatever the reason for the separation, it is never a pleasant experience. Allow time to heal; don’t waste your time being angry at your previous employer. Think about where you might have the ambition to work next, and prepare for your future rather than dwell on your past. You will find another job in your career field, provided it may take time. The best course of action, in the meantime, would be to work on yourself. This means you can allow yourself to grieve the loss of your former role while focusing on your future.

Reconnect with or build your network.

Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

Unemployment isn’t the end of your career. Start rebuilding with these 5 practical strategies for recovering after a layoff.

When you are ready to return to your career field, you will want that network to build on and rely on for opportunities. Branch out with contacts via LinkedIn or other business social media, and turn those online connections into phone calls and meetings to support your new job search.

Building your network:

  • Enhances skills you can bring to a business
  • Supports fresh ideas for your current or new organization
  • Develops an improved understanding of the business environment

—all helping you become a stronger leader and finer follower. It takes time to build a successful network, especially if you have not used this strategy before, yet it will be worth the effort.

One caveat: Don’t assume they understand your immediate needs or ask those contacts for a job. This is a binary, dead-end question that only can be answered “yes” or “no.” Instead of asking this closed question, use your networking opportunities to generate deeper, broader insights into your contact’s experience and expertise.

Volunteer in your career field or in your community.

Volunteer work adds skills to your personal knowledge bank and meat to your resume. It can also provide you with an activity to fill your time while you are in job limbo. Volunteering supports your current passions or demonstrates work you aren’t fit for. There are plenty of reasons to volunteer: to benefit others, to make a difference, to develop additional skills, to feel better about yourself, to explore other areas of interest, and numerous others. And, this volunteer experience can become a line item on your resume, which explains fruitfully what you have been doing since the time you separated from your company.

Learn a new skill.

Don’t just pass time — build on your abilities and enhance your skills. Maybe there is a computer program you’ve always longed to learn or a communication skill you recognize you need to improve on. Consider this time now available to build new skills and complete that course or certification you have been thinking about. Work on that new skill and add it to your knowledge bank.

Prepare your resume.

A resume is not just for earning your next job. It allows you to highlight your accomplishments and the skills you earned from those accomplishments. You can either use the time to reflect on your career and the skills you have and prepare a sparkling resume yourself or, as recommended, you can hire a professional resume writer to give your resume that extra polished feel.

Remember, a layoff reflects no fault of your own. The majority of layoffs involve mass groups of the company’s employees, not just one, not just you. Employers take the time to consider each individual they layoff, your being on the list is chalked up to crummy luck. Who is laid off has little to do with work ethic and competence and more to do with the budget or politics of the company’s situation. Dust yourself off and strive toward getting back out in your field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Image by winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
jobsearch

Your Job Search Might Get You Fired

Your Job Search Might Get You Fired

Recently, I was speaking with a terrified job seeker. She wants to leave her current role ethically, with a new role secured. However, she’s terrified that word might get out she’s looking–in the past, a few of her co-workers were fired when the executive team learned they were on the market.

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Could you get fired for looking for a new executive job?

Can They Fire You Merely for Looking for a New Job?

Your Job Search Might Get You Fired
Utah in particular is an at-will employment state. In other words, according to the Labor Commission of the State of Utah, the employee can quit a job at any time, and an employer can terminate the employment, at any time, without giving notice. The exceptions to this at-will rule include “(1) when the termination violates clear and substantial Utah public policy; (2) when an implied or express contractual term requires dismissal only for cause; or (3) a statute or regulation restricts the employer’s right to terminate.”

Do any of these exceptions cover “employee is exploring other options outside the organization to further his or her career”? The answer is murky.

The Employee’s Position

Your possible position, as a potential job seeker:

  • Your current company is not supporting you the way you need to be, so you might need to explore other options.
  • Your career is important, so advancement outside your current company might be essential.
  • What you do on your own time, outside of work hours, is your own business.

The Employer’s Position

Possible outcomes, if your current employer finds out you are looking for a new position:

  • It might begin planning for your departure, a structural change that might legally force you out of your current role.
  • Your co-workers might no longer regard you as a team player.
  • Your executive leader might choose to assign plum project to other personnel, in case you choose to leave your current role.

