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Archive for the ‘Career – Job’s Do’s and Don’ts’ Category

11 Ways to Hurt Your Career

While most career advice focuses on how to succeed, we can all learn valuable lessons by dissecting career failure as well. Workplace experts offer insights into some of the top ways workers undermine their own careers and jeopardize their career development.   

1. Not Taking Your Education Seriously

If you party too much in college and end up with a run-of-the-mill 2.5 GPA, you’ll be passed over for the best entry-level jobs, says New York City-based executive recruiter and coach Brian Drum of Drum Associates. Not finishing your master’s degree is another way to hurt your career development goals, adds Anne Angerman, a career coach with Denver-based Career Matters.

2. Not Having a Plan

In the current poor job market, you may have defaulted into a career you aren’t crazy about. That’s OK, as long as you develop career plans to get where you want to be. “Think of every job you take as a stepping-stone to your next job,” Drum advises.

3. Lying

You’ll lose professional credibility in a hurry if you lie, from exaggerating on your resume to getting caught fibbing on Facebook. “If someone calls in sick to work and then that evening posts a photo on Facebook of their extra day vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, that’s a big problem,” says corporate etiquette specialist Diane Gottsman of the Protocol School of Texas in San Antonio.

4. Sullying Your Reputation on Facebook or Twitter

Social media can harm your reputation in other ways, too. Personal posts and tweets from work — when you’re supposed to be doing your job — can tag you as a slacker. And the content of your posts or tweets can come back to haunt you as well — you never know who might stumble upon those bachelor-party photos. “You need to assume that every boss and potential employer knows how to use Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, and post from the standpoint that everyone is watching even if in reality they’re not,” Gottsman says.

5. Not Respecting Professional Boundaries

Sharing TMI about your personal life with colleagues is unprofessional. “Your coworkers don’t want to hear about your fights with your husband,” Angerman says. On the other hand, if you’re ultraprivate and work with a chatty group, join the conversations occasionally so coworkers don’t resent you.

6. Gossiping, Slandering, Excessively Criticizing

If you publicly bash fellow employees, the boss, the board of directors or even your competitors, you’ll be perceived as negative at best and a troublemaker at worst. The ramifications can be broad and long term, Gottsman says. “Industries are tight,” she says. “You don’t want to be the one who started that rumor about the head of your industry.” As far as bad-mouthing competitors — what if your company merges with a competitor, or you want to work for one someday?

7. Carrying on an Inappropriate Relationship with Your Boss

Never a good idea, but an especially bad one if your boss is married. “When you get involved in a drama or in something unethical that can be brought out in the open, you’re asking for trouble,” Gottsman says.

8. Not Controlling Your Alcohol Intake or Libido

Getting drunk at the office party or on a business trip damages your credibility. Ditto a romantic, ahem, “indiscretion” that your colleagues know about.

9. Job-Hopping Just for the Money

Job-hopping — in moderation — may not automatically disqualify you from a position. “But it gets to the point — like if you have seven or eight jobs by the time you’re 35 — that employers are not going to want to invest in you,” Drum says. Also, if you have leadership aspirations, keep in mind that the top dogs of many large corporations have been with those organizations for long periods, he says. Additionally, many companies have “last in, first out” layoff policies, which could leave you out of a job if you never stick around long enough to build tenure anywhere.

10. Losing Touch with References
You’ll kick yourself later if you leave a job without collecting personal contact information from colleagues who can serve as professional references for you in the future. “If you were forced to leave a job and you can’t ask your boss for a reference, hopefully you’ve built up some rapport with a colleague and can ask them,” Angerman says.

11. Leaving a Job on Bad Terms

Don’t become a lame duck when you’ve got one foot out the door, Drum says. “The employer only remembers about the last five minutes you were there,” he says. Give proper notice and don’t leave a mess behind. And by all means, do not make a huge dramatic production of it when you quit, complete with cursing, slandering and throwing things, Gottsman advises. “It’s very difficult to get another job when you’ve left destruction in your wake,” she says.

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Four Reasons You May Not Be Getting the Job

Why not? According to career coaches and experts, there are several common mistakes that job hunters make over and over, often unknowingly, that prevent them from getting the jobs they want. Below are four of the mistakes most often made by job applicants. To be successful in your search, make sure you’re avoiding them.

