I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Chuck Dietrich, the CEO of SlideRocket® (www.sliderocket.com), a brand-new online presentation software site that has all the earmarks of quickly becoming a “must-have” tool for job hunters looking for a unique, creative way to break through all the “clutter” surrounding today’s hiring managers and brand themselves as being new, different and better than the “typical” job applicant.
During our discussion, Chuck related the remarkable story of Hanna, a recent new hire at his company. Let me share Hanna’s story with you because it is so illustrative of how a job hunter today can step out of her “comfort zone,” think creatively, prepare a workable plan, and then effectively compete for—and land!—her new dream job.
For three solid months Hanna took the “traditional” approach to finding a new job: She applied online for numerous positions. (Bad move in today’s extremely competitive job market.) She also applied through corporate Human Resources at a number of companies. Even though she said she had a “few” interviews as the result of her job hunting activities, it soon became clear to her that she wasn’t making any genuine progress toward her goal of finding, and then landing, a new job. As a result, Hanna said she stepped back and reassessed her entire job hunting campaign, and rather than letting the job hunting process continue to control her, she decided to start controlling the process itself! Here is how she set about doing just that:
- Knowing that her strengths included strong communication skills and a high level of creativity, she asked herself this question: “Where could my skills be most effectively utilized?” Her answer: Marketing, communications, public relations, graphic design, advertising and similar fields.
- Next, she asked herself this key question: “What types of companies have need of my skills and talents and would, at the same time, be ‘fun’ places to work?”
To identify potential hiring companies that would meet her criteria, Hanna dived right in and began her research activities, and one of the companies that quickly rose to the top of the list was SlideRocket.com. Did she then go online at the company’s website and apply for a position as so many of today’s hiring companies recommend? No! Did she contact Human Resources at SlideRocket® and make an application, as again, so many job hunters do today? Not Hanna! Rather, she took the “gutsy” and quite non-traditional approach of locating the CEO’s Twitter® “handle” and Tweeted her newly created SlideRocket® presentation directly to him! Chuck said he received the Tweet as he was boarding a flight to New York City, and it so impressed him that he called Hanna immediately upon landing. Chuck said that he hired Hanna one week later.
“Her SlideRocket® presentation was great but that wasn’t what did it,” Chuck told me. “It was that her message conveyed passion. I immediately knew that Hanna was someone who could not only get things done, but also someone who knew how to figure out how to reach the right people. I didn’t need to know where she went to school or her work history to know that I definitely wanted to speak to her.”
(Click here to see Hanna’s job-winning SlideRocket® “presentation résumé,” referred to as a Présumé® on SlideRocket®.)
I think you will agree that Hanna proved she is indeed a remarkably creative job hunter, as well as one who clearly knows how to brand herself quickly and effectively as considerably more than “just another person looking for a job.” The fact of the matter is, however, you, too, can utilize the same basic principles and approaches that Hanna used to land her dream job to land one of your own. Let’s briefly examine the approach Hanna took and see how you can take the same (or similar) approach to get you where you want to go—to land your own dream job!
As Hanna did, you must first decide what, specifically, it is you want to do, for whom and where. Once you’ve made these critical decisions, you must then put a laser-like focus on developing and branding yourself as possessing the values and contributions you know you can bring to the hiring company.
Through online (or other) research begin developing your ideal company profile. (You’ll recall, that as Hanna researched her ideal companies, several surfaced but she quickly decided that SlideRocket® was her top choice. You should expect this same type of experience, of course, and you will then have to decide which company/companies best meet your criteria.)
Create your “marketing” materials. For most job hunters, this includes a résumé, targeted cover letter, “smile file,” “brag book”, etc. Hanna knew that the traditional résumé would, at best, weakly brand her. She felt that a traditional résumé simply could not adequately convey her passion, creativity and abilities. And, because SlideRocket® was her hiring company of choice, and since the company’s product is online presentation software, she quickly (and correctly) determined that the best way for her to break through the “clutter” at the company was to use its own software to brand herself and get her message and value proposition in front of the right people. (In this case, the CEO!)
Does that mean that you should use SlideRocket® to communicate with hiring companies of your choice? (Actually, that might indeed be a good idea, before the program becomes widely adopted, as I suspect it will, and it still is considered unique!) The point here is, regardless of which approach you decide to use, just make sure it is other than the “traditional” approaches used by most job hunters, i.e., applying online or going through Human Resources! (In previous blogs at this site, as well as in “‘Headhunter’ Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!,” I cover a wide range of acceptable, workable approaches to use.)
Next, as Hanna did, get your value proposition into the hands of the highest level person who can have an influence in hiring you. Most people target levels that are far too low, perhaps out of a fear of “offending” people at the higher levels! Just as Hanna certainly wasn’t intimidated by the CEO’s “rank,” you shouldn’t be, either.
As I’ve said time and time again in a variety of forums, including, of course, in blogs on this site, in order to be successful in finding your next job, your dream job, in today’s job market, you have to have the courage, creativity and commitment to think (and act) “outside the box.” Hanna certainly demonstrated that she was up to the task. Are you?
A PERSONAL ENDORSEMENT OF SLIDEROCKET®: I was so impressed with the ease-of-use and dynamic features offered by SlideRocket® that I just recently subscribed to the program and created a presentation for my executive recruiting firm! A FREE two-week trial is available at this link: http://www.sliderocket.com/signup/ (Be sure to check out the Présumé® templates under the “Get Inspiration” tab.)
If you do decide to check out (and then use) SlideRocket®, please “Link In” with me at http://www.linkedin.com/in/skipfreeman and tell me about your SlideRocket® Présumé® success stories (or other job hunting success stories).
Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.