R. William Holland, author of "Cracking The New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired In Any Economy" talks with Commitmentnow.com about how all the rules of who gets the job and why have changed--and how to get a job in these tough times.
Commitmentnow.com: How has our recent economy impacted who gets hired and who doesn’t? Have all the rules changed?
R. William Holland Ph.D.: The market has gotten tighter for both companies and individuals alike. Increasingly, companies have to compete in a global economy dominated by rapid changes in technology. With tighter margins and the requirement to chase business all over the globe, hiring people who are ready to create value is more important than ever.
Meanwhile, individuals are being squeezed because there are so many applicants for each white collar opening. Trying to stand out in a crowd of 300+ applicants is a difficult task. That is one sense in which the rules have changed—not all of them, but enough to demand a different approach to job search and career management. However, once the economy recovers there is growing reason to believe the job market will remain tight and very selective. A new competition for jobs will also be driven by technology and globalization.
Commitmentnow.com: Rule #1 states: Always demonstrate Your Value. What does that mean and how can that be done?
Dr. Holland: In today’s job market companies are fixated on the value applicants can create. In an earlier time, a person’s potential was often viewed as more important that immediate value creation. This is no longer true. As such, the need to demonstrate your value is the first step in a larger shift in mindset that helps applicants break through the clutter of applications that invariably come with job postings.
Companies fill open positions because they are trying to solve problems. You can demonstrate your value by demonstrating the relevance of your background and experiences to the problems they are trying to solve.
Commitmentnow.com: Why is allowing our credentials to speak for themselves no longer sufficient in today’s economy?
Dr. Holland: Those looking for employment in today’s job market quickly discover that presenting your credentials as if previous work history and a college degree from a prestigious university are enough to carry the day is a mistake.
Of necessity employers are interested, first and foremost, in themselves and their profitability. They want to know if you can create more value than your competition. You must understand there are a lot of other candidates who have the same or similar credentials—you have to demonstrate that your credentials really fit better.
Commitmentnow.com: What are the five steps to creating a resume that will wow a potential employer?
Dr. Holland: In a nutshell they are:
· Identify what is important to the employer by culling out the key words they use in the position description to describe the problems they are trying to solve by filling the position you are interested in.
· List your experiences/credentials in reverse chronological order.
· Infuse those experiences with value by qualifying and quantifying the results you achieved.
· Select the best statements for inclusion in your resume.
That is, select those statements that most closely reflect accomplishments in solving the problems the company is trying to solve.
· Format and refine your resume according to accepted practices. You can get a resume template almost anywhere. Remember, content is more important than format.
Take notice that the first step in the process requires that you focus on what is of importance to the company. That’s why we tell our clients that your resume is not about you. It is about what others want from you.
Commitmentnow.com: If someone came to you and said: “I’ve been on several interviews and no one has hired me,” what advice would you give them?
Dr. Holland: First of all I would say congratulations. “You are doing better than the vast majority of applicants in this market who send their resumes into a black hole and never get so much as an acknowledgement they ever applied. You must be doing something right.”
I would encourage them to strengthen how they prepare for interviews. The very good news here is that the process that you can use to develop an effective resume is the same one for preparing for the interview—a focus on the problems an organization is trying to solve and how your background matches up against those problems.
Commitmentnow.com: How has networking changed in recent years and how can a job seeker develop connections that can lead to a job?
Dr. Holland: Without going into a lot of detail, the simple answer is face-to-face networking used to be the most effective method of developing job leads. That is no longer true. Internet techniques developed by social networking sites today make it possible to meet people; get into places; and gain access to job opportunities that were once reserved for a precious few.
The best way to develop connections is to get on LinkedIn right away. It was developed with white collar professionals and job seekers in mind. As you connect with people, take a look at how they are using the site. That is the best tutorial you could possibly get.
Commitmentnow.com: What are three ways to make a dynamic impression on a job interview?
