By Marilyn Stika, CMF 

Conventional job search strategies such as submitting a resume to a job posting on the internet are rendering themselves ineffective in the current challenging economy with its oversupply of qualified people to fill job vacancies.  This has caused us as Career Management professionals to think in more creative ways about how our clients can successfully negotiate the job market to achieve desired results.

 What suggestions can we offer our clients to create the competitive edge that they will need to increase their chances for being the candidate of choice?   Below are ten strategies for clients to use in their job search. 

1. Beginning with good marketing tools such as resumes, Value Propositions and web portfolios.  They need to be designed to generate the interest of the reader immediately or contain the appropriate key words to provide a solid marketing foundation.2. Uncovering an organizational issue in the targeted company and writing the President or appropriate key person a letter outlining a solution and requesting a meeting to speak about it further in person.3. Scouring public records such as 10Ks to gather information and compare that information to the company’s competitors to produce a report or brief White Paper that demonstrates suggestions for narrowing the operational gap to more successfully compete in the market place.4. Touching base with past colleagues on LinkedIn or other social media venues to request a meeting.  This can generate warm referrals.5. Sending a targeted mailing containing a cover letter and resume or Value Proposition  to selected companies that would have a high interest in your experience and following it up with a telephone call to set an appointment.  The key here is to have a script that communicates a compelling message to heighten the interest of the recipient.6. Creating a personal branding statement to use in networking and on job interviews.  If you can effectively communicate what makes you the best fit for the position, it may make the difference between being overlooked or selected.7. Requesting three professional acquaintances at companies where you have an interest to act as references and send them your resume so that they will be familiar with your experience.8. Following a company of choice on Twitter.  Becoming a fan of the company where you wish to achieve employment can only help.9. Attending alumni functions and reconnecting with former classmates or attending any function where you can network and ask each person with whom you speak what is challenging them in today’s economy.  This is an effective way to uncover needs and perhaps create a situation where you would be of value.10. Utilizing social network tools such as LinkedIn and Jigsaw to identify key people to connect with in organizations. 

By Marilyn Stika, MSOD, CMF

Most applicants are disappointed upon receiving a rejection letter from a prospective employer where they have interviewed for a position.  I say, the best defense is a good offense.

Why not send a thank you note for each rejection you receive?  For one, it will keep your name in front of the person.  Also, if the position should reopen, and this happens more often than you may think, the decision-maker will, more times than not, remember you.

A case in point is an actor who auditioned for a major part in a movie and was rejected for the role.  Shortly thereafter, he visited a bookstore where saw a book that he knew would be of interest to the Director of the film.  He purchased the book and sent it with a note saying that he was sorry things did not work out but he thought she would enjoy the book.

It just so happened that on the day that the Director received the book, the lead actor was not able to accept the role due to a scheduling conflict.  You may have figured out by now that the actor who sent the book was called back in and accepted the role.  Had he not sent the book, who knows what may have happened?
The morale of the story, do not burn bridges; and, even if you do not get selected, leave the lines of communication open so that if an opening does occur, you will be remembered.

(For more information on what to say in a thank you for a rejection letter, please contact me at chartyourcourse@msn.com)

By Marilyn A. Stika, MSOD, CMF

When Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl in 2007, Peter King, a well-known sportswriter, wrote an article highlighting how he had prepared meticulously for the game and how it was a key factor in the victory. 

King went on to explain that Manning personally approved the 54 footballs that were to be used in the game to make sure they were to his liking. He handled every ball and made sure that each felt good and had the grip that he desired.

On the day of the Super Bowl, it had rained all night causing the ball boys on the sidelines to replace the balls after nearly every play. They needed all 54 footballs. What would have happened if enough balls had not been prepped? It could have produced a very different result and possibly the game would have been lost.

When it comes to preparing for an interview, the same type of meticulous preparation must take place.
First, you must learn all you can about the company. This can be accomplished by going to their website and researching their mission statement and company philosophy. While there, if the company is publicly traded, look at recent news articles to become informed about what is happening within the organization. You can also utilize your Social Media connections to learn about the organization. During the interview, when it is appropriate, you can utilize what you have learned to intelligently discuss the company’s goals with the interviewer.

Secondly, look at the job description and write an accomplishment statement for each point. If you do not have direct experience, you should relate an accomplishment that demonstrates transferable skills. Be prepared to speak about your accomplishments relative to the position for which you are interviewing.

Thirdly, practice answering the sometimes tricky behavioral questions with your career coach. This is referred to as a mock interview. Many times, experienced professionals, especially at the executive level, do not believe that they need to practice interviewing. Even the best football quarterback, such as Peyton Manning, must practice to keep his game sharp. Practicing for an interview will assure that your answers will flow better and eliminate being surprised or unprepared to answer questions.

Fourth, bring along something to leave behind with the prospective employer. It could be a study that you have done or a brief PowerPoint presentation about your accomplishments as it relates to the position or a project that you have worked on that had positive results. The interviewer will appreciate the extra preparation and it will leave a positive impression.

Fifth, if you are not selected, send a thank you for the rejection. A client of mine did this and when the original person selected did not work out, the employer remembered the thank you and my client was hired a year later.

Thorough preparation worked for Peyton Manning in winning the Super Bowl and can work for you in assuring a winning interview.

                                                  JOB SEARCH IS MORE THAN A RESUME                                                            
                                                                By Marilyn Stika, MSOD, CMF

Contrary to what some may think, job search entails much more than creating a resume. It is true that the resume is the most important marketing tool for job search but to be successful in moving to the next step in your career, some other components are needed. Below is an overview of the process to assure success.

For example, how will you communicate your value to prospective employers or while out networking? A compelling verbal pitch will be necessary to generate interest to make a connection. This is something some job seekers may overlook and they will fail to explain the value that they would bring to the organization.

An effective profile on social media such as LinkedIn is needed because that is where recruiters and talent acquisition managers search out talent. Also a knowledge of other social media such as Facebook and Twitter, etc. are necessary to increase your online presence.

Next comes job search strategies such as networking. This stage is of major importance and knowing where to go, with whom to meet and what to say is critical. Although some positions are filled through online activities, most are filled through the warm referrals that are gained through face-to-face networking. Therefore, networking is an essential component of the job search.

Interview preparation cannot be ignored. Even champions, like Serena Williams, practice constantly before their events. If the best need to prepare, so do we. What I suggest is not only reviewing how to prepare but also practicing before interviews with a mock interview. This will keep your skills sharpened and prepares you for answering questions asked by the interviewer. Follow-up steps after interviewing are also valuable.

After being selected for a position, salary negotiations need to be addressed. Proper research and a thorough review of accomplishments along with a needs and wants assessment should take place after the Offer Letter is received. This is critical to your future happiness in the position.

Taking into account all of the components discussed above, a strategic plan can be formulated to integrate all the pieces of the puzzle into a viable process. In conclusion, Job Search is much more than a resume. It is a process to be implemented to assure success in transitioning.