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5 Corporate Marketing Tricks You Can Use to Attract Better Career Opportunities

snakeoil salesman

Companies have employed many tactics and techniques to capture the attention of prospective customers and convert them into paying customers. While some of these may fall into a category you might consider sneaky or contrived, perhaps even manipulative, a lot of them represent ethical best practices that you can borrow to stand out in a crowded candidate market and position yourself as a top choice for a job.

  1. Unique Value Proposition(s)

One thing that every potential customer or employer needs to know is what makes you different. Hypothetically, out of hundreds of applicants 20 might have the right mix of required skills. The hiring manager may be able to allocate time to interview 5 of these. The 5 who get the invitation to interview have to promote something above and beyond the other 15. So, you have to be able to make obvious what value you offer that no other candidate can. This could be a rare skill, a unique professional experience that enables you to approach problems creatively, or even a life experience that gives you a unique perspective or an attractive quality, like resilience or strong people skills. The key is being able to translate your UVP into hard business terms and then to demonstrate, not just state, your UVP in your résumé, LinkedIn profile, networking conversations, and interviews.

  1. Storytelling

Though it may seem to be too succinct and formal to be considered a venue for a story, a great résumé will introduce the most enticing parts of your story, add dimension to who you are as a professional, and tell stories in a concise, reader-friendly format that entices the reader to want to know more. Your LinkedIn profile is the perfect place to compliment the story, tell it in your own voice, let your personality and passion come through, and give people a little more of the back story. Now that LinkedIn only shows the first 200 characters or so of the summary forcing people to do manual labor and click “Read more” before they can see the full 2,000 character summary, those first 200 characters need a hook.

Seriously, I know clicking is easy enough, but we know from corporate user experience data that the people don’t like to do the work of clicking. They have to be enticed.

Then what follows should either entice the visitor to read more about your experience and background, or have a powerful, effective call to action that leads to a connection request.

You don’t necessarily need to entice everyone who visits to request a connection with you, only kindred people. Your story doesn’t need to appeal to everyone, only the people who are most likely to convert into customers or employers. Speak to their values, needs, pains, and culture.

  1. Appealing to Emotions

Even though companies have traditionally been considered cold, unemotional, profit-focused entities and executives seem to be these all-business, out of touch figureheads making decisions from an ivory tower, the human condition cannot be denied. Even the most logical, rational people are influenced by their emotions.

What might attract a company to a solution may be a business need, but it’s the pain of potential or present failure that drives a company to seek the solution and it’s the expectation that the pain will be relieved and/or the success will be sweet that makes them take action. A company is still comprised of people with emotions.

Data has shown that marketing materials promoting services are more effective when they convey attitudes, actions and emotions.

The key is finding ways to give your corporate audience the feels, while still enabling them to make evidence-based business cases to other stakeholders about why you’re a good hire.

4.Pattern Interruption

Companies try not to spend money on advertising that doesn’t get seen. The best ads don’t show up among competitor’s ads but in the flow of the customer’s day where their competitors are not even a thought. Instead of trying to drown out the competition in a noisy marketplace, it’s better to be one of the few voices in a quiet marketplace.

E-mail is one of the most excessive media. It can be a very useful venue to send and receive information and documents, but it’s not a great place to get attention. Your future employer may frequently check e-mail throughout the day, and yet if they receive a high volume of e-mails, the chance that your e-mail will get attention AND a response is slim, though a great subject line can help.

The better bet is to find out what else your prospective employer does with his or her days and to show up where other candidates aren’t.

Then the key is to know what to say that will make them stop what they are doing and pay attention. Appealing to what’s important to them is a great way to do this. So, you need to understand what’s important to them.

  1. Analytics

You can’t measure what you don’t track. You need to measure something to know if and how something needs improvement. Many smart job seekers record their activities. However, not many do so in a way that enables them to see which activities are the least and most successful so that they can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. When you do, however, you invest less time making more of the right things happen over time. Job searching can even become FUN.

