3 Actions to Avoid When Working With Job Recruiters

Job seeking, whether at a higher career-progression level or the more common job hunt, is an old (and often tedious) hat for most of us. What used to entail sitting in appointment waiting rooms, going door-to-door from one business to the next, hand-delivering resumes and perusing the “Hiring” sections of local newspapers has evolved into scouring craigslist, Linkedin, Simplyhired, Monster and a half-dozen other mass-mill job-hunting websites. Face-to-face networking is still a powerful tool, but success typically calls for already knowing how to go about the process of attending local business networking meetings and presenting yourself both professionally and approachably.

Recruiting actions to avoid - professional woman in meeting

There is, however, another route one can pursue in addition to your own personal efforts. That is, of course, where job recruiters and agencies come into play. And there are several things that you should be aware of before considering working with them, many of which fall into either a pro side or a con side, although we will say right off there is an odd flow between the two. In other words, one can sometimes lead to the other.

General Overview

Recruiting companies have one goal: to find and fill positions for their client. Their primary client, however, is in most all cases not you (the job seeker) but the companies seeking talent to fill positions in their employee chain. The flip-side of this – the one that you can utilize to your advantage – is the fact that recruiters deal with the companies (specifically the hiring departmental personnel) which you most want to be noticed by. This is the key point to remember in dealing with recruiters and why they are worth engaging in the first place: They possess the connections and relationships vital to getting noticed. It is with this fact firmly in mind that we go into the following section of Do’s, Don’ts, and contextual Maybe’s.

Forest for the Leaves

As with the cultivation of any relationship, especially a professional one, there are certain fundamental ground rules that, if crossed, can sour what may have been rewarding soil. Some of these are essentially boiled down to very common sense ways of interacting decently with other human beings, while others are highly specific to evolving business cultures, which can vary widely between industries and individual companies. Nonetheless, we can deliver some general, yet solid actions of which to steer clear when dealing with job recruiters:

  1. Being Indirect. Don’t play games. This seems fairly simple, but too often in the business world people play odd, subversive games. For instance, using the agency to get in touch with a company that has caught your interest, and then going around your recruiter to apply directly.
  2. Being Dishonest.  If you’re not willing to consider a position below a certain income threshold, don’t tell your recruiter that you’re open to lower-paying positions. This just wastes time on both sides, as well as making your recruiter look bad with their contacts, potentially damaging their relationships with companies. If you’re not willing to relocate, don’t say that you’re open to position beyond a reasonable commute.
  3. Being Unprofessional. Again, one that may seem beyond obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people will dissemble, get overly personal, be rude or aggressive with and even outright lie to the very person they’re engaging to find them a job.

Recruiting actions to avoid - businessman at desk

Again, simple and concise: Be upfront and professional every bit as much in your job hunt as you would be on-the-job and advancing your career. Remember, you’re dealing with a professional who is as serious about their career as you are; treat the relationship accordingly.

Further Reading:  Behind the Scenes of Corporate Recruiting

Fred Coon, CEO

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Four Ways to Impress a Recruiter in Your First Meeting

Capturing the attention of a quality recruiter is often easier said than done. However, provided you have earned that well-earned connection, there are certain actions which can help propel your name to the top of a recruiter’s list.

Your initial contact may either be an in-person or virtual meeting (via Skype or GoToMeeting, for example), or the recruiter (or HR representative) may choose to schedule a phone interview with you. Regardless of the platform, it is crucial that you win over this individual from the very beginning. One place to begin gaining a recruiter’s praise is to secure a clear perspective of what they are looking for in a job candidate and strategize fittingly.

Impressing a Recruiter - Woman on Laptop holding Smartphone in home office

Recruiter, career strategist, and author, Jenny Foss, helps summarize some of the best approaches to “wowing” a job recruiter on your very first consultation.’

1.  Quickly show that you can cover the essentials.

The first course of action for a typical recruiter is to ensure that a candidate is capable of a job’s essential requirements. However, Foss explains, “That said, you should study the job description closely or talk with people working in the department [if possible], and then (before the interview) list out the things you think are the most important deliverables for the role”. So, while you want to remain primarily focused on the basics during your initial conversation, touching upon some your strengths as applicable to the more detailed specifics of the position is also imperative.

