Fire Up your Job Search by Broadcasting Strengths!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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Think in Terms of Strengths

Being unemployed, under-employed, or under-appreciated in your current job can erode confidence.  In order to “fire up” your job search, you may need to re-assess the strengths you are emphasizing.  Follow these simple strategies to shift to a position of strengths.

1)    Brainstorm about what you love to do.  This first list should be exhaustive, including strengths from work and personal areas of your life.

2)    List specific skills developed throughout your work history.

3)    What results did you achieve from strengths listed in the first 2 steps? Review positive comments, good performance evaluations, or actual awards to jog your memory.

4)    Think of job requirements for positions in which you are currently interested, and combine the top 2 or 3 items from each of the areas above that you want to emphasize. Use this information to create an “elevator” speech for yourself – a brief, 30-second to 1-minute summary to describe your assets, not a laundry list, but a mini-story. Consider the director pitching his new movie project to a potential producer, or the inventor describing her idea to a potential investor. This becomes your “pitch” – a brief overview of strengths that set you apart from the crowd by outlining what you can do for the potential employer.

Write it Down

Why write it down?  It helps you own the statement.  Not only does seeing the statement in writing help you feel more confident, but it also helps you begin to believe it more strongly yourself.  However, if you notice what you have written down actually rings false or makes you question strengths you have identified, then something about what you have written “doesn’t fit”.  Stretching yourself to fit a particular job opening can be positive, but stretching the truth is never wise. If you can’t believe it yourself, the hiring manager will struggle, too.  Compare your “pitch” with what you created for the first 3 steps above.  Pay attention to how you feel in reviewing the lists and you will be able to fine-tune your pitch into an authentic statement of your strengths.

Practice

Making a brief statement of your strengths isn’t easy.  Practicing the statement will make you feel more comfortable and help you prepare to use it whenever the opportunity arises.

1)    Use the old “in front of the mirror” technique to help you own your new view of yourself, just like you did in speech class or for that first presentation at the office.

2)    Ask family and friends to serve as an audience – request honest feedback about your delivery – how believable are you?  If you don’t believe what you’re saying, it will show. They may notice it even if you didn’t.

3)    Use your network to practice.  Perhaps a small group of job seekers – whom you trust – can try out elevator pitches on each other and incorporate comments to improve the approach.

Networking Contact Follow-up

Remember to follow up after any type of networking contact, whether casual or formal. Incorporate your “pitch” into the follow-up correspondence.  You can send a “thank-you”, “nice-to-see-you”, or “I believe we have a mutual acquaintance” note – all of which can include a comment about your strengths.

Examples of situations where you might send a follow-up note include:

1)    Casual contact (“nice to see you”)

2)    Initial Meeting (“nice to meet you”)

3)    Job Fair Follow-up (“I enjoyed learning about your company and how closely my experience aligns with your needs.”)

4)    Introduction from a friend (“I believe we have a mutual acquaintance, Bob Smith, who suggested I contact you as my strengths could benefit your organization.”)

5)    Thank you (for any suggestion of an opportunity). Even though thank you letters may seem old-fashioned, they can be effective for that very reason – they set you apart from the crowd!

You can be sure the competition isn’t shy about broadcasting strengths and achievements, and their boldness could walk them right into your dream job! You have golden embers smoldering in your work history that, if stoked, will “fire up” your job search. Write down those strengths, practice your “pitch”, then confidently broadcast it!


About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Use Statistics to Make Your Resume POP

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Resume statisticsAnalyst, Washington, DC
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Many people hold negative perceptions about statistics, but in a resume, they may be the keys to opening interview doors.  Performance statistics are applicable to most industries although more “obvious” in some fields than others.  In sales, for example, statistics are a basic part of the professional language, conveyed via $X in revenue or sales.  However, statistics can be created for any position. In fact, the move to quantify performance has been around for a long time.  Surely, you have been in an organization where you were asked to “log” how you spent your time while at work. Put that tedium to work for you by including statistics in your next resume.

What Statistics Say about You

Statistics are usually used as part of a persuasive argument.  Your goal is to persuade the hiring manager to schedule an interview. Use statistics as part of your persuasive toolbox.  One way to persuade the reader you are the right person for the job is to be certain your statistics send the right message.  Typical messages include “getting results”, “knowing how to get things done”, “cutting costs”, “increasing productivity”, “generating revenue”, etc.  All of these characteristics and achievements are more compelling when conveyed through statistics.  The statistics provide a solid record of your accomplishments.

