Wednesday, December 9

6 Steps for Product Marketing Me: Strategy for the “Unpublished” Job Market

The best way to introduce yourself to a company with which you would like to work, find a company for which you think you’d like to work or to target companies for the purpose of networking into a position, openings notwithstanding, is to know the “What, where and how you can help the company”. I can give you a better-than-even chance of getting in the door to introduce yourself and possibly creating a job which is right for you. It’ll take some time and careful preparation but it’ll pay dividends. Here are 6 steps to follow:

Step 1 – Begin by listing all your functional strengths. Some examples are marketing, financial operations, research and development, information technology, engineering, strategic planning, etc. Some people have one while others may a few or even several. List as many as you can across the top of a page; and the more the better.

Step 2 – Next, determine what the strengths in step 1 qualify you to do, everything. Write these “qualifications” under each functional strength listed. Do this for ANY organization, not just those you might want to consider today. Of course not every organization needs help in every area but you still need to know what you have in your armory. To do this you need to think in terms of the employers’ needs and not just in terms of your strengths.

Step 3 – Think like an employer; think in terms of problem-solving. For example, under “Marketing” you may list; Identifying new markets for new products Finding new usage for existing products; Improving corporate-client communications; Stimulating internal communications; Evaluating expansion opportunities; Stimulating sales; writing brochures; coordinating events, etc. Some or all of these may be what your functional strength at the top of the page enables you to do for any employer. Think in terms of problems and opportunities and you’re thinking like an employer.

Step 4Carefully consider your experience and your interests, and give equal consideration to both. There may be experiences you have where you performed well but didn’t enjoy yourself. No sense focusing where job satisfaction will be lacking. Your experience may be in the Pet Supply Industry but your interests in “Marketing” may lie more in strategic planning and logistics and tied less to a specific product category. Perhaps you may enjoy more service-oriented environments, organizing people and moving them forward smoothly and well and this may suggest other organizations; or maybe your perspective turns to the client-side suggesting a very different set of companies.

Step 5Identify your target companies. Once your have completed the first 4 steps in this exercise, you are ready to identify the sorts of companies that would be most appropriate for you, and at which time you can begin to find the names of the companies and decision-makers you know are most likely to need you. This part can be easily accomplished with minimal Internet savvy. Once you have identified companies and decision-makers likely to need you, you are ready to prepare your approach. (If you already had a company or companies in mind, the exercise of completing steps 1-4 is still invaluable in developing your personal introduction as a “solutions provider” so take the time to start at the beginning).

Step 6Design your Direct Contact Letter. As you may already know from job search experience, your initial approach should be a letter targeted to a decision-maker and written as though it is written only with that person in mind. This is known as the Direct Contact Letter; one of the more frequently used letters in the job search and one that is most likely to “sell” you as a stand-out among any competition.

With this you are ready to launch. Again, it will take some time and careful preparation but it will pay dividends. I am hopeful you can succeed!

Hope this helps!


Rob Taub





Wednesday, December 2

3 Concepts for “Job Search Marketing Made Simple”

Job Search Marketing is a lot of work but is doesn’t have to be complicated. Comprehensive, “yes”; complicated, “no”, yet so many people cause themselves a lot of difficulty and stress. I’m going to try to make the concept of job search marketing simple for you to understand. I won’t be able to make it simple for you to undertake, however. It will always be hard work. Nevertheless, with understanding, maybe you won’t feel as though it’s an uphill battle.

By Rob Taub

The 3 Concept for click here to continue

Monday, November 16

Whether or not you take advantage of opportunity depends upon whether or not you believe you are free to choose
Notice how seeking lures your attention out of the present moment, toward an imagined state of completeness and satisfaction
Every journey is just an imagined path from Here to Here. You always have been and are right now – right Here, at Home

Thursday, November 12

7 Steps to Climb to Open a Career Door

By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Rob Taub
November 3, 2009 by sparktalk

The best way to introduce yourself to a company that doesn’t appear to be actively looking is to know the “What, where and how you can help the company”. I can give you a better-than-even chance to get the door to open to be able to introduce yourself, perhaps even create a job that is just right for you. It will take time and careful preparation, but it will pay a dividend.

Step 1 – Functional strengths: Begin by listing all your functional strengths across the top of a sheet of paper. Some examples of ‘functional strengths’ are, marketing, financial operations, research and development, information technology, engineering, strategic planning, recruiting, training & development, etc. Some people have several; some only one. List as many as you can.

Step 2 – Core competencies: Next, under each functional strength you listed, write down anything and everything it qualifies you to do: Qualifies you to do for any organization, not just those you may be considering today. Of course not every organization needs help in every area but it is good for you to know in any event what you have in your armory. To do this you need to think in terms of employers’ needs, not just in terms of your strengths.

Step 3 – Think like an employer: To think like an employer requires that you think in terms of solving problems and recognizing opportunities. For example, if “Marketing” is your functional strength, under it you might list Uncovering new markets; Identifying markets for new products; Finding new usage for old products; Improving internal/corporate communications; Stimulating client communications; Evaluating expansion opportunities; Stimulating sales; Writing brochures; Coordinating events, Community outreach, etc. as ‘competencies’ tied to your that strength and where problems and/or opportunities may be found. Hence, you are thinking like an employer.

