Archive for June, 2009

Do you have a Marketing Plan?

June 19, 2009

There are two documents that every job searcher should have.  The first is the obvious one, your resume.  The second, a Marketing Plan is less well known, but just as important. 

You need to have documents that are specific for the requirements of different activities in your job search.  An interview is an activity.  Attending a networking event is an activity.  Everyone knows that a resume is essential.  No need  for me to elaborate.  But, a resume is a document that does not fit every job search activity.  So, here’s where a Marketing Plan comes into play.  When you attend a networking event or a one-on-one networking coffee as a job searcher, do NOT bring your resume.  You want to bring your Marketing Plan.  Your Marketing Plan is a one page document that let’s folks know your key differentiation, the industries you are targeting, and the companies you are targeting.  This is a document that is designed specifically for the networking event.  It’s concise, informative, and informal.  You want to have hard copies of your Marketing Plan ready to hand out.  When you meet someone at a networking event, and they ask what kind of work you are interested in, there’s your opportunity to use your Marketing Plan.  Don’t hesitate to hand this to a potential employer at a networking event.  It serves as a great introduction to your more formal resume, that you can email later. 

Here’s the format for building a Marketing Plan:  (Remember, keep it to one page)

  • Name:
  • Address, Phone, Email:
  • Profile: A short paragraph.  Use your 60-second pitch here.
  • Areas of Expertise: Add one word bullets here that highlight your skills.
  • Targeted Industries/Companies: What industries and companies are you targeting?
  • Professional Experience: Just company name, title, and dates.
  • Education:  School name and area of study.

If you have questions about developing contact for your Marketing Plan, please get in touch.

Good searching!

 

 

 

Blog about what!?

June 18, 2009

There’s lots of trendy job search advice out there in the Twittersphere about creating a blog to help your job search.  This is an excellent idea, but it begs the question, what the heck should you blog about?

If you are blogging for job search, and that is your primary objective for blogging, then you need to make sure that your blog reinforces your “personal brand”.  Your personal brand is your differentiation when it comes to job search.  My differentiation in job search is “Expert at Selling to C-Level Executives”.  You also have to have the chops to be able to claim your expertise or specialty.  You can get creative with your blog as a medium to get your personal brand out there.  For example, you could blog about Job Search from the perspective of your unique expertise.  I blog about Job Search 2.0 from the perspective of an expert in selling to C-Level Executives.  This provides value to your audience while at the same time reinforcing your personal brand.  So, if you are not blogging, you need to get started.  You will also want to point folks to your blog posts via Twitter.  Twitter is “word of mouth on steroids”.  So, identify your personal brand, blog about something of value to your audience, and let the world know.

Reaching the hidden job market

June 17, 2009

Have you heard the concept of the underground market of jobs that never get advertised?  If you are applying for jobs you find online, your missing out on potential job opportunities where hiring managers only rely on referred candidates from trusted friends and contacts.

Why are these jobs hidden and how can you find them?

Let’s use an example where you are very interested in a particular target company.  There are no jobs of interest on their career page.  You found the name, on the company website,  of an executive who runs World Wide sales for the company.  He does not know you and you do not know him.  The trick is to be introduced to this executive by someone is his “trusted” group of connections.
So you want to be connecting with execs by requesting an introduction via someone YOU know in there network. Linkedin offers this by clicking “get introduced”. Rather than coming in cold, you are being introduced by a trusted network member. Since you don’t know if there are any hidden or planned openings, always request an informational coffee with the exec.  Otherwise, the answer might be, “no current openings, sorry”.   I always close these requests with “the coffee’s on me”.   Before your meeting, do your homework on the company. Be specific about why the company interests you. You may only have 15 minutes with the exec. Have your 60 second pitch ready and have three questions for the exec that are relevant to current topics about their business. Be up front that you are interested in learning more because you are very interested in employment. I suggest that you do not bring your resume to these brief meetings. You need to create a marketing plan. A marketing plan is more concise than a resume and much better for a short meeting.  If there is interest, a resume can be provided later.  How you develop a marketing plan will be covered in detail in my next blog post. Stay tuned!

Tips from Selling to C-Level Executives

June 15, 2009

Selling to C-Level executives is more art than science.  Those of us that have a “Black belt” in executive selling have learned what it takes to gain access to executives by being a source of value to them and to their business.  These best practices of executive selling are also very applicable to creative and differentiated job search.

