PART II OF IV IN THE "HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT RESUME" SERIES
In last week's post titled "HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT RESUME – PART I: SEO, KEYWORDS, & BOTS. OH MY!," we covered the importance that technology plays in your job search, in both the ATS "Bots" that filter online applications and the SEO and Keywords you need to adopt to thwart this. This week, we break down why you need to take a more strategic and data-driven approach to your job search, including understanding the phases of the job search and mapping out a strategy to navigate the process to achieve your desired job search objective. We'll also introduce you to a job search "Framework" that can help you achieve more and in less time with a little planning. Let's get started!
THE JOB SEARCH FUNNEL
Before we get too deep, I want to take a few minutes to discuss the various stages and objectives of each stage in the job search journey.
You have to start thinking like a marketer or salesperson and view the job search as a series of stages, or a "funnel." If you don't succeed in any stage, then you won't proceed to the next stage deeper in the process. Here is a simplified representation of the stages in the job search funnel:
- Drafting a resume/online profile
- Appearing in searches by Recruiters (getting through ATS Bot filters)
- Getting Recruiters to click into/view your profile
- Earning a communication from a Recruiter (e.g. message and screening call)
- Interview with a hiring manager (multiple rounds possible here)
We'll divide these stages into two parts of the funnel: Top of Funnel (TOF) and Bottom of Funnel (BOF), with TOF encompassing steps #1-#4, and BOF including steps #5-#7.
So, where do you think makes the most sense to put your efforts first TOF of BOF? Below you'll see a data-driven example that clearly surfaces where you need to put your focus first, and why it is a multiplier of your efforts.
THE DAWN OF THE DATA DRIVEN JOB SEEKER
Many people choose to solicit help with interviewing (Step #5) first when they still haven't perfected earlier stages in the funnel. This can greatly diminish your performance as you'll see from the following example around Recruiters' interaction with your online resume or LinkedIn profile:
Top of Funnel (Appearance in Searches, Profile Views, Inquiries) --> Bottom of Funnel (Interviews)
Note: %'s indicate the conversion rate or what percent of Recruiters advance you to the next stage
SCENARIO #1: IMPROVE BOF FIRST
1000 Recruiters x 20% Appearance in Searches (=200) x 20% Profile View AKA click-thru rate (=40) x 25% Inquiries (=10) x 10% Interviews (=1).
If you double the "Bottom of Funnel" Interview rate from 10% to 20%, by only focusing on your Interview skills, you now go from 1 to 2 interviews.
SCENARIO #2: IMPROVE TOF FIRST
For simplicity, we'll say you get the same "double" improvement that we used for the "Bottom of Funnel" example above for "Top of Funnel" (e.g. 20% Appearance in Searches & Profile Views goes to 40%, 25% Inquiries goes to 50%). And we'll keep the BOF Interview conversion rate at 10%:
1000 Recruiters x 40% Appearance in Searches (=400) x 40% Profile View AKA click-thru rate (=160) x 50% Inquiries (=80) x 10% Interviews (=8).
You now get 8 Interviews instead of 2. That's a 300% increase!!! Clearly, focusing on Top of Funnel is a more urgent need and delivers 4x the results. Focus your time now on what will deliver the greatest results moving forward.
ARE YOU MERELY "FALLING FORWARD" IN YOUR CAREER OR "PLANNING" FOR SUCCESS
We've covered in detail the stages of the job search funnel where you interact with a Recruiter, but there is an even more important phase that exists prior to this that most job seekers omit altogether: Career Planning.
When you set out on a road trip, vacation or journey do you just show up at the airport without a destination or just start driving and then "figure it out" once you get going? Probably not. However, many people take this same approach in career planning.
Do you have a map for your career? Do you know what you want your next job to be, what title and what salary? If not, you may be leaving your future to chance and money on the table. "So, Mr. Smartypants, what are we supposed to do?" you ask?
Develop a plan for your career that maps out what positions you've held, subsequent positions you desire, and how you plan on achieving them. I call this a "Career Planning Blueprint" (CPB), which is a Framework that will help you achieve more, faster and earn more money in your lifetime from your career.
CAREER PLANNING BLUEPRINT: THE FRAMEWORK THAT MULTIPLIES YOUR JOB SEARCH EFFORTS
The Career Planning Blueprint is a cyclical "Framework" that you can follow that will help you map out your career goals and lay a clear path to achieve them.
