Category Archives: Continuous Promotion Approach

Squirrelly Career Advice: “Send a thank-you note”

two squirrels talking

This is the first post on a new series of squirrelly career advice floating around on social media. My opinions are based on my 25+ years from the hiring manager’s perspective on how to differentiate your expertise from other candidates in the job market.

There’s no doubt about it, career advice is as freely given as is political commentary these days because everyone has an opinion about everything. Some are learned and informed;  others are not so. Many of the career discussion forums on social media are populated with well-intentioned people who feel compelled to dole out career advice, often citing a single instance from their own career journey as a foundation for their counsel to others.There may indeed be an acorn of wisdom embedded in some of those posts (I’ll forego the old saying about a blind squirrel here…).

First up, the stale, old, passé advice for “sending a thankyou note to the hiring manager.” Here’s an example from a job seeker discussion group: “I haven’t heard back from the hiring manager after my interview…what should my next move be?” The responses overwhelmingly suggested sending a thank-you note to the hiring manager. Sure, go ahead and follow that advice–that everyone else is doing. That doesn’t differentiate you from all the other thank-you notes the hiring manager receives.  When someone tells you to do something that everyone else is doing, stop and reconsider that advice to ask yourself: “Does this advice bring my résumé to the top of the pile? Does this advice differentiate my expertise in a positive light and put me on the hiring manager’s short list?”

Think about it: a hiring manager has a need he or she is trying to fill or has problems in  need of a problem solver. You have offered your expertise to be that problem-solver and you are sending them a thank-you note?? Where’s the logic in that? Proper business etiquette rules suggest they should be sending you a thank-you note for sharing how you can help them.

You want to continue to share how your expertise differentiates you from other candidates after interviews are over. You want to keep your name fresh on the minds of hiring managers, not stuck in the middle of the deck with everyone else. You do that by following up with the hiring manager with a written one-page “case study” of some related project challenge you had a hand in resolving. Maybe a week or so later you again follow up with a copy of an article you had published in a peer-reviewed journal. You want to build familiarity with your name and expertise in the hiring manager’s mind. Repeated exposure to your name and expertise after interviews have concluded does this. Cognition theory (and test marketing) affirms that establishing familiarity with a brand creates a preference for that brand.

I’ve blogged about embedding your brand in the minds of hiring managers and I go into detail on the exact process (“The Trojan Horse Technique”) in my books. I’ll refer you to those resources for more details.

Thank you for reading this post.

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 (for job seekers and for hiring managers wanting to know how to spot talent) 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.

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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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Why Not Getting the Job Offer Isn’t All Bad

No-Job-Offers

Didn’t get that job offer you wanted, even though you followed all the right strategies and tactics (hopefully the ones I recommended)? Well, there are some variables of the hiring process at play that you don’t have any control over, such as the state of the economy, the current state of your particular industry or profession, regulatory compliance that stymies job growth, and so on.

But, it’s not all bad and here’s why. Let me suggest another way of looking at the situation. Rather than bemoan the fact that you didn’t get the job offer, why not look at it as you didn’t get the job offer today.

So many people give up pursuing a dream job when someone else got the job offer. But guess what: you don’t have to stop promoting your expertise and interest to the hiring manager because you don’t know if the person who was hired will work out or quit in the meantime (don’t assume all employers will “keep your résumé on file”).

If the job is one you see as a great opportunity for enhancing your career, here’s a strategy that embraces the idea of “switching on your own career”:

  1. Honestly self-assess how well you think you performed in the hiring process; what might you have done differently if given the opportunity? Adjust any aspect of your documents or interview skills that need it.
  2. Three to 4 months down the road, send an email to the hiring manager expressing your hope the candidate has worked out well for the position you applied for. This email continues developing the associative model in the mind of the hiring manager, connecting your name with your expertise for that position.
  3. A few months later, send the hiring manager another one of the documents in your Professional Skills, Knowledge, and Experience (PSKE Portfolio) using the Trojan Horse technique (attaching the Post-It Note to the document) that I’ve written about in my books and in previous blog posts.
  4. Repeat Step 3 four to six months later. Let all this simmer in the hiring manager’s mind.

Of course, in the meantime you have been pursuing other opportunities and may have snagged a terrific job. The point here is that you don’t have to stop promoting your expertise after job interviews have ended and you don’t have stop promoting your expertise after the job offer goes to another candidate.

Some folks may feel “I don’t want to seem like a pain in the a** to hiring managers by doing this…” I understand, but that’s an employee attitude. The consultant’s attitude continues to promote the benefits of that expertise without placing time limits on that effort. And, you never know who will end up with that post-hire information you sent.

In 1993, I interviewed for a position at Motorola. I didn’t get the job but I followed up with the hiring manager by sending him (using the techniques described above) a copy of a peer-reviewed journal article I had published and a few months later, a column I wrote in an industry newsletter. Didn’t hear back at all from him.

One year later, a different hiring manager from Motorola contacted me to see if I was interested in a team lead position with his department. I didn’t apply for the job – in fact, I didn’t know about it – so I asked how he came upon my résumé, and he told me another hiring manager (the one I interviewed with a year previous) had forwarded it along with the other documents to his attention.

