Attention hiring managers and recruiters -- do all unemployed job candidates have performance issues?

Over the past 20+ years, I’ve worked with hundreds of healthcare professionals in various stages of career transition. Sometimes they seek out my company’s services, striving to move up the ladder or switch career direction. Other times they are introduced to us via their former employer as part of a severance package or just after they were terminated. It’s the latter of these two scenarios that I want to address.

It is very easy to assume when someone is terminated or unemployed it is entirely their fault. Perhaps they did not perform to company standards, or maybe they did something wrong, right? This is, of course, always a possibility. However, years of experience has shown me this is very often not the case.

Top four reasons for unemployment:

  • Performance Issue - They did not meet the expectations/goals set when hired into that role. Many times personal issues cause the performance issue, especially if the employee had been in the role many years and the issue arose unexpectedly.
  • Politics - They did not “play the game” correctly or at all. Many high performing executives, experts in their fields, have found themselves “gainfully unemployed” due to not having navigated the political waters within their organization well. In other words, they found themselves on the wrong side of an influential person or persons.
  • Business Decision - In healthcare, with the many mergers and acquisitions occurring, it is quite possible that someone is let go because their team happened to be on the acquired side and the purchasing organization’s team makes a number of executive positions redundant.
  • Relational - If you haven’t developed a strong relationship with your boss or other key stakeholders, you may find yourself without a job. For example, one individual we worked with thought they had a fairly good relationship with their boss, but may not have spent enough time focusing on or cultivating it, because when the company reorganized the region, it created a job duplication with their job and a person from another region. The other person had formed a deeper relationship with their boss, therefore they were out.

Don’t make assumptions that unemployment is always a performance issue. To do so blinds you to really great candidates. A lot of highly qualified and specialized talent is displaced due to number two, three and four on the list – politics, business and relational decisions. I urge you to take a closer look at the applicants who are “gainfully unemployed” and really assess them based on their qualifications and accomplishments. Take the time to ask them what their story is, and really listen to what they tell you. More often than not, you will be glad you did and be able to bring exceptional talent to your client or organization.

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Grit = Passion + Persistence

When we talk about attributes or “soft” skills that play an important role in determining success, grit is somewhat of an unknown. Recently I was introduced to Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED talk about her research on “grit” as a predictor of success in work and life. The dictionary defines grit as “courage and resolve; strength of character”. When you think about successful leaders – having a values-based character, a strong passion for and commitment towards a vision, and the resilience to achieve it, is what stands out. Your professional journey is a marathon and not a race. To be in it for the long haul is success (not just achieving the milestones along the way), and it takes more than just talent or intelligence. Passion can drive you to graduate school or to innovate and start a company, but it is perseverance that will help you succeed and thrive. Can grit alone get you there? Probably not, but lack of grit surely will not!

It involves staying steadfast on your path, overcoming failures and viewing challenges as opportunities to grow, regardless of the effort involved. It involves risk, sacrifice, sincerity and self-control. It takes deliberate practice and intentional strategy. As Lincoln said “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 of those hours sharpening my axe. “

Grit is a fascinating word for me personally. I have always appreciated passion and perseverance but to find a word that can articulate both of those significant qualities together is delivering a power packed punch! So, as you take on that next challenge in your personal or professional life, ask yourself if you have the grit to see it through. If you don’t, work on changing your mindset first. And if you do, success should follow…

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Four Ways to Connect with a Recruiter

A common question I get is, “How do I talk to recruiters?” Treat the call like any conversation. Be genuine and interested. The primary goal of the conversation is to gain a partner in the search for your next position.

If you approach each conversation with a recruiter as an opportunity to create a partnership, build a relationship and make a genuine connection, you will see more job opportunities sent your direction.

