Archive for October, 2008
Details details details…. Everyone recognizes the importance of details when planning a party, but they are also more important than you realize when job searching. Just like planning an event that you want to run smoothly, you have to plan out your job hunt the same way. Here’s my direct comparison:
1. Possible Party Locations = Target Company list
2. Guest List = Hiring Managers
3. Invites = Cover letter
4. Menu = Resumes
5. Party = Interview
6. Entertainment = References
7. Party Favors = Thank you letter/email/note
No location, no party.
Identifying a target company list you are able to focus your job search on specific companies that you’d like to work for. This list can be large to include a wide variety of business types or small for a very specific target market.
Guest list – who do you invite?
When you identify your target companies, you can than network to identify who the hiring managers are. Sometimes it makes sense to identify the head of the department that you are targeting and other times building a professional relationship with the corporate recruiter is the key. How you find them can take on many tactics from LinkedIn searches to hiring a career strategist to do the work for you. Identifying the key internal hiring contacts can help you be considered for a role that is open, or maybe before an actual opening comes up.
Invites, quests won’t come if they aren’t invited.
Cover letters offer you a good way to give a 5 second pitch on why you are right for the role or company and get you that interview. You should make your point right “short and sweet” since most hiring managers don’t read through a five page cover letter. Based on the role that you are applying to, you can address several areas that the hiring manager is looking for with just a few lines in a paragraph. And remember the DETAILS! I can’t begin to tell you how many cover letters come with spelling and grammar errors. Even the best of cover letters can become quickly devalued without that “attention to detail” – words you will find in so many job descriptions! Use spell check and proof read before sending.
Have a good Menu.
The resume is similar to a menu. The hiring manager or recruiter reads it and either selects you as a possible candidate for the position or not. There are a zillion professional resumes writers out there to hire if you feel your resume is not working. If you want to know if your resume is working just ask yourself this question: “Are you getting the interview?” If the answer is no, it’s not. If the answer is yes, your resume works just fine.
Party – the time for your event is here and the guests have all arrived. It’s party time!
Now that everyone has showed up its interview time. This is the time that all your hard work has led up to – the infamous interview. It’s the one and possibly only chance you get to make a great impression on the hiring manager and be considered for hire. Not to stress you out too much, but it’s really your opportunity to sell yourself on why you are the perfect person for the job. When the hiring manager asks you why you should be hired be prepared with why you are right for the job. Do not say something like “you should hire me because I need this job.” Needing a job might be your reality, but the hiring manager is looking for reasons why you would make a good fit and job need more than likely isn’t on his/her list of qualifications – so choose what you say wisely. Sometimes the interview leads you to the second interview round… and so on.. but ultimately it’s your time to “sell yourself on why you are the right candidate to hire.”
Entertainment can make the party really special. Depending on the event, the entertainment can really “wow” your guests. A birthday party may warrant a magician, a wedding may bring a DJ and the list of possibilities goes on….
References can make you stand out. Depending on what your previous managers say or write about you, can really add that extra touch. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone who’s former bosses continue to rave with wildly successful stories about you. Just as you might audition the entertainment you hire for the party, do the same for your references. Make sure they are glowing and that you’ve given them the courtesy of asking their permission to use.
Party Favors – my favorite part of the event planning. It’s the last thing my guests will have as a reminder of the party.
Following up with a Thank you card, email or note is so important. It is the last opportunity you get to make a lasting impression. Even if you think the interview didn’t go as well as you’d like, this is your opportunity to send a short note and address a few key points why you are perfect for the job. If you find it hard to write a compelling and short note to a possible hiring manager, invest in a good book or find some online resources to help you. It may seem not so important, but remember, it’s all in the details just like planning an event. It can make you the best of two equally qualified candidates because you took that little extra step. Not enough people send “Thank you” notes these days.
If you find that your events continue to flop, it might be time to consider hiring a professional event planner.
The same can be said about your job/career search. If your attempts at landing that dream job are failing, a career coach might be in order. Many times it just takes a little coaching on what it is that isn’t working and a neutral industry professional can help lead you to success. I have a few that I recommend in my network and am always happy to offer up referrals. Just let you would interview someone before you hire them, I encourage you to do the same with your career partner.
Let’s hear how your party went? Did it land you the job?
It’s really easy to get down in the dumps when you are an active job seeker. I’ve spoken with folks that have had a rough go lately. They land plenty of interviews but don’t get the offer.
If you let it get to you, it will come out in the interview. So “smile” instead!
It sounds so cliché, but “put on a happy face.” I cannot stress enough the importance of state of mind during the interview process.
Sitting across from a hiring manager you should be upbeat and positive. Otherwise you may come across as negative and/or desperate – this may be your actual reality, but please don’t let it show.
Share your tough times with friends and relatives, not to the interviewer. The hiring manager wants to hear how you will make, save or achieve great goals if hired by the company. They want to hear more about the past successes you listed on your resume. They do not want to hear about how many interviews you’ve been on where you didn’t get the job.
Don’t share anything negative about your financial woes or worst of all, your personal life. Nobody wants to hear about your last break-up, how horrible your kids are or anything else personal in nature – especially when it’s not positive. Keep it strictly professional and upbeat with specific answers to interview questions. As that old saying goes “there’s a time and a place” and during an interview is NOT the place.
For me, a simple “smile” has been the best ice breaker during the most awkward professional situations, not just the physical smile, but the virtual impression it can make with a positive attitude. It helps to laugh – and if you need something to laugh at, take a look at the sticker on my son’s forehead. It simply states “Place on forehead. Smile.” I had a grin the entire time we shopped at Trader Joe’s the other day!
How has your “smile” helped you?