Reinventing Yourself

As today's knowledge worker, you have to think of yourself as your own business, You Inc.  


WRITING AS A KEY SKILL 

E-mail, chat rooms, communities, and list serves all add up to one thing.  No, not the need to be internet savvy but the increasing reliance on the written word.  We almost thought of it as a lost art form and certainly it has changed.  How you come across in the electronic age will be just as important as being a life long learner.  So make sure that your grammar, spelling and sentence structure properly reflects the image you wish to present.

Here are the best Dictionary & Thesaurus sites on the web.

<OneLook Dictionaries 
Dictionary.com 
WWWebster Dictionary 
Thesaurus.com 

See previous tips below.


Key Number One - Research & Preparation

Here are some good sites to begin looking into your career options:

The JobHuntersBible is a site put up by Richard N. Bolles as a companion to his famous What Color is Your Parachute. Do check out this site. For a recent article on this book and on Dick Bolles go to this FastCompany article.

Don't forget to try out Quintessential Careers.  The have several free career assessment quizzes and lots of other information for your job search.

Career Headhunter: lots of job listings, resources and résumé hints. Particularly good for that younger crowd, but there is some great advice here for all ages. (If you are a Canadian new grad, I would also try Human Resources Development Canada site.)


Key Number Two - Networking

Sending out Résumés

The part that most people hate about the job search is what they consider to be cold calling. So instead, they tend to mass distribute résumés either by getting them listed on the internet or mailing out résumés. The hope is that the right job will come to them. Sorry folks. That isn't how it works.

First, what are the effective methods to find employment? Targeted Networking results in 50 - 85 % of all jobs obtained. Search Firms (10%), Answering adds (5 - 10%) and the use of Marketing Letters accounts for less than 10% and usually averages about 2%.

Second, it is the networking approach that will ultimately find you work. I know that this is a difficult prospect but it will be the latest way to find work. The key is targeted. Even with blanket marketing, it is important to know something about the industry and business. That is why the internet can be such a powerful tool for all sorts of research.

Building a List of People

If targeted marketing is what it is all about, where do you start. The first thing to do is to sit down with a piece of paper and begin to make a list of ALL the people you know even remotely. We all know about 300 others people personally but for now just try to make a list of 30 (or 10%).

This list isn't to be used to go out and beg for a job. It is a source of information gathering. No one likes to be put on the spot but almost everyone likes to be of assistance and give "advice". Just asking for their opinion about what they would do or who they would talk to is how you pursue the conversation. Tell them you are looking for new opportunities and are doing some research on a specific topic and then ask them about it.

Have you heard of the concept of 6% of separation? It seems that each one of us is only 6 people away from anyone else in the world. In other words you know someone, who knows someone who knows someone ... and after 6 iterations you can reach any body. That means, some of those people on your list may not only know directly about job opportunities but probably do know someone who does. Your purpose is to find and get to the decision makers.

Conducting Informational Interviews

It is amazing just how much information is just copied over and over again - without giving credit. Rather than reinvent the wheel or imply that this is our material. check these sites out for yourself.  For a quick overview and 20 key questions click here:
For a more lengthy study, try this tutorial.

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Key Number Three - Resumes

This is the site to visit: Gary Will's Work Search. It has just about everything you need to create a great résumé and more. Be patient; it use to take a while to load.


Key Number Four - Interviews

Boy is this a huge topic and  one that we could go on and on about.  The key thing to remember is preparation.  You can never be over prepared but you can look too rehearsed.  The criticism is that you may begin to think that it is how you present yourself and not really your ability to do the job that will be the final determinant.  You would be right.  

Next is understanding what kinds of questions you will be asked and what the interviewer is really trying to determine.  Most of the questions will fall into about 5 Types.  The purpose is to discover your:

  1. Experience (can do factors)
  2. Motivations (will do factors)
  3. Strengths and Weaknesses
  4. Maturity (Emotional Intelligence)
  5. Personal style and fit with the organization

Key Number Five - References

Reference checks are often not leveraged as much as they should be by both the candidate and the potential employer.  This, however, is changing.  


Key Number Six - Negotiations

 


Previous Résumés  Tips

  1. Many applicants spoil the professional look of their résumé and
    cover letter package by sending it in a handwritten envelope.
    Remember much corporate mail gets sent with envelope attached.  Make sure your envelope matches the professional look of your letter and résumé.
  2. Employers have a lot to do, so don’t make the mistake of asking them to read through an unnecessarily long résumé.  A long, wordy résumé will put off someone who is already short on time.  
    Use space only if you need it to fully disclose your accomplishments and qualifications.  Résumés should not be longer than two pages in length.

  3. When writing your résumé, language selection is extremely important. You need to sell yourself to an employer quickly and efficiently. Address your potential employer’s needs with a clearly written, compelling résumé.

  4. Avoid large paragraphs (more than six or seven lines.) Hiring managers often scan résumés . If you provide small, digestible pieces of information you stand a better chance of having your résumé actually read.

  5. To create a powerful career change résumé , list all of your skills on a sheet of paper. Then, keeping the job you want and the skills it requires in mind, read through your list and circle those skills that are a direct or close match to the employer’s needs.  Once you’ve done this, group your skills together. Use a heading that describes those skills in language that fits the industry or field you wish to move into, not the one you’re coming from.

 

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