Here are four tried and true ways to connect with recruiters:

  • Do your homework. Find out what you can about the recruiter and his/her organization. This will help you create a connecting point, or something you have in common. If that happens to be a mutual connection, be sure you find out the nature of their relationship before you name drop. You won’t do yourself any favors if you mention someone they don’t know or someone they don’t like.
  • Have a great value statement. Get their attention with your positive attitude and make them want to call you back. Before calling the recruiter go through your own resume/CV. What does a recruiter want to know about you and the organizations you’ve served? What makes you different from other candidates? The more specific that you can be by showing impact through measurable outcomes, the more weight it carries and the more memorable you become.
  • Always have some good open-ended questions ready. Seek their feedback and draw upon their experience within the industry. Ask them what they look for when identifying a strong candidate and deciding to move them forward. Let them know you are always looking for a way to present information to recruiters and hiring managers in the best, most efficient way possible and in the format they desire.
  • Determine your next steps. You may not get into a search, gain connections or helpful information from the recruiter during the call, but don’t let that stop you from creating your own follow-up plan. Mention to him/her that you will be checking in with them periodically and encourage them to do the same should an opportunity come across their desk that might be of interest. Cultivate and grow that sense of partnership between the two of you and under no circumstances do you want to be perceived as going around them to get to an opportunity they are representing.

It’s important to remember when working with recruiters that you are not their only prospect and while they have your information in their file, it is necessary for you to make the effort to reach out to them on a regular basis in order to stay in the top of their mind. There is no room for ego here, instead try to think of it as cultivating a genuine relationship and partnership so that they can effectively help you find the next job opportunity.

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How to make the hiring manager believe you are the best candidate for the job

As a job-seeker, one of our biggest pitfalls is failing to align ourselves properly with the position. Simply put, we use our language and not their language, otherwise known as the wording used within the job description. Your accomplishments and job experiences may fulfill all they are asking for and then some, but if you fail to communicate it in the organization’s words, your cover letter and resume are likely to get tossed aside and overlooked.

How to properly align your cover letter and resume with the job description.

  1. Read it. It may sound basic, but so many people don’t truly read. As you read it, highlight key responsibilities or recurring elements throughout the description. These are “their words” or the phrases that you need to use in your cover letter and resume.
  2. Next, tweak your cover letter and resume to include those critical elements. Use your existing accomplishments to support their words. Often it helps to use their language as headers and even bold them, creating a bulleted list of your accomplishments beneath it. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to see you are aligned perfectly for the position, even if you do not have the typical background.
  3. Also important is to close your cover letter with a short paragraph showing you identify with the mission and culture of the organization. You may or may not be able to glean this from the job description. If you can’t, do further research online and through your own network connections.

Aligning yourself with the job description may give you the edge you are looking for, effectively separating yourself from the competition. It also sends the message to the hiring manager that you have given their position thoughtful consideration by taking the time to cater to their organization specifically. You can bet this personal touch is noted and appreciated.

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Three Ways to Work With Recruiters

With over 15 years of executive search work and helping healthcare companies recruit, land and lead talent for their organizations, there are still things in the industry that surprise. One of those is the disconnect between the healthcare executive and the headhunter/search industry.

In this article I will share 3 Ways to Work with Recruiters.

  1. Get to know them before you need one
  2. Often, I get calls from healthcare leaders whom I have never had any prior contact with because they are now out of work due to a reduction in force, a merger or conflict with a board member and a myriad of other reasons.

    An old Chinese proverb states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

    I have talked with thousands of healthcare leaders and I am always surprised when someone tells me this is their first real conversation with a headhunter. In today's fast changing healthcare world your network is key to your future success should you need to do a job search.

    Unfortunately, when an organization decides to do a RIF there is no loyalty to you even if you have spent the last 10 years giving 60 hours a week to the organization. Even when we as leaders expect loyalty from our employees we are willing to cut their legs out from under them when we must save money or our own job. (But I digress). This is a topic for another day.

