Kids can be a practically irresistible force. I have 10 children. Usually I can resist them. Not always. Sometimes they have to admit defeat, but with kids they don’t admit defeat till they have exhausted every avenue towards success. Here’s how they win.
Be totally, irresistibly, and eternally committed to a world changing idea
Jump up and down with enthusiasm
“No” means not now
“Not now” means try again in 5 minutes
Laugh, smile and tickle your dad
Run around and get all the other kids excited out of their minds
Ask dad for help to figure out how to do it
Cry if dad is not listening
See if you can turn it into a school project
Ask mom to talk to dad about it
Bring a partially completed task to dad to be fixed
Change your plans and try again in an hour
A small explosion in the yard will get dad’s attention
Make it a game
Kids win because they are too excited to accept defeat. They are willing to try every possible way around an obstacle. When I am the obstacle and they are really really determined, they know they can win.
Is there a job you really really want? Why not job hunt like a kid?
Something to do today
Take a pen and paper and translate each of those 14 things into something you can use for job hunting or working for a promotion in real life.
How to engage the hiring manager in a conversation
The heroes in Men In Black have to stop a giant cockroach from leaving the earth. If it leaves, the earth will be destroyed. They are able to engage it in a conversation, sort of. They find out what is interesting enough to get the cockroach to come down and interact with (try to kill) them.
“Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you.” If you can engage the manager or their assistant in a conversation you will multiply your chances of getting an interview or a job. Here is how you do it:
First, make sure you want the job and that you are a decent fit. The Men In Black were the guys in charge of saving the earth. They were motivated and had the tools, they just had to figure out how to do it. If you are qualified to become a computer technician, audit manager or director of international sales, engage the hiring manager in a conversation. If you are not qualified for the job, just send him a resume through Indeed or ZipRecruiter. That way it only takes you 10 seconds to send it and the computer will automatically delete it for them. Conversation only works if you really want the job and really are qualified.
Now, write down the titles the hiring manager may have. Then call up the company and ask for that person. You may get through to him or you may get routed to someone else. If you get routed to someone else ask, “Are you helping (title) find the person for (job name)?” Push your way through until you get to someone who actually is helping him find a new employee. It doesn’t matter if it is them, the HR department or a receptionist. It has to be someone directly involved with the hiring process for that particular job.
When you get to the right person, say, “You are looking for a (job name). What has been the hardest thing for you to find in the right person?” Then wait. Engage them in a discussion of what they are having a hard time finding in a new hire. Make sure and ask, “Is there anything else you have a hard time finding?” Ask that last question again and again. Probe their answers. Find out what the problem is that they have to solve.
Another good question is, “For the (job name), what is causing you to throw away most of the resumes that you get?” Then probe that too. Add, “Is there anything else?” Listen. Ask more questions. Find out what can disqualify you.
Be helpful. If you find out you are the wrong person, offer to tell someone else who is qualified about the job. If you are the right person say, “I really fit that job, what is your email address so that I can send you my resume directly?” You have a 50-50 chance of getting their direct email address, and that will get your resume right on top of the pile. If you really are qualified, that is a great place to be. And you get there by engaging them in a conversation.
Don’t forget to specifically change your resume and cover letter to match their needs. Then call up an hour later and ask, “Did you get my resume? What more do you need to know?” You may just end up having a phone interview right then and there.
That is how you get a hiring manager to talk to you.
Something to do today
Make a list of a few jobs that you really want and are qualified for that you have not already interviewed for. Whether or not your resume has been sent in, call them up and try this out. Change your resume after your conversation and highlight things you didn’t know were so important. You just may get that job.
In the last article I talked about how hiring managers are NOT God. I even went as far to say, “Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you. You are a waste of their time unless you tell them something that proves they need you. They would rather have their receptionist shred your resume than take the time to talk to you.”
The hiring manager is not God. They are a giant cockroach.
You cannot assume that a hiring manager will glean 4 key words and 2 key points out of a 3 page resume. You get no points for length and thoroughness. You get no points for briefness. You get points, or an interview, for saying the key words and phrases that the hiring manager wants to hear. If you don’t shout those key words and phrases, the manager’s receptionist will shred your resume. Then the cockroach, the hiring manager, can hide in their office where you can’t get to them.
To find the right words and phrases you need to do some forensic language work. Like a crime scene investigator. Take 3 or 4 job listings on Indeed or ZipRecruiter for different jobs with the same company. Place them all side by side. Highlight all the phrases that are identical. Identify the stuff the human resources department puts around the description the hiring manager wrote. That fluff may possibly be necessary to get you past the HR department, but it won’t get you a job.
Now take your blue highlighter. Mark every misused acronym, word, technical term or technical phrase. Those are the words the HR person didn’t understand. They could very well be critical. You need to have an exact match on those words in your resume.
Continue marking with an orange highlighter. Again look for all the technical terms and acronyms. Mark them all. The orange words are the most likely to be used by a computer or receptionist to screen out resumes.
