Jobs

Your Job Search Treasure Map 0

Job Search Treasure map by Joel QuassDream job seem out of reach? One of the biggest reasons people don’t get where they want to be is they don’t know where there is. Yogi Berra said it best:

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else”

If you have the map, landing the job of your dreams is actually simple. You start by not “spraying and praying.” Focus on a specific industry, company, and position. Then focus your plan even further.

Use your focus to identify traits of successful people already doing the job you want. Search LinkedIn and job postings for key words, skills and successful outcomes of people in the position.

Finally, make sure to find the employers ‘pain point” and sell the fit, not yourself. Showing how you can solve the employer’s problem is the best way to stand out. In the end, it’s not about you.

The majority of your competition is not going to do everything necessary to land their dream job. They won’t put enough energy into focusing their job search. They won’t do the research and digging to figure out how they can solve the employer’s problem. They won’t have a map where X marks the spot, showing the path to their dream job.

So grab your treasure map and do these three things. Before you know it, you will hear “you’re hired.”

Three Reasons You Have Job Search Stress 0

Joel Quass, Professional Resume Writer, offers clients reasons why their job search should be focused, making it less stressful.You are busy applying for jobs, you are checking out job postings and you have practiced answering interview questions you found on-line. Then why are you feeling so stressed?

Here are three things that create stress and how to fix them.

  1. You don’t have a plan. You know you want (or need) a job, but you are not clear what you want to do. If you have an “I’ll take any job” attitude, you make it harder. If you do not know what job you should have, how will a future employer?
  2. You are not focused. You are “Spraying and Praying,” hoping if you send out enough resumes, someone will want you. Spending time researching specific industries and specific companies in areas you want to work will yield faster results. Learning about the companies will give you confidence and questions you can ask during the interview. The more focused you are, the easier it is for an employer to see you in their company.
  3. You live in the moment. Finding work is work. You get overly excited when you get a call.  You are on a high because “you know you’ll get the job.” You stop all job search efforts. When the phone interview doesn’t result in an in-person interview, you crash down and have to begin all over again. Staying the course and setting daily, weekly and even monthly goals help keep the highs and lows in check.

Reduce job search stress now by developing a plan, focusing on your target companies, and conducting your job search for the long haul.  The more you do this, the sooner you will hear “you’re hired.”

Tell a Story to Land the Job 0

Job Interview landed by telling success story  Employers hire to solve their problems. They advertise job postings and list a series of requirements they expect candidates to possess. Companies reduce the pile of applicants to those who exhibit the closest fit to their posted job description. Those that remain are interviewed to see how they would fit in.

So how do you stand out and be remembered?  The answer is, you tell a story.

For example, most positions have some interaction with customers, or clients, or guests. The question then is “how do you handle customers?”

You could say “I’m a people person!” Now my dog is a people person, but I wouldn’t hire him for a customer service position. But what if I told a story that showed; a problem a customer had, what I did to solve the problem, and how it turned out? Would you remember me? Let’s see.

I was the store manager for Best Products in a small rural town south of Richmond, Virginia. I was at home about 8:30 PM on Christmas Eve. The phone rings and it is a customer who had been in the store that afternoon to purchase a battery operated ride on car for his seven-year old son for Christmas. He is calling because as he is putting it together, he sees that the battery is missing from the package.

Now he’s almost frantic asking me what am I going to do about it? Well, first, I don’t know how he got my number and I’m thinking it might be a setup, but it is Christmas Eve. So what I did was tell him I would meet him at the store and we would find the battery. Then I called my assistant manager, just in case it was a setup.

I arrived at the store and we met the customer. We opened another box and got the battery he needed. Several days later, he came into the store and thanked me for ‘saving his son’s Christmas.”

Now if you had just interviewed two candidates and one told you he was a “people person” and the other told the Christmas Eve story, which one would you remember? When your Boss asked who you will pick for the job, which candidate would you be able to justify hiring, the people person or the Christmas Eve manager?

Remember, stand out by telling stories and land the job of your dreams.

Never say “hard working, motivated, or team player” during the interview 0

Team PlayerWhat Job Candidate says - “Hard working, Motivated, Team Player Seeking Dream Job with Big Salary”

What Hiring Manager hears - “Limited skills, brown-nosing, seeking a paycheck working as little as possible”

It still amazes me that job candidate’s think the way to get a job is to say things about themselves. Hiring Managers aren’t interested in you telling them you are a “hard worker”, they are interested in you showing them. What situation did you face in the past, what action did you take to correct the situation and what was the outcome?

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior

Demonstrating through a specific example, a story, lets the future employer see how you worked in the past. They can take that specific story and visualize you solving their problem, their reason for wanting to hire you. They will also use it to remember you.  Here’s a true Customer Service example I gave during an interview:

I was the Store Manager for Best Products in Hopewell Virginia. It was 8 PM on Christmas Eve when I got a phone call from a customer who had bought a ride-on car for his 8-year-old son. The father was putting the car together after his son went to bed when he found the battery for the car was missing from the package. The father had called me to ask what I was going to do about it.

