November 4, 2009 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
There’s a Job Fair coming to town and opportunity is coming along with it. Unlike most fairs, this one won’t cost you a dime.
You’ll have a chance to meet company representatives from across the state who set up booths and organize materials with the express purpose of meeting people like you, hard-working, dedicated, skilled people who have the potential of making a difference in their organizations.
If you want to maximize that opportunity it’s going to take time and effort. You’ll have to present yourself effectively and make a compelling case succinctly. For that, you’ll need a plan.
Making an effective presentation doesn’t require a radio voice, Hollywood looks, and a salesman’s mentality. It necessitates careful consideration to what you want, why you want it, and what difference you can make to a company that you want and wants you.
And yes, it requires that you look the part of who you say you are and intend to be, and that you have the ability to persuade through the words you choose and the ways in which you choose to use them. If you’re lucky you’ll have 60 seconds to make your case, if you’re not so lucky, you’ll have 30. Choose your words wisely.
Looks count. You’ll get one chance to make a first impression and this is it, so think about what you want others to see when they look at you. If the job you want is one in which you are enabling others to get their work done as a result of your ability to streamline processes and organize procedures, present yourself and your materials in a way that suggests order and organization. If the job you seek is one in which you meet and greet the public and are the public face for a private company, be sure you know how the company sees itself and wants to be presented, and dress and act accordingly.
No matter what job you seek, dress like a professional, with careful attention to your personal grooming. Arrive washed and fluff dried, hair combed, teeth brushed, and eager to meet your potential employer.
Select shoes that fit well, and clothes that are neat, clean, and well pressed. Stay away from colors, combinations, fragrances, and jewelry that are breath-taking or eye popping. Keep it simple. Everything you wear should work together, so that you look together, an expression that describes how you feel as well as how you appear.
Cell phones? Leave them in the car. Friends and family? Leave them in the car, too. You have work to do and you want to focus on it, not them.
Resumes and business cards? Take plenty of each, pencils and a paper, too.
How you speak is as important as what you say. Psychologist Albert Mehrabian’s research into spoken communication suggests that 7% of meaning is in the words we speak, 38% of meaning in the way we say them, and 55% of meaning in our facial expressions. Therefore, know what you want to say and speak from your heart and as well as your head. Breathe, relax, smile, talk and listen as someone who is as fully present and comfortable with themselves as they are their material.
Challenge yourself. If you’re good with words but not with grammar, get better, get a tutor. If English is your second language, and it needs to be your first, get better, get a tutor. If computers aren’t your thing and they need to be, improve your skills, get a tutor.
If you’re a big picture person don’t aim for a miniature job. If you’re a stickler for details, stick with what you know.
There’s a Job Fair coming to town. Make the most of it.
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Yes! You may use this article in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you include the following bio box:
Joyce Richman (www.richmanresources.com) has been specializing in executive and career coaching since 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce is a weekly guest on WFMY-TV and the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at www.thecoachingassociation.com.
May 25, 2009 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
He wanted to meet so we could discuss his job search. He said it wasn’t going anywhere and he needed help re-starting it. And, he said he just needed to vent.
“Joyce, I’m not getting any replies to my resume. I must have mailed 300 copies and I haven’t gotten one nibble in response. Please review it and tell me what’s missing.”
He handed it to me, I glanced at it and told him, as gently as I could, that he had forgotten to include his name and address.
That’s when he vented. He called himself every name in the book. He stood, stomped around, flopped back down. He groaned and moaned; he slapped his head; he pulled his hair. We were two minutes into a meeting that had a long way to go before it ended, so I let him vent to his heart’s content. After he calmed down I dared to ask him to describe his networking efforts.
“Well, I’m telling people that I’m out of work, that I need a job, and they need to call me if they hear about anything.”
Have you heard from anyone?
“No, I haven’t”, he said. “And I’m disappointed. I thought some of these people were my friends, but I haven’t heard from anyone about anything. What’s going on? Are they avoiding me because I’m unemployed?”
They’re probably avoiding you because you’re making your job search their problem. It’s up to you to find the openings, make the calls, and do the follow-ups.
“Then why bother networking? I thought the whole idea was to let friends and acquaintances know that you’re on the market so they could help. ”
Sure, let them know how they can help, but from what you describe, you’re asking your friends to look for the jobs, and let you know when they find them. Change your approach. Describe your current status, your strengths, and your search. Then, ask their advice.
“What should I say? And what do you mean by, ‘ask for advice’?'”
Try something like this: ‘Tom, I recently left the XYZ Company to continue my career in sales and…’
“Whoa, Joyce. I got fired. Shouldn’t I say that’s why I’m looking?”
Too much information. Why complicate the conversation? If you talk about getting fired the two of you will likely spend valuable time discussing all the “ain’t it awful” stuff that goes along with it. Before you know it, the conversations over and you haven’t succeeded in anything but confusing your contact about your suitability as a prospective job candidate.
“Got it. You have my attention. Let’s start over. What should I say?”
You want to describe what you do and why you’re successful doing it. You want your listeners to remember it, to get the word out, and to help you as a result, all because they want to, not because you asked. At our last meeting you told me about yourself and what you’re good at doing. With that in mind, I’ll describe a conversation that you can have with your networking contact, Tom.
Tom, I respect your opinion, that’s why I wanted to talk with you about my job search and to ask you a few questions. I recently left the XYZ Company to continue my career in sales. Tom, what I do best is relationship selling, problem solving, and follow through on everything I do. I’m good at simplifying the sales process instead of making it more complex. I take out the technical jargon so the folks I’m talking to understand what they’re buying and what’s right for them. When I give my word, I keep it. My customers are as loyal to me as I am to them. I work hard for my customers and for my companies and I’ve been rewarded for it. Tom, where are the best opportunities for someone with my strengths and who are the people I need to contact for leads?
“Joyce, that’s networking I can handle. It describes what I do, focuses my search, and puts the responsibility for finding the job where it belongs, on me.”
December 13, 2008 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
What are three reasons that applicants and organizations benefit from networking?
- Each has opportunity to learn more about the other without jumping too quickly or rejecting an opportunity prematurely.
- Each begins with a level playing field, putting more emphasis on the job challenge and what it takes to meet it than looking for individual differences and exceptions.
- Each can present and respond with greater candor and less concern of rejection.