Archives for job search

We Need More Better Bosses

 

The Twitterverse: where I’m never really sure if someone is being complimentary or sarcastic. I err on sarcastic.

When I proposed to an HR consultant on Twitter that leadership coaching and skill/career development would prevent disengaging the employees who tend to get overlooked, the middle 80%, he called it “such a simple solution.”

 

Was he being sarcastic?

Conceptually, it certainly is, and data proves that it is effective. Logic also says that if 50% of employees have left jobs because of bad bosses, then the way to retain talent is to have better bosses. Retention does not equal engagement, however.

Now that engagement is on everyone’s radar and it’s all the rage at human resources and human capital conferences galore, why haven’t we gotten past the fact that this works and getting on to executing?

Ah, executing. That’s what has proven to be NOT simple. Or is it?

I recently saw the advice on LinkedIn to choose your boss, not your job. It was advice that was highly lauded by other career professionals and corporate professionals alike. Choose your boss – that’s good advice, but NOT choosing your job is like determining that you can’t have both. You can! The problem is that good bosses don’t seem to be plentiful enough for people to believe they can have both, so they better grab a good boss when they find one, regardless of what they will be doing for them. We need more better bosses, and there’s ALWAYS room for improvement.

I noticed that many articles refer to this kind of leadership development as “executive” coaching. There certainly are particular challenges that executives face for which coaching would help them. And, when executives are conscious leaders who make conscious decisions, it does tend to influence a positive work culture and benefit everyone, but executives are not the only leaders who would benefit from skill, professional, and personal development. Frankly, too many companies exclude personal development as a focus of coaching, when in reality, this is where development makes the most difference in employee/boss dynamics. Personal development is how individuals expand their self-awareness and sense of accountability for results and effective communication. This type of coaching benefits front-line employees, support teams and leaders alike.

If a company is leveraging the creativity of all of its workforce, its leaders need to create an environment and provide coaching that helps all employees handle creativity-killing stress. It also needs a fair system and conscious leaders to vet ideas.

Aspiring leaders need this kind of coaching to understand how to transition from being a doer to a delegator and all that comes with handling people problems, holding others accountable, keeping others motivated, and reconciling orders from above with their own wisdom.  They need to build confidence in this area in order to continue growing.

Mid-level and experienced managers need this kind of coaching to help them handle increasing pressure and responsibility of making decisions, dealing with the consequences of bad decisions or unpopular decisions, as well as managing other managers. Also, even a great leader can be vulnerable to situational greed, and once you have had the taste of promotion, you might be easily influenced to do unethical things as directed with the promise of future promotion.

Executive leaders need this kind of coaching because the stakes are high, they can easily forget the real challenges that their employees face to be able to effectively support them, and the prestige, power, and prosperity can become a drug, making decisions for them. If their wits don’t stay intact, they can be seduced by what looks like easy money and fail to do their due diligence. They can make decisions purely devoid of consideration of human factors – what actual humans do when subjected to adverse situations, and the costs thereof.

So far disengagement is not exclusive to any one demographic of corporate employees. Any employee can become disengaged, though leaders, I’ve found, tend to be engaged for the sake of their team over the sake of the organization. Each group can also learn to support the other, exponentially fortifying an organization’s ability to perform and profit.

Of course, not all development coaching is created equally.  The Epic Careering development programs leverage current and proven neuroscience and human performance optimization breakthroughs that accelerate and reinforce the process from self-awareness to transformation.  Conventional coaching isn’t ineffective, but it is inefficient considering the increasing pace of technology and the necessary pace of corporate evolution.

Epic Careering is currently offering retained programs to 4 growing organizations for 2019. If you want all the benefits of professional development without the wait, book a consultation to learn more now.

 

Bruce Springsteen – Human Touch

Bruce Springsteen’s official music video for ‘Human Touch’. Click to listen to Bruce Springsteen on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/BSpringSpot?IQid=BSpringHT As featured on The Essential Bruce Springsteen.

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 is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She 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.

Could a Simple Shift Produce Breakthrough Results in Your Job Search?

 

Even though most job seekers have heard that job boards are not a very reliable resource to create momentum in your job search, it’s still a default activity for most job seekers.

I know it’s very hard to resist the seduction of low hanging fruit. It may seem counter-intuitive to NOT apply when you see a great job posting show up in your job board results or among the postings sent directly to your e-mail, but are you happy with the results you get?

There are dangerous, not just detrimental, impacts of spending most of your time on these job boards, which include:

  • Negating the potential for a current employee to earn a referral bonus for sponsoring you.
  • Haphazard applying can sometimes lead to multiple submissions into a company, which can disqualify you; companies don’t want to get in the middle of placement fee disputes.
  • Believing that job board search results are good indications of the viability of landing the position you want, then…
    • Deciding that the job you want isn’t viable when the results show few postings
    • Deciding that landing will be easy and is just a matter of playing a numbers game when many postings show up
  • Expecting a response or any kind of return on the time you take applying through job boards, then…
    • When a response does come that lets you know your application was seen, believing that you are getting somewhere with that job
      • Then spending more time preparing for something to happen with that job instead of spending time generating new opportunities
        • Letting momentum slip and then when that job falls through having to start back at 0.
      • When few responses come back believing that there is something wrong with you, that you are not an attractive viable candidate
        • Questioning your self-worth
        • Devising a plan B (or C or D) believing that plan A isn’t feasible
          • Falling into depression as hope slips
        • Finding it hard to stay motivated
          • Being even more likely to continue doing what is easy, not what’s effective, but requires you to be brave
        • Putting a lot of pressure on yourself to perform in an interview.
          • Making you even more nervous, less confident and ineffective at inspiring the confidence of prospective employers
          • Increasing the likeliness of you having to take the first job that’s offered rather than the job the represents your best chance of success
            • Having to swim upstream every day to keep your head above water
            • Feeling like you’re not able to be your whole self at work
              • Increasing your chances of illness and chronic disease

This is not hyperbole! This cascade of negative consequences happens all the time, and it’s something I would love to help everyone avoid!

