Tag: Job Search Strategies (page 1 of 2)
Most of my CEO and other CxO clients who initially come to me for executive resumes tell me that this is the first time they have ever had to look or plan for a new position and that most of their CEO job opportunities have come to them through inside channels. Others state that their relationships with recruiters have helped them to vet new executive CEO job opportunities.
If you have also had a run of opportunities come to you—that’s great! But there seems to come a point in every executive’s career when they are called to ‘make rain’ and find opportunities that are a good fit for them. Another consideration regarding market leverage is that if you know how to do it, you don’t have to rely on opportunities that are coming to you at any given time, and you can actually set up and easily manage your own transition.
Here are a few resources and strategies my CEO clients use to get full market leverage in their executive job searches:
Yes, you can use ExecuNet or Bluesteps as paid executive job board options to find Chief Executive Officer job opportunities. You can also just set up email alerts for CEO jobs using an aggregator like indeed.com. LinkedIn also has a feature for setting up job alerts. The benefit here is that you set it up once—and the positions come to you daily or weekly. You can quickly scan them for relevancy in just a few minutes per week. Be sure not to spend too much time on this one; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions paying more than 300K are only represented online at 10% of the actual jobs available, so you don’t want to spend too much time here. You can also use these CEO jobs that are delivered to you as a market indicator. Look for running patterns and themes, and note who is growing and hiring in your niche, and what recruiters are posting multiple positions that match your interest.
Identify recruiters who say they place CEOs and have Chief Executive Officer Job Postings. You can also research those executive recruiters who work with CEOs that work in your industry too. They often have contracts to fill positions, the majority of which will never be advertised.
If you are making a radical change of industries, a recruiter who places CEOs may not be the best source for you as they will be looking for “a match.” Having said that, there are generalist recruiters who have CEO job searches across multiple industries.
You can do an internet search for CEO recruiters+your industry. You can also look up CEO recruiters on LinkedIn. I offer a recruiter distribution here, and an in-depth course on how to work with executive recruiters here.
Direct Company Contact
The secret to finding CEO jobs by going directly to companies of interest to you is in the numbers. Contacting a company directly (knowing full well they probably have multiple open positions that are not advertised) is a great way to demonstrate leadership and take control of your job search. Are you interested in looking at the higher-education market in your state or the top organic food manufacturers in the U.S.? Or maybe the fastest-growing healthcare-oriented businesses in your city? All of these “lists” are accessible to you and allow you to easily tap right into your market of focus!
Here are a few ways you can connect with them to get interviews:
Send a letter to the CEO or Chairman at larger companies
They might need you as a GM, COO, or Division President. If you’re the CEO of a small company, perhaps you would fit in as the EVP, COO, or Division President of a larger company.
Send a letter to the CEO at smaller companies
The incumbent CEO might be looking for a successor because of retirement, business expansion, or just because he or she wants to move on and open a new company. Or, the existing CEO may want to step back, step down, or step up as the Chairman. The reasons don’t matter—what matters is that they need help more often than you’d expect.
Send a letter to the Money Brokers
Reach out to the VCs, Investment Bankers, Holding Companies, and others who invest in companies. There are more than 20,000 in the database, and they might need you for a portfolio company. If you have money to invest and/or mention that you’re looking for a stake in the outcome, this can significantly increase your odds.
An accident of timing
Sending a value proposition letter to those decision makers who are most likely to hire you is an accident of timing with predictable and statistical odds (85% in 90 days). And, it’s the only way to reach thousands of decision makers at the same time … when you’re available.
You can learn much more about the lucrative hidden job market and how to tap into it, here.
Think of LinkedIn as a CEO job database. If you connect with companies in industries and geographical areas that are of potential interest to you, you will grow your network on LinkedIn—and not only can you then tap into it as a talent source, but you will be in the first, second, or third degree network of MANY more companies that will now be able to see you in their network. So … when they are searching for candidates (like you) using LinkedIn (and most of them do), you will now rank in their search results!
Don’t be dispirited if you’ve never realized this before; this is not information that LinkedIn actively promotes. You can learn the mechanics of how to easily use LinkedIn to passively pull opportunities to you by growing your network here.
