Monthly Archives: June 2016

5 Reasons Why You Need to Build Associative Models with Hiring Manager’s Brains

colorful brain graphic

The brain’s capacity for memory consists of nodes of stored information connected by neural links of varying strength. When a node is activated by external information or by retrieval from long-term memory, it stimulates other memory nodes. When the activation of another memory node exceeds some threshold, information in that node is recalled.

This process is termed the associated network memory model in the book, The Architecture of Cognition by John Anderson. Consistent with this model, brand knowledge is conceived as consisting of a brand node in memory in which many associations are linked.

So how does this associative model work for your job or career strategy?

  1. Every exposure of your brand, expertise, and name throughout the hiring cycle to hiring managers strengthens the link-node relationship in the hiring manager’s brain
  2. With continued exposure, recall of your brand, name, and expertise becomes more instantaneous
  3. Faster recall leads to familiarity with you and your expertise
  4. Familiarity with you and your expertise often leads to a preference for you as the hiring manager’s candidate
  5. Continue building that associative model with hiring managers well after job interviews have ended

I’m the only career strategist writing and speaking on how to build and strengthen associative models with hiring managers (so I’ve been told). Stop using the same approaches career coaches promote that don’t have a better success rate. Visit my website or go here for more details on how to use this technique for building your brand and then promoting it with a post-interview strategy.

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

ALL TIP SHEET COVERS TOGETHER







My name is  Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).  I lead career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. I also offer a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? My 2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact me directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com for more information or use the Contact page on this blog.

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter @donnlevie.

 

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6 Reasons Why Public Sector Employees Need a Social Media Presence

LinkedIn All starPart of my involvement with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) annual conference is providing personal career consultations with conference attendees. Many attendees work in the public sector, and over the course of individual conversations with folks who signed up for personal consultations, I was surprised to learn that many of them have no active involvement with social media platforms. Many believed they had to fully immerse themselves on a variety of platforms, but were relieved to know that that’s not the case at all. Some have Facebook pages, and some have LinkedIn profiles, but in most instances, either their LinkedIn profiles are incomplete, or they simply have a presence and are not actively participating – or both.

So briefly, here are six reasons why public sector employees need an active social media presence (primarily for LinkedIn) for growing their careers:

  1. An active social media presence makes you more visible to decision makers and hiring managers. Social media has rendered organizational “gatekeepers” obsolete, because with an active social media presence on the right platforms, you can gain access to these people. Without an active social media presence, you are anonymous.
  2. Some studies show that between 33 and 67 percent of all positions filled come about through referrals. That’s justification enough for you to continue building your network of contacts on LinkedIn.
  3. Social media (more precisely, networking platforms) allows you to promote and leverage your expertise as a resource for others. Hiring managers are always looking for problem solvers, game changers, and solutions providers. And all hiring managers want experts on their team.
  4. Social media connections allow you to build a level of mutual familiarity. One of the first steps to gaining access to decision makers is to first establish a degree of mutual familiarity. Make your connections strategic for any potential mutual exchange of value.
  5. Familiarity with your network contacts over time leads to trust. When you consistently contribute value to conversations with others, “like” their comments, or “retweet” their Tweets, that familiarity can lead to mutual trust.
  6. Mutual trust with your network contacts can lead to direct access. Hiring managers, like the rest of us, want to work with people we are familiar with and who we trust. More often than not, those people advance to the head of the line for direct access.

What accelerates direct access to decision makers is having a polished professional brand that makes its way onto social media platforms through your website, blog, articles published in peer-reviewed journals, books, conference presentations, and so on. All of that goes in your LinkedIn profile. I cover building a professional brand in both of my books.

As i mentioned, there’s no need to be active on a wide variety of social media platforms – only a couple where decision makers are active will be sufficient. Besides this blog and my website, I am active on LinkedIn and Twitter. My business Facebook page automatically receives feeds from my blog posts and Twitter activity. I limit 98% of my posts to issues surrounding job and career strategies.

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her entourage are met at the doors to the Emerald City by a gatekeeper. They are only allowed entry after it’s pointed out to him that she’s wearing the ruby slippers, that were once on the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East. The gatekeeper knows that the Wizard would value the ruby slippers because they represented one thing:

onething1

ACCOMPLISHMENT!  What are your ruby slippers?

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

ALL TIP SHEET COVERS TOGETHER






My name is  Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).  I lead career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. I also offer a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? My 2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact me directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com for more information or use the Contact page on this blog.