2.  Make your enthusiasm known if you’re interested in the position.

A candidate who is both qualified and excited about the job is a valuable asset to any recruiter, especially if you’ve made it to the next phase of the interview process. “[Assuming] you are reasonably interesting in the opportunity, you’ve got to make that instantly clear to the recruiter during the screening call,” says Foss. This ensures recruiters that their time invested has not been wasted; making it more likely that they will contact you if and when another, more suitable, position becomes available.

3.  Radiate a “cultural” match.

While online research and speaking with connected members of your network are effective ways of obtaining strong cultural cues about a particular organization, you cannot always be completely sure of a company’s culture until you actually beginning working there. However, any information you do gather will certainly help you score points with your recruiter during your initial conversation. Find opportunities during the conversation to show that you can relate to the company’s ethos; as this offers your recruiter a solid platform from which to convince other decision-makers in the company that you are truly a top-candidate for the job.

4.  Recognize the recruiter’s role and commitment to the process.

Simply stated, a recruiter wants to believe in you. Their goal is to come away from the conversation with a viable contender for the position. After all, it is at the basis of their career to align hopeful job seekers with a position in which they will not only thrive, but also provide value to the respective organization. “So,” with this in mind, Foss adds “never be afraid to ask for the interviewer’s input on how you can put your best foot forward with the hiring manager or for clarification on any questions you don’t understand. [This] person wants to send you through to the hiring manager. Make it easy to do so”.

Impressing a Recruiter - Man_professional_holding smartphone

Remember that when the right strategy is in place, you are more likely to win the game, or in this case, land the job.

More from Stewart Cooper & Coon:  Navigating the End of Your Job Interview: What Questions to Ask

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Tips for Brainstorming a New Career Path

Time and Change

Sometimes we become so overly-involved in our established paths and daily routines that a day may come when you lift your head and wonder, “What am I doing?” Sooner or later (and sometimes more than once) we most all arrive at such a crossroads. This is a time for reflection if not a stern reevaluation of just what we’re doing with our lives. Beyond the childhood ambitions of becoming a firefighter or astronaut, deciding what exactly you want to do with your career is, most often than not, a rather daunting prospect.

Brainstorming-Career-Choices-Man-looking-away

This is because, unlike our childhood selves, we have come to see that life is a journey of many detours, rather than a singular destination resulting in automatic happiness and contentment. Additionally, personalities and interests and talents may develop with time, and preferences frequently change. Colloquially speaking, you may have utterly loathed broccoli as a child, and it may well now be your favorite food. What changed, other than time and experience?

And so it is the same for professional careers. Naturally, the financial incentive plays a powerful role in one’s decisions of what path to take. There is, however, so much more to that equation if you want a career that is not only lucrative, but fulfilling and personally rewarding. There is no unwritten rule that says you can’t take pleasure in your work; in fact, the most productive and rewarding careers are those that intersect both passion and professional performance.

Strategy

With this in mind, how then, does one go about searching for the career that best suits individual interests and goals? The first good notion is fairly simple: Isolate keywords that align with your strongest professional experience and perform some basic online searches based upon those areas. Extrapolate a little and develop a touch creative. For example, if your work history is in sales, begin searching for and targeting fields which overlap with your technical expertise. If you have some computer skills, you could then try searching for “technical marketing”. The combinations are nearly infinite.

In all, it comes down to a matter of both strategy and approach. To take the refinement even further, consider some of the following questions:

  • What are your ideal work days/hours?
  • What kind of activities would you most enjoy throughout the day?
  • What manner of office or corporate culture most suites your preference?
  • What kind of people do you want to be working and collaborating with?

The answers to these questions will help you continue to filter as well as enhance your professional aspirations. The greater clarity you can put down on paper for your ideal match, the finer the returns will be for the companies that match the profile, and subsequently you can demonstrate why you would be such an excellent fit for their openings.

More from Stewart Cooper & CoonWhat To Look For In A Job Posting

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Wrapping Up

When it comes down to it, you have to really consider not only what you want, but what you don’t. If a company profile or history strikes you negatively, think twice before investing your time into it.

