A Simple Plan to Reduce the National Unemployment Rate in 2013 – Part 1: Get a (Better) Job

Reposted from: Linked in

Author: Lou Adler

We don’t have a national skills gap, we have a national thinking gap

If you’re underemployed, supposedly past your prime, a returning military veteran looking for a substantive first job, a disabled person, a diverse candidate lacking some skills, a young person itching for a chance to do something relevant, or anyone who wants to accelerate his or her career growth, you might be interested in trying out a few new non-traditional ideas for getting your next job. In my opinion, we don’t have as big a skills gap as everyone thinks driving persistent unemployment, we have a thinking gap instead. By trying out these ideas you’ll be able to prove it.

Some background: in my new book, coming out in January 2013, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, I show recruiters and hiring managers in step-by-step fashion what they need to do to hire more high performing and motivated people. The bottleneck-breaker for all this is to define the actual work needed to be done as a series of performance objectives rather than relying on an outdated list of skills, academics and experiences to attract, screen and assess people. Defining the job based on what the new hire needs to do, rather than what he/she needs to have, in combination with compelling career-oriented messages (both approaches have been fully vetted by the largest U.S. labor law firm), opens up the prospect pool to top performers of all stripes, ages, and sizes, who don’t possess the typical laundry list of archaic stuff.

Unfortunately not enough recruiters and managers do it this way, so throughout the book I show job-hunters what they need to do to first get their foot in the door and then to ensure they’re accessed accurately. So if you’re one of those people who’s “weeded-out for all of the wrong reasons,” but still worthy for all of the right ones, following are some things you can do to get a worthy job in 2013.

A Bunch of Non-Traditional Things You Can Do to Get a (Much) (Better) Job in 2013

Reverse engineer your resume and LinkedIn profile. Most candidates are either referred by a company employee or found by a recruiter searching on LinkedIn or some resume database. As a result you need to make sure you can be found by people who need to find you. If you have a friend who is a recruiter, ask the person to run a typical Boolean search for candidates like you, or do it yourself. Based on the results you’ll know what you need to do to get to the top of the right list.

Be compelling, you only have 10 seconds. Make sure your LinkedIn profile stands out from the crowd. This means a real picture (no pets, family, cartoons or face shots), a standout second and third line, and a meaty description for each company and job title. This summary is what recruiters receive when you apply, and you only have about 10 second to make your case that more reading is appropriate.

Don’t apply directly unless you’re a perfect fit. Most recruiters box check your skills and experiences, so if you don’t have the requisite list of stuff, you won’t be considered. If you’re worthy though (great person, but imperfect skill set) you’ll need to enter through the side door. This means finding someone who can recommend you to the hiring manager or recruiter. (Here’s an early post for more on the importance of this approach.)

Become a networking maven. Since 30-40% of most jobs are now filled by some type of referral (and growing) and fewer jobs filled by applying (and falling), networking must be at the core of your current and future job-hunting efforts. That’s why LinkedIn is becoming the “go to” place for most corporate recruiters and why every job-hunter must immerse his/herself in the networking process.

Reframe the conversation. When you finally get the call from a recruiter, don’t appear too anxious, and only ask questions about what the job entails, not where it’s located or the compensation. (Asking insightful question is how the candidate can control the conversation.) By clarifying expectations this way, you’ll then need to provide examples of work you’ve done that’s somewhat related and/or describe where you’ve learned and applied similar skills quickly. Even if you’re not a direct fit for the job as described, but respond confidently and logically, the recruiter might recommend you for other jobs, or suggest to the hiring manager that the job could be modified a bit to fit your current level. Most important: view every call like this as a networking opportunity. These all start by first getting either foot in the door.

These tips are just a start for you to personally help prove that our national hiring problem is based on the continued use of outdated hiring practices, especially skills-infested job descriptions. Stay tuned, though, this is just a start.