Have you been here? I have!

Here’s some good news – avoiding it is simple. It’s not easy, as creating new habits is a challenge for many (unless made easier through hypnosis.) However, with a conscious shift in how you spend your time, you can reverse your fortune and enjoy exponential momentum that leads to multiple, attractive, competing offers and your ability to take control of your career destiny!

If you don’t believe me, great – try this 14-day experiment:

Every time you would normally be compelled to check the job boards or the agents send directly to your inbox, go on LinkedIn and do any one of the following instead:

Monday:  Make a list of 10 target companies

Identify your top 5 criteria for your next company, team, or boss and enter a search in the search bar for related keywords, like “social responsibility.” Try filtering results to search content first, but try all of the search categories until you get a hit.  Add the company name to the list. That’s it today – just focus on making the list. Don’t check them out – yet.

Conduct what I call spider research to identify additional companies. This is where you follow “bread crumb” trails. This can mean following the prompts that LinkedIn offers, such as “People also searched for:” or evaluating the profiles of people who work at a company to see where else they worked.

Stop when you have identified 10 prospective companies.

Tuesday: Deep dive into your target companies through LinkedIn

Make it a mission to uncover all of the content available.  Put the company name into the search bar, but go beyond the company’s LinkedIn company page.

Search for content related to that company. Evaluate the employment history of leaders and employees.

While you’re doing that, make a “hit list” of people who seem approachable, people who seem like avid networkers and people who share content and engage.

Create company reports, a place where you can compile relevant information you find, such as the company’s goals, mission, challenges, stances on industry trends, and key people.

If they happen to have a job opening that seems appropriate for you, copy and paste that in the company report as well, recording any contacts that may be connected to the job opening or the company.

Don’t apply. Remember, this experiment is designed to show you how you can make something happen and take control instead of taking the “short cut” that doesn’t actually get you any closer to landing the job.

Wednesday: Take massive action and do it in bulk  

This may sound odd, but pump yourself up physically before doing today’s experiment. Lift weights, do pushups, go for a brisk walk or jog, do yoga etc. This neurohack of the mind-body connection tends to make you feel a bit bolder and braver. It will increase the oxygen to your brain which will help you make good decisions and think more creatively.  The endorphins running through your body will put you in a good mood, which will make you more magnetic to your prospects.

Your primary goal here is to start a conversation. Getting a job is your end goal, and a noble, if not necessary one, but initially you need to get the attention of your prospective employers and potential sponsors. This means knowing, or at least guessing, what will incite action. It could be a pain they need relieving, or a contact you know will help move them forward, competitive intelligence, something related to a personal passion, or flat out asking them for help.

Most people will default to sending a LinkedIn Inmail or invitation. But, when a phone number is available among a contact’s contact information, try it. This is an experiment intended to help you understand the most impactful ways to invest your time in your job search. There’s a reason people put phone numbers in their profiles – they want people to call.

Thursday: Follow up promptly and nurture your network

It’s possible you will have responses that you’ll want to respond to immediately, but even if you don’t, you can still use today’s reallocation of time toward expanding your network and visibility by spreading the love.  Comb through content worth sharing. Make introductions for people. Give people recommendations and endorsements. Share other people’s status updates or posts. Make thoughtful comments on high-engagement articles and posts in your home feed or those from specific thought leaders in your target industry. Direct message job leads to people. As you share, let them know that you are concentrating on connecting with [enter potential boss’s title] at [target company/companies] so that you can [value proposition.]

Friday: Find another way

While the purposes of this experiment is to find ways to leverage LinkedIn to get further faster than you would with job boards, it’s not the end-all/be-all resource. If someone lacks a picture, 500+ contacts, recent activity, and a summary or job descriptions, LinkedIn is probably not going to get you visible to this person because they are not using it in the flow of their day. You want to interrupt the flow of their day and get their attention, so look for other venues where they may be more active – non-profit involvement, other social media platforms, directly in their e-mail inbox, or even in their social circles.

Identify and follow up on a potential new venue to get the attention of your prospective employers or sponsors.

Track the time you spend, and track the results that you get as a result of the time. Results look like introductions offered and made, meetings scheduled (even if by phone), interviews (of course), and leads shared.

Tony Robbins said that there’s a millimeter of difference between success and failure. Usually, it’s the small shifts that cause the most significant breakthroughs.

Please share the results of this experiment, some of which may not be instant, but may be results nonetheless.

Best wishes and happy experimenting!

Oingo Boingo – Weird Science

1985) For most of the 80’s Oingo Boingo was to L.A. and Orange County what the Grateful Dead was to San Francisco. Oingo Boingo developed the kind of fan following that made every appearance an event. They were “our band”, and we believed they knew and appreciated our enthusiasm.

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 is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She 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.

Don’t Be A Statistic: Quit Right – What To Do Instead Of Ghosting Your Employer

 

Executive Director of the Philly Great Careers Group, Lynne Williams, shared an article that stated alarming statistics thought to be due to unemployment being and staying at a record low since September. Apparently, more people quitting their jobs without giving “proper” 2 weeks’ notice. On top of it, they are then “ghosting” their employer.