    The point here; get to know recruiter(s). Even if you just took a new job continue to build your network. I have worked with executives who have taken a new position only to find out it is not the right fit; a board member decides they don't like them or the family isn't happy once they arrive and the need to extract from the situation sooner rather than later.

  3. Take or return their calls
  4. As I stated above, I get calls from leaders who I have never had a conversation. What I didn’t say is that I had never called them. As a headhunter my job is to network, get to know leaders and help you, or an organization find the right fit for an opening.

    I know what you are thinking here. I get way too many calls from recruiters to take or return a call. I am way too busy to speak with every headhunter that calls my office.

    Believe me, I understand this point, but see point number one.

    I am not saying you must return every call every time, but build relationships with more than one recruiter. How many? The number is up to you, but I suggest you have a relationship with 5 to 10 recruiters in the industry. Not all recruiters are the same. Some are transactional and don't want a relationship, they just want the placement, some treat candidates like a head of cattle and just like to run you through the process and some are relational and want to work with you long-term and build a relationship that serves you both to find a job and help you build your team should you need help.

    You need to talk with more than one or two to find the right match for your own personal style. And also understand it is impossible to know about every possible job in the marketplace, nor can we place you in a job if a company is already engaged with another firm, or is unwilling to pay us a fee for the introduction. Therefore, it is important to get to know many recruiters, and the only way you can do this is to return calls, or messages when appropriate.

    I learned, probably like you did growing up to treat others the way I want to be treated. However, I do my best to treat others better than I want to be treated…this is the platinum rule. Most recruiters worth their salt and who have been in this business more than a couple of years are fairly thick-skinned and take rejection pretty well, or they wouldn’t still be doing this kind of work, but I recommend when you can -- return their calls. You will know within a few minutes of conversation whether you can connect with this person or not, and if you don’t just be honest and tell them you prefer they not bother you anymore.

  5. Update your resume every six months and send to your recruiter contacts.
  6. If you are like me and most others I talk with in this business, it gets harder and harder to remember everything we have done or accomplished from one month to the next.

    I suggest every month you sit down and reflect on what you have done to move your team, departments and organization forward. Keep a running document or journal that is secure and saved frequently that you can update each month.

    Schedule an appointment with yourself every month to do this so you don't forget things and they never get added to your resume. I also suggest you do this with your team. I am a coach, and this is a great way to coach your individual team members each month and encourages them to keep working hard and reminds you of how hard they are working. Then guess what? When it is performance evaluation time you have already had 11 sessions with them to help you create their evaluations and now there are no surprises at the end of a year.

    If it is not put on the calendar it will not happen. Put this appointment on your schedule and your teams schedule every single month...you will thank me later!

    Once you have the information on your own personal journal document, then schedule a six-month appointment with yourself to update your resume with the best and most quantifiable information you have from the last six months. Then spend 30 minutes writing a personalized email to your recruiter contacts and attaching your resume.

    This doesn't mean you are looking for a job, it means you are watering the tree after you have planted the seed. You are growing your network before you need it.

    Learn more about mike at www.harbourresources.com

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Hire Employees with Longevity

Studies show that an average of 50% of newly hired executives not appropriately onboarded, either quit or were fired within their first three years.

A successful onboarding program accelerates the executive’s breakeven point on the investment the organization has made in talent acquisition and retention, as well as, aligns behavioral changes with organizational outcomes and goals. Results are just as important as the process.

Wiederhold & Associates Executive Onboarding Program

Wiederhold & Associates is perfectly positioned to be your partner in ensuring that your investment in new executives continues to reap long-term rewards, rather than ending up with the above-mentioned results. The Wiederhold & Associates team with 26 years of transition expertise in healthcare, focuses on tangible results in addition to ensuring a smooth transition.