How to Build a Statistical Base

Remember the persuasive message you want to send to potential employers?  Use this “argument” to build a list of statistics from your work history (actual numbers provided are just examples).

Examples include:

  • Generated $15M from ….
  • Reduced on-the-job injuries by 25%….
  • Acquired 200 new client accounts ….
  • Cut costs by 50% through ….

First, think of the image or message you are trying to convey and then identify a “matching” statistic.

For example, do you want to broadcast your dependability or commitment to the company?

Corresponding Statistics:

  • 0 days missed for 12 months.
  • Worked 12 holidays to maintain continuity of service.

Have a keen eye for on-the-job safety?

Corresponding Statistic:

  • Logged 15,000 hours without injury to any team members.

Don’t Make it Just About Numbers!

Yes, statistics are all about numbers, but by adding a brief explanation of how you achieved those numbers, you can also emphasize other skills. Let’s expand one of our examples.

  • Logged 15,000 hours without injury to any team members by improving training programs and increasing awareness of safe work practices throughout the organization.

Statistics Set You Apart

Statistics are powerful because they convey a lot of information succinctly.  Not only will your accomplishments stand out, but you will be distinguished from the crowd because main points are easy to pick out. Space is limited on the resume.  Balancing a strong message with the right amount of words and white space is an important strategy in getting positive results. Statistics perform that function and set your resume apart from the competition.

Use Statistics to Compare Your Achievements to Others

You completed 15 projects in one year?  What is the typical expectation?  If others in similar positions usually complete 10 projects, this is impressive, however if others complete 30 in the same time frame, clearly you don’t want to include the comparison.

Is the usual teaching load 3 courses per semester and you always take on additional courses when asked?  You can use this measure to indicate your willingness to be a strong team member, as well as your efficiency and ability to multi-task.

In the healthcare field, do you typically shoulder a smaller caseload than peers?  Explore the reasons for those differences.  You may be providing service to a more challenging segment of the population, requiring a smaller workload to maintain quality.  Specialized skills can be identified by statistics, such as completing audits, interviews, or inspections, just to name a few.

Translating Skills to Numbers

Numbers may not be your “first language”, but they definitely translate to results in the job search.  This “second language” doesn’t take long to learn, and you don’t need specialized training to master it. It is just a different “package” in which to present your strengths.  Think in terms of how many, how much, and in what amount of time, and you will be on your way to making your resume POP – using statistics.



About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Doostang News November 22: What Are You Thankful For? Finding the Silver Lining in an Unsatisfactory Job or Unemployment

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It’s that time of the year when we take pause to reflect on all that we are grateful for in our lives – our health, families, good friends, homes… Even if there are things that aren’t going perfectly at the moment, we can take comfort in what we do have, and determine a course of action in order to obtain the things we want. Perhaps now is a good time to do the same for our professional lives, pinpointing where we are and where we want to be. Here are some points to consider, whether you have a job that you are unhappy with, or are currently unemployed and job searching.

What is working for you?

Broadly speaking, what are you grateful for in your current position? All negatives aside, what is it that keeps you showing up at the office each morning? Do you get paid well to do something you’re good at? Do you enjoy the people around you? Is this a necessary stepping-stone to where you envision yourself in the future? There must be something positive you can draw on, and understanding what that is will help you determine what is important to you in a job.

If you don’t have a job, think about the last time you did, or about a situation where you had a big project that you were working on. What worked for you and what didn’t? What environment was most conducive to success, and who were the key players that you were able to best collaborate with? Once you start putting together a list of the things that are most important to you in a job and a job setting, you’ll be closer to determining your ideal career.

What are you learning?

Even if finding something that you can be grateful for in your job is a huge stretch, at least you can be grateful for the fact that you are learning something. Perhaps you’re honing skills or gathering knowledge that you can take with you to your next position. Or maybe this simply means that you are learning how to better put up with people that you can’t stand to be around, or strengthening your will by clocking into a position that you abhor day in and day out. Even if you’re unhappy with where you are, there is always a way in which you are improving who you are as a professional or as an individual – or both.