I have been coaching CEOs on their job-transition strategies for nearly two decades. If you take away anything from these tips … I hope it is that you DO have ample power, control and market leverage over your CEO job search! A clear focus of direction—supported by a CEO executive resume and two or three good CEO job search strategies layered in—should deliver in short time the interest, interviews, and offers you are looking for.
When you start your job search you want to fish where the fish are – and so one of the smartest things you can do is align yourself with growing or at least strong stable industries! Here are a few on the rise – they include Commercial Construction, SaaS, M&A’s and Small Business to name a few!
Read more here: Hot Markets for 2015
Let’s face it: Sometimes a job search can be a tiring and depressing process!
It’s one of the most challenging things we do as professionals, so it makes a lot of sense to invest in your career by gaining knowledge about how to do it right.
What is the right way? A job search should look like this:
- It should start with a crystal clear plan, so you always know where you are going. You figure out your end game, then work backwards. This helps you to know what opportunities to take full advantage of and which ones to let go.
- It should get you multiple high-quality interviews with companies that you like.
- It should leads to a great offer or offers!
The more of these components you have in your job search, the more you will minimize drains in energy and enthusiasm as well as feelings of depression.
Here are several tips that help my clients get and stay motivated throughout their job search.
Hire a Career Coach or Resume Writer (or Someone Who is Both!)
You will generally get your money back or make money when you invest in an expert who is adept at taking professionals safely and smoothly through the job search maze to a successful outcome! Having a professionally written resume that clearly speaks to your market results in more interviews, bigger job offers and ensures you get the quality of position that you deserve.
As a professional resume writer and business owner, I too, have a business coach AND a mastermind group that help me to achieve my goals. It works. Try it.
Note: Make sure that you hire someone who has a professional resume and/or coaching certification through an established and trusted association such as Career Directors International or Career Management Alliance.
Create a Job Search “Schedule” and Stick to It!
You don’t want to spend your creative energies figuring out what you are going to do each day in your job search. Make it so you don’t have spend time thinking about it, but rather approach your tasks mechanically. It takes the emotion out of the process and gives you workable goals for each day.
Plan your schedule out a week in advance. Block out the times and dates and list a SINGLE MAIN GOAL for each day. This is called activity batching and it is a proven way to get more done faster. It will help you achieve super-productivity, I promise!
Your single goal for that day might be to invite X number of new connections on LinkedIn, call 10 recruiters, or conduct industry growth research. Keep it simple and automate as much activity as you can so information comes to you – not the other way around. This is easy when you use news and job alerts.
Focus on the Task
When searches get “scary” – meaning, when you find yourself in those places where you are really pushed way out of your comfort zone – it can be tempting to stop and avoid those places all together.
Examples of this include networking or calling a company decision maker for the first time. My tip: rather than focus on the fear, focus on the tasks of your day and don’t think beyond them!
Whatever happens will unfold daily. You will have very positive experiences, neutral experiences and perhaps negative experiences. It is a normal part of the search process and this simple technique will help you to keep a healthy perspective through it all.
Do What You Enjoy First
Why not concentrate on those areas you love first?
Maybe it’s research, writing or perhaps you are one of those gregarious people who enjoy and quickly see the benefits of networking. Do what you enjoy first and then do what just lightly takes you out of your comfort zone next.
Save those tasks that really push you out of your comfort zone for specific times during the week (not every day). You will find yourself more balanced and achieving more results using this common sense method.
These few tips are time-tested by over 4000 of my clients and I can tell you assuredly, they DO work!
Now is the perfect time to get motivated and move forward towards your dream job, armed with the knowledge of how to avoid many of the pitfalls so common in a job search.
When you are setting up a turnkey job search campaign and trying to tap into the hidden job market, you may happen upon some hurdles that can stop you in your tracks, shake your confidence and cause you to doubt yourself – or tempt you to settle for much less than you know you deserve. Here are 8 common pitfalls and how you can avoid them:
Pitfall #1: Thought Paralysis
Do you find yourself talking your way out of multiple potential opportunities? You may have job search thought paralysis! This can lead to hours of heavy contemplation and internal dialogue concerning each move your make in your job search. Soon hours turn into days and days turn into weeks!
