Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A lot has been written about how to job search. But what is it really all about?

Salesmanship is the answer!

You may not wish to be a salesperson but by searching for a new position you are selling yourself, selling the benefits of hiring you. You can’t get away from that fact. So if your forte is not sales, perhaps you ought to spend some time learning some of the skills.

Attitude is first and foremost: There are three fundamental attitudes. Open-minded people who want to learn better ways of doing things regardless of the idea or concept; Skeptics, who have some reservations but are willing to listen and learn; and Cynics, disbelievers who are unwilling to try.

If you are a cynic, read no further, you cannot be helped.

If you are willing to listen, here are some things that good salespeople know that could help you:

Prospecting – Define the market target. For job seekers the target is the hiring manager specifically; no one else, not HR, not your network, no one else. The hiring manager is the person to reach out to.

Marketing – How can the target be reached? First identify the hiring manager’s name. There are several ways to do this but most effectively it is through your network. Build a network of people who know the hiring manager and people who know other people who may know the hiring manager. It can be a lengthy chain.

Advertising – Before reaching out to hiring managers prepare good collateral materials, your resume and cover letter. These documents need to be ATS-ready. Be committed to editing each document so it is responsive to whatever the hiring manager tells you his/her critical need are.

Executing – If you are not a salesman that’s ok, but learn a few sales skills to be successful in your search, such as making a concerted effort to speak to the hiring manager before applying for a job. When you find out what the hiring managers critical needs really are, describe how you can help resolve those problems. Then you will be ready to edit the collateral documents and make them responsive to the real needs.

Skills – When reaching out to people, whether they are the hiring manager or people to network with, learn what to say to make the a positive connection. Understand how to establish rapport, how to approach people in a manner that does not cause them to fend you off. This requires preparing scripts for different situations, practicing and refining them until you have internalized them vs. memorized them. The way you speak needs to sound natural, not rote.

There are other valuable sales skills to learn as well such as closing skills. Closing every conversation to set expectations for what is to happen next is just one example.  

Practice – It goes without saying that practice is an essential part of learning. All the textbooks in the world can describe how to do something. Practicing what is taught is what develops the skills. Make mistakes during role playing. Revise scripts and practice some more.

Does all this sound forbidding to you? If so, get professional help from a good job search coach.

Get more help by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Are you receptive to new job search ideas? Or are you a skeptic or cynic?

As a job seeker the question really comes down to do are you willing to learn how to differentiate yourself from your competition or are you a “me too” person, just someone who follows the “herd”? It is understandable to be skeptical about new concepts for differentiating yourself, but unfortunately if you are a cynic about learning something new, you cannot be helped.

Unemployed job seekers and employed people considering changing jobs would be wise to prepare for stiff competition for the few jobs available to a record number of seekers by learning how to differentiate themselves. Differentiation is a key element of competition.

Attitude is very important when facing learning challenges. If you are generally open-minded or are skeptical, you can learn. If you are a cynic you will not learn and your search may become an extended one.

Get more help on how to differentiate yourself by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why you should tune your resume for each position you apply to.

What a pain tuning is. It is one heck of a lot of work to have to do for each position you are interested in!

But consider this: The hiring manager has posted the position because he/she needs to solve a problem. Unfortunately the job description often does not adequately describe what the problem is. If you have no clear idea what the hiring manager’s hot buttons are, how can you possibly posture yourself as a great candidate and win an interview?

There is simply no such thing as a single resume that fits all position requirements. Understanding critical needs and making it easy for the hiring manager to quickly see you are a good possible candidate can only be achieved by tuning your resume and cover letter. Otherwise the hiring manager has no reason to call you.

Tuning your collateral documents will give you a competitive advantage.

So the only effective solution is to do the following:

First, read the job description carefully. Look for indications of what problem has to be solved. Edit your resume to be responsive to the stated job requirements. I repeat, edit your resume to be responsive to the stated job requirements. The problem is the stated job requirements may not adequately reflect the hiring managers “hot buttons”. You may have guessed wrong about what the problem is and this may lead you to respond incorrectly and get passed over.

Second, use a more accurate approach to identifying the critical need. Find out who the manager is and speak to him/her BEFORE you apply. It is important to find out the critical need BEFORE you submit your resume and cover letter so you can tune them to be responsive to the need. And there are other significant advantages to talking to the hiring manager before you submit a resume as well.

Once you have established contact and created a relationship with a hiring manager, no matter how you accomplish it, you have a competitive advantage over other candidates.

Trust me, if you don’t do it, your competition will!

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Are you sure the company you are interested in joining will be around 6 months or a year from now?

Just as sure as death and taxes, change is inevitable. So it behooves you to find out as much as you can about the future of a company you are interested in. What is the financial strength of the company? Is there any information about whether the company is likely to be acquired soon or whether the business is failing financially? Are the products or services of the company competitive? Are they developing new products or services? What is the company culture? These and many other questions should be of interest to you.

Where can you find information? That can vary depending upon whether the company is publicly owned, private, or a small business.

It is fairly easy to get information about public companies because they have to file documents with the SEC. One of the more useful documents are 10-K and annual reports. You can behave as if you are an investor and search the following sites:
and Google searches.

Medium size private companies are somewhat more difficult to find detailed information  about. Try:
Or Google searches

For small family-owned businesses there is often information on the Business Chronicle for your city or one close by, and certainly Google searches can be helpful.

And for all businesses, don’t forget to try to connect and network with current or past employees on LinkedIn.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

When you see a job ad you would like to apply for, there are productive and unproductive ways to submit your documents.

One approach is to simply apply online, but that is usually not the best search tactic to use.

However, if you insist on doing it, the first rule is to follow instructions given in the job posting.

If there are no instructions, call the company and ask.

If you cannot get an answer the choice is yours and it doesn't matter which way you go because everyone receiving resumes has a different opinion of the right way, none of which is going to affect the outcome much.  Most online applications wind up in “the black hole”.

SO CONSIDER THIS: There are more productive ways to get a job than to apply online. The best approach is to find and speak to the hiring manager before you send any documents. Here's why:

- The hiring manager can give you insight into what is most important to him or her, things that may not have appeared in the job description. Then you can tune your documents to fit the needs.

- It gives you the chance to avoid the automated systems (ATS) on the front end of the hiring process because you will be able to send your documents directly to the hiring manager instead of a candidate filtering machine first. Of course eventually you will have to apply through the company protocols but the hiring manager will already have your resume.

- Reaching out directly to the hiring manager demonstrates you are motivated, take action, and are direct in the things you do. You take control of your destiny.

- Occasionally the hiring manager can lead you to opportunities you didn't know about in other parts of the organization and even make introductions for you.

- Sometimes the hiring manager will make assignment adjustments in his/her  organization and create a position just for you.

- And most important, making the effort to find and speak to the hiring manager before you apply clearly differentiates you from your competition. You are not just "one of the herd".

It is true, applying online using the ‘shoot-aim-ready’ approach is the most common search tactic used by job-seekers. And it is the least effective. The astute job seeker will learn how to find and speak to the hiring manager to get ahead of the competition. 

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.