Key Program Strategies Include:

  • Defining roles and responsibilities
  • Clarifying strategic results and creating new ones
  • Managing expectations
  • Building relationships and coalitions
  • Managing intellectual and emotional reactions
  • Maintaining balance
  • Aligning and strengthening the leadership team
  • Completing in-process assessments

Specific Areas of Focus Are:

  • Executive’s personality and behaviors
  • Alignment of goals/outcomes
  • Building stakeholder lists
  • Focusing on early wins
  • Navigating organizational politics
  • Learning organization’s culture
  • Maintaining visibility
  • Time management
  • Balancing relationships/results
  • Enhancing executive’s knowledge of the organization’s market
  • Understanding organizational history
  • Assessing skills and behaviors
  • Building confidence
  • Developing executive’s team dynamics
  • Enhancing communication
  • Creating a business journal
  • Establishing a brand
  • Empowering the executive’s voice within the organization
  • Managing change
  • Maintaining balance

To learn more about Wiederhold & Associates Onboarding Program, download a tri-fold brochure here.

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Target Success with Advanced Networking Strategies

Because you've been a part of the Wiederhold & Associates Network, we wanted to share some exciting news with you first.

As you know, networking/connecting is essential to your success both while in transition and gainfully employed. Networking with a purpose is a vital component of anybody's career success but is often terribly neglected. Being intentional is necessary.

Therefore, we have formalized a streamlined process to make it easier for you to expand your network through Wiederhold Intentional Networking (WIN) program. Becoming an active WIN participant will enable you to:

  • With limited effort, expand your own network with quality connections
  • Exchange key information about market and industry trends
  • Increase ability for quality transitions through network connections
  • Affect others in a positive way
Are You Ready to WIN?

The WIN strategy gathers key information from each premium active network member and targets meaningful matches within our client list. As an active member in our program, W&A will introduce you to key members of our current network, helping you gain significant connections that you would not otherwise have access to. Remember, most of our clients are Vice President through C-level executives.

Once you have made the connection, we will send you a short anonymous evaluation form. Each member's feedback will bring value to helping our clients grow their skills in effective networking/connecting as well as passing along current industry trends.

If you want to know more about expanding your network with little effort while affecting others in a positive way, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and she will let me know of your interest and follow up.

Here's to your success!

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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The Concept of Networking

The whole concept of networking is one of my favorite and most passionate subjects.

In prior articles, we have touched on many aspects of effective networking, whether in transition or not. Building a broad and deep network is so essential to one's success that it cannot be ignored.

What I have personally observed over a 28 year period and confirmed through colleagues is clear: We can't make it without solid key relationships. Many people will find expanding their network to be challenging, but with practice and effort, you can begin to make meaningful and fruitful connections.

There are three key components to effective network communication.

Connecting Point: If you're going to get somebody to take interest in your phone call, you must differentiate yourself so they choose to respond to you. The connecting point is finding something that you share in common. This can be any person, place or thing. It requires homework but it also ensures greater success as you expand your network. Whether you connect on the first attempt, leave a message, text, or send an email. The connection point is the most powerful tool in developing a memorable network relationship.
Seeking Information: Obviously, expanding your network means making initial calls to people you've never connected with before. For those in transition, resist the temptation to focus on jobs until you have created a solid connection. Seeking information makes it easier for the other person to open the door to friendly conversation. That information could be around what this individual has done, an organization that you're exploring, or a location that you have an interest in. There are a lot of options here.
Value Statement: It is important that you understand and can articulate your value. When this connection is concluded, that individual should know that you and your team are good at what they do. Your network will not refer you to others unless they understand what you do and are confident that you do it well.

If you are looking for career advancement, you must become the most effective networker you can be. Include these three components when you're expanding your network and I promise you will find success.

Here's to your success,

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Strategies for Active Career Advancement

Are you looking to be promoted?

If getting a promotion is important to you, then it is time to sit down and look at the external and internal factors that will influence your strategy of advancement.

