5 Steps To Establish Credibility While Networking

March 16, 2016

By Randy Block

 

Credibility starts with how you set up for success…

You are at this luncheon, which features a speaker. There is a round table with seven other people. Typically there is a floral arrangement directly in front of you so there is no chance that you can easily talk to anyone directly. That leaves the person to your right and the person to your left.

Do you turn to the total stranger to you left and perhaps say in a faltering voice:   “Hello. What do you do?”; do you have to be a phony and pretend to be interested; smile and say nothing; excuse yourself and go to the restroom until the speaker is introduced?

So here is what to do. There is no selling or persuasion. This is what really matters to you and what matters to that person sitting to your left:

 

  1. The first “bridge” is determining just exactly what you have in common? And this is actually pretty easy. It can be ANYTHING: an interest or opinion. In the example above, YOU picked the luncheon because YOU wanted to hear the speaker talk about something that YOU were interested in. Of course you researched not only the topic but the speaker as well. You can simply turn to the person on your left and ask: “What have you heard about the speaker?” Or “What impresses me most about the topic is _______. How about you?”; you can even talk about the food or baseball. ANYTHING to break the ice.
  2. Now, turn your antennae way up. Be fully present. Do not allow any distractions when listening. When a person knows that they have been listened to, the establishment of your credibility is nearly there. When a person, could even be a stranger, knows that they have been listened to and understood, they realize they are in the presence of a special person – you.
  3. Show intelligent and sincere curiosity about what they are talking about. Ask good questions. Get clarification. But, be sure not to interview or grill them.
  4. Here’s the good part. A good conversationalist will then deftly turn the spotlight on you to listen to your thoughts. They also value dialogue.
  5. As the “relationship grows,” the dialogue can easily transition to a different subject (e.g., business, health etc.). If it’s business, the topics might include the two sources of pain that all hiring managers are always thinking about: revenue and productivity.

The engine that keeps all of this on track is your relevance to what they are talking about. Authenticity and transparency means that you are willing to find common ground and shared interests.

 

Of course this can go the other way. The two of you can have different styles in substance or belief. But that’s OK. You did nothing wrong here. You were OK. The person you were conversing with is OK too. The “chemistry” just wasn’t there.

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

Coming Into Your Home A New Look for the Telephone Screen: It’s You in HD

March 16, 2016

Coming Into Your Home

A New Look for the Telephone Screen:

It’s You in HD

By Randy Block

By now most of us know the hiring process starts off with the telephone screen.  This filter is designed to assure the hiring company that you have all of the “hard skills” needed for the position – and that you are a fit salary wise.  If you do well you will go onto the face-to-face interview. On the horizon, there is a new dimension to this technique: video, which is up close and personal. With advent of Skype and other technologies, it will be more commonplace to have the screening phone interview live on camera.

With the ever-changing technology, you can share documents, photos and other things that can show off your skills. .

Having the capability to accommodate a request by a company for a telephone screen can give you an edge over others who do not have this option.

So what to do? Here are 10 steps to get you in the game:

 

  1. Join a VOIP provider. Besides Skype, there are other competitors worth looking at as well. http://tinyurl.com/7kyzh94.  Be it Skype, Google Hangout, iChat, just to name a few. Make sure this program works for you on your computer, and add your new address to your resume, business card.
  2. Most new computers have an internal camera. However, I recommend that you purchase a good external HD webcam that offers great video quality.  Keep in mind that the companies calling you will have HD. CNET offers a very good comparison of webcams at various prices: http://www.cnet.com/topic-reviews/camera/skype.html
  3. Become familiar with your equipment and service. This is an obvious, but you can’t say during an interview “I am just getting used to this, please bear with me.”
  4. Look at the camera, not your monitor. As in a face-to-face interview, this is making good “eye to eye” contact.
  5. Lighting is important, natural light being the best. If you use artificial light, make sure that it will work effectively.
  6. Be sure your background is not “busy” or cluttered. The interviewer can see everything behind you.
  7. Control your environment. Make sure that you are not distracted.  In a Skype coaching session, my cat Duke walked across my keyboard and disconnected my call.
  8. Attire: Yes! Dress up completely as if you were going to an interview. There is a story going around about a candidate looked well from the waist up.  When he stood up, he wasn’t wearing any pants. Surprise!!   Don’t wear white or anything that is “busy” like plaids or checks.
  9. Rehearse via video with a friend beforehand. This is not so much for content but to see how you look.  “How” you come across is just as important as the answer.  This would also be a great time to adjust the lighting.