The job market is not a reason to justify burning any bridges. Though there are talent gaps predicted for certain technical and trade skills, this economy is not expected to last. I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but finance theory is based on cycles. It’s a job seekers’ market right now, but it won’t stay that way forever.  I also can’t imagine that it would feel very free to have to maintain a kind of online blueprint veil to prevent your employer from finding you online.

Even if your employer is the pits, even if you believe “everyone knows” what an unethical jerk he is, even if you have seen others drop like flies…

Strategize your escape to give your employer notice and take the high road.

It’s true that fewer and fewer employers will provide an official bad recommendation for fear of litigation, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t lose out in other ways. It’s also true that this courtesy doesn’t work both ways. Many companies know for weeks to months that they are going to lay off their workers and don’t inform them until their last day. If you live in an at-will state, not much is required. You are free to leave at any time, legally. That doesn’t mean there are no consequences.

I know for certain that some jobs put workers’ health, wellbeing, and safety at risk daily.  I’m not suggesting that you comply with all of your employers’ demands no matter how unreasonable, or that you stay in a situation that puts you at risk of a mental or physical health breakdown. No job is worth that!

Sometimes, though, we hit our breaking point.  When you know things are starting to build up, start preparing yourself for that fateful day. You’ll feel better knowing you are at the beginning of the end.

If that fateful day creeps up faster than you anticipated with the infamous straw that broke the camel’s back, don’t deviate from your plan and go out in a blaze of expletives, even if you think it will feel really good and they deserve it.

You’ll feel better later if they don’t get to see you at your actual breaking point. No one is at their best in that moment. The last thing you need on top of a rotten job/boss and the prospect of scary change is to lament the moment you let them see just how they got to you or to analyze over and over again what you said and did and what you’d have rather said and done.

It’s not worth it. Don’t be a viral case. Don’t go out with a bang, even though you may become a hero to other oppressed employees.

It’s a matter of simple substitution –

Instead of saying “I quit” or just walking out, say…

“I’m taking a mental health day for the rest of today and maybe tomorrow.”  Inform your boss and HR and leave. You may be fired for it, but that would be a litigation risk for them; protections for mental health are gaining more focus. It’s even possible (depending on your state, company policy, and terms of your employment etc.) that you might even be able to make a claim for unemployment compensation if they let you go for that.

OR

Can we talk in your office in 10 minutes?” Give yourself some time to breathe, calm down your nervous system and stress response so that you can be judicious with your words.

“I am officially giving my 2 weeks notice. That is all I want to say right now.”

There may be a LOT you want them to know, but it’s better to sit down and write it all out in your own time. Get it all out first – everything you really want to say without judging it. Write or dictate stream of consciousness style – letting it flow out.

If you’ve never done this before, the process is a lot like cooking popcorn. It will start with one or two thoughts “popping” until soon you get so many at once you can hardly keep up, and then as you get more and more out of your head and into a record (digital or printed) the thoughts will go back to a trickle. You may still add one or two things after you think you’re finished and put it away. Keep it nearby. If you sit down with paper and nothing comes out, engage in a cathartic activity, like walking or cleaning. It won’t be long before your stress response gives way to your reflective thinking.

If given the chance or invited to an exit interview, go through your notes pick out what’s really necessary – just the basic human resources requirements. If they want to know more, perhaps they sincerely want to mitigate whatever situation caused you to want to leave, boil it down to clinical facts, meaning everyone would agree that it is true. For example, though you may believe your boss is an insensitive jerk, you would instead cite a particular moment that your boss was a jerk and state exactly what happened without interpretation. He said this, and then I said that.

Then there may be things that you think they should want to know. But do they? What is it that you’d like them to know for their sake? What would you like them to know for the sake of their remaining employees, customers, investors, etc.?  Should you share this? I don’t know.

What are the potential detriments or fall out that can happen by sharing this?

If the fall out may come back on you, hold on to this information, at least for now. Don’t decide what to do with it until you are safely landed on the other side of your job search.

Why would you do this? Why would you choose to take the high road with an employer who so clearly chooses to be “wrong?”

Because….

You are grace, and in your grace, you inspire people to want to be better. That person may not be your employer, but it could be.  It could be anyone else witnessing the events. It could be the next person who leaves. It could be your kids. It could be the complicit HR person who finally leaves the company and decides later that you were so impressive in your grace that you deserve to work for his/her new employer.

It’s much harder for someone to justify treating someone badly who is still good in return. The moment a bad boss starts to question if they were justified, change is possible.

Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It (Official Video)

Watch the official video for Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, from their 1984 album ‘Stay Hungry.’ The single reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, making it Twisted Sister’s only Top 40 single. The song was ranked number 47 on 100 Greatest 80’s Songs and number 21 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.

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.

When You’re Waiting On An Offer So You Can Have a Better Holiday

I know some of you waited a long time for something to finally come through in your job search. When you have no idea how much your new income is going to be it’s challenging to know how much to spend on presents.

People fall all over the spectrum in their thresholds for how much to spend in the face of uncertain income from super-hopeful “it’s in the bag and it’s going to be a very prosperous new year” to “this could fall through just like the ones before it and we’ll make homemade gifts this year just in case.”

Few people I’ve met are comfortable in a state of flux, though most would admit it’s much better when a good prospective job offer could come through any day.

By now, with many offices operating on essential personnel only, if they are operating at all, the chances of receiving that job offer with all the specifics to accept seems pretty slim.

I’ve made a Christmas wish come true before and extended a job offer around Christmas. It was one of the highlights of my recruiting career! Any recruiter would be happy to make it happen if they can.