Don’t fall for negative internal dialogue! No one can know what company is hiring internally and you can’t read the minds of potential employers. Countless times my clients have told me that their incredible job opportunity came from the most surprising place or out of the most unique circumstances.
The solution? If in doubt, send your resume anyway.
Pitfall #2: Fear
Bill Briggs was the first man to ski Wyoming’s Grand Tetons. His friends told him it was impossible and he was crazy. On top of that, Bill had a surgically fused hip. He knew he would have to reckon with cliffs thousands of feet high, falling rock and potential avalanches.
Regardless, he took the challenge. Bill stated simply, “If there is no risk, there is no adventure. Adventure is a part of life.”
Your career – and certainly the wild ride of changing jobs – is indeed an adventure, and one that makes demands on your virtues, including your bravery. It is worth giving your job search 100% simply because you are worth the job you want.
How do you get through the fear? By facing it head on. Break the inertia caused by fear with action. Make a list. Do at least one thing right now. Do two more things tomorrow. Three simple steps will get you traction and lead you quickly and positively to more action.
Pitfall #3: Perfection Paralysis
Do you feel like everything has to be perfect before you can move forward? This is a common pitfall that can stop your job search before it even begins. Your goal needs to be progress, not perfection. Although this might not be your motto in other areas of life, when it comes to your job search, the key is implementation.
A client once said to me regarding making follow up phone calls, “I just can’t get it right.” Of course we all need a solid and effective phone script, but the secret isn’t in getting it right as much as it is just getting it done.
The best way to move forward is to make a list regarding whatever project you are working on. Detail each step you need to take. Now make a note of what tasks you can do, what tasks you don’t know how to do, and what tasks you know how to do but don’t want to do. Now you can figure out what you can start on right now, what you need to farm out to someone else, and what you need to hire someone to help you with.
Pitfall #4: Doing Everything Yourself
Not knowing how to do something often acts like quicksand and can stop your whole job search in its tracks. Conducting a job search involves a lot of small parts. One of the reasons why it is so tempting to fall back on job boards is because it has a system. You do A, B, and C and then you’re done. And you feel like you have at least done something.
To avoid this you have to make the things you should be doing manageable. You must create a system so that your job search is turnkey.
There are also the mundane tasks that are associated with a job search. Have you ever figured out how much you make by the hour? If you make around 100k per year at an 8-hour a day / 5-day per week position, you would be making about $48 per hour. So, if you spend hours and hours trying to rewrite your resume yourself, printing out resumes and licking envelopes, you need to ask yourself, “Are these tasks worth $48 an hour?”
Sub this energy draining work out! Hire a resume writer. Go to InstiPrints. Hire a virtual assistant or your own teenager and get them to help you with the administration for a third of the cost of doing it yourself. This way you can concentrate on the big payoff activities that are worth your salary. This will ensure that these important tasks get done and you stay motivated!
Pitfall #5: Not Being Open to Try New Job Search Methods
In this job market you are going to have very little success if all you do is answer a handful of posted jobs. My clients who are having success right now are the ones that are using direct mail programs, learning how to research and use strategies to tap into the hidden job market (actually quite easy), and learning about social networking.
Pitfall #6: Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket
I worked with a client once who secured three interviews a week after I sent her final resume copies. She was so excited and I was excited for her. But when I asked her how her job search strategies were going, she said she was just waiting for her immediate interviews to pan out before she did anything else.
Though I encouraged her not to do this, her mind was made up. Six weeks later, all three potential job opportunities fell through and my client was left with an empty basket and the daunting task of starting all over again from scratch. Moral of the story: keep your pipeline full and your job search activities consistent until your first day at your new company.
Pitfall #7: No Strategy
In order to be successful in your job search, you have to have a foundation of basic goals and a clear understanding of your driving motivators. If you don’t, you’re not going to know what to focus on or where to best invest your time and energy.
