You think of your resume as a tool to get a new job at another company and forget to recognize it as tool to get a promotion where you are.
You need a job-targeted resume for pursuing internal promotions because
Promotions come to those who earn them, not as a reward for watching the clock for three years. Thinking through what's really needed for your next step up the ladder, building the skills to earn that promotion then creating a resume that positions you for the job is smart strategic thinking.
Your promotion campaign starts with determining a specific target job for the next logical step up the ladder and then understanding the requirements for someone holding that job title.
Collect Job Postings for that next step and deconstruct the target job's specific deliverables, see Critical Target Job Deconstruction for ways to do this.
Once you have a crystal clear idea of what is needed to succeed in the target job
Once your skills have reached 70% of those required for the new job you can start building a resume targeted on that promotion.
You can be successful without further education after high school. Example? Bill Gates walked out of Harvard. However, for most of us, the odds are very long indeed for achieving the American Dream without benefit of a degree.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics research shows that over the span of your career with:
Hit them books!
Networking — The Secret to Professional Connectivity
Networking is the gentle art of getting personal introductions to potential employers through people you know.
Employers favor it because hires from personal referrals are seen to be faster, cheaper and result in an employee who is productive more quickly and who stays with the company longer. It works for you, because these factors give any employer a favorable attitude towards your candidacy.
Unfortunately, most people haven't developed a wide enough social and professional network to make this approach maximally effective. There are four networks you can pursue, which offer big time pay-offs for your strategic career moves. You become better connected to your profession and community, know more people, develop better skills, have expanded options, and will be far less likely to get caught accepting the first offer that comes along, simply so you can make that mortgage or rent payment. The four networks of involvement are
When you really make the effort to get to know people at work, you immediately start building a network of contacts throughout your industry. Nowadays people stay at a job maybe three or four years, so co-workers are continually moving on to the very companies that one-day might well have an ideal job for you.
Even if you don't know a departing co-worker well take the opportunity to collect contact information, and then make the effort to stay in touch. Maintaining friendly relations with co-workers and ex-colleagues will give your network a solid foundation over the years. A phone call once a year to say, "Hi how are things with you?" and a card at the holidays will net you an ever-widening circle of contacts. When you, in turn, move on, collect contact information from everyone with whom you have come in contact; with the advent of email, it is possible to keep up with large networks of personal contacts almost effortlessly.
As you enhance your career with the nurturing of contacts you make along your professional journey, you can also connect to larger relevant communities through membership in professional associations. The most successful professionals you will ever meet are
With membership in professional associations (just go to your search engine, type the name of your profession, say "finance", and the word "associations") you can get to know the most successful, dedicated and connected fellow professionals in your area. You even get an introduction to members whom you have never met through the members' directory that comes with your membership. Simply pick up the telephone and introduce yourself, "Hi Brenda Massie? This Martin Yate, we haven't spoken before but we are both members of the Association of Charted Accountants. Brenda, may I ask your advice about a professional matter?"
You can use similar introductions with just about any networking contact. With professional associations, members will likely have a good handle on what you do, with other groups that won't always be the case, but people like you in other ways are still likely to have contacts somewhere in your profession. Even where you lack a personal relationship, the common bond that comes from school, university and military affiliations will guarantee your message an understanding audience.
With networking, you aren't expecting a an interview or a job offer (although this will happen along the way), you are hoping for a lead in the right direction, just as you would when asking directions on the road from Carmarthen into the beautiful wilds of Wales.
So having made the introduction, you can sadly make two avoidable blunders. You can talk in endless circles around your objective, like a virgin on a first date, and when you do finally make a move it is to talk about your dream job. Together these faux pas make it difficult for even the most willing contact not to switch from wanting to help you to wanting to strangle you.
When common ground exists through an association, introduction or other social network, you can assume that your listener will be well disposed towards you; you can repay this goodwill by showing respect for their time and politely cutting to the chase. "Brenda, I am an accountant with Anderson the last four years, I work in the small business area and I'm looking to make a change...." Rather than rambling, in less than ten seconds you have courteously provided a focus, and it is here that you have to avoid the next gaffe by saying something like, "my ideal job would be..."or "the next step I'd like to take is...."