Step 4 – The “big picture”: You will need to develop a big picture perspective for targeting employers. First, carefully review your experience and your interests, giving equal consideration to both. There may be experiences you have where you performed well but didn’t enjoy yourself. No sense focusing where job satisfaction will be lacking. Next, with an open mind review all your experiences trying not to lock yourself in to traditional position or industry boundaries. Take the “blinders” off … broaden the scope. For instance, your experience may be in the Pet Supply Industry but your “Marketing” prowess extends throughout “supply chain” or maybe it lay more in the program management and strategic planning side and tied less to a specific product category. Or perhaps you may enjoy service-oriented environments, organizing people and moving them forward smoothly and well. This may suggest other organizations. Maybe your perspective turns to the client-side suggesting a very different set of organizations such as ad agencies or associations, councils … or consulting firms, for example.

Step 5 – Targets: Once your have completed Step-4, you are ready to identify the types of companies most appropriate for your strengths, experiences, skill-sets and competencies, and you can begin to find the names and decision-makers of such companies, with the confidence that those you uncover are also those most likely to have need for someone like you. (This part can be accomplished with a minimum amount of Internet savvy). Once you have identified companies’ names that are likely to need you, and the decision-makers, you are ready to prepare your approach strategy. (If you already had a company or companies in mind, take the time to complete steps 1-4. The exercise is still invaluable for developing your personal introduction as an “individual solutions provider”).

Step 6 – Ready … Aim … MARKET! As you may already know from job searching experience, your initial approach should be a letter targeted to a decision-maker and written as if you had only that person in mind. Since you want to position yourself as an “individual solutions provider” and not a “job searcher” – one from the masses – a resume is not included. In place of the traditional ‘cover letter and resume combo’ you can style a letter that incorporates some of the language and elements of your resume. This is your Direct Contact Resume Letter; one of the more frequently used letters in job searching. This format is more likely to help you stand-out as an “individual solutions provider” and “sell” you. It will look something like this example letter:

Mr. Farley Ranger

Pheasants Forever

444 Olde Mill Road

Port Hercules, MI 55555

Dear Mr. Ranger:

Anyone in our industry knows that a company like yours in today’s market is anticipating a period of rapid growth. This will require an outstanding effort on the part of its people. As an avid environmentalist and a small farm owner who has worked extensively in establishing and developing habitat in partnership with conservation services, and has helped to build an organization in the same industry, I believe I know something about what that will take.

Unless I miss my guess, your anticipated growth has probably created needs in a number of areas already, and I believe I can help. For example, you may need help in controlling the direction of the company so that your growth is smooth, profitable and lasting. Acquiring, training and motivating new personnel may be an area where you can use my help. Another may be shifting some of your administrative burden to give you more time for other pressing matters that an executive in your position may face; and there is likely more that you are considering at this stage where my help can give you an edge..

In addition, I led men and women in groups of 30 to 500, built teams and managed budgets in the millions of dollar as an officer in the United States Army for the last 20+ years; and working for the government I needed to be innovative in order to stretch those dollars for they were usually shy of what was needed for the objective. I also worked with foreign leaders often contrasting ideas for achieving the objectives and had to build consensus to accomplish the common goal. I have learned how government and bureaucracy work and know what it takes to make things happen.

Having recently transitioned out of the military I have returned home and I am interested in working with your company; and when I say that I believe I can help you, I speak with conviction that comes from having done it. I will call next week to see if we should arrange a meeting. A short conversation will no doubt tell us whether or not we have the basis for getting together. I look forward to it!


Step 7 – The Follow-up: When you call to follow-up on your letter you will likely connect first with an administrator. In preparation, call the company’s main number and ask for the name of the decision-makers administrator. When you call, use the person’s name and simple state: “Good morning, Ms. Smith. This is Rob Taub calling. I promised Farley Ranger last week that I would follow-up this week with a call. Is he in?”

When you get to the decision-maker, be direct. Your research told you that this is a company that has needs for your talents and experiences. You are not on the phone to ask for a job interview but to propose a mutually beneficial get-together: An opportunity. Reference the letter directly and ask for the meeting. If you encounter any resistance it will probably be something like this: “Can you tell me again why you are calling me?” or “Why I should be getting together with you?” Reference the letter and reel off about three or four key areas where he needs your help and quickly follow-up asking if he feels there’s any room for improvement, advancement, stepping-up… in those areas and when he replies “yes” (because there’s always room) you set the meeting. If the response is still negative – if you feel you hit a road block – you will need to employ strong telephone technique. Part of your initial preparation is to become familiar with telephone techniques. You can read my October 21st career advice piece “Overcoming Phone Phobia” at CAREEREALISMBecause EVERY Job is Temporary: You can also find other useful telephone techniques there and on other career sites.

In conclusion, many people assume that if a company isn’t actively looking then there is no job. It is the experience of many job searchers familiar with the steps listed here, that tells us otherwise. Take the time and carefully prepare and you, too, may say otherwise.

Hope this helps!


Rob Taub

Tell-Tail Characteristics of Company Culture

Many companies today promote building teams over individuals; respecting the entry-level mailroom clerk and the top salesperson equally; consider failure the beginning not the end of developing talents and careers; and where ‘Values’ are not fads. Still in other companies you will find a lack of esprit de corps where departments operate as fiefdoms not work in partnership with one another; where leadership is assigned not earned; where secretaries still bring their bosses coffee (ala 1960’s) and where you are only as good as your last sale. This is Company Culture.

I’ve listed my tell-tail characteristics of company culture for you here so you will know what you are getting into when you accept your next position.

1. Key Job Aspects & Workplace Characteristics

Determine to what degree will the following play a role in the job and the workplace. One way or the other, combined, they all play a role in determining culture. Tip: Assign a... Read_full_article

Hope this helps!


Rob of Job Search Corner

Monday, October 26

It Pays To Groom Your References

Grooming your references is essential; knowing exactly where you stand and avoiding surprises can be the make-it or break-it in a search. A little time with a reference can result in great returns.

