Tag Archives: adding value

Do You Suffer from “Twitterhea”?

pepto in a spoon

You know how some pop music radio stations play your favorite song so much that you quickly get sick of it? When that happens, that song becomes the punch line of a joke. I remember when “Hang on, Sloopy” was such a big hit in the ’60s, and then the DJs ran it into the ground so much that the joke became, “Hey did you hear what happened to Sloopy? She let go…”

Well, I may be stirring the pot here, but the same thing can happen with too much of a social media presence. Many people suffer from it but are afraid to admit it. It’s a virus that affects the center of the brain that controls the compulsion for attention on social media like Facebook, but often shows up on Twitter. Nevertheless, some Twitter pundits recommend “3 to 5 Tweets a day” as a good healthy balance but it’s not the number of daily tweets that determines if you suffer from Twitterhea: it’s the number of daily Tweets that offer no content of value to others. That’s just a compulsion to be seen and heard.

Sure there’s a proper balance, but what determines that balance is the value of  your content. The value of YOUR content is what separates you from others who simply retweet the content of others all day long. But even if you tweet your own high-value content, there’s still something to be said for “less is more.”

Using 140 characters to get out a message is just about as long as people’s attention spans can stand before they start thinking about their next meal (or their next Tweet). If you’re trying to build brand equity, first ensure what you put on social media is weighted more with your own insight and knowledge than totally forwarding the words of others. Mix it up but leave it heavier with your own wisdom and expertise.

You know best what your goals are for social media. Remain aware that building your brand relies more on your thoughts and ideas rather than echoing those of others (though there can still be value there too).

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Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of 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). He leads career strategy seminars 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 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

 

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Résumé Disconnects: Watch Out For These!

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I continue to see client résumés that have several important disconnects on them that will stop a hiring manager from considering the candidate further. Here are three that get little press but can have a significant influence on the Continuum of Belief I recently wrote about here.

Disconnect Between Functional Expertise and Employment History

Whether you list your functional skills/expertise in a table or bulleted list, be sure that the expertise you claim comes from actual work experience, degrees, licenses, or certifications that you already possess and not seminars, webinars, blogs, college coursework, or books. You can’t claim to have expertise in “Ammonia Refrigeration” or “Forensics and Valuation” in your areas of expertise, but then state “currently preparing for Mechanical Contractor License” or “CPA certification (or “Accounting degree”)  in progress” elsewhere–especially if none of your work experience explicitly mentions “ammonia refrigeration” or “forensics and valuation.”  You must connect the dots because the hiring manager will try to as well.

Do not confuse limited knowledge or experience with expertise. This is seen by many hiring managers as a tactic to disguise or minimize insufficient minimal education or experience. Such disconnects are a red flag to anyone responsible for hiring people.

Disconnect Between Functional Expertise and Accomplishment

If you claim some specific expertise in that “functional skills/expertise” table but there’s no mention of an accomplishment or achievement that incorporated that expertise, there could very well be a disconnect in the mind of the hiring manager scanning your résumé. Be sure some of those keywords used in your “Areas of Expertise” table correlate to some work-related accomplishment. Make the connection!

Disconnect Between Accomplishment/Achievement and Duties/Responsibilities

All too often I see client résumés that list ordinary duties and responsibilities as “accomplishments.” Either candidates are trying to pass themselves off as achievers or they don’t understand the differences that separate duties/responsibilities and task completions from valued accomplishments. If generating management reports is part of your duties and responsibilities, don’t list “management report generation” as an accomplishment! It is a task you completed as part of your duties. Hiring managers are wise to this disconnect and it will disqualify you from further consideration.

Getting hired has been, is, and will always be about what the hiring manager needs. Address those needs rather than your own and you’ll continue moving forward in the hiring process.

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3 Critical Factors for Getting a Job Offer: No. 3 – Your Value Proposition

value proposition

Your Value Proposition

The third critical factor for getting a job offer is your value proposition. Your value proposition clearly states (in writing and verbally) the essence of:

  • How your expertise solves problems or better positions your audience (hiring manager, contract manager, client, etc.)
  • How your audience benefits from your expertise (quantified value, such as revenues generated, costs avoided, percent improvement)
  • Your unique differentiation (why you are the best available solution or what’s different from/better than what other candidates may offer)
  • The benefits of your expertise in the language of your target audience (which may be different from how you speak to your skills, knowledge, and experience)

A solid value proposition is the core of any career strategy and is a message that describes how you as an individual uniquely create value for clients, companies, and stakeholders. It is the primary reason why your services should be selected by a prospective employer or client over all other competitors. It is an elevator pitch of sorts that answers the question: “Why should I hire you?” The elements that comprise your professional brand support the essential message of your professional value proposition. Bundled together, they remove all others from consideration for the job or contract. Getting hired is never about you or your awesome experience. It’s about how you can and will address the needs of the hiring manager going forward.