More so, remember that any choice you make is just a single step forward, not the whole game. Therefore, don’t become overly preoccupied with the notion that this new transition is going to a ‘forever’ choice. Rather, be aware that it could well just amount to few years of good experience and powerful new networking, or even just a springboard, which is equally valuable. There’s always tomorrow; so make it a good one.

More from Stewart Cooper & Coon: Making Your Dream Job a Reality

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Job Seekers: Four Ways to Stand Out to Your Recruiter

When working with a recruiter, it’s common for job seekers to assume they can finally relax and allow their consultant handle all the work. While recruiters carry quite a hefty load of responsibilities to assure a successful matching of candidates and companies, there are certain actions that job seekers can take to increase their leverage among competitors, resulting in an accurate and speedy placement.

Related:  Behind the Scenes of Corporate Recruiting

The goal is to create a reason for your recruiting consultant to truly advocate for you; to become their “go-to candidate” for the best positions. So, how does a job seeker increase their value in the recruiting world?

How-to-Stand-Out-to-Your-Job-Recruiter-Professional-Woman-Smiling

Sjoerd Gehring, Global Head of Recruiting at Johnson & Johnson, shares four key pointers:

1.  Be Ready and Organized.

One of the most important factors in a successful recruiter/candidate relationship is communication. Ensure that your recruiter is aware of your goals, skills and experience, as well as reasons for any noticeable gaps in your employment history. If they are in the dark as far as your background, they cannot effectively “sell” you to an organization, let alone the right one. “So”, Gehring advises, “proactively send them an updated resume if there have been any changes since the last time you spoke. Then, have your work portfolio and references prepared and ready to go as soon as they ask for them. Respecting their time – and lack thereof – will help you stand out”.

Related:  The Right Way To List Job Titles On Your Resume

2.  Honesty is the Best Policy.

If you are tempted to misrepresent yourself in any way because you think it will fast-track to toward a better position, let go of that notion immediately. This includes exaggerations or withholding important information that may impact your future employment. Without honesty, there cannot be trust, and if your recruiting consultant feels they can’t trust you, they may be quite hesitant to place or refer you. Gehring reiterates, “Just think how badly it will reflect on you (and the recruiter!) if you hold something back or tell a ‘white lie’ that later comes to light; [and] be under no illusion, these things always do”. If you do feel somewhat underqualified for a position, Gehring suggests highlighting your transferrable skills in an honest way.

3.  Show Your Enthusiasm.

Gehring agrees, “Recruiters are looking for qualified candidates who are serious about switching to the company they represent”. If a particular role is meaningful to you, by all means, let your recruiter know. Perhaps an organization possesses a similar value system to your own or you have a high esteem for their dedication to philanthropy or readiness to take on new forms of technology.  “Whatever your reason, demonstrate that affinity, so the recruiter knows why you’re committed to securing a role at their company,” suggests Gehring. Moreover, this information can be used to your advantage as a recruiter promotes you to the company as a well-suited candidate.

4.  Maintain Graciousness.

Perhaps your consultant has placed you on track toward a position that doesn’t quite appeal to you. If this is the case, don’t feel obligated to accept an ill-fitting role. However, it’s important to graciously advise your recruiter of your concerns as soon as possible so that they can begin working toward a new opportunity for both you and another candidate who would perhaps be a better fit for the position. On the other hand, if you are set for an interview, and experience a rejection, do not blame your recruiter or consider this the end of the road. Again, remain gracious for the opportunity, and move forward. You recruiter is likely actively working toward filling another role, so it’s important to remain in their good standing.

How-to-Stand-Out-to-Your-Job-Recruiter-Career-Target-with-Arrow.

Conclusion

As Gehring reminds candidates, as with any relationship (whether personal or professional), you receive what you invest; and this certainly applies to the affiliation between job-seekers and recruiters. Remaining conscientious, honest, motivated, and gracious can only bring positive results.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

The Unemployed’s Guide to Getting Hired

Those who are currently – or have ever been – unemployed can attest to the fact that it is certainly not a paradise. Despite the constant media banter about the ‘gainfully unemployed’ and those who adore consuming government benefits, we have yet to actually meet many people who would embrace a lifestyle of absolute minimums and purely subsistence level income (if even that, which it’s very often not).

