Fire Up your Job Search by Broadcasting Strengths!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Operations Analyst, New York, NY
Sales and Trading Associate, SF Bay Area, CA
Financial Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
IT Manager, Boston, MA
Analyst – Private Equity Firm, Philadelphia, PA

More recent jobs you might like…

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!

Doostang News November 29: Lessons Black Friday Can Teach You About Your Job Search

Wealth Management Intern, New York, NY
Marketing Coordinator, Boston, MA
Quantitative Research Analyst, Houston, TX
Analyst, Washington, DC
Business Analyst, San Francisco, CA

More recent jobs you might like…

Ah, Black Friday.  A time for holiday shopping’s savviest to roll out in the masses and line outside our local shopping malls and electronic stores well before preceding Thanksgiving dinners have come to an official close.  A time of weary cashiers, bulldozing mothers, and screeching children; of out-of-this-world markdowns on plasma TV’s, 4-for-1 specials, and feuds over wool sweaters.  This, my friends, is the plight – and joy – of the early bird out to catch that proverbial holiday worm.  And what of that proverbial career worm?  Let’s take a look at a few lessons we can take away from the most insane Friday of the year and apply it to our crazy quest for a new job!

Get There Early

Every smart shopper knows that the best deals go to those at the front of the line.  And every savvy job seeker knows that it’s in your best interest to stay on top of deadlines and to get your resume in early.  It’s easy to scour job boards and then put off applying to jobs you find for a few days; but remember that great opportunities go fast.  If you find something worthy of applying to, apply as soon as you can, before the position goes to someone else.  It’s also in your best interest to get your resume and cover letter in front of a hiring manager before a lot of other people do, as hiring managers tend to form an idea early on of whom they want to bring on for the job.  Getting your name in the final round can be a much harder sell once a manager has found other people they like.

Do Your Homework

The best way to get the most bang out of your buck is to figure out what you want, circle the corresponding deals in the newspaper, and head straight for the prize when you enter the store.  Likewise, the most efficient way to search for a job is to know what it is that you want, locate the appropriate openings, and focus on a game plan for applying – and hopefully securing – the reward!

Don’t Push and Shove

Being an effective shopper is all about keeping your cool.  The moment you get caught up in sparring with others, you’ll trip and fall and the crowd will pass you by – and probably trample you in the process.  As in shopping, handle yourself with grace and poise in the search for a new job.  Treat all people with respect, whether they be the people you are networking with, the people who are in charge of hiring you, or the people looking for your help in finding their next opportunity – remember, there may come a time when you need to ask for a favor in return.

Get In and Get Out

If you find yourself at an empty electronics shelf or clothing bin, don’t dwell on it.  Move to the next item on your list and get the most out of your day.  Likewise, don’t get disheartened if the perfect opportunity seems to come along, and you just don’t make the cut.  More than one prospect will arise, and it’s up to you to maximize your chances of securing one by sticking to a game plan and moving on when something doesn’t work out.

Whether you love or dread Black Friday, the important thing is that you have a good time and do what works best for you.  Everyone has a different shopping style, just as everyone has a different approach to searching for a job.  So whether you like to get in there early or come in at the eleventh hour, devise a strategy that allows you to get exactly what it is you want, before the good stuff sells out.

Happy holidays,

The Doostang Team

Hot Career Tips for the Unemployed

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Research Analyst, New York, NY
Account Coordinator, Los Angeles, CA
Associate Analyst, Philadelphia, PA
Marketing Associate, Chicago, IL
Senior Associate, SF Bay Area, CA

More recent jobs you might like…

If you are presently unemployed, your days are likely spent scouring job postings, emailing prospective employers and submitting your resume to online websites. Even the most dedicated jobseekers, however, probably have too much idle time on their hands. With no set hours or routine, it could be very tempting to get lazy.

Before you resort to sleeping into early afternoon or reaching for the remote control, there are several ways to make productive use of this time.

Here are just a few suggestions as to how you can maximize downtime that will not only keep you active, but will make you a more attractive job candidate:

Perform charity work where you can utilize your professional skills.

There are dozens of ways you can contribute work-related talents for the betterment of your community. Signing up for a volunteer post within an established organization is only one option. If you get creative, you can carve out your own niche.

For example, if you are a marketing professional, find out if your favorite charity needs help launching their latest awareness campaign. A teacher can look into helping a local literacy organization. A sales professional can help an organization find donors and raise money. A technology professional can assist with a nearby school’s computer upgrade.

Such activities not only enhance self-worth by aiding a worthwhile cause, but they also enrich your qualifications and demonstrate to an employer that you are keeping your skills sharp while unemployed. You’ll likely make valuable contacts as well. You never know who you will meet! It could just be the person volunteering next to you is looking for someone with your qualifications or knows of a position opening up in the office next door.

Accept a temporary or consulting gig.

With unemployment at the highest it has been in more than two decades, it could take a little longer to land that dream job. Broadening the scope of positions you are willing to consider may mean you have to make some compromises. If you are adamant about accepting only a full-time job, you could be inadvertently doing yourself a disservice.

If you impress an employer during the course of a temporary assignment, it could lead to bigger and better things. After all, what better way is there to convince a boss what you are capable of than actually showing them? The best case scenario is that you are offered a full-time position and your search is complete.

The flip side isn’t so bad, either. Even if it comes to an end, a temporary position will help you earn some money, make some contacts, and provide an additional credential to include on your resume. That will help fill in the dreaded employment gap while showing employers your skills are not getting rusty.

Take a course related to your field.

Whether it’s a college course for credits or a one-day seminar, enhancing your education sends an excellent message to anyone in position to hire you. It exhibits your desire to keep your skills current and shows you are using your time wisely.

To make the most of this benefit, be sure to enroll in something related to your work. Though taking a course for personal enrichment can be rewarding, it simply won’t carry as much weight as something relevant to your field. For example, a partner in an accounting firm will be more impressed with a candidate who learned about the latest tax codes than one who took a photography course.

If you participate in any of these activities, don’t forget to update your resume and cover letter to let employers know. Finally, remember that while these activities will keep you busy, don’t neglect your job search. Job hunting should always be considered your number one “job” while you are unemployed.

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!