Category Archives: Finances

Are You Competitive Using this Simple Job-Hunting Tool?

How to Write an Elevator Pitch that Delivers Results

3 minutes to read

As you go through daily life, people will ask you what job you’re looking for. To capture their attention and increase the likelihood they’ll help you, create a brief summary of your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). It’s called an elevator pitch because you can say it in length of an elevator ride.

Are You Competitive Using this Simple Job-Hunting Tool-

Make It Straightforward

Besides chance encounters, you can also use your elevator pitch in informationals. It gives you a natural response when the person asks about you. And, it will serve as an ideal answer to the first question you’ll usually get at a meeting to discuss a job.

Make it simple, not clever. People outside your field need to understand it. Give it a conversational tone. Practice saying it but avoid sounding prepared and sales-like. Change the wording when rehearsing so you have two or three ways of saying the same thing. Target at least one to people outside your field and another to those in it.

You’ll find advice that says an elevator pitch ought to range from 15 seconds to three minutes. Don’t worry about the precise length. First, create a short version of a single sentence. Pare it down to only essential words. Then build a long version of 200-300 words, piggybacking it on the short one. This longer one will answer, “so tell me about yourself” or “why should I hire you?”

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Begin by getting crystal clear about your UVP. You can’t write an effective elevator pitch when you don’t know what you have to offer and the job you want.

A Competitive Job-Hunt Sells Benefits not Skills

Build your elevator pitch in three parts:

1. Benefit. Start by breaking their expectations. Say something different and authentically you. Until you get the person to relate to you as an individual rather than a stranger nothing else matters. Use your status as a veteran but turn the tables on how people think about us. For example, “I’m a veteran. After five years of having my fellow citizens take care of me, I'm looking to bring my skills and experience to the private sector for their benefit.” How many civilians ever heard a statement of service like that?

Once you have the person’s attention, introduce the most compelling problem you’ve found in your field. Identify the type of organization you’re looking to serve and what it needs. Craft your words in a way the person will identify with the problem. Pose it as a question. This will engage his mind searching for an answer.

Next, give your solution. In most cases, that means someone with your background solving the problem. This gives you the opportunity to state the job you want.

2. Unique. You’ve shown how you can benefit the type of organization you want to work for. Now, make the case for you specifically. Examine your UVP. Choose one accomplishment that stands you head and shoulders above the competition. Form a powerful phrase explaining what you did. If possible, use a metric.

In your long version, follow it with a statement or quote that will cause them to nod their heads in agreement. Relate it to a well-known problem in the field. Say it in a way that explains why you care about solving the problem.

3. Ask. You have the person’s attention. He knows the kind of job you want and the type of organization you can help. Most people stop here.

To be competitive, take it to the next level by making it clear what you need. If the person works at the kind of company where you want a job, ask for a meeting. Don’t get into specifics right then and there. Set it up for later in the week or the following week at his workplace. Among other reasons, this will give you time to research the company and plan how you’ll handle the meeting.

Often you won’t be speaking with someone involved in your field. As such, ask, “What advice do you have for me?” or “Who do you know that I should contact?” Direct the person to how he can best help you. In all cases, get the person’s card or contact information so you can follow-up.

Once you have your short and long versions, practice them so you sound conversational but not canned. Record yourself then listen and critique your performance. Try your elevator pitch out on someone who knows nothing about your field. Does what you say make sense?

Work until you can give your elevator pitch comfortably. Now you’re a competitive job-hunter. You’ve taken your first major leap toward getting a position you’ll love.

What distinguishes you for other job-hunters?

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Three Reasons You Need an Outstanding Resume

You Won’t Guess Any of Them

2-½ minutes to read

Most experts acknowledge your resume won’t get you a job. But, they say, an outstanding resume should get you an interview. The mere fact these experts tell you to aim for an interview tells you their mindset. You’re a beggar hoping and praying to get called in. (See my post on why you want a meeting not an interview.) Though the conventional reason is wrong, you still need a dynamite resume.

Three Reasons You Need an Outstanding Resume

It's not about getting you a job or even an interview. Your resume clarifies the tactical plan you need to follow to get the job you want.

The Internet Is Your Resume

Resume experts focus on how to write a resume that will get through an Automated Tracking System. Most ATSs select about 2% of candidates. In other words, the experts want you taking 1 in 50 shots at getting the 20% of jobs that companies advertise. Smart job-hunters don’t need a resume for this purpose.

Your online presence is your real resume. When a hiring manager or recruiter wants to size you up for a job, he’ll look at LinkedIn. So it seems like you could print out a copy of your LinkedIn profile and use it for a resume. If only it were so easy.

First, your LinkedIn profile should contain much more information than your resume. Think of LinkedIn as the documentary of your professional prospects. Then your resume is the preview of coming attraction. Second, LinkedIn is formatted for online viewing. It will look terrible printed out.