In the vein of a realistic approach – and one that doesn’t commence by belittling those in an already uncomfortable position – let’s have a look into some of the particular (if not completely unique) challenges faced by those currently unemployed and seeking a good position.

Unemployeds-Guide-to-Job-Seeking-Jobs-and-Careers-Graphic

To begin, and this one is obvious, getting a job is considerably more difficult if you don’t already have one. Many people will tell you that this is all a matter of perspective and attitude, and to a degree they’re not entirely wrong, as impression matters a great deal. However, preconception can matter even more, and the conventional wisdom (antiquated as it is) does hold that if you’ve been let go from your previous job, there must be a good reason for it, and it most often tracks back into thoughts of the quality of your work and performance. What this perspective fails to account for is that we live in a day and age of major, sweeping layoffs; not the fine-edged, carefully tailored pruning of corporations of the past. Huge swaths of people will be sheared off the payroll for purely budgetary reasons on a common basis these days, and there is little to nothing they can do about it.

Moreover, the longer you’re unemployed, the more heavily the (possible) discrimination weighs. Consistent studies show that after eight months of unemployment, the hire rate drops by over 50%. That is a staggering number.

The Upswing of Impression

Despite having the uphill struggle already in play, impression can be a powerful ally to offset these poor misconceptions. By and large, the majority of your advantage comes in the face-to-face interview. Overall, these few tips will go a long way toward not only getting your foot in the door, but your feet under a desk:

  • Don’t appear too eager: As earnest as you may be in your ambition, visible over-eagerness is often, and unfortunately, read as desperation. While there are few situations more worthy of desperation than being unemployed (say, with a family depending on you), being perceived as such is almost always an instant shutdown. Therefore: Don’t be too quick to agree, don’t pander, don’t be overly obsequious. Although generally affability is important, seek the right balance and remember your value. Approach the interview with it firmly in mind that you will be a worthy asset to the company.
  • Stay active: Even when you’re off the job, you can still be active in ways that demonstrate the quality of your abilities and person. Volunteering is a huge bonus, especially in ways that give you managerial or organizing positions. Even if you spend a year traveling the globe, that allows you to bring some pretty relevant cross-cultural experience to the table. Get creative.
  • Be persistent: This is the big one and perhaps one of the most challenging. Powering through a wall of what can feel like pointless and endless repetition is, in a word, tedious, and possibly depressing, if you are not receiving the results you desire. However, if you can manage to stay positive and keep at it by sending out resumes and applications every day, following up with leads, and doing your research on companies you’re looking into, then it will pay off.

Unemployeds-Guide-to-Job-Seeking-Hire-Me-Button-keyboard

The Takeaway

Although job-seeking while unemployed certainly holds its tests and trials, keep your ears open for advice and support that rings true, and maximize it to your advantage. Once you get past this hurdle — no matter how long it takes — you will be that much stronger for it; which is, after all, the very purpose of challenge, itself.

Further Reading:  The Best Ways To Save Time During Your Job Search

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

How Do Companies Know When It’s Time to Seek a Retained Executive Search Firm?

As a hiring manager, how do you know when the time has come to seek out a retained executive search (RES) firm?  The answer to that question is simple:  Every single time you are hiring a senior level executive.

Leaders may toss around figures like 50k and 100k, but the cost of an unfilled position is likely much larger than numbers written on a single check.  How much does it cost to divert the work of others to fill the gap until the role is filled?  How much business is lost?  How much goodwill could you potentially lose by openly poaching from partner companies?  How long is it going to take to personally find an individual with the precise mix of skills that you need?

Benefits of Retained Executive Search - Woman at Laptop writing notes

Residents of the C-suite should rather take a holistic approach to finances when it comes to hiring senior executives.  Using a RES firm is slightly more expensive than using contingency firms (no hire/no pay), but truthfully, when it comes to hiring executives for top positions, the latter are less suited to the task.

 

Compare and Contrast

Consider: Contingency firms get a list of requirements, sort through their files looking for reasonably close matches, and then forward some CVs in the hopes that you’ll hire one of them, and then the contingency firm will get paid.  While this is a legitimate working system, the time and detail dedicated to ensuring that a particular candidate is “the one” is significantly less. This is not to downplay the work or necessity of contingency search firms; simply to display how a different set of needs (i.e. filling an executive/c-level role) requires a more comprehensive approach.

