"GET A JOB IN TODAY'S INCREASINGLY TOUGH MARKET BY USING STRATEGIES THAT MAKE VISIBLE THE HIDDEN / UN-ADVERTISED JOB MARKET. WORK TO ELIMINATE COMPETITION, GET TO THE DECISION MAKER AND MAKE THE SALE"
How much is it costing you for every day you are unemployed or under-employed? Every day you cut helps by reducing your need to dip into savings, limits the need to increase the unpaid balance on your credit cards, take a second mortgage, let the payment of bills slide, put off college for the kids or any other need for money that may be jeopardized.
Nothing can happen until you meet with the key decision maker. To accomplish this you must give that person a compelling reason (s) to initially open a dialog with you, next invite you in to meet and finally open an ongoing relationship which leads to the RIGHT POSITION for the right reasons. It is not unusual that a position does not exist upon initial contact, but that one can be created once the face-to-face dialogue has been initiated.
A REALITY CHECK:
If you are experiencing any of the following it is critical that you read on:
*Your resume and sale's letters are vague and bland and unable to generate interest? *You are unable to get an interview, or interviews of value? *Is there a lack of advertised jobs in your area? *Do you fail to make the sale if you get an interview? *If you are offered a job is it beneath your skill level and salary target? *Are you responding to job ads or sending out unsolicited letters, but getting no response? *Do you do as you are told to do-"network" but you do not have a network, run out of contacts quickly or wait for you family member or friend to get his or her employer to get you an interview but with no success? *Do you have perceived or real liabilities/concerns that are killing your ability to get an interview, the interview itself or your success in getting an offer? *Are you using strategies that may have worked in the past but are now totally useless but you have no idea what to do? *After an interview do you hear nothing but "dead silence" from your potential employer ...remember you were most likely told "we will be in touch"?
THE JOB MARKET
*The Internet has made it very easy for companies to find people and people to find companies-the completion is intense and growing daily *The value of recruiters, except for highly specialized positions, is declining *Unless you are an "ideal" fit there is no chance of success-unfortunately the "ideal" is often arbitrary, poorly defined and established by people, often HR, who do not understand the key needs of the position *The old ways of finding a job-responding to ads, networking, sending unsolicited bulk letters, job fairs, registering with recruiters are increasingly ineffective-the higher the target position the less any of these will contribute to your success *Most resumes are "tombstones"...what did I do, where did I do it...NOT WHAT DID I ACCOMPLISH AND DEFINED IN CLEAR, CONCISE, MEASURABLE AND BOTTOM LINE IMPACT *There are at least 30 million resumes circulating at any moment of time-employers are given an endless, and often overwhelming source of potential candidates *In today's job market there are close to 4 job seekers for every available job up from the normal 2 in 1. *The time to get a new job is at least three times longer than even a few years ago. *It takes 19 interviews on average to get a job offer. *The strategies and tactics that used to work, responding to ads, networking, sending unsolicited letters/resumes, job fairs, registering with recruiters are increasingly ineffective-the higher the target position *It is becoming increasingly difficult to get by the many gate keepers in an organization. Typically a cold call will result in a “thanks but we are not hiring” or a redirect to HR where you are told to simply send a resume or register on the site. *The time to find a new job is increasing every month *LESS THAN 25% OF AVAILABLE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES ARE EVER ADVERTISED DIRECTLY OR LISTED WITH RECRUITERS-this is where the vast majority of job seekers look for opportunities-the competition is intense and working in this arena is increasingly unproductive *A company can receive up to 4000 resumes for a posted position putting intense pressure on screeners to select the best candidates. Companies are increasingly reluctant to post positions given the ready source of candidates in their data base or registered on the web *Job seekers are taking jobs well below their experience or salary level out of desperation
THE GOOD NEWS:
*Regardless of the state of the economy there are many jobs available-people leave or are fired, skill sets for current positions are redefined, new positions are created *Strategies exist to get you in front of the decision maker, for the right reason, with a compelling message and solid strategy to close the sale
Typical Strategies That Are Used Have Lost Much Of Their Effectiveness
*Responding to ads, particularly those on the broad horizontal boards such as Monster or Career Builder can attract 3K to 4K responses. Although many responders are totally unqualified and look upon their response as a way to get into the company database, creating an overwhelming task for HR to address. It is not unusual that HR simply uses a scanning tool looking for key words as the emails arrive. These key words may or may not be the most appropriate but HR will pull out 7 to 10 candidates from the first 200. Thus many of the most qualified candidates are missed. Remember, most often HR is in the business of looking for reasons to reject a candidate. Also typically, the most important core competencies are not discovered until candidates meet with the hiring manager and together they go through a full discovery process which flushes those out. It is not unusual that the selected candidate is very different than the defined candidate in the initial position description. Also as one moves up the corporate ladder those positions are less likely to be advertised.