10 Steps (yes, another “10-Stepper”) for preparing your references to work for you:

1. First phone or visit your references. Demonstrate the importance of your request my investing your time.

2. Ask for their permission even if you feel it goes without saying that they will help. Get a commitment for an enthusiastic endorsement; but make sure they understand that it is okay to decline and it can still be business as usual (perhaps another time).

3. Compliment your reference. Communicate a sincere recognition of there accomplishments or their importance…that you think a lot of their success. You could say something like “I’ve always admired your professionalism in business and hold the highest regard for your contributions to the industry”.

4. Remember, most people know only a part of your background so consider different references to speak to different areas of your background, experience, skill sets and accomplishments. Be sure you know who’s who and what before you meet so you can be sure to give each the appropriate overview.

5. Provide a copy of your resume and go over the area of experience that you feel they could endorse most enthusiastically. Prepare ahead to talk to them about the specific area and ask for their suggestions and advice. It’s flattering, elevating, to be asked for advice.

6. Share and together shape the key selling points you want your reference to discuss. This will increase their retention and combine nicely with your resume. It’s also helpful to discuss types of roles and companies that are of interest to you and show them how your resume can be a script when they “perform”.

7. It will be helpful to develop a list of likely questions potential employers may ask. One (scary) question could be “Can you explain to me the circumstances around h/her leaving your company?” … You better be in sync! Another question may be “Can you give me a general idea of the direction you see h/her career heading?” or “Would you rehire h/her? Prepare careful answers and discuss them. After all, this will make helping you a lot easier for them.

8. Your references are likely to be busy people. Assure them that you will respect their time and might only use them a few times, now and then … and mean it! They will not be very enthusiastic on the tenth call.

9. Avoid giving references to employment/personnel agencies. Personnel people may see them as potential targets for their own business and you could find yourself with “burned bridges”. Remember, you need to protect your references. At the Executive level it is different and you should expect to provide references to Executive Search companies; but then, only if mutual interest has been established.

10. Finally, after you call or visit, send a follow-up letter expressing your appreciation and highlighting a few of the key (positive) points that can be said about you. After that, remember to keep your references updated during the interview process with a call or visit if and when you submit their name so they aren’t taken by surprise. You may even suggest they keep your resume by their phones to make it easier for them to respond quickly and too, save time. They will appreciate that.

The easier you make this for your references the happier they will be. Everyone likes to help others, they just don’t always know how. Although they will do their best, it isn’t always best for you. The 10 points herein will help them help you and create good chemistry along the way. When the chemistry is good between you and your references odds are that they will be much better references. Again, grooming your references is essential. You must know exactly where you stand and they should too, so that surprises are avoided.

Hopes this helps!

Rob Taub

Tuesday, October 6

10 Tips to Overcome Fear of Cold Calling

Job search phone phobia is very common. Here are some ideas that could turn your phone into the feather-light tool it should be and not a 500 lb weight.

There are many types of phone calls. The calls that give people the most trouble are the "Introductory Calls”. The purpose of the call is to make you known. The goal is to get an appointment or at least another call of longer duration. This type of call is infamously known as the "Cold Call". If done right, with preparation and practice, you can turn it into a "Warm Call". Here are some basics to help you:

1. Develop a script for your call and rehearse it periodically and out loud. Make sure you keep it brief remembering the goal is an appointment or another call. If too much is exchanged during that call there will be no reason for another.

2. Always stand when making a call. This will help you sound better and project confidence. Did you ever see a choir group sit when they sing?

3. Learn to talk with a smile. People hear your smile; and since they can't see you don't have to worry about looking silly if you've not done it before.

Hint: Hang a small mirror opposite you at the height you are standing. I dare anyone to stare at themselves in a mirror during a phone call and not crack a smile.

4. Make a list of your most feared questions. Script your answers and rehearse them out loud. Practice delivering each answer in 5 to 10 seconds.

5. Use an exercise-call: Always call a friend for exercise before calling someone who could be influential in your search. Having a friendly voice at the other end can do wonders before an important call.

6. Care & Feeding of Gatekeepers: Before calling a potential contact direct, try this: Call the company’s main number and ask for the name of the contact’s administrator. Call that person direct, and use his or her name.

7. Well begun is half done: Using a person’s name (the gatekeeper’s) may win you favor. Be polite and brief and understand you may not get through during that call and that’s okay; it’s an opportunity to demonstrate your flexibility. Ask the gatekeeper to suggest what you should do.

7 1/2. Don’t call me; I’ll call you: If asked to leave a number you can say that you will be in and out for the next several days and it would probably be best for you to try to call. Ask when h/she thinks it would be best.

8. Get Referrals: Research companies, reconnect with all your past contacts and seek referrals. Introductory Calls should be calls to persons to whom you are referred. It’s easier to get through a gatekeeper if you call and mention that Mr/Ms suggested you call.

9. Contacts to referrals: Treat your personal contacts as you would influential persons: Have a script and keep it brief. Brevity helps to ensure they don’t avoid your next call.

10. Voice Mail Jail: If you get sent to voice mail, you can try “O” to get an operator and perhaps find another number or person. Do not leave a voice mail message. If you do, you cannot call back anytime soon. You placed the ball in their court.

In a job search, we sometimes attach the “phone call” to all sorts of negative emotions, the greatest being rejection. Practicing the basic skills outlined in 1 through 4 and the other techniques suggested here will lessen an instinct to avoid the phone. This is the first step in overcoming phone phobia. Also, learn from experience. As they say, if you want to learn golf, play golf. After a few calls, following your exercise call to a friend, it starts to get easier.

Hope this helps!


