Tag Archives: skills

3 elements of a successful job search and playoff soccer

SkillsCharacterEnduranceThis past weekend my son participated in a soccer tournament for the state championship.

What this means is he played eight additional games for a total of 18 this spring.

This also means I coached 18 games. I never thought I’d say I’m sick of the world’s most popular sport, but I am.

The teams that succeed in reaching the state finals had three things going for them: skill, character, and endurance. The coaches and parents were just plain crazy for sticking it out.

Similarly jobseekers who succeed in landing a job—the winner of a state final in soccer of the job search—demonstrate the same three traits throughout the entire process.

Skills. Not enough to have the required skills and accomplishments, jobseekers must be able to display them in their written and verbal communications. I tell the participants who attend my Job Search 101 workshop that bringing their written and verbal communications together makes for a successful marketing campaign.

The most obvious example of written communications would be the résumé, which above all else must address employers’ needs by demonstrating the required qualifications. Employers want to see the skills and accomplishments needed to do the job well, not a generic, one-fits-all document.

The interview is the ultimate display of verbal communications. Let’s face it, if you can’t pass the interview, you don’t get hired. Only one person gets hired, and this is the person who shows he/she has the skills and accomplishments that fit the job. Know what skills the employer requires, so you can better predict the questions that will be asked.

Character.  This is a vague term but is essential to achieving likability, demanding respect, and showing humor. You must show your character when networking. Networkers appreciate other networkers who they understand—think clarity of skills and goals—as well as those who are willing to help them.

Your character is essential at the interview, as it demonstrates your interpersonal skills, motivation, enthusiasm, ability to work as a member of a team, and other desired “soft skills” the employer is seeking.

Your character also shows itself in your written communications. Many of us have received LinkedIn messages that are negative in verbiage and tone. The writers complain and make excuses about their past failures, showing a lack of self-awareness. This is another way for people to show a lack of character.

Endurance. This is perhaps one of the most difficult of the three components to sustain. Sadly I must admit I was willing–nay hoping–for the soccer tournament to end, because I felt my energy drain from me with each game.

Jobseekers sometimes feel this way, especially if the interview process stretches to five interviews over a period of 5 weeks. Some of  my customer have described this hellish situation to me.

This is when a jobseeker must reach down deep in his soul to move on, not dwelling on the worse–he doesn’t get the job. Maintaining endurance is a matter of treating yourself well during the process.

Get enough sleep, spread your research out over a period of days and not cramming like a college student, and take a well advised break are some of the things you should do to keep the endurance. My response to jobseekers during these times is stay the course and do your best.

Endurance is also required when writing tailored documents for each job, as opposed to blasting 20-30 resumes and cover letters over the Internet, or should we say into the black whole. Every resume and cover letter is unique to every job.

Jobseekers must faithfully attend networking events or network in public whenever they get the opportunity. LinkedIn is a great way to network online, but it should not replace face-to-face networking. Demonstrating excellent skills and character is essential when speaking with others who may be able to help you, so consistency is important as you brand yourself.

My son’s team was eliminated from the tournament in the semi-finals. You might think I was relieved, and up to the point where the final whistle blew, I thought I’d be happy for it to end; but I was actually disappointed that the games were over. The boys demonstrated skills, character, and endurance throughout the whole season. This is what I hope my customers are able to sustain. Of course the stakes are much higher–after all soccer is a game–but the same principles apply.

Make room for supporting skills on your résumé

Guest article from Martin Yate, CPC, author, Knock ’em Dead Series.

If you want your résumé pulled from the databases and read with serious attention, it’s common knowledge that it needs to focus on the skills you bring to a single target job. However, employers still want to know about your supporting skills.

For example a colleague and hiring manager in the IT world says, “ I don’t just want to see evidence that someone is a hotshot in say, the .NET Framework; I also want to see that they can get around with other languages, so that I know (a) that they understand programming as distinct from just .NET, and (b) that if my company introduces a new programming language/development environment in the future, I have someone who will be able to handle that with ease.”

To satisfy these understandable needs, your resume must nevertheless

1. Be data-dense enough, with that data focused on the “must have” skills of the job to get your résumé ranked high enough in database searches. A recruiter will not read your résumé unless it ranks in the top 20 of that recruiter’s database search; because twenty résumé is about as deep as they ever go.

2. No one enjoys screening résumé, and the process is initially visual, in that recruiters scan a résumé for key content and will naturally favor those résumé where the layout enables a reader to rapidly access key information.