But here you are, without a clear vision of what the new year will bring, how you’ll pay your bills and what kind of surplus you might have after that, what kind of vacation time you’ll have to plan trips with family and friends, and what kind of health benefits you’ll have and what doctors and specialists will be in network. You have little control over what happens until the offer actually comes, and then you have to face the idea of having to ask for more and risking being perceived as demanding or ungrateful.

Feeling anxious is justifiable, but ultimately doesn’t serve you. Being present is easier said than done, though. Logically you know that feeling nervous or anxious won’t bring about a better outcome. But so many decisions you’ve had to make have hinged upon this outcome, and each one has induced anxiety and worry.

I get it! One Christmas I didn’t have an income and even investing $83 in an ancestry.com membership so that I could give my family the gift of a genealogy report (this was way before the 23 & me days.)  Even that investment seemed steep when I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to afford to bring something for Christmas dinner. The next year, when I finally had an income, I went all out having so much fun shopping.

That’s what I want you to hold on to – a picture of what next year could look like. When you can’t be present and you can’t make something happen, start imagining how great things could be next year.

Here’s why – not only does the motivational center of your brain start activating problem solving centers of your brain, and you’ll feel better with any plan you might devise to take action and take control, but you’ll also make yourself less likely to settle for an opportunity that falls VERY short of making that vision a reality. You’ll ultimately be more incentivized and empowered to negotiate on your own behalf when an offer comes and be more likely to turn down offers that do not represent an opportunity to become more aligned with the life you envision.

Let your heart be light, though your troubles may not be out of sight. Get carried away with the magic of the season. Let yourself believe in miracles. Have yourself a bright holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

Chaka Khan – This Is My Night (original video)

This is the original video of This Is My Night by Chaka Khan

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.

3 Things To Do Over Winter Break If You Want to Land a New Job by Q2 2019

 

January is traditionally the biggest hiring month of the year. If you want to take advantage of it, you’d want to have your résumé and LinkedIn profile keyword optimized and branded to convert readers into excited employment prospects. If you haven’t gotten that far yet, hold the presses.

Yes, of course, I think you should have a fully keyword optimized and branded résumé and LinkedIn profile (especially the LinkedIn profile,) but you can be in action without them. It takes quality time (and/or an investment for services like ours) to produce highly effective content. Get on that ASAP so that you can be responsive to opportunity, but I would encourage you to be proactive over being responsive over winter break because few employers are going to be monitoring incoming candidates.

The proactive piece of the job search is what MOST people are missing or fail to continue once momentum starts to pick up. Then, if a few opportunities stall or die, they have to start back up from 0 momentum. Allocating time to proactive search methods is the key to building and sustaining momentum so that you get to a point where you have 4-5 viable opportunities in play, any one of which could turn into an acceptable offer at any moment.

Then you have a new problem – figuring out which one is the best one. That’s a problem I love my clients to have.

So over winter break lay the groundwork for a proactive job search, while perhaps preparing yourself to be responsive.

  1. Make a list of the problems you want to solve in 2019 for which you have solutions and skills
  2. Make a list of who potentially have those problems
  3. Make a list of people to know these people who have these problems

Then, in spite of traditional advice that has you setting up time-consuming, hard to schedule one-on-meetings with the people on your lists, schedule 15-20-minute tele-coffees (a term I borrow from Neen James) with a specific agenda – learn more about if your solutions are right for the peoples’ problems and if a more extensive conversation is justified, which may just be an interview. You’ll also be finding out if your contacts have other problems you might easily solve by referring to someone or something. When an interview isn’t the result, aim to get 3 referrals/introductions.

Whether you are home with your kids who are home from school, or you have family visiting, like so many this time of year, tele-coffees (or tele-teas or tele-happy hours) are usually something you can still accommodate. Leverage the time that can be spared to make some progress, deepen connections, and expand your network rather than taking time away from people to be with your computer screen.

Get the rest you need and deserve. Immerse yourself in the hum of holiday hoopla, but when the humming starts to get irritating, take a little break and do something for you that will move you forward toward a happier new year.

It doesn’t take as much time, effort and energy as most think to build sustainable job search momentum. In fact, finding ways to minimize how much time is required is paramount to being able to form good habits around job search activities that produce results, which is how you make sure that momentum continues, peaking when you receive not just one, but competing offers.

James Brown – Just Do It

A song from one of the underestimated King’s albums, “Universal James”.

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.

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.

How to Handle Recruiters Wanting to Connect

Image by Jayne K. via Flickr. Some rights reserved. https://bit.ly/2I46fhg

Image by Jayne K. via Flickr. Some rights reserved. https://bit.ly/2I46fhg

(A follow up to: 4 Things You Can Do on LinkedIn to Attract Recruiters)

If you follow my advice from the last post, it won’t be long before you see people you don’t know, including recruiters, sending you invitations to connect.

So, should you accept them?

Here is LinkedIn’s recommendation: “We strongly recommend that you only accept invitations to connect from people you know. You can control who can send you invitations from the Communications section of your Settings & Privacy page.”

LinkedIn Open Networkers (LIONs) subscribe to the school of thought that more connections are better.  LinkedIn will cap you at 30,000 first-degree connections.

The choices you have for who can send you invitations include:

  • Everyone on LinkedIn (recommended).
  • Only people who know your email address or appear in your “Imported Contacts” list.
  • Only people who appear in your “Imported Contacts” list.

First, let me explain why LinkedIn recommends that you stay open to receive invitations from anyone, but only accept those from people you know.

The original intention of LinkedIn is to keep track of who you know, and who they know, and who they know.  The idea we are all separated by no more than six degrees of separation began in 1929 by a Hungarian author who wrote a short story about network theory. That later compelled social psychologist Stanley Milgram to conduct experiments in the 1960’s. And Columbia University experiments in 2003 confirmed the theory.  So, anyone you might want to meet in this whole wide world is no more than 6 introductions away.