Rob Taub of RésuméPro PLUS

Tuesday, September 22

CAREEREALISM Q#293 – How Often Can I Use My Network for Help?

How often you can use your network contacts, is entirely up to you.  If it becomes “work” for them, expect it to be infrequent at best and short-lived.  If you manage it right, it’s forever.

Let’s agree in theory that most people like to help others. Given the opportunity and the wherewithal they will, and why? … Because it feels good!  That’s human nature.  Unfortunately, in some situations, like networking, we don’t know how to help.

Too often we leave it up to others to figure out how they can help and when they can’t, they experience disappointment – they offered but couldn’t deliver!  It’s a difficult position for both networking contacts and job searchers.  Time and again job searchers put their networking contacts in a position where they feel all they can do is ‘hold on to your resume and keep their eyes and ears open; that if something comes up they’ll give you a call’ it’s too reactionaryWhat happens if nothing surfaces?  Having to say “I cannot help you” is upsetting and people will avoid it altogether.  This can also occur with friends and relatives.  If for example your job search isn’t developing for you and over and again you have nothing in the way of progress to report, even they may avoid contact with you.  Face it – it’s discouraging for friends to hear you’re not getting anywhere.  A few weeks or months of the same old, same old, GETS old, and they too may respond less and less to your calls.

This all sounds very gloomy but … there is a simple fix.  So simple that is can be explained in a single sentence: Don’t ask “if” they can help, tell them “how”.  That’s all it is!  Don’t ask them to figure out how to job search for you; they probably know less about it than you.  Instead, tell the “how”.

Here are some practical ideas to help get your network started on helping you and keeping them engaged:

1. Have a clear objective for your conversation and your job search. Be ready for the question, ‘what are you looking to do?’ It can stupefy the unsuspecting person forcing a response that is weak or irrelevant and with new contacts, even fatal.

2.  Be an active listener and always follow up what you hear with a question or a response.

3.  Have a list of specific people you would like to meet.  There is a chance that they may know someone on the list or someone else who that may know someone on the list.  I call this a “trigger” list.

4.  Prepare another list with associations, trade organization, business clubs, etc. where they may also know others that are tied to your target market.

5.  Find out if they have done business with search, recruitment agencies, career consultants…and if they have personal contacts there to whom they can refer you.

6.  Ask if they are involved in any activities where they can help you meet people, strike up a connection and build a relationship, i.e. trade organizations, volunteerism, continuing education, or even social portholes such as a virtual book club.

7.  Find out it they have recently attended any conferences, workshops or seminars in your target area.

8.  Prepare a list of 10 to 20 target companies: Are they familiar with any companies and if so, do they have any contacts there? Do they know people who may have contacts there?  What other companies come to mind that they think should be added to your list?

9.  Provide a list of professions that consist of the people and roles related to your target market (i.e. Accountants, Sales Reps, Journalists, Consultants, etc) that could trigger other connections they have.

10. Lastly, provide immediate feedback. Let them know how they are doing.  You will be surprised how far a little affirmation and approval thrown their way will go you.

This is a great way to approach meetings.  You have a clear objective and a solid agenda making it easier for others to help you. 

Here’s a nice twist: Have your meeting agenda on a separate sheet of paper for your network contact to review during your meeting.  Also, create duplicates of your “trigger” lists, your objective in the form of a statement and have a copy of your resume, all neatly placed in a nice pocket-folder.  This is your “leave behind”.  After you have gone they may come up with more helpful info if they have something in hand to spur their thinking.

If you manage you network contacts like business relationships or strategic partnerships, you are likely to discover far more helpful, energetic and interesting people than you thought your contacts to be.  All it takes is a little “direction”.  Again, most people like to help others, they just don't always know how. Tell them how and with that, you can continue to tap your network as often as you like, because you make it easy for them to help!

Hope this helps!


Rob Taub of ResumePro PLUS and the
Job Search Corner

Sunday, September 20

Bullied On-the-Job…How Do I Fight Back?

September 18, 2009 by sparktalk

Dear Experts,

I see workplace bullying as an increasing trend…especially, since it happened to me.

It happened at my previous job with my supervisor. She would humiliate me and degrade me, while upper management did nothing. I ended up getting laid off when cuts were made. What can one do to protect themselves from this?

September 20, 2009
Response by Rob Taub

You cannot easily protect yourself from being bullied. We have nothing to do with the behavior directed towards us, only the behavior we return. If someone in the workplace is out to harm you with words or action, they do so out of ignorance and you have no control over his or her ignorance. Confrontation or public condemnation may make matters worse. It can get quite messy. When it happens to you, still, there are things you can do!

On Bullying

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re working for a boss who is very, very tough and extremely demanding to a point where h/she overwhelms you, or a bully who uses his power to hurt or take advantage of others who are not in a position to protect themselves. There are those in authority who may closely watch others with the sole objective of exposing errors and correcting them. We know this as constructive criticism, Sometimes the intensity with which they act can be interpreted as bullying, although that is not their intent. Too, there are those who criticize in others the things that are in fault in their own nature; sometimes for the purpose of improving themselves. But in the extreme, criticizing can degenerate to blaming and judging then to condemning, hurting and dragging someone down – destructive criticism, school yard bullying. How do you fight back? The only way is to throttle it when begins! “How” is the real question. The good news in any case is victims of bullies can ultimately take action to affect the relationship and extricate themselves.

