I am a firm believer in the importance of #consistency, and this figure is a testament to this.
My 1.3MM+ words edited over the past year—approximately 1,381,468 words—amounts to 5,000+ pages of content. I am in sheer awe of the volume of content I have written and edited, and how many people I have been able to help.
In making your dreams come true—helping you reach a higher you—you've elevated me more than you'll ever know.
Today's advice is simple. Revise.
According to a CareerBuilder poll conducted by Harris Insights and Analytics, 61% of applicants are rejected automatically for resumes with a typo.
Don't forget to revise!
In Warren Buffet's Omaha office, he has a poster of Hall of Fame baseball player Ted Williams from his book The Science of Hitting. In the photo, he divided baseball’s strike zone into 77 squares. He noted that if he waited for the right pitch, he would bat .400. He’s the last player to record a .400 average for a season (1941).
Now, if he swung at pitches outside of his “sweet spot” he would bat a markedly a lower average. Unlike Williams, Buffet noted that he is in a “no called strike business.” And, I would argue that most of us are in no called strike industries. And—whether we realize it or not—most of us can pick and choose the opportunities we want to explore of the thousands, at play.
So, why settle? How much time do we spend, myself included, swinging at “bad pitches?”
Today, I encourage you to, even for one minute, think about what actions you can take right now that will move you closer to your 1 year and 5 year goals. And, act. Being busy does not equal being productive.
The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) in a recent survey of 14 million applications found that employee referrals remain the top source of hires. Why? SHRM reports that they have higher interview-to-employment conversion rates and hires have longer tenures at firms. In my mind, referral hires are more likely to succeed, given that they are vetted by an existing employee (i.e. their reputation is at least marginally on the line), and, since they are connected to an existing employee, they are more likely to be similar minded and fit into the firm's culture.
In spite of this, people still opt for Indeed (non-referral source) as the first step of their job search. Why go against the proverbial Tradewinds?! Scan your professional and personal network, seek out a connection at a firm you want to work at, reconnect, and ask if they could connect you with Mr. or Ms. Decision Maker (do your research).
Well Jay, what if I don't have a connection to a firm I want to work at? Use LinkedIn, connect with folks at the firm you want to work with that have a connection with you (e.g. friend in common; alma mater; volunteer work). Then, ask them about their experience at the firm, and to connect you!
Well Jay, what if I don't have a LinkedIn? Create one the instant you have an opportunity! And, if you need or would like help, feel free to reach out to me and I'll guide you.
My clients often ask me about thank you note etiquette, i.e., what is de rigueur?
So, here are my Three (3) Ps for Thank You Notes:
(1) Practicality. All other things equal, a Handwritten Note > E-mailed Note > No Note. I've encountered few decision-makers who feel that thank you notes are a waste of time, but they are the exception. My preference is to send a handwritten note, which demonstrates more thoughtfulness, gratitude, and genuine interest, than an e-mail.
(2) Personality. Reference a specific interaction where the firm went out of its way for you during the interview (e.g., thank you for taking the time to show me around the office). Then, remind the interviewer about a specific skill that left an impression on him/her (e.g., I appreciate that you feel my design skills are of value to your operation). Also, reference one of the interviewer's personal interests that you touched upon during the interview (e.g., the fiction novel I mentioned about the unnamed robbers who targeted Bob Marley is called: A Brief History of Seven Killings, and includes a ton of patois). On an aside, the book is magnificent.
(3) Punctuality. Regardless of whether you send a note via snail-mail or e-mail, do so within 24 hours.
Imagine you are an HR Associate or HR Manager, sitting at a conference table with your team. You are mind-numbingly exhausted, borderline delirious, after having screened 20 candidates, 25 minutes at a time, with a five minute break in between, for the past 10 hours. You even had to inhale a sub, a Jimmy John’s sandwich, between interviews (glad they deliver!). Who do you invite back for a second interview? What do you recall? Which interviewee stood out to you?
Using this lens, here is a key tip to memorably and compellingly answer “what is your greatest strength,” and really any interview question, to improve your likelihood of being hired, brought in for another interview, or both.
Storytelling. Show, don’t tell. Begin by stating your specific strength, tell a story illustrating your use of the strength, and note the outcome. Simple. Why?
(1.) Recall. Jennifer Aaker, Social Psychologist and General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford, noted that stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone;
(2.) Persuasion. Allows the listener to step into your world and begin imagining him or herself working with you (Future Pacing in Neuro Linguistic Programming);
(3.) Tone. You can more readily infuse your personality into an anecdote than via the rote enumeration of facts.
I could keep going . . .
(4.) Economy. More concise and organized way of transmitting information.
(5) Anthropology. Humanity has been storytelling since before the extinction of the Woolly Mammoth (c. 2000 BCE), the composition of the Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE), and Homer's birth (c. 750 BCE).
Okay, breathe. . . You get the point.
If you noticed my first paragraph, which put you in the shoes of an HR Manager or Associate, is a story. Do you remember what I had for lunch (recall)? Did you feel yourself stepping into the shoes of the decision-maker (persuasion)? Could you feel his or her stress (tone)?
This is the power of anecdotes.