*Recruiters can be great time wasters. If they have a position available there will be value in opening a dialog. If not, unless the recruiter is one of the limited recruiters that has solid relationships with local companies and has the approval to bring qualified candidates to a company even if a position does not exist, getting into a long time-wasting discussion can create false hope and loss of inertia in a campaign. On average, only 5% of positions are filled by recruiters. In today’s market it is so easy for companies to find people and people to find companies, why would a company spend 30% to 35% of a candidate’s compensation package unless the position was very unique, the skill set required was difficult to find or there was as a need for confidentiality.
*Sending unsolicited intro letter (“I am available give me a call”). These come in by the thousands and most often end up being sent directly to HR for dumping or scanning. If they do get through to a potential hiring manager’s gate keeper, unless there is a compelling reason to pass it to the manager it gets sent to HR or thrown out. This is most often a waste of time, paper and postage but give a job seeker a feeling that he or she is doing something while wasting valuable time in the job search process. The lack of response or receipt of rejection letters can be psychologically devastating resulting in loss of interest in the campaign and a feeling of hopelessness. If an interview is given (most often acquired through another channel), the desperation and diminished self confidence will often sabotage the intervie. Despite answering ads and sending intro letters, increasingly companies do not respond as they see no need. The sender most often gets no feedback as to whether it was received. If a response is sent, it is the “thanks but no thanks we will keep your resume on file” or “we do not accept unsolicited letters or resumes, go to our website and register”
*Although networking can deliver significant results, many people have not established solid networks and quickly run out of people to contact. Strategies exist to build additional networking contacts but they can be time consuming and result in significantly extending a campaign as the job seeker sits and waits for the anticipated call. Networking can also limit your sphere of opportunity as it can create both industry and geographic constraints. It is an important part of a campaign but its limitations must be considered. Employing the new social media, with an emphasis on groups such as Linkedin can extend your reach if used effectively. A key trap in the networking process is to assume that if you know a person in a company of interest and you give that person your resume it will virtually guarantee an interview. This seldom happens unless that person is in a position of significant authority. The best that may come is a brief call or meeting with HR as a way of placating the referring employee.
The Key To Getting To The Right Person
As indicated above, you must get a compelling message into the hands of the right person and then have a means to get directly to that person by bypassing the gate keepers or getting through them. The typical intro letter with a request for the recipient to call seldom works. You must also approach the decision maker positioning yourself as a SOLUTION to a set of well defined KEY CHALLENGES and not as a person seeking employment or a person trying to sell a consulting service. The only reason that an opportunity will be opened is that the core competencies, skill sets and accomplishments you bring to the organization are consistent with the challenges that the organization is facing. Any good decision maker will look at you as a potential asset and as any good decision maker, will be looking at the return he or she will get on that asset. Your initial mission through a document (spot opportunity letter) is to present a high enough potential return to encourage the decision maker to open the dialogue. Once opened, the mission is to continue building the potential return to so as to be invited in to discuss ways that you could make a major contribution to helping that firm meet those challenges. If at all possible you want to define those challenges as having a potential, measurable and significant negative impact on the organization. People are motivated more by fear of loss than opportunity or gain. This is part of the branding process which positions you as a unique and potential highly valuable asset and not just one more person who wants to waste the time of the decision maker.
To be successful you must answer three questions:
1) Do you have the experience, skills and proven successes to meet the requirements for the position and can you show the interviewer clearly, concisely and convincingly that is the case? 2) Will you fit in? Are the culture, management style and environment good for both the employer and you? 3) Are you the least risky candidate? This is most often ignored by job seekers but is frequently a key decision consideration. That is why companies will use recruiters, group interviews and the reason it is often difficult for a hiring manager to make a decision. It costs money to recruit and hire you, keep you and get rid of you if it does not work out. Regardless of the position, and particularily with senior managers, an unproductive employee can also cost the company a great deal of lost revenue, customers or opportunities and in fact do considerable harm to an employer.
