Archive for August, 2011

Job Search Strategies

Job Search Mind Map

Job Search Mind Map © Queen Schmooze

WHAT IF your circumstances have changed and you are faced with the prospect of looking for a new job? Do you know where to start? Have you figured out your destination? Do you even have a job strategy? Can you navigate the 21st century methodologies of looking for a job? All of these questions and more face job seekers who are looking to capitalize on the new wave of job hunting.

Several years ago, a friend of mine came to me out of a job in which he had been working for 28 years. He was faced with the new and unknown world of the job search. It was kind of like dating for the first time after a divorce. It was scary. The first thing that we did was to create a job strategy. I recommend that anyone who is: on the hunt for a new  job, changing jobs or careers, or perhaps wants to leave the employment world to become an entrepreneur, create a job strategy. I like to use a mind map like this graphic.

Some of the best ideas come from brain storming. This is a necessary piece of the puzzle that we all should do in order to find our path. What if you don’t know what you should really be doing or where to search for that elusive job? Start with a plan of action and then from there you can develop a full job strategy. Starting off organized and goal-oriented will ease the burden of your job search, making it much less painful.

Here are some ideas of how to plan your job search.

  • Find your target market audience and define their needs
  • Identify your profile / brand and what you can bring to the table
  • Use specific strategies and set a goal – what is your time frame and what do you hope to accomplish
Yellow Brick Road

Pathway to YOU

Next, you will probably need to identify the types of jobs you are going after and whether or not you want to work full-time, part-time, or do some consulting.  How many times have you run across someone who says that they just had to get out of the rat race? They had a burning passion and decided to go into business for themselves. Perhaps not being an employee but becoming an entrepreneur is more up your alley.

How you conduct your job search and where you search defines what type of search you doing.  Are you doing a traditional search and hoping to find a job that will just land in your lap? Or, are you being proactive, searching the hidden job market, using your networking skills, and social media tools to lay a path of breadcrumbs to your door? Have you engaged the services of a coach to help guide you, prep you and show you some of the unseen pathways that you can follow?

Using tools, such as a guerrilla resume or social media, can enhance your job search. These marketing tools make you a much more viable and visible product. Marketing is a very important aspect of the job search.  Most job seekers don’t realize how much they have to market their skills and highlight their accomplishments in order to compete in the job market these days. Make sure that you set your sights on the right prize.

Online Job Search

Your Online Job Search

Try some of these proactive strategies.

  • Start networking or attend Meetups – online or in person
  • Make sure that you have a good online presence with a LinkedIn profile or perhaps a Visual CV
  • Know where to search, put in job alerts, and possibly use recruiting agencies to help market you
  • Set yourself apart from other job seekers as the better choice by joining professional orgs or put yourself out there as a subject matter expert
  • Use social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, SlideShare and other tools to find jobs, post about yourself, ask and answer questions – get noticed
  • Look for ways to engage your target market audience, either in face-to-face meetings, online Meetups or requests for information

By doing a proactive job search and being prepared, you set yourself apart from the masses as the better choice for that job. You may even be able to work your way into a job that is not yet posted.  Sometimes just knowing who to talk to can land you in front of a hiring manager, who suddenly realizes that they desperately need your skills and want to create a job just for you!

Elevator Pitches

What would you do if the CEO of the company you have been trying to get into steps onto the elevator with you?  Would you be ready with your pitch of why that person should hire you?

The way to get your foot in the door is to make a pitch. Sell them on the idea that you are the right person for the job.  Job seekers need to be solutions and ideas people.  A person who fixes problems and foresees other issues that may arise is the right person for the job.  Employers don’t just want loyal hard working employees, they want people who can come up with creative solutions to fix problems and save resources, including time, money and man-power.

A good elevator pitch has several elements, but the most important is time.  You only have that CEO trapped on the elevator with you for on average five floors and that is at most 20 to 30 seconds.  It can be as short as 10 seconds to sell a concept.  The entrepreneur or job seeker must make the pitch or sell in that time and convince the listener that they want to buy. It’s all about the art of the sell. Can you convince the person trapped on the elevator with you to buy your skills or your product?

Most of us understand branding in this day and age. Just turn on the TV and try to quote back the tag line of Coke or Nike. You cannot drive down the street without seeing a logo or a brand that you don’t recognize. The same thing can be said of any product including a job seeker. What is to stop a job seeker from branding them self and selling their skills to the highest bidder?

Have you ever had that telemarketer on the phone who just never gets to the point? You have no idea what they are selling and then realize when they do get to the product or service that you are NOT the intended audience. By then you have no interest in the product and decide that the sales pitch was really bad. Why? The answer is that most people don’t know how to make the right pitch to the right audience.

Most people have some idea of which elements are essential to an elevator pitch and don’t know what NOT to include. Here are a few pointers on the best practices of what to INCLUDE in the elevator pitch.

  • Make the most of your time. Use your time wisely and zone in on your audience, their needs and your sell.
  • Tell them only what they need to know. Most potential employers or investors don’t need to know about your background. They only need to know about your strengths, costs, ability solve problems and how it will benefit them.
  • Have a HOOK. Sell them on the idea of you as the right person with the right ideas at the right time. Remember, as a job seeker it is NOT about you but you can DO for a potential employer.
  • Offer an advantage, keeping it short and sweet.Establish your credibility, preferably with some numbers.
  • End with the promise of another meeting, sending them an email with your resume or a specific time to demonstrate your product.

What NOT to include in an elevator pitch.Elevator pitch

  • Jargon or buzz words
  • A presentation – it’s not the right time
  • Name dropping
  • Focusing on you and forgetting your audience
  • Boring or irrelevant details
  • Personal data
  • Giving a long story

Make sure that you are pitching the right ideas. When you are stuck in that elevator, it is not the time to launch into a full sales pitch. You do that after you have made the initial contact and obtained interest from the target market audience. Use your time wisely. Don’t forget to close the pitch with a commitment for a lengthier meeting at which time you can make your presentation.

Always know your brand or your unique value proposition. Lastly, remember your audience and tailor your pitch as it is appropriate and timely.

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