Action and Consequence:

  • You can confront your boss who is bullying you ….. But it can also cost you your job.
  • Band with others ….. But if you are a lone victim you now may have more to deal with than just your bully.
  • You can tolerate it as if you are unaffected….. But this only validates the bully - you are agreeing to accept the abuse. More of the same only leads to more of the same.
  • Endure each encounter. Don’t argue and end it as quickly as you can….. But it takes two to tango. The bully is apt to increase the bad acts and behavior to draw you in further.
  • If there is an HR department, find someone with whom you can speak; if not, someone in authority….. Unless this is an aberration they are already aware of it. There may be some sanctioning and a short respite, but it may also continue.
  • Go on record (in writing) that you have been bullied and harassed. Protect yourself from what might be if it continues….. But you may have also a created your “scarlet letter” that can follow in your search for the next position if and when it come to that.

I once heard said that many physical ills can be cured with the right diet. Many mental disorders can be fixed with the right thinking. Therefore it seems logical to me that harmony in a relationship (alleviating the bullying) can be achieved by ‘right acting’; so don’t despair just yet. The bottom line is that you have to behave differently – “right acting” – in order to change the behavior and ultimately break the pattern. Changing your behavior and that of others is not a “quick fix”. It takes study, planning and application over time.

On Breaking the Pattern

The first step is to understand the bully’s viewpoint/perspective. It takes an open mind and a big heart, a VERY big heart, to view a situation through another’s eyes when h/she is you boss and wants to cause you hurt. Nonetheless, this is where you begin. Instead of an eye for an eye, we forge ahead and try to exchange a good deed for a bad one. Understanding, helping, forgiving, sympathy, patience…. these are all good deeds. You can understand why this takes a very big heart, yes? To understand a bully’s perspective, you need to first analyze the circumstances of your situation:

  • What brought on the bullying in the first place?
  • Was it “bullying” when the behavior first began?
  • Was there a precipitating event in the company that may have brought on the first encounter?
  • Did you do something to set the stage for the bullying?
  • Are there signs that bullying may be an accepted practice in your workplace.
  • What action or behavior direct, indirect or inadvertent might you have returned during an encounter that could have contributed to it?

Every situation is different so there’s no one question/answer or piece of advice that will work for everyone. The answers to these questions and others are a good start to understanding.

That Conversation”…

The next step is to have a private conversation. Your body language is very important here. You are engaging in a conversation with someone who’s agenda is not a rational one but emotional one, and as such feeds on weakness, fear and despair. Acting submissive or apologetic just throws fuel on the fire. You may not be able to control what your boss might do but you can control what you do. Focus on what is, and not what might be and keep it short and concise. It can be as simple as this:

  • Explain in fewer than 30 seconds how you feel
  • Suggest that there may be a misunderstanding and you would like to correct it, and
  • Ask for advice on how you might improve the relationship

The Short-list of Options

1) Band together with others and make a case against the bully.

2) Take it to HR or in the case with there is no HR department, to “higher-ups” to either sanction or remove the bully.

3) Quit at the first sign you’re being victimized.

4) Have “that conversation".

5) Tolerate it as long as it takes you to get prepared to leave the company.

In sum, we understand that there may not always be others with whom you can (1) band, and (2) complaining to HR or other may only stoke the fire for in the end you still have to deal with the intrinsic behavior of an irrational and emotional mind; so, I’m inclined to auto-nix Number 2, wouldn’t (3) quit just yet. Have (4) “that conversation”. If that doesn’t work, make haste with Number 5!

Hope this helps!


Rob of RésuméPro PLUS and the
Job Search Corner: JobSearchingwithRob

Wednesday, September 16

Is My Personality Killing My Chances?

If you feel that your enthusiasm and focus on being the best you can be, either in an interview or on the job, may be working against you, you may want to rein in your enthusiasm - moderate the intensity to some degree, but more often than not, it is a matter of developing good communication sense.

High Self-expectation + Tenacity ≠ Arrogance.
On the other hand, ‘high self-expectation + tenacity’ minus a well-developed ‘communication sense’ might.

"Communication skills" and "communication sense" are not the same. Good communication skills is the foundation, underpinnings, for developing communication sense, just like knowing the functions of the pieces on the Chess board is ultimately necessary for executing strategy. Pieces don’t win the match, how you manage them does; and perhaps that's all you need - a better strategy for managing your communications or Sound Communication Sense.

Here are some tips to help:

1. Truism: You create a more meaningful connection by becoming interested in others than by first trying to interest others in you.

2. Don’t oversell yourself: Talking to much is perceived as over-selling. Focus and listen and show the interviewer that h/she matters.

3. “Two ears, one mouth blah, blah, blah…”

4. Don’t bury your listener with incidentals and unnecessary details of a situation. When showcasing your value if it is not relevant to a result, drop it!

5. Use simple language when talking with others. Don’t make your listeners plow through jargon. If they recognize it they’ll be turned-off; if they don’t they’ll take out a book and read.

6. Use brief anecdotes to communicate your value and strengths; keep each under 90 seconds and invite interviewer questions. (People will remember your anecdotal stories more than a litany of duties and responsibilities).

7. Don’t rush. Stop and wait to see if there are questions after your response.

8. Choose your words carefully. Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightening and lightening bug".

I will make 3 final suggestions:

1. Set up "informational interviews" with knowledgeable and/or influential people with the specific intention of gaining job information. Informational interviews are also great low-risk practice grounds for developing your communication sense.

2. Seek out “referrals” which results in less stressful interviews for all parties. When you are referred you enter the interview “pre-sold” to some degree and thus less burdened.

3. Finally, t
arget "spot opportunities". Spot opportunities are typically unadvertised, unpublicized opportunities that are triggered by some activity or event in the business community: Plant openings; new business developments, diversification or product introductions; mergers, acquisitions, divestitures; IPO’s, LBO’s, etc.

Informational interviews, referrals & spot opportunities can all result in other networking opportunities, leads to jobs or actual openings that you can get to before of the crowd; and always a more comfortable meeting when you arrive, but only if you have sound communication sense.

