CareerComm: Career Communication Tools You Need Now

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, Professional Certified Coach

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Managing a 21st century career requires a current set of tools. You need a portfolio of career communication documents to showcase your accomplishments and potential.

Most likely you’re competing with people who have credentials as strong as yours and appealing to a hiring manager with very little time to translate your past experience into the language of his/her needs. You have to tell your target employer why you are the best choice for adding value to the business. Anything less leaves you in the “also ran” category.

Résumé

Research your target employer(s) and identify the position for which you are the ideal candidate. Use that position posting to identify the keywords describing qualified applicants. For example, a recent posting for an accountant described the major challenge of the position as working with customers in response to financial issues. If I were writing a résumé for a candidate for this position, I’d make sure I highlighted customer relationships along with the normal accounting functions of journal entries, reconciliation and analysis.

Don’t let a sense of humility keep you from claiming credit for your accomplishments! Your future employer needs to know what you’ve done to increase a company’s value—tell them clearly and concisely, using quantifiable measures as much as possible.

Branded Identity

Your goal is not to just be determined qualified, but to stand out as the best candidate for the position. To do so, you need to articulate what makes you uniquely well suited to the job. If you can’t, perhaps you’re not targeting the right position.

Success Stories

Showcase your talent with a few success stories. This document can be used as a tool in your interview, as a leave-behind document or as a follow-up email sent to the hiring manager. Success stories describe a business situation, the action you took to improve it and the results attained. We refer to this as the SAR formula: Situation, Action, Results.

Marketing Brief

In orchestrating your career campaign, you’ll need a document to let your professional network know what you can do so they’ll think of you when they hear about job opportunities. A marketing brief highlights your skills and accomplishments and reminds your connections how you’ve helped your previous employers succeed.

Social Media Profiles

Expect your potential future employer to check out your social media presence at some point in the process of considering your application. Recruiters will usually check your LinkedIn profile and other social media postings to see what they can learn about you in addition to your résumé or application.

Your online presence is part of your branding, whether you intend it to be or not. It should support your claims of knowledge and expertise, without duplicating your résumé and other CareerComm materials.

At Career From Here, we specialize in developing branded and coordinated CareerComm. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you with your campaign for a great job, visit our website CareerFromHere.com and contact us to schedule a free 30-minute CareerComm consultation.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

Does Your Résumé Read Like an Obituary?

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, Professional Certified Coach

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

When I review do-it-yourself résumés, I’m often reminded of an obituary. You know the format: I did this and then I did this and then this. It’s a chronology of jobs and education but it lacks a story, a compelling reason to continue reading.

There was a time that you might have earned an interview with an obituary format, but today your résumé will end up in the junk pile if all you’ve done is recite your positions, dates and responsibilities. No one really cares about that information anymore; they care about how you can add value to their company.

Today, your résumé has to sell you as the most qualified candidate for a specific position. Research shows that you only have approximately 20 seconds and a half page of text to make your pitch.

Think of your résumé as a marketing tool to catch the attention of your target, in this case, the decision-maker, the person who will choose the candidate for the position you want.

Your career communication documents—résumé, cover letter, case studies and social media profiles—must speak directly to the hiring manager. Follow these tips to strengthen the appeal of your career documents.

Speak their language. Numbers are the language of business. Profit, costs, gains, losses, improvements, declines, etc. are measured and tracked to show the state of the business. Astute business leaders use metrics to make critical decisions.

If you apply the same criteria to yourself as a candidate and show your accomplishments in measurable terms, you’ll improve your chance of capturing your reader’s attention.

Appeal to their interests. What do business leaders care about? Increasing sales and/or profits, reducing costs and expenses and managing risk (financial and business risk).

Show that you understand their interests by giving examples of the results you’ve produced in the areas of improving revenue, saving money and making your employers less likely to experience losses.

Show your fit. Do your homework to learn about the company and what they value most. For example, in companies that are required to use potentially dangerous machines or chemicals, safety is extremely important. What have you done that demonstrates your understanding of safe work practices?

Look at the company’s website and any available literature to understand whether they seek innovation or rely on traditional processes. Are they a market leader? Who’s their competition? How do they differentiate themselves from others in their industry?

When you understand the company, you can match your experience to the employer’s needs. You can show that your work history mirrors their core values and competencies, making you a great fit for the employer.

If you’d like to see how your current résumé compares to the standards for today’s career communication documents, you can send it to us for a free review and recommendations. We’ll tell you what’s working well in your document and what we would suggest you change to appeal to your next employer. Visit our website http://www.CareerFromHere.com to submit your résumé for a free review.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

 

Give First…Then, Ask for Help

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, Professional Certified Coach

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

The process of building an effective network can be confusing and painful, if you’re operating under the mindset that your network is there just to help you when you need it. Turn that assumption on its head and consider the people you want to collaborate with in your work-life. I define a business network as a system of mutually beneficial professional relationships.

Have you had this experience? You receive a LinkedIn or Facebook request to connect from someone who shares several of your contacts or connections. You accept the request because of the shared relationships and BAM!—the next message is a sales pitch or a request for your help. Where’s the mutually beneficial relationship in that?

Those requests come from people who are operating under the false assumption that social media is just another sales platform and that an accepted request to connect is permission to solicit. That’s not the intent of the social media network, or of most professionals participating online.

What I want to see from a new connection is an offer of something of value, an article or video they’ve written or found that speaks to my interests, an opinion about the value of professional coaching or résumé writing or even a story of their personal experience in working with someone to help them clarify career goals and job search strategies.  I’d like my new connection to give first…and then, once we’ve exchanged valuable information and established a professional relationship, ask for my help. I’m always happy to help those with whom I have built a relationship.