A carefully planned strategy designed to shorten the time necessary to get hired, promoted, or for a career transition focuses and reinforces your unique competitive advantages. In today’s aggressive job market, a personal strategy for developing your career is a must. Without it, you’re likely to become just part of someone else’s plan to develop their own.

That’s why it’s important that you ask yourself every day: “What did I do today to create that unique advantage for my career strategy?”

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3 Critical Factors for Getting a Job Offer: No. 2 – Establish a Continuum of Belief

continuum of belief

My previous post addressed the importance of creating value in the mind of the hiring manager. Closely related to creating hiring manager value is the establishment of what I call a “Continuum of Belief.”

Your value as the hiring manager’s problem solver must be expressed in the Continuum of Belief as conveyed initial in your cover letter. Here you set up the tone and conditions that communicate to the hiring manager your expertise and accomplishments. One of the purposes of a cover letter is to generate sufficient interest to get the hiring manager to look at your résumé. If you’ve read my career strategy books or followed me on this blog for a while, you know how important it is to pull your lists of accomplishments and achievements (quantified, if possible, and in bold typeface) from your résumé and place them in a bullet list near the top of your cover letter. If you’ve got less than 7 seconds to get a hiring manager’s interest, don’t beat around the bush with stating obvious information (such as “I am applying for…” or “Attached is my résumé”) and get to the point. Having the list of accomplishments immediately after your opening attention-grabbing sentence helps do this.

As the connections between the cover letter and achievement-focused résumé are being made in the mind of the hiring manager, in essence your standing along the Continuum of Belief strengthens as you move forward through the stages of the hiring process. If that initial stage is strong, your chances for being called in for an interview are higher. Score a great interview and your chances improve for getting on the hiring manager’s short list.

Your interview skills (both answering and asking questions) further enhance the Continuum of Belief as you proceed through this next phase of the hiring process. You may next have to interview with others in a second round, but getting through that round is made easier because of the stronger Continuum of Belief you established with the cover letter-résumé-initial interview chain. If you’re familiar with my post-job-interview strategy (detailed in Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 [Second Edition] and augmented in Strategic Career Engagement), you’ll see how to further strengthen that Continuum of Belief.

After all, creating that unique advantage is really about demonstrating that you are the best available candidate for solving other people’s problems, and that requires a strategy for career engagement. When you leave your career strategy to chance, you shouldn’t be surprised with the lack of results.

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3 Critical Factors for Getting a Job Offer: No. 1 – Your Value

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In my 25-plus years in different hiring manager positions for Fortune 500 companies, I have identified three variables that are of paramount importance for developing a successful career strategy or receiving a job offer: (1) How well your value (the benefits of your expertise, accomplishments) addresses the hiring manager’s issues and needs, and (2) the strength of the continuum of belief (those elements of value you provide) you establish with the hiring manager as you proceed through the entire hiring process; and (3) your value proposition, which is simply a promise of value to be delivered to a specific audience. These three variables work together to help create and promote your professional brand.

Your Future Value to the Hiring Manager

Communicating your value to hiring managers is first conveyed in a cover letter. You have less than 7 seconds to get that hiring manager’s attention and you must get to the point immediately in your first sentence. What gets the attention of hiring managers most are the future benefits of your expertise, not the features of your past experience. In other words, your cover letter must have a tone that says, “here’s what I can do for you going forward,” and not simply a summary of your résumé. The purpose of the cover letter is to get the hiring manager to look at your résumé, so “sell the sizzle” of your expertise there.

A résumé that communicates your value to hiring managers is one that focuses on accomplishments and achievements more so than duties, responsibilities, and task completions – because everyone has duties and responsibilities. A résumé full of “duties and responsibilities” conveys your status to a hiring manager as just another potential employee looking for a job. Hiring managers want to bring on board problem solvers and experts with a track record of accomplishment.

You can’t just say “I have a proven track record” in your cover letter and then not have any accomplishments (preferably quantified accomplishments) to back up that statement. Hiring managers always look for the evidence on your résumé. And a reminder: completing a task associated with a duty or responsibility is NOT an accomplishment, yet I see this error all the time with many of my career strategy clients.

Becoming the hiring manager’s candidate of choice requires a basic understanding of an important marketing principle: Value is what connects the person with a need (the hiring manager) to the person who can fulfill that need (you, the candidate). It’s the same whether you are selling vacuum cleaners, cars, or your professional expertise. Doesn’t matter to the person buying a new vacuum cleaner or a new car how many vacuum cleaners or cars you sold in the past; what counts is can you address the cleaning requirements, transportation needs, or other issues of that person going forward –  whether that’ s a customer or a sales manager. If the person with the need perceives and believes that you offer real value, you have fulfilled that need and can make the sale—or receive the job offer.

The next post will address the second factor for getting a job offer:  Establishing a “Continuum of Belief.”

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