CEOs, CFOs, sales professionals, engineers, attorneys HR professionals and graduating seniors - listen up! There is some good news to report - the job market is on the mend and companies are starting to dip their proverbial toes back into the hiring waters. Year to date, our firm is up over 125% and we are continuing to see an increase in new searches. Additionally, the level of confidence among the employed is steadily rising, resulting in an increase in our career coaching business among working professionals looking to make a change. A recent report by Beacon Economics in Boston estimates that San Diego will be the 3rd busiest job market in the country over the next 2 years.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, the recent rise in our local unemployment rate to 11% is actually more positive than you might expect. The underlying reason for this increase is the fact that many out of work professionals reignited their job search as their confidence in the recovery and the job market improved, thus altering the unemployment equation by adding more people to the officially "unemployed but looking for work" category.
Don't misunderstand me, the market still has a long way to go before we are back to pre-recession employment levels (we need to add a minimum of 100,000 jobs each of the next 24-36 months before we even approach an unemployment level around 6%). There is still a lot of work to be done. However, now is the time to jump start (or reignite) your job search and regain that upward mobility that has alluded so many people over the past 2 ½ years.
Before you dust off that old resume and pull out the "interviewing suit" that has been hanging in the back of your closet for 3 years, it's time to recalibrate your market value. Chances are, your job, your company, your responsibilities and even your pay have changed dramatically during the "great recession", rendering your title and original job description obsolete. So how does one determine her market value with so many new variables to account for? Luckily, it is not as hard as it may seem if you focus on three letters - D.N.A.
Since the human genome was sequenced, the term DNA has become, well, part of our DNA! But how often do you think about your Professional DNA? I'm not talking about the chromosomes that make you predisposed to having blue eyes or brown hair. Rather, I'm referring to the hard wiring that creates an entrepreneur, a data analyst, a mechanical engineer or an attorney. In this instance, DNA represents your Drive, Niche and Accomplishments.
Drive "When I wake up in the morning, knowing I will be attending 2 networking events and meeting 2 new colleagues for coffee, it's the best feeling in the world!" Does this sound like your version of heaven or hell? How about "I had a hard time sleeping last night knowing that today is the day our new business analytics software is being installed and I will finally have the tools I need to develop that new cash forecast for the CFO" - best day ever or your worst nightmare? Determining what drives you is as simple as developing 8-12 statements clearly defining the activities that get you charged up and keep you going all day. This is the first step in redefining your market value because without knowing what motivates you, it will be impossible to identify your ideal position and company.
Niche Once you've identified the activities that motivate you, it's time to turn your attention to the kind of environment, culture, industry, or geography that sets you apart. As part of our career coaching practice, we encourage each client to develop a headline and use it on their resume, their LinkedIn profile, their business card and in their 30-second career pitch. This 3-5 word phrase is your calling card. The key to a memorable headline, however, is a function of its uniqueness. "Sales & Marketing Professional" or "Executive Seach in Shanghai" fails this test. It is incumbent upon you to define the unique characteristics of your sales and marketing experience or business acumen that truly sets you apart. Perhaps you were successful building and leading a sales team in the new Asian office. Maybe you were the marketing professional who developed the social media campaign for your company's 3 leading products, doubling your market penetration and brand awareness in 13 months. Or, perhaps you were the first woman CEO in your company, orchestrating a highly successful joint venture that surpassed projections by 118%. This is your niche and it refers to the common thread that runs through your most significant achievements - "International Business Development Leader" or "Proven Start-Up & Joint Venture Executive". This unique value proposition is what will distinguish you from the competition.
Accomplishments Now that we have identified your Drive and your Niche, it is time to take stock of your successes. While your Niche refers to the environment, location or situation in which you achieved your accomplishments, this final category refers to your specific achievements. "Uncovered $180k in overpaid vendor bills" or "Grew sales from $1.2m to $1.9m in 9 months" or "Developed a streamlined process that saved 290 hours per month on the shop floor". These are specific, they are measurable and they will serve as a comparison to your peers who did not accomplish these same results. This is not the time to be humble. While you never want to take credit for a team effort or embellish your role in the company's growth, this is your time to showcase your direct contributions and highlight how you are different. Although it may appear that these successes are "par for the course" in your field, keep in mind that no one else has experienced the same results with the same approach and perspective that you bring to the equation. Whether they are related to sales, human capital, systems or acquisitions, your accomplishments define what sets you apart as a professional in your field.