Friday, July 19, 2013

What is your brand?

Hiring companies need to know who you are, how to reach you, what you do, what your qualifications are and what the results of your work have been. You will get interviewed if you can peak their interest in your brand AND show them the results of your work. They will know if they want to read beyond the first third or so of your resume in 5 seconds or less. They won’t spend more than 30 seconds to decide to call you. The key to the first 5 seconds is the statement of your brand. It needs to excite them to read further.

For the purposes of a resume, your brand is a statement of what you do that includes one or two eye-catching general accomplishments comments aimed at exciting the reader to read further. It is accompanied by a list of your core competencies.

What you do, what you have accomplished and what your core competencies are is a sufficiently complete brand statement for a resume and should be presented crisply and concisely (no long paragraphs) so that you can get the readers eyes quickly to your specific accomplishments and work results presented in your experiences section.

Hiring managers want to know what you do and what your competencies are, but they will hire you for what they believe you might help them achieve, specifically the results they need to accomplish themselves.

Feed their needs!

If you like this post please click the 1+ button below.

Get more help with resume writing and other critical search topics by emailing me at or by visiting 

Comments about this post are very welcome!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

What do salespeople and job seekers have in common?

Quite a bit actually. Both need to sell the benefits of buying something. For the professional salesperson it is a product or service. For the job seeker it is the benefit of buying his or her services.

Most salespeople are trained for their job. Many job seekers are not trained for sales. And many don’t want to be in sales.

Fundamental to all sales is the ‘close’. A close is defined as "to put an end to; to finish." There are trial closes and final closes. The final close is used to bring the buyer to a decision, whether it is to buy or not buy. Usually professional salespeople will use ‘trial closing’ in their conversations with a buyer to identify objections they need to overcome and to guide the buyer toward the ‘final close’.

Final closings and trial closings are also important to job seekers. Trial closes are used to set expectations. In an interview they are used to reach an agreement that a specific action will be taken. They are also very useful in networking when someone you are networking with agrees to do something for you. In interviewing the final close makes it clear to the decision-maker that the job seeker wants the job.

A job seeker does not have to use forceful closing or trial closing techniques to be effective. In fact it is usually inadvisable to be forceful. But it is important to let an interviewer or hiring manager know that you are interested enough to want to pursue the job further and to know what the next steps are or to let the hiring manager know you want the job at the last interview; and if during the interview you decide you do not want the job it is advisable not to close at all.

Closing does not have to result in the outcome you would like. A decision not to hire you or not to pursue you further is as valuable to you as a decision not to buy is to the professional salesperson. It enables you to change your focus to the next job opportunity and not waste valuable time on one that is not going to get you hired.

So why should a job seeker want to know how to close an interview or networking conversation? Wouldn’t you like a positive ‘hire’ signal from each interviewer you speak with? At the end of an interview with a hiring manager wouldn’t you like to have an idea of where you stand amongst your competition for the job? Wouldn’t you like to know what the next steps will be so you don’t go home wondering about how the interview went, when you should expect to hear and from whom and whether to contact them and when to contact them?

As a job seeker you have become a salesperson by default, selling the benefits of hiring you. If you take the time to learn closing skills and practice them often as you interact with people in general you will be ahead of most of your competition. That’s what you want isn’t it? You will become more comfortable with closing skills by practicing as often as possible. For professional salespeople I’m surely ‘preaching to the choir’.

Some example closes one might use (the close is the last part of the dialogue) are “Thank you for all the time you have given me. I feel very positive about what I have heard and I know I can help you. I really want his job. What are your feelings toward me?” or “Thank you for your time. You’ve been very helpful to me. I would like to pursue this position further with you. What are the next steps? Or When should I expect to hear from you? Or I hope you feel as positive about me as I do about what you have told me. Will you be giving the hiring manager a “thumbs up” signal about me?

If you like this post please click the 1+ button below.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at or by visiting And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, July 8, 2013

What does it take to convert a job search into job offers?

What does it take to convert a job search into job offers?

If you are having a tough time with your search or are just considering looking for a new position you are not alone and the competition is tough.

The answer to getting a job offer may be found in your sales skills. If you are one of the many who want nothing to do with sales this may not be good news to you, but the reality is that as a job seeker you are now a salesperson by default! Even if you are a professional salesperson, selling yourself is different than selling a product or service.

In order to sell yourself to a hiring manager it is necessary to describe the benefits of hiring you.  Those benefits are your accomplishments and the results of your work.

So how do you sell the benefits of hiring yourself? Ask yourself these questions:

Do your collateral marketing documents, your resume and cover letter, respond to the hiring managers’ specific needs?

Will these documents successfully pass through the parsing technology used in hiring processes today?

What about the tactics you might use in your search. Do you understand how to network properly? Do you know how to find and reach hiring managers and get past their gate keepers successfully? Do you understand how to present yourself when you reach a hiring manager? Do you understand how the recruiting industry works, what kinds of recruiters there are, how to select one that can help you? Are you competent at interviewing and salary negotiation? Do you understand inbound marketing tools like LinkedIn and how to set up your profile so people looking for your skills will find you quickly and easily?

These are marketing and sales topics you need to understand to properly market yourself. The earlier you get help with each of these search tactics the shorter your search will be because by learning them well you will differentiate yourself from your competition. Differentiating yourself is the key to getting hired.

Of course you have the option of ignoring all of this advice and “go it alone”. But most people find that simply jumping quickly into a job search without sufficient knowledge and without a good plan is the recipe for a prolonged search. Many people will simply pound the job boards and feel like they are being productive only to find out they are really not making any productive headway.

The lesson to learn is GET HELP EARLY! It will shorten your search!

If you like this blog, please follow me or leave a comment. I love encouragement but I also respect different opinions. You can get more job search help by visiting or by emailing me at

Monday, July 1, 2013

On Functional vs. Chronological Formats

The last thing I want my clients to do is to have a resume that diverts attention away from the message they are trying to get across. The functional format plants the 'red flag' seed, which is the antithesis of the purpose of a resume. 

The problem with a functional resume is that readers have come to recognize it as a method of hiding something, perhaps gaps in employment, job hopping, inability to hold a job, wanting to change career direction and not de-emphasize historical job experience, etc.  Even if the reader is not averse to the functional format, it may raise a red flag in their mind, perhaps subliminally. The net effect is to divert their attention from what might otherwise be a good message.

I have rarely come across a situation where I could not create a good chronological resume for people seeking a career change, for those who have gaps in their history, those who need to get across their skill set and even those who may have been incarcerated. 

Planting a seed that grows a weed doesn't make much sense to me.

Visit And leave a comment if you like this post.