While it may feel like our life/job/career is at a standstill there are undercurrents at work. Surprisingly, organizations are interviewing and hiring candidates. This week one of my clients interviewed for a new job and by all indications is expecting an offer in the coming week. She correctly gauged that the competition would be stiff and sought me out for pre-interview coaching. Now, anticipating an offer, we are meeting early in the week to discuss salary negotiation.
While you may not have an offer in the wings or even a job interview in the making, there are actions that you can take during this pandemic-inspired hiatus that can shorten the time from search to hire.
Here are a few suggestions for using this time to make yourself more competitive.
Design a compelling signature block that is part of every email you send whether job related or not. Include your full name, phone number, title, LinkedIn URL, and perhaps a favorite quote or tagline. By the way, including a job title is not dependent upon you having a job, rather it is descriptive of the kind of work you do.
Create a “top five reasons to hire me” list and commit it to memory. Doing so will force you to take inventory of your skills and get comfortable sharing them. Once you have nailed the top reasons why you are a perfect hire, develop the narrative that supports each one.
Put together a reference sales sheet comprised of quotes from five or six references. Include each person’s name and contact information. You may pull quotes from your LinkedIn recommendations, past performance appraisals, and letters of recommendation. Also, call or email colleagues, clients and bosses and ask for a few sentences about their experience working with you. Do not ask for a full-blown letter of recommendation, those are hard to come by these days. What you want are just a few sentences. You can also offer to write a draft that your reference can edit since will increase the likelihood that you will get a response. One word of caution, everyone who appears on your reference list must know that they are on it and ideally should get a copy of the list.
Use the down time created by the pandemic to identify your ideal company/job and the role you want to play there. Doing so will help you spend time on relevant opportunities rather than unproductively spin your wheels. Here are some ideas for describing best fit companies and roles. “My ideal company has a social conscience. My ideal company is on the cutting edge of technology. My ideal company understands the value of my contributions and pays me accordingly. I want to take on new challenges. I want to directly impact company growth. I want to interact with customers and design solutions that meet their needs.”
Develop a short sound bite that describes what you do in simple language that everyone understands. Test it out on a few friends who are not in your industry. If they can’t easily explain what you do, refine it until they can. What you want is an easy self-introduction for business and social situations that is compelling, perhaps humorous and most importantly, easily conveys your expertise.
Mary Jeanne Vincent, career expert and strategist, has a private coaching practice and guides clients nationally. She may be reached at 831-657-9151, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.careercoachmonterey.com
© 2020 Mary Jeanne Vincent. All rights reserved.