(Long post) In my books, seminars, and personal career strategy consults, I encourage people to have a variety of documents in their portfolio (Personal Skills, Knowledge, and Experience Portfolio – or PSKE Portfolio) that attest to their expertise as problem solvers hiring managers are looking for. Having just a cover letter and résumé isn’t enough -because everyone vying for the same position has those same documents. A career strategy embraces the idea not only of your professional brand, but your complete platform, which consists of all the ways you communicate your value and expertise in your profession.
Your PSKE Portfolio consists of several elements in that platform beyond the cover letter and résumé, such as: a case history you’ve written that documents an on-the-job problem you solved; an article you’ve had published in a peer-reviewed journal for your industry (*note: If you have at least 7 years experience and you haven’t been published in your industry, you are damaging your brand and platform); a book on some aspect of your profession or industry; conference papers and talks you’ve presented; and one document that seals the deal for the job offer.
One”seal the deal” document that I and many others have used to score a job offer is part of a strategy I call the Continuous Promotion Approach and uses a tactic I refer to as the “Trojan Horse Technique.” The document is something called “25 Ways I Add Value to Your Organization.” I created this document when I was managing technical publications teams in the high-tech industry and would use it for bigger and better opportunities.
This document is the last in a series I mail (snail-mail, not email) to the hiring manager after job interviews have concluded. I would send a case history with a Post-It Note followed a few days later by an article reprint from a peer-reviewed journal. The Post-It Notes might read something like, “Dear Hiring Manager: Thanks for sharing the great opportunity with your team. The attached case history [or article reprint] might be of interest to you. Sincerely, <your name>.”
I don’t really care if the hiring manager reads the case history or the article reprint, but I do care that he or she sees who its from on the Post-It Note. The Post-It Note is the Trojan Horse that enhances that associative model and Continuum of Belief I helped create in the hiring manager’s mind, starting with a great cover letter, achievement-focused résumé, and stellar interview (see my recent posts for more info on associative models and the Continuum of Belief). The Post-It Note on this last document gets to the point by stating: “Dear Hiring Manager: I’m ready to get started…Let’s talk now. Sincerely, <your name>.”
So while other candidates have finished interviewing for the position and are waiting to hear whether they get a job offer, you continue to promote your brand to build that familiarity and name-expertise recognition factor with the hiring manager.
Does this technique work every time with hiring managers? No, it doesn’t; but just how much are you in charge of your career? Do you want to compete with other candidates for the position, or do you want to be the hiring manager’s candidate of choice? To do that, you have to create an “unfair” advantage by continuously promoting your expertise and value as a problem solver through as many channels as possible throughout the entire hiring process.