Monthly Archives: November 2016

Strategic Talent Development

Strategic talent development has several aspects: the ability to mentor others, the leadership and other soft skills required to advance oneself, and the perspective needed to see talent gaps in an organization. If you are applying for a job in middle to upper management—up to and including the C-level—your resume must reflect your abilities in strategic talent development and management.

First, strategic talent occurs at every level of an organization. Your ability to recognize and mentor it is an important soft skill. Your resume should show solid results from your mentoring, perhaps by reorganizing teams for greater productivity, developing direct reports into management roles, conducting training at your company’s request, or reducing turnover.

Second, your resume should show your commitment to developing your own talents. Perhaps you were chosen out of a number of candidates for a particular role; perhaps you were quickly promoted within your company; or perhaps you took courses in leadership or in a technology important to your company. Speaking engagements and opportunities to serve as a subject matter expert in your field are excellent indicators of your talent.

Finally, companies need employees who can help to reach their goals. The achievements on your resume should show that you understand the strategic goals of organizations and how to reach them. Your resume should show how your talents align not only with the goals of your current company, but with the goals of the company where you want to work. You should research the pain points of that prospective company and address them in your resume or cover letter.

A Network to Power a Job Hunt

We have all heard about the power of networks in the job hunt, but too many people still fall back on using online applying as their central job search method. However, internal referrals and inside validation of candidates still often act as the catalyst to eliminate or minimize the competition. To reach this status, a strong network is needed, and it does not mean that we all need to be extroverts. Here are some basic tips to help expand your network.

Ask members of your current network for referrals. The “friend-of-a-friend” connection is quite strong and can be very successful. “Who else should I be talking to?” is a good question to consider using when asking for referrals.

Ramp up your activities on social and professional networking sites. Add connections / friends. Make sure that your LinkedIn Profile is up-to-date and vibrant. Endorse skills of your connections and write sincere testimonials. Virtual connections can be further strengthened with face-to-face connections, when possible locally.

Join professional groups on LinkedIn. Then become active in participating in or starting discussions. Online networking is an excellent way to grow our networks beyond our geographic limitations.

Join professional associations with local chapter meetings. Then attend the meetings, get to know others, and look for opportunities to assist others. Reciprocation is natural and cooperation bonds people. Local affiliations often hold networking events. Take full advantage of such opportunities.

Volunteer. This is especially important for those in the social services field. Providing your time and effort to a needy cause is perhaps one of the strongest venues for networking because you are working side-by-side with people who share your passion for helping others.

Conduct informational interviews. This is an especially effective method for entry-level job seekers and career changers. As the name implies, this is an interview you set up with someone in your profession or industry who can provide you with an insider perspective. Not only do you gain insider information but you create a valuable contact. Keep it short and professional. Most people are happy to talk about their careers if it does not impinge too much upon their time.

Job Interview and How to Fix It

Securing a coveted interview with a potential employer means you have passed the first test to getting your foot in the door with a new organization. Congratulations! While being asked to interview is an achievement in itself, now is the time to prepare to wow the interviewer(s) with your knowledge of the business, relevant experience, and ability to meld with the company’s corporate culture. The following are some signs you are not prepared for the big job interview with tips on how to get ready to rock it instead.

Not Knowing About the Company

You are not prepared if you know nothing about the company, what type of work it does, the company culture, or any details of the position you have applied for. It will be glaringly obvious to your interviewer if you didn’t do your research ahead of time—and it will hurt your chances of being asked back.

How to Fix It

Do your homework ahead of time by researching the company. Visit the company website to learn about the company’s services or products, what it does best, and the clients they serve. Also visit the company’s LinkedIn and Facebook pages to get a better understanding of the company, any bleeding needs they have, and, most importantly, the company’s culture. You could even reach out to a couple of the company’s current employees to find out what they love most about working for the organization.

You Forgot Important Documents

If you did not bring your resume, cover letter, and references, you are not prepared and it will show. You should have several copies of these printed items with you on crisp, professional paper. When you get the call for an interview, be sure to ask how many people will be interviewing you so you know how many copies to take along. It also never hurts to have a couple of extra copies on hand.

How to Fix It

After you receive an invitation to interview, visit the company website and social media. Review the requirements of the position for which you are interviewing and adjust your cover letter and resume accordingly to demonstrate how well you will fit in and what you bring to the table. Be sure to run a spelling and grammar check. Print several copies two days before the interview on professional resume paper. This buys time to replace ink cartridges, correct glaring errors, and make necessary changes. You also don’t have to panic about printing these the morning of the interview if you have taken care of this in advance.

You Failed to Dress to Impress

You didn’t have proper interview attire, so you’re not dressed appropriately. This is a big problem. Recruiters report that candidates not dressing appropriately for the position is a major factor in their hiring decision. The old adage “Dress to impress” still holds true.

How to Fix It

Dress for the job you want. Invest in at least one great interview outfit. Keep your look conservative and professional. Buy a black, gray, or blue suit that makes you look sharp for corporate jobs. Don’t forget the tie, gentlemen. Also remember nice dress shoes that fit well and will be comfortable to wear. Try on your entire ensemble when you get home to make sure everything fits well and is comfortable far before the interview. This gives you time to make any necessary alterations and allows you to feel primed when the big day arrives.