I told the man I would meet him at the store. I called my Assistant Manager  just in case it was a set-up (it wasn’t) and we drove to the store. We found the battery the man was missing and his 8 year-old son’s Christmas was saved.

Now I could have said “I’m a people person” when asked about my customer service skills or I could have said “I love people.” As Jay Block famously said “My dog’s a people person, but I would never hire her.” The story, specific to the job, was a key to landing the job.

By setting up situations similar to the ones you will face with the new company, your specific examples will demonstrate that you are “hard working, motivated, and a team player” without ever saying it.

This often leads to the employer saying “you’re hired.”

To Ace The Interview, Blow-up The Job Description 0

Successful job seekers spend time rehearsing interview questions. I’ve written about ways to make that fun and productive (think and speak on your feet)  and (think and speak on your feet, part 2). Recently, I discovered a new way to prepare answers to key interview questions.

As I was researching a job posting looking for key words, I spread the list of core competencies apart so I could see them better. As I put white space between each line, it hit me.

Before "Blow-up"

Before “Blow-up”

Job Description "Blown-Up"

Job Description “Blown-Up”

Blowing-up the space between the lines can be used to write accomplishments with specific examples (STARS); situations; the action you took, and the result.

Use the space to make notes for yourself to use during the interview.

Now you have a “cheat-sheet” for all the major questions you will be asked.

Blow-up each bullet point in the job description and you will be that much closer to sitting in your new hire orientation

Three reasons not to “wing it” during the interview 0

Don't wing it instead of preparing for a job interviewDespite the well-known fact that a résumé’s purpose is to land the interview and the interview’s purpose is to land the job, many people focus almost entirely on the résumé. Then when the call comes in for an interview, they wing it. Here are three reasons this is not the best approach:

  1. Sticking points – If there is something in your work history that you are uncomfortable about, it is natural to be apprehensive when it comes up. If you haven’t scripted and practiced your response, you may stumble over your words and not say what you want to say.
  2. Why should I hire you? – Knowing your strengths and skills is not enough. Without practice and rehearsal, getting the answer to come out during the interview is tough. Understanding what the answer should be requires research and preparation about the company, its challenges and the specific position.
  3. It’s about you is not the answer – Focusing on you and your skills alone is not what an employer wants to hear. Focusing on how your skills will solve their problem is the answer. Most people who wing it aren’t prepared to demonstrate this during the interview.

Take the time to prepare before the phone rings for the interview. Commit to doing the research, practicing answers and scripting your responses to the questions you are uncomfortable with. Know what the company needs so you can demonstrate that when asked why they should hire you.

Investment in your future by doing the work now so you don’t wing it during the interview. The payoff  is  you will find yourself in your new hire orientation much sooner!

You sent the résumé – five questions to ask before answering the phone 0

  1. Have I researched the company? Are you ready for the phone interview, asks Joel Quass
  2. Are my notes available when the phone rings?
  3. Have I thought about what they might ask in a phone interview?
  4. Do I know why they should hire me?
  5. Do I have stories of success I can share?

“You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Still, I hear candidates say their phone rang before they had a chance to learn more about the job. Instead of hearing “you’re hired”, they got  ”we are interviewing many people for this position, don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

If this job is the one, take the time to do your homework. Then have a system for keeping your notes about each company.

A winning  résumé demonstrates to the reader why you should be hired. When the phone rings, be ready to build on the résumé with stories of success. Practicing those stories in front of a mirror or with someone will make you more comfortable.

Taking the time to prepare before sending your résumé will build your confidence. Confidence during the phone interview leads to an in-person interview which leads to those magical words “you’re hired”.

What do confidence, Dr Seuss and the words “you never know” have to do with job seeking? 0

I have written much about the importance of having the confidence to be consistent in your job search or any other activity. This Thursday the point was driven home by one of my Twitter followers.

Here’s the conversation: Dr Suess and the cat in the hat

:@Goodmgmtisnot “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss,9:30am, Feb 28 from HootSuite

@GoodMgmtIsNot Nothing like prose from Dr. Seuss 2 encourage even timid #JS 2 “go#confidently in the direction of their#dreams” Thoreau9:34am, Feb 28 from Web

@SageStrategis tEvelyn- Thanks for the creative addition to today’s quote9:47am, Feb 28 from HootSuite

@GoodMgmtIsNot  :) Don’t mention it Joel- many of your thoughts of the day give me pause. I like 2 reflect on the insightful words of others.

When I read “many of your thoughts of the day give me pause” the light bulb flashed over my head.

Having recently read a blog post from a person I respect about the “silliness” of daily inspirational posts, I had been tempted to stop my daily 9:30 am quote of the day.

I don’t include any links to my website, or special offers for reading them or any links to click. There is no direct financial gain by posting them. The point  is really to share something I find value in and have the confidence to continue in spite of what someone else may say or think.

