The Value of a November/December Job Search

Posted on: October 22nd, 2014 by
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It sounds a bit counterintuitive to do a job search just before the November/December holidays, but let me make some points: Between Thanksgiving and Christmas there are at least 12 unusual circumstances that give you an edge in the job search market. Your chances of finding the job your looking for are far greater because:

1. Some job openings must be filled before the year is up. Open positions that are not filled by December 31st may be lost unless re-budgeted for the new year
2. On the other hand, new positions that are budgeted for the New Year can be finalized in December for a January start-up. You want to be there first.
3. Your networking is at its most favorable between these holidays because everyone has downtime: Dinner parties, get-togethers, invitations to meet new people and old friends
4. Because of the holidays, less people are looking for jobs, so the competition is reduced
5. People are in a cheerful mood during the holidays so their receptivity & interest is higher
6. Job vacancies rise in corporations as bonuses are handed out during the holidays. People leave for greener pastures once they have their check in hand
7. Your determination to find a new opportunity during this period of time is noticed as a sign of persistence and resolve to better yourself
8. You’ll be in the market and beat the rush that occurs in January and February
9. Hiring managers want to get the open position filled early in December, getting it out of the way, so they can enjoy the latter part of December without worrying about it.
10. Hiring managers tend to travel less in December so they’re more likely to be available to interview, as holiday time off will be later in the month
11. If you don’t have a full time job already, you may snag a temporary or part time job during the holidays. A number of companies need additional help at this time of year.
12. You’ll keep the job search momentum going. If you stop the job search for a month or so, its difficult to start up from scratch again.

There are also some no-no’s to keep in mind:

1. Guide your conversations at social events about the terrific things your doing, not about the terrible boss you have or the hostile environment in the company
2. Don’t mention that you’re looking for another job and hand out your business card. It’s a real turn-off and people will start to avoid you.
3. If you play it right, interested people will ask you for your resume and give you their contact information. Don’t have your resume with you for distribution at a moments notice.

If these points make sense to you, now is the time to prepare your resume and develop the strategy to optimize your December activities. There are a number of possibilities for you to consider in making this holiday season a most memorable one. Contact me.

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Won’t Hire You Because…

Posted on: October 15th, 2014 by

Do you know why you always seem to come in second best? Here are some reasons why you may not be getting the nod for the job. Ask yourself some penetrating questions, and then maybe this article can be helpful. Here’s what to look for:

1. YOU’RE A PEST – Excessive calling and emailing is a major turnoff. If the company has contacted you in a positive way, you have reason to check for a status report, If you’re not contacted, forget it and move on.
2. INAPPROPRIATE – This category can be filled by improper dress, language, questions, answers, or a number of other job killing behaviors. Research the company and past employees to find out what are the no-no’s.
3. SUPER OVER-ACHIEVER – A pet peeve is an applicant who is way over their head. Don’t become delusional for a job that requires a great deal more experience than you have. A driving ambition without substance can be dangerous to your career.
4. IT’S ALL ABOUT ME, ME, ME – Very few if any job can be done without support or other contributions from others. Consider using the word “we” every so often. Also, when money is your primary focus, a red flag goes up to the hiring manager.
5. RESULTS ON STEROIDS – Making claims about your results is easy. Documenting your results and validated by references is harder. Find a way to prove your achievements.
6. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING – This is the candidate who is all things to all people in all jobs. The credibility of the candidate is brought into question. Focus on the elements of the job that are critical, then show where you excel.
7. YOU REHEARSED TOO MUCH – A mechanical, stilting response to questions indicate that you are playacting your answers rather than understanding the issues. Provide potential solutions to the hiring manager. Practice being relaxed to become a better candidate.
8. YOU HAVEN’T STAYED RELEVANT – If you haven’t kept up with the industry or technology, it will show up in unexpected and embarrassing ways. Talking about an application, skill or approach that are out of date is a dead giveaway.
9. YOU TALK TOO MUCH – Over-talking or cutting off the interviewer is a good way not to make the top tier. When answering questions, don’t ramble about things that aren’t relevant. It shows your searching for an answer that doesn’t convince.
10. YOU INTERVIEW BADLY – Bad grammar, inexact or vague language, improper use of words, going off the subject, or discussing unrelated information is wasting the time of an interviewer. Watch the interviewer’s eyes for signs of boredom.
11. FIBBING OR SLOPPY – The information on your resume, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and the interview results don’t match up. There are missing or conflicting dates, different job titles or changing responsibilities from place to place. It’s not worth their time to sort it out.

Getting your resume noticed is a numbers game. Once you’re interviewing it’s a matter of the relevancy of your prior results to the open position.

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Your Bragging Rights!

Posted on: October 7th, 2014 by

Let’s agree… you’re unique. But so what if no one knows about it? How will others know about your uniqueness if you don’t or can’t define how you’re a more compelling candidate on your resume?

You have bragging rights, but you’ll need to identify results that give you the edge in the marketplace. The key is to match your special skills and experience with those that are desired by hiring organizations. Here are specific examples from clients who have learned the lessons, applied them, and have achieved the jobs they desired but were initially unable to find.

