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7 November, 2011 Posted by John G. Self
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Looking For Your Next Job: How Ready Are You To Go To Market? 25 Questions to Assess Your Job Search Preparedness

Posted October 10th, 2019 | Author: John G. Self

Repeating the adage that “looking for a full-time job is a full-time job” always draws nodding heads, smiles of agreement, or frowns of frustration when I speak to groups on career management.  Job applicants, the ones who really get it, know that it takes an enormous amount of time and effort to land a new position, especially in a competitive market.


It also takes up to date knowledge on branding practices, the effective use of digital platforms, the development of content, building a resume that can easily be customized for each position for which you apply, and a killer Value Brand Statement. Changes in the job market are occurring at a very rapid rate.  Many of the lessons learned about searching for a job five years ago are no longer valid. 

You Actually Have Three Jobs

One of my coaching clients recently remarked that when you enter the job market, you have three full-time jobs: 

  1. Your current position, assuming you have not been terminated or laid off
  2. Learning how to use the digital tools and rules and developing appropriate strategies
  3. Implementing and executing your job search

How up to date are you?  Unless you are working with an ironclad, no-cut employment contract, a forced career transition is a definite possibility. Then there is the decision to pursue the next step in your career advancement plan.


How up to date are you?  Unless you are working with an ironclad, no-cut employment contract, a forced career transition is a definite possibility. Then there is the decision to pursue the next step in your career advancement plan. 

Assessment of Your Job Search Preparedness

Here are questions we use to assess a candidate’s readiness to be competitive in the job market.  Five is very knowledgeable and one is poor.How familiar are you with your VBS, also known as your value proposition?

  1. Are your familiar with the process of developing your VBS?
  2. When a recruiter asks you to tell her/him about yourself, can you communicate your value statement in a smooth, confident and memorable manner?
  3. How would you rate your storytelling ability?
  4. How would you rate your level of comfort regarding your career vision statement? If you do not have a formal career vision statement, score 1.
  5. How would you rate your ability to develop your own career vision statement today?
  6. How would you rate your overall knowledge regarding current resume standards?
  7. How would you rate your current resume in terms of its effectiveness in conveying your true value?
  8. Can you define strategic networking?
  9. How would you rate your knowledge of strategic networking?
  10. How would you rate the quality of your LinkedIn network?
  11. Is it comprised of contacts who can help you with market intelligence in the markets where you would consider a position?
  12. How many connections?  (A good rule of thumb: 3,000 relevant contacts.)
  13. How would you rate the geographic diversity of your non-LinkedIn network?
  14. Overall, how would you rate your knowledge, and experience with social media?
  15. With 5 being very comfortable, and one being not comfortable at all, how comfortable are you with regularly posting to social media?
  16. With 5 being essential and 1 being totally unnecessary, how important is social media to a job search?
  17. How would you rate your kills/effectiveness in the telephone screening interview?
  18. How would you rate your knowledge of the dos and don’ts of the videoconference interview (SKYPE, ZOOM, etc)
  19. How do you rate your ability in the face-to-face interview?
  20. Do you know how to close the deal?
  21. How effective are you in connecting the dots between the needs of the prospective employer and your experience and record of accomplishment?
  22. Rate your knowledge regarding your ability to leverage your references.
  23. Assess the ability of your references to address specific elements of your performance for a specific job?
  24. Does your reference panel(s) include a superior, a peer, and a subordinate?
  25. Assess the willingness of your reference panel members to support you through a job search that could extend for 6 to 16 months with multiple reference inquiries.

If your total score does not exceed 80, you have work to do to be effective in a highly competitive market. 

© 2019 John Gregory Self

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BIG DATA (Big Brother) And Your Career

Posted October 8th, 2019 | Author: John G. Self

The young executive declared emphatically his deep understanding of all things digital.  Not a surprising statement from someone who grew up with a computer at his side in his early years and a hand-held device as his constant companion from high school to today.  He knows the devices inside and out and possesses impressive competency with a myriad of applications and web-based services, including, of course, games.


Conventional wisdom suggests that the younger generations, the Millennials and Gen Z’ers, are the masters of data and devices. No hurdles for them in this realm.  But as is the case in as so many other areas, conventional wisdom is seldom right.

When the young executive and I began to talk about mega data and the science of data analytics — how (our) information is harvested and analyzed, or the implications these developments could have on his reputation and career, he became decidedly less certain, less confident.

