IS THE TIME RIGHT?

Posted on: March 27th, 2018 by
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The U.S. Labor Department has said that 6.3 million jobs are open and need to be filled by someone like you. That is, if you have the training and experience for which the marketplace is looking. What’s going on? What should you do? How do you explore your potential?

 

As you know, the marketplace responds to current economic conditions. In 2008, the conditions were terrible, companies reduced their workforce and many people suffered job loss and worse. Now it’s just the reverse. It’s an opportunity when organizations across all sectors must expand and upgrade. This causes pay raises and promotions to supply the talent needed. It’s a risk if your unprepared and didn’t upgrade or expand your skills and experiences over the past 10 years.

 

The Labor Department also said the number of people hired increased at a slower rate and the number of people quitting their job for another job is low. This produces opportunity. Companies are scrambling to find the talent that they need. What are those areas of need? Jobs in process improvement (doing things quicker or better with higher productivity), manufacturing (a surge in jobs), data analysis (“big data” –taking huge data points and finding worthwhile information), security in technology (stop hackers, keep information safe), support functions (finance, administration and staff functions that reduce cost or increase performance).

 

So, what should you do? Here are five preliminary steps:

 

  1. Check out the marketplace – There are many websites that will survey your field of expertise and position descriptions describing requirements. Talk to people in your industry and function. Find out what’s going on at your level and tenure.   What’s your peer group doing? Are they advancing without you?
  2. Check your skills and experiences against what the marketplace says it needs. If you have 75 to 80% of what’s needed, you’re doing well. At 50% you’re marginal. Identify the skills or experiences you need to be ready for a change. Put a strategy in place.
  3. Put a compelling resume together. Make sure it hits the major points that most position descriptions require. Define the measurable results for which hiring managers are looking. Use metrics that are results oriented.
  4. Test the marketplace. Send out a few resumes to jobs you feel you are well suited. If you get favorable responses, you can then make a decision of whether to move ahead or not. Like a suit or dress, there’s nothing wrong with trying it on to see if it fits.
  5. If you’re unsure, ask a professional to help you. A co-worker or past boss may be able to assist your efforts with your resume or job search strategy. Talk to a job search specialist who has an excellent track record. Will they continue to work with you until you are placed in a new position? If not, find someone else.

 

Now may be the time to accelerate your career. Take these five steps to find out.

 

For a FREE review of your resume send it to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com


5 KEY QUESTIONS BEFORE “YES”

Posted on: March 20th, 2018 by
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There are key questions you need to find answers before accepting a new position. The risk is yours if you don’t. Research is available that shows why good employees quit. Employees usually don’t fire the companies they work for; they terminate the supervisor for not providing the support that is needed to do the job.

 

Usually during an interview you’ll get some insight into the management style and expectations of the person to whom you’ll report. You may also interview with the bosses boss, the work group and possibly peers. You’ll come away with strong impressions. Trust those opinions.

 

These items are desirable in a new job:

  • A high level of trust with your supervisor
  • A compatible team effort among co-workers
  • Open communications, clear expectations, fairness and honesty
  • Management support including job training and development for a future role
  • A common effort and commitment to the goals to be reached

 

What are the five negatives?

  1. A supervisor who is always checking your work, who may not trust you to do the job unless it’s their way. They are micromanagers who stifle growth. Why not ask the hiring supervisor what is their style of management? You might get some insightful answers.
  2. A supervisor who is only interested in their results and not interested in helping you to learn or advance in the organization. Ask what kinds of training and development are available? Is there a progression of responsibilities? If you lack opportunities to grow in the job, you’ll become stale and not be able to expand your skills.
  3. A supervisor who appears to be insensitive to your ideas or what you have to say. If the relationship is only one way, the supervisor may be inflexible and lack empathy. This type of supervisor only believes in downward communications and is more autocratic than participative. If problem solving isn’t a group process, the best solutions won’t surface.
  4. A supervisor that is only interested in the work to be done and isn’t interested in you as a person or your needs to have balance in your life. In other words, the supervisor’s needs are always primary no matter what the costs to the employees. High demands without discussion, long work hours without and end, weekend work without justification will cause resentment and will eventually affect the quality of your work.
  5. A supervisor that doesn’t recognize performance but is quick to criticize. You want to be recognized for your contribution, feel valued and rewarded for results. If not, you become discouraged and lack the motivation to continue to produce at a high level.

Your career is too important to be sacrificed by a supervisor who won’t or can’t support you. Ask the kinds of questions during the inteview that will confirm that your making the right decision. If the supervisor balks at your questions, you will have gotten your answer.

 

For a FREE review of your resume send it to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com


IMPRESS THE HIRING MANAGER, OR NOT!

Posted on: March 13th, 2018 by
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How do you impress the hiring manager? What gets attention? What gets skipped? When a hiring manager screens a pile of resumes, certain things jump out, while others do not.

 

Understand that the hiring manager is looking for 10 or 15 people out of a 100 that he wants to telephone-screen. These are the people who have something the hiring manager wants: A specific result, some needed experience, or a practical solution to an immediate problem. After reading your resume the hiring manager should say, “This is someone I want to talk to, as they have the skills or experience that I need”.

