The Power of Persistence

A few weeks ago one of my clients called me in frustration.  He just couldn’t find a way to move forward with his career in his current company. He decided to take my advice and expand his network to find a job that would better use his skills.  He decided to become a member of  a working committee of his professional association to build strong connections.   He was frustrated with that too.  He applied to be a member of the committee and never got a call back.    I asked him how many times he tried.  His reply:  once. 

Once?  How many times do we get something we really want on the first try?  He forgot the power of persistence – that unrelenting pursuit to get what you want.   I suggested he just try again and again and again using different approaches.  And, I suggested he talk to members on committees to find out what they did to get their committee roles.

The first time I remember using the power of persistence was when I decided early in my career that I wanted to be a consultant.  A friend of mine Mary worked at a consulting firm and said I constantly asked her about openings at her company.  (I don’t remember that.)  But, when a job opened up in her unit, she forwarded my resume directly to the hiring manager and helped me prep for the interview.  I got that job and it launched my career in a completely different direction.  I’ll never forget that when I really want something, the power of persistence will help me achieve it.

Heather

The Exponential Power of Networking

The easiest way to see the exponential power of networking is watching your network grow in LinkedIn.  A mere 60 direct connections can build of  a network of over 1,200,000 people overnight.  

How?   By connecting to the Super Connectors – people with the biggest and widest networks.   And it’s easy to do.   Connect to the Super Connectors you already know.  They are typically successful sales people in their field.  Then,  just push yourself out the door and go to meetings, professional events, seminars and networking events.  And, you don’t actually have to do anything because the Super Connectors are always on the hunt to connect with new people.  Talk to them, tell them “how you help companies with your expertise”,  exchange business cards, and then remember to invite them to join your LinkedIn network.  

Now here’s the key, keep their memory of you alive by keeping in touch with them, especially with insider industry news and information.  But, just remember, Super Connectors networks are broad not deep so don’t be disappointed if one of their contacts doesn’t immediately call you back.

Heather

Let Me Introduce Myself

What do you say when you introduce yourself?

 Consider the following:

  •  My name is Heather McNab.  I’m owner of the InterviewExpert.ca.  I provide one-on-one training to individuals on their job interview skills. 

 

  •  My name is Heather McNab. I’m owner of the InterviewExpert.ca.  I help people master their job interview skills so they can land their best job yet!

 

  •  My name is Heather McNab.  I’m owner of the InterviewExpert.ca.  You know how a lot of people could be great contributors to organizations, but now have a hard time landing a job?  Well, I give you a solid edge in the marketplace by helping you master your job interview skills so you can land your best job yet!

Which do you as the most compelling?  Which one could you use to start your introduction?  It may be time to rethink what you say.

Heather

To Dye Or Not To Dye

A friend sent me this article “To dye or not to dye” by Cheryl Howard.  I’ve put a copy below.  It’s about dying your hair in preparation for a job interview.  It’s a well written article but think about this.  My sister started her family at age 40 with twins.  She’s younger than me but her hair was grey even before the twins arrived.  She stopped dying it when she was pregnant and no longer colors it.  People often comment to her that it’s nice she can spend time with her grandkids.  Ouch!  And, this comment doesn’t come from younger people. 

So, think about the image you want to present in an interview.  Dye or no dye, an up-to-date haircut and glasses (if you wear them) can make a world of difference.  If you do decide to dye your hair, get expert help.  Here’s what Patricia, co-owner and hairstylist at Salon Eau told me about grey hair:  Your hair and your complexion go lighter as we age.  So dying your hair your natural hair color may not work anymore. Grey hair is actually hair without color.  To get a dye to take hold, the colorist must damage the hair shaft with harsh chemicals to get the color to stick.  Even when done professionally, your new dye job will only last 2 to 3 weeks if you have short hair.  Patricia recommends that you invest in a great, up-to-date hairstyle instead of an increasingly expensive dye job. Above all, I recommend that you do what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident.  

Here’s the article: 

I was discussing an upcoming job interview when a friend kindly suggested that I prepare for it by dying my hair.

