January 9, 2010

Have You Figured Out Your Value Added Proposition? Don't Know What VAP is? You should...

I have been speaking and emailing with quite a few job seekers recently about their luck on their job searches. I keep hearing over and over that they are not having a lot of luck. They are getting interviews, which tells me that they have the requisite skills to do the job and that their resumes are making a fairly decent first impression. The fact that they still do not have an offer leads me to make a few conclusions - 1) They are up against really stiff competition and time and again, the comp is beating them out, or (and the most likely scenario) 2) They are not presenting their Value Added Proposition.

So, I asked a couple of them to take me through a mock interview of sorts. I wanted to hear about some of the questions they were being asked and what their responses were. Without boring you to tears on the meat and potatoes of the questions and answers, I will say that what I was hearing shocked and dismayed me. Most of the candidates responses were all about what they learned from the company and how the organizations that they worked for had helped them to become a better Recruiter, Customer Service Manager, Marketing Director, etc. In not one example did any of these candidates give an example of their Value Added Proposition. What is a VAP, you ask?

Succinctly, the Value Added Proposition is what you bring to an organization that the next person doesn't. What makes you or what you have to offer unique and worthwhile? You should be able to sum up you VAP in as few words as possible...preferably 10 words or less, although some will argue that it should be even fewer words. Your VAP is a personal version of a mission statement. In much the same way that a mission statement should be clear and concise, so should your Value Added Proposition. In effect you are selling yourself to a company in the same way that an organization is selling itself to its customers via its mission statement. For instance, my VAP is to "Provide High Quality Services, Under Time, Under Budget, and Within Scope". As your experience changes, so will your VAP. The more projects you take on and the more time spent in your field, the better your VAP will be. Therefore, consider your VAP to be an evolving statement of what you have to offer...a living, breathing, tag line, so to speak.

The bottom line is that, when you interview, companies are looking to see what you can do for them. It is the age old WIIFM factor..."What's in it for me?". The company wants to know why they should hire you, what you are going to provide to them in terms of cost savings, reduction in time and/or resources, increased sales/revenue, etc. It is when you can provide them with the answer to this need or needs that they didn't even realize that they had, when you will find yourself on the receiving end of the offer. So, I task each and every one of you to sit down and figure out your Value Added Proposition. Go get 'em!

January 3, 2010

What Are You Willing to do to Secure Your Next Position?

Today is Sunday. It is 6:49am and I am gathering the last of my things and putting them into my truck so that I can get on the road. Actually...strike that...I am taking 10 minutes away from doing that to type this. Then, I am going to finishing gathering what needs to be gathered, make a cup of coffee, load my daughter in her car seat and hit the road. See, I am about to make an 18 hour drive to New Jersey for a few days. Why on earth would I make that drive, just to spend a couple of days? Well, there is a perfectly good explanation. I have a job interview. Why would I travel 18 hours for a job interview? Well...why not?

I have been out of work for over 2 months. I was laid of from my position as an HR Manager back at the end of October. When I lost that position, I immediately started looking for a new position. While I love living in sunny Florida and love everything that Tampa has to offer, I also know that without a job, there is little that I can truly enjoy. So, with that in mind, I started putting out feelers. Of course, I am looking where I live but I also know that opportunities do not abound here in Florida. Not that they abound anywhere, for that matter, but I do know that there are more opportunities elsewhere than there are here. With unemployment at 11% in Florida and at over 12% in the Tampa Bay area alone, I had to expand my horizons. What better place to expand to than the place where I was born and raised - New Jersey?

So, with the quickness and the fierceness of a squirrel collecting nuts for winter, I started scouring various job boards...you're typical ones that Monster and CareerBuilder, as well as some not so typical ones like Indeed and JobFox. I sent my resume out to a number of organizations seeking anything from a Recruiter to a Generalist to a HR Manager (hey...this girl can not afford to be choosey) for here and afar. With no surprise, but with some scarcity, I started getting hits on my resume. Where were all of these calls and emails coming from? Recruiters and companies in New Jersey and New York. Over the last 3 months, I have traveled back and forth to New Jersey five times for interviews. I have yet to secure a position, so here I am again. On my way to New Jersey for yet again ANOTHER interview! But...I don't mind. Interviewing means that I actually have a shot at a job. I have more possibility than not having an interview.

This brings me back to the point of this post. I am ready and raring to go...ready to move back to the chill and ice and chaos of the northeast. Ready to rejoin the rat race of the big city. I am ready to relocate!! All I need is the job and I am there. My question, though, to all of you job seekers out there. What are you willing to do in order to secure your next position? Think on that...

January 2, 2010

Am I Having an Identity Crisis?

As we begin a new decade and a new year, I have begun to really think a lot more about my future and the future of my brand, CareerAnarchy. I had been thinking about the effectiveness of my brand for a while but it really wasn't until Shauna Moerke, the HR Minion talked about how she questioned the validity and effectiveness of her brand and moniker on the most recent HR Happy Hour, that I actually realized what has been bothering me these past 6 months. I am having an identity crisis! Shauna commented that she sometimes felt as if her brand didn't accurately represent her and that if often made it appear as if she was less qualified that she actually is. While I personally love HR Minion and what Shauna has done with her brand, I can definitely relate to her concerns.

When I started CareerAnarchy and dubbed myself the CareerAnarchist, my goal was to reinvent the way that Human Resources and Job Seekers went about their business. My hope was that CareerAnarchy would be a way for HR professionals, organizations, and job seekers to be more inventive, innovative if you will, in how they decided to conduct their business and their job searchers. I wanted people to break out of their shells and to not follow the status quo. CareerAnarchy was meant to be a guide post for all that is wrong in HR and all that is wrong in the way we seek out our career opportunities, so that we could begin to find new and creative ways to do things.

But, I feel, that in my pursuit of creativity and ingenuity in forming my brand, that I may have alienated some people. I often wonder if the term CareerAnarchy and my personal moniker, CareerAnarchist are too harsh...too volatile. I'm all about love (of HR and career coaching) and not war, but I ponder whether my brand gives people the impression that I am arming for a HR battle, or that I am the adversary to HR. This, my friends, couldn't be further from the truth.

So, as I sit here on the eve of the first night of the new year/decade, I wonder...am I really a CareerAnarchist or something else entirely? Should I reinvent my brand to be more in sync with mainstream corporate HR, or do I, as my brand currently depicts, be the anarchist and smash the status quo?

You decide. Drop me a line and let me know if the anarchist is here to stay!