The nature of contingency firms requires them to be less invested in one particular prospect; simply due to the mere volume with which they are dealing.  Contingency firms serve their purpose; they provide a broad range of candidates for many generic executive positions.  The candidates are vetted, but in all likelihood, not as thoroughly as you are going to need for a senior executive.

The last thing you want is to hire is someone with an obscured track record of failure.  If you don’t find out first, your competitors will, and they will likely have the ability to use it against you.  For instance, the last thing you want to discover is that your CFO was implicated in a pension scam in a foreign country, in a position that he or she held for only two months; one that was likely omitted from their resume.

RES firms provide thorough vetting of all candidates.  They approach them directly, interview them face-to-face, and then provide detailed assessments of the candidates to the hiring companies.  The reports often include intelligence assessments, aptitude assessments, and personality traits (a type of “psychometry”, if you will), as an aid to determining their compatibility.

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Time is Money

More importantly, RES firms provide credibility.  The “cream of the crop” that you are looking for may not necessarily be looking for you.  Top executives are well treated, well paid, and well compensated.  This amounts to them being passive candidates that are most likely not looking for a change.

Most top executives only work with RES firms.  It would be atypical for them to even consider working with standard headhunter who is looking to build a portfolio of candidates.  If the recruiter doesn’t come to the table with a solid, fascinating offer, there are plenty of other ways that an executive can use their valuable time to achieve their goals.

Skill and Experience

Even if the position isn’t the precise one which that executive needs, they are now aware that this recruiter has serious, legitimate offers.  Plus, studies have shown that executives are much more open to discussing their capabilities, desires, and accomplishments with a third party, rather than directly with the competitor looking to lure them away from their current position.

The fact of the matter is that these candidates are willing to discuss their goals, their plans for the future, and their ambitions. Simultaneously, RES recruiters have the advantage of getting to know the executives, not just for their capabilities and accomplishments, but for how they integrate with other team members.

Retained executive search recruiters decipher the environment in which executives will thrive; they can place them in corporate cultures that match their personalities and tendencies.  It is in the company’s best interest to obtain an employee for the long term, because the length of time that the average senior executive spends in a particular position is only three years.

If they are matched with the right company, the affiliation could technically develop into a years’ long employment relationship.  That, in turn, is going to save the cost of replacement, downtime, diverting other people to cover the necessities of the position until it’s refilled, and all sorts of other needless annoyances.

Benefits-of-Retained-Executive-Search-Professionals-in-meeting_interview.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, the RES firm will provide much greater value.  They have a vested interest in being successful because that will establish a business relationship, and then you will work with them again.  Better yet, you’ll recommend them to others.

Free up your HR department to do their real job of managing your people on a day-to-day basis.  In reality, they are likely not equipped for senior executive searches any more than contingency firms.  Hire a RES firm and let them get on with the job, solving your problem quickly and permanently.

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

The Best Ways to Save Time During Your Job Search

Fitting a successfully effective job search into an already busy schedule can be a challenging, if not arduous, task. Luckily, there are a few pointers that can help streamline and reduce extra time spent on details while job hunting.

According to career coach, Alyson Garrido, identifying a few key factors can assist you in targeting your efforts in the right direction, helping you quickly land a quality job.

Using smart watch

Recognize your top strengths.  If you’re able to identify your strongest suits in the workplace, you will be more likely to recognize which opportunities are most congruous to your skills and needs.  Be sure to highlight these strengths, not only on your resume, but as talking points during interviews.  Garrido adds, “Consider making a list of the things you do that give you energy or record the details of your proudest accomplishments to start to see what strengths appear.”

Know what work environment suits you best.  “Company culture” has become a common buzz term, which in this case, holds a considerable amount of clout. Reflect upon your own personality-type: Are you partial to open work areas, a socially active employee staff, or would you find these aspects distracting? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions; however, identifying where you fall within the mix can help you quickly realize if a particular work environment is going to work for you. It’s a good idea to get a feel for the dynamics of the organization before you start the job by researching a company’s website and LinkedIn page, and even asking appropriate questions during your job interview.