These factors contribute to the need for your résumé to have a laser focus on a target job: the résumé’s goal is to get you into conversation and if it speaks clearly and succinctly to capabilities as described in your analysis of Job Postings it will do so. This approach is proven and it is the default starting point for a productive résumé.

You can still get this important supporting skills information into your résumé, without taking up too much room, by using a Core Competencies section. This will come at the front of your résumé, after contact information, your Target Job Title and any Performance Profile or Summary.

The Core Competencies section is a simple list of all the skills that you bring to the job. You’ll start with those skills most important to your Target Job; but you can also add all those skills, that support your all-around professionalism.

Here’s an example of a Core Competencies section from an operations management resume:

Professional Core Competencies

Strategic Business Planning Project Management Cross-Functional Team Building
IT/IS Human Resource Issues Employee Benefits
Risk Management Hiring, Training & Coaching Negotiations
Research & Analysis Financial Modeling Business Modeling
Portfolio Management Acquisitions & Divestitures Policies & Procedures

Adding a Core Competencies section to the front end of your résumé and then repeating those same words in the context of the jobs in which they were used has two major benefits

  • It’s a concise review of all the hard skills you bring to the table and is a real attention grabber to a recruiter
  • It multiplies the occurrence of keywords likely to be used by recruiters in the database searches and will dramatically improve your resume‘s ranking

You can learn much more about resumes in Knock em Dead Resumes & Templates on the book pages here at http://www.knockemdead.com
Courtesy, www.KnockEmDead,com

States with the most volunteers have the lowest unemployment rates…5 reasons to volunteer

A recent report by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) claims that volunteering can contribute to reducing unemployment rates. This study points to volunteering in the community and for nonprofit organizations and says this about volunteering:

“Participation in civil society can develop skills, confidence, and habits that make individuals employable and strengthen the networks that help them find jobs. 59% of volunteers in national service programs believe their volunteer service will improve their chance of finding jobs, perhaps because it helps them learn marketable skills or because it broadens their professional contact networks, or both.”

Let’s revisit why volunteering is beneficial to your job search success.

1. Volunteering is a great way to do a positive thing. You may consider choosing an organization where your efforts are meaningful in a big way. The Salvation Army comes to mind. Every year around Christmas holiday thousands of volunteers ring the bells in front of businesses. All for the sake of helping the less fortunate get by during the holidays. A customer of mine said she volunteers at a soup kitchen. While she’s an accountant, she has a soft spot in her heart for the less fortunate. This appeals to employers.

2. Volunteer to network for your next job. Choose an organization that’s in the industry in which you’d like to work. If marketing is your forté, approach a company that needs a graphic artist or publicist to design some art for their website or write a press release or two. This organization in which you’ve managed to get your foot in the door can help you with leads at other organizations, especially if you do a smashing job. The director will want to help you because you’ve come across as competent and likeable. Who knows, you could possibly join the company if a position opens up…or is created.

3. Develop or enhance some skills that will make you more marketable. You’ve had it in your head to start blogging but haven’t had the time to dedicate to it. The organization that took you on as a volunteer in their marketing department not only can help you network; it can assist you in enhancing your diverse writing skills. Your approach might be to offer starting a blog for them, as the rest of the marketing department is up to their elbows in alligators. They gain a talented writer to write entries, and you learn the fine art of blogging. “Tie the skills needed to do the volunteer position back to the skills needed to support or enhance your profession,” says Dawn Bugni, owner of The Write Solution. “This keeps your skills sharp. You might learn something new….”

4. Feel useful. Yes, instead of sitting at home and watching The View, you can get back into work mode. Do you remember work mode? It begins with getting up at 6:00am, doing some exercise, leaving for some job from 8:00am to 5:00pm, all the while having that feeling of productivity. When you get home from volunteering, you can watch those episodes of The View on DVR.

5. Volunteering will pad your résumé. Yes, employers look at gaps in your work history. Instead of having to explain (or worse yet, not having the chance) why you’ve been out of work for three months, you can proudly say that you’ve been volunteering at Organization A in their marketing division where you authored press releases, created their newest website designs, and started them on your way to a new blogging campaign. Of course you’ll indicate on your résumé, in parenthesis, that this experience was (Volunteer) work. Nonetheless, it was work.

Any time you feel ripped off for working without pay, remember why you’re doing it; to do something positive, to network, to develop or enhance new skills, to feel useful, and to pad your résumé. If these five reasons aren’t enough, then by all means stay home and watch The View.