Some of the factors that impact how successful your efforts at marketing your skills and expertise will be.
It is important that you review this section before you start planning your job search. Whether you are a young attorney or a company president, there is probably much more to your story than meets the eye. You are "one of a kind" and we want to be sure that you understand how to present you accordingly.
Your Marketability Depends On Your True Assets and Skills
We can almost guarantee any executive that they cannot identify 50 percent of their own assets, simply because they're too close to their own situation. As we surface everything that is marketable about you, we identify 15 to 25 skills—which, if selectively described to employers, can often make the difference.
Each year, about 10 percent of the clients who come to us have settled for less in the past, simply because they have never been able to communicate their strongest assets and skills. One client was earning a ,000 base after almost 20 years. Three years later, that same person was earning 0,000. Another executive came to us at less than 5,000. Three years later, he is a CEO at many times that amount. The key in both situations was that they understood, identified and marketed their true assets.
Now, if you are like most executives, you can increase your chances through a very simple rule. It has been said time and again by psychologists, motivational speakers, spiritual leaders and coaches that the most restrictive limits you face are those you put on yourself. So, if you really want to be a serious candidate for a better position, don't put any limits on your thinking.
Your Knowledge & Personality Are Marketable
Do you have knowledge of a job, a product, a process, or a market? It could be from any source —work, hobbies, alumni relationships, research, consultants, suppliers or customers—and, it may be marketable.
Personality, of course, is just a word for that mysterious combination of traits that either attracts us to someone, or, on the other hand, leaves us unimpressed. More employment decisions are based on personality and chemistry than any other factor. For example: "He's certainly professional and quick-thinking. I like him, and better yet, I trust him. He'll get along with our team and provide leadership. I need to get him into this firm."
The perception of your personality has to do with your interests and enthusiasm. How many employers hire people primarily because they showed great interest? The answer is, a lot—even at the highest levels!
Your Leadership Appeal Is Marketable
If there is one quality you want to communicate, it is leadership ability. Experts say that leaders possess and communicate real convictions—strong feelings and principles that have grown with them over time.
Justified or not, leadership is also attributed to those who create an image of operating at the far edge of the frontier—where new products and solutions are being planned. We tend to think of leaders as those who have the vision and talent to develop new things.
Another skill common to most leaders is their ability to recruit or assemble a team which they subsequently motivate to peak levels of achievement. Other attributes people ascribe to leaders are that they are creative, intuitive and passionate, and that they project integrity, trust, and boldness. Image, attitude, appearance and presence all play a role. Put these traits together, and they represent most of the criteria that contribute to people being viewed as charismatic.
Your Versatility and Transferable Skills Are Key
Identifying transferable skills is critical (for example, analyzing, organizing, group presentation skills, problem solving and so on). In the current job market, employers clearly place a premium on men and women who are versatile. Executives in highest demand are those who can move from project to project, handling assignments that draw upon different skills.
Naturally, your experience can also be reviewed according to various "functions" that apply to most businesses, such as sales, production, accounting, marketing and human resources. All areas in which you have knowledge must be identified. At the same time, you need to think of your experience in terms of "action verbs" that describe what you did, and then translate those activities into achievements, i.e., controlled, wrote, improved, reshaped, created, etc.
The more ways you can describe your experience, the more you will qualify for jobs in many industries. That's because all organizations are basically involved in similar functions.
Factors Affecting Marketability As Viewed by Employers and Recruiters
Job hunting is demanding in many respects. Particularly frustrating is the fact that it is one of the most competitive efforts you will undertake, but you never get a chance to know who your competition is!
On the other hand, employers and recruiters will be viewing you in terms of your competition. Their job is to measure how you stack up in terms of key qualities ... how you compare to other qualified candidates.
With this in mind, you need to fully understand the seven categories that employers and recruiters consider. Once you fully grasp what they are seeking, you and our staff can make adjustments in how we compensate for any perceived shortcomings in your marketability.
Factors Affecting Marketability
The types of organizations where you've worked will have a major bearing on your marketability. A person with experience in larger organizations is going to be the most marketable, most of the time. And, the individual with experience in a number of different types of organizations will be the most marketable, most of the time.
