by Travis Jones
A few years ago I had the chance to co-produce a full-length family film called Treasure Blind. We wanted the opportunity to show our movie at a number of film festivals so we produced a trailer that we hoped would grab the attention of the hosts. As a result, we were invited to show the movie at five different festivals. In the movie industry, a trailer can be your only opportunity to get a good response from the viewers. The goal of the trailer is to get the viewers to take action and see the film.
In most movie theatres, it is common to be shown a number of upcoming movies to consider attending on release. My response usually falls under one of these three choices:
· “Let’s go see this movie”
· “Let’s wait until it comes out for rental”
· “We are never going to see that movie”
The opening lines of a resume are similar to a movie trailer. The “trailer” or opening lines determine whether the “viewer” or hiring manager will:
· Bring a candidate in for an interview
· Wait until they see what other candidates/resumes are out there
· Put the resume on the bottom of the stack
Like a trailer, a resume needs to grab the attention of the reader immediately. The average hiring manager spends less than five seconds reviewing a resume. Your resume must scream “I can meet your needs with my skills and abilities!”
We were recently assisting a job seeker with updating his resume to identify with a specific job that he was interested in; comparing his key strengths and expertise to the job requirements, he customized his resume to showcase his abilities in a way that mirrored the job description. He peppered his opening statement (his movie trailer) with key phrases to show the immediate impact he could make in the position. He followed with a listing of key strengths and expertise he brought to the position and 4 -5 selected accomplishments to drive home that fact that he had a history of bringing results to his employers.
No one can write a summary statement better than the person writing the resume but with our help and by using the job description to frame his resume, he created a document that got the response “we need to talk to this applicant.”
The candidate was a bit surprised that he got the interview and made the comment to me, “I feel like a thief because I robbed what I said right out of the job description.” When asked how he felt about it, he said “I can do what they are asking for and they certainly recognize it from the very opening statement.” He had created an effective trailer.
Creating a movie trailer is not easy. There is a lot of research that goes into the development to ensure that it does the best job possible in getting people to see the movie. Similar to creating a movie trailer, a job applicant must do their homework on the company and be familiar with the vision and mission, the people who they will be applying with, the people who will make the hiring decision, and the job description to ensure that the hiring manager will notice their resume and call them in for an interview.
A resume must be created using a skeleton of the job description and add the personalized meat and muscle the candidate uniquely brings to those bones. Network into the potential employer through your LinkedIn connections. Do your homework to find the unadvertised job openings. Find the real needs within the positions you are applying for. Doing all of these things will help you get the same response that a good movie trailer gets from the viewers at the theatre – we want to see this candidate (or movie) as soon as we can!
Because he created his own trailer, our candidate is getting interviews and has found that a custom resume with a powerful summary statement gets a response.
A highly experienced professional with a unique and complimentary blend of consulting, sales, facilitation, and coaching skills, Layne has expertise in business development, career and executive coaching and training and development.
Prior to joining Donington Layne was very successful in National and State Account Manager roles and as a Senior Consultant with Peripheral Vision. His client base includes international and national companies across diverse industries. With high levels of energy, drive, integrity, business acumen and a natural people orientation, Layne will contribute positively to the strategic growth of Donington while delivering the high standards and excellent customer service for which Donington is known
Myths and Realities of Employee Engagement
With the economy on the upswing, it is becoming increasingly important for organizations to retain their workforce. Every year companies spend thousands of dollars assessing employee engagement. Surveys are compiled and administered and engagement plans are made, all in an effort to produce happier and more productive employees.
Research indicates that engaged employees contribute to the long term success of organizations. There are many perspectives about the value and practice of employee engagement. This Myths and Realities Checklist can help sort fact from fiction.Myths and Realities Checklist
1. Myth: Employee engagement is hosting an event every now and then.
The reality is...effective employee engagement permeates everything we do; it must be integrated into the organization’s strategy across the enterprise.
2. Myth: Employee engagement takes too much time away from the real work.
The reality is...it makes employees’ time more valuable. Engaged employees are more productive and happier within the organization. It is the real work.
3. Myth: Employee engagement consists of those games that are way too “touchy feely.”
The reality is...engagement works best when the initiatives are customized to the culture of the organization. Finding what matters most to your employees is an important step in engaging them.
4. Myth: Employee engagement is for the younger generation only since they are the most likely to leave the organization for a new position.