Decide which companies to target first.  Garrido suggests creating “a list of companies for whom you’d like to work and set out to get noticed [as this] is part of a proactive job search”.  Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. If there are specific companies in your area that interest you and hold a good reputation, take the first step by contacting the right individuals in these organizations. This will increase the odds of being at the top of their list when a position does become available.

Don’t hesitate to seek help.  Never underestimate the power of your network; in fact, it’s likely that you possess more meaningful contacts than you may think. Start by making a list of people who would be glad to assist you with your job search.  However, Garrido states, “Remember to think beyond coworkers and former colleagues. You are more than your job title, so explore all areas of your life while making this list”. It’s recommended to begin by contacting those individuals to whom you can reach out most easily, and let them know what type of position you are seeking. Keep in mind, that besides actual job opportunities, introductions to other contacts within your industry are valuable as well. This is a simple way to utilize and expand upon your existing network, while directing you closer to your next professional role.

Seek personal balance. Garrido reminds job seekers, “When searching for a job, it is important to present the best version of yourself. That means focusing on things that keep you happy and healthy, not just on search related activities”. Be sure to isolate time for friends, family, brief getaways, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Creating a little space between you and your job search may help you return to it with a fresh, more productive, outlook. Moreover, a bright, positive outlook on life always shows through nicely on interviews.

Identify your “non-negotiables”.  Everyone has certain job-related factors on which they are not willing to bargain. Perhaps it is a specific salary, commute length, or a particular job detail. If this is the case, create a list and stick to it. This will allow you to direct your efforts toward opportunities that fit your criteria, preventing you from wasting time pursuing roles that are a poor fit for your needs.

Rethink your notion of a successful job search.  Remember that job hunting is an activity that surpasses simply sending out resumes, completing applications, and going on interviews. Keep in mind that the connections you’ve made, events you’ve attended, and the confidence you’ve gained doing so, are all part of the plan. Maintaining a positive view of the progress you’ve made will keep you on track toward finding and obtaining your next target role.

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To Conclude

Guidelines such as these can help job seekers stay focused on their goals by reducing the distractions associated with uncertainty and a disordered strategy. We all know that time is of the essence during any job search, so be sure to construct a “clear criteria” of which jobs are the best fit for your personal and professional needs.

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

 

How to Perform Your Own Skills Assessment

If you have been recently laid off from your job or are simply considering a new career, now is the best time to assess your skill set.  We often underestimate or misjudge our value as a contributing team member or leader in the workplace; yet, by carefully and thoroughly evaluating our job skills, we gain a clearer understanding of our place in the job market as well as with potential employers.

Job skills target concept

While your own personal skills assessment may vary depending upon your particular position or industry, there are certain factors that remain consistent.  Monster.com recommends splitting your competencies into three main categories, as follows:

1. Experience/Knowledge-Based Skills:  These are the skills you have acquired directly through education and job experience.  Computer, marketing, accounting, and customer service skills are examples of experience and knowledge-based proficiencies.

2. Transferable Skills: Skills under this heading are not specific to one work environment and can be incorporated in a variety of professional roles.  Examples of transferrable skills include competencies in communication, leadership, delegation, analytics, and problem-solving.

3. Soft Skills:  These skills fall into the category of personality traits, and are also sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence.  Traits that fall under this heading may include positive work ethic, team player, adaptable, and able to work under pressure.

Evaluation list

Related:  Integrating Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Once you have taken the time to break down your skills into these three basic groups, you will have the ability to accurately view your strengths along with any areas in need of improvement.  Take this opportunity to develop and build upon areas with noticeable gaps or deficiencies; and conversely, be sure to highlight your strong points on both your résumé and during job interviews.

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Additionally, you may want to expand your analysis even further by utilizing some available online resources, such as this particular skills assessment at MindTools.com.  Now that you have ascertained your value-add to potential employers, you are now a step closer to becoming a successful contender in the job market.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.