Address all three and you will be many steps ahead of all other candidates! Any good manager is going to look at any potential employee just as he or she would look at acquiring any other asset. Your job is to build a solid and convincing argument that you will deliver the greatest Return on Investment (ROI) of any candidate or alternative use of the available funds.
NOW THAT THE CHALLENGES HAVE BEEN DEFINED WHAT CAN YOU DO TO GET THAT COMPETITIVE EDGE AND GET THE JOB?
To find a position in this increasingly competitive, invisible and unforgiving market you have five options:
1) Go it alone using the old strategies-writing your own resume and letters, registering on job boards, responding to ads, sending out unsolicited intro mailings, trying to network....with no help or input from professional resources. 2) Use resources such as software or eBooks or books to help you develop creative materials but then using the old inefficient and failing strategies to attempt to get in front of a decision maker. 3) Use professional creative developers (resumes, letters, folios) to write highly targeted and specific materials which will highlight your core competencies, experience and "results" delivered but then again you resort to the failed search strategies of the past. Unfortunately the quality of the creative materials is blamed for failure not the use of unproductive strategies. 4) Work with a typical outplacement firm that is often provided to employees who have been terminated. 5) Engage a proven"career coach" who will work with you to develop a solid search strategy, all creative materials, train you in getting in front of a decision maker, interviewing, handling coliabilities/concerns, negotiating, use of other resources and providing ongoing counseling and support. 6) Engage a "full service" career transition/marketing firm which will provide everyting in (5) plus provide some employer/recruiter contacts plus access to other resources of value. To "build" value to justify the much larger investment, it will often commit to mailing out or faxing your resume to recruiters and targeted employers. It may aslo include a telemarketing program with a commitment to call a certain number of target companies to see if the caller can arrange a phone conversation between client and hiring manager. 7) Engage a certified "Career Manager" not just a coach, who will provide everything above but will build your career from the ground up beginning with an exploration of interests, needs, and passions to set career goals. Next develop research plansto help you investigate various roles. Followed by planning strategies and activities to enable you acquire needed skills for future opportunties. Basedupon the first three steps, develop a branding campaign, train in targeting high potentail employers, gaining interviews, interviewing, addressing concerns/liabilities, negotiating and securing the position while providing ongoing monitoring and feedback to keep the you on track or make required midcourse corrections. Each has it advantages and disadvantages: 1) The cost is very low but the chance of success is limited, the time to find a job can be lengthy, the competition is intense and you will often take a position below your experience level and core competencies and at a low compensation package simply out of desperation. You may be lucky but the odds are stacked against you. 2) These will help you develop better more targeted resumes and letters but the the better material will not offset the ineffectiveness of old and increasingly unproductive job search strategies. 3) Professional creative developers will work with you to capture the input necessary to develop materials that attempt to describe your core competencies and accomplishments and present them in a form that will grab the attention of the reader. The documents should also be developed with two distinct and unique audiences in mind-the decision maker who is most concerned as to how you can make a significant and measurable contribution to the organizations bottom line and HR which is more interested in your work history. It is important to have documents that will address both audiences individually. If the writer suggests one resume will address both audiences, it makes most sense to seek an alternative developer. Given the competitive nature of the resume development business, good creative development is not cheap. If you go for a bargain resume many times it is boiler-plated with limited thought given to the content reulting in a document of limited value. Despite the quality of the documents, again if the execution of your campaign uses the outdated strategies, the best material in the world will be wasted. 4) Unless your previous employer has engaged one of the top outplacement firms, you will most likely be given a few days of group training, a basic resume package a list of companies to contact, and frequently told to emphasis networking. On occasion you will be offered office space with access to a phone and fax. These firms most often exist to help the firing company assuage its guilt of having to let someone or a group go. Typically professional coaching, if available, is limited with you competitng for the attention of the coach with the many other clients. Fortunately some of the new virtual outplacement firms address these shortcomings. 5) This is best for people who know what position they are seeking and in which industry. You not only receive high quality, targeted creative materials but you also get full training in interviewing, handling concerns/objections, negotiating and closing the sale and support in the use of the materials and the execution of strategies designed to address the challenges of today's job hunt. It is critical to work with a coach who will provide solid direction as to how to develop and implement targeted proactive spot opportunity campaigns. It is also important to have ongoing access to the coach for pre and post interview discussions, strategy sessions and help with negotiations. 6) Although this alternative may appear to be the best value, much of the value is captured in 5. The additional distribution and telemarketing services can be expensive and of limited impact.
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