5 Reasons to Panic (If Your Search Strategy Isn’t Working)

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by

Here are 5 reasons to panic if your search strategy isn’t working. I’m sure you can think of more, but these issues are solvable:

1. Nobody is responding to your resume
2. You’re not invited back after a number of initial interviews
3. Your falling behind your career and compensation goals
4. Your company is being acquired or in consolidation
5. You don’t have a compelling search strategy

What are you going to do about it? The first question to answer is: Are you using yesterday’s solutions for tomorrow’s issues? The world has changed in the past 2 years and it takes a different kind of job search strategy to win the competitive game of moving up.

Here are the 7 “MUST have’s” to get that next higher-level job:

1. You must have a compelling resume. Not just a good one, or a terrific one, but compelling. You want the hiring manager to scan your resume and say, “This is definitely someone I want to interview”. Send me you resume and I’ll critique it.
2. You must develop a strong networking matrix of people who know your work, can vouch for you and “market” you to others. They are the ones who know where the key jobs are, can introduce you into the organization and be your internal champion.
3. You must have measureable results that you can validate and build into your “story”. Everyone has a “before” and “after” story to tell but don’t know how to put it into words or put it together in a meaningful way. All performance is convertible into results.
4. You must research your function, industry and level to gauge your demand, value and compensation levels in relation to competitors. Also, research the companies that ask for an interview: Their issues, history, products, needs and strategies. You need to know more about them than they know about you.
5. You must be able to differentiate yourself from all others. Your uniqueness should be matched with the requirements of the open position. If you don’t know how you’re better than other candidates, then no one else can either.
6. You must have the skills for an effective interview. Interviewing for a staff position is very different from that as a manager or at the executive level. You also need the knowledge and skills for a effective telephone, group, panel and serial interviews. All are different and all need special coaching.
7. You must understand how to negotiate when given a job offer: The policy parameters, what is on or off the table, past exceptions, the level of decision and most importantly your requirements and acceptance for results, both short and long term.

Don’t panic if your search strategies aren’t working. There’s help if you know where to look.

Ready to test the market? Email: wkaufmann1@cox.net
Want a free assessment of your resume? Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net

Are You Better Off Now Than 2 Years Ago?

Posted on: January 21st, 2015 by

Answer these three questions:
1. Are you happy with your current job and continue to learn new skills?
2. Are you satisfied with your progress and prospects for the future?
3. Does your organization have a progressive growth plan for you?

If you answer these three questions in a positive way, you’re very lucky. Stay with it.
If you answer any of these three questions in the negative, you have three choices:
1. Keep struggling and hope for the best
2. You decide to “test the market” but don’t know how
3. Seek help and put together a compelling strategy for the next step up

If you choose #3, you’ll need a series of steps:
1. Identify your ultimate career goal. What level will you be at the end of your career?
2. Identify the steps to reach each level in order to achieve your ultimate goal
3. Define the “must have’s” for your next two positions
4. Outline your “sweet spot”. What kind of organization? Where?
5. Complete a self-analysis. What are the skills or experiences that you’re missing?
6. What are the steps or plans to fill your shortcomings?
7. Put together a compelling master resume that is results-driven
8. Identify the target markets where your success prospects are the highest
9. Develop a “sourcing” matrix to find the available open positions
10. Design a search strategy and make contact with compatible companies
11. Research the responding companies and position descriptions
12. Prepare for the five different kinds of interviews to become a top candidate
13. Compare and assess the job offers based on your criteria for success
14. Negotiate an optimal offer and prepare a letter of acceptance
15. Design an “Entry Strategy” to guarantee a successful first 6 month period

The marketplace is a far different arena than it was 2 or more years ago. You need to understand what’s different and how to best prepare yourself, realistically. Seek out those who can help you achieve your goal.

A word of advice: If your unsure about any aspect of the best job search strategy, it’s better to seek help before you get too far into it. A new compelling resume will not be favorably received after a targeted company has already rejected your first resume. You don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression.

For a free assessment of your resume, send it to: wkaufmann1@cox.net
Want to discuss your career or next job? mygreenerfuture1@cox.net

More Jobs… Less Money

Posted on: January 13th, 2015 by

What’s going on here? There are more jobs available but at lower pay? That’s what the December jobs report says. The unemployment rate fell to 5.6% from 5.8%, but the average weekly wages dropped during the same period. You would think that an increasing demand for new hires would stimulate higher wages. Think again.

Here’s some interesting information:
• The share of all Americans in the labor force to 62.7%, an historic low
• Unemployment, including part-time workers who want full-time jobs, discouraged workers and the unemployed is 11.2%, not 5.6%
• When gasoline prices increase, it will put more pressure on the income of workers
• Business profits are gaining and will continue until the supply/demand equation gets in balance with talented job seekers: When your skills and experiences are in demand

What should you do? Develop a strategy to optimize your opportunities.
• If you get a promotional or new job offer, negotiate a pay increase of at least 10% if not more. Accepting a lateral move of 5% will put you further behind the pay curve.
• If you’re employed, don’t jump at the first opportunity that comes along. Be selective in both career and compensation steps.
• If you’re unemployed or underemployed, it’s a different story. Try to increase your skills and experience in your chosen field so you become more valuable. Volunteer with a non-profit organization to keep your skill sets sharp and continue a focused job search.
• If you’re terrific at what you do you should be in demand. High performance employees are always the first choice for higher-level jobs.
• On the other hand, if you’re an average or low performance employee, take caution. You may be vulnerable for a lay-off or moved to a part-time position.
• If you don’t receive a higher merit increase than you believe is deserved, talk with management about expanding your responsibilities, developing new skills, taking on a highly visible project, or request another performance review and merit increase in 6 months rather than another full year.
• Whatever you chose to do, continually measure and document the achievements and results of your efforts. If you can increase revenue, decrease cost, improve performance or efficiency, then your value and contributions to business results can be more easily seen and rewarded, both internally or externally.