I am nowhere near the age to qualify for Denny’s senior menu, but I do have some silver strands on my brunette head. I’ve brought the subject up to various job seekers. One and all bristled at the idea that we should be compelled to change our appearance to overcome some subtle bigotry.

Career advisors invoke an image reminiscent of an invasion, where hordes of youthful, vibrant workers are streaming from their universities to compete against us older folks for a dwindling number of jobs. They imply we would be on more even footing if we looked younger.

Putting that imagery aside for the moment, a friend of mine looked for a human resources role for six months with no results. Then she dyed her hair from silver to blonde, and she had an offer three weeks later. She doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence. Yes, I did say human resources, and I do see the irony.

The pressure isn’t just because I’m a woman, either. A colleague said he was advised to airbrush his image in Photoshop to look a bit less “worn,” shall we say.

But the tide may be changing. According to a survey by Watson Wyatt, workers ages 50–64 are postponing retirement. Although the average planned retirement age for all employees is 65 years old, half of those surveyed plan to retire at age 66 or later.

Their reasoning is sound: 76 percent cite a decline in 401(k) value, 63 percent the high cost of health care, and 62 percent higher prices for basic necessities. While the youthful horde might be lining up for interviews, the so-called silver generation is not marching quietly out the back door. 

I have no wish to be a young pup again. Those lines around my eyes are from years of laughter as I brought energy to a struggling office. I developed furrows on my forehead from successfully managing declining budgets and increasing workloads. My hands, not as smooth as they once were, have shaken thousands of hands, taken countless photos, designed hundreds of posters and pamphlets.

Most of all, companies need us older folks to teach the next generation. Technology has changed how we contact one another but not why we do so. We have the experience to establish communication with purpose, not just empty air. We also have the wisdom to value continuous learning.

If I dye my hair, it will be because I make a great redhead, and I find the silvery glint on my head distracting. However, if I’m supposed to dye my hair as an apology for actively living my life, then I refuse. 

Changing Your Focus To Get The Promotion, Job, Career – You Really Want Faster!

Doing a job search, seeking a promotion, or changing careers means that you think a lot about you:

  •  what you want in terms of a company;
  •  what you want in terms of an income;
  •  what you want in terms of a job. 

It’s naturally a “me, me, me” process.  But if you continue to think from that “me” perspective when you start networking, ask for that promotion, or interview for the job that you really want – what you say won’t stick.  It creates a dead end not the opportunity you really want.  

So even before you start your job search, begin your networking or seek that promotion, you must make a radical shift in your perspective.  You need to turn everything about you into everything about them.  It’s changing from process-speak – what I do – into results-speak  – what a company gets from hiring you.  You need to talk the language of results, solutions and outcomes.  

Making the shift to results-speak sounds easy but it’s typically difficult to do yourself. We somehow can’t see out of that “me, me, me” perspective.  I do encourage you to try it yourself first.  But if you want an easier, more efficient way of doing it, get help from me or someone else who’s done it over and over and over.  If you want to just get there faster and with less pain, we can help. Check out our Make Me Memorable  package. We are totally focused on helping you land the job you really want!

Heather

Monitoring Job Announcements

Are you watching job announcements these days to discover: 

  •  who is getting promoted
  •  who is moving to a new organization
  •  who is retiring? 

I saw an announcement last week about a former colleague’s promotion in an industry e-newsletter.  I quickly sent him a congratulatory e-mail.  No surprise, his former position is now posted on the company job board. 

So, I recommend that you take the time to monitor these announcements  – in newspapers, company and professional association websites, professional journals and industry e-newsletters.  They may be opportunities for you:

  •  to re-ignite your connections with past colleagues,and other people in your network (They may need your help in their new position.); and
  • identify positions that may be open now so you can quickly jump on the opportunity.

Heather

Don’t Know How to Network – Get this book!

I just found this book called Highly Effective Networking – Meet The Right People and Get a Great Job by Orville Pierson.

It  takes you step-by-step through the process of Job Search Networking and, unlike other books on networking, it gives examples of how senior professionals, such as CFOs should approach networking.

