How to Differentiate Yourself During a Job Search

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

This month’s Feature Article is the transcript of an interview that was conducted several years ago at Philadelphia’s CW TV Network. Host Natasha Brown asks important questions about how to differentiate yourself during a job search. The information is just as relevant today as it was when the interview was first aired.

Natasha Brown: Good morning everyone, and welcome back to “Speak-Up” here on the CW Affiliate. I’m Natasha Brown. A local man has written a book designed to help you find career happiness, even in these very difficult economic times. Ford Myers is the President of Career Potential, LLC and the author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.” Welcome to the show!

Ford Myers: Thanks, Natasha.

Natasha Brown: Thank you very much for being here with us.

Ford Myers: Nice to see you again!

Natasha Brown: Well, let’s start by talking about your book. How appropriate in this tough economic times, that you would come out with this book! But you started writing this long before the recession hit.

Ford Myers: I did. I started writing this actually more than a year and a half ago, and people were always surprised to hear that because they figure, “How did I know that the recession was coming?” And you know, the answer is very simple. I’m a career coach and I sit with clients all day long, helping them with their careers. These are often senior-level people who have influence and who have information about where their business is going, what the trends are and how things are going in general. And so, if I just listen to these clients, it helps me to gain a unique perspective. It helps me to “keep my finger on the pulse” of where business is going and where employment is going. And I knew that this perfect storm was really brewing. So I sat down to start writing this book a long time ago.

Natasha Brown: So, share with us what you’re telling folks in that book. How do you get the job you want when no one’s hiring?

Ford Myers: Well, the first thing to understand is that this is a misconception. The notion that “no one’s hiring” is really not true. This book could have been titled, “Get The Job You Want, Even When YOU THINK That No One’s Hiring!” Because the truth is that even while many companies are laying-off hundreds or even thousands of people through the front door, many of them are quietly hiring people through the back door. So, my point here is that it’s just not true that “nobody’s hiring.” I know things are bad. I know the economy and the job market are terrible, and I have a lot of empathy for the people who are out of work or who are being laid-off. But there are strategies and tactics that they can use to still succeed, to land a good position even in this terrible time.

Natasha Brown: So, what would you tell me if I were out there looking for your help? Trying to figure out, okay, I’ve got to find a job here. How do I go about doing that and where should I be looking? What businesses and what fields?

Ford Myers: Well, the first thing I would tell you, Natasha, is to slow down, think it through and get a strategy. In other words, don’t just rush-out and send out 500 resumes the very next day after you get laid-off. That’s a bad approach! A good approach is to really take a few steps back. Take stock of your situation. Where have you been, where are you now, and where are you going in the future of your career? Maybe get some help, either from a career coach or even go to a nonprofit organization. Go back to your college career placement office. Use some of the municipal agencies that support people in job transition. My point is, there is no shortage of help. What you want to do is get some support, get some help, create a strategy and get real, real clear about what you want to do next.

In other words, don’t say to yourself, “Oh, I’m desperate. I’ll take anything I can get.” Don’t cast a really wide net and accept anything. My belief is that you have to be more clear and more laser-focused than ever when you’re in these very difficult times.

Natasha Brown: So, in what industries are people finding success, finding jobs?

Ford Myers: Well, some of the fastest growing industries, the ones that are still hiring a lot are healthcare, education, also government, and security, which is kind of related to government. These are four industries that I think people should look at if they have a career path that lends itself to these kinds of disciplines.

Natasha Brown: And how do you make yourself more marketable? You know, I’ve done this my whole career, so I’m probably not a good example. But let’s just talk about making yourself a little more marketable, more a desirable for a company.

Ford Myers: Well, to make yourself more marketable, as I said, first, be real clear about your message. Know who you are, know what you stand for, and “stick to your guns.” Employers actually appreciate that. They’ll see you as more of an expert, more committed to your field and bringing more value. The second thing I would recommend is make sure your documents are top-notch. You can’t just have an “okay” resume and “pretty good” cover letters. You want to have everything absolutely perfect; top-notch to differentiate yourself. Another thing I recommend is really learn to articulate your value. What are your contributions? The only thing the employer cares about is, “What are you going to do for me, TODAY?” So you have to be able to quickly ascertain the company’s needs, problems, and challenges – and then think of how you can connect your own assets, experience and track-record of proven results.

That’s what they’re looking for. Talk in terms of proven results; talk in terms of tangible contributions. Don’t rely on your credentials or your college degree. What you really have to do is talk tangible results. And that’s so important right now, when employers are so careful about their hiring decisions.

Natasha Brown: Absolutely. We’ve done lots of stories lately about job fairs and career fairs that have been scattered about the region. How effective are they? You’ve got hundreds and hundreds of people turning-out there, trying to make their way to the tables of these companies. How do you set yourself apart in that kind of a setting, and are they effective?

Ford Myers: Well, in my belief, again, having fantastic documents is really important. But beyond that you asked another question, which is, are job fairs worth it? I don’t really think they are worth it, if you’re going there with your resume in your hand, standing in line like a “meat market,” just waiting to talk to the person at the booth, because it’s just not a good hiring process. It’s not very efficient. I believe that job fairs are good for one thing, which is RESEARCH. I tell my clients to go to job fairs and look around to see who’s there, who’s hiring, which companies are growing, what are the trends that you can pick-up on when you’re at the job fair. In fact, rather than standing in line and waiting to have your turn at the employer’s booth, I think it’s better to mill around and network with the people who are there. The other candidates, in other words. You see, other candidates are in the market; they’re looking for opportunities too. Maybe they know of a job that’s not right for them, but it might be right for you.

So, in my opinion, job fairs are great for gathering information; using it for research and meeting a lot of folks to build your network.

Natasha Brown: Wow, that’s a really good idea. I guess you could chit-chat about lunch, but then you’d want to have a more purposeful conversation.

Ford Myers:  You can get right down to the heart of the matter. But I don’t like this idea of standing in line like a big “cattle call.” I just think it’s demeaning and unproductive in many cases. Now, I don’t want to knock the people who run job fairs. Their heart is in the right place and they’re trying to hire folks. But I’ve just learned that most of my clients don’t find job fairs to be particularly productive if they’re looking to get offers. But they are productive for learning, and to research and gather information.

Natasha Brown: Wow. Well, thanks again for being here with us. Again, the title of your book?

Ford Myers: Title of the book is, “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.”

Natasha Brown: What do you want to leave folks with? A lasting thought. Once they get your book, what do you want the end result to be after they’ve read it?

Ford Myers: If they get the book, I say work through it, go through all the exercises, apply the different strategies. Then, if you need to, get some help and support. Because it’s too tough out there to do all this by yourself right now. Get some kind of help and support, some connection. Don’t sit home and answer online postings all day long, sending out your resume. You’ve got to get out and about, and connect with people.

Natasha Brown: And be active about it.

Ford Myers: Exactly.

Natasha Brown: Very helpful hints here today. Thank you so much for being here!

Ford Myers: My pleasure. And thank you!

 

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at www.CareerPotential.com or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

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