This is a time for careful strategy selection in pursuing a job search and career direction. Timing and selection is everything. The worst-case scenario is to make a chancy move and fall short. Then your decisions are made for you rather than you calling the shots.

For a free assessment, send your resume to: wkaufmann1@cox.net
Want more strategy information? mygreenerfuture1@cox.net

When is it Time to Change Jobs?

Posted on: January 6th, 2015 by
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It’s the New Year. When is it time to change your job for the next higher one? It depends on a number of factors like: Your age. Ambition. Tenure. Prepared for new responsibilities? Are you a supervisor or individual contributor? Stay in your current industry? How much do you earn? What part of the country? And so on. There are many factors that a coach can help. But you need to make sure you’re ready to move up.

Here are some guidelines that may help you decide if you need to move on:

1. Your pleased with your progress, prospects, and doing what you like to do. That’s great. Congratulations, but you never know what the future will bring. Keep your resume updated, your skills at the cutting edge and test the market. There may be a major opportunity waiting.
2. You’re in your current job for 5 years and current company for more than 8 years. You owe it to yourself to look at the marketplace. Check out your compensation and organizational level to contemporaries, and potential opportunities where you are.
3. A new calendar or fiscal year. Usually this is a time when bonuses are paid, people seek better jobs or a new budget year opens up new positions. Take advantage of the business cycle within your industry
4. Something has changed that negatively affects you. It could be a change in your supervisor, the budget, the direction of the business or the management style above you
5. You’re a high potential performer and can do more. Sometimes your current organization doesn’t recognize talent or they have stopped their growth which hampers opportunity
6. You’re perceived as a low potential performer or your concerned. You may have had a performance review that surprised you given your contributions. Sometimes the goals changed and no one told you.
7. You have received an award from an association or completed a highly visible and successful project. High fives are in order. This gives you great visibility and accolades from your peers and “bragging rights” on your resume.
8. Miscellaneous. There are a number of things that gives you discomfort: Bosses, peers, other’s get the recognition that you should have gotten, you lack or lost your mentor, it just isn’t fun anymore, you were passed over on a recent promotion, the last pay raise was meager based on results.

There are many reasons why you need to periodically check the market. Careers, like life itself, will never stay the same for very long. It just takes one negative event to change your outlook or increase your vulnerability. While some of these events you can control, many of them are out of your control.

Be like the Boy or Girl Scouts: Be Prepared.

For a free assessment, send your resume to: wkaufmann1@cox.net
Want to discuss your career or next job? mygreenerfuture1@cox.net

Your Entry Strategy

Posted on: December 17th, 2014 by

Whenever your changing jobs, you’ll need to put together an entry strategy. The job change could be with your current company, another company in the same industry, or a different position in another industry.

Whatever the case, one of the smartest things you can do when entering a new job is to audit or assess the base-line measurements of the current position. Why? Unless you know what the results are now, you can’t compare it to the results of your future performance. You can also use the information for your performance reviews: Defining the value-added from your direct contribution.

Did you increase revenue or profit by 1% or 18.7%. Did you reverse turnover from 32% to 8%? Did you reduce cost by 10% or did you add to cost? If you don’t understand your contributions to the organization others won’t be able to either. If you have no measurable results, future bosses will say, “The resume looks OK, but we don’t know how effective this candidate will be on the job”. If you don’t know your value, you can’t communicate it to your current or potential new bosses.

How do you design an entry strategy? You want to accomplish 4 outcomes at the same time:
• Identify the Issues: issues you will need to solve short and long term
Do a “Needs Analysis”. Interview your internal and external customers to find out their views of issues needing attention. Compare their issues with those of your staff and boss. Are they comparable or different?
• Develop a 90-day strategy for immediate results
Prioritize the issues between short term, intermediate and longer term. Lay out a working plan to attack each issue: Objective, strategy, timing, and staffing. Develop the plan using two-week blocks of time. Share your plan with your supervisor to make sure it’s compatible with their views and plans. Attack the low hanging fruit first.
• Integrate into the culture: Connect with peers and client organizations in a positive way
Use the time during the Needs Analysis to develop a working relationship with clients, staff and peers. This may be the only opportunity to influence their view of you and your value to them. Make the time count. Show you’re interested to learn what they do, how they do it and develop an understanding of what you require from each other. Define your mutual expectations so you can eliminate misunderstandings, gaps in communications and their affects on performance.
• Bond with your supervisor
This is an excellent time to probe the expectations, plans and strategies of your boss. By laying out the results of your needs analysis, you are providing new information for your boss. By integrating your plans and strategies with your boss’s, you’ll get insights into the issues of the organization and reduce the number of errors along the way.

An effective entry strategy provides you with an accelerated springboard to demonstrate your value, but also provides for results quickly while developing a strong working relationship with clients, peers, staff and boss. It’s a winner.

Ready to test the market? Email: wkaufmann1@cox.net
Want a free assessment of your resume? Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net