Furthermore, researchers from Tufts and Stony Brook University concluded that while stronger connections are more likely to offer help, your weaker connections are more likely to actually help you land a job.

So, it’s not just who you know. It’s who they know, and who they know.

Notice the “know” part of that. What does it take to really “know” someone? Ask 10 different people, and you will probably get 10 different answers.

It’s up to you to determine what you would need to know or how long you would need to know a person before you really KNOW them. I recommend thinking of it this way: figure out what you need to know about a new connection in order to feel confident introducing them to VIPs in your own network.  This means asking new connections very meaningful questions.

Yes, that is my recommendation – get strangers on the phone and get to know each other before you connect.

When it comes to recruiters, some are transactional and some are relational.  A transactional recruiter wants you in their talent community either for a job requirement they are currently trying to fill or because they expect they will someday have a job requirement for which you might be a candidate. A relational recruiter may ask you to connect for the same reasons, but they get that you are a person, not just a candidate, and that building rapport and potentially a relationship will serve the highest good of everyone: themselves, you, your network, their clients, and their network. They see networking as an investment that enriches their professional experience and produces opportunities that can positively impact multiple lives.

Do either or both sound like people you might want to have in your network? A transactional recruiter may not produce as much value for you as a relational recruiter, but you still may land a job through one. 

How a recruiter is compensated and how their performance is measured may influence whether a recruiter works as transactional or relational. If job metrics dictate that they have to make 100 calls per day and interview 10 candidates in person per week, a metric I had previously as a recruiter, taking time to get to know candidates, especially those I can’t place NOW, seems like an unwise investment of time, even if that’s what I really want to do. Recruiters may flip from being transactional to being relational, and vice versa, when changing from one firm to another. Some relational recruiters will only work where the model supports investing time in building long-term relationships because they find transactional networking to be empty and unfulfilling.

So, once you decide what your standards are for people from whom you accept their invitation, the next step is to speak offline. LinkedIn removed the feature that allowed you to reply to all invitations, now you can only reply to those who have sent you a customized note (and if you read this at any point in the future, that may or may not be the case.)

Once you have decided you want to know a person inviting you to connect,  click on their name to visit their profile and message them, by clicking the “Message” icon just right of the “Accept” button. Send a message something along these lines:

“Hi. Thank you for the invitation to connect. Are you open to getting better acquainted offline? I’d like to understand what your mission is and what kind of invitations would be most impactful to you right now in fulfilling it.”

I include my number to put the ball in their court, but you may not be comfortable with that. Instead you can offer them 3 days/times you have 20-30 minutes free, ask them for their number and to confirm a time.

Not everyone who calls me is going to become a connection. If someone starts to sell me on something right away, I think twice.  I consider myself fairly intuitive, and I can feel a person out. My most important qualification for someone joining my network is if their values are aligned with mine. Meaning, will they be ethical, considerate and respectful?

Of course, when I receive an invitation that I’m going to consider, I check out their recent activity and see what they have been commenting on, liking, and sharing. I read their recommendations and see if they have given any. If they are generally adding value, I’ll be inclined to accept the invitation after speaking.

Notice, I still want to speak with them, mostly because I want to know they are willing to speak to and invest the time with me.  If they’re not, there’s a high probability this person will not prove valuable to my network.

When I speak with them I rely on my intuition and make the conversation organic, but to give you ideas of my thought process:  

  • I might ask them about something specific in their profile.
  • I’ll get their thoughts on a prevalent challenge in their industry or a current event.
  • I’ll ask them what they want most to happen in the next 12 months.
  • I’ll share something personal about myself and see if they reciprocate.

The questions you ask are best if they help you determine if the person meets the criteria you have established for making connections. I don’t necessarily need someone to think like me, agree with me, or share my worldview, though that’s great when that happens. Again, for me it’s really about feeling out how they would treat someone I care about if I were to make an introduction.

I set the intention for these calls that, if it seems like someone I’m going to add to my network, we determine right off the bat something we can do for each other – either an introduction, sharing an article or resource, or giving advice. Ask recruiters what is hot on their plate right now; what candidates do they need to present right now. Then, take at least one proactive measure to try to source that candidate in your network, if you don’t have a referral off the top of your head.

Creating this value right off the bat turns an acquaintance into a partner in success. When you have many partners in success, you don’t have to work as hard to achieve goals, so while the investment of time may seem heavy on the front end, it’s really a time and productivity hack.

Happy connecting! 

Connection

Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group North America Connection · The Rolling Stones Between The Buttons ℗ ℗ 2002 ABKCO Music & Records Inc. Released on: 2002-01-01 Producer: Andrew Loog Oldham Recording Arranger: The Rolling Stones Author, Composer: Mick Jagger Author, Composer: Keith Richards Music Publisher: Onward Music Ltd.

Don’t Stress Out about Stress…Yet

Photo courtesy of Sarah (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dm-set/). Some rights reserved.I have been trying all morning to find a Quartz article that other articles (Apost.com) have been referencing regarding bad bosses, why people don’t leave them, and how a bad boss can be as bad for your health as second-hand smoking. I couldn’t find this source article, so I won’t cite the statistics as truth – YES! I fact check!

So, I did a little bit more legwork to see if I could find the original research sources (The American Psychological Association, Harvard, and Stanford.) What I found was that a “recent” study being cited, isn’t very recent at all – 2015.

