Articles tagged "Mentor"
I’m often asked by my clients how to start a mentoring program. When I ask them why they want a mentoring program, I'm often on the receiving end of blank stares as in: Why wouldn't we want a mentoring program?
That title may sound a bit rough for some of you, but if you're looking for a job - or you know someone who is - pay attention. Let me share some insights from an employer's perspective as to why you may not be able to land that job - or even the interview - for which you think you're well qualified.
As a bit of background, I've been looking to hire a part-time, marketing assistant to support me and my team with brand management, social media, and general in-office admin tasks. I've also made it very clear, the person needs to be organized, professional, able to multi-task, and regularly "bring something to the table." Asking a lot? Maybe for some, but if you want to succeed in my small company where we each do a variety of things, I'm telling you up-front, you better be willing to work and contribute. If you understand that and do it, we'll have tons of fun as we do incredible things together.
So back to the topic as to why I won't interview or hire you...
You didn't follow the instructions in the ad to apply.
It said: Email your resume and a short cover letter detailing your qualifications that match our needs. No phone calls. No drop ins. So far, not a single applicant has done just that. Either there's no cover letter (or cover email), or there's no detail that aligns to our needs. We've had a few phone calls; no drop ins so far, but I won't be surprised if we have an "assertive" applicant pop in unannounced one day.
Why does this matter?
- If you can't or won't follow these basic instructions, why on earth would I ever trust you to manage my company's brand that I've worked 20 years to build?
- I'm asking for a cover letter - or heck - even a nice, coherent cover note in your email so I can gauge your writing skills. If you can't write a coherent cover email or note, again, why would I ever trust you with my company's social media work or marketing pieces?
- I don't want phone calls or drop-ins. They interrupt our day; I'm often out with clients and then I or another staff person has to play telephone tag, etc. with you. No phone calls. I'll call you IF we want to schedule an interview.
You didn't learn anything about my company before you applied - even though I supplied the website address in the ad.
Why does this matter?
- I want to see if you'll take the time to learn something about my company to see if it's even the type of service business within which you'd like to work.
- I'm again testing you to see if, as a marketing and branding person, you'll take the time to look at my site, assess my brand, and then comment on it in your (non-existent) cover letter or email. I'm trying to get a sense of your skills as a marketing/branding person.
- I want to see if you are looking for a paycheck or if you truly want to contribute. If you want to contribute, you'll take the time to find out about my company so you can get some idea of how you could contribute given your skills and experience.
You didn't customize your resume (forget customizing the cover letter as you didn't include one..) to the position advertised.
Why does this matter?
- The typical rule of thumb for time spent "reading" resumes is about 30 seconds each. Why? Employers (myself included) open the resumes, quickly skim them to see where there are matches. If we immediately see items on your resume that meet our requirements and needs, we slow down and read for detail. If we don't see matches, we move on to the next applicant. 30 seconds. So, if you haven't taken the time to format and align your resume to the stated job posting requirements, most employers won't take the time to work through your resume.
- I'm looking for a part-time person, so why do you send me a resume that states you're "...seeking a fulfilling full-time position"?
- I'm looking to hire someone with marketing skills, so immediately - and I do mean immediately - show me you've got some marketing skills that would contribute to my company. Instead of having your stated career objective as: Seeking a position that will enable me to contribute my skills in a challenging and rewarding environment, which is a bunch of fluff that means nothing, write something that gives me an immediate sense of your ability to contribute to my team and its needs. Seeking the marketing and brand management position with Weber Business Services that will allow me to...( pull some of the specific tasks, etc I outlined in the job posting).
- You didn't list your experience with the various marketing, brand management, social media, etc requirements I requested in the ad. You didn't customize and align your resume with my team's needs. You sent me your boilerplate resume, so I don't know what you really do or don't know. If you do have the skills but they're not listed, I have no way of knowing that so I'm going to assume you don't have them and will "file" your resume.
Your resume lists no, zero, nadda, zip, zilch relevant experience to the position we're looking to fill.
- I don't like wasting my time or my staff's time reviewing resumes that are sent only to meet your requirement to apply for X number of positions so you can stay on Unemployment.
- If you can't market yourself to me, why would I trust you to market my company and brand?
- However, if you are seriously looking for a job and you think this one sounds great, but you don't have any relevant work experience, show me what you have done in your personal life, volunteer roles, etc that do align with my team's needs. I honestly don't care if you have a degree (none was specified in the ad). What I do care about is your willingness and ability to learn and bring something to the table. So again, align your skills and experience to the job requirements. If you're an avid Tweeter, Facebooker, LinkedIn user and have done really cool things in those worlds in your personal life (all clean and legal of course), let me know that. If you've volunteered for your church, community groups, etc to help with their marketing and outreach efforts in the past, let me know that. If you don't have any volunteer experience, what classes have you taken on your own that align with my team's needs? Show me you are willing to take some individual initiative and that you've got something to bring to the table to help my team. What skills or characteristics DO you possess that will be attractive? I wanted to hire a waitress in a bagel restaurant years ago for a customer service job because she was amazing with the customers. However, she didn't want to relocate to Pennsylvania so she didn't join the team.
- Honestly, I'll be more impressed with someone who has managed to hold down a part-time job or started free-lancing, while taking classes to improve him/herself that align with my team's needs, than someone who has done nothing, and I mean nothing, since s/he lost a full-time marketing job 12+ months ago that had good skills at that time.
So with all that said, be smart when you apply for a job. If you cause me (or any employer) to "work" this hard just to understand what you COULD bring to the team, you're sending an image of yourself as someone who doesn't care enough to put in 15 minutes worth of work to customize a resume for a really cool job. And with that impression in my mind, I don't want you on my team. If you're not willing to put in 15 minutes worth of work to follow the instructions, do a bit of research, share some ideas, and refine your resume to get a job, I won't add you to my team.
