After a hard day pounding the keys on my Notebook, I relaxed in front of the TV – or should I say stressed in front of the TV!
You see, all the News channels were buzzing about the latest companies to go under thanks to the recession. It seems everything is going down the toilet. But that got me thinking that the only sound-bites you get to hear about, are those that are about a crisis or trouble. Folks surviving are not so news-worthy are they?
And that got me reminiscing on the flip-side of the economy. Around the mid-to-late 1980′s I recall…
The organisation that I worked for back then was growing at 30% per year – every year for goodness sake! That brought it’s own set of problems too — everyone was clambering to get the best job, the best salary, and every organisation was clambering to get the best people to support that rapid growth I just talked about.
I was a "middle manager" at the time, and was recruiting like crazy. I remember me and fellow managers had advertised job positions and a whole team of us were carrying out initial interviews at the local Hilton Hotel. I’m telling you, the queue went right around the block. It felt like serving in a soup kitchen. And I had to sort out the best folks from the average.
Our smart Human Resource folks realised the problem and put all of us middle managers on a one-day "Targeted Selection" course to tune-up our interviewing skills. And that brings me back to the present day — and the flip-side of that coin is the current recession. What I learned then, can be of value to YOU right now, if you are concerned about your job or are already looking for a new position…
I’m talking about your CV, or as the USA folks call it – your Resume.
If I asked you right off the bat, "why should I hire you?" you may talk about what you were responsible for, what skills you have, etc, etc. All bland stuff if you think about it. "I was responsible for a team of 20 people and managed a department budget of $$$$$ per year…..etc, etc…" As an interviewer, what could I make of that information? Not a Lot. Which is where Targeted Selection comes in:-
It uses the classic drill-down process – but in a smarter way. It’s easy to pick up, and basically uses the "So What" technique.
…." I managed a team of 30 people…." So What? The trick is to then ask "…so what happened — what did YOU ACTUALLY do (action)….what was the OUTCOME (the result – and it had better be a positive result!)…
The interviewer is trying to get at the "value-added" of the individual. How can this help you and your CV/Resume?
By building into your CV these type of phrases with evidence. For example, " I managed a team of 30 people and in the space of 8 months I improved their productivity by nearly 20%. I did this by setting up a (whatever) – resulting in increased revenue of $$$$$ within the first 12 months"
Can you see that I have answered the ‘SO WHAT’ — and do you think your CV would stand out from the crowd?
Here’s a final thought. Do you remember SWOT Analysis? Get a sheet of paper and divide it into 4 quadrants. Label one of them Strengths, the next Weaknesses, the next Opportunities, and the final one Threats. Go through your current CV and rewrite it as above and put that info in the Strengths quadrant. Now brainstorm what your weaknesses are. Don’t be negative here – a Weakness may just be a set of knowledge, skills, experience you are lacking – or it may even be an area that you don’t enjoy.
Based on those, come up with the types of job OPPORTUNITIES you would be interested in. Finally, for each state what the Threats might be. Be as specific as you can, general threats are often just fears….
Think through and make a list of your:-
- Knowledge Areas (things that you understand and comprehend)
- Skills ( things that you have acquired and applied)
- Experience (this might be how often you have used a set of skills – or the environment in which you have applied them)
- What levels of Authority you had (decisions or actions you could take without needing permission from others)
Weave each of those aspects into your SWOT Analysis of yourself!
You’ve now got a Blueprint for re-writing your CV/Resume, and a better focus of your next job. Record yourself telling an imaginary interviewer what you have achieved giving them bucket-loads of ‘So What’ evidence – and you are on your way!
Remember this too. A recession doesn’t need ‘achievers’ — it needs people with the ability to make things happen – and make a positive difference. Go get ‘em Tiger!