First, let's list out each phase of the CPB as we move clockwise from the top in the illustration below:
- Build Your Career Planning Blueprint
- Measure Success
- Determine Target Position
- Education, Training & Certification
- Product-Market Fit
- Marketing & Branding
- Convert Opportunities
Now let's cover what each phase entails:
Build Your Career Planning Blueprint – Understand what a CPB is and why you need one. Commit to creating a plan for your career so you know where you are heading and have a plan to get there faster than simply "falling forward."
Measure Success – What does success look like to you? Not only long-term success but more importantly short-term success. For example, in your current role, how do you know when you have reached the point of diminishing returns, where you are no longer progressing at the pace you should be? You do not want to become complacent if you aspire to grow your career, continue learning and increase your pay. So, how do you know when you have achieved optimal success or your maximum potential in your current position? Measuring your success is the answer.
Determine Target Position – First, you need to identify your current job search objective. This is fundamental to the planning phase. Are you looking for an immediate position? Are you looking for a future position a few rungs up the corporate ladder away, say a Director role? Perhaps you are an individual contributor and you need to obtain an intermediary position, such as a Manager role, before getting your target Director role. Only by understanding where you are at and where you want to be in the future, can you answer this question.
Self Assessment – You need to conduct a self-assessment, and have a true understanding of your skills, your desires, and values. You need to look inside yourself and decided which skills you would like to use on the job. Are there passions that you would like to make a part of your career? How do your friends and family describe you? Are you an introvert? Do you have leadership qualities? Are you creative? Are you best suited for a startup with little direction or a more structured environment? How important is money vs. work-life balance? The questions are unending. Your interests, personal qualities, values, and skills play a vital role when you start planning your career. These questions need to be answered beforehand. You are the product that you are selling, so you need to know the product. You will answer these questions and what you learn might surprise you.
Education, Training, Certification – Is there a gap in your skill set that you need to fill before you can advance to your target position? If so, you may need to get some additional education, training or certification. While this phase may not be required for every job search or advancement, it is important to be aware of this and consider it as part of your CPB journey.
Product-Market Fit – How do your skills and qualifications match up with what is currently available in the market? Are the positions you are currently looking at realistic given your qualifications and station in your career? Do you need to obtain more training, skills or certifications? What is the shortest path to get to where you want to be? By taking stock of the opportunities in the current job ecosystem you will learn how to tailor your qualifications to fit the needs of the Market and guarantee your best chances of acquiring your target role.
Marketing & Branding – Now that you have identified your goal, understood your product (skills) and adapted the Product-Market Fit, it’s time to put your plan into action to obtain your desired position. You need to market yourself, highlight the relevant attributes, and expose the right audience to make this a reality. It’s time for your great “reveal” to show your next company what they have been missing and why you are the answer they didn’t know they were looking for.
Convert Opportunities – This includes all of the BOF activities, including interviewing, negotiating and accepting an offer. Additionally, before going into any position you should already have your exit strategy mapped out. You should know what you want to get out of this position and how to know when you have received it so you can move on. Whether it’s moving laterally or vertically in the same organization or changing companies altogether, you should plan your exit just like you planned your entrance.
You get what you measure. - Anonymous
Once that we have leveraged all of the above items to build a Career Planning Blueprint, it’s time to implement the plan. Most people spend more time researching which TV to buy than they spend mapping out their career goals. Why does this happen? Because thinking about your career is challenging. Generally people just “fall forward” into the next position that is offered to them. In fact, most people get severely off course from their initial career goals, because they don’t stop to think “will this position get me closer or farther away from where I truly want to be in 5 years, and where exactly is that?”
If the Career Planning Blueprint sounds like a new and better way to operate, then I'd like to share this invaluable tool with you for FREE. Get access to your own CPB and start mapping out your own career success.
In the next post titled, "HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT RESUME – PART III: YOUR PERSONAL BRAND & PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY’S THAT CAPTIVATE RECRUITERS" we'll talk about the "Professional Summary" area of your resume and how it can make or break your print resume, and how you can leverage it in your online resume along with high-value Keywords to boost your resume's performance even more. Why stop the resume lovefest, keep'on reading Part III!