Dr. Holland: The context for my answer comes from the view that an interview is a type of test. As such, the same rules for doing well on tests apply for doing well in interviews.
· Be both relaxed and prepared. The key to relaxation is feeling the comfort that comes with being well prepared. That is, go into interviews with an uncluttered mind.
· Rather than try and anticipate every question you could possibly be asked, develop a conceptual approach to the interview that will allow you to answer any possible question thrown your way. My approach is to remember that the answers to all interview questions are essentially the same. That is, questions are invitations to talk about things of interest to the interviewer. When you use our value creation method of developing your resume you already know what those things are. You have already focused on the problems a company is trying to solve and matched your experiences in handling those problems against your accomplishment statements. For questions that do not fit that category, don’t be afraid to come up with the spontaneous answers on the spot.
· Be sure and practice. Know exactly where your background fits with their requirements and practice articulating where the match-ups are.
Commitmentnow.com: What are three ways to blow an interview and make them say no?
Dr. Holland: There are actually lots of ways to blow an interview. But I’ll keep my answer to three of the most frequent ones I hear about. They are based on the axiom: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. I call them the “Three States of Being.” Being:
· Disrespectful of a company’s protocols (dress, general demeanor, etc.)
Commitmentnow.com: What advice do you have for parents of recent college graduates entering a shaky, difficult job market?
Dr. Holland: Don’t be afraid to get involved. With their permission, give them as much support and help as you reasonably can, even if you feel a little like a helicopter parent.
The most important thing for them (and you) to realize is that the day has passed during which if you had a college degree you had a job if you wanted one.
It is a new day and they should study and mimic what their peers are doing to succeed in the job market. Help them understand value creation and the role it plays in today’s job market. Encourage them to avoid being idle. When an employer concludes they have the ability to create the kind of value they need, the job search will end successfully.
Commitmentnow.com: What should a person understand in order to truly crack the new job market?
Dr. Holland: It would be a mistake to think that the dilemmas to your job search and career planning can be resolved simply by learning to tweak your resume for each and every job you apply for.
The truth is globalization and technology will greatly influence what jobs get created; how many jobs there will be; and who gets them. To survive and prosper in the new job market requires a shift in mindset of which resume customization is a small yet important step. The broader requirements consist of unparalleled levels of technical and social competence and the ability to create value in those domains.
You will know you have made progress when the first question you ask as an applicant is “What value does this position require that I create” rather than, “How do I tweak my resume get invited to the first round of interviews.
To purchase Cracking The New Job Market click here.
About the Author: Bill Holland brings a unique combination of personal experience and professional training to those looking for work and planning careers. He has developed a highly successful, no-nonsense approach to the subject that promises to emerge as a cornerstone in the career management industry.
The source of his insights come largely from having:
* Worked in key positions for several world-class organizations including Chase Manhattan Bank, PepsiCo, the Universities of California(Riverside) and Pennsylvania, Charles Schwab, Andersen Consulting and Right Management.
* Been on the leading edge of globalization in the role of Chief Human Resources officer for Andersen Consulting’s Business Process Outsourcing Division.
* P & L Responsibility as a senior level executive at Right Management for outplacement and consulting sales in 35 states and Canada.
* Worked closely with parents and students to deliver career effective programs for Gen-xers.
* Written and lectured extensively about the subject
In 2006 Bill published the first in a series of three books on career management, the award winning Are There Any Good Jobs Left? Career Management in the Age of the Disposable Worker (Praeger).He has now followed that with Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy(with a foreword by best selliing author Barbara Ehrenreich).
Bill attended Michigan State University on a football scholarship and received his PhD from there in political science. As a graduate teaching assistant at MSU’s distinguished James Madison College he was the recipient of the University’s first Excellence-in-Teaching Citation. He also received the Honorary Distinguished Alumni Award.
Bill has appeared on numerous radio and television programs and is available for consulting and/or speaking engagements.