Shine tops the US AppStore Business Category

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Wow, Shine just made it to a Featured App on the US AppStore website. You cant buy these places, they’re given by Apple to apps that Apple considers are cool enough 🙂

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When it comes to job hunting, its quality over quantity

quality not quantitySeveral years ago whilst between contracts I decided I would use the power of a remote virtual assistant to help me get a new job.  I’d successfully used remote workers via ODesk for several years to perform tasks including SEO, translations, testing, and even software development at lower cost than local workers, thereby allowing me to spend more of my time on ‘higher value’ work, so why I thought not use the same theory in my job hunt.

My theory was good, or at least I thought it was, here’s how it went

  • I don’t mind interviews, but getting interviews is a pain and its time-consuming
  • I have to find agencies and send them my CV / resume
  • I have to find hiring managers who are recruiting for my sorts of roles and send them my CV / resume
  • A proportion of those I send out to will get back to me (many more will not)
  • I want to spend my ‘high-value’ time speaking to those that get back to me to secure an interview
  • If I can automate the first few steps (outreach), then I can focus on the high-value bit at the end: the interview and thus secure my next job

With this in mind I got onto ODesk and hooked up with a virtual assistant I’d previously used. I equipped him with copies of my CV and a cover letter outline, I set up a gmail account for him to use in my name, I targeted him on certain geographies and job titles, and I set him off on the outreach tasks.

But, in the end my next role was not secured through this route. In fact, I struggle now to recall much useful benefit from the process.  In fact, the lasting result of all that activity was that I found myself on so many jobs mailing lists that, even to this day, many years later, I’m still getting emails about (unsuitable!) jobs from agencies I’ve never heard of.

Here’s what went wrong, and why this approach did not work

There was no problem with my VA, he was awesome, but I made a fundamental mistake.

Whilst the phrase “it’s a numbers game” has embedded itself into our language, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.  I (or my VA) was sending out the same boring old resume and boring old cover letter that everyone else in the entire job hunting universe was sending out. I was not cutting through the noise, I was not standing out, in fact I was adding to the noise (recruiting managers spend less than 6 seconds reviewing your CV).

So, whilst you do have to connect with others to find a new job, you dont need to connect with hundreds or thousands.  Though this exercise I came to realize that it’s not about quantity, its about quality.  The only reason I thought I needed a VA to do the initial work was because I wrongly assumed that it was about quantity, when in fact job hunting is far from that.

Could you get a result that way? Sure, you probably could. But, it would be more about luck and probability than design.

The lessons

So, instead of taking on a mammoth task, be more targeted in your approach, and then with your targeted audience ensure you STAND OUT from everyone else who is also connecting with them.  In fact, my next role was secured with my very first graphical CV (or “resugraphic” as I called it then), I mailed it to around 20 targeted contacts from my address book – people in business that I’d connected with at some point in my career.

The targeted approach calls for you to put in more work in the targeting stage, in order to reduce the work in the outreach stage and simultaneously increase the likelihood of striking gold.

  • Job hunting is about quality not quantity
  • Be very discriminant about who you target
  • Make a focused, personalized outreach
  • Ensure the content of your outreach – your cover letter and CV – are VERY standout

You’ll reduce the work you have to do, and your increase your likelihood of success

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Use triggers to help you get a new job

Use a trigger to update your CVTriggers are small events or moments that occur throughout your daily life that remind you to do something. Some of the best marketing campaigns ever have used triggers to associate the marketed product with seemingly everyday occurrences or events, thereby increasing product recall and product purchases (for example the association of KitKat bars with “Have a break” or “kitKat and Coffee”).

Triggers remind you to take a certain behaviour and, in the best examples, create habits (though not always good!).

What’s this all got to do with getting a new job?

Well, why not turn triggers to your benefit; create a trigger of your own, something that triggers you to take action to ‘update my resume’ or ‘update my CV’.

Most people are champion procrastinators – especially when it comes to the less pleasurable tasks. We want to do something, but we put it off: the household job that we’ll do next weekend, the tax return that we’ll do next month, updating our resumes that we’ll do tomorrow. The problem of course is that when next weekend, or tomorrow comes, we either forget and then repeat the cycle, something else becomes important to do, or we simply put it off again in favor of a less onerous activity.