1. You don’t prepare for the interview (or you prepare inadequately). “In a competitive market, you can’t afford to wing it,” says Roy Cohen, a career coach and the author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.” “That means rigorously researching the company, the position, and any relevant information that will provide context for the interview. You also need to consider why you want the position, what qualifies you, and how the company will benefit. [The] bottom line [is that] it’s about being smarter and better qualified, even against candidates who have more experience than you.”

2. You don’t follow up–or you follow up ineffectively. “The devil is in the details,” Cohen says. “If [a hiring manager] has two equally qualified candidates, who gets the offer? The candidate who follows up thoughtfully. That candidate conveys gratitude for the opportunity to interview, an awareness of the issues and challenges facing the organization and the hiring manager, and some insight into how to address these issues and challenges. It’s not just a perfunctory ‘thank you.’ That’s a start, but it’s never enough.”

Anne Angerman, a career coach and president of Career Matters, recommends sending a thank-you email immediately after the interview and then following up with a handwritten note. Try to convey not just your gratitude but also your understanding of the position and what you could bring to it.

3. You don’t exhibit a confident image. Rather than appearing nervous or unsure of yourself, you want to appear enthusiastic and confident. “Practice your interview with a friend or tape-record yourself in advance,” Angerman says. “Practice articulating short, concise answers and smiling. Exude enthusiasm and confidence; look great! Memorize a few stories [about times when] you have made a change in your company. Talk about ideas you have for your position.” While appearing confident is a must, don’t overdo it: Nobody wants to hire an egotistical maniac.

4. You make assumptions. Some job candidates assume they have the job “in the bag” just because the interview went well, Cohen says. Others assume they don’t have a chance because they haven’t heard back after a certain number of days or weeks. Instead of making assumptions about the process, “you need to manage every step in the process, from initial contact to offer,” Cohen adds. “At any point, it can break down. When you take your eye off the ball, you lose the potential to intervene quickly and objectively. Nothing less than flawless execution is acceptable.” And if you haven’t heard back, “never, ever read into radio silence,” he says. “Find a reason to stay in touch.”

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By Nancy Mann Jackson

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Top 10 reasons employers want to hire you

When you apply for a job, you know exactly what you’re looking for. You want a company you love, great co-workers, a decent salary, a culture where you fit in and, most importantly, you want to love what you’ll be doing.

But do you ever consider what the employer is looking for in its employees?

These days, competition is steep among job seekers; it’s important to know what employers want in an employee before going into an interview so candidates can sell how they would be an asset to the company.

“If the candidate doesn’t know what the employer is looking for, [he or she] can’t properly communicate why they are the most qualified candidate for the position,” said Steven Rothberg, founder of CollegeRecruiter.com. “Understanding what the employer is looking for ahead of the interview is so that the candidate can be sure to communicate all of the information that is likely to be most relevant to the employer.”

In a 2009 survey from CareerBuilder and Robert Half International, employers said that aside from having the basic job qualifications, multitasking (36 percent), initiative (31 percent) and creative thinking (21 percent) are the most important characteristics in a job applicant.

We asked six workplace experts to address 10 of the most common reasons employers hire employees, in no particular order. Hopefully, they can help you prepare to land your next job.

1. Long-term potential
Why it’s important:
Employees want to see their future within a company so they are motivated and excited about their career path, the company’s future and their role in it, says Celia Santana, president of Personal Risk Management Solutions.

From the employer perspective, you want people in your organization to work their way up. It is best to have someone who is multidimensional and can grow with the company.

Tip:
“Give a real-life example or ask questions that demonstrate that you have thought about this,” Santana says. “For example, you can ask a question like, ‘What type of career movement do you envision for the most successful candidate in this role? Are there any current examples within your company?'”

2. Ability to work well with others
Why it’s important:
“We spend a lot of time at work; there is nothing worse than someone who cannot get along with others,” Santana says. “[It’s] so important and involves being helpful, understanding the unwritten rules, being respectful, reliable and competent.”

Tip:
“Tell a story,” Santana suggests. For example, “I was interviewing someone for a job and asked about a situation where he had experienced a challenging situation at work. He told me about a situation where the company had a major deadline and needed all hands on deck. He was able to pause what he was working on and pitch in, working late hours to help the team meet the deadline.”

