This weekend, I had the privilege of attending a job hunt seminar. I went, not because I am looking for work, but because many of my friends, family, and colleagues are. Looking for work. Trying to begin a new career. Re-crafting their lives.
One of the presenters made the statement that she didn’t like the phrase selling yourself because it has a bad connotation. I agree that in some situations it is not good to sell oneself. But for lack or a more understood phrase, this one is used prolifically in the conversation about how to put your best foot forward when selling your skills and potential to a future employer or recruiting organization.
Here are a few of my takeaways from the presentations:
1. Know yourself and know what you enjoy doing.
2. Craft your résumé using key words that explicitly define your strengths, skills, and experiences in ways that apply to the specific job you are seeking.
3. Understand who your future employer is and how they may react to your online presence.
So you are saying, “blah, blah, blah what does that really mean?”
I am so glad you asked.
Here are examples of how I would apply that advice to myself:
1. I am an energetic, quick thinker who enjoys researching and applying efficient solutions to obstacles. I am good at public speaking and connect well with people. I am able to problem solve quickly because I am adept at thinking on the run. Most of my employees tell me I am a good manager and that they enjoy working on my team. My colleagues often come to me for advice because I am a good listener and am able to unravel complex issues.
2. My résumé rocks, and hits all of the points that most professionals tell you should be on your résumé that I listed in point number two. However, the professional at this weekend’s event glanced at my document and said, “I don’t like it.” She didn’t have the time to read it; this was a gut reaction of her visual first impression. Upon further inspection, she was complimentary and liked the content. What this told me was that if her first instinct was to say that she didn’t like it, then it may not garner a second glance. We all know that these documents must pass the first three seconds of perusal in order to move to the next stack on the desk of the hiring officer where they will get the favored seven second scan. After that, it may get read and acted on. I may need to reorganize mine into a more traditional format to make it to the third tier.
(if you want to judge for yourself, take a look: resume blog version)
3. I have a well designed and formatted Linked-in profile, and am conscious of how I may look to potential employers who visit my Facebook site. I have this and other blogs, and a YouTube channel that I update periodically as I have new content to add. All of this is moot if the employer that I am trying to impress does not use any of these tools. If you do your research and find that you are applying at a firm whose hiring manager is not tech savvy, drag out the old-school books and use the old-school methods. Otherwise you may not get the chance to wow them.
I enjoyed the day and a half seminar and have lots to share with my friends and colleagues. If you ever get the chance to sit in on a job fair, it is a good use of your time. You never know who will come to you for advice–having a pocket full of advice can never hurt!