Big Brother Dives Into LinkedIn

He is whip smart, destined for a remarkable and rewarding career but as we discussed a career plan and strategy, I began to realize that his lack of understanding of how the  collection and analyzing of data will spill over into career management had a leveling effect.  His knowledge on this subject and its implications put him right in the middle of about 90 percent of the US workforce.  Right now his lack of understanding is not a career limiting factor, but it will be sooner than later.  Programs already exist, although they are not yet widely used, that can dive in to LinkedIn and other professional and social media sites, scanning what and how you write — what words you choose and how you form sentences.  As I wrote last week, from this scan they can create a DISC©-like profile that will enable corporations who include this technology into their talent acquisition process to determine whether they want interview you now or in the future.

“So this type of program, combined with Artificial Intelligence technology that is making its way into the employment process, will produce powerful and probably potent tools that will create all manner of new challenges for prospective employees.”


So, this type of program, combined with other Artificial Intelligence technology that is making its way into the employment process, will produce powerful and probably potent tools that will create all manner of new challenges for prospective employees.

You Have Time to Prepare

Before you set your hair on fire with anxiety regarding yet another hurdle you must overcome in an already crowded executive job market, you have some time to prepare.  Yes, the technology exists, but  it is not yet cost effectively available or scalable across the broad spectrum of industries and companies.    

Like anything else there will be strategies for job applicants to help them deal with this amazing new capability.  Our firm is well invested in this development and will begin incorporating information into our coaching modules very soon.  

As you think about the implications for the job search market and your career, here are some important caveats for you to consider:

3 Caveats to Consider

  1. Change is now occurring at a much faster pace than at anytime in our lives.  You must be aware and be prepared.
  2. Do not underestimate the role big data can and will play in how you manage your career going forward.  
  3. This technology will impact you whether you are an active job seeker or will be a candidate in the future.  Not being visible on sites like LinkedIn is not an option because that is where 93 percent of the corporate recruiters go to find leads for candidate sourcing.  If you do not understand the impact of these programs, your lack of knowledge will come back to hurt you in a job search.  

© 2019 John Gregory Self

3 October, 2019 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career, Career counseling, Career Management
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Looking for a Job? Do You Speak Millennial?

Posted October 3rd, 2019 | Author: John G. Self

If you stroll through the offices of your average corporate talent acquisition department today, you will note a change.  The recruiters are younger.  In fact, increasingly, they are the so-called “Millennials.”  

Yes, that’s right. For you remaining Baby Boomers and Generate Xers in the job market, the people you have been criticizing for their misguided work-life expectations, their unrealistic sense of entitlement, or any number of other real or imagined sins, are rapidly taking over the candidate screening process. They now hold the keys to the kingdom. If you like irony, this is pretty good stuff.  

Older Executives Face Challenges In Today’s Job Market | Canva.Com

In the world of recruiting, something will have to change and I am betting the farm it is not going to be the Millennials. (To be fair, they are not as guilty as charged by their seniors – primarily the Baby Boomers and, to a lesser extent, their parents’ generation.)  

So, General Xers and Baby Boomers who are looking for a job, it is time for you to adjust to the fact that the way you have always conducted a job search is just not going to be as effective as it once was.  

You need to learn to speak Millennial. That is to say you are the one who must do the adjusting, not the other way around.  

In our career transition practice, we have already made major adjustments to meet the needs of this new way of recruiting, from the use of brief audio and video downloads to an increased reliance on InMail or text messaging.  Longish, boring letters of introduction from outplacement firms will not get their candidates the attention they deserve. You have to be focused, brief and creative if you expect to get noticed.

In our career transition practice we have already made major adjustments meet the needs of this new of recruiting.

Today, it is not just about a having a visible brand and a robust LinkedIn profile (93 percent of corporate recruiters report they use LinkedIn for candidate identification and initial contact).  You must elevate your old-school professional networking approach to strategic, values-based networking to attract the attention of corporate recruiters and executives within a targeted corporation.

The other reality is that in the past, executives did not invest much time in career management, including professional networking, until they needed to look for a job. The old excuse, “I just don’t have time for that stuff” is already being replaced with “I have been looking for more than a year and I have not made any progress.”  This is NOT scare-tactics selling.  I have already run into several bright executives in the last year who one day, after many months of job searching their way found themselves in that category.

When you survey the changing job market there is one other reality you need to embrace.   The pace of change in the aggressive use of Artificial Intelligence (machine screening) is accelerating. This will require candidates to master a new set of job search skills like mastering digital marketing strategies.

If you long for the good old days in career management, forget about it. It is time to learn and adapt because the consequences of not doing so are very real.  

Did I mention that the Millennials have gotten a bump rap?

© 2019 John Gregory Self

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