The Confidential Job Search

Your company culture, irrespective of your state’s employment laws, might support an employee’s termination if he or she is engaged in a public job search. Here are a few tips to keep your job search confidential:

  • Do not post your resume to job boards.
  • Apply only for positions that you would accept if the job was offered to you.
  • Tell recruiters you are working with that your job search is highly confidential.
  • Do not use your work email and/or work computer for your job search (under any circumstances).
  • Turn off your activity notifications on LinkedIn so your contacts won’t get emails when you update your profile.
  • Do not mention that you are looking for a new position in your LinkedIn profile. Instead, make sure it meets LinkedIn’s guidelines for “profile completeness” and you will be more findable.

Need more strategies for a confidential executive job search? Reach out to me; I’ll keep our conversations in the strictest of confidence.

interview

The Dreaded Informational Interview: What It Is, What It Is Not, How to Do It

The Dreaded Informational Interview: What It Is, What It Is Not, How to Do It

People hire people, not resumes. So you need to be a person before you’re a resume–to engage with individuals who can support your candidacy. You need to do informational interviews. Even if you’re a senior executive with 20+ years’ experience in your field and industry, you need to set up, strategize for, and do informational interviews. Your job search might fail without this critical job search strategy.

Informational Interviews: Not Your Grandfather’s Job Search

If you’re frustrated with your job search, I’d be willing to bet that your strategy included at least one of the following:Dreaded Informational Interview

  • Reading job boards, tailoring your resume to each position, and sending it out.
  • Skimming companies’ career web sites, and uploading your resume.
  • Generating a list of companies, and sending it out to “Dear Sir or Madam.”

There is a better way, and you can do it: The informational interview.

This Is Not an Informational Interview

“Hi, thanks for speaking with me today/having me here today. I’d like to tell you about my experience, assets, and abilities, because I’m looking for a job. Do you have a job for me? If not, do you know who is hiring? And furthermore, if you look at my resume [hands over resume], where do you think I fit in your company?”

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Tone: Desperate.

Content: Me-centered.

Only possible outcome: “Sorry, I am not hiring now.”

Subtext: I’m looking for a job.

This Is an Informational Interview

“Hi, thanks for speaking with me today/having me here today. I have heard so much about your company/product/service, and I’m truly curious about the processes and people that go into producing it. How did you get into the role you currently have?”

Tone: Curious and interested.

Content: Outwardly focused.

Only possible outcome: “Sure, let me tell you how I was hired here” / “I originally went to school for X, but I wound up doing Y” / “I’ve been in this company 15 years…”

Subtext: I’m looking for a job.

That’s a good start to an informational interview. It focuses on what the audience can offer about his or her experience and asks open-ended questions, none of which are “Will you hire me?” Of course, the subtext in any informational interview is that the candidate is in a job search, but that’s not really the focus of the discussion; it hovers in the background, but it’s not at the center of the discussion. The center of the discussion, then, is the person with whom you’re speaking. Give them the platform, be authentically curious, and learn from them.

How to Engage in an Effective Informational Interview

Overall, Informational interviews are not actually interviews. They are not about you, the candidate. Informational interviews are opportunities for you to ask questions and learn. Informational interviews are not only for new college grads; they can be useful for senior executives as well. They might be formal in-office conversations, or they might be brief phone calls. Either way, any way, they are targeted discussions about the individual with whom you’re speaking and the company.

Get ready for your informational interviews:

Prepare: Learn as much as you can about a handful of individuals with whom you wish to speak.

Secure meetings: Ask for 10 minutes on their calendars; follow up in a week if you do not receive a response. Move on from those clearly unwilling or unable to fit you into their busy schedules.

Ask open-ended questions: How do these people interest you? What do they know that you don’t? What drives them to go to work every day?

Capitalize on the connection: Who do they know that you might benefit from knowing (and vice versa)? Are they willing to make an introduction?

Follow up: Thank the individual at the end of the call or meeting. Send a follow-up thank you, expressing gratitude and referring to the action steps the person agreed to take on your behalf, if any.

Reach out to recommended connections: Start the process over; fairly soon, you’ll have added dozens of people to your personal informational interview pipeline.

Service Orientation for Your Informational Interviews

Remember, informational interviews are two-way streets. Be service-focused, and give as much as you take (or ask for). Be a helpful resource in any way you can for the individual with whom you’re speaking.

Feeling Overwhelmed in Your Job Search?

Still daunted by the prospect of developing and executing a strategy for executive job search? Not sure why informational interviews will help your specific executive job search? No idea what you can offer in return for someone’s assistance in your job search? Reach out to me; I will help you construct your executive job search plan and coach you/teach you to execute it.