Posted by: davidsandusky | December 13, 2008

The Real Deal in Finding a Job or Hiring the Best

Both sides of the desk during the process of filling a position endure stress.  Hiring manager has a position to fill and wants to hire the right person.  Candidate needs a new opportunity.  In many cases, both are getting to know each other for the first time and skipping relationship building steps.

Result: dissatisfied parties. 

What really matters is the realization if you can work together or not.  Often this process is realized on the job.  When tough decisions and deadline stresses are actual.  The time of the day when character shows.  Often times it is in these circumstances where people realize they may not be a fit for each other.  But we stick it out.  Another job search so soon is hard to stomach and may present pause for the next employer.  What to do???

As pointed out by Kimberly Lucas with Goldstone Partners on a recent Your Brand Radio event, the game for finding and being found is changing again too.  She offers data on the disconnect on job boards – last two years, job board traffic dropped 500% – spending on job boards is increasing.  Job seekers are not going there, but employers are not re-tooling efforts.  Listen to the show linked above as Kimberly and other guest share invaluable tips.

Where hiring and being hired is going is found in Web 2.0.  Interacting and building relationships online to help enable offline relationships

Building your reputation in a well organized and easy to find matter is required in a day where competition  and speed to results is huge.  The hirer and hiree can know more about each other than ever when going into a meeting or interview. 

If adding value while communicating differentiators online is part of your communication strategy, you can cut to the case during an interview process.  My point here is getting straight to the determination of whether or not you can work together.  Pick a fight on a real world debate in the office, share ideas and work together on a real project.  Ask questions where you might not like the answer – is that not what you really want to get to now rather than later???  Get together in and out of the office — all during an interview process.  Take the time to determine if culture and character fit.  Your future is at stake and you want to love who you work with…so start building relationship on and offline right now and don’t stop.

Posted by: davidsandusky | November 21, 2008

Finding a Job Through Online Networking and Beyond

This year is already showing an increase in traffic coming my way from recruiter friends who are getting a heavy flow of resumes and calls from people who are struggling to get the value proposition across right away – in a time of ultra clutter, this is a very important skill many miss.

Over the years, I have received an increase in emailed resumes and phone calls from people looking to the year ahead in their career. This year is no different other than it started early and more people are unemployed or plan to be soon. That is a different feeling of urgency.

This year I see a significant increase in the contact I receive or referral to online profiles particularly to LinkedIn and Facebook as well as here. More people than not have enough info on a LinkedIn profile to tell the story. LinkedIn being primary profile online has a lot to do with it. However, people asking for help on Facebook are not telling a professional story. Some do not have any (or very little) professional data leaving the personal brand only on the social side. Even if your Facebook connections are only people who know you very well, you must not assume they can articulate your professional goals and dreams not to mention what you have actually accomplished recently that transitions to future value. Help us help you. By the way, because of the increase interest in Facebook, I recently created a Strategic Career Plan page which you might find helpful – introduce yourself there while you are at it!

It is safe to assume your contacts want to help you. When the asking part of networking starts to overwhelm, even your closest contacts might accidentally bypass you because they don’t know how to help.

If you are networking online, be sure to give. Add value and show what you love. Be sure your profiles are up to date and like your resume, have forward thinking value propositions correctly targeted.

Improve your online image before asking for help. Equally important is effective offline networking and target phone calls proving investment in research. I’m telling you, those who contact me in any way and show a little research in me get a lot of attention. Watch what happens when you take the time.

Posted by: davidsandusky | November 11, 2008

Hard Versus Soft

You have likely lived the reality yourself.  You have been hired and/or have hired based on the experience to do the job well only to find you made a mistake.  The mistake is decisions that are made on paper rather than people.

Paper = resume, job description, private placement memorandum (PPM), business plan, marketing materials, website…you get the idea.

People = values, culture, mission, purpose, excitement, challenge, goals, pride, passion, communication style, dedication, emotion…you get the idea.