Further, people who cited the original Apost.com article said that the Quartz article quoted the American Psychological Association stated 75% of American workers said that their boss was a “major cause of stress.” I have not been able to validate this either.  It also says 59% of these people would not leave their job in spite of their bad bosses – I also found no validation of this statistic, and I was relieved for that!

Here is what I have been able to validate

An aggregation of 228 different studies found:

  • Those who face major stress at work are 35% more likely to be diagnosed with an illness.
  • People who work long hours are 20% more likely to die sooner.
  • The fear of losing your job increases your chance of having poor health by 50%.

I’ve had many clients over the years who had to leave their jobs because they believed it was making them sick – literally. They weren’t imagining it. Science has proven that stress can negatively impact our health. There are too many citations to reference on this. If you would like proof, go to pubmed.org and enter “stress and disease” in the search bar.  If you are in denial of this, it may even benefit your health, too.

Not all stress is bad. Eustress is the good kind, and further studies indicate that our perception of stress is the real determinant as to whether it will impact us negatively in the form of sickness and disease, or whether it will improve our performance, resilience, and sense of achievement.  Some people bring out their best in stressful situations.

You have to assess your beliefs about stress and know your own stress limits before worrying that your string of sicknesses is related to your job.  A report I found cited the theories and methodologies of some major I/O Psychology thought leaders (Kahn, et. al.,) which purported that a person’s fit to their environment determined whether the job would produce eustress or distress.

Now, how well do you fit your environment?

A bigger question is, if you recognize that your environment does not allow you to thrive and operate at your highest levels, are you going to do anything about it?

The Apost.com article was thought provoking, even if it wasn’t properly referenced. The author, who surmised that survival is why people stay, stated, “Given the present market conditions, it is not an easy decision to quit one’s job and start over entirely.”

I have two things to say:

#1 – Regardless of market conditions, changing jobs is not an easy decision.  For many, this decision impacts not just the individual, but also family members and logistics that may be working. This is the #1 reason I have found why people stay at jobs that cause them (dis)stress. They operate under the notion that the chances of finding something better that also works with their lifestyle is a fantasy.

I’m here to tell you – it’s NOT!  It still won’t be an easy decision, but once you make it, engaging a partner like me will help ensure that you land swiftly and safely in a position that aligns with your lifestyle, values, and professional ambitions.

#2 – There’s nothing at all wrong with today’s market conditions (as of this post, April 2018.) With unemployment at a 10-year-low and wage growth relatively steady since 2010, there’s no need to be scared of this market – as of now. That could change, of course. But I assure you, having coached through the great recession, people were still landing jobs, and companies still needed to hire people. It just became much more competitive, and all the more reason to engage a coach to help you distinguish yourself and leverage your time and visibility effectively.

If you suspect your job is out of alignment in some way and is causing stress that could eventually (or already is) impacting your health, don’t wait any longer to get help. The job market is ripe, and just being in action and having a partner and a plan can greatly reduce your stress.

You don’t have to jump ship; just take the first step and book your free consultation!

Facing Age Discrimination? You Might Not Like This Advice

Old-0141 by Ronny Olsson on Flickr

If you’re finding it harder to land a job as you age, you may be wondering if age discrimination is rampant. You may worry about how are you ever going to compete with younger professionals.

The usual advice is to try to disguise your age by cutting off previous experience past X years and omitting graduation dates.

I disagree.

I personally think it’s a futile effort and one that won’t get you much further than you are.

I may advise you to cut off experience past X years for other reasons, like irrelevance or space considerations, but not out of fear your age will be discovered.

Here’s why –

#1 – Hiding your age actually draws attention to your age. With LinkedIn now being a primary platform for recruiting and job searching, it becomes harder to disguise your age. When a graduation date is missing or your summary touts 20+ years of experience that’s not on the résumé, that’s the moment I start wondering. But I’m not wondering if you’re old – I’m assuming you are. I’m wondering how sensitive YOU are about your age. What if you’re not the right fit? Will you think I’m discriminating against you? Sounds like a hassle. NEXT!

#2 – Let’s say hiring manager Jane (don’t blame the recruiters – they deliver what the hiring manager asks for) is convinced that age will become a performance issue and she’d rather not interview experienced candidates. This is why in the job description she asked for 8 years of experience vs. 15. Let’s say also she didn’t get a clue of your age from your résumé or social media so as to avoid wasting her time. She is unlikely to change her mind. In fact, she may even feel a bit like you were trying to swindle her. You are already off on the wrong foot. Maybe you like that challenge – we’ll address that in a bit.

#3 – Your age is an advantage. That is why the majority of leadership roles require more years of experience. The more you experience, the more you learn, the less trial and error you will use, AND the more time and money you will save. To put it simply, as long as you are still sharp, you will avoid making mistakes. This is valuable to any company, and if you’re trying to minimize your age, you’ll inhibit your ability to promote this tremendous value.

#4 – It’s in your best interest to avoid the employers whose culture allows age bias. An allowance such as this is most likely indicative of many other systemic issues. If you solve these problems, then the interview will look a lot more like you consulting to them, but you would have to be an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) master to have built the kind of rapport necessary in the interview process to show them the error of their ways and gain their buy-in to change it. If you don’t solve these problems, don’t you think it’s best to just avoid them?

Some people feel very confident that if they could get past the first screen, which would otherwise exclude them because of their age, they could convince the interviewer to give them the offer. You do you, I say. If you’re really that awesome and convincing, go for it. And, if you find over time it’s not working, try it the other way – being transparent from the get-go.

If you don’t feel as confident, decide now if you want to spend your time trying to change people’s mind about age or if you want to target companies that already value what age brings the table. Pending you have a strong brand and campaign, you will land faster and experience less frustration if you are outright about your age because you will only be spending time with employers who don’t care about age.

