Your Hired! Now What? – Targeted Job Search

Your Hired! Now What?

hiredYou have just been hired for your dream job! Well, maybe not your dream job, but the next step in your career. You have followed all of the steps in the targeted job search.

Before you read on, this is the sixth in this series on the Targeted Job Search. If you have not read the previous two steps, this is a good time to read them:

You’re done — right??

I grew up in the day when we expected jobs to last 10, 15, 20 or more years. Today, a job may last three years. Let me lay out a timeline and strategy for you.

Six Weeks

It typically takes six weeks into a new job to understand what you are doing and start setting goals.

Create a calendar entry on the six month anniversary date of your hired date. In that calendar entry document some realistic goals for the first six months on the job.

Six Months

You are now six months into your new job.

Review the goals you set. Did you accomplish everything?

Reflect back on the previous six months. What did you learn? What new skills have you acquired? You have probably been drinking from a fire house in the first six months on the job.  You really need to take the time and reflect back on what you learned.

Update your LinkedIn profile and resume.

Create a calendar entry on your one year anniversary date of your hired date. In that calendar entry, document some realistic goals for the next six months on the job.

One Year

You have now been in your new job for one year.

Review the goals you set. Did you accomplish everything?

Reflect back on the previous six months. What did you learn? What new skills have you acquired?

Update your LinkedIn profile and resume.

Create a calendar entry on your eighteen month anniversary date of your hired date. In that calendar entry document some realistic goals for the next six months on the job.

Update your target list!

Eighteen Months

You have now been in your new job for eighteen months.

Review the goals you set. Did you accomplish everything?

Reflect back on the previous six months. What did you learn? What new skills have you acquired?

Update your LinkedIn profile and resume.

Create a calendar entry on two year anniversary date of your hired date. In that calendar entry document some realistic goals for the next six months on the job.

Update your target list!

Start strategically networking for your next job.

See the pattern?

Even though you start working your target list at eighteen months, it does not mean you will leave. What you are doing is making yourself a good passive candidate.

When a position does become available, you want to know about it.

If your company is acquired, you want to be prepared to move on if the culture changes.

You think that your job search has ended. Well, it really never ends. It has only been put on pause.

Are you ready for a targeted job search?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Build Your Referral Network – The Targeted Job Search

Your Referral Network

referral networkAbout 85% of all jobs are filled through employee referrals. Therefore, it makes sense to build a referral network at every company where you might like to work in the future.

Before you read on, this is the fourth in this series on the Targeted Job Search. If you have not read the previous steps this is a good time to read them:

I have written about building and researching your target list. You connected to recruiters inside your target companies, primarily to have closer connections to their employees via Linkedin. Now it is time to build your referral network.

Using LinkedIn advanced search, locate employees with similar job titles and certifications and develop a list of potential new connections.

At this point you can take a couple of different strategies:

Strategy #1 – Look for a Common Connection

For each 2nd degree person on your list, look to see how you are connected on LinkedIn.  Pick one of your common connections and ask how well they are acquainted and would they be willing to make an introduction?

What you are looking for is a personal introduction. In the sales world, this is referred to as a warm lead.

Strategy #2 – Systematically Look at LinkedIn Profiles

Every day, look at a couple of LinkedIn profiles on your list. Make sure your LinkedIn setting called “Select what other see when you’ve viewed their profile” is set to display your name.  On a daily basis, look to see who has looked at your profile.

When someone pokes their head into your profile, send them a LinkedIn connection request and ask for AIR – Advice, Insights and Recommendations!

Once they have looked at your profile, you are no longer an unknown. They should recognize your name and know a little bit about you.

Whether you use strategy #1 or #2, the idea is to get to meet each person and develop a relationship. You are looking for an internal advocate so that, when a position becomes available, they will be willing and able to pass your resume through company channels.

This takes time and persistence. If you spend 15-30 minutes reaching out to new connections and meet one new person week, you will build a significant referral network in just a few months.

As you build your referral network, it is equally as important to maintain that network through careful and persistent cultivation.

The goal is to have a referral network at every company on your target list.

We know that people change jobs every few years. You will want to review your target list to check who is working at each company every six months.

