Career / Personal Development
Recently, I had a brief email conversation about an article I presented in three parts; How a Candidate is Viewed by a Hiring Manager . It covered how a hiring manager views candidates. I received a comment that was extremely accurate. The person emailing said, the bottom line is, there is so much information out there, how do you know what is helpful and what is not?
They also asked what information is worth paying for and what is not worth paying for? Very good questions that I am sure most people ask themselves. I understand those questions that are being asked and how serious they are for those seeking a job or a better opportunity. .
A search on the internet for job search advice revealed over 90 million results. Pick other job search related words and you can get even more results. For those seeking a sip of accurate advice, they are met with a fire hose of input. If it does not make someone skeptical, it should. No wonder it is a difficult decision. I think there are a number of things the questions bring to mind.
How do you separate the wheat from the chaff of quality versus worthless information, advice and tips? What is valuable and worth an investment and what is better left alone?
Now, while it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, it is not impossible. One has to look at the assumptions most individuals start that result in false conclusions. Let me see if I can illustrate what I mean. Everyone’s mind set is conditioned to some specific set of rules. In truth, there really are not any rules.
I have pointed out in the series of previous articles the method applied by the vast majority of job seekers is antiquated at best. I also wrote an article, Apples and Oranges http://www.careertalkguys.com/38.html about the origins and evolution of the job search methodology that created the so called rules.
In the late 1940s, 1950s and into the 1960s, companies were struggling to find people. That is when employment agencies came into prominence. They ran ads (either real or fictitious) to attract a job seeker to their office. When an individual arrived and inquired about the ad, they were interviewed. It wasn’t what you or I would expect as an interview. It was very basic, more to just collect basic information and brief background. The employment counselor filled out paper work, and then the applicant waited in the lobby with others seeking a shot at a job. The employment counselor immediately called numerous companies that might need a person like the one they had just interviewed.
When they came upon someone that appeared to fit, they sent the person to interview with the company. The applicant reported back to the employment counselor with the perceived results. In many cases, the applicant paid the employment agency for this service if hired, not as it is commonly done today, where the company pays the recruiter. It evolved slightly when people became more mobile for their jobs and the demand for technical talent increased. They might have answered ads in the newspaper in a specific locale. They sent a cover letter and resume (work history) to the company. They hoped to get a call to interview over the phone, then a face to face interview, if it went further.
The employment companies have evolved to recruiting firms that work for their client companies rather than for candidates/applicant. Yes, we have added the technology of computers, Blackberries, and the speed and distance it can cover. It also adds to the job seekers ability to research potential companies for employment. The job boards have taken the place of the employment agencies and the company job listings on their websites have added to methods of attracting people. Social networking has stumbled around becoming a venue for seeking opportunities and talent. Other than that, not much has changed. It is still an attempt to perform a matching process.
You can see during that period, there was a strong demand for people and many people were seeking jobs, so it was a matching process and not much more. Today, there is a weak demand for people, a large supply of job seekers, and very little process wise for the two to connect effectively.
The assumptions that most have are a result of the history described above. What comes to mind it the terrible saying, we have always done it this way. The conclusion most come up with is this process will work. You do not have to look very far to see that it is not working and in reality, it has never worked well regardless of the economy.
In several articles that we have written, we describe how jobs have become very complex today. Think back over your own career and consider how your work has changed in complexity for many different reasons. Add to that the complexity of the challenges and the culture of companies today.
The question becomes, why are people still trying to simply match what is on paper with what a company says it needs in an ad (job posting)? I think you can see how ineffective that is for the employer. It is equally difficult for the job seeker to know what the employer wants in complete terms and to how present their true potential to contribute in any role by depending on the old standard resume. It is unrealistic to believe a hiring manager will respond to a resume, because they truly believe the person is qualified for the position.
This all leads back to the wheat and chaff separation question. The assumption job seekers should make about what is valuable or not is, what advice, information, training, coaching, etc, is offered that is not based upon a fifty year old style and process. They should evaluate a job seeking solution by being certain that it will not lead them back to presenting a resume to an unknown and having to wait for some type of favorable result. Turning that around, what process exists that will allow me to:
- Be proactive not passive in the job search activity. That means not simply sending resumes, waiting a specific length of time, and following up with an email or telephone call. That is not proactive.
