Tag Archives: stand out

Leave your mark to impress your boss. 

I have been around a lot of big bears in Pennsylvania. It is exciting. Still, I have only seen one bear in Pennsylvania. Bears leave behind footprints, scratched trees and scat (the polite way of referring to bear excrement). As a matter of fact, some bears try to impress other bears by showing how high on a tree they can scratch the bark away. They may never see each other, but bears know who is the “big bear”.

Bear, Brown Bear, Mammal, Animal, Nature, Wildlife

In job hunting you need to let people know you are the “big bear”. Don’t tell them everything you did at your last job. Show them signs of your size and impact. In your resume do not give every detail of your jobs. Show the things that prove you are the “big bear” now. 

Are you a Controller or CFO? How much money did you save your company? How much new revenue did you personally drive to the bottom line?

If your title is manager, assume that people know you hire, make budgets, and write reports. Increased revenue, how much money you saved, and faster execution are things that show how high you reached. 

As a programmer you need to have a list of languages you know somewhere on the resume. That’s necessary but it doesn’t make you stand out. The fact that your last five projects came in on time and under budget will show you are a big bear. 

Don’t hide what you accomplished in a forest of petty details. Make the things that prove you are a big bear unmissable. If you have ten bullet points about one job, get rid of half of them. A five line paragraph will hide a lot of accomplishments. Make three short bullets instead or put a couple of keywords in bold font.

Show you are the big bear. Stretch up high and scratch that tree where the other bears can’t miss it.

Something to do today

Hand your resume to some friends. Give them 45 seconds to read it, then ask them what your biggest accomplishments are. 45 seconds is a very thorough read for resumes, most only get 10 seconds. If you can’t get your point across in 45 seconds, getting hired will be pure luck.

How to become an expert and get paid like one

Getting a raise or getting promoted is hard if no one notices what you do. Guerilla tactics for quick advancements have to get you noticed in a nice way. First a story, then the tactics.

Bill was one of the original guerilla advertisers. Decades ago, he had a product that no one had in a PC. Now every PC has one. His company went from obscurity to a major buyout. A lot of that happened because Bill and his partner figured out how to take the spotlight and become the talk of the town. They also had very good technology. 

We have been in contact for several years now. His fortunes changed dramatically. The buyout is over. The money went into investments that didn’t work out. He spent the last couple few years learning new skills. He started over at entry level and rose to team lead quickly. Now he has broken into the big time. Again. When he was broke. Again.

It is easy to break into the big time if you have a lot of money. People come to you. Bill wasn’t in that position. So what could he do?

We ended up talking about his original guerilla marketing. At that time they had no budget for marketing. He had to get the spotlight to shine on their product without paying for it. So they did talk shows, magazine articles, press releases, trade association presentations, and keynote addresses. They even put together almost complete reviews of their products so that magazine writers wouldn’t have to work hard.

Bill did that same type of thing again. He attracts the change he wants to see in his life. He isn’t chasing change, he puts on pheromones and lets change chase him.

All successful employers are stalking men who will do the unusual, men who think, men who attract attention by performing more than is expected of them. (Charles M. Schwab)

You can do the same type of guerilla self-promotion. You can attract change. Here’s how:

  1. Write your own reviews
  2. Become an expert
  3. Become KNOWN as an expert
  4. Get published

First off, be sure and write your own reviews for your boss. On a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis you need to give your boss a glowing review. A simple report stating the wonderful things you did each week will help him. He can’t pay attention to everything you do. That weekly report and more summaries will make sure that he knows how much you are worth. Write your own reviews.

You can become an expert. Start studying the area you want to be an expert in. One hour a day will make you a reference source in a month. In 3 months you will be an expert. 

Find out how you can become known as the expert. Offer to teach a class, write a memo or attend a planning meeting. Brief the managers above you in your area of expertise. You can do it informally. Talk to them before a meeting starts. The others coming to the meeting will hear some of it. Catch him in the hall and give him a one minute tidbit. 

You can also write articles about what you have learned. Offer them to the office newsletter editor. Don’t be afraid, offer them to the local newspaper, online magazines and trade magazines. Publishers desperately need interesting articles. When you get published make sure and give all your bosses a copy of the article.

My son was published in online programming magazines before he left for college. They needed good articles and didn’t care about his youth and lack of experience.

Figure out how to become an expert and you will be surprised how quickly your prospects change. You can become a technical consultant or a manager. 

Put on the pheromones of knowledge and the aura of expertise. Attract change in your career. 

Something to do today

Figure out what is worth becoming an expert about. Ask your bosses and other experts in your field where they see it going. You’ll be surprised how many people you are in awe of will talk with you about where they see the brightest future.

A dozen ways to stand out, be remembered, and be hired

A moth trap can teach you how to stand out, be remembered, and be hired. The principles can be used in interviews, resumes, and networking.

The moth trap in our pantry is supposed to be much better than the average one.  It has the same sticky glue and pheromones, but instead of just a white sheet of cardboard, it has black stripes on it.  I don’t know if it really is better, but I paid a few dollars extra for it.  If it is better, great.  I made a great decision.  If it is only as good as the cheaper trap, I still made a good decision.  Either way the trap will catch the bugs before they lay eggs in our flour, cornmeal and popcorn.  I get protection either way, and maybe I get a little better protection with the more expensive traps.

Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.  (Mark Twain)

In every interview you have to have something that sets you apart. It is nice if it is a huge difference, but that is not absolutely necessary. One of the reasons a college degree or certification in your field is valuable is because it sets you apart.  People can remember how you are different and hopefully better.  Other things that can set you apart are:

  • Putting yourself through college
  • Courses you have taken
  • Projects you have lead
  • Having lots of kids…. or having no kids
  • Your volunteer work
  • Your passions and hobbies
  • Dressing sharper than is required
  • Shoes that shine like the sun…. or suede tennis shoes
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Someone you know who already works there
  • Long hair…. or a marine haircut
  • Something amazing and relevant you did in high school

Remember why I bought the expensive moth trap…. it MIGHT be better. Anything you can do to show you just might be better than Mr. Bland will help.

For the moth traps, it was just a black stripe on cardboard.  What is it that you can do, say, be, or show that makes you worth a few extra dollars?

Something to do today

Every time someone is hired at your current job, go find out what was different about that person.  When you are told, “They were more qualified,” ask, “Were there any small details that seemed to confirm that they were better?”  You may be surprised what little details separate first place from no place at all.