However, if you feel it’s important to shift the paradigm, expect that it will take extra time to educate people and be prepared for frustration when some minds don’t change. Because you will be facing a less receptive, perhaps even hostile audience, you also need to put in 4x as much effort and time to generate double the interview activity, as your “closing rate” goes down.

I don’t have any actual numbers, because people don’t openly admit to discriminating based on age, but from my experience as a recruiter, hiring managers choose one candidate over another based on a myriad of other reasons. Rarely would I suspect that there was age discrimination. Sometimes I was given feedback that I was prohibited to relay to the candidate, and just had to tell them that the client chose someone else. Often the reasons were a mystery. I recall many times a candidate was chosen because of an internal relationship, or a common interest, or just really hit it off with someone. Age discrimination and bias happen, but not as frequently as you would think.

You are most likely finding it harder to leave a job because the more experienced you get, there are statistically fewer positions toward the top. Also, if you were using a way to look for a job that worked many years ago and wondering why it’s not working now, it’s not your age. What used to work years ago doesn’t work as well now and as you gain more experience, certain activities are just less effective. You have to be more strategic and less tactical.

And, even though if you look at an organization chart as a triangle, you can see that there are fewer positions at the top. That doesn’t mean you have fewer chances to land that job. Your chances of landing a job actually have little to do with the amount of opportunity available and much more to do with your ability to be competitive for those roles.

Brand yourself as someone wise but in touch, someone who can elevate standards of the workforce around them, and someone who will set the company up for success by helping them avoid costly mistakes.

Some companies have learned the hard way that hiring less expensive talent can lead to MASSIVE costs downstream. If they have learned, they are now seeking and willing to pay for experienced talent. If they haven’t learned, they’re dying, and you don’t want to go down with them.

With technology evolving at breakneck speed, you’ll have to demonstrate that you can keep up, that you are agile enough to pivot on a dime, literally, but also maybe physically.

This actually touches on a different kind of illegal discrimination – health. Sick workers cost companies money. Recruiters and hiring managers are not really supposed to be privy to any medical information throughout the interview process. However, if you show signs of illness or, let’s just say not wellness, then there could be bias against you.

As wrong as that is, fighting against this bias can become a full-time job, and one that has no guarantee of income. It can be a futile waste of energy that is probably better spent on your well-being and peace of mind.

By keeping yourself in as good a shape as possible, you’re not only projecting health, but you project that you value yourself. Why would anybody else value you, if you don’t?

There are some things that we are genetically predisposed to have and accidents happen that can leave us disabled, but there are things within our control that we can do.

We can get enough sleep. We can quit bad habits like smoking or eating junk food, and we can eat more vegetables and exercise regularly. (Hypnosis is highly effective for this! Book here!)

Now we also know that our brain has plasticity, meaning it can still develop and re-develop, so we can also keep our brains sharp with the right nutrients and activities. Dr. Daniel Amen has some great education on this. You may have also heard of the mobile game Lumosity, which is designed to help keep cognitively fit. Even just playing chess, dancing, and doing crosswords have been proven to do this.

Sensitivity to and anticipation of age discrimination is often a greater detriment than age itself. It keeps you in a victim mode versus an empowered mode. You will project less confidence in your interviews. You may even be a bit more defensive or over-compensate by being overly energized.

Yes, age discrimination does happen, but it’s most likely not the reason you are finding it more difficult to land AND you can overcome it in less time (weekly and overall) with effective branding and campaigning. There are 3 spots left in April if you want one-on-one help in this area. You can book a free consultation here. If you prefer the support of a group setting or you have a small budget for this type of assistance, a live 6-week group coaching session will start in late April. The first module is FREE and you can watch it here.

 

Don’t let anyone keep you from contributing to your brilliance. I will help you take control, shine your brightest, and continue realizing your potential.

Fleetwood Mac – Landslide

i do not own this song, no copyright infringement intended Lyrics: I took my love, I took it down Climbed a mountain and I turned around And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills ‘Til the landslide brought it down Oh, mirror in the sky What is love?

10 Steps to Being the ONE Who Gets the Offer: Avoid “Bland Brand”

Day 102/365 by markgranitz on Flickr

Most people don’t get the job. Only one. How do you set yourself up to be that one from the get-go?

It’s your brand. This isn’t just a buzzword, and it’s not something created out of thin air. In fact, you have one whether you are intentional about it or not. Only, if you haven’t been intentional (which is the “I” in EPIC,) it may not be a brand that positions you for what you want, and it might not be noticed by people in a position to give it to you.

Getting it noticed is a step ahead, step 3, though. Let’s just focus now on what you need to ask in order to assess your current brand, which is really how people think of you. Then you can bridge the gaps to include what people really need to understand in order to see that you are special, deserving, and ready for the next step.

[To go back a bit, Step 1 is Focus – I covered that in a video I shared recently, but it’s no longer available.]

Step 2 to landing your dream job is Branding. For job seekers, this means taking that focus on what you want to do most and who you want to do it for, and understanding what your ideal employer needs to know about you to help them quickly determine that you are a person of extreme interest and unique value.

A powerful brand creates a sense of urgency, because if a hiring manager sees your value, so will someone else, and that means that you could be an asset to the competition any day now. That’s a double loss to a company!

The average résumé and LinkedIn profile describe functional duties – what you were responsible for or in charge of doing and what your day-to-day, weekly and monthly duties were.

Do you think presenting yourself as average will attract the attention of your dream employer?