Those with experience with just one type of company can be successful, but face a greater challenge if a change in industries is desired. Listed below are experience factors that recruiters and employers look for.
- Experience with national / blue chip firms
- Experience with firms from 0M to B+
- Experience with consulting firms
- Experience with market leaders
- Experience with public companies
- Experience with manufacturing or service firms
- Experience with government or non- profits
- Experience with firms who were start- ups
- Experience with IPOs
- Experience in your own business
- Experience with any internet firms
- Experience with any accounting firms
- Experience with growth companies
- Experience with high-tech firms
- Experience outside of North America
Fields Where You Have Experience Also Affecting Marketability
Obviously, employers want to know the functions in which you have firsthand experience. Professionals who have achievements in a number of areas are generally considered the most marketable ... most of the time.
As a rule, the more specialized people are ... the greater their job hunting challenge, unless they plan on staying in their specialty. However, for many, career changes are increasingly frequent. Listed below are major fields where you might have some marketable experience and achievements.
- General Management
- IS / IT Investments
- Financial services
- Purchasing/ buying
- R & D
- Real Estate
- Sales to consumers
- Sales to business
Your Achievements Affecting Marketability
The areas of achievement recruiters and employers look for are reflective of the "skill sets" people have, regardless of their industry experience. How effectively we communicate them in your written materials and verbal exchanges will determine your ability to change industries.
Clearly, executives and professionals with major achievements in the most number of areas ... will normally be the most marketable.
Importantly, you want to make sure you have a short but compelling story for each major achievement. Those stories should be a significant part of the communication themes. They must also come across strongly in your resumes. Listed on the next page are the things that employers, recruiters and venture capitalists most often look for.
What Employers and Recruiters Are Usually Looking For:
- Acquired operations
- Been a corporate officer
- Been a division officer
- Been in top management
- Brought in revenues
- Built self-sustaining teams
- Built strategic alliances
- Chaired civic organizations
- Chaired multifunctional teams
- Designed efficient systems
- Directed start-up
- Experienced at cost control
- Experienced with joint ventures
- Formulated action plans
- Had P & L responsibility
- Had large administrative responsibilities
- Had substantial line experience
- Handled many projects
- Handled strategic planning
- Have had substantial staff experience
- Improved sales/ profits
- Improved productivity
- Initiated sweeping changes
- Managed large budgets
- Managed large numbers of people
- Managed complex operations
- Managed rapid growth
- Member of key committees
- Multi-market experience
- Multi-plant experience
- Multi-site operation experience
- Negotiated major deals
- Negotiated mergers & acquisitions
- Officer and board member
- Opened new plants
- Procured major funds, grants
- Published author of articles
- Published author of book(s)
- Re-engineered processes
- Reorganized and revitalized
- Served on civic boards
- Served on corporate boards
- Served on nonprofit boards
- Simplified complex problems
- Started prototype operations
- Turned around poor attitudes
- Turned around operations
- Worked closely with top management
Factors Affecting Marketability
As a rule, the higher your education, the greater your marketability. In certain instances, where achievement levels, versatility and status of previous employers might be equal, then the education level, activities and associations listed here might be decisive.
If you have a disadvantage here, you will normally require a more aggressive and finely tuned search strategy, one precisely designed to help you overcome a lesser competitive position. If you don't have the right education, it will be a significant red flag ... unless sufficiently offset by superior well- thought-out communications.
In these instances, we would need to develop strategies for putting you on an equal footing. If you compare well on educational factors, you will enjoy an advantage, but remember that recent important achievements will trump educational background.
- LLB or JD
- MBA, MS or MA
- College graduate
- 2-year associate degree
- College, no degree
- Member, industry assoc's
- Industry leader
- CPA or securities certified
- Have copyrights/ patents
- Have medical certification
- Professional engineer
It might be interesting for you to compare your financial situation to others seeking positions at the same income level. How you stack up could affect your ability and motivation level in moving ahead aggressively.
