￼Excerpt from Job Search Debugged which can be purchased and delivered immediately as a PDF download from the book store, the red tab above. A sample of the tough love found in the pages of the book that has guided many a career.
BASICS FOR SIX-FIGURE INCOME CANDIDATES
Most readers of this book earn significant income in salary, bonus, and stock. Landing $100,000+ jobs can often take six months or more. The amount of time is less important than what occurs in that time. To be effective, focus on your networking activities: Your objective is to rise above the competition with recognized expertise, outstanding messaging, and industry presence. Your objective is not to get your resume to rise to the top of the stack, it is to not be on the stack at all.
Review the basics and you will know how to strenthen your job search, get immediate results. Be critical and perhaps ask a colleague to evaluate your efforts.
- Have you written an executive summary that addresses the exact needs of the prospective employer based on your research or knowledge of the job descriptions?
- Do your emails ask for only one thing with a specific call to action or request?
- Do you use news feeds and alerts as a resource to find leads and connections?
- Does your world-class elevator pitch generate questions and requests for your business card?
- Is your LinkedIn profile a marketing piece or just a repetition of your resume?
- Do you wear a well-fitted suit to all networking events and interviews?
- Are you using digital job search resources effectively?
When you are unemployed and are in job search mode commit to spending your time actively pursuing your next career move. A proper job search typically requires a minimum of five hours a day in networking, researching, meeting and planning. If you are currently employed and looking to make a career move, organization is the strongest asset you can use.
Warning: Promotion – To optimize your time and efforts, create a job search budget that includes a proven Job Search or Executive Coach. This is especially true if you are over 50, haven’t really conducted an executive-level job search or intend to change geography. A good Coach can make the difference between a salary and prolonged unemployment, so consider the value of earning even one more month’s salary. Choose a Coach who can teach you to develop a network that delivers the leads and introductions you need and who knows from experience how to guide you through the interview cycle.
Job search today is a shell game. You must uncover jobs by networking because employers are fragile; they need to know the people they hire are part of their community in order to hedge their bets. So amp up your networking techniques.
- Go to industry conferences.
- Pay the tariff to attend trade shows.
- Continue participation at your golf pro club.
- Blog on topics on which you are an expert.
- Answer questions about strategic topics on other people’s blogs.
- Connect with others looking for jobs in your market niche’. Share leads, encourage one another and stay focused.
- Learn to use LinkedIn Groups to locate the companies and people most likely to help.
- Learn proper messaging to get what you need from every email or phone call. Know your elevator pitch.
- Talk to people who have a job like the one you want; ask them to refer people who contact them about jobs in which they are not interested.
- Become an expected face at networking events, don’t just go occasionally.
Many executives and technology leaders formerly in six-figure jobs cling to what they have always done and don’t receive job offers after months trying. Their credentials are excellent, they present themselves well. Why then have these outstanding candidates not found a new job? In times of stress or crisis, people often resort to tried and true solutions. And for today’s employment market those solutions couldn’t be more wrong.
Executives visit a very different landscape from those more junior in their careers and most advice is aimed at the individual contributor and less senior candidate. Most every other candidate is doing exactly what you are doing. How then, can you distinguish yourself from the crowd?
Forget the website submissions and unsolicited emails. Target three companies and get to the ‘C’ level executives with a message they can’t refuse. Easier than it sounds. For example: Use LinkedIn to see who you know is willing and able to introduce you. Even second level connections are often willing to help. Ask what you might do for them in return and send a thank-you note.
You ask for generic support hoping someone will figure out what you need: This is so common I have heard every argument about why it is done. And not one reason is valid.
People respond best to a specific request. “I wonder if you can introduce me to Annie Johnson and two other people who do what she does?” works better than, “Can you introduce me to people with job openings.” Or, “Frank, As you know, I increased sales revenues by 60% in the first year with ABC Co. Can you introduce me to two people who may know of companies in need of that sort of performance?”
