Archives for Max Crowley

Are You Demonstrating Your Top Qualities in Your Job Search?

"Jack Canfield Nothing happens until you take action" by BK of Flickr

“Jack Canfield Nothing happens until you take action” by BK of Flickr

Ethan is a Social Media Analyst who’s often described by his friends as a “go-getter.” When he sets out to complete a project at work, or help a friend, he gives the task his best effort. Ethan’s work is always completed on time and goes beyond what is asked of him. While he tries to state this quality on his résumé, he does not demonstrate it through his actions during his job search. Ethan looked for work on job boards, didn’t ask his network for help, and didn’t do much research before his interviews. Although Ethan’s friends can vouch for the fact that he is a go-getter, potential employers failed to see this quality. He realized he had to apply those qualities to his job search if he was going to impress employers. This meant connecting with employers, networking, and taking the initiative instead of relying on job portals. Within two months of Ethan applying his go-getter attitude to his search, he landed at a new firm.

What are your uniquely valuable qualities as an employee? Are you detail-oriented? Are you a go-getter? Or are you creative?  More importantly, how are you using those qualities in your job search campaign and how are you demonstrating those qualities to potential employers?

Eight qualities employers commonly consider are:

 

1. Problem solving – Problem solving involves thinking critically, creatively, and being willing to compromise when needed. It could be helping to reduce the workload of a busy boss, eliminating inefficiencies, or finding a simpler way to resolve an issue. In your job search, this could look like finding a hiring manager’s contact information and engaging with them before your interview.

2. Team Player – Team players are people who work well in a team environment. You can demonstrate your ability to work with others by taking a team approach in your job transition. This can consist of getting together in a group, having people attend events on your behalf, and leveraging your network. You can also consider being part of a mentoring group while in transition.

3. Flexibility – Being flexible means you’re willing to make things work. When you’re trying to meet people for job interviews, for information, to network, or even being willing to have flexible work hours, you want to be as convenient as possible. For example, asking “How can I accommodate you?” comes across as flexible and ties into being a problem-solver. This shows you’re willing figure out how best to help a potential employer. Be aware of a few caveats: it is possible to come across as too flexible and seem desperate. You can take your flexibility too far, compromise your values, or seem contradictory.

Max Crowley’s determination to work for Uber is a great example of flexibility. His current role as a System Integration Consultant wasn’t an obvious match for Uber, but he was willing to change careers to follow his passion. Crowley devised a plan where he would position himself to be hired. He followed Uber’s Head of Operations on social media and made it a point to show up at recruiting events. His determination paid off with a Senior Community Manager position.

4. Leadership – Leadership is leading by example and being self-motivated. These are people who naturally take the initiative while following instructions. You can demonstrate this to employers by volunteering in a leadership role and joining a professional organization where potential supervisors could be members.

5. Communication – Communication is more about listening than being heard. We all want to be heard, but being able to listen is a really special quality. Not listening to, or accommodating an employer’s preferred communication method can be a major source of frustration. Some people prefer to communicate by e-mail, others may want you to call, while some prefer a text message.

In the case of Alec Brownstein, he knew exactly how to communicate with his desired employer. He used Google Adwords to purchase advertising spots of the names of his favorite Creative Directors knowing they would Google themselves at some point. Using that space he advertised himself and stated why he would be perfect for the job. Alec was hired by his dream employer.

6. Responsibility and Reliability – Anyone can say they are responsible and reliable, but it is a quality that is best demonstrated. In other words, you prove your responsibility just by doing what you’re supposed to be doing. That means showing up when you said you would, responding when you said you would, and delivering results in a timely fashion. In my years as a career coach, I have found people can easily disprove these qualities just by failing to return a call, or being late for a meeting.

7. Detail-Oriented – Being detailed-oriented ties into being responsible and is another quality that can also be disproven. Do you hear and understand what’s being asked of you? Do you actually take the time to consider the finer points? For example, I’ve read many résumés where people have claimed they were detail-oriented. However, they failed to pay attention to the smaller things such as format, spelling and grammar.

8. Creativity – Being creative means doing things in your job search that others wouldn’t, such as being bold. This could take the form of a billboard ad targeted at a potential employer, or creating an infographic résumé. Creativity also means thinking outside-of-the-box and naturally demonstrating your problem-solving abilities.

Nina Mufleh is a great creative example. She moved from the Middle East to San Francisco and wanted to land a job at Airbnb. Her efforts were ignored by the company. That is until she created a website for an interactive résumé that looked like an Airbnb host profile. It wasn’t long before she was contacted by Airbnb, LinkedIn, and Uber. Nina was able to uniquely showcase her knowledge of the industry and what she could contribute to Airbnb.

