November 19, 2009. 10 am Pacific, 11 am Mountain, Noon Central, 1 pm EST, 7 pm Zurich and Istanbul
Career Sustainability Is Critical To Survival When Change Is Constant
Most of us are in the midst of what will likely be a half-century worklife. We are somewhere in the midst of a world where we are likely to change jobs about every four years and experience three or more careers over the span of our productive years. As if this were not enough, we must also survive the economic downturns that come around with some regularity every seven years or so. We shall discuss issues, strategies and tactics that need to be addressed when we talk about job search, career development and career management and what career professionals need to do to enhance organizational and public awareness of the critical importance of our work as it relates to the well being of every working American.
Martin Yate, C.P.C., is the author of Resumes That Knock 'em Dead and Cover Letters That Knock em Dead. He is an executive career strategist and public speaker with over thirty years in the career management world. These proven job search books are published in seventeen languages. His previous positions include National Director of Training for Dunhill Personnel System, Inc. and Director of Personnel for Bell Industries Computer Memory Division. Martin Yate resides in Savannah, GA.
Exercise: Critical Target Job Deconstruction
A résumé building exercise with significant implications for job search, interviews and career development.
Martin Yate CPC, 2009
A résumé is without doubt the single most financially important document any professional will ever own; yet the majority of résumés under-perform for their owners. There can be many reasons why a client’s résumé doesn’t work, but the leading cause is that they are improperly focused. All too often the résumés we see are simply subjective recitations of that client’s experience.
Without reference to exactly what customers are buying and then customizing their primary marketing tool to reflect these needs, otherwise qualified job hunters are condemned to disappointment in their résumé’s productivity. I’m not suggesting a résumé populated with fabrications, but rather a résumé that speaks to qualifications and experience in terms most relevant to the customer.
Today, the vast majority of résumés end up in databases that can contain 30 million plus résumés against which a client’s must compete. Add to this daunting reality the knowledge that every recruiter who ever reads a résumé has a specific job opening in mind, and we see how critical an analysis of customer priorities, and the reflection of those priorities in a résumé can be.
A résumé that’s just a myopic recitation of work history is tilted toward failure in this database dominated world, especially when we recognize that recruiters rarely need to dig below the top twenty search results of a résumé database search.
Consider the implications: for a résumé to even be seen by human eyes it must make the top twenty résumés pulled as a result of a recruiter’s database search.
For the recruiter, database searches works like Google searches, s/he inputs keywords from a specific Job Description and up pop the résumés that match based on the frequency of the relevant keywords used; in practice, these keywords come from the internal Job Description which often appears online as the Job Posting.
How can we help our clients create a résumé that competes in this fierce environment? By developing an understanding of what employers want when they hire “someone like me,” how they prioritize those needs and how they express them.
For the last few years I have been advising job hunters to develop a prime résumé with focus on the single target job title that captures what they do best. And then to define exactly how employers think about and describe that job. I find this exercise compels the client to
Understand how employers think about and prioritize their employment needs
Understand how employers think about express those needs
Recognize the (transferable) skills and other deliverables the marketplace values
Establish a template for the story their résumé must ideally tell
Prepare answers for the line of behavioral questioning likely at interviews
Develop an awareness of the behavioral profiles that lead to professional success
To achieve this I recommend they execute a process called Target Job Deconstruction (TJD) as the best objective approach to creating a résumé that will get pulled from résumé databases and resonate with human eyes. Here’s the blow-by-blow on how to proceed:
Collect 6-10 job postings of the job for which you are best qualified to. Save them in a folder and also print them out.
Create a new MSWord doc and save it as “(job title) TJD.”
Start with a first subhead reading JOB TITLE, then copy and paste in all the job title variations from your sample Job Postings. Looking at the result you can say, “when employers are hiring people like me they tend to express the job title with these words.”
This will help you to come up with a suitable Target Job Title for your résumé, coming right after your name and contact information, this acts as a headline giving human eyes an immediate focus, and helps database performance.
Add a second subhead
Look through all the print job postings across your desk for a single requirement that is common to all six of your job postings. Take the most complete description of that single requirement and copy and paste it (with a bullet) into your TJD doc; put a #6 by your entry to signify it is common to all.
Underneath this pasted entry add any additional words and phrases, from the other job postings, used to describe this requirement.
Repeat this exercise for any other requirements common to all six of your job postings.
Repeat the exercise for requirements common to five of the job postings and then four, and so on, all the way down to those requirements mentioned in only one job posting.