If you carefully follow all of the steps in the Targeted Job Search, you will have choices in where you work for the rest of your career.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Registration is now open for the Cure for Career Insanity Webinar series

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Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Connecting with Recruiters – The Targeted Job Search

Connecting with Recruiters is Vital

In this social media connected world, recruiters have become the mesh that holds things together. Connecting and cultivating relationships with recruiters and other HR professionals is critical.

Before you read on, this is the fourth in this series on the Targeted Job Search. If you have not read the previous steps this is a good time to read them:

Recruiters are people, and they entered the profession because they like dealing with people.

I know, I know. You have run into some really bad recruiters…people who do not respond to e-mails or phone calls!

Most recruiters are under extreme stress from tight deadlines to hiring managers who do not know what they want or do not know how to interview.

Here are three things I want you to know about recruiters:

  1. They change jobs frequently. With the ups and downs of the economy, recruiters are often the first to be laid off when things get bad, and the first to be hired when things turn around.
  2. They connect with almost everyone in their organizations and carry those connections from company to company. Therefore, they have very large networks.
  3. Recruiters are often the person in between you and the hiring manager.

It is key to cultivate these relationships!

Connecting on LinkedIn with recruiters

For each company on your target list, you should do the following:

  • Go to LinkedIn advanced search and perform a search of the title field for recruiter in the name. I actually use the following search string “recruiter OR Talent OR Human Resources OR HR,” as some organizations do not use recruiter in their titles or may not have someone in HR dedicated to recruiting.
  • Identify a recruiter and send them a connection request. In it, state why you want to connect. A good example is as follows:

Dear insert recruiters name,

I am very interested in a marketing position at xyz company (if there is a current position open mention it). Are you the recruiter who handles these kinds of positions? If not, will you direct me to the recruiter who does? Could we set up a time to talk about your organization? In the mean time, please accept this invitation to connect.

Your name

When the recruiter receives your invitation, three things will happen:

  • Almost every time, the recruiter will accept your invitation to connect. You will now rise higher in their searches because you are a first degree connection. Also, their network of company employees are now your 2nd degree connections. You now will be able to see full names of employees within the target company!
  • If the recruiter likes your profile, they will likely reach out to you for a short conversation via e-mail or over the phone. They may forward you on to the recruiter who handles the positions you are looking for.

What if they accept my connection but I never hear from them?

Send them an e-mail or LinkedIn message. You are now a first degree connection on LinkedIn.

When you do hear from them, do not forget to ask them for AIR – Advice, Insights and Recommendations!

Recruiters need you as much as you need them. They are looking for referrals. When you talk with them, always be polite and courteous. Always complete the conversation with how can I help you?

Remember that recruiters move around. Keep track of their career moves using LinkedIn Contacts functions or websites like Nimble.  Be helpful to them, even when you are not looking for your next gig.

In my next post I will write about building your referral network!
This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Research Your Target List – The Targeted Job Search

Research Your Target List

target listThis is the third in the series on the Targeted Job Search.

If you have not already read the previous posts, please do that now:

Step #2 in this process is to properly research the companies on your radar. Your goal is to find out if the company is somewhere you would want to work.

Start with some basic research:

  • Check out each company’s website from your target list. Particularly, check out the press release section. Here, you will find press releases for financials, if it is a public company. If it is a start-up company, you will want to look for press releases for funding announcements.
  • Check out all of the companies on your target list on Glassdoor. You will want to take the reviews on Glassdoor with a grain of salt. Read this latest article on Recruiter.com titled “Should Employers Fear Glassdoor Reviews.”

Connect on LinkedIn with Current Employees

You will want to locate employees by either certification or job title from your target list. The process I have had clients follow is the following:

  • Go to LinkedIn Advanced Search
  • Enter the certification letters (PMI or SPHR or CCNA, etc.) in the Last Name field or your job title in the Title field.
  • Enter the company name in the Company field and select current from the drop down menu
  • Enter your zip code into the Postal Code field
  • Click on Search

Using LinkedIn, locate people in the company who you are either already connected to or who you are a 2nd degree connection with. You will want to ask your connection how well they know the individual and whether they would be willing to make an introduction. You are looking for an introduction.

You may have to approach multiple connections for multiple individuals. Be persistent.

Once you have an introduction, schedule a phone call to plan to meet for coffee or lunch in order to ask them for AIR – Advice, Insights and Recommendations!