These are actual examples of a before and after use of bragging rights on their resume:

Pat M: Before – “Improved revenue within the major customer base”
After – “Increased top 20 customers’ orders by 18% in the first year by….. “

Raul C: Before – “Improved departmental operations over a 2-year period
​ After – “Reversed a $500K over-budget to $600K under-budget within 2 years”

Chris O: Before – “Collected available data pertaining to steps in high-speed manufacturing”
After – “50% goal to reduce waste throughout this high-speed manufacturing process”

Ken A: Before – “Established all new service localities and negotiated long term contracts
After – “95% Increased revenue through acquisition of new and expanded services

Bill F: Before – “Conducted strategic assessments to ensure goal achievement”
​After – “$1 billion cost reduction by directing efficiency analysis teams”

Travis W: Before – “Used strong leadership skills and multi-tasking skills”
​ After – “15% increase of services for higher growth in 3 years”

Tara H: Before – “Responsible to lead the team who improved ranking in enrollment growth”
After – “17th to 8th in state ranking by establishing focused objectives”

Pam R: Before – “Fundraising efforts for new tower and medical services”
After – “Raised $5.8+ million in two years for Medical Center capital campaign”

Positioning your achievements in a more compelling way increases your visibility to do the job, and validates your ‘bragging rights”. All this assumes you have something to brag about.

Expectations from hiring organizations will not diminish over time. If you can’t show what you can do for them, they’ll never know your potential.

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Do the Math

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by
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Let’s take two professionals with made up careers. Let’s call them John and Bill. They both started with the same company, in the same job, in the same location. John stayed with the company for the past 12 years in the same position. His base pay was $75,000 twelve years ago. He has received the average merit pay increases of 2.5% for 6 years and 3% for the second 6 years.

Bill on the other hand also had the same base pay of $75,000. He received the same merit increases of 2.5% and 3% over the same 12-year period; only in Bill’s case he received a promotional increase of 15% by moving to another company for a higher-level position every 4 years: So 3 job moves in 12 years.

You do the math. Over their careers, with everything being equal, Bill would probably have twice the income and double the money in the bank more than John if they both saved all increases. Plus, Bill would have a career advantage, as his promotions would have leveraged him three levels above John with the opportunity to continue to advance. John would be in a career stall and not very attractive within the current job market.

Life is never that simple, however. For Bill, he needs to build in the cost of moving, transition issues for the family, the risks of a new job, unknown bosses in the future, stability of the new company and so on. Each of us needs to understand the implications of our career direction.

Job-hopping every year or so is not an attractive alternative. However, selective job advancements can be advantageous both in upward career movement and money in the bank. What if you’re stuck in a rut like John? A few thoughts:

1. Move to a comparable job within the current organization to gain functional exposure
2. Find a way to contribute to generating revenue or reducing costs. You’ll be noticed.
3. Join a board of directors of a non-profit organization: Again, exposure
4. Join associations or conferences to meet potential bosses and hiring organizations
5. Research what’s going on in other markets, industries, companies and functions

If you change jobs, never move for less than 10%. It’s about a break-even event unless it can accelerate you for further advancement. Once you’re in an organization your increase in compensation will be in a defined bandwidth. It’s only with a promotion does the bigger bucks come to you. The greatest opportunity for financial growth is when you’re recruited into a new organization, whether internal or external. Organizations tend to pay for talent on the way in (15% or more) but usually keep that same talent in a 2 to 5% level to keep them “happy”.

Whether you decide to stay put, test the market or move on, you’ll need to understand the implications of your decision. Keep your eyes open for the most advantageous opportunity and determine what’s in your best interests over time. You are your own best advisor.

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A Supervisor’s Checklist

Posted on: September 24th, 2014 by
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How good a supervisor do you have? How good a supervisor are you? Here’s a checklist of questions and traits to think about when supervizing others:

Do you have an organization where employees:
• Feel comfortable coming to you with their problems?
• Feel free to comment on how to improve the unit’s performance?
• Feel free to identify impediments or blocks to unit performance?
• Can provide input to influence decisions as they’re closer to the issues to be resolved?

Is your compnay an “employer of choice” so when people in your industry search for employment, they come to your company first?

Are you a manager that high performance employees gravitate to, because you:
• Give them the freedom to grow?
• Provide developmental training?
• Give them responsibilities for which they are prepared?
• Encourage and support them?

Are you willing to share in the responsibility for a shortfall of an individual’s performance as:
• You may not have hired correctly?
• You may not have trained them properly?
• You may not have supervised them effectively?
• You may not have supported them appropriately?

Assuming there is a performance shortfall, have you:
• Provided each individual with a prograssive work plan to shore up the shortfall?
• Provided support to increase their performance level so they are not in jeopardy?

In general, have you:
• Given each of your people targeted results with a reasonable time frame?
• Rewarded performance with acknowledgements that are visible to others?
• Pay for the performance in a way that is meaningful and encourage future efforts?

One of the best ways to assess your contributions as a supervisor is when your people are promoted out of your unit to lead others. Bad supervisors lose people because they want out of a non-supportive environment, where they can’t learn, grow or feel they are a part of an effective team.

Effective supervision is an art and a skill set. Only others can assess your value as a supervisor by the way they interact with you.

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