If your looking for a new job – maybe you’re out of work now, or maybe you’re seeking a career progression – your first step has to be to dust off your old resume or CV and update it. So, lets set a trigger to remind you. Here are a few I thought of to remind to you get on and update that resume:

  • the next time your boss upsets you
  • when you have a mid-morning coffee
  • when you step on the train for your morning commute
  • when you step on the train for your evening commute

The most powerful triggers are those that remind you of the desired action at a time when you can give immediate attention to it. So, for example, a great trigger to buy a new shower mat may be when you pick up the soap in the shower, but, you can’t very well buy one at that very moment (so by the time you get o the store – or online – you’ve forgotten) – thus this may seem like a good trigger, but its not the best. On the other hand, an example of a great trigger was the Budweiser “Wassup” ad campaign where the simple act of greeting friends became a powerful trigger for recalling the beer brand.

So, borrow a trick from the marketers, and set yourself a trigger to remind you to “update my resume” or “update my CV”.

When you land that new job you’ll be pleased you did.

Get Shine iPad and Mini iPad app to create an Infographic resume or Infographic CV to  supercharge your job hunting by really making your resume or CV POP!

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The ‘Coffee Shop resume’ CV

Coffee Shop ResumeI want to home-in on an idea in my previous post about the best time to update your resume or CV and explore in a little more detail one of the ideas it suggests:

Using coffee-break time to update your resume.

A friend suggested to me that updating your resume or CV was something that could not be broken up into smaller units of time; because the task needed continuity of thought and an element of getting ‘in the zone’.

I considered this somewhat, and there is an element of truth in what she said, but I don’t fully agree.

I agree that getting ‘in the zone’ is needed for many work tasks, and for many people ‘context switching’ (in this case from ‘day job mode’ to ‘CV writing mode’) can be difficult.  But, when you consider that a resume or CV is closely related to your work I don’t consider it such a tough switch.

I can see that a traditional text-heavy resume may be difficult to dip in and out of, but not so with something like a Shine Resume or CV (which I consider to be THE ONLY WAY you should present yourself in today’s crowded job market). You should try it, all you’ll need is an iPad or iPad mini and a few slots of time to hunker down in your nearest coffee shop.

What you’ll find is that the experience can be very rewarding in more ways than one:

  • The nature of building an infographic (informational graphic) resume with Shine is such that you can dip in and out in discreet chunks of time and information without loss of continuity
  • You’ll start to associate the activity of updating your resume with a pleasurable experience (a coffee break), making it far less onerous
  • Your resultant infographic resume is SURE to get you much more attention, helping you to stand out from the crowd and secure those all-important interviews

Go on, give it a try, get Shine here and pick your coffee shop now.

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The best time to update your resume or CV is…

Update my resumeOver the years I’ve updated my own CV / resume countless times. It’s always a significant investment of time, and its hard to find that time with so many other things competing for it, like:

  • that drink with friends at the bar
  • that great book I was reading
  • work commitments
  • family commitments
  • a sports event, contest, or participation

True, updating your CV or resume is rarely on top of the list, but if you want to land a new job you’ve got to do it.

Many jobs are harder to start when they feel like a big thing to do, so my suggesting is to break the job down into chunks, then make a short habit of attending to it in small bites of time over the course of a few days.  And, if you want to experiment with a different type of resume, one that is not only more interesting to create but that will stand out more, you could try Shine (iPad).

So, how about setting yourself a trigger for the activity, such as:

  • on the train on your commute to or from work
  • during a mid-morning coffee break (take you laptop or iPad and get out of the office for this)
  • over a lunch at the face over the road
  • the first 30 minutes upon returning home in the evening
  • the first 30 minutes upon waking up in the morning
  • if you work in an office, add 30 minutes on the end of your working day

Like a tax return, updating your resume or CV can feel like a daunting task. But, choose to do a little each day, and you’ll soon find you get it done.

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How to think more positively about job hunting

Think positive about job huntingJob hunting can be hard work – I’ve never met anyone who told me it was fun – and when you’re job hunting its easy to succumb to negative feelings and become disheartened.  The major reason for this is that, when we’re job hunting, we humans sub-consciously take the position of the under-dog; we’re asking someone else for something – a job – and that makes many of us uncomfortable.