You blanket the earth with your resume in hopes one will land on the right desk and actually be read: Referred candidates will always trump random spewing of your resume by either you or a recruiter who has no relationship to the company. A requested resume is the goal and the key to not being in the stack in the first place. You’d be surprised how seldom resumes are read without an introduction from someone the reader respects.
You don’t look the part. So many candidates feel they must look like a hiring company’s current employees that they miss an opportunity to assert their professionalism. Put on your suit or suit dress and keep your jacket on. It fits [get to know a good tailor], is fresh and your shoes are polished and clean. Will you get razzed for wearing a suit? Yup. Will people know you as a person who is respectful of their interview time? Yup. Don’t use the excuse that no one in the company dresses in a suit; they aren’t applying for a job. And this means technology execs, too. White teeth, clean fingernails and a good hair cut make a good first impression. And if you are over 50, don’t make the deal killer mistake of trying to dress like a 30 something. That just draws attention to your age. Suit up and show your best executive level demeanor.
You do get an interview but use much of your time bemoaning the fact that it is hard to find a job. It’s a tough job market. So, toughen up. Be optimistic and upbeat. It is your self-confidence and positive attitude that will win you the next round of interviews. Leave all the suffering at the door. If you are asked how your search is going say something positive such as, “I am truly delighted with all the new contacts I am making and their eagerness to help.”
You are reluctant to ask for help. Get over it. Fact: People want to help. Even your former administrative assistant may know of job openings or people you should meet. All you have to do is frame the right ‘ask’ appropriate for that person. Compose your ask after determining what outcome you require. Outcomes always have a deliverable. “I just want to find out who she knows” is not an objective. “I want to get names of three people who work at xxx company” is.
You honestly believe all the time spent on job boards will result in a job. Unless you are an individual contributor, job boards don’t work. Less than 1 percent of senior jobs are filled through job boards, so stop wasting your time. Most executive jobs are filled through networking.
You curtail spending and neglect to attend conferences, trade shows and seminars. Where are hiring authorities during the work week? In front of customers, at conferences and seminars. That’s where you need to be. Many companies assume these events are the proper venue to scout out senior candidates and book interview rooms in anticipation of meeting candidates. Can’t afford to go? Offer to ‘sit the booth’ for a company for free if they pay your expenses.
You use social networking sites improperly. If your profile begins, “15 years experience…” you shot yourself in the foot. Use that precious real estate to broadcast your accomplishments, not how old you are.
Get your job search on track.
Maximize your job search time by creating a daily to-do list that is reasonable and includes objectives/outcomes for every action including phone calls and emails.
- Create a go/no-go list so you don’t waste time as you pursue inappropriate opportunities. Don’t talk yourself into pursing the wrong job just because you have a connection.
- Find the job description for your ideal job and customize your resume to reflect what the employer needs to see, not what you want them to know. For each priority listed, include an outcome of yours that proves you have the goods.
- Create the right answer to the hardest question: “Tell me about yourself.” This answer is about how your credentials map to the job, not why you went to college.
- Acknowledge your challenges and create work-arounds that include reality.
- Lead with what you do have that is stunning and that the employer listed as a priority, not what you lack.
- Accept the fact that while 19 year’s experience will help you be successful, future employers care most about what you have done in the last five years. Use the most recent experiences as your examples and resume bullets because technology and the playing field have changed significantly. And if they haven’t, the interviewer still believes your recent experience is the only relevant experience.
- Ask for and accept advice only from people who have hired or been part of hiring people who do what you do. Ignore web sites and other media advice unless you can ascertain the credibility of the source. Vet all advice and don’t assume that just because other people do it one way, that it is the most advantageous process for you, the six figure executive.
In closing, I caution those over 50 not to believe or accept the media hype about ageism. Look around, there are many people over 50, 60 and even 70, gainfully employed. There is much you can do to avoid any whiff of concern about your age by leading with your accomplishments and how they map to the employer’s needs. Focus on outcomes and any concern about age is diminished.
COPYRIGHT: March 2012. No part of this document may be copied, quoted or printed without express permission from the author.