I have worked with job seekers who, when they first came to me, shared that they had been in “I’ll know it when I see it” job search mode for over a year with nothing to show for it. So, know what industries you are targeting and why, what your salary goals are, your timeframe and your basic game plan before trying to move forward. You’ll be so glad you did!
Pitfall #8: Work/Life Imbalance
You can’t job search 8 hours a day. Well, you can – but if you do, you will probably be feeling drained and burnt out in no time at all. During a job search you will most likely be experiencing more stress than normal, so it’s important that you take better care of yourself and take more time off then perhaps you are accustomed. This isn’t a luxury! It’s actually a vital part of your successful job search.
Eat right, get plenty of rest and do plenty of those things you love to do. This way you will have enough energy for creativity and strategy. You will be rested, clear-headed and enthusiastic in your job interviews, which will make a positive impression.
So if you see yourself in any one of these pitfalls, take heart and use these simple techniques to break through the hurdles so you can stay focused and confident as you move toward the career opportunity you really want.
I was excited to be a guest on The Power Women Magazine! Deb Bailey is a great host and we really got into some juicy topics regarding why traditional job search methods are just not working and what to do about it.
- Get focused. Write down your preferred industry, geographic preferences, salary requirements, job search time frame, and brainstorm on what kind of company you see yourself working for. In other words, you must begin your job search at the end and work backwards. Get a crystal clear vision of what your outcome should be and what your focus is. A bullseye makes a great target. Passively jumping at things that come along on job boards hasn’t worked for a long time.
- Create your marketing collateral. A great resume and value proposition letter are essential. If you can afford to invest in yourself, hire a TOP certified resume writer. Your effort will pay off here.
- Create or update your LinkedIn profile. A quick tip about LinkedIn: keyword optimization is one of the primary ways to get more of the right eyes looking at your profile. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is keyword optimized to your next career move!
- Create a list of people you know to network with. Learn to network smart – don’t ask for a job; ask for information and contacts in your industry of interest. Tip: when you are networking, you are not job searching. Embrace this so you don’t feel like you are tricking anyone. True networking has great rewards. One being that jobs, contacts and information come to you.
- Define the best job search strategies for YOU. Recruiters can be helpful if you have a stellar track record and are staying in the same industry. Direct mail campaigns work on all levels, from entry to executive – done right, they can cut a line right to the decision-maker and land you interviews quickly. Networking works best when combined with other strategies. Job boards can yield some results if you are in a highly specialized position and industry – otherwise, you might just be wasting your time. Private equity and venture capital distributions can work for certain executives. You need to invest some time figuring out what strategies will work best for your particular situation. Need help? Get my book on the Hidden Job Market, invest in the Job Search Success System or call me at 830-331-9398.
- Create a schedule and keep it. Assign certain hours and certain days to commit to focusing on your job search. Personally, I prefer you create a modest schedule that you are always able to keep and also ensures you get enough time off. In a job search you want to leave extra time for relaxation and rest (just trust me – it works). Batch your activities so that certain days are devoted to ONE main activity. These may include sending out letters, research, making phone calls, or following up with people, such as recruiters. You will take the overwhelm out of your job search and get a lot more done in less time by doing this.
- BONUS tip. Automate your search to save you even more time. You can set up news alerts and email alerts to save yourself hours and hours so that all the information you want and need relative to your job search comes to you via your inbox. When I help my clients do this they tell me they go from surfing the net 20 to 40 hours a week to spending just a few hours, with more productivity and better results!
***You can purchase the e-books in The Career Artisan Series on Amazon for just a few dollars. E-books can be read on your computer, iPad or smartphone (you don’t need a Kindle!) – or purchase the PDF version here.
Executive level jobs and C-level jobs require very specific job search strategies, and some work better than others! In this article, I am going to go over the main executive level job search strategies, including the pros and cons of each. Hopefully, this information will help you decide what job search methods are best for your particular situation.
Most C-level executives believe they are bound to recruiting firms to bring them opportunities, but this is not necessarily true. Getting your resume to the top recruiting firms can open up potential opportunities for you!