3. Ability to make money
Why it’s important:
Hiring managers want people who can prove that they will increase the organization’s revenues or decrease its costs, Rothberg says.

“During a recession, revenues are difficult for organizations to generate and employers have typically already cut their costs about as much as they can. Their emphasis is on increasing their revenues.”

Tip: “Employers love metrics. The more you can quantify your work, the better,” Rothberg said. Some positions are easier to quantify than others, but it can be done. “If you’re a filing clerk, estimate how many minutes a day your work has saved your previous employers by looking at how much faster it is for people to access the information they need,” he said.

4. Impressive résumé
Why it’s important:
“A résumé is a person’s billboard; a reflection of the applicant in the eyes of the reader,” said Jay Meschke, president of EFL Associates. “First impressions are lasting ones and a résumé is often the vehicle to either make a good impression or a poor one.”

Tip: “Make sure several people review the résumé for content, style and accuracy. Use a co-worker that might have a dose of skepticism in their gene pool to receive the most constructive criticism. If a person has no comments, try another, and another, to obtain the collective wisdom of peers,” Meschke said.

5. Relevant work experience
Why it’s important:
“Experience levels generally allow a person to hit the ground running without a lot of hand-holding,” Meschke said. “Managers do not have time to mentor and train people as in the past.”

Tip: “Be prepared to offer up quality references to substantiate your background and experience. Many times, references are the critical key to landing a job when the hiring decision is a close horse race,” he said.

6. Creative problem-solving skills
Why it’s important:
“Employers know that in business, the chessboard changes daily. As soon as we think all is fine, the economy changes or the competition makes a surprise move and the company’s own strategy must change,” said Mark Stevens, author of “Your Marketing Sucks” and CEO of MSCO, a global marketing firm. “A person who gets locked into a set way of doing things finds it difficult or impossible to adjust. They are a drag on the business as opposed to an asset for it.”

Tip: “Know how to tackle challenges and opportunities in a way no one will find in a textbook. Einstein used to approach his theories by thinking of childlike fantasies and working backwards to reality. Talk about how an approach like this is built into your DNA. You will be marketing yourself as a one-of-a-kind,” Stevens said.

7. Strong online presence
Why it’s important:
“Social networking has become the primary way that people communicate. But it is a double-edged sword. Employers have access to your personal life, likes and dislikes, political views, good and bad behavior. Because of that exposure and the speed at which information is distributed, it is important that you be digitally dirt-free, especially when job hunting,” said Chris Laggini, vice president of human resources for DLT Solutions.

Tip: “Social networking doesn’t have to be negative in your job hunt; you can use it to your advantage. Old-fashioned reference checks through past employers are passé; use your [social networking] pages to accumulate references and positive praise from professional peers and college professors. Find people within the company whom you know that could put a good word in for you,” Laggini said.

8. Multitaskers who thrive on variety of projects
Why it’s important:
“Business today moves at supersonic speed, and effectively managing a variety of different projects simultaneously is essential,” said Susan Stern, founder and president of Stern + Associates, a public relations and marketing communications agency. “If an individual demonstrates a passion for learning new things and enjoys a variety of work, chances are she is also ambitious and inquisitive — two qualities that are critical to success and advancement.”

Tip: “Don’t be shy about asking for additional assignments and offering to handle other aspects of a project than you might usually handle. Make it clear to your manager that you have a passion for learning new things and volunteer to take on extra work, even if it means putting in additional hours,” Stern said.

9. Enthusiasm and initiative
Why it’s important:
“If you show consistent enthusiasm and take initiative on the job, you can count on being noticed and rewarded. Every business looks to put their most enthusiastic people forward with important clients and customers,” Stern said.

“By taking initiative, you convey a true team spirit and illustrate that you are not someone who simply meets the criteria of a job description, but who goes above and beyond what is required to help the business succeed.”

Tip: “Don’t forget to say, ‘Good morning’ with a lilt in your voice; when you pass someone in the hall, smile and say, ‘Hello,'” Stern reminded. “It’s easy to clam up around top management when you are new to the business world, but showing confidence and a comfort level with people more senior to you will lead to your being considered for more challenging work.”

