amaze plus size magazine

by ford r. myers

ford meyers


Archives: Step 1

Nationally-recognized career consultant Ford R. Myers, president of Haverford, PA-based Career Potential has developed the “New Year, New Career” campaign. This six-step “Power Plan” is designed to help individuals make the most of their current career or find a new and more satisfying one. 

Over the next 6 issues, Myers will take AmaZe readers on a journey to, "Achieve ultimate career satisfaction and success."

Step Two:  The Job Seeker’s Tool Kit

A carpenter would never show-up at a construction site with only a hammer. An artist would never apply for a design position without showing a complete portfolio. So why is it that most job-seekers use only their résumé as the cornerstone of their search?

Job seekers over-emphasize the résumé because their other “tools” are weak or nonexistent. But the résumé should actually be one of your least used job-seeking tools! Unfortunately, most people don’t know what these other tools are or how to use them. By integrating these other elements into the job search – and not relying solely on your résumé – you can add power, professionalism and flexibility to your efforts.

The following 10 items should be in your job-seeker’s tool kit:

1. Written accomplishments. Write five or six stories about work-related tasks that made you proud. Describe the challenge or problem, your specific actions and the positive results you produced. These stories can be from any time in your career and any job you’ve had. These are usually examples of times when you “went above and beyond” the scope of your job’s responsibilities.

2. Verbal presentations. Prepare and practice a “15 second commercial” about who you are professionally, the industries you’ve served and the particular strengths you can contribute to a new employer. When you write it out, keep it brief and then memorize it so it will always be “on the tip of your tongue.” You will also need a prepared statement explaining why you are no longer with your previous employer, or why you are seeking a new position.

3. Professional biography. Write a one-page narrative of your career in the “third person” – as though someone else wrote it about you. This is no time to be “shy,” so make it sound impressive! Somewhere in the middle of the document, create a “bullet list” of the tangible results you have achieved (which are drawn directly from your “accomplishment stories.”)

4. Target company list. Make a “wish list” of adjectives that would describe your ideal employer, such as size, location, industry, culture, environment, etc. Then research specific organizations that meet those criteria. Create separate folders for each of these companies and gather as much information as you can. Prepare a list of these organizations, categorized by industry. Finally, network your way in to meet with the hiring managers (not Human Resources) at these companies!


5. Contact list. Compile a list of all the people you know personally and professionally. Yes, all of them. Include their names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Don’t edit the list or make any assumptions about who can or can’t help you. You might be surprised! Remember that approximately 80% of new opportunities are secured through networking – and a very high percentage of those positions were discovered through people who were least expected to be of help!

6. Professional references. List colleagues who would “sing your praises” if asked about you. Contact each of them, and get approval to use their names on your list of references. Be sure to provide these individuals with guidance about what to say when prospective employers call. Also, ask these references to contact you immediately if any prospective employers call them.

7. Letters of recommendation. Request letters from four or five respected business associates, printed on their company letterhead. These individuals could be superiors, subordinates, peers, suppliers, clients, etc. Try to “mix it up” with individuals from various companies and in several different roles. Provide them with the necessary information, so they’ll know what to write about.

8. Networking Agenda. People often find it difficult to get started with their networking; usually because they feel nervous or afraid of making a mistake. The best way to avoid this problem is to learn the specific steps (the “agenda”) of a networking discussion – how it flows, what to expect, how to react to the other person’s comments, etc. In addition, it is smart to write-out a full script so you will know exactly what to say and how to say it. By preparing this networking script in advance, you will feel much more confident and productive in networking. And, by practicing the script, you will become comfortable to the point that your presentation will not sound “robotic” or “canned.”

9. Tracking system. Keep a detailed record in hard copy of your job-search activities, including phone calls, meeting notes and correspondence. This is vital for planning follow-up steps and assessing your performance week-to-week. Use pre-printed forms, folders and other means of staying organized. Remember, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!”

10. Résumé. It’s the last on the list, but still indispensable. And, it has to be great. Enlist the assistance of a professional Career Consultant or review resume examples in career-related books. Include not only your job responsibilities for each position, but also your accomplishment statements. Be sure the final resume is carefully edited and succinct (no more than two pages), with a layout that is easy for the eye to follow.

It may take some time to produce these documents and to learn how to use them effectively – but it will be worth it. Building a satisfying career is much easier when you have the right tools.

about ford r. myers

Since 1983, Ford R. Myers, MA has been providing professional services in career consulting, executive coaching, assessment and training. After helping thousands of individuals take charge of their careers, create the work they love and earn what they deserve, Ford drew from his diverse experience to create the firm Career Potential based in Haverford Pennsylvania.

Before starting Career Potential, Ford had served on the staffs of three prominent career management firms – Right Management Consultants, Manchester, and Lee Hecht Harrison. Ford’s education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, and a Master’s Degree in Adult and Organization Development. He has studied extensively with The Coaches’ Training Institute and National Training Laboratories. Ford is a qualified career consultant for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strong Interest Inventory, Leadership Effectiveness Analysis, Personal Directions and other assessment tools.

ford r. meyers

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