The job comes to you and there is a lot of cachet. Executives enjoy believing that they have been handpicked by a recruiter to represent them to a company. The truth is that the recruiter represents the company, not you, the candidate, no matter what they are telling you or how they are making you feel. Still, it is a “pro” that the recruiter brings the opportunity to you.
A recruiter has the company’s best interest at heart since it is the company who pays them in the end. And sometimes the recruiter is paid so much (20% to 30% of your annual compensation) that I believe it can cut into your ability to fully leverage your salary package negotiations.
Recruiters limit your opportunities because:
- C-level searches are rare and a recruiter can generally only bring you an existing search – one at a time.
- Usually the recruiter will be asked to bring in at least 3 qualified candidates – so you have built-in competition.
- You may be constrained from speaking to the company directly as the recruiter will want to mediate and many times negotiate your offer on your behalf (even though his or her loyalty is to the company).
Your Best Move?
Make sure if you do a recruiter distribution, you find someone with a good list of top recruiters (hint: I have one!). Treat the recruiter and the company with the same discernment. Don’t open up to the recruiter as if he or she is being retained by you. They are not. You need to “sell” the recruiters on the value you bring to the company just as if you were “selling” directly to the company.
Networking can open up opportunities for jobs that are not advertised. If you are well-connected – or you know how to take initiative and “make rain” – this is a viable option for you.
You can tap into hidden opportunities. Get third party endorsements from people that you know and that trust and respect you – that can be invaluable!
Networking can be tough for executives who don’t know how to do it. After all, how does an executive ask their associates if they don’t know anyone who is hiring or who might be interested in them? This is largely demeaning for a powerful executive who is used to being a leader and in control. It can also take an average of 18 months to complete your job search if all you do is “network” in the traditional sense of the word and your income is over 6 or 7 figures.
Your Best Move?
Learn how to network without asking for a job. There are executive level strategies and communication techniques that approach these conversations in more of a fact-finding and consulting spirit. You need to learn how to do it so you can network confidently. I show executives how to do this both through private coaching and through my DIY home study program, the Job Search Success System.
VENTURE CAPITAL AND PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS
Executives who are looking at management consulting or an interim position, helping turn around a poorly performing company, or are interested in a startup, may be interested in connecting with VC and PE firms.
If you are a C-level executive, it may be a pretty good move for you to send a distribution to these firms. There are companies that do this (including mine).
I have found that if you are below the C-level, distribution to these firms is less effective.
Your Best Move?
If you are a C-level executive, you can send out a VC/PE email distribution for around $300 and it might land you a handful of good leads if you sell your skills correctly. Smart move!
I personally believe that understanding how to reach out to companies directly is the most powerful strategy for success. Direct mail means sending an actual letter to the key decision maker in a company. Not an email, an actual letter – preferably on engraved stationery and high quality Cranes paper. You will invest a little money up front marketing yourself like this, but the ROI blows away any other job search strategy I know of in this job market climate.
You can identify and isolate your industry and cherry pick who you want to reach out to. You can even do this for free using Google maps. Lists are free or cheap if you know where to look.
With the power of the internet you can use Google news alerts to have information on companies or industries that are growing sent right to your inbox. Companies that are growing are often hiring.
At a salary of $250k+, over 90% of jobs are filled in the hidden job market and never advertised. That means reverse engineering your job search and going after what you want vs. waiting and waiting for the right job to come to you – and competing with dozens or hundreds of other executive job seekers for the same position – makes logical sense for executives.
Learn how to tap the hidden job market once and use this method for the rest of your career. People tap the HJM when they want to leverage themselves in the job market, command more money, minimize their competition and shorten their job search.
Your success in terms of how many interviews/offers you land is predicated on your industry, supply and demand and is hard to predict. Between 2% and 5% is average. But I have also seen executives send out 20 letters and land 5 interviews. It depends on many factors. This still beats job boards, but if you don’t understand marketing numbers this can be discouraging to you.
You must be the type of person who can take initiative and “make things happen” to successfully manage this entrepreneurial driven strategy.
These methods at the executive level generally require some help from an experienced career professional who can be your sounding board and show you the shortcuts to using HJM strategies successfully. You will have to hire some help or at least do some self-study, otherwise be prepared for some frustration and roadblocks.