By describing an ideal job, or your next step up the professional ladder (a step usually taken once a proven commodity within a company) you make things more difficult for the listener who thinks, "this guy is looking for something very special, and any introductions I can make will probably be wasting his time." It is more productive to talk in terms of what you do day-to-day, or even simply leaving it at your being an accountant looking for a new opportunity.
" ... The reason for my call Brenda, is that I thought you might know someone working in the accounting/finance area?" If you are given a lead, always ask if you can use your contact's name as an introduction. Follow up with other questions, "Can you think of anyone else?" "What companies do you know who might be looking?" " Is there anyone there I could speak to?" The connectivity that comes with professional and neighborhood involvement, is not only excellent for your long-term career management, it is enriching for your personal life. You have heard it said of successful people that it is not so much what they know, as who they know, and the career enhancing benefits of professional connectivity prove this beyond any shadow of a doubt.
Networking — Seven Job Search Networks We All Need
Productive networking is all about your connectivity to relevant people, ideally within your profession, and then having productive conversations that generate leads, referrals and introductions. Like most professionals you have probably been too busy doing your job to build effective networks, so your existing networks are easily exhausted.
Here are seven networks you can use to accelerate your job search, stabilize your long-term career management strategies, and enhance your quality of life.
1. Colleagues. Make a real effort to build networks at your current, prior and next jobs. Reach out to people you've worked with, as a colleague and as a friend. You can use any approach you like, but might consider the truth,
"We've worked together in the past and with both of us furiously pursuing our careers, we haven't stayed in touch as we might. Lately I have realized that jobs come and go but that the people in our lives shouldn't. I'd like to establish contact again so that we can help each other and those we care about."
You will of course personalize this call, letter or email to the history and circumstances of your relationship.
2. Social networking. There are now many sites expressly created for professional networking. Headhunters and employers use them as recruitment channels.
These sites also have special interest groups for people with common professional interests and jobs get posted to these groups. Networking sites often have job banks or links to job sites and also offer local opportunities for in-person networking. Here is a comprehensive resource of social networking sites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_sites
3. College alumni associations. Alumni associations can play a pivotal role in your professional life. Alumni association membership means access to the membership database and with it a wide network of professionals with whom you share a common bond.
4. Your references. If these are people you think will speak well of you when an offer comes along, why not confirm it now and leverage that goodwill throughout your job hunt? When someone agrees to act as a reference, give an update about what you have been doing and explain your job search goals, but get too specific or too grandiose and you narrow their opportunities to help. See Knock em Dead 2011: The Ultimate Job Search Guide for how to leverage these relationships.
5. Professional Associations. The best step you can take for long-term career success is to become connected to your profession by joining one or more professional associations: one relevant to your profession, one relevant to your management status, and one if you belong to an identifiable minority. For example, to find groups for women in finance you might Google using the keywords "women in finance" and then "society" or 'association."
There are many benefits to professional association membership including, job postings you might not see elsewhere and a common bond with thousands of accessible professionals in the association database. Here is a resource for professional associations: http://www.weddles.com/associations/index.cfm.
6. Local job search networking groups. Local networking groups can be helpful support tools but although well intentioned can also be poorly organized. When you attend meetings you need to take the initiative to introduce yourself, ask questions and establish relationships. You can find a comprehensive listing of local groups at http://www.rileyguide.com/support.html
7. People Like You. People like you should include reaching out to others with similar interests, whether it is music, kayaking, ballroom dancing or baseball cards. You pursue these groups for the joy they can give you interacting with others who share similar passions, we all need balance and laughter in our lives; but also because people know people who know people.
Case in point: last night, because I love dancing and rock music, I was taking a $5 Carolina Shag dance class in Hilton Head. I had a blast and all the new people I met enriched my life; but perhaps more importantly for a job search, almost half of those people were senior executives from different professions.
Make the time to develop networks that accelerate your job search, because they will also stabilize your long-term career management strategies and enhance your quality of life; the rewards will always repay your efforts.
