Archive for March, 2012

Are you in transition? Do you have a business card? What does it say about you? Why do you need a business card, what should you put on it, and what should it look like?

With over 80% of jobs being landed through networking, business cards are often your first exchange of information when you meet someone in your job hunt. But what message are you giving people when you give them your business card? Does it say you are a value added solution or just a commodity on the job market? If you are at a networking event, how many other people there have the same design card?

At the most fundamental level, a business card allows you to exchange contact information, so that in networking, you can continue to communicate, develop a relationship and leverage each other’s connections. At a higher level, the business card will inform your network of your target position and industry as well as your skills and experiences that qualify you for the position. Finally, the card reflects your professionalism, and the standard with which you view yourself. With this in mind, what components go into a well developed business card that represents your brand and value?

  • Name
  • Target Title and industry if applicable – not necessarily your most recent title, but where are you headed?
  • Tag line/ Career Theme – What do you do for companies? What is your impact on the companies? Why do you do what you do? What are you known for?
  • Cell Phone
  • Professional e-mail address – it is easiest to base it on your name
  • Social Media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and WordPress
  • Core competencies on the back

Remember, that since the card represents you as a professional, you want your card to stand out. Yes there is a site that prints “free” cards, you just need to pay for shipping. But all that says is that your brand is not worth distinguishing. You are branding yourself as a commodity. If you are worth a company investing in you, than invest at least a little bit in how you present yourself. Print your cards on heavy stock. This shows pride in who you are, and confidence in your value. Have color! Work with a graphic designer to come up with a design and layout that represents you and your quality. After all, your business card is your first impression.

 

This post is by Greg Johnson of Above The Rim Executive Coaching

FOCUS & DIVERSIFICATION

 This post is from an anonymous contributor to my blog. In today’s world, the reality and facts of life are that no job lasts forever, job security is a thing of the past, and sooner or later, each and every one of us will find themselves involved in a job search, and likely it will not be at a time of our choosing, at least not completely.

There are hundreds of self-help books, networking groups and centers, and placement services, but at the St. Margarets of Scotland “Career Connections Club” we have found something that we call the “5-3-1” method. It is an essential fundamental of a search process. Without 5-3-1 or something like it, many of the other techniques and practices will dramatically diminish in effectiveness.

The simple concept is this: At all times your goal should be to be actively pursuing five target companies, three of which you are actively engaged in the candidate selection process, one of which you will receive and accept the offer.

The 5-3-1 method protects the job searcher from what we call the dreaded “1-1-0” method (also known as “single-threaded”) and the far worse “40-0-0” process. 1-1-0 occurs due to lack of DIVERSIFICATION and 40-0-0 which occurs due to lack of FOCUS. Note that there is NO SUCH THING as 40-1-1, or 1-1-1 because either the severe lack of focus, or the over-zealousness which unintentionally broadcasts desperation CAUSE the hiring managers to eliminate you from consideration. The sad thing is that the 1-1-0 person is dumbfounded and has nowhere to go when they lose, and the 40-0-0 person doesn’t even get engaged in a meaningful way, and spends all his time LOOKING for LEADS and never closes them, and gradually looses overall hope due to lack of even preliminary success.

While the there are obvious risk-mitigation and “keeping it under control” aspects of the 5-3-1 method, there are a number of other side effects that significantly enhance the likelihood of success.

  1. The “people are busy” effect: while YOU are probably searching for a position full time, and putting 100% of your time and even lots of passion and intensity into this, the people you are interviewing with are not only spending less than 100% of their candidate-review time with you as only ONE of the multiple candidates, they probably each have a “day job” of which only a SMALL SLIVER of their time is dedicated to hiring. So you are getting only a portion of their “small sliver”. If you do 1-1-0, you are likely to be a worse interviewee and a pest by email and phone because you are inappropriately highly focused on this deal. If you do 40-0-0, you will never connect and engage with these people because you are not putting ENOUGH effort in.
  2. The psychology of solid alternatives: it seems to be bad for human beings to have either “no other alternative” than the current opportunity (all the eggs in one basket kind of thing) and also bad to have “too many choices” which prevents the candidate from actually BELIEVING that one of them will happen.
  3. Leverage: when this method works best, the candidate actually is likely to end up with TWO offers, and is then is in a position to (carefully and professionally) leverage them against each other in order to end up with the best situation for himself

All-in-all, using the “5-3-1” method makes you a better candidate and increases the likelihood of success. It accomplishes this by allocating available time across several targets, and literally makes it impossible to make a number of mistaken moves simply because there isn’t time to do so. We think you will find that employing this approach works well in almost every case, and is applicable to most things that involve a pursuit process.

The job search can be so overwhelming. So many things to do! We know about the job boards, but how do you make your resume just right to get noticed? We all hear that networking is the way to uncover the hidden jobs, so we have to get out there and network, network, network. Now there is social media. How do you do this on top of everything else? Besides, maybe you’re thinking “I hate social media. Why do I want to tweet that I am eating at Taco Bell”? When faced with all these demands, job seekers feel they are spinning their wheels, like they are driving on ice, slipping in all directions, but not headed where they want to go. They know they need to do these activities, but they end up doing them just for the sake of doing them, without any real goal or measuring sticks to make sure they are on the right path. Or sometimes people only do what they are comfortable with. That is like driving a car with one or more flat tires. You may move some, but it is going to be a very rough ride, and it will be difficult to get to your destination. How do you stop sliding around or driving aimlessly on flat tires in your job search?

  1. Set your GPS. Map your job search plan. Know where you are, decide where you want to go, and lay out the map of how you’re going to get there. If you are not aiming to go anywhere, you will not go anywhere.
  2. Make sure all your tires are inflated. Know the goals and objectives of your job search components, so that they do not become an end to themselves. Do not spend all your time on twitter, or all your time going to networking events collecting business cards without any follow-up. Make sure the components of your job hunt are moving you through goals toward your ultimate destination, always moving forward.
  3. Get chains on your tires. Schedule your activity. Without scheduling, your job will loose traction! If you know you need to achieve certain tasks in your job hunt, schedule the time to do it. Scheduling will keep you from sliding off the road and into the ditch.

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to join a speakers and writers mastermind group. As my practice grows, and my opportunities for writing and speaking increase, I wanted to surround myself with some of the best minds in the area. Saturday was my first opportunity to participate. In the course of the conversation, Mark Fierle, author of Rekindling The American Dream, made a comment that really resonated with me, not only as a speaker and writer, but as an executive coach. Paraphrasing, he said that the best authors are those that are out and about, experiencing what others are experiencing, engaging in dialogue and learning about critical hot button issues. It is the same thing for job hunters. The most successful are those who are out and about, talking with key players in their target industry, communicating and learning what keeps decision makers up at night, understanding what the hot button issues are that need to be addressed. It is with this information that a job hunter can transform their branding from that of a job seeker to that of a value added solution. Do not conduct your job search as if you are under house arrest. Don’t be a slave to your resume. Yes, social media and internet are important components of what you need to do, but they are only part of a balanced approach. They can be scheduled any part of the morning or night. Get away from your computer. Get out and about. Know the pulse of your opportunities, so you can leverage your skills, passions and experiences to solve the headaches of your target company.