Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to secure your dream job

Source: Economic Times
For most of us, employment is the only way of producing wealth to take care of the needs of our families. But in order to maximize wealth generated during an employee's lifetime, a candidate must be a strategic marketer. As they are transiting jobs, many employees get into a mode of frenetic activity. They create resumes and blast them off to businesses and their search firms.

What they don't often realize is that this is a waste of time as the odds are against them. Successful candidates stack the odds in their favor by being strategic marketers. Deliberate in their actions, they get ready, take aim, and finally fire.

Getting Ready 
A strategic marketer understands that there are three dimensions to a customer buying a specific product or a service. The first dimension is Value; the second is Uniqueness; the third is Trust

These three dimensions drive customers to buy from one vendor versus another. Businesses recruit specific employees (and not others) because the chosen one is perceived to be a unique and trusted person who can deliver the highest value to the company. A candidate can promise the highest value by either increasing delivered benefits or by reducing the cost or by doing both. 

Firms have certain expectations of benefits from an open position. They also have certain cost estimates regarding the position. The winning candidate must exceed the benefits threshold at the firm and be competitive on the cost front.

Taking Aim 
Aiming requires a target and a bull's eye. Just as a strategic marketer chooses target customers, candidates must choose their target companies. Even within these firms, it is important to paint the bull's eye on the person who has the highest appreciation for a candidate's value, the hiring manager. The resume needs to be designed and executed with the same finesse as any marketing collateral that must capture the attention and interest of the target reader. 

Most of the times resumes are constructed hurriedly and thus are ambiguous and low on all three axes of value, trust and uniqueness. Successful resumes are replete with numbers -absolute, percentages and currencies - to convey the magnitude, scale and scope of the candidate's previous employers, and their responsibilities accomplishments at these firms.

And, finally hiring There are two major phases in this stage - securing an interview and closing the deal. Of these, securing the interview has more uncontrollable hurdles and obstacles than closing the deal. Getting in front of the hiring manager for an interview involves a four-step approach. 

At first, a job seeker reaches out to an Associate, who in turn introduces the job seeker to a Bridge, who then introduces the candidate to a Contact, who leads to a Decision Maker. This ABCD (Associate, Bridge, Contact and Decision Maker) approach can be short circuited at any time with a direct referral to the Decision Maker. Networking is a means to meet the Decision Maker. It is a numbers game - the more associates the seeker brings in at the outset, the larger will be the network that will propagate towards the targeted managers. 

Through this network, the value-based resume gets a credible push from one trusted node towards the next one, and, ultimately, to the hiring manager. Value and trust are embedded in the information that reaches the hiring manager. However, uniqueness is a somewhat uncontrollable variable. The candidate is unique only in comparison to someone else.

Closing the deal 
The candidate with a value-laden resume will be interesting enough to be called for an interview, where the aspirant can establish uniqueness in person and reinforce the trust dimension. The ABCD process is dynamic and has many subtleties. To experience these and gain from them, the aspirant has to be self-motivated and show up at events and places for planned and serendipitous meetings with people who can help.

An alternative to securing an interview through a network of personal contacts is the impersonal approach. This method utilizes many alternatives available on the internet - job sites, company websites and others. Here too, a value-based resume can provide the uniqueness that will result in an interview where trust can be established. The impersonal method of reaching the hiring manager has low rates of success but it also has low follow-up costs. The personal networking route has greater success but the searcher does have to spend time and other resources to thank and update people who have been helpful during the hunt. It pays to be courteous.

Finally, before closing the deal, the value equation should be revisited, except this time it is recast to read: Potential Value = Potential Benefits - Potential Cost. If the selectors are convinced that the candidate can deliver more benefits to the firm, a better contract can be negotiated. The purpose of a job search is to be employed with the maximum compensation package that meets the goal of producing wealth to take care of oneself and one's family. This value-based approach will help the executive get there faster.

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