5 Reasons why some people get hired first

Have you ever wondered why some people get hired quicker than others? Here are 5 reasons why some people just seem to be more successful. Experience of working with many hundreds of job seekers has shown me that these are common characteristics make a job seeker successful. Continue reading

Resume – Objective or Summary/Profile?

The top section of the resume is the first impression that anyone reading it receives about you. What is says, how it says it and the physical layout are all important components of the big picture. I often see resumes that have headings of either Objective or Summary/Profile and these terms are often used interchangeably.

In today’s world they are not the same, let us examine each one and look at the pros and cons. Continue reading

Tearing Down The Walls: An Introduction to the Process-Based Job-Search

What is the process-based job-search in a nutshell?

The process-based job-search is simply a job-search with a plan and structure.

Why does anyone need a process-based job-search?

Most people don’t know how to run a highly-effective job-search – they have no plan – and without a plan they will waste a lot of time. Continue reading

Landing an appointment – Part III

This three part series (Part I, Part II), is based upon material provided by and conversations with an old friend of mine, John Burke. In the tough times that we need alternatives to the traditional submission of a resume.

Under your signature and title (Principal, Partner, President, whatever works for you) make note that the profile is attached. Do NOT cc: the names of the other executives targeted in this space. I don’t generally include a business card, because I want the correspondence to look more personal than a pitch for their business.

Write three of these letters which are all identical except the intended executive changes, as does the two other names in the first paragraph, and of course, the names of their respective assistants. You need three envelopes addressed to each of the three executive targeted. Be careful with the merging here because it can get a little confusing after three or four different companies. Use a postage stamp and omit a return address – looks less like junk mail.

Time for follow up. Contact the assistant directly, if they’re not there, call back later. Do not leave a voice mail. Introduce yourself and tell them you’re following up on a letter that was sent to their boss a few days ago, and suggest that they’ll remember it by the fact that it was also sent to two other executives. They usually remember this because it is somewhat unusual and was stated in the first sentence of the letter. If the assistant doesn’t recall seeing the letter, tell her you’ll fax or email a copy to her directly and follow up in a day or so after they’ve had a chance to run it by their boss.

You’re calling to see if their boss saw the letter and to find out what his/her decision was, i.e. who did he send it to? On the off chance that the assistant suggests you can speak with their boss right while you’re on the phone, do not accept the offer (the executive you speak with over the phone will use the limited time he affords you to screen you out). Inform the assistant that you’re more comfortable with he/she as your point of contact to arrange a meeting or direct you to the right individual.

The beauty of this strategy is that the individual to whom this correspondence is ultimately directed can’t ignore that the letter came from the boss in the corner office and they had better have an answer if questioned as to what it was all about. When you call the recipient’s assistant, reference the fact that so-and-so recommends that you and the recipient meet and can the assistant set up an appointment for you. Again, it’s best if you don’t speak to the recipient on the phone if you can help it – always push for a meeting.

Standard meeting etiquette applies. Tell them how much time you’ll need, and don’t exceed that time limited unless you’re invited to. There are two schools of thought regarding time planning: suggest it will be less than a half hour so that it doesn’t threaten to eat up too much of their day, or make it just shy of an hour to be realistic and to lend credibility. There’s no right answer, but I favor the latter. Regardless of the time requested, be prepared if asked to tell how you plan to use the time and what you hope to discuss.

Good luck to all


Landing an appointment – Part II

This three part series (Part I, Part III) is based upon material provided by and conversations with an old friend of mine, John Burke. In the tough times that we need alternatives to the traditional submission of a resume.

There are plenty of books on how to create a profile, but the essence of the collateral is to convey, what you do well, how you did it, who you did it for, and the conditions before, and after you plied your competency. You can get really fancy with some testimonials.

Next is to pick your targets. You’re better off if you cast the net wide and consider those enterprises that you would be willing to do project work, if it turns into a job, all the better. With your industry knowledge it shouldn’t be too difficult who may have a need for your set of problem solving skills. Keep the list limited to no more than 10 (this strategy will yield appointments so you don’t want more action than you can reasonably book).

