By Cindy Kraft, RCPBS, RCOIS, CCM, CCMC, CPRW, JCTC
With the average job seeker changing jobs every three years, it is likely that at some point in the future you will be looking for a new position. Being a competitive candidate who stands out from the competition requires both long and short-term strategies. Here are five sure-fire ways to kill your chances of being viewed as a desirable candidate.
1. Confusing experience with performance.
It is not what you do or have done that a company cares about. What it does care about is how you delivered and what the measurable impact was to the organization. In the world of sales, it is the difference between being sold something (which is unappealing to most) and making the decision to buy (on our terms).
Selling a prospective company would be akin to relying on experience, credentials, education, and perhaps, even the companies for whom you’ve worked. That sales pitch probably won’t work.
A company wants to buy the right candidate, not be sold anycandidate. That means positioning yourself as a problem solver … the answer to what they need. A company does not hire a candidate because there is an empty corner office with a CFO name plate on the door. They hire because they have a pain, a problem, a challenge and they want it solved. Because buying decisions are emotional, solving a company’s pain hits the emotion button and allows a prospect to buy a solution.
2. Becoming unemployed before you have a new position.
One core message echoed by recruiters throughout the recent Kennedy conference was …We want passive candidates and we are actively recruiting them through social networks.
The time to begin positioning yourself is while you are employed, i.e., a passive candidate. No matter your qualifications and expertise and even your contributions, the moment your company is acquired or merged and you find yourself on the street, your marketable value can take a serious hit. For those job search candidates who clog the job boards with resumes that read like job descriptions, you might be taking an even harder hit. One retained recruiter even went so far as to say that “creating too much visibility in the job boards is like committing career suicide.”
3. Being INvisible.
If you aren’t showing up in Google, Linked In, Zoom Info, Ziggs, and Naymz, you probably aren’t on the radar of the folks who need to know about you. One recruiter said he found a prospect on Linked In, Googled him, and then jumped to Zoom Info to find the candidate’s telephone number. How many opportunities are you missing by not being where recruiters are looking?
At lunch with a local recruiter recently, he told me that while he empathizes with the unemployed, his client (the company) is not paying him to present unemployed candidates. If you can’t be found or you are sending mixed messages, chances are very good recruiters will not be calling. If your online presence doesn’t align with your resume; there is nothing to add credibility to the statements in your resume; or if you simply can’t be found because you are invisible, you could be digitally dead.
4. Including references on your resume.
If you are including references on your resume, stop now and hit the delete button. And don’t stop until they are gone from your resume. First, the resume is not the time to provide references.
More importantly, references provide great sourcing data for recruiters. While they might not be interested in you, Mr. Candidate, your references … who are typically more senior than you … are a great source of potential candidates for resourceful recruiters.
5. Using a work email or phone number.
This sends the absolute wrong message to a prospective employer or company. Since previous behavior is indicative of future behavior, you are telling a prospect that you conduct personal business on company time … and the logical presumption is that you will also behave the same way when you are ready to move on from your next position.
Use a cell phone number with a professional voice mail message and a personal, professional-sounding, email address that is strictly for your job search.