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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Word of Warning: Snake Oil Career Vitalizer Elixer (Part II)

MMAYO-Clark-Stanley-Snake-Oil

In Part I, I addressed the dangers of relinquishing control of your career strategy to others with or without credentials (especially those earned online), and little to no experience vetting candidates they will actually hire. There are comedians, storytellers, and TV reality stars performing career coaching and résumé services that advocate making résumés more interesting or unique for hiring managers who are bored to tears reviewing typical résumés. Some of those folks have a few happy, satisfied clients.  “It’s about taking your brand to the next level,” some claim, by using narrative and other rhetorical devices. But they miss the boat when it comes to why hiring managers are uninterested and what’s needed to stimulate their interest.

Here’s the missing ingredient from their “taking it to the next level” approach: it’s how your brand, communicated largely through accomplishments and achievements, promotes the future benefits of your expertise that will interest hiring managers. Not narrative (do not use narrative formats as they are difficult for a hiring manager to scan for key words); not “interesting” entries.

I know of no hiring manager from my past experience who wanted to be entertained (on purpose anyway) screening résumés; it was an exercise in frustration most of the time searching for a clue as to a candidate’s potential for making the short list. Here’s how you make a résumé an interesting read:

  • Populate it with accomplishments and achievements (quantified, where possible) and use bold typface to highlight them
  • If you have a few articles published in peer-reviewed journals, place that list under the “Publications” heading (nothing says “expert” better than being published)
  • Include a link to your blog that addresses important issues in your field or industry
  • Include awards and honors you have received from recognized professional associations and employers (service awards and “employee of the month” awards don’t count)

Now THAT makes for an interesting read from the hiring manager’s perspective!

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

ALL TIP SHEET COVERS TOGETHER






 Donn LeVie Jr. is a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and has worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). He is the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).  He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. He also offers a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact Donn directly for more information or use the Contact page on this blog.

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter

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5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting the Job Offer

tattoo-interview-fail

I just returned from speaking on career transition strategies and doing personal career consultations with attendees at the 2016 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Global Fraud Conference in Las Vegas. This was my 7th year providing career strategy presentations and consultations for the ACFE, and it never fails that at least one attendee each year will confess to me, “I have a great cover letter and résumé that gets lots of interviews, but I just can’t seem to swing the job offer.”

Let’s assume for the moment that variables external to the hiring process are not influencing the hiring decision and look at some things that are in your control but might be causing you some problems.

  1. You don’t understand the importance of impression management (“likeability”). We all use impression management for all social occasions, and I’ve blogged about the subject in the past. Impression management is not about being someone you’re not; it’s about bringing forward those qualities that garner favorable first impressions and draw people to you. You can’t walk into a job interview looking like you just came from your grandmother’s funeral (yes, we all know people who  seem to have one bland expression for all the emotions) because the first impression that telegraphs is “what’s eating this person?”
  2. You just don’t get the idea of impression management. See the guy in the photo above, or this guy…who also doesn’t get it…

kanye-west-fan

3. Your impression management language fails to focus on the future benefits of your expertise as it applies to solving the hiring manager’s problems; it’s less about the features of your past experience. It’s projecting your expertise forward as the hiring manager’s “wing man” (or “person”).

4. You don’t ask questions with a built-in assumption that you will be getting the job offer.  Three such questions: (1) “What would be the first project I would be working on?”; (2) “What is your highest project priority and how do you envision my involvement with it?”; (3) “Do you have any other questions about how I can help the team/department/project?”

5. You fail to answer THE QUESTION correctly: “So, tell me about yourself…” The majority of candidates will launch into a narrative about what they do (it’s already on the résumé, Einstein) and not who they are. They miss the opportunity to express a meaningful, memorable response. The best response I ever received to the question was from a software programmer candidate who told me, “I’m a cello-playing kids soccer coach and president of the PTA who also happens to be a damn good programmer with an eye on your delivery schedule and budget.” In on short sentence, I learned of his interest in classical music (my interest as well), his involvement with kids, the community, and how he’s going to be my solutions provider.

I decided then and there after that response that he was my No. 1 candidate and extended the job offer to him.

The hiring process–especially the interview portion–is always about what the hiring manager needs.

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

ALL TIP SHEET COVERS TOGETHER






My name is  Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).  I lead career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. I also offer a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? My 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact me directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com for more information.

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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Word of Warning: Snake Oil Career Revitalizer Tonic! (Part 1)

MMAYO-Clark-Stanley-Snake-Oil

It’s no secret that the professional career advice field overflows with tips, suggestions, strategies, and methods that run the gamut from the banal to the brilliant. Part of the problem lies with the nature of the employment process and the many variables that do lie beyond the control of applicants and employers alike. The global economy, the Fed’s influence on interest rates, government regulation, health care costs, competition from foreign markets, political instability overseas, the list is a long one.

