By OwnYourSituation, 23-Jan-2013 19:55:00
8 Steps to Acing an Interview in 20 Minutes
1. Listen to the local news and search the company online – You are looking for signs of mergers, buyouts, new product developments or relocations. If Company A buys Company B chances are they will be restructuring and merging the two businesses. If Company A is shopping around some new potential revenue stream to stockholders chances are they will be staffing up. Chaos creates opportunity if you are properly positioned and capable of capitalizing.
2. Listen to the recruiting firms – Recruiting firms have the inside track on companies. They get job postings sometimes before they are made public. They’ll know if a company is hiring or getting ready to hire an absurd amount of labor. You’ll know how badly/fast they need great employees. If a recruiting firm is placing you at a company chances are they have placed someone else with this same hiring manager and that person can give you a direct outline of what they are looking for and how the interview is structured.
3. Reach out socially on LinkedIn, FB, Twitter, Email– A number of times I have friends interview with former managers or at former companies of mine – or perhaps if I don’t personally have experience at a company chances are I know someone who does. This creates the ability to tell them exactly what the hiring manager is like, what they look for in a candidate, how badly they are hurting to fill the position and sometimes I’ve even been able to get an EXACT outline of the interview. There have been times me and a friend have interviewed for the same position and I or they were able to reach out directly afterwards to tell each other what to expect.
4. Memorize the job listing - This will further help you understand what they are looking for in a candidate. It will also bring a lot of clarity to the conversation and cut out any surprises. I like to have a copy on hand during the interview. I’ll cram while waiting for the in person interview or reference it often if it’s a phone interview.
5. Know your Resume – You should never send the same resume twice. If you seriously applying for some jobs then chances are you’ve sent out several variations of your resume. Remember the exact version, or better yet have a physical copy, of the resume that landed you the interview. You’ve probably highlighted the areas of your experience that most compliment the position, you’ll want to keep that information handy.
6. Apply for very specific specialized positions – For instance, if I applied for “IT Lead”, chances are I’m setting myself up for a ton of interviews, competition and call-backs to the office. However if I apply for GIS IT Lead now I have the upper hand. Ton of people know IT, but very few know Geospatial IT.
This weeds out the competition and puts you at the front running of the pack since you are specialized in a niche. It also shows that a company knows exactly what it wants in qualifications for a candidate.
7. Shadow your shortcoming with you key features – I don’t have a fancy degree, in fact I barely have an associates in something completely unrelated to what I do. However, I do have 10 years progressive experience on some highly complicated tasks. Each position is advanced of the last. I also have certifications, publications and other qualifications. Highlight the good. If a company needs someone bad enough they will make exceptions. The truth is every job has on the job training. If you are 80% qualified and we like you, you’ll be a good fit for the team, then you’re getting hired.
8. Confidence – By doing the previous steps you’ll have the upper hand. You’ll know what cards the interviewer is holding and that puts you in a position to win. Armed with that information you can go into an interview with confidence. Confidence will irradiate from you and you’ll instantly be trustworthy and likable. The job is yours.
By OwnYourSituation, 07-Jan-2013 20:55:00
Some mega successful market leading companies out there can be tough to land a job at. They seem to be the ultra luxurious company that everyone wants to work for. It seems some get in, and almost never does anyone leave. Being able to join the ranks of a Fortune 500 or a Fortune 100 really isn’t that difficult if you know…
• How to position yourself
• What opportunities to look for
Strategic positioning is something I discuss often with my clients. You can be the best damn carpenter on the market, but if there aren’t any construction or development companies in your current geography then you’ve just wasted your time.
Key number one to landing a killer position at a monster company is positioning. You have to be in a career niche which is growing faster than the available qualified candidates hitting the market. It’s the simple law of supply and demand. Take the IT market in St Louis for example. IT demand here is super high. Top companies find their headquarters located here. They need talent, but there isn’t a gigantic talent pool to pull from. Because of this they will make special considerations for candidates if you fit the majority of what they need for an open position.
Bottom line - Apply for that dream job even if you aren’t a perfect fit. Know the demand, you may be more desired than you realize.
Key number two to landing a killer position at a giant market leading company is knowing opportunities when they arise. This is simple.