 

Prepare for the call.  Take exactly the same steps you would normally to prepare for a face-to-face interview.   This includes:  obtaining a copy of the job description in advance: researching the company, checking out the interviewer on LinkedIn, evaluating “the fit” — where you are strong and where you are weak, preparing answers to potential interviewing questions (feel free to download my list of 35 most difficult interview questions and how to frame your answers http://www.randyblock.com/interviewCoaching.html.  Be sure that all of your answers are relevant to the job. Above all, relax.  If you follow the suggestions above, you will be just fine with the call.

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

What Your Network Needs From You

March 16, 2016

What Your Network Needs From You

By Randy Block

How often do I hear: “I am networked out!”  Or “I hate networking!”

 

By now, most of you know that the following actions have provided limited if any results:

  1. Sending résumé to a friend asking them to “keep their eyes open.
  2. Asking your contacts if they know of any jobs for you.
  3. Attending networking meetings attended by mostly unemployed people.

 

Briefly, networking is defined as an exchange of information.  It has nothing to do with selling or job search.  It is about building relationships based on common interests and values.

 

People in your network who share your common interests and values want to know exactly how they can help you. Keep in mind that an adult knows an average of 200 people.  Quite frankly, you just don’t know who is in their network, how many there are or how valuable those contacts may be.  Even if you knew only 10 people, that’s 2500 people to whom you have access.

 

Help your network help you by implementing the following steps before you contact them:

 

  1. Have a clear and unique personal brand. Much is being written today about personal branding.  Every organization, whether it is a profit or a non-profit, has just 2 basic pain points that keep their leaders up at night.  They are:  (1) Are we as productive as we can be? And (2) How can we increase our revenue?   In today’s economy, your brand and/or your solution must be relevant to at least one of these two points. I recommend Karen Kang’s Book “Branding Pays” http://amzn.to/1OuzjOv
  2. Target an industry and/or market segment within that industry. Use whatever criteria works for you.  Criteria suggestions are:  Emerging markets such as green (solar and wind power, biodiesel etc.), established growing markets such as health care, “hot” segments such as mobile applications and social media.  Much of this is based on the principle of “follow the money.”  The best free source of information is your local public library. Organizations like to be chosen, not résumé blasted.
  3. Make a target list of companies which interest you greatly. Criteria can include, but not be limited to: location, size, proffer or non-profit, public or private sectors.

 

You are now ready to talk to your contacts.  Share your brand and your targets. You are asking them:  “Whom do you know in these 10 companies?”  It doesn’t matter if there is an opening or not.  It doesn’t matter if the referral is the hiring manager or is in a different department.   Keep in mind that like people have a tendency to refer like people.  When given a referral, be sure you learn the nature of their relationship.  Your close friend’s referral to another close friend always results in a meeting inside your target company.

 

The goal here is that 80% of your time (like Monday through Thursday) spent on search should be having meetings such as those described above. On Fridays you can sit behind the computer all day and play the “Black Hole Cyberspace Game.”

 

 

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

 

When Your Resume Is Useless And When It Is Useful

March 16, 2016

 

WhenYour Resume is Useful and When It isn’t

By Randy Block

 

After a speech, I often encounter someone from the audience who approaches me and asks: “What do you think of my resume?” I smile and ask: “What job are you applying for?” More often than not, they respond with: “Nothing in particular. I just want to know what you think of it?”

I give it a cursory look for achievement metrics and style points and usually say, “It’s fine as is; but I could give you a better critique if you were applying for a specific position”.

During my 30+ years as an executive search recruiter and going on 15 years as a full time career coach, I have seen and reviewed literally thousands of resumes –the good, the bad and the ugly.