Paper generally leads a process with good intention.  During an interview process, paper lists a wish list of hard skills required to be successful.  Paper is a great screening tool to initiate interest so the product must be well thought out.  

People evaluate soft skills and determine if there is a fit on shared mission, etc.

Somewhere between paper and people we see a disconnect often enough to make a difference.  At stake is the difference between being unhappy and happy at work.  The gap is where people get lazy in due diligence and time.  Unless you are hiring a resume or accepting a job description, it is time to get to know the person.  Don’t be afraid to ask the question and take the time to learn about character, goals and hop out of bed Monday morning passion.  Take time and trust your instincts.  Talk about those instincts openly – seriously.  Everyone will see the difference six months after a new hire.  Not happy versus happy = Hard versus soft skills.

Posted by: davidsandusky | October 21, 2008

How to be Memorable – In a Good Way

I might sound like a broken record for a while, but I am afraid.  Afraid for many people today.  

First, the good news is people are being proactive when they need free and inexpensive resources.  I know this because traffic is up on the career section of my forum website and the Strategic Career Plan sales have been increasing.  The bad news is there is a sense of urgency and fear driving the increase which may cause poor decisions and a continued cycle of career misery.     

I have also seen an increase in emails and other communications from people who want to send me a resume, connect with me on LinkedIn, etc.  Many more lately have even ask for endorsements and/or a reference from me even though I clearly do not know them well enough.  I will only recommend people I know will do great moving forward.  You? 

I am afraid because of spaghetti against the wall hope something sticks strategies.  Listen, I have been in the people business long enough to experience success and struggle in great and challenging times.  Many people ride the peaks and valleys for longer than they should because of no planning for either.  Today, many people are blasting out resumes to anyone who can fog a mirror and with the same canned pitch. 

Stop and focus.

Be memorable by taking your activity a step further.  Know who you are contacting so you can add value important to that person and/or company.  Take the time to research and communicate why you.  You have time, I know you do.  People make remarkable strides when they exercise, sleep, eat well and watch less T.V.  The time you take to deliver targeted focus of your value proposition and why the person in front of you cares about that value proposition works – I promise!  Most people are not investing in themselves during good and bad personal markets and witnessing the results.  Be the one who is prepared with target communications before, during and after networking and interviews.  Be the one that is memorable and leaving a feeling of success.  Be the one who continues this behavior during good and bad time, not just when in need.  Answer the “so what” allowing people to share your confidence and feel good about you as a prospect.

Posted by: davidsandusky | October 7, 2008

How to Market Your Culture Brand

One person can change the culture of your company for good or bad.  As any brand, your culture brand is an experience and defined by those who experience your company.  As far as culture brand, it is defined by those who work in the organization and there is an immediate perception by those looking in from the out side.  Those outside people may be talent you are recruiting, partners, customers, etc. 

If one person can make such an impact on your culture, how do you attract the right people to represent the vision of your culture? 

How to market your culture brand 

  • First you have to understand your actual culture.  This is harder for leadership and management then you think.  I learned early in my career that many leaders don’t realize a difference between the vision they have for a company culture and the current and actual culture.  This is not about being out of touch (although that too is the case often times).  The difference is living values and who you hire.  Are you hiring for today or the future and changing culture.  Do what you have to in order to understand actual culture and how you lead any change.  Outside influence on your understanding is often required and important.
  • Model a culture you respect.  This too is harder than it looks.  Modeling and doing are different.  If you are a sales organization with personality (culture brand) that attracts sales minded personality, look at a company like  I outlined my experience as an outsider on my forum: Model Culture.
  • When you have identified who you are and where you want to go, identify the personality on your team that would represent that brand.  That personal brand becomes your target market.  Note: you will have sub-cultures and that means different brands.  Your job as a leader is to make sure these teams can play together.  Also difficult yet the mark of a great company! 
  • You have a product (culture brand) and a target market (personal brand).  Start networking and recruiting these people internal and external – always be recruiting. 
  • Job description: stop being lazy with job descriptions when recruiting.  Part of success is awesome job descriptions.  They include a pithy company and culture description and the theme continues through the actual job requirements.  This makes for a nice document to drive interviews where tough questions are asked and even working together through problems and excitement exists. 
  • Interview:  interviews can be stressful for all involved because the recruiter needs a position filled and the candidate might need a job or at least a change.  Common mistakes are only covering the bases from both sides – almost with fear of not closing each other rather than identifying fit.  If you care about culture, be straight with each other in what it is like to work together.  How does it feel.  Trust your gut on fit within culture.  