If you’re frustrated with your job search, be grateful for the tenacity it takes to get up each day and hunt for your next opportunity. Perhaps you’re meeting new and interesting people in your efforts to network, or learning about opportunities you never knew existed, and hence getting a better grasp on what sort of position you’d like to pursue. What are you learning about yourself, as you work to hold yourself accountable each and every day?

Working at a job that you are unhappy with, or feeling unhappy about your current lack of a job, can be a trying experience. But be thankful for your ability to rise to the challenge and keep moving forward, despite apparent lack of morale – indeed, it takes a considerable amount of morale to commit yourself to anything. If you’re dissatisfied, figure out why, and what needs to change. If you feel stuck, experiment and determine what works and what doesn’t. Even the best opportunities will be rife with roadblocks, and your ability to handle these will really determine where you’re capable of going.

Thankfully yours,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News November 1: Time to Consider Those Transferable Skills!

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Being able to identify and highlight your transferable skills is crucial in transitioning to another industry, or even to another job.  Not every job is the same, and hiring managers may not entirely relate to the tasks you list on your resume.  But if you can fit your talents into one of these five main categories, you’ll present a resume that is much more to the point:

Human Relations

This category relates to any sort of interpersonal skills you use to deal with people in the workplace.  Think listening, sensitivity, cooperation, empathy, or motivation.  Chances are that if you worked with people at any point during your last job, you’ll bring some of these skills to the table.

Communication

Communication is all about effectively conveying knowledge and ideas to others.  It also has a lot to do with how well you receive information from others.  Are you a great writer, speaker, or listener?  Can you negotiate, persuade others, pick up on nonverbal cues?  If so, then you are likely a great communicator.

Research and Planning

This is just what it sounds like – the ability to seek out information and to formulate new ideas for the future.  Any time you come up with new proposals, find an alternate solution, solve a problem, define a need, or set a goal, you are engaging in research and planning.

Organization, Management, and Leadership

This one is all about rallying your troops and leading them into battle.  A good leader will coordinate plans of action, initiate new tasks, delegate responsibilities, teach, and manage conflict.

Work Survival/Professionalism

This last category includes all of the day-to-day skills that get you through the workday and promote an effective working environment.  Skills such as showing up to work on time, meeting goals, paying attention to detail, and organizing fit into this category.

Even if you’re applying to a job from a field in which you have no experience, there’s always a way to pull from what you do know or have done on the past, and make it relevant to the unfamiliar.  So the next time you apply for a job or draft a resume, bear in mind these transferable skills and show them what you’ve got!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News September 20: Personal Skills Crucial to the Working World

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Being successful in a work environment takes more than just the right job-specific skills and attitude towards the job.  There are also personal skills that you must develop in order to effectively handle the position and the people you work with.  These are skills that don’t come easily to many people at first, but something that everyone should keep in mind and polish up when necessary:

Public Speaking

According to some studies, the number one fear held by individuals is public speaking – it even beats out death!  Speaking in front of a room full of people is one of those things that even the most confident person can have difficulty with.  And so, even if you are a self-assured, charismatic person by nature, your charm and confidence may not translate easily into situations where you need to address your boss or coworkers in meetings or presentations.  If you don’t have much experience with public speaking, try taking a class, and if that’s too much, practice in front of friends or even in front of the mirror.  The more comfortable you become with getting up and listening to your own voice, the better you’ll be able to convey information to the people you work with – and win people over onto your side.

Diplomacy

Dealing with people in the workplace isn’t always easy, but it’s important to always do so with tact.  Losing your temper or making snide remarks are never good ways to approach situations, so its important that you learn to communicate with people diplomatically, whether this be someone that works for, above, or with you.  If you tend to get worked up over stressful situations, take a breather before you speak to your coworkers.  It’s important to treat everyone in a rational way and give them the respect they deserve.

Humility

There are a lot of egos circulating in any one office, and so in order to maintain a peaceful working environment, it’s important to keep yours in check.  This is especially true if you are just starting out at a company.  Fulfill the role that you were brought on to do – even if you sometimes don’t like it – and don’t expect everything to be handed to you.  No one gets to come in and take charge right away.  There are certain tasks that need to be done, and if they are given to you, it’s important to finish them out gracefully.