And then there are some variables where candidates do have control over their career direction. One of those controllable variables is how you choose to get help with various aspects of your career, be it cover letter, résumé, job interview skills, building brand equity, or overall career strategy. For example, if you enjoy reading, there are career strategy books written by a dating expert from The Millionaire Matchmaker TV show, by two psychologists/personality experts, by an ex-Wall Street management expert-turned-career-coach, a former fund manager and stock broker, the president of a global consulting firm, an occupational therapist, and several from prominent names in academic leadership development. The applied value of books by such authors for getting hired or charting a career I leave to be determined by the reader.

Similar situations can be found with the plethora of different coaching titles and certifications that can be had in 3 days for as little as $795 as this Google search shows.

certified coaching google

The Universal Coaching Institute offers certification in, well, just about any conceivable area you can think of. The IAP College offers a part-time online Career Coaching certificate for $97 where they promise the course can be done in as little as four weeks. How confident would you be with someone who earned an online career coaching certificate in one month helping YOU with YOUR career you’ve spent years developing? I’ve worked with some outstanding career strategists who have spent years honing their skills in corporate positions before venturing out on their own. Their experience and knowledge has been tested in the crucible of time, and as Indiana Jones once said, “It’s not the years, honey….it’s the miles.”

There are comedians, storytellers, and TV reality stars performing career coaching and résumé services that advocate making résumés more interesting or unique for hiring managers who are bored to tears reviewing typical résumés. Some of those folks have a few happy, satisfied clients.  “It’s about taking your brand to the next level,” some claim, by using narrative and other rhetorical devices. But they miss the boat when it comes to why hiring managers are uninterested and what’s needed to stimulate their interest.

In Part II of this post, I’ll explain why it’s the hiring manager and not the career coach who determines the criteria for “taking your brand to the next level.”

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

ALL TIP SHEET COVERS TOGETHER






 Donn LeVie Jr. is a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and has worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). He is the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).  He leads career strategy seminars and “Talent Spotting” programs for hiring managers at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. 

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com for more information.

Don’t miss out on his blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie.

 

 

 

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Should You Provide Salary History if Asked?

if-you-make-pay-the-big-deal-2Been away for a couple months – first to London, Paris, and Amsterdam for a fabulous vacation with my wife, then took a a month off to regroup and readjust my efforts going forward. Good to be back in the saddle…

Should you have to disclose your previous salary/compensation history on cover letters or applications? I’ve always been against HR’s insisting on using salary and compensation history when vetting applicants. It’s a variable that has only minor statistical significance, and it’s just too easy for an employer to use a candidate’s salary history to screen them from further consideration for open positions or toss out a low-ball offer. If HR screened résumés based on salary/compensation history before sending them to me, how was I to know whether they represented the best possible candidates of all who applied?

I understand that some company HR departments screen for salary and compensation to avoid wasting everyone’s time. Well, that’s just great, HR, but should THAT be a consideration? How about the cost of hiring the wrong person because the BEST person was eliminated just because a salary was outside the boundaries of what HR deemed “acceptable”?

I have screened candidates from further consideration because of:

  •  Insufficient skills, knowledge, experience or expertise
  • A horrible interview evaluation
  • A terrible personality that would upset the team dynamic
  • Poor references

And I have fought for higher compensation (salary, extra week vacation time, more stock options) for a candidate that I thought would greatly benefit the team and contribute to the higher strategic objectives of the organization.

Pay and compensation models vary from one company to the next (as do the expectations for similar positions)  and can be WAY off across different industries. It’s not apples to apples in many cases, but most HR departments try to strike the best arrangement for the potential employee and the employer (HR is, after all, the buyer’s agent).

Should you state your salary history in a cover letter or job application if asked? Depends on how you think that number will influence whether you’ll be considered for an interview. Avoid the temptation when asked about salary history to respond with, “salary is negotiable.” That may suggest to HR that you’re unsure of your compensation needs and you’re trying to hedge your bets. While I’ve been told that interviewers have more respect for candidates who can honestly discuss salary histories, I respect that candidate who can clearly and fearlessly state his or her trail of compensation after having done the upfront research.

showmethemoney

Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

ALL TIP SHEET COVERS TOGETHER






My name is  Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).  I lead career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. I also offer a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? My 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact me directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com for more information.

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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