So no interview. No job.
Copyright MMXII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.
I attended a luncheon that culminated with an insurance expert explaining his services to the attendees. As soon as the speaker turned on the projector to start his presentation, the bulb blew. A quick inspection revealed there was no spare and the restaurant staff didn't even know their projector used bulbs! Instead of panicking, the insurance expert simply said, “I'll just have to cue you more carefully as you follow along with your handouts.” He then proceeded with his talk.
As he talked, he regularly scanned the audience to pace his talk appropriately for the group. When a few heads would bend together to discuss a point he had just made, he would slow his pace and watch them to see if he needed to interject or if they were simply conferring among themselves. Now and again, he would steal a quick glance at his watch perched on the table in front of him to track his timing. When there were ten minutes remaining, he wrapped up his presentation and stated he would take questions for the next ten minutes. As the final minutes slipped by, he thanked us for our time then referred us to his contact information in the handout if we had further questions. It was an informative and pleasant presentation, because the expert was not only an insurance specialist, he was an expert presenter.
To make your presentations rank with the professionals, learn from our expert:
- He KNEW his topic. And since he was obviously comfortable with the information, he projected his confidence—even without a projector.
- He did not panic when the projector bulb blew. Although he had anticipated using the projector and pacing his presentation from it, he easily switched gears and presented in a different manner. The key to success is don’t rehearse your presentation so it sounds the same each time you practice it. You’ll end up memorizing your presentation instead of the information. Practice delivering the information—that is what’s important.
- He did not apologize profusely for the blown bulb. He simply (and calmly) stated he would take a different approach. Nothing is more distracting than a presenter constantly apologizing for making mistakes or for equipment failures. The more the speaker dwells on the mistakes or malfunctions, the more the audience does too. Just accept the mishap and move on!
- He didn't read the handouts to us; he talked to us. Reading a presentation to your audience will put them to sleep. (Remember bedtime stories?)
- He watched his audience for pacing and understanding. If you read your presentation, you will miss cues from your audience that can guide your pacing. You aren't looking at them; you are looking at the page.
- He paced his presentation to allow for questions and then stopped the session at the scheduled time. He didn't disrespect our time commitments.
I give presentations regularly, so I am a very critical audience member. This presentation wasn't flashy—he lost his flash when the bulb blew—however, his presentation was really good. He knew his material, watched his audience, and exhibited his professionalism by staying calm. He was an expert presenter.
Copyright MMII Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.
I had an interesting conversation the other day with a client. We were discussing her company’s strategic plan and the next step: the succession plan. I was outlining for her the basic steps to identifying the responsibilities of key positions when she asked a great question:
“Just what is a ‘key’ position?”
Her question honestly stunned me for a moment because of its simplicity and its importance. If we, as business owners, do not know which positions in our company are key, how can we ensure we have those positions properly staffed, trained, and supported now and into the future? If we do not have our key positions solidly staffed and operating effectively, what might we anticipate about the rest of the positions in our company?
From the perspective of most consultants and businesses, key positions are typically those positions that sit in the C-Suite: Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), and chief of anything else, as well as other members of the executive and senior management teams. From my perspective, a key position is any position within an organization that has no double. Basically, any position within your company that you only have one person filling the slot. This could be your CEO, your Director of Sales, your Office Manager, your Maintenance Supervisor, or your Mechanic Level 3.
My definition of key positions obviously creates more key positions, but for any organization to do effective organizational and employee planning, you need to take into account all of those situations where one person currently holds all the knowledge of his or her position. If he or she leaves your company, you do not want your organization held hostage because no one else knows how to do that job—be it the CEO's or the Maintenance Supervisor’s.
It is crucial that all key positions be reviewed to ensure employees (in these positions) are:
- Documenting critical procedures (i.e., not limited to procedures that only this position handles or knows how to do).
- Identifying and training a handful of other employees on the critical procedures to ensure others know how to do or at least know how to access the information to do these critical procedures.
- Identifying and developing others who could step up or step into their position when promotions occur or if needed for an unanticipated reason.
Key is not a label exclusive to the folks working in the fancy offices.
So, who exactly is key to your company?
That’s easy—a key person is anyone who holds the (one of a kind)(one and only) key to running any area of your business.
Copyright MMVI - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!
Years ago when I worked with the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., I read a report prepared by my Bureau's Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS). I cannot remember what the report was about, but I clearly remember how impressed I was with his writing ability. I complimented him on his writing skill, and he kindly took me aside to give me some advice. He said, “Liz, to be successful in any organization, one needs to be able to write well. Always remember that your writing is a reflection of you. Your written reports will stay in this organization’s files long after you leave. So leave a positive, lasting impression.” I have always valued his words.
Now, more than ever, good writing skills need to be developed and encouraged. With the ability to email copies of reports, advertisements, and correspondence to thousands of recipients through the click of a button, what you write, or what the members of your staff put in writing, is being seen by thousands of individuals and companies. Your writing skills (and theirs) are apparent in every document that leaves your organization by courier, text message, email or IM. Your writing skills create an impression of your organization to every person who looks at that page.
If you don’t fully believe in the value of developing the writing skills throughout your organization, ask yourself when was the last time you accepted a bid from a vendor that wasn’t written well, contained typos, and was difficult to understand? Bet it cost that vendor your business. Now, turn the question around, how much business are you losing because of poor writing skills?
- What image of this organization are my staff’s and my own writing skills conveying?
- Who, in my organization, needs help with their writing skills and why?
Copyright MMI - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about me on LinkedIn!