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Today's human resources professionals are busier than ever. With the job market shifting dramatically over the past few years, recruiting professionals are left with an unbelievably daunting task of finding the right person to fill the right jobs.
Since the advent of the world wide web, hr pros have the luxury of posting jobs so that 1000s of candidates can peruse them, only problem is... 1000s upon 1000s of people are all applying for the same job.
Graphics people are sending in graphically branded hipster cool resumes, but what about the rest of us? What can we do to stand out?
If you're applying for jobs and not getting the feedback, it could be the cookie cutter cover letter and resume you keep sending out. HR people have grown super savvy to the fact that most people just send the same thing to 100s of jobs, whether they are a right fit or not. The person sifting through 1000s of resumes from applicants interested in the same job is trying to catch lightening in a bottle.
So, how can you make that lightening strike? Here are a few suggestions on makign sure your resume gets the attention of the company you're trying to reach:
- Read the Job Description. Yes, READ IT! Many people apply for jobs that sort of look like they might be right for them. Chances are if you're just shooting out rounds of the same resume to every job that looks like it might suit you, you're adding to the noise this poor HR pro is trying to tune out. Read the fine print, see if the job is really the right fit for your skill set, expert level, experience and interest.
- Write a New Cover Letter. You've read the job description and decided that you are the right fit. Awesome. This is the job for you, GREAT! Now, write the HR pro and tell them. Yes, be straight up and point out all the great reasons why you'd be the right candidate for this job. Not any job, but their job. Note things they asked for in their job description and site how you're a match. In otherwords, make this easy for them because you're identifying you're the perfect match.
- Show, Don't Tell. Your resume is a blueprint of your career. Show this company that you really fit by making sure your resume matches the company's requirements. If the company wants to know if you've worked with big budgets, show them by highlighting where you've worked with big budgets in your resume. Include specifics. By highlighting the experience of what the job description asks for, you're making it easy for them to want to meet you.
- Trick Out Your LinkedIn Page. I can't tell you how many people don't take advantage of all the cool features LinkedIn offers. You can upload portfolios, graphics, job descriptions, and more. Get people to recommend you. Make sure all the detials are up to date and match your resume.
Take your time while you search for work. Think Quality, not quantity. By chosing not to fill the ether with mediocre matches, you are taking a strategic stance with your career search. Don't you deserve to find the right fit? We think so!
You get up in the morning, you don't have that same drive to primp the way you did when you first got your job. The iron is overrated, so you just throw on your shirt and head out the door. No one's looking at your shirt, they are looking at your work, or are they?
Did you know that your wrinkled shirt might be the reason you're being passed over for that promotion?
Kaitlin Madden of Careerbuilder.com reports that "according to a new CareerBuilder survey on promotions, certain personal attributes — namely those that might detract from your professional image — can prevent you from ascending the corporate ladder as swiftly as you may like."
In otherwords that wrinked shirt and unpressed pants may very well be the reason you aren't being considered to move up the corporate ladder.
Here are the other reasons sited in the Careerbuilder.com study as to why you've been overlooked for that promotion:
- Piercings — 37 percent
- Bad breath — 34 percent
- A visible tattoo — 31 percent
- Messy hair — 29 percent
- Dressing too casually — 28 percent
- Too much perfume or cologne — 26 percent
- Too much makeup — 22 percent
- Messy office or cubicle — 19 percent
- Chewed fingernails — 10 percent
- Too suntanned — 4 percent
“While strong job performance and leadership skills will weigh heavily on prospects for upward mobility, employers will also look at whether the employee conveys an overall professional image both internally and externally,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.
Fortunately, most of these things are easy to fix. Being put together at the work place may take some extra effort but you can easily clean up your act so that your work is the highlight or your presence at your current company.
My suggestion? Make some effort to clean up your act. Time to make an appointment with the hairdresser, get a new suit or two, hit the classy make up counter at the department store and hit the manicurist. Just think, the reward might be that promotion you've earned all along!
