Thursday, October 22, 2009

Working for me

What has really worked for me over the years?

In getting jobs that is, and possible a lot to do with getting laid...same principles, reverse pay off!

Firstly what used to work still does- get yourself fished out the pile of applications or inbox junk by calling up with a few salient questions.

Secondly - this is devious - the teaser Mini CV aka pesonal summary, personal resume. As a communication exercise it is very much personal branding Physically it is a nice little attachment, sheet or footer on an HTML e-mail which sums you up in prose without any direct reference to time periods, job titles etc. It includes a picture and full contact details, and is best sent as a media-rich e-mail.

What it permits you is to tease- to give answer to what an employer wants for their company without letting them 'hang up' on you by losing interest in your actual job titles - or lack of them!

It gives you the chance to sell your character rather than allowing an employer to deduce what they want from your list of jobs and usually incomplete list of responsibilities. It makes them want you and not the list of jobs you have, and in overcoming the 'hyperscrutiny' a normal CV goes under-you cut from black and white to colour of YOU as a person, not a list.

The mini or teaser CV must however not be flanel, BS or over playing your trumpet.

I sent out 30 - 40 open applications as HTML mail with a mini CV at the foot. I got over 80% replies and three likely interviews or discussions. IN fact I completely oversold myself to an industry sector starved of opportunities - they thought I could probably walk in with contacts and erm, contracts, clean up their ISO systems and get them bought out by a blue chip! BUT the response was huge, I mean it was more or less spamming people ! I targeted as many e-mails to personal e-.mail addresses, going so far as to send out a few enquiries to 'info@' addresses to shoe horn my way in further to director level. The end result was negative for me because I completely oversold myself in the prose, having followed the James Hoseasons route to self inflation!

Missing CV.....

Employers often skim read a letter and cut straight to your CV. A sly trick I used to also tease with was sending e-mails WITOUT the attached CV or just sending an application letter with "I will be delighted to prepare a CV highlighting my exact relevant experience".

In this way I at least got their interest and if I was a serious candidate from my letter then I would get a polite note- if they were assholes then I would get to know that from a terse reply. One boss gladly avoided!

Keep it in the Bag.....

I often write that sending your CV is the kiss of death.

What I think actually happens psychologically is the following-

When confronted with having to assess and judge a person the one responsible for the process wants to on the one hand be objective consciously and on the other stay in the comfort zone which is (variably with individual):

1. Avoiding true eye contact
2. Avoiding discussion which could reveal their personal or positional weaknesses
3. stay shy until they have to stick their turtle head out
4. avoid being judged by their own bosses, peers and those prospective coworkers under them! Exactly the fear a candidate may have!

The thing to crack is to break down the resistance to dialogue, number 2 above. Eye contact and some relaxing body language can be achieved not only in person but on the CV- your photo and an appropriate, corporate-mirroring style of prose on your letter and maybe CV.

I am often afraid to establish dialogue, because when selling myself I feel i stand on a cliff with all to fail infront of me at the hurdle. I get over this by applying for many jobs and actually getting job offers I would rather not take- in other words my nerves are distracted.

But those of you who can establish a dialogue and over come the bland objectivity being undertaken with yuour papers, will have allways the benefit in an equal fight. That is to say a position where you are equally qualified and there are no nepotistic candidates long up the feeding chain infront of you. Unfortunetly marketing has plenty of that, being a profession that many are not professionally qualified to get into but are!

So as stated this means most of all that you do most of the talking. You actually want them to talk more and ask the fewer questions. This is done both in your precalls, your follow up call, your call to ask for a cancelled interview...(need I go on) and of course in the INTERVIEW

So keep the CV in the bag- if you are presenting to an open application get them talking about their company first, then interupt them a little to steer them on to personal areas- hiring? downsizing? RIght sizing is a good thing to say- both out wiht dead wood and in with good new timber for the joists!

In an interview where they have your CV, try to spin sell them- get always away from YOU and onto them and what problems have been posed to lead to a vacancy. Get them then talking about the job tasks, demands and goals ahead. Then you stand armed to point to relevant facts on your CV, better yet brushing over your CV by mentioning a job or situation where you had responsibility and results which bode well for your potential employ here !

I remember my very first sales call, as good as it would probably get in a cold-appointment sale, where I was alone and I did not take out the brochure until we had established a bit of dialogue, and to the doctors, which patient group and problem-stilling I would like to discuss. I kept it in the bag.

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