Tag Archives: jobs

How to Break Through to the Life You Want

Are You Drilling the One Fundamental for Success?

2 minutes to read

When you joined the military you didn’t have all the skills you needed for success. You may have had to learn to march, fire a rifle on target, or build stamina. Whatever the challenge, you drilled it. Sooner or later you had a breakthrough. You adjusted to military life, advanced in rank, and achieved success. Civilian life works the same way.

How to Break Through to the Life You Want

Same Process Different Mission

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Since the military clearly defines its mission, you knew exactly what you had to do. And your drill instructor gave you consistent feedback so you could improve. Every service branch embodies the three fundamentals for achieving success:

  1. Purpose
  2. Mission
  3. Deliberate Practice

Two weeks ago you read about the importance of purpose. Your service branch indoctrinated your purpose. It made you a soldier, Marine, sailor, airman, or coastguardsman. What good would all the drilling have done without a coherent idea of the kind of warfighter your service branch needed? It may not have seemed so at the time. But basic training implanted purpose in your life.

To transition to civilian life, you need to adjust or redefine your purpose.

Once you know who you’ll be, you can tackle what you want to accomplish. Like with purpose, you need to swap your military mission for one in civilian life.

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All the work you do reintegrating into civilian life will be worthless until you know what to drill. You can’t break through a barrier if you don’t know where to head.

Break Through in Small Steps

Once you know what you want, you can determine which skills you lack for getting it. If you’re changing fields, you may need a degree or certificate. But you never had to job-hunt in the military. So you need some of the job-hunting and life navigation abilities civilians learn naturally. Once you identify which ones, you can drill them to reach mastery.

Every civilian who gained exceptional success used a process called deliberate practice. It has five elements:

  1. Designed to improve a small aspect of performance.
  2. Repeated at high volume.
  3. Constantly engaged mentally while practicing.
  4. Stretched beyond enjoyment.
  5. Consistently received corrective feedback.

They look identical to the military, don’t they? Apply them the way your drill instructors did during basic training.

Let’s say you don’t feel confident during a meeting to discuss a job. Use deliberate practice to master this skill. Begin by breaking it down into small pieces:

  1. Addressing the receptionist on arrival.
  2. Meeting the hiring manager.
  3. The first 30 to 120 seconds.
  4. Responding to the five most common questions.
  5. Asking relevant questions that show your professional expertise and interest.

And so on…

Work with a more experienced fellow veteran, a mentor, or a coach. Drill deliberate practice until you can perform with confidence. Now you have the formula to break through to the life you want.

How can you apply deliberate practice to improve your transition?

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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 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?”


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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How to Cut Through the Baloney of Job-Hunting

The Only 5 Steps You Need to Take to Get a High-Paying Job

3 minutes to read

Almost two-thirds of veterans say transition assistance programs are at best somewhat helpful for job-hunting. So you know the process is broken. Many complaints focus on a one size fits all training when veterans have a broad range of experience and needs. Others address the lack of civilian-world experience and success among the trainers. Both point to a bigger issue.

How to Cut Through the Baloney of Job-Hunting

It’s Time to Acknowledge the Truth

I’ve written before about how the process taught in transition assistance training wastes veterans’ time. But the problem is much larger.

Veteran transition experts agree on what steps you need to take to be successful in today’s job market. Yet, despite clear evidence that transition training doesn’t work, they’re reluctant to stand up and say so. Remember when humvees had insufficient armor to withstand an IED? Finally, someone had the courage to say this is wrong and must change. We’re at the same place with transition programs.

The military doesn't have the expertise to train service members to become civilians. Its skill works in the opposite direction, turning civilians into warfighters.

Another problem. I bet you hate purchasing something from a company only to be told you have to go to elsewhere when it doesn’t work. Yet the current transition system does just that. Your service branch trains you for reintegrating to civilian life. Then it hands you your DD-214 and its responsibility ends.

If the training doesn’t work, you have no recourse to the provider.

Changing the system will help our fellow veterans who are still on active duty. But until that time, or if you’re already out, you need a solution now.

You Only Need to Take These 5 Job-Hunting Steps

All carping aside, let’s get you clear on what you have to do. These are the only 5 steps you have to take if you want a high-paying job:

  1. Develop a clear, compelling purpose and mission for your life and make goals to execute them.
  2. Establish your Unique Value Proposition. It will turn your military service into high-paying, meaningful work.
  3. Evaluate the depth and quality of your network. Then use and expand it to create the relationships you need.
  4. Target employers where you can maximize your UVP and effectively market to them.
  5. Properly prepare for meetings and negotiations.

You control every one of these job-hunting steps. You…

  • Decide what you want to do and why.
  • Figure out the most lucrative place to put your skills, knowledge, and experience to work.
  • Develop relationships with people who can and want to help you.
  • Choose the companies you want to work for.
  • Go into a meeting to discuss a job as a professional.

There’s no guesswork involved. You don’t need to spam the Internet with your resume and pray you’ll get an interview. People who follow these 5 steps and are part of a group that has proper mentorship usually get a job they want in 90 days. Did you learn this in transition assistance? I didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these steps are easy to do. You can’t behave the way most job-hunters do, search for work an hour a day and watch television for three or more. You’ll have to stretch yourself. And, the process spirals so as you complete each step you learn how to do a previous step better.

The sad fact is your service branch let you down. But you wouldn’t expect a deep-sea fisherman to train you in computer network troubleshooting. It makes no sense to task commanding officers with something they don't know how to do. Since the military didn’t train you in these job-hunting steps you’ll have to find another source that will. I’ll get you started. Download my 5-Steps Checklist.

At least now you know what to look for. If an organization or coach wants to help you but doesn’t start by outlining these five steps, move on. Since this SOP works for 86% of civilians, it’ll work for you.

How are you getting the training you need to find the job you want?

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