Finally, go back over the resume with a pink highlighter. Mark the skills that are the most difficult to find. What are the things in the ad that everyone wants and nobody has?
I bet those ads look terrible. That’s good. It means you have taken the time to study the exact words that will get you an interview. You need to include those words and technical phrases in your resume. They will force the screener to pass your resume on to the hiring manager. He will have to call you in order to see if you can do the job. You will prevent him from closing his door and hiding from you.
Something to do today
Get some highlighters and go through ads on the internet. Find the really key words and phrases. Alter your resume before you send it out. Make it so they cannot miss the things that are important to them.
A giant cockroach steals the hero’s gun and swallows it, So the hero taunts the cockroach until it eats him. A few minutes later the cockroach explodes and our hero is standing there holding the huge gun the monster ate a few minutes before. Men In Black was a lot of fun. In that case the only way to save the world was to survive in the stomach of a giant bug.
There has to be at least 5 great job hunting analogies there. Create your own, then read mine. I bet mine is different.
The giant bug wants nothing more than to get into its spaceship and get away. Of course the earth will be destroyed if it gets away, but that is not the bug’s problem. The two puny humans must do everything they can to keep it from leaving. They taunt it, harass it, insult it, and step on small earthly cockroaches (relatives and friends) to get it to delay its departure. They figure out what the bug can’t ignore and get it to come back and deal with them.
Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you. You are a waste of their time unless you tell them something that proves they need you. They would rather have their receptionist shred your resume than take the time to talk to you. Take three lessons from the way the Men In Black fought the giant bug:
You have to find the right words
You have to engage them in conversation
A relative or friend may be able to get them to talk to you
Over the next three articles I will show you how to do each of these things. The giant cockroach, the hiring manager, will give you all the hints you need. I’ll show you what those hints are.
Something to do today
What do you need to do to get a hiring manager to need to talk to you?
There are 10 extremely ripped bodybuilders making $1,000,000 a year teaching others to exercise. Each year a hundred men and women get PhD’s in exercise physiology and they will only become high school gym teachers. The guys making the big money work hard every day on how the world sees them. Perception really is everything in their world.
Actors and Actresses? They have personal trainers, chefs and makeup artists who make more than most business executives. They won’t leave their house without 2 hours of working on how you and I will perceive them. Perception is everything to them.
In every job there are people who, “Don’t care what others think.” They are rarely the best paid person in the shop. The ones who do care about “what others think” either succeed wonderfully or alienate others beyond belief. The ones who succeed make sure their bosses know what they have accomplished and what their team did. The ones who fail tried to grab all the credit for everyone’s work, not just their own. They fail because the perception becomes that they are conniving, scheming and untrustworthy.
Who do you respect? Did they earn that honor? If you respect a computer programmer because he “never sold out”, hasn’t he sold that perception? A musician who is famous for “never going commercial” cultivated that precise image. They all care for their image as carefully as Hulk Hogan of pro-wrestling fame. A great salesman who never counts his commissions carefully implants that perception in his customers. That is what he sells: perception of himself as only interested in the customer’s success.
Figure out how you want to be perceived. Be that person. Prove to your boss that you are that person with weekly reports that show it. That same proof can be applied to your resume. Show what you have caused to happen in the past and you’ll get the chance to do more in your next job. Perception will be reality.
Something to do today
Ask a coworker or an ex-coworker how they perceive you. How do you want people to perceive you? What can you do to attain that new image?
Buzzards circle overhead. Struggling across the desert mile after mile, a hiring manager finally can walk no further. He starts to crawl. A candidate drives up in a jeep with 100 gallons of water. He offers the hiring manager a ride to a hotel and all the water he can drink if he’ll split the cost of gas. The hiring manager says, “I’ll only pay you for the water. You are going that direction anyway.” The candidate shakes his head and drives off.
Everyone wants a bargain. It is just a fact of life that candidates want more money and hiring managers want to pay less. Your lifestyle is affected if you earn less. Thus is the lifestyle of the hiring manager. Managers are evaluated based on overhead. Even if they are rewarded on output, they want to cut overhead. It is their nature.
There is no magic chart that tells what you should be paid as an employee. I know one programmer who got a 40% raise when he finally realized he was worth more. He went to his manager and said, “Everyone else on my team is earning $50,000 per year. I’m better than most. Why am I earning so little?” What bothers me the most is that the manager and the employee felt good about the raise. How about a bonus to make up for the previous years?
Even if you are the only person in the country who can save his company, the owner is going to look for a bargain. They just do. In the same vein, you will want a raise immediately after finishing training the company pays for. For some reason, a man dying of thirst still wants a bargain on a bottle of water. That’s why you have to be worth 10 times as much to be paid 2 or 3 times as much.
Something To Do Today
Where have you been out-bargained in your job search? What can you change about you, to be a better bargain?
Do you need a job now? Then use the best job search plan ever created.
Come on! How could it possibly be the best EVER created? Because it was created for only one person. You.
I have seen it happen over and over.
One guy is out of work for less than a month, and he gets a job offer with a raise.