You are not looking for a job. You want to find out whether they like working there. What are the good and bad points about working there? Lastly, you want to ask them – who should I talk to next or who can you introduce me to learn more?

Connect with them on LinkedIn.

Connect on LinkedIn with Past Employees

Follow the same process but in the drop down menu for company select Past not Current!

You will want to ask these past employees why they left the company.

You may get a different view of the company!

Connect with these individuals on LinkedIn.

If you approach these individuals asking for advice rather than asking for a job,most of them will be receptive.

When did you turn anyone down when someone asked you for advice?

Next week I will be writing about connecting with recruiters.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Building your Target List – The Targeted Job Search

Your Target List

target list

Your target list should contain companies that could hire you. You should be looking for companies that are looking for your skill set. This is step one of Target the Company and Quit Chasing the Job  or the Targeted Job Search.

Let’s cover four sources to find these companies.

1 – Your Friends

This might seem obvious, but you should talk to your friends about where they work and whether they know of companies that hire people like yourself. Remember, we are not looking for companies that are hiring, but those that are capable of hiring you at some point in the future.

2 – Business Journal

Just about every major metropolitan area has a business journal. Here is Austin, it is the Austin Business Journal. Each week, they have a new list of companies. At the end of the year, they publish the Book of Lists. You can usually get the Book of Lists in most public libraries. Look at the best places to work and fastest growing lists. Beware that, even if a company made the best places to work list last year, that does not mean it is a great place to work. Just like with investments, past performance does not necessarily predict future results!

You may find other resources similar to the Business Journal that lists companies.

3 – LinkedIn Advanced Search

Search using LinkedIn Advanced Search for people with similar titles and certifications. For example, if you are a project manager and have a PMP certification. You would perform a search where you place “PMP” in the last name field and enter your zip code in the Postal Code field.  The results would list people in your network who have PMP list in their last name field and are located near you. Make a list of companies where the people in your list work.

Perform searches using the title field. Enter variations of the title you currently have or would like to have in your next job. Add the companies you find to your target list.

4 – Public Databases

I use a resource provided by the Austin Public Library called The A to Z Databases. This is a great resource for locating small and medium size businesses. Check your library to see if it is available.

Your list is a working list and should contain 15-25 companies. You will never stop working on this list. This list should be updated monthly, even when you are happily employed.

The next step in the Target the Company and Quit Chasing the Job or the Targeted Job Search will be to research the companies on your list. I will be discussing researching these companies next week!

Are you ready to start building your list?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

‘Court’ a Hiring Manager Without Seeming Like a Creep

Use LinkedIn to get on the radar of your target companies.

LinkedInIn the professional world, much of what is experienced is passive recruiting – where recruiters are out looking for talent among those who are already employed (and not job-seeking). This practice is similar to being courted, which produces good feelings. Though one may still turn down the offer, the fact remains – it is still nice to be pursued.

(This article originally appeared on US News Money and Careers Section February 27, 2014)

Many professionals are starting to take overt actions in preparation for this “courtship.” They begin by asking which companies they would like to be a part of and which cultural dynamics line up with their own.

Build a target list of companies. The first preparatory step is to create a list of companies that hire candidates with your skill-set. Which companies might hire you?

Utilizing LinkedIn’s advanced search helps many people research applicable job titles, highlighted skills and referenced certifications. An example of this is a project manager who has PMP certification. He or she can generate a LinkedIn advanced search where the last name contains PMP while at the same time specifying the desired location using zip code.

Look at local business journals and newspapers for their annual best places to work reports. Investigate these lists carefully, as a company that is great to work for today may not be one tomorrow. Company culture is an ever-shifting dynamic, and many who have worked at these places would not agree that they are ideal. There is a reason why “past performance does not necessarily predict future results” is a popular sentiment.

Vet the target list. A list is not worth much unless it’s acted upon, so the next step is just that. Connect with a target company’s current employees by requesting lunch or coffee meetings. Try to gain a clear understanding of their satisfaction. They may even be willing to introduce you to their colleagues.

Conversely, it is worthwhile to also speak to people who have left the company. Finding these people on LinkedIn by using advanced search and selecting “past but not current” in the company field makes this process easy. These folks are often the most honest about company culture, and are therefore worth the time and effort to pursue.