Getting a new, different, any, or better job is not easy, but a lemming-like following of the ill-designed processes and rules most companies use today is largely a waste of time. Many years ago I heard Jim Rohn say, “if you want things to become better for you, you first need to become better.” In my opinion, in the hunt for a new job becoming better first starts by first being different.

3 Powerful Rules for Interviewing Like a President

Reposted from: Brazencareerist.com

Author: Adwoa Jones

You thought interviewing for your job was stressful? Try interviewing for the job of President of United States of America, the most powerful position in the western world.

The President’s equivalent of interviewing for a job is campaigning—and the public decides who to hire. Many of us will (thankfully) never have the experience of having 300,000 million people judge our abilities to perform in a job. Lucky for you, you only need to impress 3-5 people along the way to get hired.

Still, with Election 2012 around the corner, the political battlefield provides key lessons to elevate your own job interviewing skills.

Rule #1: Know Your Base

The job interview is not about you. The interview is about what you can do for your potential employer. It’s about their needs. Their issues. Their problems. Your mission is to fully understand what they need and how you can help them succeed. If you don’t get this right from the beginning, you won’t win.

In the 2004 presidential elections, the foundation of former President George W. Bush’s campaign for re-election was ideological conservatism and rallying his conservative base around opposition to same-sex marriage. He focused on his base’s ideas, not necessarily his own. Because if the people want to talk about the economy, your plans for health care won’t get you votes. If the job requires client management skills, rambling on about your exceptional analytical abilities won’t get you far.

To figure out what matters to the company or person you’re interviewing with, do your research, analyze the job description, search the internet, read their press releases, watch YouTube videos, study their annual reports, subscribe to their blogs and discussion groups and identify what’s most important to them.

Then, start with the question, “What can I do for them?” and show up as the solution to meet their needs.

Rule #2: Tell Your Story

Think it’s good enough to just be able to do the job? Think again.

More than anything else, getting hired is about your ability to communicate a message that compels the hiring manager to say yes. Just ask President Barack Obama, who noted how important it is to “tell the story” in a recent interview on CBS.

Your story is a “why you” story—why you and only you are the solution to the organization’s problems. So, prepare your answers to interview questions based on what they need most and you’ll close the deal.

In 2008, Obama’s campaign was based on three themes: hope, change and the future. No, you won’t have Will.I.Am produce a song based on your campaign slogan, but you can articulate your story in a clear, concise and convincing way that resonates, inspires and persuades your dream company to hire you.

Rule #3: It’s Not What You Say About Yourself; It’s What Others Say About You

Endorsements are crucial in elections—and in your job search. If Obama has George Clooney, Jay-Z and Oprah singing his praises, you’d better have your peeps singing yours. A key part of your interview strategy should be to get as many people as you can to endorse you and tell the world what a rock star you really are.

How can you do this besides offering a traditional reference? Leverage the power of social media in your job search and use LinkedIn’s recommendation feature to rack ‘em up, baby. The best part? Anyone can give you a recommendation. Friends, peers, clients, subordinates, supervisors, classmates, sorority and fraternity members, organizations you volunteer with, your neighbor, barber… even your dry cleaner. (Not that your dry cleaner would help, but you get the idea.)

Numbers count here. You don’t have to wait until the hiring manager requests three professional references from you. Expose potential employers to a dozen or more informal recommendations from people in your network who can vouch for you.

The fastest way to get recommendations? Give first. Write a few words of praise for one person in your network each day for the next 30 days, and watch as your recommendations pour in—because those people are likely to recommend you back. How many is enough? Keep going until it feels like everyone and their mama says you are the shiznit.

People vote for the person they know, like and trust. Take it from former President Bill Clinton. The day after he secured the Democratic Party nomination during the 1992 presidential elections, he appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show playing the saxophone and building his popularity among minority and young voters, which catapulted him in the polls.

