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Five More Tips on Securing a Job

Mary Rosenbaum | June 30th, 2009

I was asked to submit some tips but not the obvious ones for conducting a job search. Here they are:

5 More Tips on Securing a job:
1.Evaluate how your skills, background, strengths and talents compare with what prospective employers are looking for. If there are weaknesses, determine how you can either minimize them or eliminate them (take additional classes in an area in which you are deficient). Most importantly, where can you add value to this prospective employer (speak additional languages, have managed as well as had hands on experience, etc.). Make sure you always include your value added when highlighting your experience and capabilities. Showing that you can give them something above and beyond their expectations is a great way to bring your name to the top of the list.

2. As part of your job search collateral materials it is a good idea to create a web page which is different than your resume. It should be a showcase for work that you are particularly proud of and reflects the quality of the work you do. Creativity and knowledge of what an employer is looking for is critical to this being successful. For example, if you are a marketing or advertising exec it would be great to go into greater detail on some of the projects you have worked on showing examples of your work/results. Financial professionals would be more interested in highlighting some of the more complex transactions they were involved in with a results oriented focus. This web page should be included in your cover letter as a way for the prospective employer to get to know you better before the interview. It’s a great differentiating factor.

3. For people who have been out of work a long time and have burned through their network this next approach works wonders in developing some visibility and credibility with new people. Create a project for yourself that you would have an interest working on, is in the forefront of your industry, and that would afford you the opportunity to speak with professionals and thought leaders in your particular industry. As a “consultant” or someone who wants to write about this project it would enable you to: a)meet people who can potentially help you b)have people see you at your best – doing the work you love and doing it well c) become more knowledgeable in an area or dealing with an issue that is in the forefront of the industry d)this project might help you get in the door of a prospective employer.

4. Don’t wait until you see an opening at a firm where you want to work. Instead do the research and see where there are holes in areas with which you have familiarity. Where is their pain and how can you fix it? This means doing the necessary research: reading the industry journals, keeping up with former colleagues at these firms, staying current with the changes taking place in the industry and determining how you might fit based on your knowledge. When you have found the particular need they have, figure out how you might solve their problem and make the pitch to get in the door.

5. Become an expert in your industry. As you network for a job you are gaining information about the industry and where it’s going, about the companies and where they fit in, and of course, the people who work in the industry. Using this knowledge you can become the go-to person when people need to find out or get connected with someone to help them in the work they do. By helping the people you meet as you go through your job search you create a tremendous amount of social capital. Social capital is what compells people to return the favor, and usually it’s in a very timely manner. Your credibility as a professional grows exponentially as people start to view you as an expert. With the rise in credibility comes an increase in visibility and as well as in referrals and recommendations.


The Value of Vision

Mary Rosenbaum | June 30th, 2009

Here is an article I read in Harvard Business Publishing that articulates the value of having a vision for your life.  If you are building a business or establishing your career, your vision of your life, both personal and professional, impact the choices you make. Your vision encompasses your values and helps establish your goals – your roadmap to where you are going.

 

What’s Your Vision of the Good Life?

Posted by Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek on August 18, 2008

While world-class organizations craft banner vision statements to inspire their efforts toward success, most people haven’t thought to do so for themselves. As we watch the Olympic Games in Beijing, we are reminded in interview after interview with champion athletes about the importance of envisioning their success, of visualizing their performance flowing perfectly, leading to the medal ceremony and their dreams coming true. Aristotle observed that “the soul never thinks without a picture.”

Creating a compelling vision for our lives — one that includes not just a vision of our professional accomplishments but also a vision for family life, education, health, community engagements, travel, and adventures — can point us in new directions and provide the drive we need to get there. A personal vision statement asks: what do I want to be, do, and contribute in life — and who do I want to share it with?

Some people struggle with the notion of having a vision of the good life because it sounds abstract and distant. Fortunately, authors Richard Leider and David Shapiro have come to the rescue with an elegantly simple definition of the good life: “living in the place you belong, with the people you love, doing the right work — on purpose.”

Keep in mind that vision is different from purpose (a.k.a. “mission”) and goals. Our purpose is our reason for being, and we should think of it as timeless. Our goals are the objectives we want to accomplish, and they are best conceived in one- to three-year increments. By contrast, our life vision is a vivid description of what we will do with our lives. It’s best thought of over a decade, or even a lifetime. Our life vision should take our breath away with its audacity. It should roar with passion and set markers for what we plan to do with our days on the planet.

As we craft a vision for our lives, we should ensure that it is:

  • Vivid enough to capture our (and others’) imagination
  • Unbounded by the status quo
  • Aligned with our authentic essence
  • Distant enough that we have to work toward it
  • Clear enough that we can measure our progress against it
  • Broad enough to encompass all the major aspects of our lives (including personal, professional, and relationships)

Note, though, that a good vision will evolve over time. Having a vision can be a catalyzing force in our lives, but we shouldn’t expect that we will travel a linear path from point A to point B to realize it. Sometimes “stuff” happens.