Define Your Target

The very first and most important step in your career advancement strategy is to define what success is to you. From my observations, too many individuals choose a path that is somebody else's dream rather than their own. It's how you define moving up that really counts. It's also hard to be passionate about a direction that isn't your dream.

Do Your Part

The internal factors are all about you. This is where you exert the highest level of control. Are you being intentional about putting yourself in a position to be promoted? [Click to read more]

Survey Your Surroundings

If you are seeking to move to the next level within your organization, there are a few items that need to be explored:

  • How has this organization historically handled promotions?
  • Do they generally promote from within or seek externally?
  • What is the general timeframe for people to get promoted within the organization?
  • Is the person you report to going anywhere?
  • Does the person you report to have a history of mentoring his/her direct reports?

I call these external factors because you can only influence them not control them. Your answers to these questions may suggest that the only way you're going to move up is to move out. If these external factors align with an internal promotion, then you have additional steps.

  • Have I asked my immediate superior what it takes to get to the next position?
  • Did their answer have enough specificity to suggest that they had thought about this possibility?
  • Can I continue to gain clarity around the possibility of promotion? (If you cannot gain clarity, then more than likely that's not a real possibility.)

By defining your goals, developing a strategy, and become intentional about executing your plan, you can increase your chances of advancement immeasurably.

Here’s to Your Success-

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Best career advice- “Play Hungry Hungry Hippos”

Remember that game, “Hungry Hungry Hippos”? It’s simple - s/he who collects the most marbles, wins. If you want to maximize your career opportunities, you must play this game well. How do you win? You must pocket as many network connections (marbles) as possible. 80% of jobs are found through networking (not online job boards). The more people you connect with, the more people you’ll connect with as networking has a compounding effect. This leads to opportunities.

It’s not just about talking with people- you must connect with them. Be inquisitive, learn about them personally and professionally. Find connection points between the two of you. Once people genuinely like you, they are more apt to help you. And, don’t forget to concisely communicate your brand (or calling card, value proposition, what you’re known for). Once they know your value (turnaround king, patient satisfaction guru, etc.) they can help connect you with organizations who have these needs.

Once you pocket these connections, take care of them. Help them every chance you get- don’t always make it about you. Help them solve problems, introduce them to others, listen, and always follow up.

Be like the hippo - pocket network connections and take care of them!

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In transition? Cast a wide net

If you find yourself in transition one of the worst things you can do is limit your job search. Do not say things like, “I don’t want to live in . . . . that part of the country,” or “That job is too small”. There are several reasons to cast a wide net:

  1. Practice. Getting a job is totally different from doing your job. If you’ve not interviewed in the recent past (6-12 months) you will be rusty. Casting a wide net gives you interview practice.
  2. Confidence. Getting in multiple job searches builds your confidence and confidence sells.
  3. Leverage. Which sounds better- “I have nothing going on,” or “I’ve had 3 interviews in the past two weeks.” The latter makes you look marketable to others.
  4. Networking. Every time you enter a job search you get an opportunity to start meaningful relationships with recruiters, executives and hiring managers. 80% of jobs are won through networking. These relationships pay off in the long run.

You have nothing until you have a job offer. Work to get the cards in your hand and do not ever turn down a job that you don’t have. Cast a wide net in your job search- you will be surprised to see what you catch. For professional help with your transition, please contact us at www.wiederholdassoc.com

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Develop and Maintain Effective Nurse Leaders

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.2 million vacancies will emerge for registered nurses between 2014 and 2022. In fact, the shortage is anticipated to be twice as big as when Medicare and Medicaid were introduced in 1965.

Nursing plays a huge role in the success of our hospitals and healthcare systems today. Developing and retaining great nurses has never been more important.

Untapped Talent

Many organizations have "diamonds in the rough" just waiting to be discovered. The very skills that make effective nurses such as creative problem-solving skills, exceptional communication skills, and emotional intelligence are the foundational building blocks required to make exceptional leaders.

