Here are a few stories from My Greener Future customers and coaches. These stories provide insights and positive lessons about some of their mistakes, successes and other valuable career experiences.
Read on and be part of the My Greener Future niche : PASS IT ON!
- Situation: I was a bit young, but highly successful, and interviewing for a Director’s job with the Vice-President of a major NYC based corporation. The interview was going well when he said to me: “We have a similar problem that you seem to have found a solution. How did you accomplish that?”
- What did I do wrong? I answered the question. Always answer a question with a “WHAT” answer, and NEVER a “HOW” answer. Respond as to What you did but never How you did it. In this case I noticed that he took copious notes during my half-hour soliloquy as I laid out a detailed strategy.
- Results: I didn’t get the job even though I was sure I hit a home run in the interview. A year or two later, I found out that he took “my plan”, hired someone junior and told him to implement it. Of course, one can never take someone else’s plan and make it succeed. I learned a very good lesson. Never give the plan away, only the outline of the steps…. never how you did it!!
Robert in Massachusetts. (A My Greener Future core rule – never give the game away)
BEST CAREER ADVICE I’VE EVER GOTTEN
- Situation: Right after I graduated from college and learned of a job I suspected I would be good at, I sat down to start writing a cover letter to email along. Before I sent the email, however, my mom stopped me and told me to hit “Print” key instead of the “send” button.
- What did I do? The next thing I knew I was putting on some business casual clothes and we were driving to the company. Even though I was a bundle of nerves, my mom told me to go inside and hand-deliver my resume and cover letter, hopefully to the hiring manager. Even though the hiring manager was out for the day, I chatted a bit with a woman seated at the front desk and a man standing nearby. The man offered to deliver my resume personally.
- Results: Unbeknownst to me at the time, that man I met was one of my soon-to-be-boss’s good friends at the company. He later told me that he just had a good feeling about me when we met. I knew he didn’t have to deliver my resume at all, but I will always be grateful to him for doing so. I enjoyed that job for almost four years.
Rebekah in Massachusetts. (A My Greener Future core rule – Always go to the best/highest source whenever possible)
- Situation: After leaving the Air Force where career planning was pretty much done for me, I was faced with the challenge of planning a career without a clear picture of what I wanted do.
- What did I do? I began my job search by asked a lot of questions regarding different career opportunities so that I could begin the life long journey with the end in mind. A mentor advised me to first identify outcomes and then develop the strategy to achieve those outcomes.
- Results: Action steps flowed out of my strategy that enabled me to focus my search, identify required entry level and advanced skill sets, and obtain the needed education/experience.
MM in Hilton Head. (See My Greener Future section on Career Model and Mapping)
MOST CREATIVE STRATEGY IN A JOB SEARCH
- Situation: I had advanced to the third screening for a director position, but blew the final interview because I had recently experienced a death in the family and accepted the appointment while still emotionally numb and I should have postponed.
- What happened: During the final interview I was unable to demonstrate the chutzpah I had previously; my responses were lackluster. They went with a younger candidate who was more energetic. When I emerged from my lull, I had a strategy to optimize every job search experience – even the rejections – by expanding my social media connections with all my rejecters. I electronically requested to link with the executives with whom I had interviewed and thanked them for considering me and wished them well in their endeavors (in addition to the traditional hand-written, hand stamped notes).
- Results: When the younger candidate did not show the enthusiasm once hired as when interviewed, they rescinded their offer to her and offered me the job! My communications savvy and creative approach to rejection made an impression on them.
- Situation: When it became obvious the company I worked for was looking for a buyer, I began tapping my network which included business associates, friends, church members, volunteer associates etc.
- What happened: Because of the head start I was able to identify several excellent opportunities before the layoff occurred. I chose to contract with a company to provide my specialty services for a period of eight months with no payment until the eight month project was completed.
- Results: The arrangement was win-win, because the contract did not constitute a job, which would have caused me to forfeit my severance. The company I contracted with could make use of the cash until the completion date. The payment provided the seed money for me to begin my own consulting business. Success was made possible by having clearly established outcomes for the next phase of my career.
Mike in South Carolina. (A My Greener Future core rule – be innovative so everybody wins)
- Situation: I was interviewing for a key Director’s job with the President of a high growth service business, with about 25 field offices in the Mid-West. He asked me to outline my most recent experiences that relate to the job being offered.
- How did I respond? “My current position is with a consumer products company, with flat growth. However, my prior company was with a services business with 225 branches across the country. Your growth projections take you from 25 offices to 150, nationally. Would it be of greater value to outline those experiences first?”
- Results: I got the job and in one year was named Vice President. The business accelerated across the country as we added services, market segments, products and staff.
PREPARATION IS KEY
- Situation: I was looking for the best college for me after 4 years in the Navy after Desert Storm/Desert Shield. During the interview with the Admissions Officer at a large well respected university, he asked me, “Tell me about your Navy experiences – what did you do?”. A normal question. Since my high school grades were mediocre and my Navy Schooling was very high, I felt comfortable talking about it.
- What happened? Long story short, he had the same rank and duties in the Navy as I had, but during the Viet Nam war. We talked about ships, experiences, common duties, and so on. He understood the intensive training I received as a petty officer in operations (missiles) and related to the giant move in motivation and academic training from high school until now.
- Results: I was accepted, even though my high school grades were well below their standard, but my life experiences were stellar. What did I learn? Always research the organization and person you are interviewing with if you can. It can make the difference in the result if you know where to steer the conversation. I am an executive now still working in missiles for the government.
Tags: Career Advice, Career Planning, Interview Tips, Job Search, Networking Tips, Resume. Cover Letter