Still feeling like you could promote yourself? Go for it! Follow us on Twitter and get the latest news and updates on over 150 jobs we have available.
Feeling a little uncomfortable in interviews? Don't feel like you're getting the respect you deserve? Might be time for a little training in interview etiquette. Don't worry, it isn't hopeless, here are a few ideas to get you back on your toes and earn the attention of your interviewer positively. Tell employers to pick you, after fine tuning your interview skills. 1. Time to have dinner with fussy Auntie Judy.
Let her make comments on your table manners. These days, table etiquette seems to take a back seat. You want a stickler for rules to spot the bad manners that could trip you up in an interview. You might have developed some bad habbits, sitting with your feet tucked under the chair, elbows on the table or slumped over. Aunt Edna would never stand for this would she? Earn the respect of interviewer and improve your image by sitting up straight with your hands nicely folded in your lap. 2. Tape a formal practice conversation.
A lot of us have developed the habit of saying "like" too much. "I, like, can't believe, like, the job market is so, like, bad" or my personal pet peeve, "yah know what I'm saying?" Studies prove that interviewers were more likely to perceive a job candidate as less professional if the person said "like" too much, as compared to "uh." This is a habit that needs to be broken. Like, NOW. Ya know what I'm sayin'?3. Practice wearing your nice clothes.
Many of us work in more casual environments, where nice clothes are optional. If you've been out of work, then you probably haven't put on a nice pair of slacks in a while. I don't know about you, but after a long period of time, that pencil skirt and black pumps kind of make me feel uncomfortable if I haven't worn them in a while. Time to go out to a nice restaurant, the opera or anywhere else where people dress up. Guys should know how to handle a tie when they eat (no, you don't flip it over your shoulder), and girls should know how to sit properly and not flash half the town when they get out of a car. No one wants an interviewer distracted because you can't walk in those shoes and find that suit jacket too tight. Take your suit out and break it in before your next interview. It's nice being comfortable in your own second skin.
In conclusion, sit up straight, speak clearly and dress to impress. Remember you want your employer to be to meet a comfortable, confident, professional You so they pick YOU for the job.
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by Guest Blogger Holger Schulze
Major shifts are taking place in B2B marketing that started a few years ago but have accelerated in recent months – in the marketplace as well as inside vendor organizations. Prospects and customers are becoming more sophisticated and better informed than ever before. They are tuning out a lot of the marketing noise they receive which makes it harder for marketers to reach audiences the old fashioned way. Customers are are in the driver’s seat today. This has profound implications on marketing and the way companies engage with prospects.
Until recently, the mainstream B2B marketing approach was to interrupt and engage prospects, educate them on the vendors offering and move them through the sale cycle towards a transaction – a very vendor and product centric approach. Contrast this with the sophisticated and networked and community-embedded buyer today, who conducts research and talks with their peers in online communities long before identifying and narrowing down the list of potential vendors that can solve the problem.
These buyers and decision makers don’t want to get interrupted by a product promo email or a cold call that likely doesn’t come at the exact time they have a specific problem the caller can help with. And today’s customers are busier than ever. They want to be able to engage with a vendor when they are ready and actively seek out advice, often very late in the buying cycle, and have the vendor guide them through a complex buying and problem solving process - outsourcing part of the buying process to the vendor community if you will.
A simple 5 step program can help you refocus your marketing efforts and adjust to the new requirements for B2B marketing success:
Understand Your Audience
Customer focus begins with understanding your customer and their market environment. What business problems do they face? What are the drivers in their industry that impact profitability? Also make sure you segment your target markets according to demographics, psychographics, and business environment to identify the segments that are the best fit for your company's offering; segments that have the most to gain by becoming your customers.
Build a Strong Value Proposition
Build a strong customer-centric value proposition that puts your product and services in the context of the customer's problem, communicates the value you provide and your differentiators vis-a-vis competing alternatives.