The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch. A solid LinkedIn profile should be the foundation for an outstanding resume. That way, you brand yourself, by sending a consistent message about the value you’ll bring to an organization.

Without Clarity, You Can’t Sell Yourself

So, you’ll need to spend time putting together an outstanding resume for three reasons:

  1. Some companies will ask you for it, either to prepare to meet with you or at the meeting itself to paper their file.
  1. When you’re networking face-to-face someone may ask you for your resume. In that case you want to have printed copies available right then and there. Have them in matching envelopes so they’ll stay clean and get less rumpled. When you give the person your resume, make sure to get his contact information and an appropriate time to follow up. This will help you gauge his seriousness in helping you and show your professionalism.
  1. MOST important, writing an outstanding resume will spell out your marketing message. Think broadly about the type of job you want. Consider the specific organization where you want to work. Then clarify your thinking by writing down a clear and succinct presentation of your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) targeted to a job category or company. When done, you'll have a plan to drill so you present yourself more articulately at a meeting to discuss a job.

Most job-hunters wing it when they speak with a hiring manager. They don’t take the time to write down why they’re the best candidate. By using your resume as your marketing plan, you’ll stay on message.

Forget ATSs and interviews. Write an outstanding resume so you have complete clarity about the value you'll deliver to an organization. And so you can communicate that value with confidence.

Does your resume give you clarity about how to sell your UVP?

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How to Put an Amazing Job in Your Destiny

Unlock Your Edge with This Proven Breakthrough Quality

2 minutes to read

When you meet with a hiring manager, do you KNOW you’re the best candidate for the job? Think about it. How would you feel when choosing a surgeon? If the doctor didn’t show the self-confidence that comes from being the best, would you want him operating on you? Of course not. The stakes are too high. Employers think the same way. A company will only risk choosing a lesser candidate if it can underpay him.

How to Put an Amazing Job in Your Destiny

Why Self-Confidence Matters

RABS! How can you suggest such vanity?! Good question. But if you’re the best candidate it’s not conceited to say so. When the message is true, modesty comes from the way you send it.

The most admirable athletes combine two qualities:

  • An obsessive desire to excel.
  • Humility about their accomplishments.

Look at the 10 greatest basketball players of all time. All fit this model. None are braggarts. Even when Lebron James declared himself the best player in the world, he conveyed no bravado.

Right now say out loud, “I’m the best candidate for this job.” Do you sound as certain and matter-of-fact as Lebron James? Anything less and you send the message, “Choose somebody else.” If you don’t have the self-knowledge and confidence, where will the hiring manager get it?

You want stability. What would you think if a company told you, “We don’t know if our business is competitive in the marketplace. There may be other companies that make a better product than we do.” You’d hesitate about going to work there. After all, if they think the competition can clobber them, what kind of job security would you have? You shouldn’t have to convince them they’re great.

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Companies want security and stability too. They want an employee who will deliver value. Someone they can rely on. You need to convince them you will deliver these by being self-confident.

Self-Confidence Produces Your Destiny

You can boost your self-confidence in two ways:

Clarity. Begin by knowing your purpose and mission. Ensure your goals align with them. Be crystal clear on your Unique Value Proposition. Have a simple yet powerful way of explaining it to an employer. When you have this level of clarity, you sound, in fact are, self-confident.

Preparation. Thoroughly research the company. Know its market, future plans, and challenges. Identify any gaps so you can get the additional information you need. Know nothings and know-it-alls look the same, insecure. Actually, the know-it-all is worse. He appears to be compensating for a weakness. To sound confident, express thoughts without hesitating and ask questions without embarrassment.

Know the questions you need to ask during the meeting. Have a written list. Practice saying them so you can do so while looking at the other person. Know how to get to the company. Check in advance where to park. Video yourself practicing what you’ll say so you can identify and correct weaknesses.

You and the organization want the same thing – security and stability. So when a company presents an uncertain future, you become wary. And when you look insecure, you give another candidate the edge. Get clarity and obsess about preparation. An amazing job will be in your destiny.

What makes you less than self-confident about meeting to discuss a job?

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How to Make Sure You’ll Love Your Job

7 Connections Between Your Happiness & Company Culture

3 minutes to read

I love the stories my father told me about his time in the navy during the 1950s. One of my favorites is about when he and his shipmates walked into a bar and found some Marines there. They exchanged taunts. The Marines called them swabbies. They called the Marines jarheads. A fight broke out. But in the midst of the brawl some soldiers came into the bar. All of a sudden the swabbies and jarheads joined forces against the army.

How to Make Sure You’ll Love Your Job

Reintegration is a Cultural Transition

This story sums up so much about military culture of the 50s. Post World War II, men were primed to fight like their fathers or brothers had. Marines thought the navy was filled with wimps who dropped them off on the shore of an island held by a hostile enemy to do the real fighting. Sailors who had engaged in ship-to-ship combat saw the risk of being sunk and drowned as far more dangerous than land-based combat. Each service branch’s culture defined them.

