Monday, April 4, 2011

Rate Your Job Search

There are millions of people looking for jobs these days. The market is tough and you have to be at the top of your job search game to be successful. Yet too many job seekers are not prepared; they have not done what they need to do in order to compete.

To know where rank in your job search skills, answer True or False to each of the following statements. Then total the number of True statements and compare it to the chart to see how you are doing on your job search.

Following the statements are links to articles that address many of these areas. If you ranked lower than you had hoped or expected, you will want to read the articles related to that area and make changes to improve your search.

T/F Statement

Step 1 - Attitude

1. I have processed the loss and harbor no negative feelings about my prior companies or bosses.

2. I am excited about my future prospects.

3. I have no life issues (foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc.) or I have sought assistance / advice about them.

Step 2 - Aptitude

1. I have inventoried my prior accomplishments in STAR format and have at least 25 accomplishments.

2. I have at least 50 accomplishments documented in STAR format.

3. I have reviewed my prior companies, bosses, positions, and identified trends of what I like and dislike so I can make an informed decision about my next job and company.

4. I have identified my top 5 strengths (Strength Finder 2.0) and documented a STAR for each.

5. I have rated my abilities and documented STARs for each of my top abilities.

6. I have taken training since I have been on the job market or grown my skills in a volunteer capacity or through contract work.

Step 3 - Altitude

1. I have identified and can clearly communicate the industry and position I am pursuing.

2. I have identified 5-15 companies I am actively targeting.

3. I have defined the geographic area I would consider, the minimum salary I can afford to take, and the salary I would like to earn.

Marketing Materials

1. I have a 30 second elevator pitch, which I have practiced, and it does not include any reference to the past (example “I used to…” or “I worked for…”) and I find opportunities to share it with others.

2. I have a resume that sells my skills in the section “above the fold”.

3. In my resume, I use bullets for my accomplishments and not for parts of the job description.

4. My resume is not my most used piece of marketing material. My elevator pitch, business cards, and marketing plan are.

5. My resume does not begin with an objective about what I want.

6. My resume does not have the words “references available upon request” (or equivalent) on it and I know not to add a picture unless I am applying for a job before the camera (modeling, newscaster).

7. I have business / networking cards that contain my name, the title of the position I seek, and my contact information. The back of the card has white space where the recipient can jot notes.

8. I carry a stock of my networking cards with me at all times and give them to my new contacts and I ask them for their cards.

9. I have developed a one page marketing plan that defines what I am looking for (title and target company). I give copies of my one page marketing plan to people in my network so they have in writing what I am looking for and know to introduce me to anyone they know or meet who works in my target companies.

10. I have a profile on Linked In with my picture, at least 50 connections, and 3 recommendations.

11. I use the T cover letter format that visually walks the reader through why I am the perfect candidate.

Step 4 - Search

1. I participate in job networking groups on a regular basis.

2. I actively participate in industry or special interest networking groups on a weekly basis.

3. I spend 70%+ of my time each week at networking meetings or following up with contacts I have met.

Step 5 - Sort

1. I have practiced an interview and received feedback from a reliable source.

2. I know of and use other places to research the company before the interview other than just the company’s web site.

3. I have familiarized myself with other interview do’s and don’ts.

4. I know to develop questions to ask during the interview about the company, the industry, the boss, the position, and economic impacts to the organization so I can determine if this is the right place for me.

Step 6 - Select

1. I compare the company offer to my requirements.

2. I will not take a job if it is not a fit for me.

Once Employed

1. I know that the reality of the new job market is that my next job is not my last.

2. I place a high priority on continuing education that increases my marketability even if I have to pay for that training myself.

3. I continue to network in the company on a regular basis and within the industry at least once a quarter.

4. I continue to maintain my accomplishment list, the list of training I have taken and skills I have developed.


28 – 36

It appears you are doing many if not most things correctly in your job search. You may want to read up on the other areas to see if you can make even more improvements.

19 – 27

You are doing many things correctly although there is definite room for improvement. By implementing ideas from this checklist, you can ace the job search and land your next job.

10 - 18

Although you are doing some parts of the job search correctly, there are many important aspects of the search you need to add.

0 – 9

The job market changed. You will want to and need to change your approach to the job search.

For more information about the various topics and steps mentioned above, check out the following articles. Some of the articles contain the similar information but may be presented in a different way that resonates for different people in different circumstances.

Step 1 - Attitude

Good News! The good news is that there are millions of available jobs out there.

What May be Keeping You Unemployed

The Truth You Need to Know but May Not Want to Hear

Truths About the New Job Market

When You Can’t Find Something – You Change Your Perspective: Try it With Your Job Search Too

There is no Shame in being Unemployed

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes – Part 1

The Phone Number All Job Seekers Should Know

How to Stay Positive in a Job Search

If You Hit a Wall in Your Job Search

The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job: Part 1 of 4- Active Listening

The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job: Part 2 of 4 - Body Language

The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job: Part 3 of 4 – Accepting Change

The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job: Part 4 of 4 – Good Attitude


Step 2 - Aptitude

Tip 2 - You Have to Know You to Sell You

Identifying Your Competitive Advantages

The Power of Your STAR Statements

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Step 2

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes – Mistake # 2

Step 3 - Altitude

Mandatory Requirements are Not Always Mandatory

The Underutilized Job Search Tool: The Informational Interview (Two part series)

If you are Transitioning Industries or Careers

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

Marketing Materials

The Most Powerful Cover Letter

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Your Marketing Materials

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Your Marketing Materials (Part 2)

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Your Marketing Materials (Part 3)

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Your Marketing Materials (Part 4)

What Document is as Valuable to a Job Seeker as a Great Resume? (The Marketing Plan)

Another Item in a Successful Job Seeker’s Marketing Materials

Resume Tune Up

Step 4 - Search

Wash That Gray Right Out of Your Search: Tips for the More Experienced (Older) Job Seeker

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Step 4: The Search

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes – Mistake #3

How to Network if You are Not Good at It


Step 5 - Sort

The 4 P’s of a Successful Interview (Four part series)

Handling the Salary Discussion

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Step 5: Sort – The Interview

The Phone Interview Checklist

How Will You Answer the Interviewer’s Question: What Else Have You Done Since You Left Your Last Job?

Step 6 - Select

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Step 6: Select the Right Job

Once Employed

Job Seekers: Action Items Once You are Employed

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes – Mistake # 4

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Action Items to Take While Working to Make the Next Transition Easier and Faster

What Employed People Need to Know

Consider a Mother Resume

Good news, I’m not suggesting you reformat your resume AGAIN! This is not the latest fad format to send out as a part of your job search.

Let’s see what a Mother Resume is then. Do you have a collection of formerly used resumes that you use as a basis for your most current resume? You may pick a section from this one and another section from another. You liked the wording on a version but you deleted that section and now have to search through all the previous versions for that wording again. Well, the Mother Resume is instead the single resume from which all others are spawned.

• The Mother Resume has all previous jobs listed; it is not limited to an industry, position, or dates.

• Because there is no limit to the number of pages with this resume, you have all of the previously used wordings and accomplishments on it.
You are not sending this version out so it can be as long as you need.

• I suggest you title it Mother Resume so you keep track of its purpose and don’t delete anything from it. Mother Resumes are only to be added to or enhanced.

Then when you need wording or a previous position or accomplishment, you have it safely and centrally located in the Mother Resume. Consider creating a Mother Resume to make resume building easier.