Dare to be different. Different like the cartoon roadrunner, not like the coyote. Everyone likes the roadrunner. He has an infectious smile and inventive ways of getting safely past the coyote.
Companies hire to fill a need. By asking the right questions, you can find out what that need is. Just by finding out that need, you may get the job. When your interviewer feels they are understood, they are likely to say to themself, “This candidate will be a great team member since they understand what I need.” Then you are hired.
You may want to consider using a variation of these questions which I got from Danny Cahill:
When you made the move to come here, what was the most compelling reason for YOU?
What keeps you here?
I’m looking for a leader who I can believe in and whose coattails I can ride. Tell me your ambitions.
What do I have to do to get your job?
You’re not hiring because everything is wonderful. What are the problems that need solving?
Companies hire short term solutions to short term problems. How can I stand out in the next 60 days?
I’m happy to give you my references, are there people here or at some other company that I can talk to about you?
Profile your top performer for me. What do they do that makes them so much better?
When it comes to work, what keeps you up at night?
Do I have your vote? Are you going to recommend I be considered?
Something to do today
Make a list of questions you can read over before every interview. You will be amazed how often the right question will help you in a tough situation.
I read The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, the abridged Reader’s Digest version. It was fantastic. I liked it so much I started reading the original by Victor Hugo. It was torture. Every building in Paris was carefully described. A walk down a street was as long as a chapter. I couldn’t finish it.
Like Reader’s Digest did, you have to simplify your resume according to your simple plan. Your resume plan should simply be – GET A PHONE CALL.
Get a Phone Call
Make getting a phone call the point of your resume. Now remove the stuff from your resume that won’t get you a phone call. You need to entice people to call you by giving them exciting information, and NOT fully explaining it. Then they have to call you.
If you set out to simplify your resume without a simple plan, you will fail. You have to cut out the things that don’t apply to the plan you are pursuing. You may end up with three simple resumes. That’s fine. Each resume should be simplified so that it applies to one single objective and the single plan to GET A PHONE CALL.
For someone living before photographs, a description of Paris was thrilling. For someone who has been there and can see pictures of it on the internet, descriptions of Paris are chloroform in print. Victor Hugo decided on a simple plan: have a good plot, and double sales by having great descriptions. He knew his audience. He sold a lot of books to his target audience.
The same thing goes for the person who wants to be a manager. He’d better have a manager’s resume. If the same person applies for a job as a technician he needs to leave out all the manager stuff. Complexity gets confusing and discouraging to the reader… and therefore gets your resume deleted. If you want to be a hands-on manager, then show how you have done that in the past. That is actually a simple plan like Victor Hugo with plot and descriptions.
Simplify your plan, then simplify your resume. You will get a phone call.
Something to do today
Are you applying for several different kinds of jobs?
Split your resume into several distinct resumes. One simple resume for each job.
I was told, “My former boss is giving out a horrible reference. Everyone calls him even if I don’t put him on my reference list because he is so well known. What can I do?”
There is no good way to resolve this, but you probably knew that.
The way I did it with one particular person was, as a recruiter, to offer to do the reference checks myself. As the former boss slandered my candidate I nailed him down about actual job performance. Did he get things done on time? Yes, but… Did he get them done right? Yes, but… Did he come to work on time? Yes, but… Did he get along well with the other workers? Yes, but…
Then I told the new employer everything. I said, “It appears this boss is incredibly vindictive, because when you pin him down about specific job performance, he gives a good reference. Yet he continually says he hates the candidate. Plus the candidate’s other two references are excellent.”
The new employer also called the boss, but since I had set a pattern, the new employer knew what he had to ask. My candidate got hired.
Four things you can do when your previous boss has a vendetta against you:
Go through a recruiter who will back you up.
Tell people at the point where they will check references that so-and-so has a vendetta against you. Give the reference checker specific questions to ask that prove you did well. If you can, also prove you did well using written work evaluations. You can even give the reference checker a few people to call about the boss and his vendetta against you.
You may have to get a lawyer to call your former employer and tell him to shut up. It will merely be intimidation on the lawyer’s part, but it is worth a try.
Give a lot of references, excluding him, and hope they don’t call him anyway.
There are not a lot of options. None of them are perfect, but they are always applicable. Whether or not they work, they are worth a shot.
Something to do today
Save all your evaluations from work. Check your email for any older ones that you may have. Make copies and save them. You never know when you will get a brand-new boss who wants to get rid of you. It is always valuable to be prepared.
How would you react to a candidate who said, “You have to give me a new job. I am seriously considering suicide.”
I deal with that problem for real, literally. Forgive me, please, all of you suicide counselors, but I react the same way to that statement as I do to a threat on my life. The people who make that comment are a threat to me, my family, and my job. We have literally locked the front door of the office when worried about someone who made that comment.
You tend to infect people with your attitude. We locked the door because we were physically scared. Of course, we didn’t physically expect to get infected, but becoming psychologically infected is worse than a physical problem. When your mind is infected with hopelessness and negativity it takes a lot of work and treatment to become employable.
Nowadays men lead lives of noisy desperation. (James Thurber)
There are ways to change your attitude. If it really is caused by your job, you may want to quit right now. The trouble is that most of the time the job does not cause the attitude, and quitting may make it worse.
What you need to do is grab a book that helps you change that attitude. Go to Amazon and under books search for “attitude”. I like to get samples of the books delivered electronically to find out if I really want to buy them. You can get a Kindle reader for your PC just for that purpose.
No one has to give you a job. You have to earn a job. Figure out what you can do to have an attitude that someone else wants to get infected with. Work at it. Get a book or get a counselor.
Something To Do Today
Check out two books on changing your attitude from the library. One interesting one is “Learned Optimism”. There are a lot of books that can help.
Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship…the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth. (Peter Drucker)
I saw another ad for a notebook computer with a fingerprint reader. I want one. It is so cool. You just draw your finger over the reader and it unlocks the screen because it knows who you are. Talk about geek chic technology. I gotta have one. I will have a computer that only responds to me.
You need to be unique, like that computer. Every year thousands of people get great new jobs with massive pay raises because they have learned something new and exciting. I know average programmers who are earning $120,000 per year. They learned the latest technology, SAP, Oracle Financials, or neural decision software. They have been riding the gravy train for 3 or 4 years. Accountants that can implement new systems are still worth their weight in gold. Today I am searching for just such a person for my client.
What is it that you can do to set yourself distinctly apart? Is there an innovation rearing its head in your field? Even help desk techs can earn $90,000 per year if they find the right niche. You have to innovate. Become different. Be a rare breed.
That fingerprint lock sold thousands of laptops to geeks like me. New technology, techniques, and skills can sell CEO’s and managers on your value.
What can you learn today?
Something to do today
The greatest lunch topic you can talk about with your boss is, “What is the emerging world changing technology, technique or skill in our field.” Try it today.