January 27, 2009

Creativity = Compensation?

While lurking around FaceBook, a pay-per-click ad popped up on my screen for a Quality Engineer for hire. Since I am perpetually (it seems) on the look out for strong Quality Engineering candidates, I was drawn like a moth to a candle to at least look and see if there was a potential talent match. So, I ended up downloading the resume of Kaz Haque, an independent quality consultant (If you are on the hunt for a quality expert, check out his home page at http://GQAT.com)

While Kazs' approach isn't entirely novel (we've heard crazier self-promotion tales), it does show just how active and engaged a good career search will need to be in current times. It boils down to the most basic of selling techniques "A-B-C" (Always Be C(s)elling).

Just the other day, a morning show on TV showcased a young, laid-off, widowed-mom talking about her floundering career search. What was she doing? Occasionally, sending out her resume. After six months (she was intelligent, educated and presented well), she was still unemployed. Surprised?

Interestingly, a career coach recommended hand delivering her resume to 'get in the door.' Frankly, I question the efficacy of the hand-delivered resume technique. After all, I (like lots of other recruiters) run searches for positions all across the country for hiring managers far flung across the map. In today's world of technology, I would reccommend other techniques of getting seen and heard.

So, for all you job hunters out there, here are some low-cost, high-return ideas to amp-up your career search:
  • Attend networking meetings. Might seem obvious - but broaden your horizons. If you are an accounting guru, don't just go to the mixer for your local CPA chapter - especially if all of you are there to finds leads on a new career opportunity. This is an over-saturated market. Instead, look up the next mixer for the local APICS or SHRM chapter, and get to know decision-makers and influencers outside of your expertise. Or, attend a local Chamber of Commerce speed networking breakfast. Remember, break-out.
  • Video Resume. Not for the faint of heart - and, no, not on VHS. Think YouTube or iviioo.com. Keep it brief, think elevator speech. Avoid anything that would remotely resemble an American Idol audition tape. Ikes. Good taste and common sense will prevail.
  • Beef up your resume. If you copied and pasted your last job description onto your resume (you know who you are), your laziness will be reflected in the lack of zeal employers show in your paper. Your resume is about YOU and what you DID. Not what you should have, or were expected to do. Include action words, show results (or metrics). If you worked for a series of small, unknown or obscure organizations, include a hyperlink to the company webpage or Hoovers summary. This will help recruiters/screeners who are looking at your resume draw relevancy between you, the search and the other qualified applicants.
  • Create a Blog with a mini-bio and online resume to start crafting your Personal Brand. Blogger and WordPress are two very friendly, free tools that you could use to get up and running within hours. Be sure to include 'key words' on your online resume (so spiders can find you).
  • Create (and freely distribute) your personal calling card. Include your email, cell and blog URL.
  • Register yourself with online directories and networking sites. Make sure you are available to be found in membership directories for any associations to which you belong. Create and own your profile in databases like, ZoomInfo and Jigsaw. Make sure you are up-to-date in FaceBook, LinkedIn, Namyz...
Market, market, market yourself. You have one goal, making your career search the most succesful marketing and promotion campaign you have ever seen. This takes work and effort; all of which will be rewarded.

If you ultimately insist on (or someone else compels you) pounding the pavement to deliver resumes and get interviews - think strategically. Target smaller companies who are more likely to recruit locally and who have hiring managers in town. A satellite office for a major employer is rarely going to house a recruiter; and it is not uncommon for hiring managers to work remotely or be on the road.

Finally, keep in mind, the outcome of a National Association of Sales Executive survey:
  • 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
  • 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
  • 12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
  • Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts
  • 2% of sales are made on the first contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the second contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the third contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
Translate and apply these statistics to your career search in any economy, and you will prosper.

Drop me a line if you implement one of these techniques and let me hear about your successes.