For that matter, will you attract the attention of any employer? Only if that employer is okay with average employees. What kind of job security can a company with average employees offer you? Will you be satisfied working with average people who produce average results? You may, and to each his or her own. My clients would not be, but that’s why they choose to work with Epic Careering. If you aren’t striving for Epic, you aren’t a potential client. This post could still help you, because even if you want an average job, you still need to land it, and you still need to be slightly better than average – otherwise, how is an employer to choose? I can just see them doing eenie meenie minie moe with résumés now.

(By the way, and this may seem obvious, so forgive me, but in order to be seen as an attractive candidate, you first have to be seen. Don’t depend on online applications for this, but again, that’s step 3.)

A. In order to assess your current brand, it’s best to ask others who know you well: What kind of reputation do you think I have?

When people give you generic answers, such as, “You’re a team player,” or “you are results-focused,” get them to be more specific. For example, when it comes to results, ask them to define the kinds of results that you generate, or how they can tell you are focused on results. If they praise you on your ability to work with a team, ask them what they think makes you good at working with a team. These are a couple examples of where and how to dig deeper, but the kinds of responses you might get are limitless. The key is to keep honing in on your UNIQUE way of being valuable in ways that many, many people are valuable. Don’t settle for answers that most people give, or you will wind up sounding like everyone else. That’s a kind of brand, but not the kind that gets the offer – that’s a bland brand.

B. Now you have to take a look at the kind of people that your ideal company wants to hire. Find a company that meets 80% of your criteria (which were developed in Step 1 – Focus.) How? Pick the most critical of those criteria and determine where companies who meet that criteria can be found.

For instance, if you want your company to offer excellent health benefits, Google “companies that pay 100% health benefits.” This worked for me. You may want to put in your state or city, but even if a company is headquartered in a different location, they still may have subsidiaries or locations near you, or they could have remote positions.

C. Visit their employer page to see what they say about the kinds of talent they attract. The better ones will have employee testimonial videos. You’ll still want to rely on other sources. Go to LinkedIn, search for the company, opt to see the employees on LinkedIn. You can sort by titles that resemble the ones you would want. Check out various profiles to see where else people worked, where they went to school, and what they have achieved at work and in their community. You may even see if those same people are on other social media, like Facebook or Twitter where they may share more candidly and you can find out more about the kinds of personalities the company attracts.

D. Look for trends. Write down what you find. What are the common backgrounds, personalities, and achievements that have enticed this company to hire in the past? Do you feel like you fit in?

That’s a loaded question, since most of us suffer from “imposter syndrome.” Let’s assume that these are people that you think you would like to work with, and therefore you would fit in. It’s generally true that traits we admire in other people are those we possess or strive to possess, and therefore are authentically us. We just need some evidence.

E. Take the list of common backgrounds, personality traits, and achievements and put them in a T-table so you can compare with what you possess. Keep in mind that you may have to look outside your previous work experience to find evidence, since we don’t always get the chance to express or apply our innate strengths on the job, or we do and it’s not appreciated. If we’re going for EPIC, we’re assuming that your strengths, talents, and personality will be embraced and leveraged. That’s what makes you feel ALIVE at work. [Let’s also assume that you’re well compensated for them.]

F. Here is where we get more specific and start to build your brand case. The achievements, education, and skills are the more tactile to compare. However, when it comes to personality traits, it may be more challenging. Asking for assistance from those who know you well can really help speed this process along, as vulnerable as it might make you feel. You need to discern what your unique way of demonstrating these qualities has been.

G. Once you have all of the data, synthesize it, and distill it into 4-6 branding points – no more/no less. You need a solid foundation on which to build your content, and you want to make sure you can be clear and consistent across your résumé, LinkedIn profile, biography or any other media you might use to share your brand.

H. Put them into priority based on for what you want to be appreciated most.

I. Each branding point needs a story to prove it. The higher priority branding points need to be proven more frequently, and more recently.

J. Use the following formula to flesh out all the details of your story

> Situation (the conditions that existed that necessitated a change)

> Challenge(s)

> People impacted and the impact (pre-solution)

> Decision made

> Action taken

> Skills, talents applied

> tools used

> people involved

> results (in measurable terms whenever possible)

> impact (how that trickled down to other people)

K. Take the most impressive components of each story and build a bullet, starting with an action verb, that highlights them for your résumé. You may not accommodate each part of the story for résumé bullets, but you can save that back-story for your LinkedIn profile, helping you create a completely complimentary brand story between the media.

If these steps have already overwhelmed you, and you feel that in the time that you would take to complete all of these steps you could have made good money, do what highly successful people do and leverage other people’s expertise and time.

Engage us and we will:

  • Ask all the pertinent questions
  • Understand your target employer’s hiring criteria
  • Ensure that your new brand resonates with them and creates a sense of urgency
  • Get granular and specific about which makes you unique
  • Synthesize and distill all of your qualities and experience into 4-6 branding points
  • Write your summary to distinguish you among any other equally or more qualified candidates
  • Compose branded bullets that PROVE you are a MUST-CALL candidate
  • Craft complimentary content that presents a clear, consistent and compelling story that inspires action

 

If you like these steps, consider yourself a talented writer, and love the do-it-yourself model, I recommend investing in our very fun bullet builder, summary builder, LinkedIn profile builder and our proven template: https://epiccareering.com/diy-content-builder/. These put all the creation in your hands without the guesswork that can lead to costly (time and $$) trial and error.

The Smiths How Soon Is Now?

Album: Hatful of Hollow / Year: 1984 / Written by Morrisey and Johnny Marr / Produced by John Porter Lyrics: I am the son and the heir Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar I am the son and heir Of nothing in particular You shut your mouth How can you say I go about things the wrong way?