The thing is, you need to do this in order to maintain and continue building momentum. Otherwise, you spend time making things happen, then spend time on what’s happening, then if what was happening doesn’t move forward, you have to start over from scratch making things happen. It’s a discouraging cycle, but it doesn’t have to be like that. If you figure out a few key result-producing activities that don’t require a lot of time, you could keep the momentum up while you invest time moving opportunities forward and keep the pipeline full.

Instead of rising and dipping from a 3 out of 10 on the momentum scale to an 8 and then back down to 4, you can keep your momentum high, which leads to not just 1 or 2 viable opportunities in play, but 4 or 5. That’s when you really feel empowered to choose an opportunity that is best for you.

Remember that as you grow or shift in your career, what works best will also shift. I know many tech professionals who aren’t able to use the same resources to reach the next level and they start to believe opportunities are limited, or that there’s something wrong with them.

The good news is that Epic Careering leverages all of these best practices when we design our clients’ brands and campaigns. It’s why our clients are able to land jobs others may find hard land, even with challenges like changing roles or industries, re-entering the workforce, or overcoming a string of mismatched, short-term opportunities. Add that to coaching clients on managing the emotions of job search, forming good habits, and optimizing mindset for top performance and they can see the light at the end of the tunnel within 3 months of starting their campaign. We are now booking free consultations for December if you’d like to see yourself in a better place by spring.

 

The Kinks – I’m Not Like Everybody Else

I do not own the rights to this song. Artist: The Kinks Album: A-Side of Sunny Afternoon Song: I’m Not Like Everybody Else

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Beware the Job Search Trap of the Holiday Season

Photo courtesy of s0crates82 on flickr open source. (http://bit.ly/1vQeqQ4)

Photo courtesy of s0crates82 on flickr open source. (http://bit.ly/1vQeqQ4)

The holiday season is almost here and it is one of the most captivating times of year. There are great sales everywhere, you have a long shopping list, and you can’t wait to decorate the house while the sweet smell of pastries fill the air. You’re looking forward to seeing some of your favorite holiday specials on TV or maybe you’re delighted as you make those travel arrangements to see family and friends. Wait a minute! What about the job hunting plans you had?

With holidays inching closer, now is not the time to take a vacation from your job search. Look for your next job before the holidays hit. Thanksgiving is less than a month away. It is the time of year when job seekers think less about being hired, and more about family gatherings and the perfect gifts. You may be more interested in a winter getaway than making a career transition. The temptation to shelve your résumé and start fresh in January is simply too powerful.

What his hiring really like during the holidays?

It is a common perception that no one hires during the holiday season. This simply isn’t true. Employers want to fill open positions before and after the New Year. Specifically, in January companies want to have potential hires already in place. The end of the year is also a time when many companies increase their payrolls. Also, in a recovering economy, hiring does not slow down much at all. The year 2004 was an example of that. I was unexpectedly busy with just as many, if not more job requirements to fill than during September. And I had been looking forward to some holiday downtime. On top of stress, there is increased competition during the holiday season. Taking the initiative before the holidays arrive could help you avoid a stressful job hunt.

The biggest potential threat to your job search during the holidays is a lack of focus and drive. As I stated earlier, it is extremely tempting to take a break from a job transition to relax from November to January. We want to spend quality time with our family and friends. There are also a lot of great sales for those who love to shop. Unfortunately, the next three months are one of the busiest hiring periods of the year. As companies seek to fill positions by or in January, the call for job applicants picks up in November and December. When the holidays are in full swing, competition for open positions can be fierce. You want to get ahead of the competition by making the most of your job search NOW, not later.

Ever try getting people together over the holidays?

Consider it from a tactical standpoint. If you wait until the end of November, you’ll have several things working against you. First, there are the savvier job seekers who know companies are hiring. Second, hiring managers are inundated with applications on a normal basis, and it will take them longer than usual to setup an interview. Likewise, you may find yourself landing interviews at odd times because of how busy hiring managers are. Coordinating schedules with managers is notoriously hard during this time. Odd interview times could easily put a damper on your holiday plans. Third, a lot of the positions during this time of year are contractual. The last thing you want is to cast your net out, only to find less than satisfying offers. If you want to give your career the epic boost it needs, get out in front of the competition. Don’t let your résumé be swept away by a wave of job seekers; ride that wave to your new career.

