Read the paper, listen to the news and talk to your neighbor and it’s hard to believe that anyone is hiring. In a February Gallup Poll 90 percent of Americans said this is a bad time to find a “quality job”, an increase of 30 percentage points from January 2008. Pessimism reduces spending which reduces jobs, but this is all information you know.
“There are jobs” reports Keith Mullin, CEO of outplacement provider Mullin & Associates He was surprised, but not shocked, to learn that 10 percent of the candidate population receiving outplacement services from Mullin & Associates landed new jobs during the first 7 weeks of this year. The new jobs were at all levels in a range of industries, including financial services. Yes the numbers are grim but a job search will not go anywhere when a candidate wallows in despair under the weight of opinion that there are no available jobs. I have heard more than one story about former executives who are doing little more than waiting for the phone to ring.
Mullin describes a five-step process for job seekers to reach their goal:
Develop a Reason for Leaving Statement
It’s easy to simply announce, “My job was eliminated.” Potential employers won’t blink and are unlikely to ask many questions about the circumstances around the job loss. A solid reason for leaving statement combines three main themes. It describes progressively responsible roles that had a positive impact on the business (revenue growth, process improvement or cost reduction) and successful operation a different business and/or corporate environments (matrix, centralized or decentralized, growth, decline, commodity etc.) It also addresses “what happened” — job elimination, shift in strategic direction, allocation of resources, or getting out of the business. Lastly, it assures potential employers that the person left on good terms.
This sets the stage for how one thinks about their departure. It also provides the foundation for the other key efforts, it defines the professional.
We want to do everything well but what are the key strengths that the candidate brings to the market? These are the talents and experiences that will drive value for a future employer. Identifying major business strengths and achievements enables a job seeker to focus their search and concentrate on finding the position that will enable these strengths to shine.
Write an Effective Written Resume
The 10-year-old resume that is simply updated with each job change will not make the cut. But candidates should not spend all their time perfecting bullet points to create a resume that they send to the world simply to wait for a response. A much more effective document will be produced when the resume starts with the goal of highlighting key strengths. Realizing that the resume is a tool in a job search, and not the primary product, will make the difference between finding work and waiting for a call.
Create a Powerful Verbal Resume
Sure, the paper document is important, but candidates need to be able to describe and sum up their resume in every encounter, face to face and on the phone. They really have to own the experience and make certain that their talents shine through in a targeted, well thought out manner. The powerful verbal resume creates the difference between a polite nod and an appointment, or at least contact information.
This is the legwork of a job search. Creating targets identifies who the candidate should be talking to. It’s developing a list and then getting out there. Creating targets is not applying for any remotely applicable online job posting or rewriting a resume for every option. Targets are part of a plan; the success depends on the execution.
Whether you are job hunting, listening to your neighbor, or cutting staff, think twice before you succumb to the attitude of pure doom and gloom. Someone else is taking steps to get a job, and they are working.