Hope this helps!


Rob Taub

of RésuméPro PLUS

Wednesday, September 9

10 Signs Job is Dead-end

OR … Top 10 Reasons to Run For The Door!

Number 10: The position for which you are interviewing is vacant. Well run companies don’t create vacancies. Before letting someone go or sensing if someone wants to go, they will be ready with a replacement

Number 9: When asked how the company measures its success in the market, the Interviewer offered a self-constructed analysis based purely on unclear assumption, meaning … he was making it up!

Number 8: Interviewer could offer only vague generalizations about where the company would like to be, concluding with “hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. The correct thinking: Better improve it before someone else does.

Number 7: When you bring up Internet Marketing or SEO his or her eyes start to close

Number 6: When asked who they feel are their main competitors, you’re fed you the old unsubstantiated line, we don’t have any

Number 5: When you ask how the position has changed over the years the response is “it hasn’t”

Number 4: When you ask the interviewer to tell you something about the particulars of the job you hear “very steady work; lots of job security”. In other words, you’re not going anywhere from here!

Number 3: When you ask if the Interviewer has any tips before you leave and he or she says, “Just make sure you have some fun out there”

The Number 2 reason you know you are interviewing for a dead-end job: When you ask the interviewer, your would-be boss, how long he or she has been in their job and you hear “since the company started”


When asked if happy with where the company is today, he or she replies “Hey, it pays the bill at the Club and keeps the kids in tennis lessons!”

Hope this helps!


Rob Taub

Tuesday, September 8

Are Career Experts Just Feeding You A Lot Of Rubbish?

Someone asked recently, "Are career experts full of it?" this was my answer: I can only speak for one – me; but YES! Absolutely! That is of course if “it” refers to substance as in a body of knowledge and not substance (eh-hem) as in matter.

Although I can only write as one Career Expert, I am sure there are others like me who will say “we are full of it”. For starters, when advising an individual, the “Positioning” as I like to refer to “it” is where I begin. Positioning is identifying a job or career focus. This covers not only what one’s talents, background and qualifications are, but the job role that should fit them best, the field or industry, and target employers–the specific "customer" for his/her talents, experience etc. Positioning is determined by probing interests, credentials, background, personal attributes, success factors, and values too. “It” is done through the use of various profile systems, any number of assessment tools… and a great deal of discussion.

There is also the “Marketing”. “It” consists of advertising tools - the written and verbal communications conduits that will be used to promote, as we say in marketing, your value and benefit to an employer. Some examples of “it” may include the development of a resume, letter, resume/letter combo, marketing letter, executive bio/summary, value-proposition and lots more.

Finally, there is “Exposure” to the marketplace. “It” may include various marketing channels (i.e. events, job fairs, online portholes, public forums, associations…) and multiple strategies (i.e. networking, targeted mail, referral marketing, database reports, setting up job alerts, spot opportunities, writing articles, volunteerism …) all coordinated to gain maximum exposure. The end-game is the right position, with the right organization; and “it” happens sooner than later, with the least amount of pain involved. So, Yup … speaking for myself, perhaps some others, “I really am full of it!”

Hope this helps!




Thursday, September 3

Job Satisfaction

[Having discovered the link in this Post from Thursday Sep 3 was broken , I have posted it again with a working link so you can read it in its it is]

A friend once said, “If I knew that job satisfaction was so elusive, I wouldn’t have spent half my life looking for it.” I asked him to define what job satisfaction for him would be and he responded “I’ll know when I find it.”

By Rob Taub

Job satisfaction for some stems from the challenges in the job or a sense of purpose while for others it's more extrinsic and may be measured by the money they make. For others it may come from the learning that takes place or from knowing that their work matters. For some, simply having a job to go to everyday in order to have "other" things in life is fine, and it's from accepting that they can derive their satisfaction. Read on...

Hope this helps!



Gotta Love That Rejection

How to use rejection to improve your job search.

Clearly, there are many more rejections in a professional job search than there are offers. And there should be. After all, if you are not getting rejections than you are not seeing many opportunities. Read the story »

CAREEREALISM: Because EVERY Job is Temporary! Career advice, job search news and perspective. Job seekers get cutting-edge career, job search, and personal branding advice to help them advance their professional lives. Focus on work-life balance and generational issues as well as expert resources and tools for career advancement. ...


Wednesday, September 2

Hey! You Gotta Problem?

First post in my series of Tough Interview Scenarios
by Rob Taub

From blatant … “Greatest weakness”; “weakest attribute”; “most significant failure” … to soft … “what might your previous employer say …?” … even softer …“you certainly seem to have a lot of strengths, but we understand no one is perfect…” The question will come one way or another, everyone knows it, yet still befuddled by it.

There have been many Rules of Thumb developed over the years, from making light of the question with an answer like “Pizza!” (Do not pass go; do not expect a job here) to true confessions, putting a cloud over everyone, to developing a response that actually demonstrates a strength: “I tend to be a workaholic” or “perfectionist” (Yuk!) In principle, Rules of Thumb are meant to have very broad application such as when in doubt, get out. Great advice if you are in the middle of an intersection and the light changes. Would it apply in the final seconds of a game, you’re down 3 points and have the ball? What, you’re going to walk off the floor? I don’t think so. I find many R.O.T. (pun intended) to be off the mark and misleading. What may be good for one may not be for another. That is not to say there are no rules that can be applied; there are. Just choose your medicine carefully.

