Here are some of the questions I get from clients as we begin their job search:
How easily can I move from sectors, industries or functions to another?
Moving from one sector to another, like from education to industry, is not easy unless there’s a need that can’t be filled from within the new sector. Changing industries is also difficult unless there’s a pathway whereby you have a skill or result that is new to them. Changing functions is more problematic, like from marketing to finance, unless it’s at a lower level.
Anytime you add another layer of difficulty, you insert another impediment, especially if you’re trying to move up the ladder of responsibility. Hiring managers are always looking for someone who has gotten a result in an area that they need help.
What functions are most in demand?
When you’re in a down economic cycle, functions that reduce cost or improve efficiencies are in demand. Staff support usually suffers during a downturn unless you can demonstrate performance improvement. When you’re in an up cycle, new business development, product improvement or new market growth are in demand.
Currently there is a demand for productivity enhancement functions like: Logistics, data mining, computer programming, software design, statistical modeling. Industry segments in demand are health care, government, security and consulting.
How important are higher degrees, certifications, certificates or advanced coursework?
Higher degrees are more important earlier in your career. If you have 20 years experience on the job, an advanced degree has marginal value unless the company expects it. Certifications are important if it designates professional standing such as PMP (Project Management Professional). They usually have a professional review board and high standards for completion. Certificates are different as they certify that you have completed a course of study or program in a focused area. Advanced coursework demonstrates in-depth knowledge in a specific technical field. All of these steps demonstrate a higher level of achievement than your peers.
What’s the single most important point to make on a resume?
That’s simple. Show that you have achieved measureable results. Stating that you have “…reduced costs through process improvement” is not enough. Leverage your candidacy by stating, “Upgraded performance and reduced costs by 8.5% through process improvement”.
What are the most important points to make in an interview?
Hiring managers want to know two things: “What are you going to do for me?” “Will you fit into my team in a positive way?” If there is no connection between your past results and the needs of his organization, he’s taking a big risk. If the hiring manager sees you are a disruptive force to his “team”, he won’t hire you.
Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. What are the questions you would ask? Then prepare yourself to answer these same questions as they fit the position description of the open position.
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