Forget the resume, build a video pitch.
I was writing a blog the other day while glancing up at a MLB game. I had the TV on mute and happened to watch a commercial for the new Honda hybrid and was immediately struck with something. The best commercials deliver the majority of what they want to say with the clever use of pictures.
This seems obvious as it is television. But I am not saying that a good commercial uses pictures, I am saying the best commercials cleverly combine pictures and sound to deliver a lot of information in a short time frame. An advertiser has at the most sixty seconds to deliver a buying message to the viewer and the more creative they are with images, the more buyers they will have.
Advertisers spend billions in TV marketing and a good part of that budget is the research that goes into how people process information. With all of this research into how people make buying decisions, why are we sending resumes in to companies that we want to work for especially if it is the first “touch”, the first time we have communicated with them?
Is it any wonder why when you send a resume in for a job, you don’t get a call back? There is research that shows you have about 30- 45 seconds to get someone’s attention. If you don’t make it happen in that time frame you are fighting a losing battle. How unique can a resume be? You can change the font, formatting, and perhaps the color, but it is still a resume. It is a document with lots of words. And there are still many people spending over $500.00 for someone to re-write their resume.
What has made TV such a great medium for advertising other than the fact that it can reach so many people? Simple, the advertiser can overlay their message with moving pictures. The advertiser can instantly create an impression with much more content in 60 seconds then they could in a half hour lecture on the product.
So let’s think about how we can create the best first impression with pictures. We don’t necessarily want to send a vacation photo next to a large marlin along with our resume however we can send a well executed video pitch. Well executed is not sitting in front of a webcam rambling on about your career. A great video pitch needs to be no longer than 60 seconds, preferably 30-45, and 99% of the time needs to be coached both in writing the script and executing the video.
I am pretty amazed when I see people sending in webcam videos to employers that they have created on their own. First of all, the quality of the video is not great, and secondly it is not likely the best representation of the person. Let’s face it, unless you have been working in video or film for a long time, you don’t have the right skill set to understand how to bring out the best in your subject matter, in this case YOU.
So look into how to build a great video pitch and forget about rewriting the resume for now. Chances are, your resume is pretty good. What you need to get in the door is something that stands out!!
Do your best work and then F… It!!!
I think it was two years ago I was reading an interview with actor Michael Douglas and he was asked his favorite piece of advice. He replied that his Dad, Kirk Douglas, had told him, “Do your best work and then F… It!!!!
That seems to me to be the one of the best pieces of advice one could take today.
We have had the “Age of Reason”, the “Gilded Age”, and if we can use a phrase to describe today it would be the “Age of Doubt.” This is the age when many people who were sure of purpose seem to be lost. Whether they have lost their job or worried about losing their job, the huge unemployment numbers do nothing to help their basic sense of unease.
I am constantly amazed at how many GREAT people are currently looking for work, people that not too long ago I would have had to apply every possible angle of coercion to take an offer that one of my client’s would be extending. And these are not just people within one functional area of expertise or Industry segment. These are doctors, sales leaders, marketing leaders, and engineering leaders.
So my advice to people that start questioning their value is to exactly what Kirk Douglas said years ago. Because at the end of day that is the only thing you can really control.
The “Absolutes” and the “Superlatives” are coming to our pool party this weekend.
Ever notice that the more tired and frustrated you get the more likely you are to start speaking in superlatives and absolutes? I see this happen with increased intensity during an election year and I am sure it has NOTHING to do with the DRIVE BY media’s LEFT-LEANING manipulations!!!!
In the same way that superlatives and absolutes should be ignored when listening to someone trying to sell you on their position or product, you should refrain from using them when speaking about your experience in a job interview. How many times have we heard this or something like this before: “Our process improvement strategy had a HUGE impact on the BOTTOM LINE.”
A more convincing and thoughtful way to say this would go something like: “We evaluated a number of process improvement strategies and settled on one that we implemented in four weeks across eight different business lines. Three months later we did an evaluation of this implementation and found that we had reduced costs by 15% . Employees involved with implementation were so excited about the improvementsthey were seeing that they initiated their own process improvement evolution check list. They now use this to suggest and implement changes on a quarterly basis.”
Employers are looking for thoughtful answers to questions that do not sound like they were picked out of an interview handbook. The more your answers sound like you actually lived through the action you are describing the more likely you will be looking at an attractive offer.
Can a recruiter help you find work in a tough economy?