The resumes that caught my attention were those that helped me evaluate them targeted for a specific need.

Any financial adviser will tell you that your personal assets such as a home, car, jewelry, boats, artwork etc., only have realized value on the day of sale. That is, there is a buyer for that asset and the market sets the price. There is usually one consideration in that transaction – usually money, but up until that point of sale, in reality it is not worth anything, appraisals and your emotional attachment notwithstanding.

Your background of experience and achievements clearly are considered assets (certainly you perceive them as important). However, assets, as described in the previous paragraph, those strengths and accomplishments really aren’t worth anything until they are put to use. They will be worth something when there is a buyer. In terms of job search, that buyer is an organization with a specific need, or needs, and you have the relevant qualifications to fill that need. The transaction usually takes the form of an offer of full time or part time employment. And yes, this applies to contracting as well.

What works today? It is entirely up to the job seeker to bring out in the resume their relevant qualifications that uniquely meet the buyer’s needs. In the hiring process, nothing else in your background matters. The resume must be as pertinent to the position as possible. Therefore, every resume sent out by you will be different, tailored to the specific parameters of the position for which you are applying.

QUICK TIP: never send a resume to a friend. In their desire to help you, they will subsequently send it directly in response to an ad they see. They will call you afterwards telling you about the position and that they sent your resume “un-tailored. “Sigh – the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

Since we now live in a very tactical world, most organizations are interested in how you can help them in the next 6 months by increasing their revenue or making them more productive. And many of these companies are primarily interested in your job-relevant achievements since 2008. NOTE to senior execs: go back just 15 years on your resume.

In our legal system, you are innocent until proven guilty.  Therefore, hire a good lawyer. During your   job search process, you are assumed to be unqualified until proven qualified.  It is a good investment to hire a resume writer who can articulate your achievements with the appropriate keywords.

– See more at: http://www.timsstrategy.com/blog/when-your-resume-is-useless-and-when-it-is-useful/#sthash.HuOi9Xjj.dpuf

 

(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.

 

Networking — Anyone Can Play This Necessary Game

March 16, 2016

Networking. It’s the buzz word that we’ve all heard whenever we’re talking about selling either ourselves in a job search, or a product as part of our work. The concept isn’t new, but it has taken on a life of its own, and covers lots of topics, which we’ll delve into in this article (or chapter if it’s a book).  First, we’ll have to define exactly what we mean by “networking,” and then we’ll talk about the first steps – including your talent, values, and acquired skills. Next comes another new buzz word: branding. We’ll tell you how to create your own unique brand, and how to get it “out there.” The necessary tools needed as part of your branding process include your business card and your “one pager.” And finally, we will delineate just who is and is not included in your network, and how to best utilize it to achieve your goal – whatever that may be.

Before we embark on our “networking journey,” it is important to emphasize that companies do not think in terms of hiring people, they are looking for solutions to problems.  Therefore, the corporate world now spins on relations and solutions to tactical problems, in other words, revenue and productivity. Therefore, you will need to change your mindset from a full time job search to looking for either part time or short term project work.

As the old sales adage goes: ABC – always be closing – you will now need to make your top priority seeking opportunities – every time, all the time.  As such, keep in mind that all employers  are always looking for people with certain time-honored core skills, including leadership, information and organization management, problem-solving, and data analysis, coupled with integrated reasoning skills.

Source: The New Professionalism – Allison Fine HBR 5/9/12

It’s a new world out there. Consequently, what was considered profession in the old days, no longer fits the current definition of how things are viewed and implemented.  In a nutshell, here’s a comparison of what the old vs. new professionalism looks like:

Old Professionalism:

  1. I am closed to the world
  2. I can’t make mistakes in public
  3. I don’t reveal my personal interests to the world
  4. I am expected to have the answers to questions
  5. Power is taken and held

 

New Professionalism

  1. I am open and accessible top the world, strengthening my relationships with people
  2. I am human, when I inevitably make mistakes, I apologize quickly and sincerely
  3. My interests, hobbies, passions make me interesting and attractive
  4. I am searching for answers with my network of colleagues and supporters
  5. Power is shared and grown

 

So just what is the proper definition of networking? Webster’s defines the word “networking,” as: The act of process of informally sharing information and support. Author of “Breakthrough Networking,” Lillian Bjorseth, notes: Networking is an active, dynamic process that links people into mutually beneficial relationships.