The reality is...people of all ages want to contribute to organizations who believe that everyone counts and who value a diverse workforce.
5. Myth: Employee engagement starts after the employee is with the company at least six months.
The reality is...it starts before the person is hired. Organizations begin engaging future employees through a variety of medium to attract them to their company. Following a great employer brand, engagement begins with the organization’s recruitment process! How employees are treated throughout the recruitment and selection process can lay the foundation for great engagement. A successful on-boarding program can also be essential in building engagement. However, engagement does not end with the on-boarding process, instead it is an on-going commitment.
6. Myth: Employee engagement does not need the executives’ or managers’ participation.
The reality is...when it comes to engagement, it is imperative for leadership to model the way for everything from accountability to developing the workforce and themselves.
7. Myth: Lack of employee engagement does not cost organizations any money.
The reality is...low productivity and employee turnover due to low engagement cost a company a great deal of money. US businesses lose approximately $11 billion annually due to employee turnover, according to a study by the Bureau of National Affairs. "With recruiting costs running approximately 1.5 times annual salary," the study noted, "the ability to engage and retain valuable employees has a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line."
8. Myth: Employees are engaged because of their tenure with the organization.
The reality is…the length of employment for an employee is not a common driver for the employee’s engagement, according to recent research. Instead, there are a number of factors such as leaders’ behaviors and development opportunities that drive how engaged an employee is.
9. Myth: All employees’ performance is about the same whether they are engaged or not.
10. Myth: Employees need to take complete ownership of their careers within their organization.
The reality is…employees and employers share the ownership of careers. Having a shared organizational vision and strategy while integrating the appropriate tools and resources for employees will contribute to continuous learning, building community, and the sustainability of the organization.
Unveiling these myths and realities is one insight for an organization in launching an employee engagement strategy. All engagement strategies should include creating a long-term plan that involves the C-Suite and other employees across the organization. Implementing the plan and maintaining a high level of engagement is a real challenge yet can have a substantial impact on business results. Organizations from all industries and countries are experiencing bottom-line gains from a robust employee engagement culture.
Employee Engagement - What is it Good for? Absolutely Everything!
by John Madigan
The economic turmoil that began in 2007 has left its indelible mark on individuals, families, companies and entire industries. Do you know anyone who has not seen a family member, friend, neighbour or former colleague impacted by the loss of a job or even several jobs over the course of the past five years?
Initially, surviving a downsizing in a massive company restructuring was enough to keep employees from jumping ship and feeling lucky they still had a job. Most employees were in a constant state of apprehension and uncertainty.
It didn’t appear to be “safe” in any industry, even if an employee seriously considered making a change amid mounting layoffs and company closings. However, feeling safe after learning you aren’t losing your job does not equal a fully engaged employee.
Fast forward to 2012 and we are facing a less volatile economic situation. As the economy slowly improves, are the rules of engagement changing? In a 2012 Global Workforce Study by Towers Watson, only about one third (35%) of more than 32,000 full-time workers participating in the study reported being highly engaged.
According to Towers Watson, most employees have been doing more with a lot less. They suggest that companies are at a “critical tipping point in their ability to maintain engagement over time.” Key themes emerging from the study include:
· Retaining employees depends a lot on the quality of their work experience including factors seemingly always in the mix regardless of the economic situation. These factors include career opportunities within the organization, the relationship with the immediate supervisor, and overall work/life balance.
· Leadership and the level of interest and support coming from executives is critical. The leader behaviours and actions most important to employees are: “being able to grow the business, showing sincere interest in the employee’s well-being, behaving consistently with the organization’s core values and earning the employees’ trust and confidence.”
· Job security is taking precedence over almost everything else and stress and anxiety about the future are prevalent.
No real surprises! However, one overlooked element in the engagement dialogue is the engagement of executives themselves. So much has been theorized, researched and written about what executives can do to engage employees but much less has focused on executive engagement itself. If a key concept in this dialogue is sustainable engagement, then one focus should be the engagement of executives who, in turn, can have a dramatic effect on the engagement (or lack thereof) of large numbers of employees.
I’m not talking about executive compensation. Surely, many people will say that executives are already being paid or incented too generously. However, ensuring executives are fully engaged in the business and in providing opportunities for growth and development of their staff represents at least one lever to pull in the overall engagement process.
Addressing executive engagement may include developing a formal leadership competency model that defines behaviours appropriate for building engagement. It might also involve, as many companies have seen, executive coaching and on-boarding programs to set the right stage and provide focused individual development to ensure executive level retention and engagement.