Have You Chosen the Wrong Job? How to Recover and get Back on Track

Do you go to work simply because that’s the expectation both from yourself and from your employer?  Are you perplexed at the thought that there are those who enjoy going to work each day?  While it’s true that only a small percentage of people truly love their jobs, and would happily do it even without any pay, about 30 percent of us manage to garner some satisfaction from our daily work.

Job Target Shows Employment Occupation Profession

It’s Easier to Hate than Love

While it has been said that 70 percent of all people “hate” their jobs, this can be somewhat misleading.  More believable, is the statistic that approximately 20 percent of the workforce is actively disengaged from their job, and the remaining 50 percent are just muddling through, feeling unappreciated, unrewarded, and undervalued.

In a sense, “hating your job” alleviates a certain amount of pressure; it deceptively “relieves” you of the responsibility of having to perform at peak levels; you no longer feel as if you have to put forth a stellar effort because no one will care or notice.  Unfortunately, disengaged employees often feel as though they can “drop off the radar” and let someone with a higher profile handle the criticism for underperformance.

Why would you do that?

In the “olden days” we arose, worked our fields, possibly stopped at midday for a crust of bread and some water, and continued until dusk.  We returned to our rude huts, ate our one meal of the day, and went to bed.  The next day consisted of the same drill, and so on.  We survived/existed, and that was all.

Then, the Industrial Revolution came along.  Jobs became more productive; goods became more available and diverse; and, finally, we developed “leisure time”.  Some people became specialists; they became artisans such as blacksmiths, leather workers, and candle makers, and their value to society increased.

Workers began to see what it was like to experience success within their chosen line of work; they had increased expectations and took on apprentices, and their learners had increased expectations, too.  Expansion and success created the business/shopkeeper class, but largely, most people persisted in “survival mode” for many centuries.

Cometh the Dawn

People have always had ambition toward their jobs, hoping to improve their lot and sometimes expending extraordinary effort to accomplish just that.  Yet, up until the last two decades, it was never the responsibility of the employer to generate job satisfaction for the employees.

In fact, the truth is, it technically still isn’t.  In order to hang onto significant talent some companies are making an effort (for some employees) to make their job rewarding.  In so doing, they manage to retain them with the company for as long as possible.  That’s simply good business.  People who have made an investment in themselves, to cultivate talents which make them valuable, should be valued and protected.

Even throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, the majority of workers weren’t viewed distinctly enough to warrant special attention.  There were plenty of others that could replace them.

Nowadays, specialized skills, such as those found in IT, are vital to most every company.  The more common skills, such as sales staff, labor, general accountancy, customer service, and so on are more easily replaced and so, often, no special effort is made to create job satisfaction.  This fact alone, may likely explain why 70 percent of us aren’t thrilled with our jobs.

Signs for Change

You’ve been at the job for 6, 12, or 18 months, and the honeymoon phase as come to an end.  Many of the things you were promised have never materialized; some aspects may have been under-delivered; the company may have “changed direction” and the situation may even have deteriorated to some extent.  For example:

  • You’re bored and underutilized.  Your skills are growing rusty from lack of use.
  • You dread going to work each morning because you know that your daily efforts will result in continued futility.
  • Your overtime has become a daily affair, spiraling out of control and significantly affecting your non-work life; expectations for a single worker are too high/unrealistic.
  • The office culture is in direct opposition to you.  It seems plodding and slow, when your tendency is to be on the go all the time (or vice-versa).
  • You exchange pleasantries with fellow workers, but there is not a single one that you would call a “friend” (or even an esteemed acquaintance).
  • You can’t identify the path to move ahead; you can’t find a way to earn a promotion and get away from an unfulfilling daily grind.
  • The company is on shaky financial ground, and maybe it’s time for you to move on before you get drawn down with them.
  • You’re experiencing apathy, or skyrocketing anxiety; you’re gaining or losing weight, and/or suffering from stress-related exhaustion.
  • Your direct manager appears outwardly stressed, unhappy, and/or in a continuous state of panic. His/her own disorganization increases as the chances that you (or your coworkers) will receive the blame for mistakes when superiors begin to seek answers.

Leave or Stay?

Even if you have only been at your job for a month or two, if you realize that the company is a bad fit, getting back into the job market might leave you with some explaining to do about this short-lived position. However, it can be done, and, likewise, it should not be the sole reason for staying.