Like the military, private sector industries and companies have distinct cultures. After World War II, millions of service members returned to civilian life. They made organizational culture in the private sector more like the military than it ever had been before. Over the decades, the similarity has decreased. Besides defense contracting, you won’t find an industry that feels like the military.

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Part of deciding where to focus your job-hunt involves understanding the kind of culture where you’ll fit in. Then you’ll need to find an industry and companies that, as well as possible, match your vision.

Culture Determines If You’ll Love Your Job

Aside from general comfort, culture affects:

  • The length of your workday and week. In general, and especially working up to deployment, you worked until the job got done. But your pay stayed the same regardless. Civilian life has formed different expectations about task completion and compensation.
  • After hours time you’ll have to spend handling work matters and socializing with co-workers. Hours can be long in the private sector. With smart phones, everyone has a “crack-berry.” Going out after work with colleagues and your boss may be the only way to advance your career.
  • Your work environment, employee interaction, and competition among colleagues. Remember mandatory fun days? Some companies make fun an integral part of their culture. At such a place you may wonder why they don’t get to work so they can finish and go home.
  • Interaction with other employees, managers, and senior executives. Regulations and customs dictated dealings with your colleagues and leadership. Though they aren't in writing, most companies have strict protocols. Yet they may require a casual approach that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • The kind of workspace you’ll get and what kind of personal items you may have there. Custom and protocol dictate these issues in the military too. In the private sector, you may have to negotiate them. Surprisingly, getting the wrong office may hamper your advancement in the company.
  • Perks offered by the organization. Break rooms, gyms, and childcare facilities were standard in the military. Not so in the private sector.
  • The training and personal development you’ll get. For the most part, you knew what training benchmarks you had to meet to advance your military career. The matter is much more open in civilian life

You can see that company culture impacts every aspect of you work life. So you’ll need to examine it at three points in your job-hunt:

  1. When deciding which industry and organizations to target.
  2. Before you go to a meeting to discuss a job. (Never go on a job interview.)
  3. Prior to accepting an offer.

If you want to love your job, culture is central. You should practice the four ways of figuring it out:

  1. Research – On and Offline.
  2. Onsite observation.
  3. Talking with people who work in an industry or at a company.
  4. Asking questions during a meeting to discuss a job.

If nothing else, at some point in every meeting the person will ask, "Do you have any questions for me?" This is your invitation to learn as much as possible about a company’s culture.

What do you need to know so you can research company culture more effectively?

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How to Blow a Job Interview on the First Question

What You Can Do to Avoid This Trap

2 minutes to read

You finally got a meeting to discuss a job. Congratulations! Maybe your job-board spamming finally paid off. More likely you connected with someone at the company who got you the meeting. Notice I didn’t call it a job interview. I’ve explained why in a previous post. This is your big chance to get the job you want. You both sit down. The person asks the first question. After you respond, you notice a cooling in his attitude. You don’t know how. But you know you’ve blown it already.

How to Blow a Job Interview on the First Question

The First Question Sets the Tone

During the first 30 to 120 seconds, the person you’re meeting with will check out:

  • Your personal appearance – even breath and tattoos (even on Skype – okay not your breath)
  • How nervous you appear
  • Any signs you lack self-confidence
  • How much consideration you show other people
  • Your values

Many people don’t realize they’re doing it. You do the same thing. Everyone quickly sizes up new people. But most don’t draw conclusions until the talking begins.

You get your first question. The MOST frequent one is: “Tell me about yourself.”

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Wanting to keep things light or appear humble, you smile and answer: “What would you like to know?”

INTERVIEW OVER.

You Fell Into a Trap

Most people get nervous when meeting someone new. That goes for you AND the person you’re meeting with. He’s not trying to set you up. “Tell me about yourself” is his way of politely giving you the floor. You have about two minutes to make yourself stand out from the other people he’ll meet with.

Given the time limit, he doesn’t want your life story. What he wants to know, but isn’t asking outright is:

  • Why are you here? Why my organization and not another one.
  • What can you do for us? Connect your skills to what know about my organization.
  • What makes you unique? Distinguish yourself from the other candidates.
  • What kind of person are you? Explain how you will fit into the culture here.
  • Can I afford you? Address this when you’re offered the job.

Now you can’t answer all of these in two minutes. Respond to one question in a way that he’ll remember you.

Use your Unique Value Proposition. If you don’t know what this is, download my 5-Steps Checklist and check out Step #2. Having done the self-examination and research to develop your UVP, you can come up with at least one powerful response to: “So tell me about yourself.”

Proper preparation will prevent your blowing the meeting on the first question. It will also improve your first impression. You won’t feel nervous, or at least as nervous. You’ll appear self-confident. Both of these will allow you to focus better on other people.

Avoid the first question trap. Set the tone for a productive meeting between two professionals so you can get the job you want.

How will you answer: “So tell me about yourself?”

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