As a rule, executives with more financial strength have more power in the marketplace, since they have the staying power to pursue only the very best opportunities. As far as your urgency is concerned, expect that executives will be somewhat less interested if you are not truly urgent. Your urgency
- Is your next move critical?
- Are you just exploring and really not urgent?
- Do you prefer to move ASAP?
Your financial goals
- Are you seeking 10_15% more, or 25%+ more?
- Is the right opportunity worth more than money?
- Do you require stock options?
Your own financial situation and other
- Do you have a clear credit rating?
- Is your record clear of bankruptcies?
- Are you free of financial strain?
- Would you consider work on full commission?
- Would you consider work at home?
Phrases That Describe You
These should be a critical part of your communication strategy, e.g., the key things you communicate about yourself ... in all your job search communications. They especially need to be apparent in your resumes.
Keep in mind that when there is more than one strong candidate, hiring decisions will ultimately come down to the personal qualities listed below ... between some other candidate and yourself. They tilt things ... either in your favor or against you. You should think about which phrases others might apply to you.
Phrases That Describe You
- Drive out-of-box thinking
- Effective troubleshooter
- Exceptional listener
- Exceptional people skills
- Exceptional team player
- Excellent executive image
- Excellent long-range planner
- Excellent recruiter
- Excellent w/ technical matters
- Excellent trainer
- Extremely quick thinker
- Flair for putting on events
- Good-natured/ personable
- Great motivator
- Hands on / shirt sleeve
- High achiever
- Highly competitive
- Highly creative
- Highly innovative
- Highly organized
- Highly resourceful
- Highly self-motivated
- Highly social
- Highly versatile
- Instincts for what will sell
- Natural leader
- Risk taker, entrepreneurial
- Sense of humor
- Skilled at government affairs
- Skilled negotiator
- Sophisticated, cultured
- Strong administratively
- Strong analytically
- Strong at consumer selling
- Strong at corporate selling
- Strong group communicator
- Strong personal presence
- Strong verbal communicator
- Strong written communicator
- Superior writing skills
- Tactician / strategic thinker
- Very confident
- Very dependable, loyal
- Very persistent
- Very persuasive
- Very positive, very upbeat
- Well-respected, esteemed
- Wins cooperation at all levels
- Works a 50, 60, or 70-hour+ week
- Factors Affecting Marketability
Your Personal Interests
People with a wide range of interests tend to be somewhat more marketable. A commonality of interests may sometimes help get you an interview or shift an interview in your favor. Some popular interests that might have some marketing value when communicated are:
- Martial arts
- Music or instrument
- Read business pub's
- Skiing (snow)
- Water sports
- Wine collecting
- Writing/ Art
- Body building
- Car racing
- Charitable work
- Church affairs
- College/Pro baseball
- College/Pro basketball
- College/Pro football
- College/Pro hockey
- College/Pro soccer
- College/Pro tennis
- College support
- Community/ civic
- Current affairs
- Design/ decorating
- Family activities
- Fine arts
- Fund raising
Truth, Fiction, and the Age Barrier
As firms have been re-engineered, many people in their 50s and early 60s have had jobs eliminated. When we encounter situations where age is a problem, we compensate by developing a more aggressive action plan.
The reality is that today, people in their late 40s and 50s are connecting with fast-growing companies, especially firms in new industries, where experience is in demand. Last year, we also successfully helped many clients in their early 60s. Success obviously depends on each person's background, but the starting point is to avoid putting any limits on your thinking.
Just for the record, a common thread bound Commodore Vanderbilt, Socrates, Pasteur, Voltaire, Newton, Talleyrand, Thomas Jefferson, Galileo, Martha Graham, Armand Hammer, Grandma Moses, Adolph Zuckor, Coco Chanel, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Winston Churchill and George Burns. Each made their major accomplishments after they became "senior citizens." So, again, don't put any limits on your own thinking!
The bottom line is that through a marketability evaluation of all of your communications your chances can be adjusted to take into consideration the qualifications of those you will be competing against. Your resumes, letters and e-mails can be more persuasive... and your personal phone presentations, interviews and negotiations can also be far more effective.