I found it available at Chapters and on Amazon.ca.

Heather

Get a Fresh Perspective

A client called me on the weekend to let me know that he’s finally decided on his next career move.  He was so excited about his decision.  He was chatting to close friends and colleagues over the last few weeks about the challenges he was finding in the job market.  A former colleague helped him remember what he really enjoyed. 

So, when you feel stuck about your next career move or job search, get out and talk to people you know and trust or discuss your ideas with a job search professional.  Ask them for their ideas and opinions and you’ll gain a broader perspective and perhaps a new career direction too.

Heather

9 Tips To Get Prospective Employers To Call You Back

I’ve adapted this tip sheet from marketer Jill Konrath of Selling to Big Companies so it’s relevant for people who are marketing themselves to potential employers. 

How do you get busy executives to call you back?  According to Jill, these 9 tips are strategies for your voicemail messages to establish your credibility, pique curosity and get return calls.

  1. Get down to business right away. Forget phony friendliness and be professional – “Eric, Tim Stone calling.  416-222-2222.”
  2. Reference any referrals upfront.  “Pat Jones suggested I call you.”
  3. Show you’ve done your homework.  “In working with other XYZ firms, I know they’re struggling with … “
  4. Mention a recent newsworthy event so they know what triggered your call (i.e.:  new management, acquisitions, new strategic initiatives).
  5. State your personal branding statement.  “I help companies …..”.
  6. Share a fresh perspective.  “I have some ideas on speeding up your sales cycle.”
  7. Eliminate any self-serving verbiage.  Much as you might like to talk about your state-of-the-art systems, unique methodologies and passion for excellence, it turns your prospects off. Talk benefits not features.
  8. Sound like a trusted peer.  Talk like you would if you called a colleague with an idea.
  9. Use a script as a foundation.  Without an outline, you’ll ramble on-and-on, which virtually guarantees you’ll be deleted.  You have 30 seconds max on a voicemail.  Every word counts, so make sure you get it right.

Want to test it out?  Send me your script by e-mail to heather@interviewexpert.ca and I’ll give you my feedback at no charge. 

Heather

Why LinkedIn Should Be A Vital Part of Your Job Search

LinkedIn should be vital part of your job search.  Here’s why:

  • There are many firms who are avoiding using agencies/search firms by hiring their own internal recruiters.  Those recruiters are really focusing on Linked In as their hunting ground.
  • It helps you find connections to target firms fast since you can search by company name and find your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree contacts that may be able to help you get the information and connections you need for a specific company. 
  • It helps you easily get the message out that you are looking for a job and keep your contacts up-to-date on your search progress and direction.  If you are conducting your job search while you are employed, I recommend you avoid sending an update message about seeking a new job to your entire LinkedIn network.  You never know who knows who. 

I listen to an audio presentation by a LinkedIn specialist and here’s information that will help you set up your LinkedIn profile effectively for job search purposes.  You can use your resume to complete most of the fields.  Here’s what I suggest:

  •  Professional Headline – use the most common title of the job you are seeking (for example, Corporate Accountant). In the blank field below your profile, I suggest you write your personal branding statement – how you help companies with your expertise.  
  • Job Titles – According the LinkedIn specialist, LinkedIn uses your past job titles as the primary field for search purposes. You can check this out by searching for Corporate Accountants in LinkedIn.  Since this is the case, I suggest you use relevant generally used titles for each of your past jobs. That way it will be easy for internal recruiters to find you when they have an opening.  Then, include your actual title in the description box along with the list of your key responsibilities and to whom you reported from your resume.
  • Summary – I recommend that you put your full networking statement in this area including brief examples of how you’ve helped companies using your expertise.

There is also a job posting service on LinkedIn.  I also find a regular number of senior postings coming to my inbox from my LinkedIn university alumni groups, particularly from the executive program groups at the Rotman School at U of T and the Schulich School at York U..

Feel free to post your comments to this article and let us know how you’ve used LinkedIn in your job search – what works and what doesn’t.

Heather