They don’t teach you everything in school, and certain skills don’t even come with experience unless you make it a point to practice them.  Bear in mind these important personal skills while you’re at work, and they should take you far.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News July 26: How Transferable Skills Acquired in the Classroom can be Valuable to Your Resume

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One of the challenges recent graduates often face is that they have very little work experience.  They leave college armed with all the knowledge and enthusiasm vital to the workplace, but have a much harder time filling up their resume.  The solution?  Focus on transferable skills acquired from the classroom that can be applied to the workplace:

Communication

Classrooms are rife with opportunities for communication.  Any time students collaborate on a project, share their views on an article, or review and peer edit papers, they are engaging in prime communication skills that are ideally suited for the workplace.

Meeting Deadlines

Deadlines are one of the main tenets of college education, and though many college students spend a good chunk of their academic careers procrastinating, the ability to ultimately get things done on time is a sign of a valuable employee.

Multi-tasking

Students may not feel it, but they are excellent multi-taskers.  Any individual who can juggle several classes, sports, activities, and a social life is a person who can bring an equal sense of balance to their busy life in the workplace.

Research

It often seems that the majority of what a student does in college is research.  All of those long hours spent in the library prepare you for research you may have to do on the job.  More than this, the research skills of a recent graduate are probably much more fresh than those of a seasoned employee who hasn’t stepped into the reference section of a library in years.

Adaptability

College years are some of the most shifting, unpredictable years of an individual’s life.  First, that person is uprooted from their home, then they are placed into a foreign environment with many unfamiliar people and are left to fend for themselves, often for the first time in their lives.  Someone who is able to successfully make it out of this situation unscathed can certainly take on the corporate world, learn to adapt to a new office environment and work with peers.


While listing the transferable skills that you acquired at college may not seem as convincing as listing job experience on a resume, hiring managers understand that you are young and haven’t had as much time out in the workforce.  Moreover, they also know that college, in and of itself, is practically a full-time job.  Always remember to focus on what you know and what you’re good at, and take pride in the fact that as an individual new to the working world, you have a fresh, creative, unbiased outlook on the market because that is often what a company is looking for.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Bottoms Up to Branding

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

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Do you remember the Cheers theme song lyrics? The lyrics go like this:

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name
And they are always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same.
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

You get extra points if you can read that without singing the tune under your breath. The point is there are lots of people out there struggling in the employment market, trying to get their name to the top of the list – trying to get recognized and establish a relationship with an employer. It can be quite an effort and it does take all you’ve got. Job seekers need to be working smart and have a strategy. Here are some tips for working your job search branding efforts to the max:

Be Selective

If you are targeting a company and you submit your resume for several different positions at that company, you are only shooting yourself in the foot. The applicant tracking systems companies use will show the hiring manager if a job seeker has applied for multiple jobs and that is an immediate turnoff. Don’t carpet bomb your resume to a company. Make sure you are an excellent fit for a position and go after that position – not anything that is even partially in the ballpark.

Be Specialized

Employers are not hiring generalists. When positions come open, they have very specific skill sets and employers are seeking candidates who fit those parameters very, very closely. Right now, you have to have experience doing the job to get the job. Even if you have done similar things in related positions before and have the transferable skills, you won’t get very far when up against candidates who have the exact experience and qualifications required. This might not be the best time to make a career change but rather consider a lateral move instead and bide your time.

Be Consistent

One of the secrets to a successful job search is to be consistent in your contact with employers and recruiters. Establish a follow-up routine and stick to it. Your goal is to establish name recognition in the mind of the recruiter or hiring manager. You want everyone to know your name so you pop to mind when an opportunity comes up.

Be the Best

Branding is not an effort to be launched when you are unemployed; it’s too late then. To effectively brand yourself, you need to make it part of your career development. Strive to be the best at what you do, win recognition for your performance, and work to establish your reputation within your industry as THE person who knows how to do something. If you are an engineer, be the expert in some aspect of your field. If you are in customer service, establish a reputation for being the person to handle certain types of issues. Branding is something you build out, not build up.

Be Connected

People hire people. Technology has made processes of hiring run faster, but with technology has come volume which presents a whole new set of problems. When you get down to brass tacks, it is still a person deciding to hire a person. Applicant tracking systems, skills evaluation, and other technology only manages the process up to that point. Some of the most important requirements for a job cannot be evaluated, tested, or outlined in a resume – they are assessed face to face. Work to build and maintain a very strong professional network of connections that is both broad and deep. It is your most valuable asset next to your reputation.