Confidence is what creates positive stock valuations. Confidence and its twin sister trust, are what people expect from their Budweiser (that it’s not watered down). And over time people are confident that if they check their Twitter feeds @goodmgmtisnot @1stopjobsonline @joelquass  at 9:30 am est 7 days a week, they will see my latest quote.

From a “You Never Know” standpoint, I have written about my experience with a customer on the Jersey Shore and how the final chapter was written months later on a NJ Train going into New York City.

For a Job Seeker, you never know when you pick up the phone if this will be the job of a lifetime. You never know when you send a thank you card or make that follow-up phone call if this will be the action that ends in a job offer [4 reasons you must follow-up]. As a Job Seeker, you must have the confidence to keep doing the right things, even when the feedback is not there.

In the end, from an Interviewer’s  perspective, confidence and “your fit” in the company is what you need to establish during the interview process. You need to leave the Interviewer confident that what you have to offer and what the job calls for are the same, making them confident you the only logical candidate.

Thanks to Evelyn and her Tweet, I am more confident than ever that my daily quotes are enjoyed by many who read them. Thanks to the feedback from clients, I can say (paraphrasing Dr. Seuss) that “you never know” where you will go if you have the confidence to go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  

10 Ways To Win An Oscar (I Mean Land A Job) 0

and the award goes to (I mean the job goes to...)...

and the award goes to… (I mean the job goes to…)

I Google searched 10 ways to win an Oscar. With many thanks to everyone on-line who submitted a Top 10 List, the Oscar goes to Rick Schwartz for his list:  It’s Easy To Win An Oscar!

Here is Rick’s Top 10, re-packaged with my job tips:

  1. Be A World-Class Schmoozer - Be a real person and treat everyone you meet politely. Make sure you start with the receptionist.
  2. Don’t Be Ugly - Dress for the interview and make sure you are groomed. Leave the t-shirt and torn jeans at home.
  3. Cast A Has-Been – Everyone loves a come-back story. Show how you overcame an obstacle to achieve a goal.
  4. Do Something Scandalous  -The Facebook photo of you drunk, singing on top of a bar is the wrong type of scandalous. Think of something positive you have done. Stand out with a success story related to the requirements of the job.
  5. Live In Los Angeles - Rick talks about doing things in the town where the Oscars are awarded. Contributing time to a volunteer project in your town is a point in your favor.
  6. Show Up Everywhere  - Networking is still one of the best ways to land a new job. Make sure you are out there.
  7. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Dirty – You might want to stay away from this one. Once you start exaggerating your qualifications on a resume, it’s a slippery slope. Even if you land the job, someone will eventually find out. Don’t go there.
  8. Hire The Professional Goons – Sometimes an objective, outside opinion about your resume or your interviewing skills is needed. A small investment in a career coach and professionally crafted resume is often the difference between multiple job offers and a prolonged job search.
  9. Take Credit For Everything – Do not be afraid to toot your own horn. If you don’t believe in your ability to land the job, neither will the interviewer.
  10. Make An Amazing Movie – With a professionally crafted resume, scripting and a bit of rehearsing (ideally in front of a video camera),you can be amazing. All of your experience packaged correctly can make you the only logical choice.

Follow my ideas and be ready to accept the Oscar (I mean the job offer).

Want a job? Four reasons you must follow-up 0

Recently I presented my “You’re Hired” keynote for the New Jersey Department Of Labor’s Jersey Job Club

Interview, job search requires thank you notesThere were many excellent  questions both before and after my presentation. One stood out in my mind. Tim (not his real name) asked:

“Why should  I spend money to send a thank-you card if I felt the interviewer was not interested in me?”

Several audience members almost jumped out of their seats. Each said the cost of a stamp and five minutes of their time was minimal compared to the potential of a job offer. One person told of getting a call after sending a thank you note. In the note,  she had offered several suggestions to a problem the interviewer had told her the company was facing. She ended up landing the job.

Tim’s question reminded me of a job offer I once received after sending a thank you card and later following up with a phone call. I was immediately asked to come to the office and was hired  when I walked in the door. I was actually told by the interviewer  that my follow-up was the reason I was offered the job. It was the final test.

Back at the Jersey Job Club, I spoke with Tim.  He was missing the point about what a thank you note is about.

  • Tim did not see the chance to add value by sending the note.
  • He did not see the chance to separate himself from other candidates by highlighting an aspect of the interview.
  • He did not see he could share additional information about something the interviewer asked.
  •  Tim did not see that he could include information about a shared hobby, his answer to a company challenge that was discussed or an idea sparked by the interviewers questions.

A few days later, I received an email from Tim. He had re-thought the ideas we had discussed. He saw the value of consistent, specific, follow-up. Tim said he is now investing in his future when he mails a card.

Following up with a snail mail card is more than an obligation. It is a chance to stand out, to show your value to  an employer. Done right, the next thing you sign after the thank you card will be all of the forms during your new hire orientation.