“What’s your greatest weakness” is your opportunity to shine. One way is to demonstrate that you are a positive person by nature. Everyone likes a person with a positive nature, right? Remember you are in the interview to make yourself desirable for hiring, so you might say, “I rarely sit there and think of myself in those terms, nevertheless, I do want to respond to your question” or something on those lines. Notice by the way I did not say “I rarely sit there and think of my weaknesses”. Okay, I take it back. Here’s a rule of thumb that always applies: Do not use or repeat negative terms, even if the interviewer throws it out there.

Here are three other rules I suggest you do follow:

No Superlatives! Keep it singular. Superlatives such as “weakest” or “worst” or “biggest” indicate the greatest degree of whatever is it describing. “Worst weakness” is the weakness of the highest degree implying there are other weaknesses of varying degrees but weaknesses nonetheless. That begs the question “what are some others?” Likewise, “need most to improve” implies there are others areas for improvement. In any case, try this as an alternative: “If I had to come up with one…” (No negatives; no multiples)

No Absolutes! The absolute, as in “my weakness is…” states that the weakness exists unconditionally: Utterly fixed and not likely to change. WOW! Wouldn’t it be better to be a little less restrictive, something more conditional like “it could be that I am…” Conditional responses suggest you yourself are not completely convinced of it. This type of response also accomplishes what the bungling technique of using a “strength” to describe a weakness consistently fails to achieve – that your “weakness” may not be a weakness after all.

Keep it real! Your “weakness” should be one that is subjective – of your person. Humanize it! “If I had to come up with one (singular) it might be (non-absolute) somewhat (qualifier) of a lack of internal patience (human)”. Continuing … “I seem (unconvinced) to have strong tendencies to expect the same from others that I do from myself (human). Not just in terms of results – I’m smart enough to realize that not everyone has the same level of skill, abilities and education (real) ... I do however, expect others to give their best effort, and if that’s not there, then yes, that might (conditional) bother me to some degree” (Ah! … “bother me to some degree” … human, non-absolute, qualifier, and conditional … Don’t you just love it!) Another tact, similarly keeping it real, could be an incident resultant of some area where improvement was needed (potential weakness) that turned out to be a learning experience and later grew into a personal asset, thus giving you, once more, an opportunity to showcase strength.

Do your homework. Think critically and be honest with yourself. Ask friends or colleagues the same: Critically and honestly, what they think may be your one weakness. When you have the answer, internalize it. In other words, take it to heart. If you don’t, your response may come across like a sound bite, no matter how long and hard you practice sounding unpracticed. When you speak from the heart, you won’t sound “rehearsed”, you will sound “aware” – conscious of yourself, a characteristic we all value.

Hope this helps!


Look for the next posting in my series of Tough Interview Scenarios:

It’s the 3rd interview. Everything about the job has been discussed. “We would like to offer you the position; it pays $xx per year.” How will you respond?

Friday, August 28

The single-most important "thankyou" letter to send out this week . If U agree, please Share - RT

Saturday, August 22

Before you leave a job with which you are not happy to search for another go through this one simple exercise:

Wednesday, July 15

The Most Important Letter You May Ever Write

I am working with a top ranking career military officer, who during his time in the Reserves also developed a stellar career as a senior-level executive in industry. Recently, after concluding his reactivation in the Military, he had the daunting task of re-entering the job market; and as well all know, during the worst economy in a lifetime. After some time searching on his own he was able to sum-up his frustration for me: “This is the first time in my life I am doing something and have no idea how I doing.” This, coming from an Officer at one of the highest official levels in the Military. Now he didn’t say, “what I’m doing” he said “how”! Does anybody tell YOU how you are doing in YOUR job search?

I am going to share with you what may be the single-most important letter in a job search, one that will address our challenge of not knowing how I’m doing. I call this letter Response to a Rejection, sometimes referred to as Thanks for the Rejection.

(This is an actual letter that was in fact used just today. Of course certain information has been omitted)

June 15, 2009

Dear Mr. Willard:

I understand the rationale behind your letter of June 14, 2009 in which you said that there are currently no openings at [COMPANY] for an experienced sales manager. Undoubtedly, you receive multiple unsolicited resumes, and I thank you for taking the time from a busy schedule to respond to my inquiry.

It is this type of consideration that reaffirms my belief that [COMPANY]is a well-managed company. As a result, I would like to ask your advice because I believe that you have a great deal of information and expertise from which I can benefit.

More specifically, I would appreciate 20 minutes of your time not to discuss current job openings, but to discuss what you look for in outstanding sales managers, what your opinion is of the long term growth in the [BUSINESS/INDUSTRY/FIELD], and any advice you would have for a sales manager with a keen interest in the same. Your expertise and experience in directing [COMPANY] make your opinion invaluable.

I will call early next week to see if we can arrange a mutually convenient time to get together.


Certainly there are more rejections than offers in a job search; and most people send a cordial letter … thank you for your time and interest and if something opens up, please let me know. “Thank you” is good; “thank you” and feedback is better. The more you are rejected, the more opportunity for feedback; and the more feedback you have the more improvements you make – continuous process improvement. Soon you will no longer say I have no idea how I’m doing. In fact, you may be thinking to yourself (thank you, thank you, thank you for that rejection! I’ll be so much smarter the next time).

In his book, How to Master the Art of Selling, Sales Guru Tom Hopkins wrote, I never see failure as failure but an opportunity to practice my techniques and perfect my performance. I say … Gotta love that rejection!


Thursday, July 9

What advice would you give regarding how to begin a new job on the right foot?

What a great question! Securing a new job is akin to a successful product launch. All the time spent running a well-organized marketing campaign and now the product is in the market … You have landed your new job!

As in the product launch, you would want to continually work on product positioning and posturing for its on-going success, right? Likewise you want to do so for your success.