To further your career, find a great job, and build your career, everyone needs to know your name – colleagues, vendors, customers, and most importantly prospective employers. You have to pay attention to your career branding and your reputation. Work to build them. Nurture them. And when you need them, you will see a great return on the investment of your time.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Branding – The Hot Trend in Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

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Start reading up on the latest job search methods and you will soon discover a whole new vocabulary is involved. Terms like keywords, tweets, tagged, and domain names are now as commonly bandied about as cover letter and informational interviewing was ten years ago. Just as in every other people-centric process, job search changes frequently as methods morph to find new efficiencies and avenues for connection. Staying abreast of these changes may very well make the difference between success and failure in this competitive market.

Career branding is a marketing concept that has been transferred to an individual basis. Quickly – think of a computer company. Have one in mind? More than likely you thought of one of the following: Dell, HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Apple, Sony or IBM. Why? Because these are the most well-known brands in the industry. These companies have marketing departments that constantly work to establish and maintain their brands in the forefront of people’s minds.

Transpose this concept to the company of YOU. You are your own company and job search is your marketing effort. There are many things you must do to establish your “brand” with your “customers” (employers and recruiters). You want your name to be as recognizable as possible in your industry, profession or town. To accomplish that, you must put together an organized strategy that will make your name and the specific expertise you offer easily recognizable among hiring managers and recruiters. A good job search strategy is key to successful branding.

Employers are seeking specialists in this tough economic market. Determining your specific expertise or forte is very important to establishing a strong brand. Many job seekers shrink from “declaring a major” in their field but that strategy is the complete opposite of what is needed. Strongly branded professionals have a specific area of expertise and they leverage that expertise across a broad market.

Let’s look at a famous example of someone who is well-branded – Martha Stewart. In 1976, she started a catering business in the basement of her Connecticut home. Martha had outside experience as a stock broker and as a model, but cooking and other homemaking talents were things she loved, and she had been doing them all her life. She had the opportunity to write a cookbook and her career took off from there. Now, Martha is a recognizable name and is synonymous with style in entertaining. She has her own brand of household goods, her own catalog business, publicly traded company, magazine, radio show, wine, and her own website. She is very well branded but it is a narrow niche.

As a job seeker, you need to decide your own niche and push hard in that direction. Martha’s branding did not happen overnight, nor was it an accident. She invested time, thought, and money to achieve her success. She utilized the expertise of others to help her achieve that success. The same concepts apply to your job search.

Steps to brand YOU

  • Determine your expertise or unique qualities upon which to focus.
  • Make a plan that includes goals, actions, target results, and deadlines.
  • Brush up on your professional skills if needed.
  • Gather your team of people to help achieve your goals.
  • Prepare your collateral materials.
  • Get the word out.
  • Be ready to change direction or actions if required.

Let’s examine each of these steps more closely in terms of career and job search.

Determine your expertise or unique qualities
Finding your niche involves some self evaluation. Most people think of themselves as generalists – they do a little bit of everything. In reality, there is usually something they really enjoy and as a result, they excel in that area. Find that something.

Make a plan
Is your goal to just get a job for income or get a job that will be a building block in your career? Just getting a job for income is a perfectly legitimate goal, especially for the short-term when you have to pay the mortgage. That may be a short-term goal, but your long-term goal may be very different. Set needed actions to achieve your goal, list results you want to see, and give yourself deadlines to meet for each one.

Brush up on your skills
Perhaps your career goal will require new or more in-depth knowledge on your behalf. Don’t hesitate to pursue those skills or education as long as the training fits into your plan. Many people gain additional degrees that are not related to their goals, so they really add nothing to their marketability. What a waste of time and money!

Gather your team
Every successful person has a team of people behind them. Each member of the team has a specific job. Some are experts in industry, some are mentors, some are encouragers, and some offer specific skills that are necessary for reaching a goal in the plan. Surround yourself with experts who can help you achieve your goals through the application of their individual skills.

