Making a successful career change can be as easy as following six critical steps. I call it STRIVE.
Over 4,500 of my professional clients have used this model for their own job search success. It has been presented in numerous workshops and forums. In the next few pages, you will be guided through these steps.
Here we go….. Step #1…..
If you find yourself between jobs, the first thing most people do is sit down and bang out a resume. That’s a horrible place to start. (That is of course unless you change jobs every six months or so.)
No, in order to be successful at job search, you need a solid base; a firm footing from which you gather thoughts and ideas about your search. Therefore, STRIVE Step 1 is to SURVEY.
Survey your prior Success, your Passions, and your Talents. Everyone has achieved something noteworthy. Whether you are just starting out trying to build a career or have 30+ years of experience, there are successes along the way that need to be highlighted and amplified.
Build a list of key achievements and successes. Try to identify the “resulting in” effects of those achievements. Tie the final outcome to the task or event. The statement looks something like this:
“I was manager of a sales team that increased national sales 45% resulting in a net $10,000,000 earnings increase for the year”.
Let this list become an inventory of juicy nuggets of key accomplishments that will be the fruit from which you feed to power your search.
Survey also includes locking down on the focus of your attention. What do you really want to do next? You must be firmly rooted with an answer to that essential question. While you look at your accomplishment list, think about which items were exciting and rewarding versus those that got done, but you hope you never do again.
And yes, this is the time to rekindle passions for life accomplishments that may be unfulfilled. I realize financial necessity gets in the way, but if you’re between jobs, why not give yourself the momentary grace to get back in touch with some passion or fire that can fuel your next chapter of work?
Take the survey information and the design you created in Step 1, and then create a TARGET.
Most job search planners tell you that you must focus your search. That is definitely true. Targeting means you are not going to market with a vague and slippery explanation like “I can do that too.” With targeting, you have a specific, identifiable landing zone you want to achieve.
Setting a targeted list gives your job search a framework and a way to be accountable for the effort.
Turn your successes, skills, and passions into a set of functions that you might want to perform on a daily basis. Then formulate a job description that includes all of those functions. Once you have your own job description of your dream job, you can begin to research the companies that need those types of jobs.
Targeting also gives you purpose. Being able to speak in specific targeted terms allows you to talk boldly with family, friends, and colleagues who may be able to help you with new opportunities; those around you can “get it”. They will have a better understanding of what you are trying to do. Empowered with that knowledge, others can do more to help in your job search.
Now and ONLY now can you begin to write the proper resume to tell your story.
Use a resume format that highlights the key accomplishments. Start your resume story with what you can do for the employer. You cannot assume anything in telling your story. YOU need to fill in all the blanks for the reader. List your prior employment history only after you have first gotten the reader’s attention with a “Here’s what I will do for you today” objective statement. Build a personal BRAND.
Highlight a select list of 3 to 5 accomplishments right near the top of the resume will grab the reader’s attention. The obituary style (Chronology) of prior employment is super boring, but needed to simply prove you’ve had a run at doing the things you featured in the accomplishments.
Yes, you will need to flex your resume depending on the target company. A one size resume does not fit all. Use different accomplishments depending upon the target you are connecting to.
The resume must pop with your story, explaining what you can do for them. Remember, the target company has a need you can fill, but you have to lead the reader of the resume through the story. You can never assume any conclusion about what may come from your resume. Get others to read it before you submit it ‘Live’. Adjust the story based on how well it seems to be received by others.
To maximize your job search success, you need to think “INTERACTION”. This is where networking comes in.
Networking by itself is not the answer. Networking alone, just for the sake of going out and meeting people can become a big waste of time. You have to think Interaction. Begin building high trust relationships that last.
Ask yourself “am I really suited to be a long term part of this networking group?” Can I find value here and can I give value too? Get involved in industry groups and professional gatherings that are fits for your targets and your passions. Pay it forward!
When you attend an event, have some goals set to do things like “meet 5 CFOs” or “meet 3 new recruiters”.
As you talk with people, ask engaging questions that allow them to talk. Studies show you become more memorable based on what people felt about the way you made them feel. Having them talk about themselves helps to build that bridge. It seems counter-intuitive; I mean you are there to get a job right? Rather than dominating the discussion talking about yourself, get to know others first.
Build value in the story you are telling. Companies today need people who can contribute a positive outcome to their performance.
In this step we begin to prepare for the job interview. The sooner you can explain and present a solid value statement to a potential employer, the faster you will be considered for hire.
Help the hiring manager understand the value you can bring to the table. Include this in all aspects of your job search. Focus your personal story on the specialized and incredibly valuable contribution you believe you can make.
Landing your next job does require some sales skills. If selling something has never been a talent for you, learn how to tell your story with a brand value in mind. Shift your thinking to look at yourself as a brand rather than a job candidate. Your experience and job history should give you the right ammunition to use for building a strong brand.
This last step is perhaps the toughest. Here we assume you have landed the new job.
The question now becomes “how are you going to go about keeping the new job?” You must create a plan to carry through all of the great and wonderful things you have sold the employer. Build a specific plan of action to engage and embrace the new company, your co-workers, and managers with positive outcome.
Set your standard of performance early and stick to it. Prove to the new team that you are the best hiring decision they have made.
In the HR world, there is a saying:
“We hire on skills and fire on behavior.”
Your behavior at the new job is a big part of success in the job. Get engaged with the team around you and the environment within the company. Learn things, understand things, and then do the things that fit.
STRIVE is a clear and concise way to plan for your job search. It provides constant reminders for every aspect of the search. Use the handy checklist in the Appendix of the eBook I am offering here to grade yourself on the search.
And remember, with STRIVE you can Thrive!