10. Good cultural fit
Why it’s important: Recruiters are pressured to find the right match for a company; applicants are under pressure to creatively differentiate themselves and demonstrate a desire to succeed, said Jenny Floren, founder and CEO of Experience Inc., an online recruiting community. “Hiring managers are particularly interested in how a candidate is going to adapt to their unique organizational culture.”

Tip: “Look for different ways, a personal blog or Twitter, to deliver your message about what makes you a great cultural fit. Find ways to incorporate specific examples that illustrate the cultural competencies they are looking for, like flexibility, leadership or teamwork, as this will help employers understand you’re serious and excited about the position,” Floren said.
 

By Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.com

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Job Offer Sound Too Good? 10 Tips on How to Avoid Job Scams and Schemes

While the Internet and online job boards have revolutionized the job-hunting process for millions of job seekers and employers, these developments also brought with them an increase in unscrupulous individuals and companies out to scam unsuspecting people who are simply looking for a better job.

There are thousands and thousands of stories of job-seekers receiving emails from job scammers after posting their resumes (and contact information) on one or more job boards. While it is certainly every job board’s responsibility to protect the privacy of the people who register their information and many have not done so well it is also the responsibility of the job-seeker to remember the adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Certainly home-based jobs and business opportunities are one of the biggest areas in which scammers and con artists operate, but they have also been known to disguise themselves as legitimate businesses (called phishing) offering great job and employment opportunities.

What can job seekers do to protect themselves? Here are 10 key tips for avoiding potential job scams. While some of these tips might seem a bit extreme, it is always best to err on the side of caution especially when your personal and financial information, identity, and credit are on the line.

  1. Never provide sensitive financial or personal information. Do not release your social security number, bank account or PIN, PayPal, or credit card information. There is absolutely no reason why a recruiter or employer would require any such information from you. Never impart any financial information. You will eventually have to provide your social security number to an employer when you’re completing a job application or employment contract but do so only after you have validated that the company is legitimate.
  2. Don’t agree to have your earnings direct deposited into your bank accounts from any new or unknown employer. While direct deposit is a much more efficient method for getting paid for your services, you do not want to grant any organization access to your account until you know it is completely legitimate and trustworthy.
  3. Never agree to a wire transfer of any sort. Any mention of a wire transfer or sending money to make more money should force an involuntary action to delete the message. No legitimate job opportunity is going to involve wire transfers.
  4. Be wary of any recruiter who asks for money from you upfront in return for finding you a job or providing job leads. Legitimate recruiters get paid by the employers for whom they place candidates — not from the candidates. Furthermore, most of the scammers who ask you to pay for job leads will provide you if they actually do so with the same ones you could find on a search of Indeed or other job-search engine.
  5. Reject job postings or emails that state that no experience or expertise is required for the position. All legitimate job openings have some sort of job description that includes information about education, skills, and experience required to qualify for the position.
  6. Carefully examine the email details of unsolicited job offers. Emails that claim to be from a legitimate company (Coca-Cola) but then have a return email address with a general (free) email site (such as CocaCola@gmx.com) and not the company address (such as SHandy@CocaCola.com) are not to be trusted. Also carefully examine links in emails to guarantee they are linking to a legitimate Website (CocaCola.com) rather than some fake site (http://scamsite.cocacola.com/ or http://55.342.45.192/cocacola/).
  7. Request more details from prospective employers who provide little or no details in their job postings or emails. Vague promises can be very persuasive, but the truth lies in the details so request detailed information about the services they provide or the job they are hiring for. Request and review contracts carefully. Consult with a lawyer when you have serious concerns or questions.
  8. Ignore postings that guarantee you a job — especially ones that guarantee you a postal or government civil servant job. These scammers basically provide you with information about the government exam for a large fee that you could easily find for yourself for free.
  9. Don’t be swayed by amazing testimonials or money-back guarantees. These are simply marketing gimmicks designed to make you feel more at ease in falling for the scam. While testimonials can be real, even legitimate companies have been caught making them up. And money-back guarantees are worthless unless you have the time and money to sue if you can even find the scammers to do so.
  10. Harness the power of the Internet to research all job opportunities. Do a background check of the prospective employer with the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, and Internet Fraud Complaint Center.

Final Thoughts
Remember to think twice or more before responding to any job posting or email that promises you easy money. While home-based careers selling stuff, doing data entry, or starting your own online business are the most prominent scams, be wary of unsolicited offers from what appears on the surface as a legitimate company or organization.

