Activating the best of you!

Dear Coach Joan,

After decades of being self employed and successfully owning and running my own small business I am ready to call it quits. I’d like to move into to a full time management position in an established organization. I look forward to being part of a team and having a regular paycheck and benefits. I’m tired of always having to chase business. The problem is that I’ve done some informational interviews consistently get the question of how I would fit into an organization and work for a boss after so many years of being independent and on my own.

How can I satisfactorily answer that concern as I truly do feel I would be an excellent employee and had a couple of years in a large organization at the start of my career.

Thank you,

Susan in Santa Rosa

Dear Susan,

I can understand that the grass looks greener at this point. You have probably had to hustle to keep your business going for all those years. Plus, health benefits, vacation and sick pay are something you have probably had stretch to provide for yourself. That is often the lament of independent business owners.

That said, I hope your motivation is a lot more than just getting benefits and having dependable work.

Let’s look at your candidacy from the perspective of a hiring manager within an organization. They are looking for candidates who have the skills to do the job, the ability to work in a large organization, understand the business that you would be entering and have true enthusiasm and interest in the job.

Here are the top 4 things they’d be looking for and ways you might position your background in a positive way:

  1. SKILLS – The job description will list the skills and experience they are looking for. If you look at the skills themselves it doesn’t matter whether you did those things in a small or large company. For instance, if they are looking for project management skills, you might well have demonstrated those on your own. If they are looking for financial management skills, you must have had those in running a business. It’s important that you stress the SKILLS more than where you did those.
  2. UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR BUSINESS/INDUSTRY – If you are applying for a job in a new industry, either read up on it, attend some professional classes, go to the web sites of notables in that industry and show you are conversant in the issues, challenges and opportunities that are happening today. Be up to date and current. Perhaps you can even volunteer at a professional organization in that industry to show your interest and knowledge, your network of people in that industry can  expand.
  3. MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE – If you are looking for a management position it is imperative to show your management capabilities. Even though you ran your own business you must have had vendors to manage and perhaps assistants as well. Be conversant about your management style and give examples of how you have successfully managed people and how you have recognized potential and developed people, too.
  4. WHY THE TRANSITION AND WHY NOW: Think through the reasons you are attracted to being a part of a large organization. You needn’t mention the benefits or time off, that is obvious and not an attractive reason for an employer to hire you!! You might talk about looking forward to being a part of a team of smart, energetic people and that you enjoy working with various types of people and getting work done as a team. You might talk about the respect you have for that particular company and mention key reasons you are impressed by them. Talk about their competitors, too, and why you are much more interested in their company and this position. You might also touch on your early on experiences in a large company and how you feel that at this point you’d like to return to that, but this time in a management position.                            Susan, be clear about all of the successes and achievements you had as a business owner. It’s very impressive to have had a decades long business! And make sure to go into meetings with very clear reasons you’d be a great fit and that you’re a  proven winning professional.                                                                                                                           Onward in your successful career transition, Susan.  Coach Joan

Dear Readers,

I’d like to share a winning career tool with you, one  that has helped many  clients become the candidate of choice, even if they didn’t have the most competitive credentials. This tool can differentiate you from other candidates and put you in the lead. It does this by showing that you have put more thought into the process, bring more self awareness, and you are providing more comprehensive information about yourself than 99% of the other job seekers.

Everyone prepares a resume, and a resume is the standard tool of introduction. But I suggest, you differentiate your introduction and arrive with a RESUME PORTFOLIO.  It is something that goes beyond the traditional resume in showing who you are as a self aware candidate who can best show why and how they are a great fit for the job. The RESUME PORTFOLIO also shows that you are willing to go above and beyond in your efforts to get to the head of the pack.

OK, so what does a RESUME PORTFOLIO consist of?

A RESUME PORTFOLIO has the stand listing of employment, education and key achievements included. It also contains a clear objective so potential employers can see what you are aiming for and recognize an aligned with their needs.

But a RESUME PORTFOLIO also includes the following items:

  1. A CAREER STORY : This involves some real thinking and analysis. It is typically a one page story that explains who you are and how you developed into the person who is qualified and excited about doing the job to which you have applied.  For example: A recent college grad client had majored in both art and engineering. He had been a visual storyteller from his childhood, yet he loved to take things apart and build things. You might think of those as disparate and disconnected interests but he explained how they relate and how the combination of the two capabilities make him ideally suited as a user interface designer. He prepared his one pager that included visual examples to show his art skills and he made the story clear and concise to show analytical, clear thinking skills.
  2. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: Although not asked for, my candidates always include letters of recommendation from professors, past employers, colleagues, professional association colleagues and more…Letters that strongly show that you are a proven, capable person in your field and also talk to your soft skills, too. Employers want to see that you are capable and that you get along with others well. By collecting and showing your letters of recommendation you are creating a positive impression of your candidacy, even before it’s been requested. This shows you are planning ahead and putting in the extra effort toward your candidacy.
  3. PERSONAL FOLDERS: Although you can electronically send in your resume, career story and recommendations, I always strongly suggest that my client prepare individual folders for every person they will be meeting with. You can typically call ahead and inquire about the names and titles of the people you want to meet with or will meet with and you can hand write their names on the folder, along with your name and the date. One client was interviewing for a competitive nursing job at a top university teaching hospital. She knew she would have a panel interview and she worked hard to find out the names and titles of all the people on the panel. When she walked into the room (dressed professionally) she handed a RESUME PORTFOLIO FOLDER to each of the people on the panel. She made sure to have eye contact and she confidently said that just in case they hadn’t had a chance to see her materials online, the whole package was here. She reviewed the contents of the folder and gave them a few minutes to go through it.  YES, she got the job! Afterward, she was told that everyone on the panel was tremendously impressed with her preparation and the quality of her materials.                   Yes, when you are applying for good jobs there is typically competition out there. I saw do all you can to differentiate yourself, make it easy for the potential employers to know you and like you. Give a little extra time and work into preparing a RESUME PORTFOLIO that will distinguish you and give you additional confidence as well.              Onward in your career success,

Coach Joan