This past week, I co-presented the closing keynote address at the annual conference of the National Resume Writers’ Association in Charlotte, NC (Louise Kursmark was my co-presenter: We have been talking about career management and resume strategies across our industry and nation for more than 20 years).
While in the beautiful “Queen City” (and having an opportunity to see Vermont granite used at the Panthers’ lovely stadium), I took advantage of my week by spending time with some incredible career advisors on the campus of the University of North Carolina. A vibrant and active Career Services Center, these folks had lots of ideas to share and were equally interested in learning some of the best practices in networking, LinkedIn, and job search for new graduates and interns as they coach students in developing/polishing their resumes.
A few highlights of the take-aways (tips applicable to job seekers at nearly every level!):
• It’s all about differentiating candidacy in a way that can grab attention — in under 6 seconds!
• Articulating value proposition and drawing a match with the needs of the hiring manager = essential.
• Tell the right story — GPA (only those over 3.0 or, sometimes, over 3.5 should be listed … use GPA in major if its more favorable).
• Bridge gaps between interest and experience by showing transferable experiences, content from relevant coursework, and project highlights.
I’ll be providing many additional strategies as I continue research on my next book over the upcoming months (top job search strategies for new graduates and interns).
– Jan Melnik, M.A., MRW, CCM, CPRW | President, Absolute Advantage
Be inspired. It’s your career. It’s your life.
Want to improve your interviewing prowess? Want a real game changer in your job search? It actually doesn’t matter how good or bad your golf game is when it comes to job search. And if you’ve never played golf, that’s okay, too. But I would like to impress on any job seeker the importance of one particular concept from the game of golf: The Mulligan.
How is mulligan defined?
1. a stew made from odds and ends
2. (in informal golf) an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard
Obviously, I’m not talking about stew, of course, but the mulligan folks use in golf at the first tee. Note in the definition of mulligan: “not counted on the scorecard.” That’s the transferable concept to job search and interviewing. How so?
When it comes to job interviews, rare is the individual who doesn’t say in the elevator after leaving an interview, “Why didn’t I tell them about my experience refocusing talent on a faltering project when they asked me about an example of leadership turnaround success?”
Or “how could I have been so foolish as to have gone completely blank when asked [that ridiculous question] ‘if you were a brand of cereal, what would you be’?”
Your secret sauce? The mulligan.
Simply put, it is your thank-you letter (sent same day via email). Seriously. There’s nothing from which you can’t recover in an interview if you properly execute the thank-you letter. This goes way beyond “thanks for the courtesies afforded me during the interview” (ho-hum) and “I enjoyed learning about the expectations for the selected candidate” (equally blah). Yes, of course you’ll want to thank everyone who interviewed you in a professionally courteous way. But before restating the next steps in the candidate selection process (naturally, that’s one of the questions you asked near the conclusion of the interview), use the blank space to recap, reiterate, and recover:
1) Restate your value proposition as it connects to the position, the challenges, the opportunities — and, importantly, the fit.
2) Connect expertise, background, training, and experience to what you learned in the interview wherever relevant.
3) Then segue to the brilliance of the mulligan strategy … this can be one or several paragraphs — each addressing the types of things described earlier.
“When you asked me about how I have handled an irate customer scenario within a high-profile, strategic account, I neglected to share with you a success strategy I put in place that resolved the issue, retained the valued customer relationship, and provided a key learning moment for our CSRs …”
OR: “Thinking further about the challenge you presented hypothetically, I’ve done a little research of what your customers are saying on Twitter and believe I could help influence …”
You can effectively recover from missteps as well as advance new thought leadership following the interview. The important thing to remember? Debrief, capturing every key thought you can (including any cringe-worthy moments) immediately after the interview to use in your thank-you letter.
4) Wrap up with a strong close, express enthusiasm and continued interest, and articulate the next steps in the process (as discussed at the end of the interview).
Warning: Use of this mulligan strategy in job interviewing has been known to give job seekers added confidence and incredible empowerment (and spurred second and third interviews and offers).
– Jan Melnik, M.A., MRW, CCM, CPRW - President, Absolute Advantage
Be inspired. It’s your career. It’s your life.