Your best job and business opportunities are almost always going to come from someone you know or someone who knows someone you know that’s the power of networking. You aren’t guaranteed a fantastic job or income using networking to track down job leads but it’s the most effective tool in a job-seeker’s toolbox.

Finally, if you think you may have already fallen victim to a job scam, immediately contact your bank and credit card companies as well as the major credit reporting agencies so that you can protect your identity and salvage your financial credit. (See also the Identity Theft Resource Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing identity theft.)

Additional Job Scam/Work Scheme/Employment Con Links
Here are some additional resources dealing with job scams and work schemes:

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

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Follow Up All Job Leads: Don’t Wait by the Phone (or Computer)

Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re in the market for a new job, and after conducting all your research, you send out 20 cover letters and resumes to potential hiring managers. Weeks go by and you wonder why not even one of those hiring managers has called you for an interview. Is the problem too obvious? It must not be for situations like this one are the most common we hear about when job-seekers ask our advice about their situation.

If you remember nothing else from this article, please remember these words if you want to succeed in finding a new job: follow up, follow up, follow up. Following up job leads shows prospective employers your interest in the company and position and gives you another chance to sell your qualifications. Some job-seekers fear sounding desperate or annoying when making follow-up inquiries, but as long as you do it right, you will come across as interested, not desperate.

Determining Best Method of Follow-Up
How you follow-up your job leads depends partly on how you initially contacted the employer, as well as your own personal preferences. For job-seekers who simply hate talking on the phone, e-mail may be the best (or at least initial) method of follow-up, but for people who are natural extroverts, the phone may be the best way to showcase your personality.

But, don’t waste time debating the method you choose. The important lesson here is that job-seekers need to be aggressive in following up all job leads because employers are not going to call you when hundreds and thousands of other job-seekers are applying for the same position. Choose a follow-up method, review the follow-up tips listed below, and get moving toward a more successful job-search!

Tips for Following-Up
Here are some useful guidelines to consider before you follow-up with prospective employers.

General Tips:

  • Always make time to follow-up all job leads, no matter how busy you are.
  • Follow-up in a timely fashion usually a week to 10 days for conventional job-searching, sooner for online applications.
  • Create a job leads log, so you have a record of your job-search and follow-up.
  • If you apply online for a position, consider following-up the online application with a cover letter and resume sent to the hiring manager via postal mail. You will stand out over the other online applicants because few will also send a hard copy.
  • Keep your follow-up brief, to the point, and professional.
  • Focus your follow-up around your fit with the position and organization and your USP. You might also ask the hiring manager if he/she needs any further information not included in your original application.
  • If you recently completed training, received an award, or earned some other recognition that would make you an even better candidate for the position, be sure to mention it in your follow-up.
  • Continue following-up regularly, but don’t overdo it.

By Phone:

  • If you are nervous, consider developing a short script about what you want to say (such as your fit with the job, knowledge of the company, USP).
  • No matter what, you should at least make an outline or some notes of the key points you want to make.
  • Keep a copy of your resume nearby in case you need to refer to something on it.
  • Make the phone call from a place where you can talk calmly and not have distractions – and avoid following up from your current place of employment.
  • Be prepared for a short screening phone interview by practicing answers to common interview questions. Use our interviewing resources.
  • End the conversation thanking the hiring manager for his/her time and asking about the hiring timetable/next steps. If you are extremely confident, you could ask when you might expect an interview.

By E-mail:

  • Always address your email to the hiring manager. If you are having difficulty finding hiring managers, read this article: Sleuthing Out Hiring Managers Is Key to Job-Search Follow-up.
  • Keep your email short and to the point. Simply again state your interest in the job and your key qualifications for it.
  • Be sure to spell-check and proofread your e-mail before sending it.
  • Remember to check your email regularly.
  • Because e-mail is such a one-way communication, and you don’t really know if your e-mail is even being read, consider asking for a phone number so you can then follow-up by phone. (And if you get no response, do your research and uncover the phone number yourself.)