At this point we need to do some minor research. In addition to the Corporate address and phone number, we need the names of three top level executives who presumably have an interest in our proposition. Typically that includes the CEO, the CFO, and a perhaps an appropriate functional VP. Ask the switchboard operator if they know the name and the correct spelling of the executive’s assistant. If the operator is reluctant to share that information, ask for the assistant directly and get the information from them. (If the target company is too small, the intended executives may not have assistants and the strategy becomes somewhat challenged.)

Time to craft the letter. I try to keep it to one page (we mail two with the profile) and it is in the standard format of a business letter – if you have letterhead, all the better. Now here is the key: after the salutation, in the opening sentence of the very first paragraph we state that we are writing to the addressee, the CFO (by name), and the VP (by name) with the hopes one of them will direct you to the executive most concerned about … and you briefly state the problem.

The following paragraph or two describes your value proposition, what you do, how it has helped others in similar situations, and what will be the desired results.

Close the letter by stating that you will be in touch with their assistant (by name) on a specific date to learn whether the executive contacted will meet with you or perhaps someone they have delegated. The question you want answered if the executive doesn’t meet with you is to whom was the letter directed to. Take note of the name and validate the delegate with the other two executive’s assistants – they may tell you someone different who is actually the point person you need; time will tell.

Good luck to all


Landing an appointment – Part I

This three part series (Part IIPart III) is based upon material provided by and conversations with an old friend of mine, John Burke. In the tough times that we need alternatives to the traditional submission of a resume.

Sending an unsolicited resume with an appropriate cover letter is seldom the most effective way to crack a target employer (particularly if there is no job posted); your resume is likely to get lost in the shuffle, discarded by an errant key word search, or simply fail to meet the fancy of a first tier HR administrator. You’re out before you’re invited in.

We all know that when on the hunt for a project or position, nothing happens until you actually meet with the decision maker. Our initial efforts should be totally devoted to securing appointments with multiple employers. At this point in our careers, we don’t actually need more interviews, we need appointments for exchanging information with interested executives. We need to alter our mindset from one of an applicant to one of a consultative vendor.

By framing your strongest competencies as the solution to Executive’s most ubiquitous issues, the appointment is ultimately controlled by you, the available expert. You are expected to ask the questions, rather than recite interviewee answers. The hat changes from applicant to vendor and your contact becomes a customer, rather than an employer.

That transformation alone makes it easier for you to get in.

As a vendor, you would never consider approaching the pertinent “buyer” of your services by submitting your credentials to the Human Resource department; as gatekeepers, their job is to screen you out unless there happens to be an open position for which you appear to be an absolute perfect match. Now that you represent yourself as a solution, all you need is the power to get appointments.

There is an insightful book called The Power To Get In, by Michale A. Boylan, that goes into some detail as to how to attain this power. I’ve used Boylan’s principles for years with great success and am not ashamed to admit that he’s the genius who created this winning strategy. It works something like this:

The first task is to take your resume and distill the information into a one page profile that describes what you do well. The document should have no resemblance to a resume: no objectives, dates of employment, chronological listing of employers, not even any titles or where you graduated – if it looks anything at all like a resume it will never see the desk of the intended recipient.

Good luck to all


Networking for Your Future – Part 2

Continuing the conversation regarding the best ways of networking we conclude with the final two options and a summary.

Meetings, I cannot stress strongly enough that if you are having a one on one networking meeting with someone in the world of business try and have that meeting in their office. A meeting in a neutral coffee shop may be fine but they do not have all the information about their contacts immediately to hand. Bearing in mind that one of the primary questions you will always ask at any networking meeting is who else do you think I should be talking with then they should be able to give you that information immediately and also send of a quick email to let the person know that you will be contacting them. If they have to return to their office there are any number of distractions that can influence them before they can help you out.

Snail Mail, or as some of us fondly remember them the Postal Service. In today’s fast paced world of immediate gratification there can often be a greater impact made if you send a card after an interview or meeting that thanks the individuals involved. The chances are it will get read and remembered rather than accidently deleted. Snail Mail is also useful to send a well printed resume on quality paper if necessary.

In summary, there are multiple methods of networking and each is appropriate to a particular circumstance. Use email to say thank you and confirm meetings, use a telephone to set up meetings or have a long distance networking meeting, use face to face meetings whenever possible, they are without doubt the best and most productive choice available, and finally the reliable postal service for delivering the extra special note, thank you letter or printed resume.


– Your Virtual Job Coach