Employee engagement hasn’t really changed over the course of the past decade. While it is certainly influenced by the prevailing economic conditions, in the long run, it’s what a company chooses to do or not do with employee engagement issues that will potentially leave them in a bigger hole than the economic situation itself. Having or creating a comprehensive engagement strategy requires looking at executive engagement and the compounding effects it can have on employee engagement in general.
Ask yourself, what can your company do to keep your executives engaged and energized?
The Most Important Questions
by TODD NICHOLAS
In today’s competitive job market, it’s crucial to find a job search strategy that will differentiate you from other job seekers. You may be asking yourself “How do I do that?” The first step is to focus on finding answers to the right questions.
Too often, job seekers spend their time looking for answers to the wrong questions. There are two main questions that we consider to be the “wrong” questions:
(1) What have I done in my career?
(2) What might someone hire me to do?
Though both questions are relevant, they are secondary in the job search unless you desire to be one of the masses.
Having successfully worked with hundreds of professionals and executives in career transition, I can say without hesitation that the majority of those who are happiest in their next role spent very little time on those two questions. Instead, they spent the majority of their time on the most important questions:
(1) What do I want to do next?
(2) Who do I want to work for next?
Once you’ve answered these two questions, you can be proactive and contact those companies. In essence, to get the best job where you will be happiest, you want companies to know about you before they post a job, not after they post it.
Why? Because once the job is posted, your level of competition goes up exponentially. Just over 50% of jobs filled every year are never posted (including the job that I am in now). This makes depending primarily upon posted jobs a poor search strategy.
Ask yourself: “If I could have a job at any company, what would that job be?” Next, make your list of the top 10 companies where you’d like to work in that role. Then actively pursue contacts at these companies to seek out and land that job. All it takes is one of those ten target companies and, before you know it, you’re working at one of the best places you desire to work! It beats competing with the masses for a posted position at an undesirable company.
How would you answer the two most important questions?
Career Partners International Acquires Retirement Options
Career Partners International, one of the world’s largest providers of talent management solutions, is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of Retirement Options.
Retirement Options trains, certifies and licenses independent coaches, career consultants, financial services companies, educational institutions and associations in the use of its Retirement Success Profile (RSP)© and LifeOptions Profile (LOP)©assessments and Retirement Options© Coaching program. Through this diverse network of professionals, Retirement Options has delivered pre-retirement assessment and life-planning services to over 30,000 individuals.
“Based on the changing workforce demographics and the large number of baby boomers preparing for retirement, this was an excellent opportunity,” said David P. Hemmer, president and chief executive officer of Career Partners International. “With our focus on talent management and our expertise supporting individuals through transitions, Retirement Options fits nicely within our portfolio of services.”
Career Partners International has been assisting their corporate clients’ mature workforce to prepare for the next phase of their life through its New HorizonsTM program. New HorizonsTM helps employees prepare for the transition to retirement by assessing their retirement readiness and strategically planning for a future that’s aligned with their changing lifestyle. The program includes Retirement Options’ LifeOptions Profile© assessment.
“We look forward to growing and supporting the network of professionals utilizing Retirement Options,” commented Hemmer. “The work they do with individuals is extremely important and will only increase in significance as even more people will face difficult retirement decisions in the coming years.”
About Career Partners International
Established in 1987, Career Partners International is one of the world’s largest and most successful global providers of talent management solutions. Organizations of all sizes and industries turn to Career Partners International to successfully assess, engage, develop and transition talent using the expertise of over 1600 highly experienced professionals in the areas of assessment, executive coaching, leadership development and outplacement. With more than 200 offices in over 40 countries around the world, Career Partners International assures that its clients have local experts in talent development, career management, executive coaching, outplacement and career transition services.
Donington is the Australian CPI partner.
Helping High Potentials Avoid Transition Pitfalls
by Dan Portes, CPI Iowa
A message popped up on my phone this morning reminding me of a call I needed to return. I had been asked to talk with a recently promoted manager from a large company. He moved to a manager role nine months ago and was now struggling. His group’s sales numbers were down and his team was in the dark and grumbling. The HR executive was understandably concerned. What had happened to this high-performing sales producer? He’s friendly, professional, savvy and ambitious. He seemed to be the perfect fit for the ‘accelerated promotion’ program that the company launched a year ago. But now his situation had become a problem that needed to be fixed.