• Read the paper
• Watch the news
You want to be keeping your ear to the ground or a pulse on the local job market. You’re looking for things like, Company A acquires Company B or Company A invests in new technology. Headlines like these show a company is growing. Growth means new jobs. New jobs mean opportunity for you to advance your career. Situations like this are usually a firestorm for companies where they need to hire people and the needed them yesterday. They’ll again make special exceptions for the candidate because they now have a lot of work to do and it needs done now. You can usually come in and snag a position higher than your current position, ahead of your career path schedule, if you’ve got just the right mix of qualifications.
Bottom line - Apply for that dream job even if you aren’t a perfect fit.
Own Your Situation,
By OwnYourSituation, 26-Jun-2012 16:41:00
A few tricks I use to know if a perspective employer pays well.
Before signing on to my last two companies I was at a point in my life when I was concerned about making money. I had no family, I had no kids. My primary goal was to raise my income level, solidify my career and set myself up for the future. If I ever chose to have kids I didn’t want to worry about being around to coach little league and I surely didn’t want to worry about having the money to send the kids to camp every summer or take them to Disney World. My goal was to put myself in a position to not worry about those types of things. This meant I had to focus on career development and finances.
Before signing on to a company it can be difficult to know if there is room for financial growth.
• You don’t know if the there is room to move up the ladder.
• You can’t know if the pay increases are good.
• You can’t predict what the bonuses are going to be like.
• You don’t know where the glass ceiling is or if growth is planned.
To me that’s a lot of unknowns for such a big decision. I started to look for signs on how a company compensated their employees.
I look at the cars in the parking lot. Are there clunkers? Is 90% of the lot filled with average commuter cars? Or… Do you see high end rides? BMW’s, Mercede’s, Audi’s, Corvette’s and Lexus’. What is ratio at a quick glance? Are there two cars in the lot that get your attention or is the lot filled? This can show you what employees are making or what earning potential can be with a company.
My former employer, which did not pay up to market standard, had 3 cars I was interested in sitting in the parking lot (out of 400 or so workers in that office). Most vehicles were older and low end baseline models. My current company, which compensates at or above market, has lot full of high end luxury cars. Even the domestic cars and trucks are loaded and brand new.
Another quick parking lot trick, if it’s a nice day, is to look at how many motorcycles sitting around. These are usually secondary or recreational vehicles indicating employees have additional funds to burn through.
What are your interviewers wearing? What are the employees wearing? How well people at a company dress can be a good indicator of how well they are paid. Are they put together nicely? Is it name brand or is it cheap?
I’ll never forget the Holiday party I attended for a contracting company before signing on with them. First, it was open food and bar at an upscale restaurant downtown. The entire place was shut down and had been reserved for us exclusively. They dropped some serious coin on this event. Secondly, everyone there was dressed to the 9’s. It was obvious their employees and contractors were compensated very well. Everything was name brand and new. The watches on every guy’s wrist were gigantic expensive. The jewelry on the women had obviously cost a quite a bit as well.
The point is to be aware of your surroundings. You can look for tons of little things just to give you a hint at what to expect.
Own Your Situation,
By OwnYourSituation, 19-Jun-2012 17:20:00
I ran across a hilarious MSN article on interview mistakes. The sad part is some of these aren't all that uncommon! This goes to show how far some simple common sense can go in an interview. Afterall if you are going to work your tail off to get an interview you may as well be in a position to really sell yourself. See the link below...
Own Your Situation,
By OwnYourSituation, 18-Jun-2012 20:40:00
When it comes to my career I want it moving at break neck speed, dynamic and always going forward. I want my career to perform much like a race car, speeding down the track to the end goal in the least amount of time possible, blowing by the competition while always remaining agile. I don’t want my career to be like a moped, puttering along blocking the lane and getting nowhere while struggling with hills and wind. Sure you can get around the track on a moped, but who wants to endure that?
You can compare a high powered career to a race car.
• You can’t run a race car on pump gas. You have to feed it high octane fuel.
• It requires a very skilled driver to effectively drive a race car. An inexperienced or out of practice person would wreck it and possibly kill themselves.
• It takes a team of people and arsenal of tools to maintain a race car; it’s not a one-person operation.
• A race car is only worth so many passes around the track before it needs brought in and the engine refreshed.
A high powered career is no different. When I was working on the farm as a teenager I didn’t need to put a lot of effort into researching the best way to milk a cow or stack a straw bail. I didn’t need to continually educate myself in order to stay ahead of the market curve. I didn’t need to take time off to keep my brain fresh.
Fast forward to today in my fortune 500 career.