Whichever definition applies, it is important to define what it actually is and is not, in terms of its implementation, as opposed to quibbling about the nuances of its definition. Here’s what you DO when you network:

  • Share Information
  • Help People
  • Keep at it 24/7
  • Offer a Solution
  • Flex Your Talent

By comparison, here’s what you DO NOT do when you network:

  • Sell yourself or anything else for that matter (no Pyramid schemes, please!)
  • Look for a job
  • Manipulate People
  • Keep Score
  • Look weak or needy
  • Conduct Transactions

And now we begin our “networking journey.” As the old saying goes: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” With that concept in mind – networking is that thousand mile journey, and here is the first step:

Step One: Look inward at your core values. Ask yourself what do you prize? Why? Because the answer to this question is the basis upon which you will make all your decisions, and relates to how you will follow through on those decisions. In sum, the answer will tell you what you stand for. This is a very important, fundamental first step that many people overlook, and that gets them in trouble later on, down the road. In short, values congruence is a critical element of any “chemistry fit” in networking and interviewing.

Step Two: Next, you need to assess your transferable and motivational skills, in other words, your unique gifts or talents, things that come naturally to you and that you are proficient at, and those things which you are deeply motivated (from within) to do.

Step Three:  This includes your acquired skills, namely your education, training, and experience. Related to this one – the bad news is that sometimes these acquired skills become obsolete, so you’ll need to keep yourself current through continuing education, additional training – particularly in technology – and therefore, expanding your experience – even through internships, etc.  In short, your “relevancy” in today’s job market needs “proof positive” of your skills, or employers see little or no value in hiring you.

Now that you’ve begun your journey, what’s next? Branding! Another buzz word for presenting yourself to the world, simple as that.

The key to creating your branding statement is: BE YOURSELF! Branding is actually quite simple, as it merely presents what you do, what makes you unique, and gets rid of meaningless, obsolete titles. It can be a real ice breaker, as well as a way to search for common values and mutual interests.

In creating your brand, you need to provide a salient story of achievement, based upon the SAR (Situation, Action, Results) model, and make sure that this story supports your brand. Make sure, also that it is three minutes or less, and … guaranteed… you’ll be a standout!

Now that you’ve created your “brand,” what do you need to get the word out?

First and foremost, your business card. On the front of the card, you’ll need to include your name, phone number Skype number, e-mail address, Twitter handle, LinkedIn address, and finally – your branding statement, which is a one-line statement that gets to the heart of your brand. On the back, you’ll put four or five concisely stated bullets describing your services offered.

Next is your “One Pager,” as it sounds, a one-page statement YOU! What’s included? Your professional expertise, what you do, how you work, a success story or two, services you provide, and how you can be of benefit. Keep in mind that all of the information provided should be completely based on your own unique personal brand!

You now have the basic networking tools, so with whom do you network?  There’s your “A” list, your “B” list, and perhaps, your “C” list. As follows:

Your A’s

  • Family, close friends and those that know you professionally and personally.
  • You are very current in the relationship
  • Stakeholders in your success
  • They will also return your e-mail or phone call within 36 hours or less.

Your B’s

  • Those you have known professionally in the past and worked closely with
  • There has been no contact in the last 12 – 18 months or longer. They may or may not return your phone call.

And your C’s

  • These are people that you have met but you with whom you have little history
  • There is really no need document. This category serves a s a “bucket” to put names in.

Once you have established your network, you need to have strategic objectives. In other words, how do you proceed? What’s your networking plan?

Here’s what works:

  • Pick one or two industries
  • Pick a niche or market segment Identify a max of 15 companies
  • (Excellent research tools: LinkedIn and Wikipedia)

And here’s what doesn’t:

  • Telling your network you are on the “market”
  • Sending a resume to anyone in your network.