However, being a good nurse doesn't always naturally translate into becoming good a nurse manager. Like many others who are promoted into management roles, nurses are generally not offered a great deal of assistance as they move into these new and challenging positions. Their raw talent must be inspired and carefully cultivated to become a thriving leader. With proper guidance, the transition into a senior leadership role can be very successful.

W&A Nurse Leadership Program

To maximize the success of our nursing clients, we have partnered with Nursing Leadership Coach Diane Scott, RN, MSN, ACC. With her strong clinical background, Diane has a deep understanding of the nurse executive role. Coaching is customized to every situation and organization, with outcomes driven models implemented to ensure success.

Diane explains, "Senior nursing leaders usually are in charge of the majority of the workforce of any healthcare organization. They are often promoted through the ranks and experience challenges with increasing their ability to critically think at their new leadership level. However, once they reach that level, the new challenge is the overwhelming desire to meet the mission of patient care and balance a seemingly polar opposite of managing the numbers, especially financials. They also struggle with developing a self-strategy for their career, finding it too self-serving and not patient driven.
The most successful senior nursing leaders learn that by increasing their own abilities, they can achieve their own potential, develop their managers as well as provide excellent patient care. In this way, everyone benefits under leadership that understands needs from the ground up."

At Wiederhold & Associates, we know an organization can optimally increase a nursing leaders’ capacity for successful outcomes through professional Nursing Leadership Coaching. It is the single most powerful way for a leader to achieve their potential for superior leadership, strategic thinking, and measurable results.

If you would like to learn more about our Nursing Leadership Program, download a tri-fold brochure here

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Secrets to Successful Transition

Career transitions can be difficult. The more desirable your next position is, the more competition you will face to secure it.

The top priority of an applicant is to stand out from the crowd. Having a great resume and a strong interview is a great place to start. However, most overlook this simple practice that will cause you to stand out from all other applicants: Follow-Up.

First, you must understand how important follow-up is. A good interview followed by poor follow up will not serve you well. An average interview can be positively impacted by excellent follow-up.

The positive outcomes of post-interview follow-up:

  • Your resume gets shuffled to the top.
  • You demonstrate your level of interest.
  • If what you have provided is effective, you've increased the level of your candidacy.

During your interview process, connect with as many people as possible as it relates to a specific opening. When more people remember you, your chances of securing the position naturally increases. After the interview, it is your responsibility to keep each of those individuals updated throughout the process.

Get Creative

With an active search, the time frame for touch points/follow up should be a minimum of seven calendar days and a maximum of ten calendar days. Use a combination of the four levels of communication: face-to-face, telephone, text/email and regular mail. Everybody has their favorite on the receiving end, so try to mix it up a bit. Whatever combination of communication you choose, don't be afraid to let your personality show.

One of the biggest concerns for individuals in follow-ups beyond neglect is, "Will I be seen as a pest?" Remember, you only become a pest when your intervals of follow-up are too short and you're always requesting response. If you follow-up without forcing an agenda, they will be received very well.

Of course, I have only scratched the surface of effective active search follow-up. If you would like to learn more in-depth tips in finding success through active transition, please connect with me.

Here's to your success!

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Prepare Leaders for Long-Term Success

Wiederhold & Associates currently partners with healthcare systems to support their succession planning process. One organization we are working with is unique in their foresight in planning for critical impending retirements. They recognize the need to invest on a longer-term basis to prepare their leaders for future success. Joy W. Goldman RN, MS, PCC, PDC, Executive Director of Leadership Coaching is leading the charge.

"We not only want our clients to achieve their next career goals; we want them to excel and grow into the best leaders they can be. Now, more than ever, our world needs effective and values-driven leaders." - Joy W. Goldman

As we work with our client systems, we know that we need to leverage confidence AND humility; individual interests AND team interests; a centralized AND decentralized focus; safety AND risk. We challenge ourselves with these polarities as we challenge our clients and client systems.