• In order to stay in the best frame of mind and on top of things I eat the best foods, work out every day and get plenty of rest. It keeps me sharp. It’s the high octane fuel feeding my engine if you will.
• I practice my skill or trade often and always. I continually build my experience. An inexperienced person in my position will kill a project and cost the company loads of money and possible cost others their job.
• I have a pile of books, websites and references to keep my brain sharp on the upcoming changes in technology, leadership and management. I have entire teams of people dedicated to accomplishing tasks, an admin to manage my calendar and several others to delegate work towards. It’s my team.
• When it’s vacation time I leave my phone at home and do it up big sparing no expense on my personal refresh.
The point is if you are going to have a high powered career it is going to require more maintenance, better planning and a higher skill level. You have to look at your career goals. Are you puttering along on a moped in your career? If you are then the chance is you aren’t pumping in the right fuel, right maintenance, right amount of work or correct amount of something. Your career is very much like your body. You get out of it what you put into it. No more, no less. Put in the highest quality fuel and you can expect to get better performance. Put in the proper amount of downtime and you can expect to feel refreshed always.
Just remember a rocket requires rocket fuel where as a Prius will run on low grade pump gas. However a rocket, will take you to the moon. So if you find yourself shooting for the stars with your career goal take a minute to analyze what you’re putting into your career vs what you are asking out of your career.
Own your situation,
By OwnYourSituation, 14-Jun-2012 15:46:00
First and foremost I would like to give partial credit for this post to Joshua Kennon. I was reading an investing blog late last night and ran across an article he wrote on Buffet’s wealth model. After reading his article I realized how much of Buffet’s wealth model I have used in a job setting to explode my career. I want to pass this secret along to you.
For those of you who do not know, Warren Buffet is one of the world’s richest men and an investing genius. His company’s stock went from $8 in the 1960’s to $118,000 today. That’s an amazing feat by anyone’s measure.
A brief look at Warren’s strategy…
Warren always talked about two buckets and focusing his time on those two buckets.
1. Operating Businesses – in which the company held a controlling stake
2. Marketable Securities – stocks, bonds, mutual funds and the like
This arrangement has several obvious advantages. First off when stocks crash, Warren is able to rely on the cash generated by the operating businesses. This provides him with funds to redeploy into the market, buying up assets on the cheap. Secondly these operating business aren’t given daily valuations (except to the extent that the holding company is publically traded). That means the operating businesses are much more stable. All this really translates to is Warren owns long-term business with real assets like factories, stores, computers, machines and such. Banks are more likely to loan long-term fixed rates on models like this.
I know by now you’re wondering how you can deploy Warren Buffet principles in your career. Many of you may already be using this strategy in some shape or form.
The Operating Businesses Warren buys is comparable to your job. A fixed amount of income comes in on a regular basis from your job, regardless of what the rest of the world and your 401K are doing. Whatever your career (teacher, firefighter, pilot, IT, construction or executive) there is a stream of funds coming in allowing you to pay bills, watch TV, play Xbox, go to the baseball game, fill up your gas tank and buy groceries. This same income provides you with the first real opportunity to buy assets, invest in yourself, further your education and work on YOU THE PRODUCT, as I call it.
Just like any other good business you want to grow your profits, or salary, in this case. You want to do this as much as possible with the smallest investment. This is why I tell people to look at obtaining a specialized certificate instead of a master’s, often times a person can increase their earning more going this route while spending less. Always ask what kind of ROI you are going to receive.
With the increased income from your job you now have the ability to further your career by investing in you the product. You have the ability to add value by starting a side business, such as my speaking engagements and building assets, such as this blog and my first book (plus a whole offering of new products coming your way). By investing in yourself you can apply for better jobs at better companies which pay more money with better benefits. You can take the additional money and further your career (operating business) or asset holding (marketable securities). It’s a self perpetuating circle. Using this same principle I was able to go from the low man on a totem pole in a small private company to a Fortune 500 office in under 5 years, all while increasing my earnings and opportunity. You can easily do the same thing.
Own Your Situation,
By OwnYourSituation, 03-May-2012 20:08:00
My simple career wealth equation goes as follows...
Product + Positioning = Price
Above is the simple equation I keep in mind when raising my worth in the job market. You can see with my equation the better the product and/or the better the positioning then the more money you command. Today we are going to talk about the first variable, product. By increasing the value of the product you can increase your take home pay.