Remember that building a company list takes time and periodic re-evaluation. Contact lists should be grown with care and precision, adding to them maybe once every week or two.

Take this concept even further by asking for an introduction to the company recruiter. The above steps should be taken when one is not looking for a job, thus creating a more open conversation flow. The whole point is to broaden your network now so that you know where opportunities may exist in the future.

Promote a personal brand. The next step in this process is to promote a personal brand. Who needs to know that you know your stuff? When answering this question, also consider where people spend time on social media. It might be Facebook or Twitter, and don’t forget the professional value of LinkedIn. Most professionals and companies have profiles on this website, and this fact, combined with the extensive advanced search capabilities, makes LinkedIn an incredibly helpful tool in sharing personal brand. It’s wise to join the same groups that people on your list have joined, so that you may contribute actively and establish yourself as having the character and vision your personal brand exemplifies.

Twitter’s list feature is also good for tracking the activity of those with whom you care to associate. Systematically retweet and favorite some of their compelling content. In this manner, you will be noticed without being considered a stalker.

This concept of being where your target list of people are is no different than how teens hang out where their friends or crushes are. It improves the chances of being noticed in a less aggressive manner. You don’t want to appear to be a jerk.

Hiring managers at your target companies will learn that you know your stuff. This is a slow, methodical process. There is a tremendous parallel between finding a date and finding a new job. We all want to be asked out.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

(This article originally appeared on US News Money and Careers Section February 27, 2014)

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5 Questions to Ask Before Going from For-Profit to Non-Profit

For-profit to non-profit?

non-profitI am approached frequently by baby boomers on whether they should make the leap from the For-Profit world to the Non-Profit world.

The answer is almost always maybe.

I have had a tumultuous but successful career over the last decade and a half. Going from a large corporation to a successful high tech startup to teaching high school math at an inner city high school to working for a large non-profit to another successful high tech startup to starting my own business. Whew! I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but learned much as well.

Going from the for-profit world to the non-profit world is not necessarily  straightforward. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself:

1. Are you passionate about the cause?

In general, non-profit organizations are cause driven. The large exceptions are trade associations. If you are going to make the leap, find a cause that you have experience with and an organization that you have volunteered for in the past. Cause driven organizations want you to be invested in the cause. The exception might be if they are looking for specific skills for a specific project.

2. Are your skills transferable?

This is the tricky part. You may think your skills are transferable, but will the non-profit organization think so? For example, if you have years of sales expertise, you might say to yourself that your sales skills are directly transferable into fundraising. You assumptions are correct, in general. Will the hiring organization think so as well? You may have some significant selling to do on that idea. In fact, your sales experience is not considered valid for non-profit fundraising certification purposes.

It is best you do your research and enroll in some courses in non-profit management.

3. Can you deal with ambiguity?

Very often, the decision-making process in the non-profit world runs at a snails pace. Volunteer board of directors run most non-profit organizations, and they often depend on other volunteers. The pace of decision-making can be painful for those of us that come out of the corporate world. In this new world, you often deal with a lot of ambiguity where no one answer is the right answer.

Can you handle that?

4. Do you understand non-profit financing?

You are probably thinking, “I am not an accountant, so why do I need to understand this?” The reality is that money affects most decisions, and it is easy to make a lot of assumptions. Here is one example:

If a non-profit sells an item to raise money, does the organization need to collect sales tax? Most of you will say no because it is a non-profit. In Texas where I live, non-profits can sell items on two days a year and not collect sales tax. This allows the non-profit to have two fundraising events a year and not bother collecting sales tax. Any other day of the year they must collect sales tax. Therefore, if you sell t-shirts on your non-profit website everyday of the year, you must collect sales tax.

You may think you do not need to understand non-profit financing but… it sure helps!

5. Have you checked the finances of the non-profit?

You should look at the IRS form 990 or 990-EZ filed by the non-profit to understand their financial status. You will find the last three year’s returns easily accessible on the GuideStar website. GuideStar’s mission is to gather and disseminate information about every single IRS-registered nonprofit organization.

You will discover the funding sources, the expenses of the organization, and the salaries of the top employees. You will quickly get an idea of the financial stability of the organization and whether they can afford to pay you!

What I learned from my experience is that I enjoy serving on non-profit boards. I cannot tolerate the pace and ambiguity of working as paid staff in the non-profit world.