When this is done you can look at your TJD document and say, “when employers are hiring people like me they tend to refer to them by these job titles and they prioritize their needs in this way and use these words to describe them.”
Everyone ever hired for any job is hired to be a problem solver. You don’t get hired just because you have a particular set of skills, but rather because it is clear from your résumé and interview performance that you know how to apply those skills to the problems that occur every day in your area of professional focus.
This fifth step in the TJD process concentrates your attention on the practical problem solving skills you bring to each critical aspect of your work.
For each of the job’s requirements, as you identified them in Steps Three and Four,
Identify the typical problems and challenges that arise when executing your duties in this area.
Then for each problem or challenge identify
Examples of tactics and strategies you employ to address such an issues
Examples of tactics and strategies you employ to reduce the occurrence of such issues.
Looking again at the prioritized requirements you identified in Steps Three and Four, consider each individual requirement and recall the best person you have ever known doing that that aspect of the job.
Then identify what made that person stand out in your mind as a true professional, think of specific skill sets/professional behaviors (perhaps s/he had good analytical, listening and time management skills).
Take the time to do this conscientiously for each of the TJD’s deliverables, and on completion you will have a complete behavioral profile of the person every employer wants to hire, plus a behavioral blueprint for your future professional success.
Looking one last time at the prioritized requirements you identified in Steps Three and Four, consider each individual requirement and recall the worst person you have ever known doing that aspect of the job.
Then, repeating your approach from the Step Six, identify what made that person stand out in your mind as a failure.
Take the time to do this conscientiously for each of the TJD’s deliverables, and this time you will have a complete behavioral profile of the person no employer wants to hire, plus a behavioral blueprint for professional failure.
Pulling it all together
The most productive résumé focuses on your professional experience, as it relates to your ability to deliver on the requirements of job you have targeted.
You now know the story your résumé needs to tell to be maximally productive in the résumé databases and when it eventually gets in front of those human eyes.
A Resume for Tough Economic Times
Resume Getting Lost in the Resume Databases?
I met Martin Yate last year at the International Career Development Conference where he figuratively "knocked listeners dead" with his eloquent keynote presentation. He is the author of Resumes That Knock 'em Dead and Cover Letters That Knock em Dead. Both books have been translated into 17 languages. He is an executive career strategist and public speaker with over thirty years in the career management world. I am pleased to welcome Martin Yate today to share how we can manage the challenge of working for half a century. Hi Martin...
Before we begin, listeners please press 5* on your phone if you have a question and be sure to fill out the evaluation form after the tele-interview, especially if you want to earn CEUs. Martin, here's my first question...
1. You say, "Most of us are in the midst of what will likely be a half-century worklife." What kind of a model will help people find work over a period of 50 years?
2. What is your concept of the pursuit of parallel careers? (core careers, entrepreneurial careers, dream careers)
2. How can we pursue these parallel careers simultaneously?
3. What about older workers who work more slowly? Can older people pursue parallel careers simultaneously?
4. How do older workers not come across as a know-it-all?
5. The majority of business growth is with small companies. Who starts these small companies?
6. What about young people who graduate from business school or a liberal arts school and can't find work? How do they package themselves to find work?
7. Would you recommend that a high school graduate go to a liberal arts college or go through vocational training to get a job?
8. What would you recommend that high school students ask at the admission interview?
9. What would you recommend to professionals who have been laid off from high-paying jobs?
10. How does the exercise posted on your Careerwell web page, "Critical Target Job Deconstruction," fit in with your advice for job seekers? Should job seekers of all generations do a critical target job desconstruction resume? What does that mean, "critical target job deconstruction?"
11. You mentioned to me an e-portfolio that you are launching at the SOACE conference in Nashville on December 13-15. How would that be of value to students? To alumni?
Thank you Martin Yate, for getting job seekers of all generations on track.
Be sure to register for upcoming speaker Samual Gladding, a former president of the American Counseling Association. He will talk about creativity in career on December 3. On December 10 Antonio Sausys will discuss asking for what you want in work and life using body-oriented psychotherapy and ancient yogic teachings, an especially useful topic to help us navigate through the holidays. In January, we have three interviews. I managed to schedule John Grey, author of "Men Is From Mars,..." talk on January 7 about "Why Men and Women Collide" in the workplace and at home. Carol McClelland will speak January 14 on "Green Careers for Dummies," and Jan Johnston-Tyler will speak on January 28 about "Neurodiversity - Providing Career Advising for Individuals with Hidden Disabilities." Goodby until next month. May you have a healthy and revitalizing Thanksgiving.