A Jobseeker’s 5-Point Plan
The job market is bleaker than it has been since the recession of 1981. With the rate of job growth very sluggish, the situation is unlikely to improve in the immediate future. New studies have shown that the longer you are unemployed, the less likely you are to ever get another job. However, there are strategies and techniques you can employ to give you the edge over other applicants. Try this 5-point plan of action to not just land a job, but to land the job of your dreams.
1. Stop Looking for a Job
Your job search should never be about what you want. Nobody cares what you want. Employers really don’t care that you want “a better job” or that you want to pay your mortgage or that you want anything at all. They only care about what they want.
You have to stop “looking for a job” and start thinking in terms of looking where you can add value – value that nobody else can. Every employer on the planet wants people with unique skills. Of course, technical skills are table stakes to get the job you want. However, in today’s world, it is critical that you have a killer personality and inter-relational skills. If you decide to stop looking for a job and start being what they want, your chances go up exponentially because the rest of the field is thinking about what they need, not what the employer needs.
2. Build a Resume Designed to Get the Interview
There is a lot of disagreement on what constitutes the “perfect” resume. Some experts say longer resumes are better than shorter ones. Others say never write a resume longer than one page. Some say older people need longer resumes because they have more experience. Others say bullet points are better than paragraphs. Most CEOs and senior executives are attention deficit information junkies. The Ladders did a survey in 2012 and discovered the average time spent on a resume was six seconds! How do you grab their attention in those
First, you have to know what the employer is looking for and tailor your resume to match it. Nobody cares what you have done. They only care about what you can do for them. Nobody cares what experience you have. They only care about the results you got. Then you have to convince them in the interview that you can get the same results for them.
When writing your resume, keep it short, snappy, and to the point with facts and results. Avoid phrases like “seasoned executive with x years of experience and a solid track record” or “experienced executive seeking challenging position that can utilize my skills.” These phrases say nothing and use up some of those precious first six seconds.
The purpose of a resume is not to get the job. The purpose is to get an interview. Don’t put your life history in a resume. Be provocative and interesting enough so that the reader wants to meet you.
3. Make it Easy to Hire You
The chances of hiring the wrong person are very high. In addition to multiple rounds of interviews with many people and reference checks, the wrong person can still be hired. There is a lot of liability in hiring and cost to the organization, which can make hiring managers very hesitant. Your job is to make it easy for them to say yes by doing these things:
• During the interview, ask them what else you can provide that would help them make their decision.
• Bring references with you that include those from your previous supervisors. You can also use a reference checking service specifically designed for applicants, such as www.checkyourreference.com. The last thing you want is to have a bad reference and not know it.
• According to the Aberdeen Group, about 56 percent of companies use some sort of assessment tool as part of the hiring process to gauge your personality and how you would interact in the workplace. Depending upon the position you seek, they will also want to assess your intelligence, creativity, how you handle conflict, etc. You’ll be miles ahead of the pack if you already know your psychological profile before getting to the interview. When the interviewers start asking the questions that will reveal your personality you can help them because you know what they are asking and why. For example, when they ask questions aimed at determining how you handle conflict, you could say, “In stressful situations I react in moderation, and the reason I know this is because, on the Myers-Briggs scale, I am an INTJ.”
4. Interview Like a Consultant Would
When you get the interview, don’t act like you are “asking for a job.” Interview like you are a consultant with the secret recipe for solving all the problems the interviewer is ever going to have. Present yourself as a valuable resource with unique skills perfectly suited for the job with confidence, not arrogance. Every time you answer a question, you should turn it into a selling point as to why they should hire you. For example, if they ask if you have experience in a certain area, answer in terms of results. Tell them not only the answer to their question but how that experience not only got results in the past but how it can get results for the interviewer.
Be sure and have your list of things you want to know. Then, when you are asked a question, after you answer it, ask one of yours. Ask questions that show initiative and interest. For example: “What are the three most challenging problems your department (or company) faces?” If you’ve done your homework you will already know these before the interview. Offer your solutions on the spot but just temper your solution with a disclaimer, such as: “I wouldn’t pretend to know your situation perfectly, but it sounds a lot like something I faced once before – and here is how I solved it. Don’t know if that would work for you, it is just a thought.”
Don’t ever ask a question about pay, benefits, or how much time you can take off. The time to ask those questions is when they make an offer if they haven’t told you before.
5. Network Like Your Life Depended on It
You will most likely find your next job by networking, which has pretty much always been the case. When you are networking, remember that you shouldn’t ask if anyone is hiring. Instead, ask who needs to increase their profit, reduce MIS costs, improve employee morale and whatever results and metrics apply to your area of expertise.
Networking these days also has a new twist: Social media. One example is LinkedIn, which is the world’s largest professional network, which has tons of networking opportunities and tools you can use to find another job as well as business opportunities that could lead to another job. Make sure you do an excellent job in building your LinkedIn presence, including having a professional photographer take your picture for your site information. You cannot afford to look like a drunken fool on Facebook and a professional on LinkedIn. Potential employers will look at everything you have put out on the Web. They don’t care what you did last weekend. Remember, they only care about what you can do for them. I95