Your target company isn’t hiring a list of skills. They are hiring a real person. So be unique. Be funny. Be approachable. Be yourself. Oh, and bring your sax if you have one.

7 Approaches to Customercentric Marketing in the Job Search

Reposted from: Things Career Related, a Practical Look at the Job Search

Author: Bob McIntosh

When I first heard Jim Grenier’s voice-over on his topic of customercentric marketing, I thought, “Bingo.” I was drawn to the message about customer focus, and I saw a parallel to to the job search. It also helped that my good friend Jim has a smooth. alluring voice. Jim’s a college instructor but has had extensive experience in business.

Customercentric in the job search means satisfying every need of the employer, beginning with an accomplishment-rich résumé that shows a complete understanding of the job and the organization. The résumé sings to the employer, “Hey, this guy understands my needs,” and makes the employer think she is a valued customer. The employer, in my mind, is the focus of your job search. She is your customer. Six other components of the job search include:

  • The cover letter. Sent with the résumé, it expresses your enthusiasm for serving the customer and adds a dimension to your candidacy.
  • The approach letter. This is your introduction to a customer who hasn’t advertised the job and doesn’t yet know he’ll need you.
  • The LinkedIn profile. Your profile should shout out your skills and accomplishments. The customer sees other dimensions to your ability to serve her needs.
  • Networking. Here’s how you form relationships that precede your contact with the customers, forming a solid foundation for your written communications and the interview.
  • The informational meeting. Part of your networking, this is a valuable tool to get known by the customer, breaking through the Hidden Job Market.
  • The interview. The big ballgame. Your big chance. Don’t neglect to make the customer know your customercentric attitude and practices.

Every step in between the résumé and job offer must also center upon the customer, the employer. I often ask my workshop attendees, “Who is the buyer?” To which they say, “The employer.” Better put would be to ask, “Who is the customer?” There’s a distinction. In my mind, the buyer is someone to whom you sell your product–you–the customer is someone to whom you offer the best possible solution, regardless of the sale.

Listen to Jim’s message on customercentric markeing. I promise you’ll relate to it, and I think you will see the customer and employer as one.

The Introvert’s Guide to Networking Without Selling Your Soul

Reposted from: Open Collegues Blog

Author: Andrianes Pinantoan

You might have heard about the “underground” job market. According to the Harvard Business School, 65% to 85% of jobs are filled without them ever reaching the market.

So how did employers fill them? Well, through networking. They hired friends, ex-colleagues, acquaintances and even a friend of a friend.

As an introvert, you might protest that the system isn’t fair. Why aren’t you given a “fair chance” to interview? Isn’t Australia, and the rest of the western world, a meritocratic society? This reeks of favoritism.

But think about it: if you’re to employ someone, wouldn’t you prefer to hire someone you somehow had a connection with? In fact, if there are two candidates, and A is a tad technically better than B, but B is a friend of yours, who would you hire?

The One Genuine Relationship Goal

When you step into a networking scene, the goal is not to accumulate a fistful of business cards. The goal is to make one genuine relationship.

Doesn’t that sound a lot less intimidating? No more shuffling through stranger to stranger, no more endless small talk and no more pretending you’re an extrovert.

There are two ways this can play out:

1. Know Who You Want To Network With

If this is possible, go for this route.

Most people think networking is like falling in love. You stumble from one person to another, hoping you’ll finally find someone you’ll hit it off with. Networking veterans, however, have a clear target.

Most people think networking is like falling in love. You stumble from one person to another, hoping you’ll finally find someone you’d hit it off with. Networking veterans, however, have a clear target.

They did their homework about who is going to be there and who they should even bother to meet. Now here’s the difference between the slimy networker and the great ones.

The slimy networker’s criteria about who he should meet is, “What can I take from that guy?” This is probably why most people are turned off by networking in the first place. The great networker, however, asks, “How can I help that guy?”