Map Out Your Buyer’s Journey
Map the customer's buying cycle from problem awareness, identifying generic solutions, identifying potential vendors, selecting vendors that make the short list, evaluating solutions in detail and ultimately selecting a solution. Build a simplified model of your customers’ world, the journey they take from problem to solution. This exercise will help you understand how your customers are progressing through the steps of the buying cycle. What are their goals, concerns, what data do they need to move to the next step, where do they look for information?
Build Compelling Messages and Content
With this information you get a pretty good idea for how to influence the prospect along every step, how to educate them, how to guide them to purchase. Build a simple matrix of messages, marketing collateral and sales tools mapped against each phase of the buying cycle. Also add how you want to get your information to your audience - how will they find you. Focus on social networks and Google and special interest sites for the early phases; that's where buyers will often look first and find your content to make sense of their problem and the solution space and identify potential vendors. Make sure your content is problem and solution focused and doesn’t only talk about your product.
Build call to actions into each content piece to encourage your prospect to keep engaging with you as they move through the buying cycle. Also, make content easily accessible, especially in the early phase of the buying cycle where prospects don't care about specific vendors but want to understand their options and the implications of available choices to solve a problem. So let your educational content (white papers, Webinars) go free so it gets consumed and shared by prospects across social networks, don't hide it behind registration forms, but add a strong call to action into the content asset to move your prospects to the next interaction with you.
Invest in Marketing Automation
One size fits all mass email blasts, for example, don’t provide the level of return you are looking for. Marketing automation will allow you to have very targeted digital conversations with your audience triggered by prospect profile and behavior, driven by their buying cycle. Help prospects follow paths that you have defined to guide them, offering content that matches every step of their buying process from white papers and webinars in the early discovery stages to case studies, ROI studies and competitive comparisons during vendor selection at which point your sales will be heavily engaged in the relationship. With each interaction, you collect more data about the prospect which allows you to build a score to identify the hottest leads that you want to engage with directly and focus your time and sales resources on. With sophisticated analytics and reporting, MA tools will also give you insight into what is working and what not so you can adjust and improve your campaigns.
Buyers expect B2B vendors to help them make sense of the options they have available to solve a particular problem, and their pros and cons. A very consultative, solution, and customer centric approach to marketing and sales that is very different from yesterday’s paradigms. For marketing teams, this means engaging with prospects much earlier in the buying cycle, educating them long before prospects consider specific vendors, and matching each phase of the customer buying cycle with appropriate message, content and marketing tools designed to ease the buyers journey - from problem to solution and carefully steer them to the favorable outcome - to be selected by the buyer.
It also means using new ways to reach the buyer, including social networks. This approach requires much greater domain, industry and business expertise on the vendor side, to really understand the customer, which in turn requires more targeted segmentation, more intelligent messaging, better sales tools, etc. Time to get ready.
About Holger Schulze
Holger Schulze is a B2B technology marketing expert with over 10 years of experience driving market awareness, demand, and revenue for high-tech companies in the US and Europe. Currently serving as the Director of Marketing for information security vendor SafeNet, Holger has a proven success record of creating and executing global marketing strategies that increase revenue and market share. Holger is also a prolific blogger and social media community builder. Marketing professionals worldwide read his syndicated B2B Technology Marketing blog, and Holger's B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn has rapidly grown to over 20,000 members. And Holger's LinkedIn Information Security Community, with over 80,000 members, is the single biggest community of its kind in the information security industry.
By Elissa Jane Mastel
As the technology industry continues to evolve, so do the requirements of the needs for Marketing Professionals in the field. No longer relegated to just one task, marketing executives are expected to be integrated wizards with the hands in a host of activities moving skillfully like a quick moving jaguar who always lands on his feet.
Today’s hiring professionals are looking for candidates who can not only strategize, but can also implement all the tasks needed to propel their company forward. The best way to exemplify your level of expertise is to present a strong portfolio.