Productive networking is about getting the names of relevant people within your profession and having focused, productive conversations that generate leads, referrals and introductions. Most successful professionals have been too busy doing their jobs to network, so their networks are anemic and easily exhausted. Here are ten effective ways to increase your networking productivity.
1. Define parameters of your search. The networking aspect of your search will be more productive when you have a clear focus on industry, industry segment, type of company within the segment, and then a clearly definable target job that you can land and in which you can be successful.
2. Stronger networks can mean shorter searches. The world of work is more volatile than ever before, so starting today, make a real effort to build networks at your current, prior and next jobs. Reach out to people as a colleague and a friend, collect cards, and stay in touch at least once a year with a greeting card or a call. Email lets you communicate effectively with growing networks.
3. Networking groups. There are on-the-ground and online networking groups. Those in your local community are often ill organized, although well intentioned; if you attend you have to take the initiative to introduce yourself, ask questions and establish relationships. Best bets? On the ground try 40 Plus clubs, however, online meetings at either executive job sites or the proliferating professional networking sites are more productive because the medium allows you to cut to the chase.
4. Social networking. There are now over 100 sites expressly for social networking, and they do work. Members use them expressly to network, to gather information and seek advice. Headhunters and employers use them as recruitment channels, and an increasing number carry job postings.
5. College alumni associations. All universities have an interest in their graduates staying successfully employed, and because people hire people like themselves, alumni associations can play a pivotal role in your professional life; remember, they aren't just for recent grads. Alumni association membership means access to the membership database and with it a wide network of professionals with whom you share a common bond.
6. Company alumni associations. Companies increasingly see the value in maintaining contact with ex-employees through online alumni networks, both as a recruitment resource for referrals, and as potential re-hires. Companies now pay referral fees to employees and ex-employees for successful referrals, so there is an incentive above and beyond the networking opportunities to check if your ex-employers have started alumni networks.
7. Your references. If these are people you think will speak well of you when an offer comes along, why not confirm it now and leverage that goodwill throughout your job hunt? When someone agrees to act as a reference, give an update about what you have been doing and explain your job search goals, but get too specific or too grandiose and you narrow their opportunities to help.
8. Professional Associations. The best step you can take for long-term career success is to become connected to your profession by joining one or more professional associations: one relevant to your profession, one relevant to your management status, and one if you belong to an identifiable minority. There are many benefits to membership including, job postings you might not see elsewhere and a common bond with thousands of likeminded professionals in the association database.
9. Finding companies and finding names to contact. It's always easier if you have an introduction or a connection to a networking contact, but when this isn't the case, you can create networking contacts through smart direct research. There are superb online resources for identifying companies and the players within those companies, along with some astounding personal and contact information.
10. Leveraging contacts. When you integrate the intelligent networking approaches outlined here into a similarly intelligent and comprehensive overall search plan (networking is NOT the only way to get an executive job), you will gain considerable additional benefits. An example might be that now when you see/hear about a job opening you have a wide array of options to find the name and contact information of someone within your profession, who works or has worked at that target company, someone with whom you share a common bond, and who can probably give you the right referral or introduction within the target company.
A typical career spans half a century, and in that time you can reasonably expect the good the bad and the downright ugly to occur in your professional life.
It's the rough times when you need people, and networking, with its focus on talking to friends and colleagues it offers a great job-hunting technique that also lessens the feelings of rejection everyone suffers through on a job hunt. Nevertheless, it fails for many job hunters because those networks lack relevance and depth.
A new rage on the Internet that has real relevance to all of us in building deeper, more relevant networks is "social networking." It revolves around online networks built on your professional expertise and incorporating common experiences or interests. I just plugged in the word "army" at a social networking site (looking for a common background with others) and got over 2000 profiles that share that common experience, and then "technology", for where I am headed in my career change and got 39,000 profiles. Both of these potential networks would have relevance to my job hunt, but it got even better when I combined both the keywords as "army and technology" and got 980 people who shared both an important life experience with me, and who had already made the transition somewhere into the profession of my intent. The whole process took ten minutes to sign up and thirty minutes to understand how it works, this isn't brain surgery!
Social networking sites bring an ability to connect with anyone within the grasp of everyone, by speeding the process of gaining connections through who you know , what you know, and who knows you, all the way to that person you really need to know right now.