Prepare your materials
All marketing campaigns have collateral material. Traditionally, we think of these materials as business cards or brochures. In your branding efforts, at least in terms of job search, your collateral materials will be your resume, cover letter, business cards, and maybe a bio. In today’s job search, you need to add your Twitter page, your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile, and perhaps your own online portfolio to the mix.

Spread the word
Part of your plan will be to take action. In job search, that means getting your name in front of decision makers and recruiters. It means conducting interviews about companies, doing research, and talking with people. Spreading the word about your expertise should occur in an organized fashion (going back to the plan) and be consistent. Coca-Cola doesn’t do one advertisement and then call it a day. They saturate the market with advertising. Everywhere you go you see some kind of advertising for Coca-Cola. You have to do the same — saturate the market.

Be nimble
Despite the best-made plans, life happens. Opportunities come your way that open whole new vistas. You need to be prepared to work those into your plan. Do you think Martha was thinking of having her own satellite radio station when she wrote that first book? Hardly! Opportunities came along that she never dreamed of! It happens to every well-branded entity. What if she had said no to the request for a second book? Stay true to your brand but remain open to different ways to achieve your goals.

No longer is job search simply a matter of posting your resume on top job sites and waiting for the phone to ring. It just doesn’t happen. Job search methods change as communication changes. Twenty years ago, the concept of posting a resume on the Internet was unheard of. In fact, the Internet was pretty much unheard of except by a few eggheads in laboratories. Look at how things have changed! Would you now consider faxing your paper resume to local employment agencies an effective way to conduct your good job search? In 1989, that would have been considered acceptable!

Career branding can be a very complex process or it can be as simple as deciding what direction you want to go with your expertise. Are you an IT Specialist or a Wide Area Network Engineer? Are you a financial services professional or are you a Compliance Officer? Are you an educator or an Early Childhood Specialist? It’s time to decide your future!

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Doostang News May 10: Skill Building – Taking Advantage of the Time Between Jobs

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Sr Private Equity Executive, Geneva, Switzerland

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One of the greatest upsides of unemployment is all the free time you have on your hands. And while it’s tempting to use this opportunity to catch up on sitcoms and indulge in the late afternoon nap, it’s a better use of your time to learn some new skills that will make you a stronger candidate in the job market and a more valuable employee. So here’s a list of a few skills to focus on while you still have room for self-improvement in your schedule:

Learn How to Use Different Operating Systems

Sure, it seems like things generally remain the same from one computer to the next. But once you’re thrown onto a different operating system than the one you’re used to, you’ll find lots of minute differences that can really trip you up along the way. So in order to build your resume – and for the sake of the future IT guy’s sanity – take some time to familiarize yourself with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Stay In the Know

It’s easy to fall behind on current events when you’re busy working a full day. So savor the time you have off and familiarize yourself with the world around you. It’s wise to stay current on world events because you never know when they will come up in discussion. Knowledge of current events provides you with great talking points and may aid in making important decisions at work. More than this, it’s important for the unemployed individual to stay current on industry news. This is the stuff that will most definitely come up in interviews, so you really don’t want to miss the boat here while you’re sidelined for a few months.

Work on Body Language

Learning how to maintain eye contact, provide a solid handshake, and abstain from fidgeting during a conversation will help you just as much in your everyday life as it will in your job search. Work on your body language now and it will become second nature to you over time, and hence, one less thing you have to focus on when you walk into an interview.

Get Up on Time

Another joy of unemployment is the pleasure of sleeping in – but this is a treat that you should indulge in sparingly, as oversleeping can be a slippery slope. So instead, train yourself to get up early in the morning. Once you’ve mastered this, try scaling back on the number of times you hit the snooze button. When you stop dreading the whole morning wake-up routine, you’ll start your day off on a much better foot and will be more productive overall.

Grow Existing Relationships

It’s one thing to network like crazy while you’re searching for a job or already have one. It’s another to spend time building those relationships. And since you have the time, make it a point to get to know people from both personal and business walks of life. Not only will you have an array of valuable relationships in the long run, you’re also bound to hone your people skills and become much better at networking.

When you don’t have a place to be Monday through Friday, it’s enticing to while away the days playing Xbox or basking in the sun. And while here at Doostang we are by no means encouraging you to turn in your controller and lawn chair, we do suggest that you devote some time to sharpening the skills that you can carry with you wherever you may go.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team