 

Once you’ve established who your network is, the next step is to make direct contact, preferably with those on you’re a list. The A list is your “gold,” the B list, “silver,” and the C list – well, that’s your “just in case,” and/or “you never know – it’s worth a try.”

Remember, each contact needs to be personalized. Everyone wants to feel special, and this is how you start every communication, by personalizing it!

A rule of thumb for each contact:

Hello (Personalize it – their name!)

  • Personalize the first paragraph with each “A”
  • Search for the next great opportunity to help organizations (hiring or not) that I might be able to chat with (list targets)
  • Designate a specific area, even though a great Human Resources or admin person might get me connected
  • Attached your one pager.

 

You have your networking tools, you have identified your potential contacts (your A, B, and C lists), and you have initiated the first contact. Give yourself a pat on the back, because you’ve taken the very first, important step. So, just what is the networking process all about? Quite simply, it’s:

  • Strategic relationship building, which is your top priority
  • An exchange of  information
  • Discovering their needs as they relate to your relevant strengths
  • Determining if there is a match based on relevancy
  • If yes – full time, part time or short term contract
  • If no match – who else should I be talking to.

 

That’s it. It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Here’s a sample networking conversation, which could go like this:

Them:

Hello, my name is and what do you do?

You:

Hello, my name is

State Your Brand

Them:

What does that mean?

You:

Here’s where you deliver your story and tell them what do you do?

Them:

Title and Company

You:

Have you been there long? Ask them,”What does 2015 bring in the way of challenges?”

 

Now suppose you go to a networking event, what are the kinds of questions that you should ask people as you start the process?

  • What’s your connection to the event?
  • Are you working on any charity initiatives?
  • How did you come to be in your line of work?
  • What do you know about the speaker today?
  • What is your interest in this topic?

 

Source: Questions from Alison Grahams book From Business Cards to Business Relationships: Personal Branding and Profitable Networking Made Easy, 2nd Edition.

 

Dale Carnegie was one of the fathers of sales, and networking was an integral part of what he taught – good, common sense people skills! As such, he recommended the following tips which apply directly to navigating successfully at networking events:

  1. Smile – people like it more than a scowl
  2. Ask a Question – Get clarification on a topic
  3. Listen – Most people like to talk about themselves
  4. Bring your business cards – a must have at events
  5. Say the person’s  name – people like to hear their own name spoken.

 

And what about social media? It’s a different world out there, and social media is on the forefront of initiating, maintaining, and expanding on social contacts – i.e. networking. Which sites are most useful for the greatest number of people?

  • LinkedIn – Be sure your LinkedIn Profile is up to date, relevant, and brand-oriented. Fully participate in discussion groups that reflect your brand and focus.
  • Facebook – used more for individual contributor positions and developing personal relationships
  • Twitter – This is your VP of Sales to promote you as an SME. Follow your target companies and people in those companies
  • Google +(Do you want to comment on this, Randy? – If not, should you leave it off?).

 

In today’s job market, networking is a Way of Life! How so?

  • Its basis is a strong foundation of relationships.
  • It needs to be used 24/7 by job seekers and those employed but always looking for the next position.
  • People by their nature what to help and contribute, so networking facilitates that process.
  • You care about people and have the courage to walk up to them and let them know it!
  • With networking, you can become the hunted moving away from being the hunter.

 

Summing up the issue of networking, here are some things to consider, some final words:

  1. You have enemies? Good. That means that you stood up for something some time in your life.
  2. -Winston Churchill
  3. Nothing in life is to be feared. It’s only to be understood. – Marie Curie
  4. Be curious: not judgmental – Walt Whitman
  5. Don’t trade your authenticity for approval.
  6. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

 

Randy – you might want to add a closing summary paragraph here. I want to make sure that this is really YOU, so … anyhow … just my thought.

Interviewing — When “The Fit” Is Everything

October 27, 2015

 

Over the years, both as a coach and recruiter, I have heard the following refrains when it comes to interviewing:

“I had all the right answers but I did not make to the next round”.

“The interview went really well and it has been two weeks since I heard anything”.