That is why I work for myself!

I can volunteer for the causes that I am passionate about. I currently serve on one non-profit board – Launch Pad Job Club, the elder statesman of organizations that support the unemployed in the Central Texas Region.

I cannot work for a non-profit!

Are you going to make the leap?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Certification – Is it worth it?

Certification

CertificationCertification is one of the hottest trends in the adult learning and employment space. Over the next 20-30 years, I believe we will see a shift from getting advanced college degrees to getting certifications.

The question I am often asked is:

Should I get “XYZ” certification?

My response is almost always – Maybe!

Before we jump into whether you should get a certain certification, let’s define what it means.

My definition for certification is: Some person or organization has deemed that you have attained a certain level of expertise and granted you a certificate.

There are three general classifications of certifications:

Federal or State issued

These are certifications like teaching, legal, social work, and medical. You must attain a certification to be able to perform this work. In the field of social work, it is often who pays the bill will determine whether you can work. For example, the Medicaid program requires practitioners have attained a certain level of certification to be paid by Medicaid. Practioners can see patients that self pay with a lower level of certification. If you want to be hired by an agency that handles Medicaid patients you must get the certification required by Medicaid.

Industry certifications

Industry-sanctioned groups issue these certifications. A good example of this is the PMP certification issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Another example, HR Certification Institute issues a variety of certifications like PHR or SPHR. You may see job descriptions that say “PMP certification preferred”.

Corporate certifications

Corporations issue these certifications. Most are technical in nature, like CCNA from Cisco or MCP from Microsoft.

This is a huge industry!

I even designed, developed, and implemented one of these programs for my last employer! They can be time consuming and expensive to attain and maintain.

How do I determine if I should get a certification?

The first question you need to ask yourself is, Do I have to have this certification?

I made a mid-career decision to go teach high school math. I have a Texas Educator Certificate for Standard Classroom Teacher Mathematics (Grades 8-12). I initially attained a Probationary Certificate, which allowed me to be hired. With some exceptions, I had to have the certification!

If you are looking at an industry or corporate certification, the next question you need to ask yourself is: What benefit will I get from having this certification?

Here is where this gets murky. The value of each certification is dependent on the demand in the local market.

Some certifications are hot in certain markets and not needed in others.

You need to do your research!

The process I have had clients follow is the following:

  • Go to LinkedIn Advanced Search
  • Enter the certification letters (PMI or SPHR or CCNA, etc.) in the last name field
  • Enter your zip code into the Postal Code field
  • Click on Search

The results will be everyone in your network who has placed the certification letters after their last name. Start connecting to some of these people and ask them if the certification is worthwhile. You will need to talk to enough people to make a good judgment for yourself!

The last question you need to ask is: What is the cost to get and stay certified, and is it worth it?

You will want to ask this question of everyone you contact. For example, I had a family member who had just graduated from college. He wondered whether attaining a specific certification would he useful. He was applying for an out of state position. I told him to contact the officers of the local industry association, which he obtained from their website, and ask for AIR: Advice, Insights, and Recommendations.

What several of the officers told him was that having the certification made them stand out during the dot com bust and, therefore, keep their jobs when others were laid off.  A valuable insight!

The point is, you have to ask if it is going to be valuable where you want to work!

The people who can tell you that are people with the certification where you want to work!

Make sense?

Are you going to get certified?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

3 Themes for Writing Your Brand Story

Brand story themes

Brand Story ThemesI previously wrote about the 3 Key Elements to a Brand Story. They are:

  • Strong opening
  • Memorable Label
  • Brand Theme

The challenge is often coming up with a brand theme. Depending on your particular situation, you may want to tell a story about:

  • How a major event impacted your life and career
  • A common theme throughout your life and career
  • Some talents that you want to demonstrate using a set of proof points

Major event

Some of us have had major events that propelled us into a career. In my case, it was a bicycle accident where I had a head on collision with a car and our combined speeds exceeded 50 miles per hour. This led me to teach high school math in an inner city school, develop non-profit fund raising programs, and now, to be a career designer.

In my post on 3 Key Elements to a Brand Story I mentioned Tonya Clements‘ story and it was all about mountain climbing and how she trekked Mount Everest.

Okay not everyone has climbed Mount Everest or survived a crazy bicycle accident.