Sure they can but it’s the same in any economy— if you happen to be a perfect fit for the opening they have. The problem in a tough economy (like now) is there are far less openings, and this isn’t just because there is less hiring going on, it’s also because many companies stop using recruiters. They think they can do it on their own and they want to save money.
Candidates would benefit from a better understanding of the picture from a recruiters perspective, starting with a definition of what makes a recruiter successful, and then in turn, what gives them as the candidate the best chance for success.
A recruiter’s success is far more contingent on having lots of good job orders than having lots of good candidates. This is rarely understood by candidates and leads to frustration for both parties. Job orders are power for recruiters, and once again that power only transfers to candidates in a job search if they are a fit for a particular opening.
So candidates will benefit from taking a more proactive or aggressive approach to helping themselves stand out. This applies for when they are working with a recruiter as well. But the best course for a candidate is to be proactive and build their own marketing campaign. This should include creative ways not only to get in front of the highest level hiring authority they can, but being just as creative in ways to make a huge first impression.
The Myth of “Working to Live”
We have all heard it before. People come in two categories; those who live to work and those who work to live.
It is time to dispel the myth of working to live.
There is no such thing.
If you spend the majority of your time working, you are living to work, period.
The difference then is those that are finding true fulfillment in their work and those that are not.
Because that is the case, it is imperative that we do everything possible to find work that stimulates us. Or to put it another way, find a way to make our work more stimulating. And the more it stimulates us the healthier we will be.
Taking a quick audit of historic figures or even people we know that have lived long lives shows most have been doing something every day that they were passionate about.
Artists definitely fall into this category and while the majority of them don’t make great money, they seem to live life in a constant state of discovery.
Aaron Copeland lived to be 90. Vladimir Horowitz lived well into his late 80’s. Marian McPartland, the famous jazz pianist was born in 1918 and is still playing.
So while we can’t all be artists we can try to approach our work with a level of passion that will get us up and keep us going.
Live to work!
Stop Worrying About Turnover and Focus on Building a Great Product
I recently received an unsolicited newsletter in my inbox with the title: “Employee turnover is the silent killer of workplace productivity.”
As a headhunter for 11 years I instantly thought of how ridiculous the statement is. Employee turnover is a given. People are going to leave for two main reasons:
- a better opportunity has been presented to them outside of the company, or
- they are not happy with their current company/position.
Rather than working out retentions strategies and effectively putting “gates” in place that will hopefully keep people from leaving, companies should focus on what they can control, building a great product and company culture. Focusing here is really what attracts and retains outstanding employees anyway.
And if an employee leaves for a better opportunity, congratulate them and wish them well. After all, the best employees are the ones that understand their value and also understand when leaving is the best thing for everyone involved.
Go Ahead, I Am Listening
“u..huh, ….yeah,… right… yup….makes sense to me….., what was that?”
I was hoping that my colleague was actually listening to me but it sounds like he was sending emails and perhaps even texting someone else while we were on the phone. How many times has this happened to you? It seems today that we have become incapable of doing one thing at a time. The next time you are in the car, take a look the people driving by and make a mental note of how many are speaking on the phone. Or when you are walking down the street, count how many people are fixed to their smart phones. These trappings have made it impossible for most of us to really listen.
Which is a huge problem when you are interviewing.
If you are a candidate interviewing for a job the most important words out of your mouth will be the ones that reflect how well you have been listening to the interviewer. Assuming you have done your homework and understand what the company does, your conversation will need to resonate with what the interviewer has been speaking about. It is not what you have done or can do. It is how what you have done or do can help solve the challenges that the interviewer has been speaking about.
If you are a company interviewing a candidate you will want to listen carefully to what the candidate is saying. Do her answers reflect a deep understanding of what your company does? Does he articulate his experience solving problems with a level of detail that reflects a “hands on” approach or does he sound like someone that needs a lot of other people to get anything done?
Recruiters can be some of the worst listeners on the planet. In the rush to fill a position, they often don’t effectively listen to what the client is asking for and subsequently send candidates that don’t accurately fit the job description.
In F. Scott Peck’s book, “The Road Less Travelled”, the author speaks of a lecture he attended where he had to make a super conscious effort to listen to the speaker. At the end of the lecture he had a headache and was sweating. I don’t believe we will always be faced with having to display that level of concentration when listening but perhaps stepping away from the keyboard is a good start.