“My top priority when I interview is to get the offer.  Then I will decide if I want the job”.

 

The organization’s response? “The fit wasn’t there.”

 

Before continuing, let me make the point that most hiring managers do not know how to interview and hire effectively.  This is not new to you nor is this article about them.

 

You have heard that “team/culture” fit is at least 50% of the hiring decision.

And many of you have heard “there only 3 interview questions”:

  1. Can you do the job? (do you have the experience, knowledge and strengths this position requires? It’s important that you have at least 90% of the posted candidate qualifications.
  2. Do you have a passion for this position? Do you really want this job and does it make sense from a career standpoint? Again, you need to make a good case here.
  3. Will we like you doing the job? As Shakespeare has so elegantly written: “therein lies the rub”. Or in our case, “therein lies the heart of the “fit”.

 

Each of the big 3 interview questions are weighted when evaluating a candidate.  Based on what I have recently observed with clients and hiring managers:

  1. Hard skills 25%,
  2. Making your case why the position and company are right for you. 25%
  3. Do they like you? 50% (it can be as high as 70%).

 

I coach my clients to see the interviewer as an ally; they are on a mission together to evaluate the fit.

 

So here is your own checklist for a post interview evaluation regarding the “fit”

  • Congruent values between the you and the company
  • Communication styles are clear and easy (they didn’t compete)
  • The dialogue is honest and authentic
  • You successfully articulated your relevance to the needs of the position
  • The interview was relaxed and actually engaging (nervousness disappears 5 minutes into the interview)

 

I am not a proponent of “fake it until you make it”.  If as a candidate, you are trying to be what they are looking for, and they believe you, it is a recipe for disaster.

 

If there is a good authentic fit, can an offer (or at least the next round of interviews) be far behind?

WHEN THE HEAD HUNTER CALLS

February 21, 2015

There you are, at home or the office. You pick up the phone and the voice at the other end says: “Hello. My name is ______ and I am an executive recruiter. I am looking for _____________. I would like to talk to you about this opportunity.”

When this happens, I recommend the following:

  1. Listen carefully when the position is described. Ask clarifying questions with the aim of knowing as much about the position as the recruiter does. A good question? “Describe what success looks like after being in this position for six months.” A competent recruiter will have an answer.
  2. With the third party recruiter, it’s OK to exchange your compensation information with their compensation.
  3. Ask them how long have they had the search. There are two answers that should raise pink to red flags for you. The first is: “We just started” and the second is: “About six months” or more. In the first case, know that the first candidates presented are rarely hired. In the second place, if they haven’t filled it in a long time frame, they are probably on the verge of being fired. Besides, why would you be head and shoulders above the fifteen candidates they have already submitted? Maybe the job just isn’t doable.
  4. Ask them if they have submitted any candidates. If so, what was the feedback? Now many recruiters won’t share this information with you. But it helps them help you to give your relevant qualifications based on their experience with the client.
  5. What is their track record working with this client? If they have several years of experience, then they are indispensable in terms of knowing the political landscape, understanding of how the hiring decision will be made and negoiating an offer. If, on the other hand, this is their first assignment, they are on a learning curve. Enough said.
  6. Have them describe the screening process from beginning to offer stage. They should know this one.
  7. Ask them about their backgrounds. How senior are they? Not too long ago the term “senior” meant a minimum of 5 years.
  8. And of course, “What are next steps?” If there isn’t an immediate invitation to come in for an interview, then ask when would be a good time to “touch base”? This is usually accomplished with a telephone appointment at some future date. If they refuse to set up such an appointment, then remove this opportunity form your radar.

Remember, companies are paying the recruiters. Many will not follow up with you after a phone screen or an initial interview. They should. But that’s not how it works these days.

Success Alignment — Your Career and the Organization

February 21, 2015

Are they in synch? Yes? Or not? Kinda?

I think everyone can agree that professional stasis is not good for you or the organization. It’s comforting to know what you have this in common. – Maybe.

It’s not good for you because ‘you do not increase your career portfolio value. You stopped learning and improving. And if this lasts too long, job burnout occurs. Being passed over for promotion sometimes occurs. I am sure you have your own stories.