But, let me set the record straight, coming from someone who’s been recruiting people for more than 20 years – its not all sunshine and light on this side of the process either, in fact, its challenging in many ways. So, I want to reprogram your brain to think differently (or, if you’re an Apple fan, to “Think Different”) about the process, and I’ll give you some hooks to remind yourself to do this.

Many people start out job hunting with thought patterns like this:

  • Oh god, I need to find a new job
  • This is a drag
  • I hope I get an interview. I hope they take me on
  • I hope the pay is OK
  • Etc., etc.

But I want to give you a different perspective and change it to this:

  • A new job is a new opportunity to progress my career
  • I’d rather be doing something else, but, the investment of time now is needed and it will pay dividends
  • I am a solution to the employers’ problem, they should interview me, its up to me to show them why, and if I can do that they will take me on
  • I am worth at least my market value, and its up to me to show them I’m worth more

There are very few people that can simply brainwash themselves into thinking differently. If you can then you’re one of the few, but most of us need some evidence to back up this thinking, and evidence that we can remind ourselves of when we waiver.

So here are the FIVE challenges that every recruiting manager faces, and to which YOU are the solution – you just have to get noticed, then show them.

1. I need to fill this/these roles, and I need them yesterday

Often, my staff needs come on fast. When its noticed that we need more people in an area of our business, or if we need a new role filled, we want it done now, not in 30, 60 or 90 days time. When you approach me proactively, you are pre-empting my need, if I don’t have something for you now, and provided I notice you and like what I see, I will file your details and I will remember you.

2. I have no spare time to do this

The pace of life used to be slower, it was easier to find the time to recruit, but now expectations of all parts of the business are high and there’s barely the time to keep up with the ‘business as usual’, let alone expansion plans like recruiting. Recruiting even one person is a big time draw, from writing job specs, getting ads placed, reviewing CVs and resumes, arranging interviews, interview, follow-ups, negotiating packages, etc. And remember for every job we normally have many applicants, so each of these operations is repeated many times over (more-so the earlier steps).

3. I get too many calls from agencies (sorry, recruitment consultants) – all of whom tell me they are specialists in my field

I don’t know any hiring manager today that doesn’t loathe to get calls from agencies. Why? Its odd. An agency helps you fill roles, but yet we dislike the calls. I put it down to the sheer number of calls we get. This again comes back to lack of spare time in every day, I already have enough to do, without taking countless calls from agency after agency, all who tell me they are specialists in my field. I’ve noticed that, almost to a fault, every agency caller masks their phone number (CLI) when they call. Its funny, I’m sure they do it because they know we don’t want to take their calls, but, now they all do it I’ve come to take a masked number as a signal that its an agency calling. So, very often now I don’t pick up masked numbers. Think about it, in the physical world, face to face, how likely are you to respond to an opening conversation if your would-be conversationalist was masking his identity.

4. Agencies are a necessary evil

Despite my dislike of agencies – or maybe just their methods of approach – I consider them useful to the extend of almost necessary when recruiting more than one person. Simply because they allow us to consider more candidates than the general shortage of time will allow. Still, I’d rather have a candidate that came direct to me than via an agency. To me that shows great initiative, plus I’ll save somewhere between 10% and 17% agency fee.

5. I get too many CVs and resumes in my inbox

I’ll get off the topic of agencies now, and talk about CVs and resumes in general, both via agencies and direct. Getting a load of resumes and CV’s is not a problem in itself because one has to see them to consider the candidates. But it does present a problem considering my lack of time available. The problem is causes is that I have to wade though so many text-heavy documents that all look the same, and I have to work very hard to weed out the good ones. Research shows that recruiting managers spend around 6 seconds reviewing a resume, its not because we are lazy, it’s because we have to be that fast to get through it all. So, do us a favor, if you’re the candidate I must see, make your CV or resume stand out please. Liven up my task please, give me something interesting, and for yourself ensure that you make an impression in those 6 seconds so I can put you on the ‘to interview’ pile.

As you can see, candidate hunting is a time consuming and laborious business, and if you remember this fact, you’ll be able to remind yourself that YOU and the SOLUTION to a PROBLEM that I have. With that in mind, get out there and present yourself, because sooner or later an employer WILL notice you, and you’ll be doing him a favor.

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A Book Recommendation

IMAG0173_1Slightly off topic, but only a little. Here’s a great book if you’re interested in making ideas spread.

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