The first and most famous social networking site was Friendster, which helps you get a date; its success has spawned sites that focus on networking professional relationships, rather than a steamy Friday night. These professionally oriented sites allow you to post biographies that can include skills, employers, educational history and any other information you think might be helpful to your professional goals; all as part of a profile that works just like a resume but without that "I'm for sale sign." For job hunters and career changers it is a genuinely new approach, where you can network, and simultaneously be visible in places where employers and recruiters also happen to be swarming for recruitment purposes.
Online social networking can help you get useful introductions to people throughout the country and the world; people who might know of jobs at their own company or be able to give you introductions to friends at companies that do have openings. Based on the "small world theory' first expressed by an American sociologist, and popularized by the "six degrees of separation" phrase, social networking is proving that we really are all connected, and if not directly, then through friends and friends of friends. This new application of technology enables anyone to reach out to an endless horizon of relevant networking contacts.
It works quite simply, you join a social networking site (with a few like Linkedin you have to wangle an invitation), fill out a profile for yourself, and you are ready to go. You can network without the benefit of personal contacts, but if you in turn invite a selection of your own trusted contacts to join the same site, your connectivity grows exponentially. The inherent benefit of these networks is that if everyone invites just a few competent and trusted friends to join, the endlessly expanding network becomes a trusted resource, like an old boy network for the rest of us.
For employers and recruiters, networking sites are seen as a reliable pathway to the passive job seeker. For a job-hunter or career changer, it's a reliable pathway to jobs through the people connected to them. You can search a site's database by postal code, job title, company or other keywords of your choice. The resultant search tells you how many people match your requirements and then allows you to initiate contact directly or through the chain of people who connect you.
The nature of the Internet is global, so all sites naturally have global reach. Ecademy.com, from Haselmere, while obviously serving Great Britain has 30-40% of its membership from overseas, and is capitalizing on this by opening sites serving other countries: U.S., India, Japan and so on. This makes both Ecademy and all the other sites especially useful when relocation might be in your plans; the postal code option will be of especial use when you want to move from the rainy Highlands to the sunny south coast, or make connections locally. ViaDuc.com from France caters to French speakers around the world, and OpenBC.com with its five languages hopes to attract users with a European Union focus. In a global economy, people with language skills have a special edge, so sites like these latter two examples can help you leverage that skill with any global company searching for multi-cultural awareness in its employees.
Spoke.com attracts people in sales, and Ryze.com has members from more than a hundred countries. Linkedin has half its members in the US and half scattered around the globe, while Tickle.com is for people who are examining career choice and change outside of their current fields.
Social networking sites also offer an array of useful services that enable your networking activities:
With the exception of Ryze.com just about all of the social networking sites are free right now, but this will change as their validity is proven. Linkedin has recognized that companies and entrepreneurs already pay for finding employees and business partners, so you can assume that sooner rather than later these sites will charge for membership and for some of their search services; but for the moment most of them are free.
You are likely to find them especially valuable when you know a career transition is coming. For example, if you know you are cycling out of the military, you will have time to build a global network of ex-brothers-in-arms, every one of which will be there ready to reach out with a helping hand.
We will look at how to maximize the impact of your online social networking next time. In the meantime, check into suitable social networking sites, join a handful and invite some of your trusted colleagues to follow your example. Belonging to online social networks can have a long-term beneficial career impact, but only when you make the time to nurture the networks you build, because as you know, effective networking is about much more than "gimme."
For more, see More On Social Networking.
Social networking exploded on the Internet after the launch of a dating site called Friendster, and while this created many hot-date clones it has also generated over 100 business networking and personal interest sites.
The personal interest social networking sites cover everything from baseball to photography, while the business networking sites can be general in nature, like Linkedin.com, or profession specific such as spoke.com, which caters to sales professionals around the world. Many of the sites have formal "sub networks" for special interests such as women in business, or have local geographic nets to enable people to meet in person. Regardless of your professional orientation or personal interests there is probably an online network site that could be supportive of your job hunting and career management initiatives.