Final Thoughts
You may get discouraged if you discover through following up that you are not a final candidate for a position, but isn’t knowing that information sooner rather than later better in terms of moving forward with your job-search? And don’t let a rejection stop you; in fact, if you are told you will not be one of the job-seekers interviewed, consider asking why so that you can improve your chances for other job openings. And if you have a good rapport with the hiring manager, you could also ask about the possibility of an informational interview, possibly turning that person into a valuable networking contact and source of future job leads. You could also say that you would like to be considered for future openings.

Finally, please keep repeating these words at your mantra: follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. It truly is one of the keys to job-search success.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

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You should be well equipped with these most in-demand I.T Certifications/Exams, Before searching any job, Visit http://www.ComputerTipsnTricks.com/ITcert.htm for Free Practice Exams, Free Study Material / Books etc.

Fantastic Formulas for Composing Elevator Speeches

While many Elevator Speeches are written by sales reps to pitch products and services, the formulas from which the speeches derive can be easily adapted to situations in which the product is you, the job-seeker. This roundup of formulas suggested by experts should provide food for thought for the method that works best for you in planning and outlining your Elevator Speech.

For example, Certified Professional Virtual Assistant Jean Hanson suggests this formula:

  1. Who am I? (introduce yourself)
  2. What business am I in?
  3. What group of people do I service? (be specific — do you have a niche?)
  4. What is my USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? What makes me different from the competition?
  5. What benefits do my customers derive from my services?

Here’s how it could be adapted for a job-seeker:

  1. Who am I? (introduce yourself) — No change
  2. What business am I in? — What field or industry am I in?
  3. What group of people do I service? (be specific — do you have a niche?) — What position am I in? In what capacity do I serve?
  4. What is my USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? What makes me different from the competition? — No change
  5. What benefits do my customers derive from my services? — What benefits can employers derive from skills, based on my proven accomplishments?

Hanson says that in a selling situation, the listener’s unspoken question is “Why should I do business

with you?” — Similarly, in a job-hunting situation, the listener’s tacit question may be “Why should I (or any employer) hire you?”

Next is a variation on Hanson’s formula adapted from Randy W. Dipner Meeting the Challenge, Inc., along with our illustration (in boldface) of how it can be adapted for a job-seeker:

List target customers. Group them and ultimately define THE customer. — List target employers. Group them and ultimately define THE employer.

Define the need or opportunity. That is, what critical issue does the customer face? — What need or issue does the employer face?

Name the product or service or concept. — Introduce yourself.

Place the product, service, or concept into a generally understood category. — Identify yourself in terms of a job function or contribution. What do you do?

List the benefits — not the features — of the product, service, or concept provides to the customer. Group or prioritize the benefits to identify the single benefit that is the most compelling reason for the customer to buy the product, service, or concept. To the maximum extent possible, the benefit should be quantified. — List the benefits — not the features — that you provide to the employer. Group or prioritize the benefits to identify the single benefit that is the most compelling reason for the employer to hire you. To the maximum extent possible, the benefit should be quantified.

Develop a statement of the primary differentiation of the product, service, or concept. The differentiation is the single most important thing that sets your product, service, or concept apart from the competition or state of the art. — Develop a statement of the primary differentiation of yourself. The differentiation is the single most important thing that sets you apart from the competition.

Tony Jeary, author of Life Is A Series Of Presentations, offers this Elevator Speech formula:

  • Define your audience universe.
  • Define your content or subject matter.
  • Define your objective.
  • Define your desired image or style.
  • Define your key message.

A formula that probably has more components than the average job-seeker will want to use is offered by the UK-based Adding Value Masterclass and adapted here:

  • Pain — Paint a graphic picture of the “pain” or problems that the employer is experiencing.
  • Credibility — Your qualifications for solving the problem.
  • Solution — Specifically hint at how you can provide a solution (but don’t give away the farm before you have the job).
  • Gain — Explain the benefits the employer will experience.
  • Impact — illustrate the difference those benefits will make in the organization.
  • Emotion — Describe how the benefits will make the employer feel.
  • Prove — Provide evidence that support your claims through examples or stories.
  • Money — Job-seekers should probably skip this step.
  • Risk — Remove any remaining doubts they may have by removing the risk.
  • Close — Reiterate the key points and ask for an interview or other appropriate next step.

Author, speaker, and consultant Marisa D’Vari suggests starting the Elevator Speech process by writing down three key points about your product (you, in this case) and discussing how these points will benefit the listener.