This scenario is a common pitfall in a company’s efforts to retain its top talent. The transition from high-performing individual to high-performing manager can be perilous. Without the right level of development and support, companies inadvertently set their high-potential talent up for failure, especially as they are promoted to management roles.
The HR executive asked me to talk with this new manager to determine whether he was a good candidate for coaching. Arriving at a recommendation is as much art as science, but the process generally comes down to discovering the answers to these questions:
1. What is the mindset of the individual? Is he open to change, ready to challenge himself?
2. What are the skills and competencies of this individual? Has he been assessed and tested?
3. What are the skills and competencies that the organization needs today and in the future? Is there a good match?
After ten minutes of talking with him, I concluded that coaching was the right path to pursue. While shaken by his current situation, he was resilient and had the right mindset. He recognized the need to challenge himself to find a new way of thinking and acting in order to refine the skills he needed for the management position. He was also deeply committed to the success of the organization, with extensive industry knowledge and a clear vision of his role in driving the company’s strategic market opportunity. The coaching process would uncover more concise answers to questions two and three. An executive coach helps an individual understand the skills they have, build upon them and apply them in new and broader situations. For executive coaching to be successful, coaches must engage individuals in the process and provide goals that move them beyond their comfort zone within a safe environment.
Coaching was a fit for this situation. But the problem might have been prevented with a proactive high-potential development plan. All companies have high-potential individuals. By assessing their skills and mindsets and planning for their development prior to promotion, the company not only prevents transition issues that so often accompany professionals moving from individual roles to management roles but also better aligns the development needs of the individual with the management needs of the company.
Accessing Your Employees can Enhance Productivity and Employee Engagement!
by Travis Jones
I attended a CEO roundtable session this week in Tulsa, OK with Dr. Steve Robbins. He was talking about how we do not utilize the skills and abilities of our staff to their potential. One reason is because we have not taken the time to assess them.
The reason most companies do not get better productivity from their people, is not that they are not creative people. A closed mind is the problem. The closed mind is not the employee’s problem, it’s management’s lack of creating a learning culture that encourages people to use their creativity. His focus was on getting our organizations to open our minds to cooperative collaboration for new ideas. Creativity is coming up with the ideas; innovation is the putting of these ideas to work. Collaborative teams can bring a multitude of ideas that are simply not available from a smaller pool or individual.
He did an exercise that proved his point.
Everyone was asked to take a piece of paper and write out as many animals, insects, mammals or creatures that we could think of in one minute that began with the letter S.
One minute later here were the results.
At my table the number written down by each individual ranged from 1 to 8, other tables were similar with 4 to 5 people per table. Total for the list between each of us at my table was 15 which was about average for the room of about 8 tables.
Each table reported to Dr. Steve the names and he wrote these on the screen. No one was allowed to repeat any animal, insect, mammal or creature that had already been mentioned.
You can imagine the result. The group’s results reached 49 different creatures all within one minute!
So you see, as individuals we averaged about 4, as a table we averaged about 15 and as a group we reached 49!
What was the point? Teams that collaborate with one another will do 4 times more creative ideas with a small group and 10-12 times more than individuals. Exclusion of others on your team will diminish the power of a team. Assess individuals, teams and the organization, by looking at the innovation of new ideas your people are putting forth and invest accordingly. Disengaged employees have a tremendous impact on productivity. Engaged people work to their full potential.
So what did I learn – look at the ways you are using your people with their unique skills and abilities. Utilize assessment tools to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Give them access to learning opportunities whenever possible. Encourage teams to work collaboratively. Praise them for their efforts. Show employees you value them by involving them in a learning process. Listen to what they say. Give them feedback. Provide coaching for your high potentials. Build and sustain a learning and coaching culture in your organization with initiatives like the Manager as Coach Learning Series from Career Partners International.
Give your local Career Partners International office a call to help you assess the effectiveness of your managers and their teams. You cannot afford to not be providing development opportunities if you want to move your company into the future with innovation and effectiveness.
A recent article in the June 2012 Harvard Business Review focused on assessing your leadership development skills. One article, titled Leadership is a Conversation, challenged leaders to talk “with” your employees rather than “to” them. Results include increased employee engagement and tighter strategic alignment.
Become a learning elite company, with a culture that embraces development, continuous learning and collaboration to generate more open-mindedness. You will enjoy increased creativity and innovation, productivity and employee engagement to propel your organization into the future.