The company suffers from your stasis also. In my opinion, the most effective way to retain talent is to develop it and grow it. Companies risk employees becoming stale and bored. Turnover also occurs (admittedly because most don’t like their boss). Company success is thwarted due to underdeveloped talent. Productivity and revenue suffer as a result.

OK. Nothing earth shattering but is there anything that you can do about it? Yes.

1. Take accountability for your own development.
2. Create a 5 year plan that allows opportunism
3. Find out what is going on with the company plans as a whole as well as your group (Your source? Your boss)
4. Compare plans

You can easily make most decisions (business and career) based on two considerations:

• Is this the best decision for the company?
• How does this decision affect my career development?

And you have to connect the two. Your company won’t.

Certainly, publicly making the second response is optional. However, I am finding out more and more with my clients that when the two are compatible and acknowledged, this carries a lot more impact.

But suppose the company benefits more from a decision than your own development? Of course you can put up with this for a period of time. But then what are your options? Make it clear to your boss that you want professional development that will benefit the company. If the response is a deaf ear, it’s time to move on. They cannot be surprised if you leave in the next few weeks.

Of course if it’s all about you and the company be damned, you can just imagine how long you might have building your empire. Ignoring stakeholders makes them want to put a stake in you.

With the current performance management model, there are quarterly “reviews” or check -ins. These could be utilized to see how the two plans are in synch. Adjustments can be made on both sides based on developments. But you have to set this up. Your career and the company success do matter to you.

As a recruiter, I was always impressed with candidates that had a plan in mind. They not only knew what was next but also where they wanted to go. They had a goal. And (music to my headhunter ears) they previously tried to get the next step from their current company.

Taking a lateral move to another company can work as long as you are very clear that you are on a timetable for promotion and/or development.

Yes, it falls on your shoulders to take complete accountability. But, you have the satisfaction knowing the most important bases have been touched.

Time To Retire the “Elevator Speech” For Job Seekers

March 13, 2014

Time to retire the term “elevator speech” from the job seekers lexicon

Does it really work for job seekers? Isn’t a “speech” about 30 or 40 minutes?  Most elevators are very short rides here in California.

So what is the standard definition?

From Wikipedia

“An elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply defines a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.

The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business card or a scheduled meeting”.

Who uses it successfully today?

I have listened to project managers and salespeople use elevator pitches to get their point across quickly. They typically know their audience and can make a short “pitch” for an idea or product.  For them, it is a powerful tool.

But the elevator speech does not and cannot work this way for the job seeker.

At many networking events and meetings, I was privy to listening job seekers using their “elevator speech”.  All were off the mark.  Many sounded the same.  Many were quite boring and forgettable.  Most came off as trying to sell themselves.  And I sensed a great frustration in their voices.

What does work?

Lets’ set up a scenario:

You are at a networking meeting. A total stranger starts to initiate a conversation with you and they ask what is your name and what you do.

Giving your name is the easy part. (You get 2 points for this right answer)

You would respond with a personal branding statement.  It’s a statement that says in general what your impact is on organizations.  It starts off with the first person singular, followed by a verb and an object or objects.  Maybe 3 out of 10 people will be “intrigued” and ask “how” you do this or “what do you mean?”  The other 7 it will fall on deaf ears.  Find out more about personal branding and download the PowerPoint (scroll down).

Your response would be “Well, I would like to give you a short (2 minute) story that illustrates what I do”.  You would use the classic and ubiquitous “SAR” to structure the story:  “This was the Situation”; “this was the Action that I took” and “these were the Results”.

You are memorable and unique because of the brand and the story.  If they have no interest in what you think is important and critical, then there is probably no basis for a relationship.  Move on to the next person.

However, you may discover that the other person is genuinely interested in the brand and what you achieved – opening up the conversation to explore further what you both have in common.

But you have to start with you.  What do you stand for and what do you deliver?  Most of us respond positively to focus, confidence and high self-esteem.

But please, don’t call it an elevator speech.

How about:  Stand and Prove?