Your Best Move?
I think everybody, not just executives, should learn how to find and capitalize on companies that are growing and know how to approach companies in an industry they potentially want to work for. I have seen executives grind away for a year in a fruitless job search – wasting precious time, losing confidence and often tens of thousands of dollars in income for those who were in between jobs – only to land multiple interviews in the first 30 days of refocusing their job search on the HJM (and often hiring a professional resume writer to beef up their marketing message). They all say the same thing in retrospect: my only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner for myself!
If you are a boomer executive that wants more flexibility you might want to consider your own consulting business. Management and technical consulting is one of the fastest growing industries. At 44% in 10 years, it’s grown four times faster than the workforce growth rate.
Consulting can be a nice “bridge” job and you might find the flexibility suits you. Many companies prefer hiring consultants – it’s safer for them and they can check you out first before they consider hiring you full time.
You can consult from anywhere. You don’t necessarily have to be a road warrior either. You can do much of your consulting via phone and internet (I myself have done this for years and rarely even meet my clients face to face).
You can consult in almost any field. One of our $500k+ CEO clients found businesses who could not afford to engage him full time as a CEO, but wanted his expertise. He negotiated a handful of engagements with several businesses – some one day a week, some for a few hours a week, and some for a couple days a month. He is now working fewer hours and making more than $500k per year. In one of our conversations, he remarked that he would never go back to a full-time job.
You can generally charge about two and a half to three times your hourly rate (you will have to break down your salary to get this figure).
You will have to market your business and this may or may not be something you like to do. Be prepared to invest 15% to 25% of your revenue on marketing. But of course, if it brings you business and you don’t have a lot of other overhead, this is probably a pro not a con.
Interim full-time consulting gigs can leave you scrambling for new assignments and are problematic. Avoid them and try to find a few clients who need your help part time. This is safer relative to your income streams and it’s easier to land these gigs in general. If you find 2 clients who need you just one day a week, you might find yourself making as much as you made in your past full-time job. Many companies desperately need heavy-weight talent, but can’t afford a full-time person.
Your Best Move?
If you are an executive with any kind of entrepreneurial desires, this could be an excellent move for you!
*Warning: this article contains some “tough talk” and will probably offend some readers.
Sometimes I will have a client call me and share that while networking, they showed their new professionally designed resume to:
- Their friend or business mentor whose opinion they trust
- A powerful networking connection
- A human resources person
- A recruiter
And my client posed the question, “what do you think of my resume?”
Well, a large amount of the time, if you have had your resume professionally written by an experienced and certified writer, the response will be positive.
But sometimes they will interpret your question as an opportunity to attack your resume using all their powers of critical analysis – in the name of “helping you” (gee, thanks).
If you have ever been in this situation, you know the result – your confidence is shaken; you begin to doubt yourself; the focus becomes that there is something “wrong” with your resume. You call your writer demanding to know why they used that particular color or font because Suzie who just got a job in the HR department at Target last week knows well that this font color will keep you from realizing your dreams – or at least ever landing a job at Target.
Okay, I am being a little sarcastic, but isn’t that the weight that we end up putting on all these opinions we open ourselves up to? Some people are very caustic; they will tell you with authority they absolutely know what they are talking about (I have seen this to be true especially with College Career Counselors and recruiters. No offense – just stating fact).
So who, or what are you to believe?
- In a job search, common sense tells us we must preserve our energy, our positive attitude and our confidence. Rather than asking everyone who will give you 5 minutes what they think of your resume, the wisest thing to do is ASK A CERTIFIED, EXPERIENCED RESUME WRITER. This does not mean asking THE LADDERS or JOB FOX, who will give you a free “resume critique,” and no matter how wonderful your resume is and how much you invested to have it properly done, they will most likely tell you it stinks and you need to pay them $700 to rewrite it. No, I mean going to Career Directors Internationaland looking up the award winning writers, the Certified Writers, the Writers who have their work in reputable Resume and Career books and/or the writers who may specialize in your field. And although this does not completely shield you from conflicting advice, it does dramatically impro ve your chances of getting a professional and discerning critique of what your resume truly needs (or might already have) in order for you to achieve your career goals.