The business school at Pepperdine University suggests knowing your audience and knowing yourself, including key strengths, adjectives that describe you, a description of what you are trying to let others know about you, and a statement of your interest in the company or industry the person represents. Armed with that knowledge, the job-seeker can then outline the Elevator Speech using these questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I offer?
  3. What problem is solved?
  4. What are the main contributions I can make?
  5. What should the listener do as a result of hearing this?

The School of Management at George Mason University offers some particularly good Elevator Speech examples for college students. See also Elevator speech: who, what, why in 30 seconds, (found when your scroll to page 2) adapted from career author Donald Asher, that’s especially good for college students in networking situations.

You’ll notice that one thing nearly all the experts have in common is their espousal of the importance of stressing your benefit to the listener and touching on how you’re better than the competition. This principle encompasses many names — Unique Selling Proposition, value proposition, benefit statement, competitive advantage, deliverables, differentiation — but the bottom line is the same. What can you bring to the employer, and how can you do it better than anyone else?

Finally, the most unusual Elevator Speech formula we came across was from a blogger who calls herself “Qureus” and suggests integrating astrology into one’s elevator speech.

by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.

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You should be well equipped with these most in-demand I.T Certifications/Exams, Before searching any job, Visit http://www.ComputerTipsnTricks.com/ITcert.htm for Free Practice Exams, Free Study Material / Books etc.

15 Myths and Misconceptions About Job-Hunting

How much of a job-hunting expert are you? Read over these 15 myths and misconceptions about job-hunting and see how many of them you believed in and how many you knew were incorrect. Once you know the truths about job-hunting, you should have more job search success and less stress.

Myth 1: Registering at Several Internet Job Boards Will Result in Multiple Job Offers
One of the most prevalent misconceptions in job-hunting is that job-hunting on the Web is some magic elixir that will result in employers lining up to interview you. While job-hunting on the Web should be one component of a job search for most job-seekers, it should not be viewed as having any higher success rates than applying to help-wanted ads in the newspaper or trade magazines. Only about 5 percent of job-seekers obtain jobs through ads.

Myth 2: Want Ads and Other Job Postings Represent the Majority of Jobs Available
At the very most and some say this number is too high only about 15-20 percent of all available jobs are ever publicly advertised in any medium. The vast majority of job openings are part of the “hidden” or “closed” job market. And the higher the position and salary, the less likely the position will be advertised at all. How can job-seekers discover these jobs? Through networking. Networking is by far the most effective job search tool you can use. Networking is all about building relationships with people who can help you in your job search; it doesn’t mean that you need to ask everyone you know if they have a job for you.

Myth 3: Job-Seekers Who Change Jobs Often are Frowned Upon by Employers
The notion of “job-hoppers,” those job-seekers who had multiple jobs with short stays listed on their resumes, has been disappearing for years. Ever since the great “downsizing” and “rightsizing” of companies during the 1980s and 1990s, employers have recognized that there rarely is any logical progression or corporate ladder within any one company anymore. To get ahead and gain new skill sets, job-seekers often need to make multiple moves. Avoid really short stints under a year but otherwise don’t be too concerned with moving around. And if you are concerned, focus on your transferable skills with a functional rather than chronological resume.

Myth 4: A Cover Letter is Not as Important as Other Job-Hunting Materials
Every time you apply for a job, you should send a cover letter written specifically for the position and company you are applying to. The only exception to this rule is when the employer explicitly states that it does not want a cover letter. A cover letter, also known as a letter of introduction or letter of application, must be an integral part of your job-search strategy. A resume is useless to an employer if s/he doesn’t know what kind of job you are seeking. A cover letter tells the employer exactly what job you are seeking and how you are uniquely qualified for that position.

Myth 5: A Resume Must Show a Logical Progression of Jobs and Increased Responsibility

The most important part of a resume is showing that you have the skills, education (or training), and experience that the employer seeks. Most employers will spend less than 20 seconds reviewing your resume, which means you need to focus on the key components of your resume that will result in getting a job interview.

Myth 6: As Long as You’re Sending out Cover Letters and Resumes, You’ll Get Interviews
Maybe in the tightest of job markets, or maybe if you are only applying to specific positions for which you are perfectly qualified, will this kind of passive job-search strategy produce any job interviews. Job-seekers must be proactive in your job search. You must follow-up every job lead. Call employers and request an interview. If you are under-qualified for a position or changing careers, request an interview anyway. You may not be qualified for that specific position, but the employer may have other openings (or know of other openings).