The true essence of sales is providing a solution for a problem the customer recognizes they have. It’s generally easy to see what problems a person recognizes by looking at what they post on social media. Take the time to read their LI summary, experience and endorsements; identify their target market through their Facebook page; do your homework before sending an article, YouTube video or LinkedIn group that might be a good fit for them.

So, what about those times you need help? Ask for an introduction or information only from those with whom you’ve built a mutually beneficial relationship. That means you don’t wait to build your business network until you need help. Start building as soon as possible and regularly review your connections to see where you can add value and who you’d like to add to your web of professional relationships.

Network building—online and in-person—is an ongoing part of your career management strategy. Make some time every week for checking in with people, offering valuable information and expanding your reach.

What strategies and actions have worked for you in building an effective, professional network?

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

 

What’s an Encore Career?

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA

Professional Certified Coach | Certified Career Management Coach

Certified Professional Résumé Writer

At this point, every living baby-boomer is over the age of 50. And, they’re not slowing down and planning a retirement on the golf course or in front of the television. Instead, they’re looking for their next career. This second path, often driven by a desire to use marketable skills to give back to the community or industry, is called an encore career.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reports that workers in their 70’s and 80’s, will become the fastest growing demographic in the labor market by 2022. The largest sub-group within the post retirement-age workers are white-collar professionals—arts, law, medicine, business—where the physical demands are manageable into one’s seventh decade and beyond.

Medical advances have created a healthier older population than in previous generations and that has contributed to a longer work-life. Having acquired a lifetime of knowledge and experience, feeling energetic and enthusiastic about engagement in the current world and the social aspects of a career, leads many encore careerists to re-think their plans for life’s next phase.

These workers are not necessarily continuing in the career they began 30 or more years ago. Often retirement offers the options of working part-time and employment for reasons other than compensation, although the Great Recession did convince many to continue adding to their retirement fund, rather than begin drawing on it. The question is, “What do I want to do with these years?

Beyond earning a living, many encore careerists are looking for work that enriches their life; perhaps it’s something that’s always held their interest but they weren’t able to pursue while rearing families and advancing professionally. Others are uncertain about what they want to do next; they just feel a nagging sense of wanting more than charity work, shuffleboard and lunching with friends.

Choosing an encore career often takes months, if not years, and help from career professionals. There are currently more than 10,000 occupations in the U. S. with new ones appearing yearly, while others are replaced by technology. It’s tough for an individual to wade through all of that data to find the perfect next career. Here are some tips for managing the process:

  • Simply notice the work people around you are doing and ask yourself if it’s something you would enjoy. Imagine yourself in a typical work day for that occupation and see how it fits you.
  • List the hobbies and projects you’ve enjoyed—gardening, developing a new product or program, writing, photography, working with children, researching travel itineraries–and identify the occupations associated with those activities.
  • Reflect on the times that have been particularly engaging. What were you doing when you were so absorbed that time flew by? How can you do more of that activity?
  • Ask seven to 10 people who know you well, “For what do you always count on me?” Pay attention to the common thread(s) in their responses.
  • What activities in your previous job were most rewarding for you? What talents did your peers recognize in you? What were you particularly good at doing?

There are also career aptitude and personality assessments to help you winnow down the career options. No assessment will tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, but some will help you recognize yourself and careers that fit you well.

Career Coaching is another resource for sorting through options and choosing a new direction. A thinking partner who can guide your research; a certified career coach has access to resources and can help you establish your criteria for choosing an encore career, rich with possibilities for both making a living and having a great life.

Contact us for a no-cost consultation on how we can help you plan your encore career.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

 

 

 

I Have a Degree…Now, How do I Find a Job?

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA

Professional Certified Coach | Certified Career Management Coach

Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Last weekend, as I enjoyed a latte on the patio of a coffee shop in a small college town, three students sat directly behind me discussing their plight—graduating soon and no clue about how to use with their newly acquired degree to find a position in their chosen career field.

These students candidly described their fears and concerns. One had been asked for a résumé and panicked at the request because he had no idea how to go about writing a persuasive document. Another empathized with the dilemma of navigating a job search, lamenting how unprepared she was to talk to people about hiring her.

Graduation season is upon us once again and the conversation I overhead is going on all across the country. The reality of finishing college and entering the work force has landed solidly in the midst of preparation for final exams, planning for graduation ceremonies and celebrations, and moving out of the dorms. For many graduates, this transition is overwhelming.

Here’s my recommendation for organizing your job search:

  1. Identify target positions and target employers. This first step will drive all of the others; everything that follows is a campaign to market your qualifications for two or three specific jobs. Research job postings to see which positions and employers appeal to you and match your skills and interests.

Job search is no longer a numbers game where you send as many résumés as you can and hope                 that a few hit the mark. It’s now a targeted marketing campaign.

  1. Identify the keywords in your targeted field. Your résumé and cover letter will need to capture the interest of a human being, only after it gets past a screening software tool called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This program searches for certain words in your résumé and places you as a candidate only if your language matches that of the position qualifications.

Review jobs posted on CareerBuilder or Indeed.com (or job boards specific to your field) and                     capture the words frequently used to describe the preferred qualifications and the duties of the                 job.

  1. Develop your résumé as a marketing communication. It doesn’t work to send a generic résumé to lots of posted jobs and wait to be noticed. It’s your job to convince the ATS and the hiring manager that you are the best qualified candidate for the position. Your message must tell your prospective employer what you’ve done in the past and how you can add value to their company in the future.

It’s challenging to design a winning résumé under these circumstances. Successful résumés land interview invitations so if your attempts aren’t getting you in to meet face-to-face with the hiring manager your communication tool isn’t working for you.

We’ll provide a free critique of your current résumé and tell you how we would improve it to land more interviews. Please visit the CareerFromHere.com contact page to forward your résumé.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

 

 

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