- Please, refrain from asking everyone what they think of your resume. This opens you up to criticism from people who are may only be partially (at best), qualified to critique how your resume lines you up for your next career move. Don’t go asking your best friend who is accounting about your resume which is focused on your B.A. in human resources. She will have no insight into what employers are looking for! Instead, get a clear focus of direction on what you want including industry, position title and your driving motivators like ideal companies and positions, your compensation range, where you want to live, and how much you will travel, to name a few things. Couple that with a little research on growing and stable industries.
- Don’t say you are “wide open” to explore a wide range of opportunities, because in today’s job market, you have to demonstrate your value very specifically (this is part of the whole “branding” thing you hear everyone talking about). You need to demonstrate that you know what you want. This builds your network’s confidence IN YOU. You don’t have the luxury of “being wide open,” so please start taking control of your situation and embrace a self-directed and entrepreneurial approach to your job search. This is what is working in today’s job market.
- Once you have your game plan down regarding your focus of direction and where you want to steer your career, ask your friends how they can help you with that. Don’t ask them to help you find a job and don’t ask them who is hiring and don’t ask them what they think of your resume! This is a waste of your time! Learn how to network so that you stay in control of the conversation. I think the reason people hate job searching the most is because they feel they have to take such a passive, submissive role in it. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE! You don’t have to feel hat-in-hand, begging for a job. I teach my clients in my Job Search Success System how to network in a confident and dignified way and they love it. It preserves their sanity, confidence and gets them great results! There is absolutely no reason why you have to roll over in complete submission just because you are in a job search.
- Do not discount the power of critical feedback! You may LOVE your resume and so do 50 other people, but I have seen it time and time again that a single negative critique will leave you doubting everything you ever thought was true! You cannot afford to “go there” in your job search! It’s not the most exacting comparison, but will 50 people look at a piece of famous art from an abstract expressionist and have the same exact option about it? I think you know the answer.
- If you have not had your resume professionally written and you want someone to critique it, your best and safest bet is to go to Career Directors International and look for help and support there. Generally speaking, resume writers are a heart-centered group (especially women) and they find genuinely helping others get what they want in their careers deeply satisfying. You have a great shot at talking to a person who really cares and can really help you at CDI. Writers who take the time to obtain difficult certifications and pay money to keep them current every year generally take their career as seriously as you probably do. And in an unregulated industry such as Career Services, you need that insurance to help protect your interests and investment.
- If you HAVE had your resume professionally done, then I will share with you what I share with all my clients, which is this – you need 3 main things in your job search to be successful:
- A clear focus of direction.
- A great resume and value proposition (cover) letter that supports your focus
- The right job search strategies.
As a general rule, after you have paid a certified writer to analyze your career situation and craft you a resume to get you where you want to go, your entire focus should be on the right job search strategies. I am primarily focused on showing my clients how to go direct to companies by tapping the hidden job market because it works so well, but every job search is different and some job search strategies will work better than others. You may take a multi-pronged approach to your job search strategies, which could include recruiter, venture capital and/or private equity firm distributions, direct mail, targeted networking, working through associations, and learning how to use social networking like LinkedIn to land interviews, to name a few.
In closing, I have not seen it beneficial for you as a job seeker to hold up your resume and state “WHAT DO YOU THINK?” Not because I as a writer am trying to avoid criticism, nor am I trying to protect other professional resume writers. And I am not stating that there might indeed be things in your resume that need improving. But if you want the right advice, your safest bet is to go to the experts. Doing otherwise may derail you and detract from your ultimate goal.
What would happen if the sewer system in your town backed up and your home was covered with a foot of muck? Or what if someone snipped through your lock and rode off with your bike? Thanks to the insurance industry, you probably wouldn’t have much to worry about. Insurance is designed to cover these types of losses.
The insurance industry is huge. Doctors, lawyers, actuaries, computer experts and public speakers are just a few of the talented individuals who come together to make the industry tick. No matter what your skills are, the insurance industry is a viable career option.