Smart candidates are conducting due diligence on you and your company.  Be sure online personal brands and company websites are great representation of what it is like to work with you.  The online experience and in person experience should not contradict.  Job descriptions, compensation plans, training and all other human resource activity are features that help represent the culture brand.  

Be the one who makes all the above important and consistent – enjoy the benefit of a healthy and productive environment you lead.  By the way…you don’t need a title to be a leader…learn how to impact company culture and be a leader!

Posted by: davidsandusky | September 29, 2008

Cover Letter Differentiators

Your cover letter can make or break your introduction.  I am often asked to share my opinion on cover letters in general.  Today I am seeing increased flow of unsolicited resumes consistent with market cycles over the years – I have scanned many cover letters and or email introductions as a result.  There are mixed opinions on value of a cover letter – I love them and I will tell you why.   

The reader can quickly tell if you are lazy or put research time to address me – the reader.  The difference is in the details.  That makes my life easier when sifting through.  That should matter to you.

Starting top down:

  1. Did you address the reader by name when you have obvious access to the person’s name.  Avoid “to whom it may concern” or “Hiring manager”. 
  2. Is your first sentence the slam dunk value proposition?  Think about articles you read in the paper.  the first sentence and paragraph is the most important part of the story supported by the body to follow.  Same with your cover letter or email.  Hit them fast and back it up!  Were you referred by someone – say it now and why.  Do you know why you will make an impact to this company – tell them right away and talk right to the reader.  Ex. Jack, Jane suggested we connect because I am one of the best closers in ‘company X’ industry.   Fill in the blank with what you are best at, folks.  Recruiting – getting teams to work together – saving money – making sense of process management…
  3. Pithy body with a few specific examples you can tie to the business and person you are contacting while inviting a fun business conversation for details.
  4. Close.  Ask for the meeting and say you will follow-up in three days if you don’t hear back before hand.  Respect the readers time and follow-up via phone in a pithy matter.

Scrub and repeat.  If you are asking how to find the time to be specific and not generic, you are starting to learn the difference between those who get to the next level and those who do not.  Make the time; besides, you will learn a lot along the way!

Posted by: davidsandusky | September 17, 2008

Seriously, Dress for Success

I attended a breakfast seminar this morning where the closing presenters were Judie Schwartz and Evelinda Urman of Style Matters.  They are fabulous presenters with great energy and information. 

The subject seems simplistic, but I am here to tell you that people blow it all the time.  The presentation this morning reminded me of many examples, unfortunately, where people do not dress the part.  It is amazing how good looking people get the nod and studies show a direct relationship to this, yet so many slack.   

Admittedly easier for guys – match belt to buffed shoes and a tie that is generally in style.  Business casual is easily defined etc.  Women have it a little tougher with a wider range of options and accessories.  Either case, your personal brand image is judged in a matter of seconds.  Your class, education, experience and even industry all come to our human mind even if judgement is way off who you are.  You may not think it, but even the creative type or aggressively independent style comes off as lazy or unappreciative in a work environment – conferences, client meetings, you name it.  I am all for being yourself, but encourage being different yet entering a room with people thinking you are professional – why not?   

What impressed me about the presentation was how much different color and style of professional suits made a difference on the same person.  From non-approachable to warm and inviting.  By design.  Look into this and determine if you are representing your professional brand the right way.  If you are not sure…dress up and enjoy feeling confident.

