At 78 years old, Bill Ellermeyer is an elder statesman of the job search world. He founded an Irvine, Calif. outplacement firm in 1981, which he sold to staffing firm Adecco in 1990, then ran that office as a division of Adecco subsidiary Lee Hecht Harrison until going out on his own as an independent coach in 2004. He specializes in what he calls career transitions for people who have lost their jobs at the executive level, mostly from the c-suite or as vice presidents. Some of his clients have been out of work for more than a year when they come to him. He pushes them until they find a new position. After three decades in the career coaching business, hes come up with eight rules, some counter-intuitive, that he says promise to land his clients a job.
1. Stop looking for a job.
Too many unemployed people equate looking for a job with sending out a rsum or answering an ad on a job board. If you send out 500 rsums to friends, family and companies, nobody is going to take the time to help you, he says. The only time you should send a rsum is when youve established there is a real job at a company for which youre being considered, or a headhunter is trying to fill an open position and requests one. Instead of presenting yourself as an out-of-work job seeker, come across as a resource. Let people know you can solve problems. Approach your job hunt as a search for quality relationships. Instead hand out business cards that portray you as a consultant.
2. Stop working on your rsum.
You need to have a printed rsum but increasing numbers of employers prefer to just look at your LindedIn profile. Also many companies just want the basic facts about your career, rather than a long, carefully crafted story about you in the form of a C.V. Im not sure I agree with Ellermeyer on this point, but I like his basic advice: Your rsum should be clean, clear, simple and no more than two pages. It makes sense to update it when youve made a major accomplishment, like increasing sales by 75% in your department or in journalism, writing a cover story. But you should be able to make those fixes in a few minutes. Do keep your LinkedIn profile up to date.
3. Hold your elevator speech.
After 20 seconds, no one can remember your elevator speech, contends Ellermeyer. Instead, he recommends telling a story about yourself that runs for 60-90 seconds. People remember stories, he says. Nobody wants to hear facts and figures. You should come up with a short, possibly humorous moniker for yourself. Ellermeyer calls himself a connector. One of his clients branded himself rent-a-CFO, and then told a story about how he had gone from project to project over the last year, and how he had found success at each job. Other possible short-hand titles: IT Problem-Solver, Deal Finder, Resource Solution-Finder.
4. Dont talk about yourself.
Instead of leading a conversation with the latest news about your life, says Ellermeyer, find out how you can serve other people. Be inquisitive about others and when you learn about them, try to suggest a book or article they may want to read or an event they might want to attend. Many people think that networking requires that they list their accomplishments. But it can be much more effective to ask others about their interests and needs.