On the other hand, being honest with your current employer and saying “This isn’t working out the way I expected” could actually generate some positive changes.  If they like your work, they could very well adjust aspects of your job that would make it completely acceptable to you.  You might actually find yourself with a lifelong career, simply because you spoke up.

Regardless of your choice, you will still need to step up your networking; since ending a months-long search when you obtained this job could lead to complacency about your contact list.  If asked point-blank about changing jobs so soon, rather focus on the fact that, while the job wasn’t an ideal fit, you gained valuable skills and experience which will prove beneficial in future positions.

Happy businessman sitting at the table in office

Making the Move

Do you need to enroll in four more years of college?  Almost certainly not; most times you merely need to move to a different environment, a different company with similar duties, where you enjoy a better fit.

Even if you are targeting a complete career change, there are plenty of transferable skills.  However, don’t just quit right away.  Plan your job search so that you will not go without a salary which could force you into another less-than-ideal employment situation.

The Takeaway

Before you go, make sure you leave something behind, a legacy if you will, that leaves the company just little bit better off than you found it.  It might be a new way of managing the office sports pool, or a complete redesign of the inventory system for the whole company.  Leave something good behind.  That’s the sort of thing that will follow you, and cast you in a positive light long after you’ve moved on.

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

The Right Way to List Job Titles on Your Résumé

When it comes to composing a résumé, we expend a great deal of time and effort carefully wording and arranging our specific employment skills; possibly even more energy than we do on our actual job titles.  While there is certainly no excuse for failing to adequately convey the details of your expertise, remember that your job titles are equally as essential, and likewise, as noticeable as the aspects that follow.

Experience

First, job seekers must take into account that the job title assigned to them by their employer may not necessarily coincide with what should be listed on their résumé.  However, this is not to be confused with changing the characteristics of the job itself, or what its title represents.  The fact is that a company will often assign their own (sometimes “extravagant”) title to a specific role within the organization.  Yet, this title may not always coincide with the industry standard.  In an example provided by the Dice.com article, “Don’t Get Creative With Job Titles in Your Résumé”, it is suggested that if your last employer gave you an innovative-sounding role, such as “Data Janitor II”, for instance, you will want to list your job title as the more typical “Database Analyst” when drafting your résumé. The essence of the job is unchanged, but with a standard title, your résumé has a greater chance of ending up in the right hands. The goal is to assure that your résumé is viewed by as many eyes as possible, and listing your job titles according to the industry-standard is one way to achieve this.

The next question is whether or not to list your intended job title in the beginning of your résumé.  Often, just below the contact information, applicants will include an objective line which often consists of the exact job they are looking for.  In some cases, a clear objective that directly indicates your goals can work to your advantage with hiring managers, but this is only if your proposed job title is an exact match for the open position.  Given the wide range of intricate job titles that seem to fall under a surprisingly fewer number of actual roles available within a given industry, it may be a better idea to omit the objective line altogether, allowing prospective employers to skip right to your skill set and work history.  Thus, hiring managers have to opportunity to gain a more comprehensive perspective of your potential value to their organization, which could potentially lead to even more employment opportunities in the long run.  However, if you wish to keep your résumé’s objective line, consider listing a description of the job you are seeking, rather than one specific title.

Another quandary job hunters sometimes encounter is how to list multiple job titles under the same company.  Perhaps you were promoted once, or even several times, by the same employer and you’re unsure of how to clearly depict your shifting job titles.  We suggest two basic options, depending on the layout of your résumé.

Résumés where work history is organized according to company name:

XYZ Company, Inc.

Executive Director (2014-2017)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Branch Manager (2007-2014)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Supervisor (2002-2007)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Résumés where work experience is organized according to job title:

Executive Director, XYZ Company, Inc. (2014-2017),

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Branch Manager, XYZ Company, Inc. (2007-2014)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Supervisor, XYZ Company, Inc. (2002-2007)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Resume

When drafting your résumé, remember that the correct representation of your prior job titles will offer prospective employers an all-inclusive view of your work history, as well a promising perspective of your value as an employee. Therefore, carefully consider your goals according to the nature of your field, and choose your words wisely.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

 

At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.