“Insurance can mean so many things,” says Heather Clowater. She is an assistant manager of human resources at a group of insurance companies. “Our market is the high-end client — the $2-million home, the yacht and the jewelry collection,” she says.
But wealthy people aren’t the only clients in the insurance business. Churches, homes, people, cars, bicycles, clothing — all of these things are insurable.
Insurance works like this: everyone pays a little to cover the losses of a few. The money (premiums) goes into a big pot at the insurance company. When someone suffers a loss, they are able to take money from the pot to recover what they’ve lost.
Remember the Y2K millennium bug at the turn of the century? According to Phillips Nizer Benjamin Krim and Ballon (a law firm), Nike attempted to claim as much as $110 million in insurance for the costs of fixing up the Y2K mess. If it weren’t for insurance, companies like Nike would have been forced to fork out millions of dollars.
Insurance is Here to Stay
The insurance industry has a bad rap for being boring. Trudy Lancelyn is the deputy executive director of the Insurance Brokers Association of British Columbia. She points out that it’s a very traditional industry. “There’s been insurance for hundreds of years and there always will be,” she says. “It’s not something that goes through fads.”
Unlike some high-tech industries, the insurance industry isn’t grabbing the world’s attention. It is, however, a stable industry. And it’s here to stay. “Insurance is one of those products that is not so volatile,” says Clowater. “Everyone needs insurance.”
Clowater’s company is a prime example of just how stable this industry is. It’s been around since the 1880s and it’s still growing at a steady pace. “This year alone, we hired 10 or 11 trainees,” says Clowater. “So, certainly we are growing.”
The insurance industry needs workers with hundreds of different talents and specialties to make it run smoothly. Clowater’s firm, for example, has an accounting department, a collections department, a customer service department and an IT department. Just imagine how many different skill sets are called upon in each of those separate departments!
Here are just a few of the titles that insurance employees may hold: actuary, actuarial assistant, case manager, underwriter, broker, casualty adjuster, customer service rep, sales rep, marketing rep and auditor.
Since the industry experiences steady growth, there is always a well-rounded selection of jobs available. “Our vacancy positions [are] across the board,” says Clowater. “It’s not just underwriting or claims or IT jobs.”
This is a very traditional, pen-and-paper industry, although Lancely says that there are IT positions available. “Like anything else,” she says, “the large, multi-branch brokerages would probably have an in-house IT person.” But there certainly isn’t a wild cry for IT experts in the world of insurance.
Since the insurance industry is so diverse, there isn’t a standard educational pathway for getting involved. It depends on the company you work for, the state or province you’re working in and the position you’re after. In fact, Clowater believes that this lack of structure may be the biggest stumbling block for students — the career path simply isn’t straightforward.
“For anyone who is going to get into actuarial sciences, there are undergraduate programs out there,” says Gretchen Schaefer. She is the media relations director for the American Insurance Association. She adds that actuaries take courses and classes throughout their careers. “It’s just an ongoing education.”
For anyone becoming an insurance agent, there are licensing requirements. These differ from state to state.
In some cases, a generalist background combined with a pleasant demeanor is all you’ll need. For example, the human resources department at Clowater’s company isn’t necessarily looking for someone with an insurance background. “We’re just looking for someone that has a general business background or a university degree,” explains Clowater.
Take Schaefer’s background, for example. “I had a communications and marketing background,” she says. It was enough to get her foot in the door. “It’s really a matter of learning the industry,” she says.
Once you’re in the industry, there is no shortage of certificates or professional examinations that you can obtain to improve your status, ability and wage. For certain positions, like actuary, you’ll be expected to upgrade your qualifications continually.
Clowater encourages young people to stop and think about just how huge the insurance business really is. “Whatever your interests are, think of it as an option.”
If you have any doubts at all, pay a visit to a local insurance company. See if you like the atmosphere and start making your connections. “There is a lot to learn. It’s a very interesting industry,” says Schaefer.
American Insurance Association
A great source for industry info
Insurance National Search, Inc.
Linking employers with job hunters
Online industry news
Speaking of Insurance
Learn the lingo