- Identify those companies I want to work for and I feel am a close fit with my skills, experience, and accomplishments
- Present my credentials in a compelling way that will tell the hiring manager I am a qualified candidate and he/she will want to act
- Be able to get an interview and know how to take charge of the interview
- How to get a fair and reasonable offer that is a win-win solution for both employer and you
- How to start my new job in a manner that will create a long term opportunity.
The elements described in Part Two are not remotely close to the dated and traditional process. An effective process to obtain a better opportunity or new job must be a proactive process producing specific results from practical and creative actions taught. It is not a passive approach with vague actions that may or may not yield results.
I strongly suggest you question every piece of advice given. Ask why would that particular advice or direction received accomplish your desired results? If it will only follow the traditional process, then it probably is not really help.
•Changing how a resume looks is not going to get anyone’s attention
•Adding a bunch of action verbs that everyone else adds will not grab anyone’s attention. It will actually be cause for rejecting you.
•Knowing how to answer the question, what are your strengths in ten different ways, is not going to wow a hiring manager
If you present yourself to a hiring manager with information of how you can solve their specific problems, help them take advantage of their specific opportunity or resolve some specific issues, then you will get their attention. It has to be through your skills, experiences, and accomplishments.
That is just a sample of the issues. There are many more to overcome. As I stated above, everyone is conditioned that there are some specific set of rules. The fact is there really are not any rules, yet everyone is fixated on them instead of thinking through the question what does the hiring manger want? They have to ask once they know what the hiring manager wants and needs, what do I possess that will solve those problems and issues? How do I communicate that to the hiring manager? It may be different for every position even with the same title for every hiring manager wants something different.
The paragraph, the essay, and in some cases, even the book that offers some variation of the same traditional process is of little value. Therefore, I would be reluctant to consider an investment of time (let alone money) into more traditional conditioning.
Most everyone agrees by their own experience that the traditional process does not work. Look for what is proactive and creates specific results with each step to achieve the end goal, the job you want. A couple of qualifiers should be added. One is that it should have a complete process. The process should include how to gain the skills to start the right way, and conduct each step through starting the first day with the new employer. If not, it is like changing a flat tire with everything but the jack. It will not be very helpful and the desired outcome will be lacking.
The final consideration is who is providing the training? If they have simply re-packaged what everyone else is selling, walk away. You are right back in the same boat. If they have developed it and prosecuted it many times with success then you should look very closely and consider it. With a combination of a process that is proactive, proven and developed by those that have actually done the work, an investment in time and money is well worth it. It will most likely lead to the job you want.
Unlike many professional skills that often have there beginnings in schools and professorial teaching, learning a proven process for changing or finding jobs is only valuable when gained from those who hands on experience was forged a the crucible of creating their livelihoods.
Doug Beabout CPC CSP brings over twenty-seven years of expertise in top production, personnel services firm ownership, and industry training. His reputation for training excellence has placed him, repeatedly, as a guest speaker for the National Association of Personnel Services. Doug currently works with many state level associations as a featured trainer and speaker at several state conferences. He is a business consultant to many franchised and independent personnel services firms.
Doug is owner and president of The Douglas Howard Group, a personnel and training services company. Doug works a “desk” every day and he is uniquely qualified as a personnel services industry trainer. Many of his clients have put their net worth ON THE LINE to succeed in the personnel services industry and did as a result of his training and guidance.
Doug previously held the position of Vice-President of Training and Development for SRA International, Inc. for ten years and was responsible for the establishment and success of hundreds of personnel services firms and their staff members. Prior, Doug was owner and president of a successful contingency, temporary and retained personnel services firm for ten years in Dayton, Ohio. He gained his early placement experience as a personnel services consultant in an independent firm.
Doug’s professional experience started as an officer in Strategic Air Command. He was assigned to several B-52 bomber units throughout the continental U.S. and Pacific regions. Doug has a Bachelor's degree in Comprehensive Training and Education.
Doug has held the title of CPC; certified personnel consultant (NAPS) since 1981 and is included in several Marquis’ Who’s Who publications.
Doug can be reached at his Destin Florida Search Consulting firm, the Douglas Howard Group, 850.424.6933Call Doug today at 850.424.6933 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org , he will take you to your highest billing goals.
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