2. Seek First To Deliver Value

Would you hesitate if you knew you could help someone? Introverts languish in small talk, but when it comes to conversations with substance, we thrive. And one of the best ways for you to have real conversations is in helping people out.

So now the question is, how do you know who you can help? Well, that’s the second step of the research. Once you’ve identified a few interesting people you’d like to meet in an event, dig deep into their background.

By the way, don’t worry about them finding out you did a background research. Most people will be flattered that you took the trouble.

Back to research. The first, and easiest, step of research is to simply Google the person’s name. If they have a unique enough name, you’ll find their web presence: check out their career in Linkedin, and their rants on Twitter. Some may even have a public Facebook profile.

All these are clues as to how you can help them out, directly or indirectly.

For example, in my research, I discovered that a blogger I wanted to talk to was in need a web designer to redesign his blog. I happen to know someone, so I introduced them.

Another great way to deliver value is to share interesting things. People absolutely love finding interesting things, the only problem is, they don’t have the time to curate the blogosphere. So when you do that for them, it’s a valuable service.

In fact, there are websites, and plenty of social media accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers, whose only job it is to curate content, not produce it.

You can be that source for that person.

3. Reach Out

Even if you find yourself in a room full of strangers, with no one in particular you’re targeting, don’t be afraid to reach out. Introverts tend to assume that we would be “wasting” that person’s time by talking to her, but the opposite is actually true:

That person is elated that someone initiated a conversation!

You can identify these people in a room by looking for those who usually stand near a wall, alone and holding a cup in front of their chest (a sign of defence).

Of course, networking isn’t to be confined to physical events. If you can reach out to potential employers on social media, don’t hesitate to do so.

First of all, most employers aren’t very popular – a mention in a tweet is bound to get their attention. Compare this to a networking event where they are busily talking to new people every minute.

Second, introverts prefer the written word, and social media allows you to do that. Writing, instead of talking, allows introverts to think about what they want to say and revise anything they’ve written before sending it out.

This pre-introduction is a chance to get to know your prospects better – allowing you to better prepare yourself for a face-to-face meeting.

4. Don’t Pause

One of the most painful moments of networking is when the person answers your question, but pauses at the end. You might be guilty of that pause.

As introverts, our minds tend wander during a conversation – this is especially true in a group setting. Be very conscious of this. In fact, ask your friends to point it out every time you “zone” out.

And when you do “zone out”, don’t be afraid to ask that person to repeat her question. Pretending that you heard her is a great recipe to make networking more tiring than it needs to be. Here’s a great script I like to use,

“Sorry. What you said about XYZ got me thinking for a while. I have that tendency. What was your question?”

4. Memorize Instead of Winging-It

Speaking of scripts, I like to memorize  what do say in a conversation instead of winging-it. Not only did I memorize, I practiced in front of a mirror (and recorded myself on video a few times too).

Of course, it’s not possible to memorize every possible answer – but like a job interview, you’ll be surprised at how common a few questions are in conversations with a stranger.

For example, how do you respond to, “How are you?” Or, “What do you do?” What about, “How did you come to your line of work?” And what if she says something you don’t agree with?

In fact, these questions are so common, most people simply brush through them. Try this: write down your answers, then watch how “naturals” respond. You’ll be surprised how different the two are. The answers they give sound “obvious”, but if you try repeating it, you can’t.

This matters! If someone asks, “How are you?” there’s a big difference between, “Good.” (which I liked to use), and “Fantastic!”

Why reinvent the wheel?

5. Re-Energize

Now you might be thinking this is a lot WORK! You’re right, it is. Which is why it is crucial that you take time to re-energize. Get out of the room and be alone for a while.

I like to give myself 30 minutes of networking time after/before an event before I get out of there.

Remember, the goal is to establish one genuine relationship, not to a fistful of business cards. Talking to one person for 30 minutes is, in my opinion, more than enough to create that spark. Because that’s all you want: a spark.

No relationships can be built in a single networking session.