"In working with one client, I took the risk of saying, 'It seems that you’ve been waiting for permission and approval to make a move. When are you going to take matters into your own hands and just act?' While difficult to hear, this challenge caused an empowering shift in the client. His words, after having time to process this, were: “I feel like a phoenix rising!” -Joy W. Goldman

Our mission is to groom and develop agile leadership that is able to intelligently navigate the challenges and changes that our industry is facing. We look forward to partnering with you as you strategize your succession strategy for long-term success.

Jim

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Keeping your edge- staying marketable in today’s competitive environment

As an executive it’s easy to lose touch with staying marketable in today’s competitive environment. We all get busy doing our own jobs- it’s easy to forget about maintain and growing our network, keeping a current resume, and understanding the needs of employers. Here are a few tips on staying marketable:

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  • Perform in your present job. Create value for your employer. Be intentional about achieving the results that your employer desires.
  • Build and maintain a network. Ideally you want to make 5-10 phone calls per week to grow an active network.
  • Help others, including recruiters and colleagues. Helping others is a simple way to maintain your network.
  • Maintain (or better yet, have a professional do it) a current resume. Resumes change every 2-3 years. You want to stand out and appear relevant. You do not want an old resume as this makes you look out of touch.
  • Know and communicate your value proposition.
  • Know your number (X-Y’s). How have you moved the needle on service, quality, growth, market share, profitability?
  • Grow professionally. Earn a degree, certification, or extra training.

If you need to sharpen your competitive edge, contact us at www.wiederholdassoc.com to learn more about staying marketable in today’s competitive environment.

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Safeguarding your Business History for 2017

One of the most important housekeeping tasks that executives have a tendency to ignore is creating a personal backup of professional achievements. By this I mean the Tier 1 and Tier 2 achievements that show how you have made the organization better.

Many times our clients struggle to come up with hard data for their resume because they neglected their personal information file cabinet. Very often separation is sudden and there is NO chance to look at past strategic plans, or board reports for the numbers or percentages.

Even if a report is confidential to the system you should be writing down your accomplishments somewhere to make sure you have access to your information in the future.

Create and keep an updated list of contact information for superiors, peers and subordinates for every job in the last ten years.

Don’t let another year go by without making sure you have access to your ever increasing list of accomplishments.

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2016 Is Closing... Did You Accomplish Last Year’s New Year’s Resolution?

Whether it’s personal goals or career goals, we’ve all been there – setting aggressive and ambitious resolutions, chasing after it, hitting setbacks, and eventually become unmotivated to continue.

It is important to set goals, but if you measure success only by achieving your next goal, you probably have not accomplished as much as you would like. Willpower alone is usually not strong enough to overcome setbacks which ultimately result in failure.

Change of Focus, Change of Heart

Scott Adams, the creator of the immensely successful Dilbert Cartoons, reiterates a Wiederhold & Associates approach to finding success. He states, “When you approach life as a sequence of milestones to be achieved, you exist in a state of near-continuous failure. A system, by contrast, is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of success in the long run, regardless of the immediate outcome. People succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do.”

A simple shift in focus from goals to systems will ultimately help you find the success you have been longing to realize. The sense of accomplishment that comes from working the system each day creates a momentum that will carry you to the next goal. You may find yourself achieving goals faster than ever before with a new found personal invigoration.

As you plan your New Year’s Resolution, set your sights on implementing new systems for success instead of a milestone to be achieved. If you would like to discuss what systems could propel you the furthest fastest, give me a call. Together, we can map out a plan to that will put you in prime position to achieve your 2017 personal and career goals.

Here's to your success,

Jim

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Executive job seekers- why your Master’s degree and years of experience aren’t good enough

If you think your Master’s degree and experience alone will translate into landing that great executive job, you will likely find disappointment. Why? Simple - everyone else in the candidate pool has a Master’s degree and experience. You need to stand out from the crowd. How does one do this? By communicating your value proposition. What are you known for? What is your brand? What is your calling card? What measurable results are you known to achieve? These are the questions you must answer and clearly communicate in order to make yourself stand out in a sea of executives.