Here are a few things to think about before crafting your portfolio for the hiring manager at the job of your dreams;
Branding is crucial in today’s market place. Make sure you are well branded consistently throughout your portfolio. Create a letterhead and put it on every document with contact information. Use consistent fonts. Pick a color scheme and stick with it. Language is crucial, before crafting your portfolio and descriptions, sit down and do a little messaging workshop for yourself. Identify keywords that represent you and utilize them strategically throughout the portfolio and your resume for punch.
Quality not Quantity!
Chose each piece of collateral strategically. Your portfolio will be stronger with a few key examples of your abilities. Forcing the recipient to go through lots of pages of the same thing will dilute your presentation. Pick a few examples of each category. I like to pick pieces that garnered success, such as a press release that got a lot of pick up, or an email promo that generated a ton of buzz. Be selective. Show that you know how to get the job done skillfully with a few trophies.
Key Ingredients – Use all the Food Groups
Variety is the spice of life. Make sure you incorporate a pastiche of examples of your work that highlights your range and capabilities. Make sure you save things as PDFs, that way they don’t get altered in the transfer. Another solution is to create your portfolio using an online client such as Box.com, DropBox, Behance Network or Coroflot for example. Make sure your portfolio is easy to access and send. Try to use a client that doesn’t require a login by the human resources professional.
“I’ve seen a growing trend of people using the Box.com platform on LinkedIn, and we really like it! Candidates can post examples of work,” explains Dan Sullivan, President & CEO of J. Patrick + Associates, “I’ve seen multiple versions of resumes, writing samples, PowerPoint presentations and more. The feature is free with LinkedIN, people should use it.”
Now, what on earth do you put in it? They want to see what you can do, which includes writing. Start with strong writing samples such as press releases, blog posts and media kit materials. If you created a campaign, share key ingredients such as sales sheets and screen shots from the web site. I recommend that you group your clips by campaign, showing you are a strong strategist who gets results. Start with a short description of the campaign, and highlight the successes with your included pieces as evidences of your proven results.
by special guest contributor John Care, Author of Mastering Technical Sales
I’m constantly amazed at how little time most Sales Engineers put into a debrief after the sales call. It’s strange when you compare it to the amount of preparation that actually goes in before the call.
There are two really good reasons why a structured debrief is worth your time. Firstly, you can determine if you hit the mark during the call, figure out next steps and make any necessary strategy changes – that’s all standard sales 101. Secondly, it’s the only way you can improve your professional skills – by obtaining and then acting on feedback. I’m going to focus on the feedback mechanism because a “the demo went great” really doesn’t help you get any better.
If you’ve ever attended one of my Mastering Technical Sales workshops you’ve been exposed to the T3-B3-N3 model of getting constructive feedback. I routinely use this both to give and receive feedback. So here it is..
T3 – Top 3
What are the top three things I did in the sales call that I should repeat every time I’m in that kind of situation?
B3 – Bottom 3
What are the three things I did in the sales call that I should never do again?
N3 – Next 3
What are three things I didn’t even do in the sales call that I should consider including next time?
It’s a non-threatening collection of positive reinforcement, constructive feedback and new ideas mixed in with a little “don’t do that”. Now you need to take notes, try to get specific examples (my example: “When you interrupt the customer before he finishes asking his question it shows a lack of respect and professionalism. Next time pause and count to two before you answer”) and if appropriate, put a plan in place to fix or to reinforce the behavior. Then follow-up with that person within a few weeks – that way they will give you some more feedback once they know you are listening to them.
Feedback is a gift, and together with learning more about your own solution, it’s the #1 way you have of improving. You may not always like what you hear, but it is still a gift.
So after the next sales call – if you want more than “you did good”, try the T3-B3-N3 approach and see what happens!
John Care (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Managing Director of Mastering Technical Sales, a consulting company dedicated to improving the professional skills and capabilities of presales organizations worldwide. For more information on this and other Sales Engineering topics, or to sign up for the newsletter visit the website at www.masteringtechnicalsales.com.