Standing Out In A Bulls Eye Market
The following was written by me and appeared on www.goampi.org in October 2011.
The Greater Orlando Area Meeting Professionals International (GOAMPI) October education event was presented by Orlando’s very own Fritz Lehman. He has been involved in the hospitality industry in Orlando since he founded Hello Florida! in 1986. In 2005 he started OpenDoor Resources, LLC. As an executive recruiter with a focus on the meetings / hospitality industry, he knows a thing or two about what employers are looking for.
The current economy has created what Lehman referred to as a “bulls eye market”. Employers looking to fill vacant positions are searching for that needle in a haystack. They want the perfect match; somebody who has not only done the job before, but is doing it now. The successful candidate will be able to hit the ground running with little ramp up time needed. Transferable skills and past experience are just not enough in this bulls eye job market.
Here are some tips Lehman gave on how to stand out as an applicant. Some of these tips may seem obvious but they are also the ones that are most often overlooked and almost always are the cause for elimination from consideration.
Network within your industry, even when you are not looking for a new position. When you need a friend, it is too late to start trying to make friends. Keep in touch with recruiters and read industry trade journals.
If you are interested in a certain company, set up traces to know when a position has been posted. Check out www.watchthatpage.com.
Review, clean up and monitor your social media profile(s). Employers are checking your on line presence and applicants will be eliminated from consideration if they have photos, comments etc. that are not in line with the corporate culture.
–Substance and style are equally important. Your resume should be logical, clear, free of spelling and grammatical errors and accurate. This is an opportunity to show your writing skills; how you express yourself, but be careful not to get too creative with the formatting. Have a second set of eyes or a professional resume writer help you. Don’t rely solely on spell check; it is not always correct.
-Be honest! Employers will verify dates of past employment. Do not intentionally obscure dates of employment, for example listing 2008 – 2009 when in fact is was June 2008 – January 2009. Do not try to hide your age by omitting dates for graduating college.
– Customize your resume for each job. Emphasize your experience that is relevant to the position.
-The style and content should match the level of experience and position you are applying for.
-Be sure to include accomplishments and achievements and omit information that is irrelevant.
– Be on time.
-Research the company and have questions prepared. A great question to ask early in the interview if you can is “What are the characteristics of the ideal candidate?” Listen carefully to the answer and remember it as you answer their questions.
-Be enthusiastic. Even if you feel it is not going well, stay upbeat and determined to win the job. Don’t give up until you get an official “no”.
-Have a well thought out, rehearsed answer to the question “tell me about yourself”. It should be 60 – 90 seconds and should be relevant to the position you are interviewing for.
-Answer questions with details, not just a yes or no. Show them you are articulate.
-Send a Thank You note right away. E-mail is acceptable but a hand written note will make you stand out.
-Do not speak poorly of your current / past employers or co-workers.
-Take responsibility for your failures – Don’t be the victim and blame everyone and everything.
Lastly, take advantage of technology to make your application stand out. Two ideas that I loved were having a video resume and having a QR code on your resume that will link to an on line resume, your person web page with your bio or perhaps your LinkedIn profile.