Thursday, March 28, 2013

What and Who Stands in Your Way, Part II

I know very well that a person can have a most impressive, best-written resume packed with information, accomplishments and what appears a guaranteed success – on paper. Yet, when the person is face-to-face, it is a disaster. Likewise, some of the best qualified and most suitable applicants have the worst-looking resumes. Assuming yours is decent enough to get you an interview, it is what happens when you are face-to-face that counts; that’s what they’ll remember and not your resume. It’s all about the moment you shake hands and the interaction with those you meet that will determine if the resume confirms you are as you’ve presented yourself, or if it was just a lot of nicely-arranged fluffy words, or 90% smoke and 10% horsepower, as I like to say. Regardless of whether you take the initiative, or timidly wait for them to call you, there is no substitute for the one-on-one human interaction, which is inevitable. But in order to have that opportunity you must get in front of the hiring official. So aside from the standard of most people who wait for the telephone to ring, how do you do it? I tend to look at objectives and goals with a strategic military eye; what’s the goal, how you gonna get there, what could go wrong, how will you compensate, and what will signify an achieved result(s) along the way?  

There are three different types of obstacles that stand between you and the hiring manager, whose hand you’d like to shake and have an opportunity to demonstrate how you could be an asset to their company. In the most general terms they are: 

·         Procedural obstacles

·         Physical obstacles

·         Admin and support staff  

We all know these; go to the website, register on the website, email your resume in this format or that one, etc. Then, jump up and down on one leg, pat the top of your head with the left hand and rub your tummy in a circular motion with the right at the same time... Sorry, I got a little carried away.  

Go through reception and/or security; state the reason for your visit, have an appointment, etc. - anything less and you can’t enter. With the exception of additional security measures added during the last decade, this has always been standard and is nothing new at most companies. 

Administrative and support staff
Here’s where it gets interesting because we’re adding the human element. Assuming you want to do more than just email your resume and sit on your hands waiting for an invite, I will suggest ways to make contact and get past these people I refer to as the gate keepers. Among their responsibilities, they are partially tasked with preventing you access or conducting any activities that go beyond the standard procedural steps and the proscribed boundaries.

If you want to make additional efforts and go a step further than others, to step outside the boundaries, your interaction with the gate keepers will determine whether or not you will get beyond the procedural boundaries and/or the physical limitations. Remember I spoke of a video game analogy; well, this is where your actions will get you to the next level or you’ll have to go back and do it again. It might sound daunting and it takes some effort, but everything I will suggest I do and have done on a regular basis for the last 20 plus years as a headhunter, and before that while in sales roles. Nothing has changed except the perceptions to which people limit themselves. We’re talking about the same methods any accomplished sales person employs and refers to as cold calling. The advantage to those who are willing to try these methods is that most others aren’t willing to make the extra effort, so you’re already setting yourself apart by not being everyone else, and that’s a good start as you begin to think outside the box, because that’s what innovators do.

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