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Starting Over

Handy Hints and Simple Suggestions for Finding a New Job

By Emmet Robinson – Owner, King Street Recording Company

As regular readers of “Your Career Advocate” know, we sometimes feature the writing of other experts. We thought this article would be an ideal selection, because it addresses many relevant challenges that candidates are confronting in this tough job market.
– Ford R. Myers


What Happened to My Job?

When the pandemic has finally run its course and it’s safe to go back to work, you may find that you no longer have a job because the business you worked for has failed.

The Coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to our economy. Thousands of businesses have already closed, leaving thousands of commercial properties listed as “For Rent” or “For Sale.”

Among the surviving businesses, competition for available positions will be fierce. How can you gain a major competitive advantage?

First, be aware that a slick resumé will not be enough. Chances are excellent that you will not be hired without at least one live interview – possibly several. This is where so many applicants fail.

The following information is designed to give you the edge.

Source

To begin, all commentary offered here is based on my fifty-six years of experience in the business world – plus my 200-volume reference library. For anyone wanting to find and keep a new job, I believe that a number of basic principles tend to be universal and will apply to any position in any industry by anyone who chooses to apply them.

Stand-Up and Stand-Out

Finding a job is a job – a full-time job. Most of us are not retirement-ready and have minimal savings. For this reason, prospecting for employment needs to begin immediately. Regardless of your technical skills, finding a new employer worthy of your talents may involve developing skills not generally taught in college. Among these are advertising, sales and customer service.

You‘ll be in direct competition with many others, and one job opening may attract hundreds of other applicants. Therefore, I believe that it’s necessary to develop ways to stand-up and stand-out above and beyond your competitors. The first of these is making yourself known.

Begin by creating a list of every networking organization you can find in your region. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, try The Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group. There are many chapters and some may have meetings online.

Once the pandemic danger has passed, in-person meetings will be allowed again. Choose at least one organization from your list and start showing-up.

Since your face is your best advertisement, make your face known by attending every session you can. Ask the people you meet about other organizations that may be helpful. Show up early, and be prepared by having the proper tools: (1) Business Card, and (2) “Elevator Speech.”

Let’s explore these tools in more detail.

Your Card

Your business card serves several purposes:

1. It gives you instant credibility as a professional in your chosen field.

2. As a miniature billboard, it describes the value you offer – the result you produce. Most business cards are a waste of paper because they fail to make these important points.

3. All of your contact information must be spelled-out in clear text. This is far more impressive than frantically scribbling something on the back of an envelope at a meeting.

Your business card will require a minor investment, and to justify that investment, it must be effective. To be effective it must describe what you produce as a result of your education, training and experience. That result needs to be expressed in a single, short, memorable line that anyone can understand. Most find this too difficult. You see, although your education, training and experience are of importance to a potential employer, they represent a process. The knowledgeable employer is more interested in the result you produce. How do you describe your result? Take a lesson from the world of advertising.

You know that if it’s “Good to the Last Drop,” it’s Maxwell House coffee. “The Pause that Refreshes” was a vintage ad for Coca-Cola. If you’re a financial advisor, you might tell prospective clients, “I Make Your Money Work Harder for You.” As a software designer, you might say, “I Write Code that Always Works.” The card of an auto technician might read, “I Keep Cars Rolling Longer – and Better.”

I call these phrases, “One-Liners.”Your one-liner will serve two purposes. Along with prominent placement on your business card, it will also be the foundation of your“Elevator Speech.” Now, a word about that.

The Speech

Your elevator speech is intended to convey both your value and your mission in thirty seconds or less. Many of the hundreds of elevator speeches I’ve heard sound more like condensed resumes. They tend to include previous job history, courses attended, etc. Putting it plainly, in meeting new people one-on-one, the one-liner from your business card is your elevator speech. If you’re seeking a management position, for example, you might introduce yourself by saying, “Hi. My name is Fred Berman, and I increase profits through effective team building. I’m looking for an opportunity to help a business grow.”

Grip and Grin

Make direct eye contact with those you meet, with an occasional glance away.

Shook-Up

Give a firm handshake – use the same amount of pressure you might use to pick up a hammer.

Who Are You?