When you absorb a consultant’s attitude toward the benefits of your expertise, you’ll realize communicating those benefits has no time limit.

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of the newly released Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), 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).

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PART 2: Do You Need Professional Career Help? Coaches, Résumé Writers, Recruiters

Do I need Professional Help

Professional Résumé Writers

Let me start off right away with this: I am not a proponent of having someone else—a résumé writer, for example—document your professional skills, knowledge, and experience for your career strategy. Your mileage may differ if you’ve had a positive experience. No doubt there are truly skilled and knowledgeable résumé writers who understand how to best present your experience in a favorable light based on the information you provide them. But rephrasing your verbiage using a thesaurus and reformatting your content in a pleasing template will not necessarily garner the interest of a hiring manager.

Many résumé writers are freelance writers who perhaps specialize in business writing or business communications. Some may have certifications such as Certified Leadership & Talent Management Coach, Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Nationally Certified Résumé Writer (NCRW), while others may have little or no experience in career counseling or in human resources – or even have years of experience vetting candidate résumés. Entrusting someone who does not have near the knowledge of your own experience as you do to write your résumé can be a risky investment.

What about using a Certified Resume Writer?

A “certified résumé writer” obtains certification by paying a fee to first joint a national association, pay another fee to have résumé samples reviewed, pay another fee for a certification review/exam, and if any part of the exam is failed, pay another fee for re-examination six or more months later. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are awarded for books published on writing résumés and cover letters, and for other education participation.

That’s all well and good and serves to provide some degree of competency for those who wish to become certified résumé writers (there are checklists and study guides available to help along the way).

A word about “guarantees” from anyone offering career help for money. No one can offer a guarantee that you will find a job with their personal assistance as there just are too many other variables beyond any one person’s control that influence one hiring manager’s decision to hire. Changes in hiring practices, job market fluctuations at different times and in different regions of the country, the overall up and down gyrations of the economy, even your likeability factor dictate to varying degrees decisions to hire. Beware of anyone making any kind of guarantees of finding you a job or career and requiring an upfront payment. The only guarantee that can be offered realistically with a résumé writing service is that you are satisfied that the résumé someone else wrote adequately reflects your skills, knowledge, and experience. If you aren’t satisfied, you’ll probably receive a free rewrite (something you can do for yourself).

But the question remains: who is the expert on your previous experience, skills, and knowledge? Who is the expert on what it took to help the organization achieve some higher strategic objective or revenue goal? Whose fingerprints should be all over the documents that attest to your expertise? Who knows best the long hours, the endless meetings, the challenges you met and overcame for every bulleted item on your résumé? I think you know the answer to those questions.

Next Post: Why YOU are the Best Option for Writing Your Résumé and Cover Letter

P.S. Many thanks to the folks who have recently elected to follow me on Twitter!

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The Strategy of Staging the Release of Information for Getting Hired

Time and time again, I see so many candidates sabotage their chances of getting a job interview or even a job offer by failing to understand that the entire hiring process is one that best responds to the staged release of information over time. The process leading up to a job interview or a job offer is not an opportunity for a data dump on the hiring manager. The problem seems to be one that is more common with non-native English speakers (NNES as they are called) or people who seek employment in the U.S. from overseas. They often treat the hiring process as a single event, wanting to accompany cover letter and résumé with other documentation that explains their particular circumstances, whether it be H1B visa issues, relocation challenges, or physical disabilities. That’s a sure way to guarantee being dropped from further consideration.

The initial strategy is to first be a likable person. Human nature dictates that we all want to work with people we like (except maybe the people on the TV show Hardcore Pawn), so that obstacle must first be cleared before you can be considered for your expertise (your skills, knowledge, experience, and accomplishments–not necessarily in that order). How that expertise addresses the needs of the hiring manager is equally as important. It is much easier for a hiring manager or Human Resources professional to address any mitigating circumstances surrounding your being offered a position after your expertise has been deemed valuable and needed by the organization.

Your cover letter should speak to how your expertise and accomplishments (hiring managers want problem solvers, game changers, and solutions providers–not just another employee with “duties and responsibilities”) address what the hiring manager needs and the position requires–all without summarizing the same information that’s on your résumé. You have 5 to 7 seconds to grab that hiring manager’s attention, so be sure your first sentence doesn’t begin with: “I have enclosed my résumé for consideration for the such-and-such position” because that sort of drivel means you likely won’t get called for an interview.  The cover letter is not the place (or the time) to mention anything other than your being the hiring manager’s candidate of choice based on what you’ve done, not what you were “responsible for.”

The purpose of the cover letter is to get the hiring manager’s interest so he or she will look at your résumé; the purpose of your résumé is to generate sufficient interest so that you are called in for an interview. The purpose of the interview is to assess: (1) you (likability factor), (2) your skillset, and (3) your accomplishments so that the hiring manager can predict (with very limited data) the probability of your on-the-job success. Don’t eliminate yourself from further consideration by providing ancillary information that has no immediate bearing on these three key factors.

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