Your registration will include answering a series of questions about yourself, addressing education, employers, and dates of employment, responsibilities, and interests. As the results of your answers will be published on the site as your biography (but in effect your resume), it could save time to have your resume handy to cut and paste some of the entries.
Many sites allow you to identify topics you wish to hear from people about in your bio: for example hiring people, looking for job opportunities, business and business partner opportunities, and offering advice in your area of expertise. The more areas of interest you check, the more options other people have to contact you.
If you don't use your resume to fill out your bio, take care over your entries and make sure they include the same "keywords" you take pains to include on your resume. Just as you will search for others on the site using keywords, those members who are hiring managers, HR pros or headhunters will be searching for you through the site's search engine, using keywords as well. When you search for contacts by keywords, you'll want to try job titles, company names, industries and geographic locations just for starters.
With networking you aren't only looking for people at your level with whom to network, almost anyone in your industry and/or geography can be useful regardless of title or experience, as you'll soon see. The people of interest you find will likely fall into two basic categories; those who might hire you, and those who probably won't hire you but who have common experience and/or interests. With the first group you will be more direct, sending an email to introduce yourself, noting that the recipient identifies himself as interested in hiring and ask him/her to look at your bio. If this proceeds to a conversation and interviews, fine, if not you can ask your contact to connect you to others in his network.
With the second group, those with similar experience and/or interests but not in a position to hire you, it's best to build a relationship by finding common ground. You can initiate relationships by asking for advice, and many people will give you a few minutes of their time, but you will develop the best relationships by reaching out to others with help and advice, because when offer good things, forging a relationship with you becomes important to others.
The challenge then becomes how to help, advise or make an offer of same to a total stranger that is likely to have high perceived value; how to make a gesture that will encourage a relationship that shares introductions and job leads. The answer is logical and painless: use the job leads you hear about that you cannot use yourself.
It's a not-always-so-funny thing about job hunting that you discover over the years: when you are fresh out of school no-one is hiring entry-level workers, they all want you to call back in five years. Then five years later when you happen to be job-hunting again everyone wants either someone fresh out of school or someone with ten years of experience. In your job-hunting activities you are constantly coming across needs that aren't right for you, for any of a hundred reasons, but could be just what someone else is aching to hear about.
You take these useless-to-you leads and offer them to others as part of your introduction. Sometimes you have to send an email stating why you want to make contact, and sometimes you can make communicate immediately, it all depends on the other person's privacy preferences. In the first instance you send an email simply stating that you have a job lead that s/he might find interesting. This is a pretty decent gesture to make to anyone and will get you lots of introductions.
In the second instance, where you are actually in direct email communication, you state your business, "I am involved in a strategic career move right now and I have come across a job that isn't right for me, but which could be just right for you. If you'd like to talk lets exchange telephone numbers, I'll be happy to pass the lead on, and perhaps you might have heard about something that would suit me, I am cycling out of the army and into the private sector, and have been looking for jobs in IT in the south..."
Your job hunt will have you scouring the Internet job boards and help wanted newspaper ads for job leads, and now you have a use for all those positions that aren't quite right for you. With the job opportunities that do seem appropriate, you are faced with mailing or emailing resumes to corporate HR departments. This is another opportunity to make use of your online networks: somewhere on your networking site there may be people who work at that company now or have done in the past. Search for them by using the company name in your keyword search, then contact them and explain that you have heard about an opening at the company and are hoping to get some inside information before you apply. If you also visit the company website before any conversation you will be well informed and make a good impression on your contact.
There are any number of questions you might want to ask, but one of them will be a request for a personal introduction to the hiring manager. If that isn't possible ask for the name of someone in HR to speak to directly, any personal contact will help advance your candidacy: because employers take personal referrals very seriously. Networking takes time, the more you reach out the better your reputation becomes and the more others will reach out to you in turn. One last word of caution, online networking is a tool, a new and seemingly very attractive tool, but a single tool nevertheless. Use it in proper combination with other job-hunting techniques.
A social networking strategy can really impact your job search. Consider these ten tactics to increase your social networking productivity:
1. Join social networking sites. You can search the membership databases by name, title, company and other variables. They usually have job banks or links to job banks and special interest groups where jobs also get posted. Try Networking — Seven Job Search Networks We All Need for a comprehensive list of social networking sites.