Don’t make recruiters and hiring managers figure things out on their own - it is up to you to communicate your brand, value, and worth. Don’t assume people read every word of your resume - they likely do not. You must stand out by communicating why you are valuable to an employer

How do you identify your value proposition? Ask others. Read your prior evaluations. Look at results in the following areas: service, quality, people, community, growth, finance. Identify themes in your resume.

Remember- organizations have problems and executives have solutions. Communicate your brand by communicating the types of solutions you’ve solved for your employers.

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Prepare for an A+ Interview

I've done a lot of interview coaching over the last 22 years. If I were to grade my clients' beginning interview skills, most people would have a starting grade somewhere below average. This is by no fault of their own. It is common to not do well on things that are not practiced.

Working with my clients, I can raise the interview grade from a 'C' to an 'A' by practicing these basic principals before, during and after the interview.

Pre-interview, you must focus on tactics that will brand you in the most positive way. The goal is to have those who interviewed you to say these three things about you:

  1. Excellent interpersonal skills
  2. Is results oriented
  3. Aligns well with the position

Creating this perception starts with preparation. Begin by understanding the five top critical elements of the opportunity so that you are able to address them with current experience and success. Also, develop an effective two-minute presentation which includes humanization, elevator, and your differentiation/value statement.
[ Click here to learn how to develop your 2-minute presentation.]

As you enter the interview, introduce yourself with confidence. Confidence, not arrogance, can set a positive perception from the beginning. As you engage in the interview, pay close attention to the person speaking and begin to mirror to match tempo, breathing, rate-of-speech, directness, etc. This makes each one comfortable with each other and sets the correct filter. Also, know exactly the statement you will make or the open-ended question you'll ask. By demonstrating your interpersonal skills, you give yourself the greatest opportunity to connect with and engage your audience.

When the interviewer engages with you, take your time to understand what is being said before you respond. Generally, people are so caught up in the world of listening to respond that we miss a vital part of the question. Answer questions concisely, close information gaps and enhance the answer when it adds value to the original thought. Always tell the truth but word it in a win-win presentation. This will provide consistency throughout the interview and keep you in a positive position.

Post interview, review how you did with the goal of improving for the next one. In order to lock in your follow up you need to ask yourself these following questions.

  • Did the interview go well? If so, specifically why?
  • What could I have done better?
  • What did they focus on?
  • What did I learn about them on a personal level?
  • What value did I bring to the interview?
  • What and when is my next step?

Imagine what would happen if you took the time to practice and prepare a well-executed interview. It could be a significant way to separate yourself from the crowd in a very competitive market!

If you would like more in-depth coaching to help you make the most out of your next interview, do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.

Here's to your success!

Jim

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Drive the C.A.R.

Circumstances. Actions. Results. (C.A.R.) Recruiters want to hear that story.

When a recruiter asks you about your tenure or a specific challenge you’ve faced, remember to drive the C.A.R. Too many people wax on about their experiences as just that - experiences filled with activity. Recruiters and hiring managers want to hear about results, not just activity.

A good response looks like this, “When I arrived at XYZ Health System our operating margin was -6%. Over three years we implemented two new service lines, recruited 24 physicians, implemented productivity standards for all departments and closed an unprofitable service that wasn’t meeting community need. As a result our operating margin is now 7%.

If you are not clearly communicating the circumstances, actions and results you are not fully demonstrating your value.

Look for examples in the following areas:

  • Service
  • Quality
  • Growth
  • Finance
  • People and Community

The C.A.R needs to be driven on your resume and when speaking with recruiters and hiring managers- make it a part of your lexicon. The root of the word executive is to execute. We must achieve results as that is why we are hired.

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