I heard a story today about companies that would normally see six resumes for an open position that are now seeing sixty resumes.  Applying online and submitting a resume online is not going to set you apart from the masses.  Hiring companies are so time constrained and overwhelmed by applications, that your resume if read, will likely be only skimmed through.  Ok, so how do executive selling skills help here?  With so many resumes for each open position, only the “perfect fit” candidates are going to make it to an interview.  So, getting to that interview is a lot like gaining access to a C-Level executive in a sales campaign.  The hiring management has to see the potential business value of you coming to work there.  Same goes for selling to executives.  Executives meet with people that can solve their most pressing business problems.

The trick is to communicate to the potential employer how you can add value to their business.  Experienced sales folks will do this by listening and studying quarterly financial conference calls to gain a better understanding of what is top of mind for executives.  This technique happens to be a great way for a job seeker to set his/herself apart from the pack.  Before you apply for your next position, listen to the most recent earnings call for the target company.  Listen for tidbits of information that indicate major objectives/challenges for the executives.  When you submit your cover letter with your resume, touch on a couple of these major objectives/challenges and perhaps relate how you might add value to the company in that particular area.  I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Staying Positive

June 11, 2009

Staying upbeat is the number one challenge for most job searchers.  I’m no exception.  Lack of responses to job applications and lack of interviews can really get you down.  Keep in mind that the low level of activiity is not a reflection on you, it’s a reality of this job market.  There are some things you can do to keep a positive outlook during your search.

The number one recommendation is to channel your efforts into getting small wins every day.  Forget about measuring yourself based on the number of phone interviews or recruiter calls.  Focus on making headway everyday by accomplishing small but valuable job search tasks.  These are tasks that are within your control and contribute to your end goal of getting a job.  That feeling of completion helps raise your mood and contributes to your overall goal.  A great way to come up with these small but valuable tasks is to focus on the “marketing” of YOU.

Here’s an example of some marketing tasks that I completed this morning:

-Sent an email to an editor of Wall Street Journal, “Laid off and Looking”, offering my assistance with an article about creative job search.

-Sent an email to Dan Schwabel, Author of “Me 2.0”, to discuss possible partnering opportunities to grow our respective followers.

-Updated my blog, “Job Search 2.0” to include a more detailed description of my back ground in the About section.  This will help recruiters gain insight into my back ground.

-Created a Constant Contact email that I will be using to reach out to a recruiter database that was provided by a colleague.

None of these depended on the willingness of employers to call, email, or interview me.  This approach reminds me of the title of Michael J. Fox’s new book, “Always Looking up”.  Chin up and see the value of accomplishing small things.

Mine that Alumni Network

June 9, 2009

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager for just a minute.  Your company posted a job opening.  You or your HR counterpart have been inundated by resumes from unknown candidates.  You need to come up with a short list of people to interview.  Now put your candidate shoes back on.  Your on the outside of the hiring company looking in.  How do you maximize your chances of getting to that short list of candidates to be interviewed?  Right, you have to stand out in the crowd somehow.  But, how?  The answer is to use one of the best door openers.   Your fellow college alumni are there to give you an assist.  Getting to that interview can be accomplished by reaching out to your college alumnae network.  There’s a couple of ways to do this.  First, join a Linkedin Group for your college, then search that group for the company name you are interested in.  Reach out and give these folks a call.  Tell them you are very interested in the open position and the company.  The second approach is to go to your college alumnae website and do a search in the alumnae directory for the company of interest.  Then, reach out to those contacts in a similar manner.  Mining your college connections gives you that leg up to get to the interview.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you!

Employed but anxious

June 4, 2009

This is a common theme in the conversations I’m having with employed colleagues.  The working world has certainly changed.  I’m asked what kinds of things can folks do to prepare themselves for the potential of being laid off or replaced due to an acquisition.  The key is to never stop networking.  I used to think that networking was for folks that are not working.  Sort of, NotWorking events.  That has definitely changed.  When I attend a networking event now, there is a real mix of employed and unemployed folks.  What this means is that you need to make the effort to attend networking events even while you are employed.  I know this may sound counter intuitive, but it is a requirement of the changing world of work.  The other key networking activity that you really need to stay on top of while employed, is building those Linkedin connections.  The wrong time to build these connections is when you are looking for work.  Check your Linkedin page daily.  Look for opportunities to connect and Groups to join.  Here’s a trick to grow your Linkedin base.  Whenever you get a request to connect on Linkedin, look into that contacts list of connections for potential folks to add to your network.  Hope this helps reduce your anxiety.