Myth 7: Lowering Your Salary Demands Will Make You a More Attractive Job Candidate
Job-seekers should never lower reasonable salary demands because doing so will just make you appear desperate for the job and will likely result in your not getting the job offer. And even if you got the offer and accepted it, you would most likely never be happy in your job or with your employer because you would feel you were cheated out of the salary you deserved. As long as your salary demands are within acceptable range for the job you’re seeking as well as the industry and location of the employer, stick to them. And never be the first to bring up salary; let the employer raise the issue.

Myth 8: If You Can’t Schedule Job Interviews Between 9 am and 5 pm You’re Out of Luck
While it’s certainly true that a majority of job interviews are conducted during traditional business hours, employers will certainly find time during “off-hours” to interview desirable job-seekers. And it’s often better to interview during these times because there are fewer distractions.

Myth 9: The Most Qualified Job-Seekers Get the Best Jobs

Probably the biggest misconception about interviewing, it is not always the best qualified person who gets the job, but the job-seeker with the best mix of qualifications, interviewing skills, and rapport with his or her interviewer(s). So, don’t be too cocky if you feel you are the most qualified person for the job and don’t be too discouraged if you don’t feel you exactly match up with the job. If you get a job interview, it’s because the employer thinks there is a strong enough match of your skills, education, and experience to do the job and at the interview, you need to prove why you are the best person to fill the job.

Myth 10: Headhunters and Executive Recruiters Have Your Best Interests at Heart
Headhunters and executive recruiters get paid by the companies that hire them to fill their open positions, so where exactly is their loyalty? With their client companies, of course. Recruiters will not market job-seekers to companies; instead, they try to fit job-seekers into well-defined positions with the companies that employ their services.

Myth 11: Changing Careers is Nearly Impossible
As the workplace continues to change and evolve, more and more people will change careers in their lifetimes and many will change careers multiple times. As long as you have a plan and do your best to stick with it, you should be able to switch careers. That said, switching careers is not easy. It takes much effort to switch careers and may involve getting more education (or training), getting experience in the new career field, and focusing on how the skills you currently possess transfer to the new career field.

Myth 12: Job-Seekers Should Not Have to Sell Themselves to Employers

For better or worse, job-hunting is all about marketing yourself to employers which often means using some key selling skills to close the deal and get the job offer. You are the product, and you need to show the employer why you are the best product for the job. In today’s job-hunting environment, the most successful job-seekers are those who understand the value of marketing and apply to themselves those principles that companies have used for years to successfully sell their products.

Myth 13: If You’re Over 50, You Will Have a Hard Time Finding a Job

The baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are completely redefining the meaning of age and older works, and thus older workers should theoretically have a lot fewer problems finding new jobs than in the past. The critical issues are whether you have the skills, education, and experience that the employer seeks and whether all those are current. You also have to have the proper attitude that you are a team player, not a seasoned professional who knows all the answers and is unwilling to change. And, of course, if you are employed in an industry that focuses more on youth, then it may still be harder for you to find a new job.

Myth 14: It Takes One Month of Job Searching for Every $10,000 of Current Salary
No one seems to know where this calculation comes from and no one has ever substantiated it. The fact is that every job search is different. And external factors such as the economy and demand for your particular set of skills and experiences will impact your search time. Noted career expert Richard Bolles (of What Color is Your Parachute?) states in a Q&A we conducted with him: “I think people adopt unrealistic guesstimates about how long their job hunt is going to take. We should expect that our job-hunt may take months, but if we persevere, we will find a job.”

Myth 15: When Times are Tough, Take the First Job Offer You Get

In all my years of experience, the one truth is that job-hunting is streaky. You’ll have weeks where you interview for positions and you are sure you’ll get an offer and no offer ever comes, and then there will be weeks when you get multiple interviews and perhaps multiple offers. Should you take the first job offer that comes along? Only if you are sure that the job and the compensation represent the right career move. If not, a better offer will come along and as long as you are not about to lose your house or suffer other financial or emotional consequences, you should hold out for the job offer that best fits the direction you want to move in.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

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