The thank you note came in the weekend mail. The handwritten cursive conveyed the message that this was not a bill. Once opened, the thank you note began, “as a result of our meeting, I have gotten my hair cut, a make-over, researched acrylic nails, played dress up in some clothing stores, and made your suggested changes to my resume”.
A woman, like millions of others, looking for a job, wrote this note. She had come to my office to take advantage of a free consultation. The night before I had tossed candy bars into the audience of now unemployed executive level warriors. The candy bars with the business card attached received a free consultation. Following are five steps to make your job search as short and successful as possible.
Five Steps to Change the Outcome of Your Job Search
1. Answer the hard questions
Do the hard work before you begin to search. The more work you do before you start your search, the less work your interviewers will have to do. Audiences are lazy, all audiences are lazy and interviewers are no exception. Your job as a candidate is to make the choice of YOU as clear and easy as possible. No one wakes up in the morning with the mission to get you a job except you. It’s not that people don’t want to hire you. Your full time job is to make the selection of you a clear one. And you do that by being clear as to what kind of value you bring to a business.
How do you find out what your value is to others?
Ask yourself the hard questions. You have to ask yourself, but you don’t have to answer by yourself. You
can get help, ask others.
How are you different than others in a same or similar position?
Was the economy REALLY the only reason you were downsized?
What are three of your current deficient behaviors?
How are you different than you were 5 years ago?
How would you be different in this position than others?
What is your clear and compelling value?
After you have asked these questions of yourself or others, your value will begin to emerge. Identify this value and learn how to communicate it in one or two sentences.
2. Communicate your value
Practice talking about your value so that it is as easy as falling off a log. We live in a soundbite society, we get our information in soundbites therefore we need to learn to give information in soundbites. You may even be interviewed by someone in a younger age group. They communicate in text and tweet so it is especially important that your answers are concise. Once you answer the hard questions, you can easily communicate your Inner Brilliance with clarity and certainty.
3. Look current
It’s less about age than about looking dated.
The prospect asked me what do I think of her look?
This amazingly fit 50 year old, barely a size two, managed to look as though she was stuck in a cross decade between the 70’s and the 80’s. If you think about the contradiction of those two decades, you know that is not an easy feat to accomplish. Your look is dated I blurted out, “get your hair cut, try on new clothes, wear polish, wear make up, redo your resume to talk about results rather than experience. Truly age is not as much about age as it is about looking dated.
4. Invest in yourself
If you don’t think enough of yourself to invest in you, how can you expect a company to invest in you? It is ironic that at a time money may be an issue, you need to invest in yourself. Think about your home. You’re constantly investing in updating it or it becomes dated.
Are you any less valuable than your home? Investing in you may mean learning new computer skills, new networking skills, new interview skills, or a membership to the local gym. Dermatologists report a spike in 40+ men getting facial fillers to smooth out any wrinkled brow that might make them look angry, tense or tired . which is not a good look for men in management positions.
5.Transform your resume
A 20th century resume talks about experience and past jobs. A 21st century resume talks about the results of that experience the accomplishments in your past jobs. Dates date you so leave them off. The cover letter needs to dramatically and honestly talk about results in active language.
Remember the handwritten thank you note in the beginning of this article? Gen X-ers may write an email thank you and Gen-Y might text a thank you. There is no substitute for the hand written thank you. Especially when it comes in the weekend mail.