Sunday, April 18, 2010

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Step 3

Are you ready to move forward with your job search? Let’s check.

Step 1 was Attitude. Attitude is the most important step. If you don’t have a positive attitude, it will show in your body language, which is 75-85% of your communication. Since people trust body language over the words you speak, without a positive attitude your body may be screaming “do not hire me”. A negative attitude will also be reflected in the words you say and in the energy you need to perform the job search.

If you do not have a positive attitude, if you are not looking forward to the next opportunity with hope- filled anticipation, do not start your job search; you will be sabotaging your own job search efforts. Instead, work on your attitude until you choose a positive attitude.

If you have given yourself time to process the loss of the job and are looking forward to the next opportunity, then you are ready for the next important step to landing that job.

Step 2 is Aptitude: knowing what you offer a future employer and what makes you better than your competition.

Let’s use the analogy of selling a computer. You would not go before a customer and try to sell a computer without knowing how it works and what makes it better than the competition’s. When asked by the customer “why should I buy this computer?” you would never think of saying “I don’t know” or merely “it’s a good one”. Yet too many job seekers update their resume with just their job history and apply to jobs without really knowing their product (them), being able to articulate how they are unique, and how the company would benefit by hiring them.

Take the time to inventory (discover and document) your abilities, accomplishments, strengths, values, interests, education, personality, and technical skills. This information will be used to strengthen your resume and to add power to your interview answers. A side benefit is that it reminds YOU how valuable you are.

If you have completed Steps 1 & 2, you are ready to move on to Step 3.

Step 3 is Altitude: who is hiring and where you want to work, i.e. your target companies.

Go back to the analogy of selling a computer. You would not consider selling your computer at CVS Pharmacy. CVS is a great pharmacy but it is not a place people go to buy a computer. People who see a computer for sale at CVS would think it must not be very good since it is being sold there. Your PC sales would not flourish at CVS.
For your job search, you want to discover where you will flourish and who is hiring. It is only then that you can target your marketing materials, including your resume.

Where You Will Flourish

In Step 2 you should have discovered enough about yourself that you know how you work. You should know what type of environment in which you excel based upon your review of your personality, your career history, and what you liked best and least about each company, each manager, and each position you held. Using that information, identify companies that have the right culture and identify the type of work for which you have a passion. That passion will set you apart from your competition, from the people who are just looking for a job.

Leverage the most underutilized job search tool: the informational interview. The Informational Interview is a great way to get insider information to find out how the company is doing (is it flourishing?) and to find out if it is a company in which you will flourish.

Who is Hiring

Most job seekers depend on the on-line ads to determine who is hiring. Since only 15%of the available jobs are posted, it is not the best way.

The best ways to find out who is hiring are 1) networking with employed people and 2) reading current business news.

Networking with the Employed

Find and attend industry or profession related networking groups. Examples of industry networking groups include healthcare organizations and automotive organizations. Profession related networking groups include SHRM for HR, PMI for Project Managers, and IIBA for Business Analysts.

Read Current Business News

Many of the major cities have business journals or chronicles. Atlanta has the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Chicago has Crains etc. Reading these publications weekly, as soon as they come out, will provide invaluable information about what new companies are moving to town, which are expanding, and which businesses are in trouble. The news also includes names of some of the key people in each company.
Only when you have successfully completed the first three steps can you properly update your resume and begin the search. Skipping the first three steps sabotages your job search efforts.

Make use of the Book of Lists available in most major cities that lists all of the area businesses, sliced and diced into various categories (or lists). You should read this book once from cover to cover and make note of the companies that interest you. Since most of the available jobs are in smaller companies, this is a great way to familiarize yourself with the smaller companies in your town that you didn't even know existed.

Next week we will discuss developing and powering up your marketing materials, of which the resume is only one piece.

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