Most importantly, our vision needs to be grounded in who we are. Many people stumble here, neglecting to look inward before projecting outward. Carl Jung says that “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” In essence, our vision statement is an authentic rendering of how our purpose and values can play out in the world.

 

So be bold as you craft your vision of the good life.


Paul Revere’s Ride

Mary Rosenbaum | June 24th, 2009

This is an article I wrote some time ago but thought it is a great way to highlight the importance of having a strong reputation – a strong personal brand. Enjoy.

We have all been hearing about the importance of networking, being knowledgeable and credible in your industry, knowing your target audience, and having a strong compelling message. Whether you’re involved in a job search, growing your own business or franchise, or developing your career, the aforementioned skills are critical to your success. I want to share the following story I read about in Malcolm Gladwell’s book  The Tipping Point.

On the evening of Paul Revere’s famous ride, there was another man who took a different route on his way from Boston to Lexington. His name was William Dawes.  It’s no surprise that few people have heard of him. Although he went to as many towns in a similar amount of time as Revere, he was unsuccessful at rallying the troops. Why is that? It was the same message, the same urgency, an identical audience, but yet he did not mobilize the troops in any effective way. It was initially believed that the towns Dawes went to were British sympathizers when in fact that was not true.

Can you figure it out? Well, it turns out the Paul Revere was intensely social, a great networker and connector. He knew a lot of people and had traveled extensively between Philadelphia and New Hampshire, stopping at the many towns in between. So when he made his famous journey from Boston to Lexington, he knew on just which doors to knock and who would help mobilize the townspeople. He knew his audience and how to propel them to action. Where he was less known, his strong social skills enabled him to persuade them of the impending danger.

Throughout his life Paul Revere was known for gathering and passing along valuable information to the people who would make the most of it. Specifically, he was considered highly credible when it came to information about the British. His compelling message was given greater weight by his strong reputation as being knowledgeable about the British and having reliable information.

William Dawes was not equally blessed with the same skill set or experience as Paul Revere. He was less well traveled; much of his work was centered in Boston. Consequently, he didn’t know the right doors to knock on. Additionally, he didn’t have the reputation that prompted others to believe his message of the dangers ahead. Without a strong reputation and credibility that preceded him or knowledge of the people he was calling on, Dawes was doomed from the start as an effective messenger.

Great story! So continue networking, building relationships, and building a strong reputation because you never know when you’re going to have to knock on someone’s door.


Staying On Brand and Staying Focused

Mary Rosenbaum | June 22nd, 2009

Welcome to my new blog site. As you can see, I have a new look, a new name, and an expanded mission. I will try to provide some insights into ways to grow your business and expand your career prospects. If you have any questions you want addressed or comments you have based on what I write please email me and I’ll be happy to respond.

If you have already gone through my website then you know that having a strong personal brand in today’s world is not a luxury but a necessity. Identifying your value added means letting your employer or prospective client know that when they hire you they get something extra that your competitors do not provide.

So if you have gone to the trouble of unearthing your brand, your unique promise of value, then you have to make sure that you are communicating it effectively to your desired target audience. Whether you work for a company and are trying to stay ahead of the pink slip or growing a business, knowing how to spend your time productively is critical to your success.

Here are some pointers to help you stay focused:

1. Stay focused by having a clear understanding of what you want to do and the clients you want to serve. Crafting a personal branding statement and pinning it up so you can see it every day should provide you with the reminder you need to stay on target. This may sound simplistic but it is very easy to drift off and take that assignment or volunteer for that project at work that has nothing to do with the direction you want to take professionally.

2. Learn to say no. It’s difficult saying no to opportunities but again, taking time away from what you want to do can be more costly than the time you lose and the opportunities you miss. If there are projects at work that can provide you with the visibility you need to get ahead don’t get stuck doing something that keeps you from attaining your goals.

3. Make sure your marketing plan is “On Brand”. What that means is make sure you are reaching the audience you want with the message of who you are and what you do. For example, until recently I lectured on transitioning into retirement. Although I have in the past coached clients moving into retirement, I felt that it was no longer “on brand” for me nor would it further the growth of my business by addressing an audience that was not part of my target group. Yes, I may have gotten a referral from the class but you have to weigh time spent with value gained. Instead I now lecture sales professionals on self promotion and branding, definitely more “on brand.”

4. Make sure the message you deliver is clear and consistent with who you are, what you want them to know about you, and what you want to do. Never assume that they will connect the dots. Every time you make a presentation or a pitch or interview for a job be clear about what you can deliver and what your value added is.