Right Management, A Manpower Company
Ken Powell is a New York-based Career Management consultant with Right Management, specializing in meeting the needs of top level executives in career transition. Right Management is the talent and career management experts within Manpower, the global leader in employment services.
Ken has served at Right Management for over six years. His experience working with top management spans more than 30 years in business management, finance, marketing, and consulting and recognized leadership expertise in business, military, and the community. He has previously been employed at McKinsey, Chase Manhattan Bank and has run his own business.
Active in the community, Ken has served as President of the Harvard Business School Association (All HBS Alumni) and of the Harvard Business School Club of Greater New York, where he is a current life board member. He is currently President of the Harvard Business School African-American Alumni Association and serves as Vice President of the Board of Managers for the Harvard Club of New York. Formerly, he has served on the boards of the Inwood House (Vice President), Jobs for Youth (Chairman) and Safe Horizon, three leading New York City not for profit organizations. He is an Army Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) and is named in Who’s Who among Black Americans. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics from Howard University, he holds an MBA in finance from Harvard University.
PREPARING FOR JOB SEARCH SUCCESS: ADVICE FOR JOB SEEKERS TO APPROACH THE MARKET WITH CONFIDENCE
Starting a job search can be an arduous task for people of all ages, professions and experience levels. Today’s market is extremely competitive with more people vying for fewer roles. To gain an edge and stand out from the competition, you need to be confident and prepared. And this takes work.
For the past 30 years, Right Management’s career management experts have coached job seekers to conduct successful job search campaigns.
What will set you apart from the competition?
1. Build a plan
2. Research and strategize
3. Come recommended
4. Align skills and strengths with employer needs
5. Practice core messages
1. Build a Plan
Thorough preparation is critical in identifying a gratifying career versus just a job. You need to identify your skills, strengths and interests to hone in on suitable opportunities.
Build a career plan that includes short- and long-term goals for an appropriate career path. To assist potential employers in understanding your expectations, clarify your own strengths and abilities.
An ability is something you do well, a competence, a talent, a capacity. Not every ability is supported by an interest; some of the things you do well may come as a result of repetition or simply because you have had to do them, not because you have chosen to do them. These abilities might include balancing a checkbook, typing 100 words a minute or developing a budget.
An interest is something that intrigues you or motivates you positively. Not every interest is supported by talent or ability. You may wish you could run a company or be a public speaker, but lack the talent to do so.
You likely have some abilities that match your areas of interest. These are your strengths. By determining your greatest strengths, you can define the functions you will perform best and with the greatest satisfaction in a professional position.
You will want to define your long-term career goals and short-term objectives in terms of these strengths rather than in terms of a specific job title. Be sure that you can list your strengths as well as give examples of them in action. It will be up to you to explain to those you meet how your strengths can relate to their business requirements.
The right position will allow you to use your greatest strengths, and challenge you with opportunities for growth and success.
If you know your strengths and know what motivates you most, you will be able to present yourself to others in a way that will make them want to be part of what you are doing, and to help you do it.
2. Research and Strategize
Every good interview consists of mutual sharing of information of questions you are asked by the interviewer and questions you ask the interviewer. The essential purpose is to exchange information to determine if you are the right candidate for an opportunity as well as if the company you are interviewing with meets your values and job expectations. It is important that you research and strategize your interview responses so that you can easily and clearly articulate your strengths and accomplishments.
Interviewers will essentially ask three key questions:
CAN you do the job? This is your skills, knowledge, experience and accomplishments, learning potential and handling the physical aspects of the job.
WILL you do the job? This relates to you interest in the position, company, industry; your work ethic; your energy level and any outside influences that might affect your willingness or availability.
Do you FIT? This is your likeability, chemistry; communication; values; style (work and management); general interests; dress and appearance.
Be prepared for the questions you may be asked, as well as the questions you will likely want to know the answers to. Research and strategize your responses in advance of attending an interview.
3. Come Recommended
Networking continues to be the best source for finding new employment. Nothing beats tapping hidden opportunities by being recommended into an organization from a trusted source. A robust and diverse network can help you to seek information about industry trends and related internal opportunities, identify mentors, get referrals to specific individuals, connect with others in professional associations and meet with colleagues to gain new ideas and stay on track.
Create a list of networking contacts that you know from your college alumni, social groups, professional associations and work experience. Utilize online social networking resources such as LinkedIn to expand and manage your network. Both recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly tapping Web 2.0 technologies to find high-value candidates with skills that match their specific criteria. Be sure to keep your profile up to date and accurate as these sites have proven to be a fruitful avenue for job seekers to showcase talents, grow their networks, and more actively manage their careers.
4. Align Skills and Strengths with Employer Needs
The key to defining who you are and what your abilities are is to closely examine some of your greatest accomplishments. Accomplishments may be big or small, recognized or hidden. What counts is that you performed them. Accomplishments are mini-stories of productivity. They show the strengths and abilities you have used to get things done.
Knowing (and expressing) what you can do well will help you to build your self-confidence, seek out the position that fits you best and to communicate effectively in interviews and meetings. This is a critical step to being able to align and articulate your skills and strengths to a prospective employer.
5. Practice Core Messages
Your resume is an excellent written introduction to a new contact or a prospective employer. How do you handle a verbal overview of who you are? A smooth “30 second commercial” that communicates your background and strengths, accomplishments and objective in a clear and compelling way. This verbal summary should contain three major elements:
1. Your background and strengths, including education, work history and any special training. Focus on how you match the needs of the potential hiring manager and their organization.
2. One or two significant accomplishments and/or special interests that illustrate your strengths. Describe the things you have done or are interested in which relate to the company, function or industry you wish to enter.
3. Your future plans and/or career objective as it relates to the organization you are considering. Indicate how the position relates to short- and long-term goals and how you see this helping you explore the field or function of interest.
To increase your confidence and polish your presentation, write out your “commercial” on a piece of paper. Practice it out loud, in front of a mirror or in front of others. Even tape yourself so that you can communicate it smoothly and fluently.
Ultimately, you should become comfortable with your commercial to make several versions of it. Your commercial can and should be capable of being modified to fit any number of situations.
As a job seeker, you need to have a solid understanding of the value you bring to an employer and be able to articulate this succinctly and clearly. Preparation is key, no matter what level of entry into the employment market. Most benefit greatly from having a plan with a clear focus, a strong network to refer from, and practice in presenting your value and responding to interview questions. Our expertise in career management helps to hone these skills and the result has been bolstered levels of confidence and preparedness for all job seekers participating in our outplacement programs.
About Right Management
Right Management (www.right.com) is the talent and career management expert within Manpower, the global leader in employment services. Right Management helps clients win in the changing world of work by designing and executing workforce solutions that align talent strategy with business strategy. Our expertise spans Talent Assessment, Leader Development, Organizational Effectiveness, Employee Engagement, and Workforce Transition and Outplacement. With offices in over 50 countries, Right Management partners with companies of all sizes. More than 80% of Fortune 500 companies are currently working with us to help them grow talent, reduce costs and accelerate performance.
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