So my good friend Kevin Watson agreed yesterday to let me blog about him as we work together to land his next gig. Kevin's done a lot in his career. Much of it cutting edge. None of it boring. He's decidedly open to consulting opportunities because he does not want to move out of Ottawa. CANADA despite the 22 centimeters of snow which is now falling - adding to the 3 feet we're already enjoying.
So where to start?
Every successful job search starts with a plan - on paper. Well thought out and vetted! No plan? You'll get frustrated and quickly drop into a depression. Kevin and I spent the better part of a week thinking about his plan and organizing the strategy. We're looking for shortest safest, most effective route to Nirvana. Here's what we're thinking and why.
Our plan is:
- Solution oriented,
- Results driven,
- Marketing based,
- Inexpensive to execute,
- Realistic, and
News flash: Rarely is it the most qualified candidate who gets hired. (If you've ever had a nincompoop for a manager, you know exactly what I mean.)
In the real world, jobs most often go to those who best position themselves as the solution to a problem. Now, here's the catch: Employers often don't realize they have a problem until someone points it out to them. So, if you can identify employers' problems - and offer yourself as the best solution - you'll increase your chances of getting hired. Immediately. Every time.
The sooner you come to grip with this FACT the sooner you'll stop relying on your superior "experience" to get you an interview. It won't work. You have to be great AND figure out how to get in front of a hiring manager faster than your competitors.
Like a runner training for a marathon, you must measure your progress. Doing so tells you how close you are to your goal. It also keeps you motivated and committed to your plan.
Measuring results requires you to track certain key metrics. Here are a few of the dozens of proven tactics from Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters that you can track:
· How many out of the box activities have you deployed?
· How many targeted resumes have you sent out?
· How many guerrilla networking activities are you engaged in?
In business, the companies with the best marketing usually win. Winning the War for Talent is similar. It requires you to become proficient at marketing yourself better than other candidates.
Looking for a job is a sales and marketing activity - and you are the product.
In 1997, Tom Peters introduced the concept of "The Brand Called You." At the time, personal branding was a sort of luxury, reserved for high-flying techies and senior executives who wanted to maximize the financial returns of their biggest asset -- their career.
Today personal branding is no luxury - it's a requirement for career survival. For more on how to brand yourself for free visit this link
Knowing what you want to do is good. Combining it with what you're "qualified" to do is even better. You may be pleasantly surprised at how your current skill-set can transfer to other industries.
For a clear picture of what's possible with your skills, visit America's Career InfoNet. If you're not qualified for what you want to do, get moving and determine how to get qualified.
In my 22+ years of executive recruiting, the biggest problem I've run into is that people aren't realistic - especially unemployed people. You're setting yourself up for disappointment if you apply for jobs you're not qualified to do. Sometimes you may have to take a temporary step backwards to move forward in a new career. BUT … the sooner you take that step, the sooner you'll arrive at your goal.
Knowing the exact title and function of the job you seek gives you a clear, specific goal, with no possibility for error. If you have a clear target and don't hit it, you'll know for sure.
So, get clear and get specific. The more, the better.
For example, I'll wager that Vicki Vlachakis new exactly what she wanted to do and who she wanted to work for before she started her job search. When the opportunity came along to design the new two-seater convertibles for Saturn and Chrysler, she recognized her chance to hit not one, but two home runs.
Nothing is more important to your success than a clear "picture" of your goal. (Please read that sentence again. I'll wait :-) Even if it's in a small town.
The reality is if you can envision your dream job AND you're qualified to do, it then you can find it. With a specific goal in mind you can organize your job search and networking efforts with a laser like focus.
Yes, some people are lucky and fall into great jobs, but luck [as Tom Peters says] is terribly unpredictable. The dramatic changes in today's world of work mean that tried-and-true methods of job hunting will soon be outmoded.
The one constant in all successful job searches, however, is clarity of purpose. It will give you the goal you seek and the fuel to reach it.
Here's a mindmap of Kevin's plan.
There are specific tactics for the two major strategies we're using to "find" and "be hunted". It'll be interesting to see which ones work the best for him and how the two strategies combine to create his own Force Multiplier Effect.
Stay tuned.... And chime in with your own ideas!