Find a job in 5 weeks – that is freedom
It takes 6 months to get a job for the guy who sat next to him. This poor guy was doing exactly the same job, got better performance ratings, and would get rehired first if the job was re-opened. To make things worse, the guy who took six months accepts a huge pay cut.
It isn’t fair, but it happens every day.
It isn’t luck. The guy who finds a job quickly did things differently. He may have instinctively done the few most critical steps within the first days of losing his job. He may also have mapped out a strategy and executed it. Either way, he got the critical steps executed. He got the job.
The critical steps most often screwed up by the guys who take 6 months to find a job.
For 22 years I’ve been watching people get jobs in days, or wait a year to find a job. The steps most often screwed up are:
The resume stunk, and he never found out.
He burned his best leads before he was prepared.
Monster became his momma.
HR (Human Resources Department) was his master.
He never expanded his network, but he talked to a zillion people.
Interviews never seemed to go right.
He waited for a phone call back.
He thought recruiters were his friends
Give me a call or research these topics on my blog.
Giving away 30 seconds to get a job may seem like a no-brainer. The trouble is that few people do it. You have to think about it. Here is how it works.
One college fundraising drive was also an experiment. The fundraisers went into the dormitory common area where there were students. Half the time they just asked for donations. The other times they came and handed out soft drinks as they asked for donations. The trips with the soft drinks raised several times more money. The secret is giving something away before you ask for help.
Give 30 seconds away.
Your time and attention are your most valuable possessions.
The greatest secret of top salesmen is: establish a relationship before you sell yourself. Break your target person out of their rut before you sell yourself. Start by spending 30 seconds talking about them. Few people can resist trying to help someone who has given them 30 seconds of rapt attention.
Ask a question and then listen. “How is your day going so far? How many of these interviews do you do in a day? You must be worn out by now, how do you keep a fresh attitude? Is that a picture of your dog? My kids were crazy this morning, do you think it was just the weather? How did you learn to do this job?”
It takes practice. Get the book, How To Win Friends And Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Read and apply one chapter a day. It will make people smile when you enter the room. You’ll be memorable. You will also enjoy meeting other people more than you ever have before.
Want a job? You have to stand out from the crowd. Give your most important possession away. Give 30 seconds of your time and attention. You will be fondly remembered by everyone you meet. They will also really want to help you because you are a nice person.
Something To Do Today
Practice giving away 30 seconds with everyone you meet.
Later: Beauty contest job openings and being memorable
I was talking to a job hunter who said, “Recruiters have never done much for me.” I understand the sentiment. It depends on what you expect.
As a recruiter I help people get jobs, but only a few people. I also prepare a bunch of people to get jobs on their own.
Some things I can do for you are:
I help you get your resume to look good enough to get you interviews.
I find jobs you didn’t know about and submit you for them.
I talk to hiring managers and try to give you an unfair advantage.
I give you guidance on better interviewing.
I remind you to send a thank you note after the interview.
I follow up and follow up and follow up with hiring managers.
I negotiate a higher salary.
I help you resign successfully.
I smooth the way into your new job.
Now, you’ll notice that a bunch of those I do whether you get the job or not. As a recruiter I may not directly get you a job. I may just help you learn some job hunting skills even if I am not paid for it.
One more thing. If I find a better candidate anytime during the process, I will present him to the company. My driving loyalty is getting the best person for the job. I am absolutely committed to avoiding second best. I’ll help you, but you need to be the best candidate for a job. Live with it.
I help people get jobs. I help a few people get the job I submit their resume for. However, I have a huge impact on a lot of job seekers as I help them to become more employable.
Something To Do Today
Make a list of suggestions you have received from recruiters that have helped in your job search. Make sure you remember them for the interviews where the recruiters are not involved.
Managers really want to avoid this guy. Cheerful is good. Positive is positive. Then there is Larry. Larry is an interviewer’s greatest fear.
Larry attracts indifference. His smile rarely reaches his eyes. The way he walks looks like he is just a little reluctant. Larry is not depressed. He is recessed. Life’s okay, but, why waste energy on strangers or something that is not entertaining. He wants a job. He is going on just another interview for just another job. No reason to be excited. He doesn’t care if his cup is half full or half empty. What is there to care about?
Now let’s look at what cheerful means
Joe smiles as he walks up to the building. A minor adventure is beginning for him. The receptionist gets a nervous but enthusiastic greeting. She calls the interviewer with a smile on her lips because of Joe. In the interview Joe is attentive and talks about things he likes at his current job. He slides by questions about his boss, “Little Hitler”. Instead he concentrates on projects where his whole team got things done. Sure his company is failing, but look what you can accomplish. Joe’s cup is half full, and he can’t wait to taste what is in it.
Two guys equally qualified. Which would you like to work with? Who would you hire?
Which of the two guys are you?
Something to do today
In The Pirates Of Penzance the perfect officer knows “many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.” It is ridiculous, but important.
You and your recruiter should be able to come up with many cheerful facts about the company and job you are going to interview for. Make a list. Read it right before you go in for the interview.