How you begin has everything to do with how (and where) you end up. How do you insure you will get off on the right foot? Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Get to know the company and key players. Producing long-term results is more important than an immediate impact. Depending on the company and the reason for your hire you will have a settling-in period anywhere from 30-90 days. Use that time for wisely.

2. Remember names and try to use them from time to time - always with a smile. Sounds trite, I know, but how many times were you introduced to others and immediately forgot names. Look them straight in the eye and ask “I’m sorry, could you tell me your name again? and then practice using once or twice a week –it’s flattering too.

3. Do not over-do conversation. Your weekend, evening, lunch, family visit... was always “Very good” quickly followed by “and how was yours?” People ask, but are not necessarily interested in more than that. If they get more than that before they really know you they will steer away the next time.

4. Observe how the company gets things done: The company’s management style, your boss’ management style; leadership; company culture… Become a student of your managers and their leaders. I once read, “the best classroom is at the feet of an elder", so ... The bell has rung; take a seat and pay attention.

5. Be a class act. Don’t get drawn into the chitter-chatter of gossipers. Smile, project a positive attitude, nod in agreement if you must, but do not gossip. If you do people will not put their trust in you. Practice being a good listening and consider everything you hear as if it were most private, even if it plainly is gossip. Bite your tongue and you will not go wrong.

6. Gain the confidence of others. Give credit to others up and down the line. Be humble when credit is given to you and say only “thank you”. For the first few weeks defer to others for advice; defer to your boss’ lead. After you have gained the confidence of your boss and that of others, maybe 30-60 days, you can start making recommendations.

7. Keep your boss informed. This too is part of gaining his or her confidence. It is important also make a point of asking a couple of questions from time to time. Be careful nonetheless not to phrase your questions in a manner that sounds like you are (prematurely) criticizing people or procedure.

8. Show your boss you are serious. State your intentions within the boundaries of the job as it is currently described (save “posturing” for after the first 90 days): On day-one, arrange a series of short meetings to ensure that you are both on the same page, that your actions support both your objectives and his or hers.

9. Start planning for your "Review" on Day-one. Do not wait until after your “settling in” period. If a review has not already been scheduled , when you are arranging your series of short meetings (#8) also schedule your review for after the first 90 days; but begin planning for it from Day-one: Keep a diary of what you see and what it is you feel can be improved, changed, accomplished, etc... and NEVER share this with co-workers.

10. Keep your resume updated. Also starting with Day-one, be mindful of any and all your accomplishments, even the most subtle: Situations you were in; opportunities you saw; actions you took; and results ... SOAR! Plus, in doing so, you will be preparing for your first Review, as you should, just like an interview. You will be forearmed with the information you will need to take an active part in the Review process and outcome, and since most employers take a passive approach to Reviews, this will be most appreciated.

Hope this helps!

Rob Taub

Friday, July 3

Should I do a PGMP (post graduate management program) if I want to switch careers?

Sorry for my time away. Between my father-in-law's 100th birthday party and him seeing his great grandson, and namesake, from 2000 miles away for the first time, emotions ran high and I've been distracted from the "day-to-day". A distraction I hope you can all experience!

I recently answered a question from someone looking to leave software and IT and move into Human Resources. He wanted to know if a PGMP would be helpful in re-careering. What follows was my (long-winded) answer.

Think about this: You go and get more education and additional credentials and you still will likely be in line with 100's if not 1000's of potential job candidates, many of which also have similar education and experience but may too have the direct-related transferable experience that you are lacking – all of you in line for the same jobs. If one person has just one more direct-related transferable experience than you, they are hence ahead of you in line. PLUS... since only ONE person can get the job, what is the likelihood of that being you in such a case? Sounds awful, huh. Hopeless, right? Well it isn't; NOT AT ALL! I should say here that I am a BIG BELIEVER in education, new learning and continuous self-improvement, but (it) may not be what helps you to stand out in today's job market. I'll explain.

We are not living in average times and companies today therefore are not looking for average people, nor are companies just filling slots these days; you know, the "round-peg, round-hole lateral-move game"? No ... Instead they are looking for STANDOUTS; and those few candidates who DO “standout” are more likely to be invited into an opportunity than those who blend in. So, your question should be, Do I need a PGMP to be a "standout" in this job market? Short answer: Not necessarily. Can it help at all? Sure. Nonetheless, I would put my efforts towards intentional (directed) networking to find a potential opportunity BEFORE the crowd, get in, and sell my unique set of skills and talent, my “branding”, before I would get another credential. Make sense?

In some industries, you cannot get around the credentialing, but depending on the role you may be seeking in HR, you probably can. But not if you get caught up in lines. Get ahead of the job-hiring curve. That alone makes you a "standout" doesn't it? ... You show up as the hiring pattern is only starting to unfold, BEFORE any announcements or postings, make the case that you represent a solution to a challenge, whatever that may be, and that in and of itself (you being there in the first place) would make you standout among your potential competition, wouldn't you think? By the way, that "Challenge"? ... That challenge was your CLUE that led you to the particular target company in the first place; and it was the research and subsequent action you took with the “clue” that got you there ahead of the crowd. Hey, wouldn't the recognition alone that you receive for being ahead of the crowd and the hiring curve help you standout? Then you are in a position to sell your "Branding" - your value-proposition.

Although hiring decision-makers may be interested in where you have been and what you have done and learned (your past), including education, how that will translate (your future together) into you being a personal solution to the challenge(s) they face (problem, need, threat, opportunity..) is more than likely what will clinch it for you. Oh, then you can go for the PGMP and have them pay for it.

pe this helps!

“Sorry for such a long answer; I didn’t have time to write a short one” --anonymous