More On Sales Minded Job Search

Yesterday we talked about creating a Value Proposition. Today, let’s break that down a little more.

First we need to zero in on your core purpose; “here’s what I am about”. Can you explain that in about 3 to 10 seconds? This is not a “pitch”. This is a direct communication of who and what you are. Can a 10 year old child grab it and tell it to a friend? I met a life coach recently who had a neighbor’s child come up and ask if she still “did that thing to help people”? The child was interested because an extended family member was in need and could use some of that help. The kid got it. Plus, my life coach friend had developed the ability to explain her core purpose in a way so simple and direct that a child could retain it and use it. WOW, that’s communicating.

These statements of core purpose do not have to be filled with bold, brazen technical jargon. Instead they should be beautifully simple but specific statements of what makes you special. But we also need to watch out for generic brands like “I solve problems” or “I make IT better”. So? If I am a hiring manager I think to myself, “that’s what the last guy said”.

Tom Hanks was once quoted as saying his biggest lesson in acting came from Jackie Gleason who taught him simple is better. He did not need to over-act a scene. We all know how well that has worked for Hanks.

It can work here too. Focus on the core purpose you can serve, and then boil it down into a few key words. Try it on a 10 year old and see if it reads back properly. Simple is better.

HCC Partners for Jobs

Don’t miss the latest HCC TV series featuring the Partners for Jobs campaign. Five installments hosted by friend and job search expert Rick Gillis. Houston area viewers tune in to HCC TV on Comcast cable or see it on the web at www.HCCS.edu

Value Propositions

Yesterday at JMS, we featured Jim Jacobus, world renowned sales training expert and speaker. Jim presented a powerful message about creating your own personal value proposition. In sales, having a value proposition is key. In the JMS “STRIVE” Model for building a successful job search plan, the value proposition is the pivotal fifth step.

When you go for job interviews or for networking contacts, you must have a value proposition that is relevant, memorable, and purposeful. Jim covered all of those points and showed people how to build that for themselves. Having a sales minded job search approach is not about pushing something on someone. Rather it is about understanding their need for a solution, then showing them the solution you can offer. You do this by explaining your value proposition.

By the way, to all job seekers, when you hear any statement from an interviewer that sounds like an “objection” to who and what you are, you need to be thinking “buying opportunity”. People only start thinking of “objections” when they are seriously considering the “buy”. So don’t let those golden nuggets slip past. Jump on them with a further explanation of your own value proposition.

To hear more click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8QRAiWrX0c

What is a “job”?

This week at JMS I explored the origin of the word “job”. I was not happy with what I found. The most consistent references point to a French root word “gobbet”. This translates into morsel or “piece”. Hence a “job” is a “piece” of work. It struck me that it also suggests a piece of our life.

So if we start with a “piece” (job), that doesn’t sound very fulfilling. For most people, the job never is. But then I started thinking about a progression. Ok, you get past a “job” and land a “position”. Wooohoooo! You know what a position is; title, perks, rewards, expense accounts, etc. Now we’re getting somewhere. But a funny thing happens. For some, the position becomes their identity. For others, the position becomes a yoke of relentless burden. Finally, both courses usually lead to the same end; burnout and frustration.

However, there is a final and perhaps more significant stage. What about “Purpose”? Everyone I have met who seems to be living with a divine purpose usually never exhibits any of the symptoms of the other two conditions (job and position). Why? I submit to you that we are all created with a specific purpose; a slot in the puzzle of life. This is a state of being where our unique and wonderful attributes can mesh with the rest of humanity. I use the phrase “God doesn’t make any junk”. When He made you, He had a purpose. 

Your challenge today is to get out of the “job” mentality, abandon the “position” mindset, and seek your true and real PURPOSE. Then and only then will you find satisfaction in the work you may choose to do.

Are We Heading in the Right Direction?

Recent events in my marketplace, main street employment organization called JMS seem to suggest the economy has taken a pause from its downward spiral. Job seeker landings are on the rise. Could it be that employers are starting to realize the “wait and see” strategy needs to be abandoned? Are the actual market forces making companies return to a focus on generating revenue rather than “keeping their powder dry”?

Regardless the cause, it’s good news for people between jobs.

On another front, we are seeing a significant shift in the methods hiring managers are using to find new talent. Because the supply of job candidates has outpaced demand for open jobs, old procedures for job posting are not working well. What I mean is that every hiring manager I’ve spoken to in the past 12 months has said they shudder to think about posting new jobs. Why? Because the responses are overwhelming. So, I am hearing HR professionals describe new techniques of “fishing” rather than posting. They are using web tools like LinkedIn, QuietAgent and others to browse for talent. The employer can search by keywords, titles, and company names (i.e. the stuff in a resume). Then they pick a short list of likely candidates that spark their interest.