2. Become visible to recruiters. Recruiters use networking sites all the time and this should affect what goes into your profile. Best bet? When your resume becomes your profile, it dramatically increases your visibility to recruiters.
3. Have a clear focus for your search. Networking will be more productive when you have a clear focus on industry, type of company, and then a clearly definable target job in mind. Your profile will be more focused and you can offer networking contacts something to work with.
4. Make it easy to help you. Have a clear focus for your job search but don't be too specific about what you need from an employer when you network, that's not relevant at this stage of your search and it can only serve to reduce the leads you get. Stick to your title, skills and what you can offer.
5. Offer something of Value. When you reach out to others, you will get the best response by offering something of value. What do you offer? Use the job leads you cannot use yourself, for more on this see Reaching Out, Making Contact.
6. Cross reference job postings. Cross-reference the job posting you find on job banks to find hiring managers from those companies on your social networking sites. When you find someone, make direct contact referring him or her to your member profile. Alternatively look for people who work at this target company who might be able to give you the appropriate introduction.
7. Look for hiring managers. Look for members who carry hiring titles relevant to your job, this will usually be one and two levels above your title. It doesn't matter that you haven't seen a job posting, you can still approach them.
8. Got an interview coming up? Get the names of the people you will be meeting and see if they are members of your networking sites, then research their backgrounds. You should try Googling these names too, and with more senior levels you should also Google News to see if they've had media coverage.
9. Do it right this time. This is not the last time you'll need networking contacts for a job search, so this time do it right, learn how to build networks that will help you today and commit to maintaining them for the future when you'll need them again.
10. Stay in touch. Email lets you communicate effectively with growing networks and as we statistically change jobs about every four years wouldn't it be great to have relevant and robust networks next time job change loomed on your horizon?
When you use social networking sites in your job search, the people of most interest to you will likely fall into two basic categories:
With the potential hiring managers, usually one or two title levels above you, the approach will be professional and direct, sending an email to introduce yourself (see Knock em Dead Cover Letters) and ask that they look at your bio, which of course is your resume. If this contact proceeds to a conversation and interviews, fine, if not you can ask for leads and suggestions.
With professionals like yourself, but someone not in a position to hire you, it's best to build a relationship by finding common ground. You can initiate relationships by asking for advice, and many people will make time.
But you will be more effective asking for help when you offer something of value yourself, because when you offer good things, forging a relationship with you becomes a higher value proposition to others.
What can you offer a stranger that is likely to have high-perceived value and will encourage a relationship that shares introductions and job leads? The answer is logical: use the job leads that you cannot use yourself, because in your job search activities you are constantly coming across jobs that aren't right for you, but could be just what someone else is aching to hear about.
It's a not-always-so-funny thing about job search that when you are fresh out of school no one is hiring entry-level workers, they all want you to call back in five years. Then five years later when you happen to be job-hunting again everyone wants someone fresh out of school or with ten years experience.
So take these useless-to-you job postings and offer them to others as part of your networking communications.
On social networking sites you can sometimes make direct contact, or alternatively you send an email through the chain of people who connect you, stating why you want to make contact.
In the first instance the email might say,
" I see we are in the same profession. As a _______, I am involved in a strategic career move right now and have come across some jobs that aren't right for me, but which could be interesting for you or someone you know. I am happy to share job leads I have and would appreciate the opportunity to seek your advice: you might have heard about something that would suit me..."
When you have to request an introduction through others in the network, you'll state why you want to reach that person, using much of the information in the paragraph above, and ask them to forward your request.
There are many questions you might want to ask in networking conversations: Who is their company looking for? Who hires professionals like you at the company? Would they give you an introduction? What companies have they heard about that are hiring? For more questions to ask when networking you'll want to study Knock em Dead 2011:The Ultimate Job Search Guide.
Networking takes time, but the more you reach out in courteous and positive ways, the more others will reach out to you in turn. A word of caution, online networking is a very attractive tool, but a single tool nevertheless. Use it in proper combination with a properly coordinated plan of attack for your job search.