 

How-you-do-anything-is

 

Naming these highly desired qualities on your résumé means very little to employers unless you set yourself apart with your actions. The connection between the three extraordinary job seekers is their ability to demonstrate their best qualities while executing their job search. While you may not need to stalk hiring managers at your desired employer, or target them with Google Adwords, you can consider your best qualities and how you can demonstrate them to a potential employer. If you’re a creative type, be bold and creative. If you’re a details-oriented person, pay close attention to the details. How you execute your job search says more than your résumé ever will.

5 of the Craziest Ways People Found Jobs

Crazy Fools by Ian Wilson from Flickr

Crazy Fools by Ian Wilson from Flickr

 

Creativity and passion are important in distinguishing yourself while searching for your career or making a transition, but some job seekers take theirs to epic levels. While many insist on stating in their résumés and profiles that they are creative, innovative, think out of the box, etc., there are some job search heroes out there proving it. I scoured the internet for the craziest ways professionals sought their dream jobs. Here are five of my favorite stories.

1. Using an employer’s platform to showcase yourself.

 

Mike Freeman wanted a job as a Business Analyst at Shopify. Instead of sending the usual résumé that hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants use, he bucked the system and made himself a spectacle, a very creative and attractive spectacle. Freeman set up a store using Shopify’s own platform and used it to showcase himself. A bold and dazzling display on the storefront read “So I’ve noticed that Mike Freeman doesn’t work for you guys yet. Let’s fix that.” The clever job seeker went even further. Going beyond just listing his résumé, Freeman even gave employers the chance to book a meeting with him in-person. Fortunately, his boldness bred success and Freeman landed a marketing position at Shopify.

 

2. Launch a spectacular online campaign promoting yourself.

 

In 2011 Kimberly Ashdown was determined to work for Ashton Kutcher’s media company, Katalyst, as an intern. There was only one problem – she wasn’t currently a college student. The Creative Production Coordinator didn’t let a few minor details stop her. Ashdown launched several websites including iwannaworkatkatalyst.com, internuptopia.com and kimberlyashdown.wix.com in order to land her dream job as a Katalyst intern. Her efforts were rewarded, and she worked briefly for Kutcher before returning to her career as a Production Coordinator.

 

3. Infographics can be spectacular résumés.

 

Chris Spurlock was a senior journalist student at the University of Missouri in 2011. He showcased his ability to create infographics by creating a résumé with visual flair. The result was a spectacular infographic. Spurlock took his work a step further by posting his résumé to Huffington Post. It wasn’t long before the article went viral and garnered hundreds of tweets, thousands of likes on Facebook, and tens of thousands of views at Huffington Post. The popularity of the infographic résumé persuaded Traffic and Trends editor Craig Kanalley to hire Spurlock as the news organization’s Infographic Design Editor. Spurlock isn’t the first person to obtain his dream job by taking a visual route with his résumé. In 2010 a few other creative job seekers saw success by using infographic résumés, and I’m somewhat surprised the practice isn’t used more often. At Epic Careering we promote infographic one-page profiles as a very effective way to generate high-quality employment leads. Images are so much more memorable than text.

 

4. Stalk your potential employer using social media.

 

Max Crowley was a Systems Integration Consultant for Accenture when he wanted a change of pace in his professional life. Namely, he had his heart set on working for Uber, a relatively new startup company introduced in 2009. His previous role and company weren’t an obvious match for Uber, but he devised a strategy to overcome that challenge. When Crowley learned Uber would be launching in Chicago, he positioned himself to be hired. His endeavors included following Ryan Graves, Head of Operations, on Twitter, sending him e-mails, and showing up at recruiting events Graves attended. Crowley’s passionate determination paid off and he got the job as Uber’s Senior Community Manager. While this approach can produce favorable results, you must take care not to blur the line between pursuing a potential employer and being creepy. In my 2013 article, “Can this strange campaign advice land you work?,” I highlight the risks of digging too deeply into a decision-maker’s background.

 

5. Advertising yourself on Google’s AdWords.

 

Alec Brownstein was a Copywriter. His professional life at a large ad firm was not what he wanted. He wanted to work for genuinely innovative Creative Directors. Brownstein was also a fan of Googling the very Creative Directors for whom he dreamed of working. One day, the copywriter was hit by a stroke of genius. He noticed his favorite Creative Directors didn’t have sponsored links attached to their names. Using Google AdWords, Brownstein purchased the top advertising spots for the directors’ names and used the space to advertise himself. He figured the directors, like everyone else, Googled themselves and they would eventually see the sponsored ad. The effort literally cost him $6 and paid off a few months later when he was contacted by almost all of the Creative Directors he targeted. It wasn’t long before Brownstein was hired as a Senior Copywriter at Young & Rubicam (Y&R) New York.

 

When you look at how most people look for a job, it isn’t hard to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Focus on doing a few things well instead rather than reaching for a particular volume of activity. Volume does not equal desirable results; it’s not necessarily a numbers game! Work smart rather than hard. Creativity and passion can go a very long way in your career. We live in a world where all things are possible. Be bold. If these professionals can think outside of the box to land their dream jobs, so can you.