Posted by: davidsandusky | September 10, 2008

Why You Don’t Get the Interview or Job

Ever wish you could get feedback as to why you did not get the job or even the interview?  I know you do because it comes up often.  Aside of personal brand or career strategy overhaul with some investment, the typical reasons are:

  • If you are on the market, you are less desirable.  Sorry, it is true.  Better network and ad value when you don’t need a j-o-b.  Not just because of who you know, but because when they know you, they know things happen and you can get picked up pretty quickly out there. 
  • No real accomplishments.  Before you say, yea, but I have great accomplishments!!!  Well, start tooting your horn on paper and in interviews.
  • Your Resume and interview skills resemble a job description…read the previous bullet again.
  • Too many jobs and/or gaps.  This includes promotions.  Have you ever moved up the ladder so fast you, in your own mind, get nervous about belonging?  Read last TWO points again.
  • Inconsistent.  No focused personal brand.
  • Not prepared.  You know when you have not spent time researching company, industry trends, people interviewing you – Do mock interviews with someone.  Be prepared and care.
  • No questions.  Nothing annoys me more than a candidate who does not conduct their own due diligence.  Research and ask great questions.  You can even run the interview as a candidate!!!
  • Lack confidence.  Self awareness and preparedness builds confidence – see all above.
  • Lack ambition – passion – purpose.  I can tell if you are looking for a j-o-b and I am not inspired.  Find it and go GET IT!    
  • Follow-up regardless.  If you want the opportunity, ask for it or make a proposal and stop playing games.
Posted by: davidsandusky | September 2, 2008

Post Holiday Blues or Brilliance?

You can tell a lot about a person around vacations and holidays.  Going into the time off, there are those who can disappear in stride like a hurdler effortlessly running over a hurdle.  Others can’t seem to get out the door causing stress for all.  The difference.  Planning and delegation well before time off – not just a few days before anticipated time off.

Coming back from time off whether a vacation or extended weekend like Labor Day is telling as well.  Some people roll in lacking motivation and others hop in the saddle with energy and excitement to take on the day – glad to have been away and glad to be back.

There may be a relationship between those who enter and and return well from time off.  Planning helps with any overwhelming feelings, but the desire to live well with integrated time on and off is more telling.  Those with a plan in living in the moment do well for themselves on vacation and when producing in career.

What is your office (even virtual or home office) culture like going into and the day after time off?  I think a major indicator of hiring and retaining passionate people.

Posted by: davidsandusky | August 25, 2008

“So What”

So you are an accountant, a marketing executive, a consultant, graduated from Harvard…   So What? 

Your company needs customers, employees, funding, partners…

So What?

What makes you different and how does being different produce results people care about?  Does your verbal and written message as well as body language pass a litmus test?  Can you articulate a good fit and to the right audience?

Accounting, marketing, Human Resources, company culture, etc. is a product.  Your unique promise of value in ____your area of expertise___ is Your Brand.  The experience people have with you matters most – “so what” is a commodity or dime-a-dozen feeling and not inspiring.



Internal Candidate #2: “I have worked here for two years and think I am qualified and should get this promotion.”

Hiring Manager: “We have a few accountants that have been here for years, what have you done to be prepared for more responsibility and leadership?”

External Candidate #5: “I have a degree in accounting and 12 years of accounting experience.”

Hiring Manager: “I am talking to 10 accountants that say the same thing, why should I hire you?”

Consultant: “I have come into situations like yours as an accounting management contractor.”

Hiring Manager: “What is our situation and why should I hire a consultant?  Why should I hire you?”

Hiring Manager: “You are our top candidate and I know you have other options.  We would like to hire you.”

Top Candidate: “Why should I leave my current situation that is challenging and fun with growth opportunity to join your company?”


Critical thinking about likely questions and concerns prepares you to be deliberate with actual results and stories that matter.  Answering the “So What?” will separate you from your competition and position you for success! 

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