Kick-starting your job search immediately will ensure you are interviewed by hiring managers before they are swamped with applicants. This means renovating your résumé, especially if you have been neglecting it. Next: network, network, network! Touch base with friends, acquaintances, or alumni in your professional network, they could be the key to a potential job offer. Attend networking events and make an effort to talk to at least one person per meeting. Holiday parties and company events can be used to further network. The end of the year is already a time when we connect to others, so don’t miss the opportunity to advance your job search. Sara Canuso describes how to make the most of a networking event in her program training module, “Networking for Impact.” Make sure you don’t ignore LinkedIn and other social media networks. Building up your personal brand is essential to standing out from the rest of the competition.

Think QUALITY, not quantity

It is always best to identify prospective positions before the holidays hit. You’ll benefit from having your résumé in front of hiring managers early. You will also stand out from the crowd because you put the maximum effort into your job search. You’ll also avoid the huge rush of job seekers trying to land the same position in the New Year, if it remains open. An open position means hiring managers and other stakeholders will scramble to coordinate their schedules to fill the position. You definitely want to avoid being a part of this scenario. Moreover, you’ll have a leg up on those who chose to suspend their job search until the New Year. Not only will you avoid the many pitfalls the holiday season brings, but you’ll also be able to actually enjoy this time of year. Peace of mind is a brilliant way to celebrate the holidays.

If you need help with your résumé or brand management, we are always here to help! Think of it as an early Christmas present to yourself. (Check with your CPA – our services are often tax deductible!)

 

Can this strange campaign advice land you work?

I had the privilege of driving a few local dignitaries in my dad’s antique Dodge convertible for our township’s 300th anniversary parade.

Pet's Day Out by Mosmon Council on Flickr

Pet’s Day Out by Mosmon Council on Flickr

One of those dignitaries happened to be one of my best friend’s fathers, Bob, a former School Board President. He and the two other distinguished gentleman who rode with me had proclaimed to be retired from campaigns and leadership positions. As we went 3 miles at 2 miles per hour, we had a lot of time to come up with pithy conversation to fill the awkward silence, so I took this campaign advice with a grain of salt; it was probably more for conversation’s sake, but it really made me think.

Bob said, after passing out compliments to many of the parade-watchers on their dogs, that the best way to ensure that a campaign is “in the bag” is to find out the constituents pets’ names and add their names to mailings.

Huh.

I know that from my education in journalism and my experience as an executive sourcer, personal information is not that hard to find, if you know where to look. I do this for my clients when I write their cover letters and I teach clients how to do that through my webinar, Insider Edge to Social Media: 3 Success Secrets to Getting Hired.  But I didn’t consider pets as a way to a decision-maker’s heart. Could he be right?

There was an episode of Modern Family in which the patriarch, Phil Dunphy, went to extremes to help a potential home buyer envision himself in the home. In the end, it was very creepy, and I think you risk that if you take it too far.

What is too far, though?

If you know a decision-maker owns a dog, and you can find a picture of said decision-maker and her dog (say through Google images), would it be too much if you commissioned an artist to paint said dog and owner as a gift?

Probably, in most cases. You would probably want to dig as deep as possible to determine how an individual feels about their privacy versus their pet pride, perhaps even by inquiring within a contact’s personal network.

The example that I use may seem a little over-the-top. Gestures like this can backfire, or they can have residual paybacks for years to come. If such a gesture would be appreciated, that decision-maker would probably show off that painting to all of her close friends and family. It might also get that artist additional work.

In employment climates like this, creativity can take you very far, especially if that is what you think buyers or employers need most.

 

Can you think of any other epic examples that stand produce epic results?

 

Are you promoting yourself as creative, but not using creativity to reach your audience?