When I talk about product I talk about YOU. Anyone who has read my book, Renegade Career Development, will understand that YOU are the “product” being brought to the job market. Start to think of yourself as a product. As with any product the consumer doesn’t care about what you have or what you can do. The consumer only cares about what your product can do for THEM. In the case of you being the product guess who the consumer/customer is??? It’s your current or potential employer.
So how do we raise the value of our product? The simplest most effective way to raise the value of you the product is to use the “Hostile Takeover” I describe in my book. That’s not the only way though. You can…
• Attain a higher degree
• Attain a certification
• Wait for experience to develop
• Apply for higher positions forcing your value to grow
If you want to make more money with your job this is the first part of the equation to work on elevating. Some of these can be long tasks, but with a little focus and a little resourcefulness it can happen fairly quickly.
Own Your Situation,
By OwnYourSituation, 20-Apr-2012 15:07:00
Hello and welcome to another blog post. We have an exciting topic this week, especially important in today’s economy.
1. How to Negotiate Job Training with Your Employer During a Recession
The good news is it’s already been perfectly written (which makes my job easy). You can read the article here…
Offered in this article are several examples of how you can get your employer to pay for additional job training. The author even offers actionable steps you can take! It’s a thing of beauty.
I speak about this heavily in my upcoming book as well. I was able to receive world-class customer service training for free. In my career path that looks really good on a résumé. It’s a great thing anytime you can boost your résumé at the expense of someone else.
Own your situation,
By OwnYourSituation, 17-Dec-2011 18:14:00
The rule of five as described by Jack Canfield is an awesome principle. He used this to help propel his book to the top of the Best Sellers list.
Think of a huge oak tree. You go out to the tree with your axe and take five big swings everyday. Eventually that tree will fall. Jack talks about committing to take 5 swings at your most pressing goal everyday.
Take 5 swings everyday towards writing that book.
Take 5 swings everyday towards saving for that dream vacation.
Take 5 swings everyday towards achieving that promotion.
Just pick one of your goals and commit to taking 5 swings everyday. Obviously you can't apply this principle to every goal on your list, you’d get overwhelmed, but you can apply it to a single goal and over time you will eventually come out on top.
Own Your Situation,
By OwnYourSituation, 13-Dec-2011 03:18:00
So I'm plowing through The Success Principles by Jack Canfield (you can find it on my book list under "Resources"). He remarks about a thermostat. Most of you have heard of a thermostat. It's that thing on the wall that controls the temperature in a a place. You dial it into a particular temperature when it gets too hot or too cold the thermostat fires up either the air conditioner or the heater and brings the temperature back to the desired comfort level.
Jack refers your internal thermostat regulating your personal performance instead of temperature. It uses discomfort signals to keep you with in your comfort zone. Some people are ok with one month of salary stocked away in the bank. If the number grows below one month of salary they go into action and bring that account back up to the comfort level. Also, if the account spike up due to a large unexpected sum of money a person will spluge on things they otherwise may not splurge on thus bringing the account back down to the comfort level.
It is a self image thing, it is a finance thing, it is a environment thing and it's much of the reason why lottey winners end up broke and bankrupt within 5 years of winning. We all have a comfort zone for the car we drive, restaurants we eat at, clothes we wear, people we hang out with, vacations we take and where we choose to live.
Personally I can relate to Jack's concept. I used to think $100 jeans were awesome. I was comfortable wearing them everywhere. That is until a girl I dated took me out shopping for jeans. She claimed I needed a couple pairs of good jeans (I thought my jeans were already good). I can tell you the first time I dropped $350 on a single pair of jeans I was a tad uncomfortable, even more so because I purchased two pairs that day. However, if you fast forward to now I can't imagine wearing anything less. Those old jeans that I once found comfortable sit in my closet and collect dust. I may wear them around the place if I'm grilling, but that's about it. Ultimately they are on the way to Goodwill.
Jack talks about changing the comfort level on your internal thermostat through affirmations. I won't get into affirmations here, because this is blog post and not a book. Know that you can change your thermostat. You can groom yourself to be comfortable at a higher level. Take some time to reflect on where your thermostat is set. What are you comfortable with in terms of finance, restaurant, home, people, self appearance and such? Identify your comfort zone and set out to raise the bar. Skip eating out at lunch for a week or two and go to a nice place on the weekend just to raise your comfort zone. It's like learning anything new. Do it a few times and it will become the new norm for you. Groom yourself for a successful lifestyle.
Own Your Situation,
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