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Friday, August 15, 2014

Job Seekers: How To Use Basic Leveraging Techniques to Succeed

“Give me a place to stand and I can move the world” ~ Archimedes

Archimedes, of course, was talking about the multiplying power of a lever, but the principles can apply to many facets of the job seeker’s quest to find fulfilling career opportunities.

Anyone who has used only a shovel to move a couple hundred pounds of whatever from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ knows that it takes a lot of effort to move the entire pile from the source to the desired location. Using only a shovel requires that the labourer walks back and forth from the source to the desired location many times, all the while dropping and dribbling the material on the way. Alternatively, the labourer, with the use of a wheelbarrow, can stand in one place, build up a good rhythm shovelling the material into a wheelbarrow and then take advantage of the leverage of the handles and wheel its contents to wherever they want it in one trip.

So the question is, “When one thinks about a continuous improvement, why does shovelling come to mind rather than well-leveraged movement? Why do job seekers settle for moving towards their goal at a rate of one shovel full at a time rather than insist on truly significant results from their efforts?”

Perhaps the answer lays in the fact that job seekers are the most comfortable dealing with pieces of their organizational systems rather than taking a system-wide view to find that powerful fulcrum point. Could it be that job seekers erroneously assume that big results require big efforts, rather than, as Archimedes suggests, putting in a modest effort to lead to not so modest results? Once job seekers levered that first big move, there is nothing to stop them from moving the lever to a new fulcrum point and doing it again. In this way, not only can job seekers institute a true process of ongoing significant improvement, but they can also apply these systems to other areas of their lives.

Job seekers must think of leverage as getting the most "bang for their buck". Here are 10 ways to leverage job search activities:

1. Leverage time - One way to leverage time is to create something that can be used repeatedly. An example could be to create a ‘master’ résumé that includes a comprehensive list of accomplishments. When it comes time to apply for a new career opportunity, the job seekers needs only to select [cut and paste] the most appropriate accomplishments for each job advertisement. N.B. Résumés are ‘living’ documents. Having a résumé that can be updated each year also leverages your time and with a few edits, any résumé can be always ready to use.

2. Leverage strengths - Strengths are most easily identified as those skills that you, as the job seeker, finds enjoyable. These skills are the ones that come naturally and leave you feeling energized. Your job or job search will benefit exponentially once you find ways to utilize those skills. For example, if you are someone who enjoys meeting and talking to people you will do well at networking with people as well as speaking to groups of people - two great ways to advance your career. Others who, for example excel at writing, can find ways to write articles and books. In either case with a minimum of effort you, as the job seeker can get lots of exposure.

3. Leverage networks - Are you engaged socially both on and off line? Now is the time to ask your current network to introduce you to people who are well connected and have the ability to introduce you to mentors and people connected to companies you have an interest in.

4. Leverage connections - Partner with people in your organization whom you can help and who can help you. This might be a boss or colleague that you see as having knowledge or political capital that would be helpful to you. You can leverage the relationship with those partners by sharing information and ideas with them.

5. Leverage relationships - It is important to stay connected, or reconnect, with former or current managers, professors or colleagues who like and trust you. These people can be useful in a job search and helpful in keeping you current in your profession. These connections and reconnections can be made via phone, email, social gatherings, social media or snail mail. In fact, a mixture of all three keeps it interesting.

6. Leverage knowledge - Use your expertise to create several different knowledge products on one topic. If you have written an article on a particular subject for your blog or website, you can re-purpose that information by giving a workshop on the same topic. HINT: Include a link to your article in a Tweet or on your LinkedIn page.

7. Leverage technology - Once you have bought into software or hardware and mastered using it then use it in as many ways as you can to get the maximum benefit. Use your calendar to generate reminder messages for contacting people in your network regularly, for deadline for goals you have set for yourself, following up on leads, and for birthdays/anniversaries/important occasions.

8. Leverage cash - Invest in support services. This will free up your time to do other important tasks related to your career. If something takes you an unusually long time to do or if you are dissatisfied with your result, hire someone to help you with it. Getting your résumé done professionally and LinkedIn profile optimized is worth the money if sitting down and doing it yourself is a struggle. If you keep putting off these critical tasks, you will never know how much you have lost in terms of career opportunities.

9. Leverage time - Invest in education and coaching. Taking courses on or off line will allow you to add that expertise to your résumé and will consequently enable you to qualify for different positions. One course can open many opportunities. HINT#1: Choose the course wisely. HINT #2: If you that find achieving the goals you have set for yourself difficult, investing in a coach will help you to achieve success. Three to six months of professional coaching will also open many opportunities.

10. Leverage social media - Social media can be used to follow thought leaders in your field, to find new jobs, and to attract recruiters who are searching for candidates. N.B. Full engagement in Social Media can be a double-edged sword. Potential employers will always use the Internet to suss out information about you before you are called in for an interview. You can be ruled out permanently if you are not careful about what you post. Used well, social media gives you a lot of exposure for a relatively small investment of time.

Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino. “Career Matters” is a blog authored by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career that is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. please feel free to e-mail Mary directly 

Free:18 Ways To Network As An Older Job Seeker. Get It Here.

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