I had one client who danced ballet in her younger years, and that shaped much of the rest of her working life. The drive, discipline, and the artistic expression from ballet were what defined her brand.

Common theme

There are some of you that have worked across multiple industries and used many different skills. There is usually a common theme that ties your career together. Very often, you will not see the theme, but if you can find a friend, relative, or colleague to help you, it may become evident.

I had one client who worked across many industries. This included:

  • EKG technician
  • Selling computers for leading technology companies
  • Developing processes and then training sales people in the financial industry
  • Commercial real estate developer
  • Residential real estate broker

The common theme throughout her career was that it was all about people and processes.

This works well if you have had a varied career, working in multiple industries or career paths.

Proof points

If you have had a very stable career in a single discipline or industry and want to stay put, then use proof points to demonstrate that you know your stuff!

I am currently working with a product manager in the software industry. We created a powerful opening around the concept that he brings problems into focus.

He came up with three examples in three different areas where he demonstrated that he could take a problem and make it understandable to his management, team, customers, stakeholders, etc.

These clearly demonstrate that he knows his stuff. We have now handed the task of writing the story to someone who knows him well.

Which method will work for you?

It will depend!

Do you want to change industries or careers? If so, the proof point theme probably will not work.

Has a single event or activity had a major impact in your life? Not all of us have this kind of experience. Plus, you might have to do some significant reflection to truly understand the impact of such an event or activity.

No matter what theme you choose you will want to get some help, either from a friend or a professional. You will not want to do this alone!

What theme works for you?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

 

Adding Storytelling to the Interview Process

Story Telling?

Story TellingStory telling is a very compelling way to inform the interviewer that you know your stuff.

The purpose of telling stories is to get you to talk about your most memorable accomplishments, biggest challenges, the ways you deal with conflict, and how you recover from a stumble.

If you answer every question in an interview with a story, it shows that you have demonstrated your expertise in a real world setting.

Over time, you will want to build up a library of stories that, at a moments notice, you can pull off the shelf and share.

The stories in your library should be constructed to have three sections:

  1. Clearly state the problem
  2. Describe how you solved the problem
  3. Describe the outcome

What stories should you have at your disposal?

Step #1 – Look at the responsibilities section of the job description

Take each responsibility listed in the job description and create a story that talks about a situation where you demonstrated the documented skill. Write out each story then rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse some more. You will want to be able to tell the story in a very conversational manner. You want it to sound natural.

What if you have not actually performed the tasks or roles described in the job description?

Find a situation where you performed similar responsibilities. Start the story out by saying:

I have not been in that exact situation, but let me tell you about the time I did something similar!

Step #2 – Standard interview questions

Prepare a story for each of the following common interview questions:

  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is you greatest weakness?
  • How do you handle stress and pressure?
  • Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it?
  • How do you evaluate success?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your goals for the future?
  • Tell me about yourself.

These questions came from About.com Career > Job Searching section

Step 3 – Be prepared for Behavioral interview questions

Behavioral questions are best answered in story form. Some sample behavioral questions:

  • Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem.
  • Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.
  • Give an example of a goal you didn’t meet and how you handled it.
  • Describe a stressful situation at work and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure.
  • How do you handle a challenge?
  • Have you been in a situation where you didn’t have enough work to do?
  • Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?
  • Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it.

These questions and more can be found at About.com Career > Job Searching section

Interview preparation

You will want to practice telling your stories in front of a mirror. Remember to smile! Pay attention to your facial expressions as you tell each story. Your delivery should sound natural and unrehearsed.

Print out each question that you have prepared for, along with a short description of the associated story. Use large fonts with a lot of white space to make it easy to read.

Bring this into the interview and be prepared to take notes on how well each story was received.

If you are unsure which story to use to answer a particular question, repeat the question back to the interviewer by saying, “I want to make sure I understood you correctly. What I heard you say is…”

This gives you a chance to gather your thoughts and scan your list of questions and stories in order to pick the most appropriate.

Over time, your library of stories will grow and you will get better at retelling them. Each time you tell a story, pay attention to how it was received. Did the interviewer enjoy the story? Did the interviewer display positive body language?

The more you practice sharing your stories, the more natural you will become in telling them.

Are you ready to add story telling to your interview process?

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

————————————————

Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

Subscribe

————————————————

Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist