Posted on: October 26th, 2011 by
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Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Your job search strategy is determined by how open or secret you plan to communicate. You may have excellent contacts that would be of great value, but if you can’t connect with them because you have to keep your search very quiet, their value turns to zero.

One of the determinants for an open or quiet search is your comfort zone. A fully open job search is of course easier, as you don’t have to be secretive with anyone. You can devote a wide-open communications strategy. A limited search means you must segment your communication targets to specific contacts, like past companies, associates in other states or very trusted friends.

For “quiet searches” you have to decide on the degree of quietness. If it’s too quiet, very few people can assist your efforts, as almost no one will know about your search. If it’s too “noisy” you may find it awkward when the word gets out into sensitive areas. If you were in the retail sector, contacting other retail organizations in the region would be near impossible, as the retail network is very active.  Other sectors are less communicative because of competitive factors or geographic distance.

Segmenting your contact list of people and organizations and opting them in or out of your communications circle is the only way to accomplish a quiet search. You’ll need to carefully calibrate your degree of openness. You should segment the type of communication to individuals (telephone versus email or letter), by geography (the furthest away initially), and by levels of confidentiality (who can you trust the most versus the least). Using the telephone for personal contacts may make the most sense since you can make your search more secure without a paper trail. You’re able to tailor your “script” to the individual and your sense of their discretion. Please note however, no matter how quiet your search it will leak out sooner or later.

You have to assume as time goes by that someone in your current organization will get a call saying, “I heard John/Sally is looking for another job”. It will be a random call and you’ll have no way of knowing who is calling whom. If the call is received by a friend of yours or a close associate you work with, they may come to you and ask, “Is this true?”. Or in the worst case, your boss comes to you and asks the question, “What’s going on?”.   Whatever the case, be prepared to respond to the question.

No matter what your situation, you have to assume that sooner or later your boss will ask you about your seeking another job.  You can lie (a very bad mistake) or you can try to turn it into a career discussion.  You can talk about opportunities in the current organization  (or lack of) versus the external world.  You can talk about the need for developmental responsibilities, as you would like to stay in the current organization.  In other words, convert the negative into a positive if you can, by asking your boss for their assistance in expanding your responsibilities or opportunities.  See if you can get an action plan for the next 6 months.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.  Be prepared for either one.  While it’s difficult for the boss to fire you on the spot, assuming your performance has been positive and documented, the atmosphere can turn a bit chilly.  When this happens accelerate your search with wide-open communications and contacts.  You probably have 6 to 9 months.

How you handle this conversation is important, for now and in the future.  You may want or need references in years to come.  The better shape you leave a company the better your reference.

Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

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Posted on: October 18th, 2011 by
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Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

The more you know about the company and position that you are applying for, the greater your ability to impact the outcome of an interview in a positive way.  Going into an interview “cold” is a mistake.  You should be well versed about the company, its management, the industry, the competition, the products, pricing, channels of distribution, marketplace advantages, customer service and a whole host of meaningful intelligence.  Do your research and you will excite management with your in-depth knowledge and understanding of their business

Your objective is to know as much or more about the issues of the industry than those with whom you are interviewing.  That ‘s usually not hard.  Why?  Because most people you’ll be talking to are oriented within their own functions and not well versed in the broader issues of the industry, competitors or competitive issues.

So, where should you be looking?  Here are a few ideas, though not exhaustive.  Every industry or sector has a number of niches that can be explored.


Management– Who are the key executives and what are their areas of expertise?  Who is in the direct line of organizational reporting for your functional area? (Who, from where, for how long, what experiences?).  You’re looking for insight into management’s background and experience.  Where did they come from? Have they been internal for the past 25 years or did they come from outside the company within the past 6 months?  Has there been a change of emphasis in the company’s strategic direction?  Has there been an expansion or contraction of business over the past 18 months?  Has there been a reorganization? What experiences in other industries?

Annual reports – Core financial and other information.  Who is on the board?  Why?  What is the major theme of the last annual report?  New products?  Financial statements and plans?  What do the numbers tell you?  Employee issues or concerns?  Union or non-union?  Are there any issues that you need to be aware?  What do they say about themselves?  How does it compare to what analysts or objective third-parties say?

Analysts reports, Standard & Poors, etc…  What does “the street” have to say?  Prospects for the future?  If it’s traded, where have the stock shares been over 5 years?  Upturn or downturn?  What are their recommendations?  Are the industry analysts in unison or divided?  What are the disparities?  What are the projections for the future?  Is your role important to that future?

The industry – Periodicals, articles, interviews.  Where does the company stand within the industries they are in?  Are they in the top or bottom tier?  Where had they been?  Is the industry itself old and tired or energized?  Coal mining or iPod?  Is the industry being flooded with foreign knock-offs?  Does the company have proprietary products or are they a commodity?  Where would you fit in?  Do you complement the industry direction or run counter to it?

Competition – Who does what better?  Who is ahead or behind?  What are the key differences between the top five competitors?  Who produces the greatest number of new products/services consistently?  Who has the better marketing reach?  Is there a “silver bullet?  Any mergers?

Talk to employees or past employees (be careful of bias) – What do they have to say about the company and how it’s run?  If they could go to another organization, would they go? Why?  Is there a philosophy of promotion from within?  Are they consistent in the application of policies? How would they rate the “politics” within the company?  What do they say about your function?

Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

Find more information, articles and mini-webinars at our website:



Posted on: October 12th, 2011 by
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Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

There are two sets of “must haves” when looking for your next job.  One is for you to define.  The other is for the hiring organization to define.  The “must have” that you define is a small list of items that you require before you’ll consider or accept another position.  Such items are usually focused on your title, responsibilities, location, compensation, benefits, advancement opportunities, or the type of function and industry where you can succeed.

The hiring organization’s “must have” list is usually focused on the requirements of the position they’re trying to fill.  Such items are usually focused on the experiences a candidate has had with comparable results that they have achieved. Examples could be:  5 years of prior comparable experience, project management, budget responsibilities, and so on.  Usually these are tasks that an applicant either has or has not done successfully.  The greater the compatibility between your list of “must have’s” and the organization’s list, the greater your probability of success to become a candidate rather than an applicant.

Whether or not you become a candidate is dependent upon three things:  Your research, your compelling resume and a highly successful series of interviews. Let’s take them one at a time.

1-Research: It’s imperative that you know more about the industry, segment, company, issues, function and key components for success than any other applicant or candidate.  The more you know the higher your probability of understanding how to manage your job search strategies for success.  You’ll then know how to write your resume and the “hot buttons” of the hiring manager.  Holes in your research will produce holes in your knowledge, which reduces your chances of moving from an applicant to a candidate.

2-Compelling Resume: As a result of your thorough research, you’ll know what the key areas to highlight when creating and tailoring your resume.  In addition, define the results you have achieved, either directly or indirectly, compared to the key elements of the job being offered.  The greater the parallel in content and results with what the hiring manager is looking for, the greater your chances of becoming the primary candidate.  A compelling resume is your guarantee to an interview.

3-Successful Interviews: Once you’ve been invited to an interview, you know you’re a candidate.  Your research and compelling resume have gotten you this far.  Now your job is to “bond” with the screeners and hiring manager through a series of interviews.  They’ll be looking at three things:  Your business acumen, functional competence and organizational fit.  Focus on what you already know based on your research:  Their business and functional needs, your ability to help solve their issues, and your “team” attitude.

Your objective then, is to prepare more extensively than your peers.  Your advantage is the knowledge of the organization’s “must have” list through your research, then blending it with your own “must have” list.  Experience has shown that an organization is more likely to “bend” its “must have” list when they meet a candidate they really want to hire.  You want them to want you.

Your preparation and creativity in melding the two sets of “must have’s” will determine the outcome of your job search.  Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

Find more information, articles and mini-webinars at our website:



Posted on: October 4th, 2011 by
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WHAT’S THE HIRING MANAGER LOOKING FOR? by Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

How do you answer the simple question, “What do they expect from me as an applicant?” In reality, the answer it simple.  They’re looking for someone who:

  1. Is a Business person who understands how their function contributes to overall results
  2. Is Competent in their function given today’s issues and tomorrow’s direction
  3. Is a Compatible fit and will contribute successfully within our organization

Primarily, a hiring manager wants someone to manage business results through their function.  If you, as an applicant, don’t understand how you can affect the business results through your function, then a hiring company won’t be interested in you.

What’s your return-on-investment if you’re hired?  How can you affect revenue, profit or cost?  Whether you are a General Manager or an intern, you should be able to define your value. All functions have key drivers.  The interviewer sorts through applicants to find candidates that match the next level of performance.   Make sure you know and can articulate what they are for you!!

Secondly, a hiring manager is looking for competence within the function. Do you know what you’re doing?  Will you support our efforts over the next 5 years, not just for today?  Can you support the business objectives?  Ask yourself the question, “If I were the hiring manager, what would be the eye-popping results or experiences that I want to see in candidates?”  Then, as an applicant, provide it during the interview, to become the candidate of choice.

Thirdly, the hiring manager is looking for fit: Do you fit into their culture and style?  How do you operate?  Will you be a problem child or a leader?  If you are uncomfortable in an interview, ask yourself “Why?”   Is it the potential fit within the organization or the fit with the interviewer?

During the interview, you must be able to articulate business results within your current job.  If you can’t answer the question, “How do you currently affect revenue, profit or cost in your present position?” your interview will be a short one.  In summary then, here are some of the questions an interviewer will likely be asking you, directly or indirectly:

As a businessperson,

  • Can you translate our vision into actionable strategies to get the needed results?
  • Have you successfully achieved similar results somewhere else?
  • Can you increase our results?  Improve performance?  Reduce Cost?

As to competence in your function:

  • What was the greatest challenge in your current position?
  • How did you resolve it?
  • Can you solve our issues given your work history?
  • What were your objectives over the past 5 years?
  • How did you achieve them?

As to fit:

  • What will your current boss, peer, subordinates say about you?  Why?
  • Who in your current organization do you get along with the least? Will you fit in with us?

Just like the motto says:  Be Prepared!

Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

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Posted on: September 28th, 2011 by
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Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

What’s the ultimate goal of a resume?  Is it to document all of your achievements on a few pages for a hiring manager to review?  Not really.  The ultimate goal of your resume is:  To create an action!! So what action do you want to create?  In the real world there are basically two:

  • To have your resume so compelling that the hiring manager reaches for the telephone to contact you immediately, or
  • The hiring manager writes a note that says, “I definitely want to talk with this applicant!!

Then you’ll get an interview as a result, which is the action you want from a resume.

How does that happen??  Through the power of your written words.

Assuming you meet the criteria for the job opening in the first place, your point of differentiation is how you project yourself to the hiring manager from your resume.  The mental picture you present through your written word is the only image the manager has of you.

You need to draw the hiring manager’s eye to:

  • The critical words that put you above the crowd
  • The metrics or performance results that “jump off” the page
  • The experiences that fit the criteria
  • The actions you took that will gain attention immediately

You should never hide your results within a barrage of narrative words that overwhelm the reader.

Define your target!!

There’s great confusion as to whether to have an objective or not.  Without an objective the hiring manager is looking at a generic resume.  A clear, general objective and supplementary information on a resume creates an image of someone who knows what they want and understands how to get results.  It’s what makes you unique.  How do you carry out the goal of a resume to create action?

In a succinct one-paragraph statement, define who and what you are. What are your differentiators?  What can you do that most people in your profession cannot do, or you can do better?  These are the fundamental elements of a resume that drive results toward your goal to get an interview.  When a hiring manager sees the traits, activities and results they’re looking for, an interview is imminent.  Then it’s a question of presenting yourself in a very positive light in a face-to-face meeting.

Here is an example of an initial statement by someone who focuses on non-profit organizations.  This professional has an excellent target definition that can be converted to a resume: “What I’m good at is reorganizing and rebuilding a program, putting the infrastructure in place, … getting the funding set up and then usually turning it over to somebody else to run for the rest of the time.  I’ve been in non-profit management for 20 years.  I enjoy the hard stuff – getting it all set up and letting somebody else run it”.  This statement is the core to create a compelling resume.

Now look at your resume.  Create a powerful description of what hiring manager’s want in a candidate.  Convert that description into a strong objective and resume to create action and get an interview.

Be a candidate rather than an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

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