 

Generally, these are the items that get more attention from the hiring manager:

  • Results (especially metrics) that parallel what I’m looking for to fill the position. If you don’t have the skills and experiences that can do the job, I’m not going to waste my time.
  • Companies that you worked for that I recognize: In the same industry, same job scope, or a competitor where I can learn something. That can be an advantage to you.
  • Do you have career progression over time? Do you have increasing responsibilities that will benefit my organization?
  • What are the “stall” points, gaps, things that don’t make sense? Did you take time off to travel around the world? Raise young children? Start your own company? Why hide it?
  • Have you only been in one place for an extended period of time? Are you constrained by location and not be available when I need you?
  • Is the resume organized and error free? If you can’t do that well, why even talk to you?
  • I want to know if you’ll peak out early or continue to advance my organization.

 

Generally, these are the items that get glossed over initially or get you demerits:

  • Your school name is less important than your major and level of education. Experience and results achieved is much more important to me than your Alma mater.
  • Decorative or lavishly formatted resumes usually take away from important information. It’s distracting. Attach a portfolio of your work if you feel the need.
  • Don’t include a photo. If I want to see what you look like, I’d be hiring you for the wrong reason. I want qualities in a person that don’t show up in a photograph.
  • Personal information that has nothing to do with the job. Your personal issues are of little interest unless it affects the job.
  • Too many words like I, me, my, and not enough words like we, team, group results.
  • Superlatives about how wonderful you are that can’t be verified: “Creative solutions leader”, “Strong manager”, “Multi-talented professional”, “Collaborated with, contributed to, or assisted in” (means you were a minor player).
  • Have you stayed too long in one place, or have fallen into a “maintenance mode”? I can’t afford a hiring mistake.

 

You usually get only one chance to impress the hiring manager. Make it count.

 

For a FREE review of your resume send it to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com


CREATE HIGH QUALITY REFERENCES

Posted on: March 6th, 2018 by
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When it’s time to provide references, match each reference to the specific job. Prepare “talking points” for each reference that matches your past experiences with what the hiring manager is looking for. In other words, tailor design a references response to the needs of the job to be filled.

There are two kinds of references: professional and personal. Professional references are related to your work experiences and past employers. They usually come from bosses or a higher authority within the work environment: The higher the level, the higher the value that others ascribe to it.

Always check to make sure the reference is willing and able to give you a good reference. Don’t put a professional in the awkward position of a surprise telephone call without their knowledge from a potential employer asking about you. You may not like the response.

Personal references are only used if you have no professional references. Personal references are not work related and have little value to a potential employer. All a personal reference can say in so many words is, “This is a nice person”. An exception is if the hiring manager knows the reference giver. Then it might have some weight to it.

If you are conducting an open search that everyone knows about, then references can be provided at almost any time. Just be careful that multiple companies aren’t contacting your references at the same time. It could prove confusing and awkward.

If you’re conducting a quiet search, however, wait until the final interview to provide references. References can provide substance to your past experiences and should match the function for which you are applying.

Tell the reference giver what you’re interviewing for and why so they have some background. Provide them with the key functions of the new job and how your prior work with them ties directly to the work you are seeking. Suggest that they may want to use that information as an example when contacted. Offer to write up a brief list of talking points and results you achieved that will help them link with the job you are pursuing. In that way, the information that’s provided will be more powerful. This kind of information can advance your candidacy if it’s done the right way by the right person.

When hired, employers will usually contact prior companies to check out your documented compensation, date of hire, separation and any other information they can get. So don’t fabricate information on your resume or interviews. Some companies will Google your name on the web or go into your social media sites to see what’s there. Be forewarned. I have known people who have misled future employers only to find themselves without a job.

For a FREE review of your resume send it to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com


YOUR FIRST FEW MINUTES ARE CRITICAL!

Posted on: February 27th, 2018 by
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Have you ever met someone for the first time and had a negative feeling almost immediately? How about the reverse: Meeting someone and immediately liking him or her. Why is that?

 

Whatever the reason, there are certain clues that determine what the early relationship with another person or group will be. It’s difficult to change or erase over time. In an interview or a presentation that is only an hour long, whatever the initial rapport is, it probably won’t be changed within that hour’s time. So it’s important to get it right the first time.

 

How do you do that? Here are some examples:

 

In a presentation, make your key points early on, then go back and explain more in detail the rationale and information to support each key point. This helps the audience warm up to you and comprehends the content material by stimulating their interest early on. They tend to pay full attention to the complete presentation when getting a fuller explanation.

 

If you’re writing an article or a newspaper story, the headline will draw the reader in, or not. The headline is the bait that leads to the first paragraph that summarizes the whole story, and then moves into the body of the article. Each segment brings the reader to the next segment.

 

Interviewers, like most people, have a short attention span especially when they are interviewing candidates one after another. You have to differentiate yourself from all others by getting your key points across in a concise yet understandable way. Many candidates spend too much time answering a question that wasn’t asked, or give background information that isn’t needed. Usually interviewers will ask targeted questions like, “What did you do?” “How did you do it?” and “What were the results?” Your answers should be compressed into about 30 seconds. The interviewer will either move on to the next question or ask more detailed questions on the same subject.

 

When an interviewer moves on to the next subject, it means you have given them what they were looking for. When an interviewer asks more detailed questions on the same subject, it means they are particularly interested in learning more about your experiences in that area. It’s an important indicator that the interviewer wants more information because the open job requires that experience. You now have important information. You now need to parallel your answers with the interviewers interest and what’s listed on the position description. This form of triangulation is a skill that can be learned and effectively used by candidates to enhance their positioning as a finalist candidate.

 

Your initial contact with an interviewer is critical. Smile, exude warmth, project confidence and make the interviewer feel comfortable during your time together. Make your key points early, short and focused on answering the question and not meandering around your response with useless information.

 

For a FREE review of your resume send it to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com