During the financial crisis, my well-paying Sales & Marketing position within the automotive industry in Southeast Michigan was eliminated. Living in one of the worst job markets, how does one beat the odds by finding, not only employment, but advance my career?
Fortunately, I had taken many steps of a Guerrilla Job Hunter. I built my network through involvement with industry groups, attending workshops and participating in on-line forum discussions. I expanded my Linkedin contacts (www.linkedin.com/in/mccausland) and also constructed an online presence through a personal website (www.billmccausland.com). All of these steps combined resulted in interviews.
However, after several interviews without offers, I had to re-evaluate my approach. That’s when I decided to attend “Guerrilla Job Search Secrets Revealed” Seminar in Detroit. Six days later, I received a job offer. How?
In preparing for an interview with a Marketing Communications Company, I realized that I needed to show up for the interview as if it was my first day of work. Not just a typical tourist on a job interview. Going above a traditional job seeker, I had prepared three additional documents I used tactically during the interview. The goal of these attachments were to 1) Demonstrate that I possess the skills for the job, 2) Substantiate my resume accomplishments and bring them to life with my portfolio of work 3) Provide relevant 3rd party endorsements.
My attachments, personal website and business cards were all branded and themed in the same way. Here were the details associated to each document. You can also see them at www.billmccausland.com/example.html
1) Demonstrate that I possess the skills for the job
This document titled “Skills Required for Success” contained sub-headings for the four skills sought by prospective employers: Leadership, Creativity/Problem Solving, Passion, and Action/Ability to Execute. Under each of these sub-headings were actual quotations from previous Performance Reviews showing documented achievement.
2) Portfolio of Work – Snapshot
This contained visual representation of key accomplishments on my resume. I used pictures of articles written, events produced, and other pictures that corroborated my resume.
3) Third Party Endorsements
Basically this was a list of my LinkedIn recommendations received and organized. I used my six top recommendations and organized them by former managers, customers and business partners.
It was not by accident how I was marketing myself. On the company’s website they positioned themselves as a solution provider by communicating their capability, creativity, experience and relationship building. By building my brand, applying my knowledge of sales and marketing was helpful in removing any fears or uncertainty associated with my qualifications.
Another way to show that one has started work before the interview is to do your homework. For me, I showed up prepared to discuss concrete ways to improve the company’s customer experience and conquest new business. To do this I reached out to the firm’s customers who could be obtained through researching the company’s website, Hoovers, and informational networking discussions. Then by presenting myself as an independent researcher, I conducted a customer satisfaction survey with both the firm’s and their competitors’ customers. I learned more about the company’s strengths, weaknesses and what differentiated them from their competitors. It is important to understand more than their product/service advantages and disadvantages but also operational differences. Many candidates may do a Google search on a company and call that research. Going a step further in talking with customers, suppliers and competitors demonstrates the qualities that a prospective employer is seeking.
This research and information was invaluable for me in developing a strategy on how to position myself as a solution to the company’s challenges. During the interview, I shared not only what I learned but suggested how I could improve their customer satisfaction and grow their business.
Two days later, I had an offer. Six months later, a Vice President within the company shared with me that I won out the job over a more experienced candidate because I came to the interview already working with the needed Leadership, Creativity, Passion and Ability to Execute.