Therefore, job seekers need to be more Internet savvy about building profiles and posting information about experience and qualifications. In the end, people still have to build relationships once a connection is made. Face to face meetings like job interviews still remain as the primary moment of truth.

Are You a Happy Pig?

No, not trying to be mean. Yesterday I shared with my audience at JMS, the story about the “Pig of Happiness” by Edward Monkton. This is a short story written and illustrated as a gift card, but the storyline is profound. It is about a pig who decides to stop being like all other pigs. He chooses to become happy. When all the others around him are fussing about the weather, their conditions, and life in general, he decides to be “happy” instead. He goes about spreading this light among all the barnyard animals. Pretty soon a funny thing happens. The whole barnyard gets happy. Things make a huge turnaround.

As simple as this story is, it reflects a serious lesson for all of us. Whether you are employed or unemployed, there is a choice you can make daily. Do you choose to be happy or not? Circumstance and bank account should never impact true, real happiness. We CAN be happy regardless of the situation. Are you a happy pig?

Oh and by the way, once you make your own decision for happiness, did you know it attracts others? Try it out for a while and see what you find.

Are you really a “people person”?

When I coach and counsel job seekers, I am often confronted with the age-old term “people person”. What is that exactly? I have a friend who is an HR professional. He tells me they use the tag line “Oh good. If you are a people person, we can pay you five people a week. Will that be OK?”

But seriously folks. Most of us know where that concept came from. Originally when someone said they were a “people person” it meant they could deal with others in a positive way. It also likely meant they liked doing that.  Do you think people really do that anymore?

I fear the truth is we have lost some of the drive, desire, and ability to truly relate with people. Oh of course some of us are really good at it. But I don’t see where we teach that anymore. Instead, it seems young people are being encouraged to get better with computers and automated interfaces, but they do not get the same encouragement when faced with facing a live specimen.

Let’s rally together and do something different. If you struggle with making new friends, try baby steps first. Try simply saying hello to someone at the grocery store. Wave to a neighbor you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Let’s try to be a “people person”.

Challenging People

When was the last time you dealt with a “challenging personality”? We all have our stories about the store clerk or the person ahead of us in the checkout lane or the co-worker in the cube next door. We regale ourselves in telling these stories on and on when the audience is right.

Or do you have the ability to “challenge people” in a positive way? Can you see something amiss and graciously, politely suggest another thought pattern or approach to the situation? Can you do this in a way that people appreciate and value? The ability to help someone make a small life change is a true gift. Yet I think it is a skill we all can learn and sharpen.

Job Loss is Tough

Recently speaking to my group at JMS, we were visiting the idea of trying to stay focused and positive while dealing with career transition. In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald (he should know given his life struggles) –“Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.”

Sometime we just may have to start over. Things don’t go as planned; life happens. The best plans just don’t work out (I had an entire industry collapse around my ears, while holding the bag on a small privately held enterprise). So the cards dictate a new start; not a “do over”. Lord knows I would never do over what I did before.

No, it’s important to learn something from the life lesson and focus on a new beginning. Set a new course. Many great leaders have done nothing more but stay confident, stay bold, stay dedicated to the core values you believe.

It’s HOT Here

OK maybe global warming is on the rebound. At least in the greater Houston area, we are experiencing hotter than usual days with no rain whatsoever. As we say here in Texas, “even the jackrabbits are carrying canteens”.

I’ve been trying to act like none of this is happening though. I’ve been doing yard work (fired the yard guy to save a penny), playing golf in sunlight (more like the heat lamp at a fast food joint), and otherwise moving about despite the record high temperatures. Yes, I’ve lost a few pounds doing so, maybe even over-metabolized some vital organs, who knows. But it makes for a challenging aspect of these latest days.

Living in denial of this heat is sort of like saying the financial crisis is really not happening in the US. But the question is what can one person really do about it? Obviously our elected leaders think they have some ideas. Ok really? Maybe we can turn them loose on the whole global warming thing once they mop up this fiscal spill on aisle three. At least that what seems to be the approach; “let’s mop a little here, and a little more over there”. Oh yeah and “spade ready” is important too. Last time I heard the idea of spade ready was when my old dog died. Is that where the country is today?

I don’t think so. My friends are trying to be resilient, faithful, and hopeful. Kind of like enduring a blistering heat wave. Keep drinking the water and take a few showers to cool off now and then. Otherwise keep doing what you have to do. It takes too much energy to complain. I choose to keep pushing ahead, heat and all.