Pronounce your name clearly, with a microsecond space between your first and last names. This avoids being asked to repeat your name.

Speak Out

State your elevator speech smoothly, confidently and conversationally – as though you’d just thought of it. So many elevator speeches I’ve heard sound more like third-grade recitations.

Bits and Pieces

Having had extensive sales experience, I’ve learned that asking questions can be far more effective than giving extended presentations.

For example, although age discrimination is alive and well in America, the interviewer is restricted from mentioning it. If you suspect that the number of birthdays behind you may be a barrier to the job in front of you, you might ask a question: “I wonder… which is more important to your company – my age? Or the profits I can add to your bottom line?”

Sometimes a vague, wishy-washy response is all the answer you need. On one of my job interviews, I asked straight out, “Is it okay that I’m sixty-five?” Their response was, “Um, yeah. Okay.” I was with that company for more than eight years, received a promotion and several raises until management decided that they’d rather reduce the payroll than have the considerable benefits of my efforts. When they began cutting my hours, I saw the handwriting on the wall and started prospecting in advance. I was able to resign on a Friday and start a new job the following Monday. My former employers never found anyone else with the same skill-set. The business ultimately failed.

Talk More Gooder

If you really want to impress people, become a smooth talker. Learn to choose and use your words with surgical precision. Those who speak with exceptional skill are generally accorded credit for intelligence and education far beyond what they may actually possess. You can explore the possibilities available through Toastmasters®.

About Your Abilities

When my Mom asked the young auto technician if he could fix her car, he said, “Well, ma’am, this is my first day – but I’ll do the best I can.” His quiet smile and understated confidence gave her all of the calm reassurance she needed.

So, when an interviewer presents you with a series of scenarios and asks if you can handle them, simply smile, nod and say, “Um hmm.” Provided, of course, that you really can!

You may feel a compulsion to explain in detail. Suppress it! Long explanations can make you seem less capable, not more. Always remember that when your kid comes home at 3:00am with a sad tale of woe about “car trouble” – that the longer the story, the larger the lie!

The simplest responses are usually the best. If someone wants more detail, let them ask. If they do, have some pre-rehearsed success stories ready – complete with metrics if appropriate.

Commonalities

A wide variety of resources is available to those in need of new jobs. There is a multitude of books, newsletters, seminars, classes and one-on-one training – each with a somewhat different approach. Which is the best?

My approach would be to investigate them all – or at least as many as you can – and look for the commonalities. If the majority of resources recommend a specific approach to interviewing, for example, that might be the way to go.

What’s Your Real Job?

In any form of employment, each and every employee has one primary purpose – making money for the company. When Lee Iacocca took over management of Chrysler, he made an announcement to the effect that, “We’re in the car business here. We make ‘em, and we sell ‘em. If you don’t perform one of those functions, your services are no longer required.”

What Do They Want?

Although they may share some common agendas, those who do the actual hiring have individual biases and preferences. Trying to intuit them is a waste of your valuable time. Consider this: You are who you are, and your qualifications and personality are what they are. You have value. In seeking employment, you are looking for those who are already looking for you. Simply present yourself as well as you can, and the response will be whatever it is.

Abandon Hope!

So, you have a final interview scheduled for a job you really want, and you hope you’ll get the offer. Right?

Hoping is the same as wishing, and doesn’t accomplish anything. Hoping also contributes to tension. On an interview, do you really need to be tenser than you already are?

Instead of hoping, adopt an attitude of curiosity. Make that initial inquiry and measure the response. Show-up for that interview and grade your performance. What went well? What needs work? Remember that there may be many more interviews, and that each one is a rehearsal for the next.

So, knowing that hope fails to produce a beneficial result, what does? Deliberate, organized, sustained effort!

Copyright © 2021 Emmet Robinson. All Rights Reserved.


Emmet Robinson is owner of King Street Recording Company in Malvern, PA. He can be reached at (610) 647-4341 or kingstreetrecord@aol.com. Visit Emmet’s web site at: https://www.kingstreetrecording.com.

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 have appeared in thousands of publications and web sites, and he has been interviewed on every major television and radio network. Ford has also conducted presentations at hundreds of companies, associations and universities. Learn more at https://careerpotential.com.

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