Thursday, December 30, 2010

Four Communication Tips Job Seekers Can Borrow from TV Marketers

Job seekers would do well to use techniques that major advertisers do on TV to sell their products, according to Robert J. Gerberg Jr., CEO of SET. “These things have proven successful over time, which is why they continue to use them,” Robert J. Gerberg added. SET is a personal marketing firm working with executives, professionals and managers seeking $100,000 or more. Here are four things Gerberg advises you borrow:

  1. Start with a “communication strategy.” Know ahead of time the overall way you want to present yourself, the key phrases that describe your strengths and themes you will use to emphasize how much you can contribute. Savvy marketers start this way.

  1. Know your “selling proposition.” Whether it’s beer, perfume, soap or soda, all advertisers will have one basic “selling proposition” they know they need to get across, like “tastes great, less filling.” In your case, if you had to state it in a sentence, what is the reason an employer should hire you? What benefits do you bring them? How will you contribute? Once you have a short answer, make sure everything else you say reinforces that basic message.

  1. Prepare a “30-second commercial.” When you’re asked up front in an interview to talk about yourself or explain why you’d be a good addition, don’t go on at length. Have a 30-second statement prepared that emphasizes your best achievements and the skills and strengths you can bring to the table. Then ask for feedback as to whether that comes close to what they are looking for.

  1. Have stories ready. Many commercials on TV use a simple story to make their point, whether it’s a burglar foiled by their alarm system or a woman who falls “out of love” with her old mop after using theirs. People forget lists of strengths, but they remember stories about how you used your strengths. So prepare half a dozen action-oriented stories that tell of the challenges you faced, the actions you took to get past them and the results. They build your credibility, and interviewers will remember them long after the interview ends.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dead Language: What Words and Terms You Shouldn't Be Using on Your Resume

Team player. Exceeds expectations. Goal oriented. Yawn.

We've seen, read and heard about all these terms a thousand times before, and we'll probably hear all of them a thousand times again. And for employers viewing hundreds of resumes day in and day out, it's a sobering thought to think how often they see certain terms over and over again.

The crew over at Lifehacker (a fantastically resourceful site with stuff about technology, everyday fixes to problems and more) recently compiled a list of words to avoid so it doesn't look like everyone else's.

The words listed were:
  • Results-oriented professional
  • Cross-functional teams
  • More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
  • Superior (or excellent) communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Met or exceeded expectations
  • Proven track record of success
  • Works well with all levels of staff
  • Team player
  • Bottom-line orientation
 Reading the list you might immediately phrases you've heard and probably use. It might be time to give your resume another once over because with more than 30 million resumes in circulation, according to job expert Bob J. Gerberg, you can't afford to be lost in the shuffle.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Get the Gift of Temporary Employment This Holiday Season

With the economy both difficult and picking up, a lot of people are looking for some extra work to make it through this holiday season. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that this season employers could pick up extra temporary workers by as much as 30 percent. Good news for those looking.

In keeping with that, why not share some good tips for those looking for work this time of year.

Make an Impression
It doesn't matter if you're day job is chief executive officer; if you're interested in moonlighting for a coffee shop or a cafe, dress for success and make sure you look and act professional.

You Know What They Say About the Early Bird...
It's never too early to start your search, so the sooner the better. If you haven't started already, do it now. Not tomorrow, not next week. Start right now. It only increases your odds of landing a job.

Location, Location, Location
Look around you, and consider whether or not there's any businesses near your current job or house that would be a good fit for you. It'll make working there even more convenient for you, and it enables you to have a little bit more in terms of hours.

Do What You Know
You'll have a much better chance of getting in the door if you find something related to your experience, interests or even hobbies. While it doesn't have to be exactly what you do for the rest of the 40 hours a week or the same industry, it'll help if you can bring some ideas to the table. And if you're interested in the work you're doing, it'll make working there go from unbearable to unbeatable.

Bring a Resume
OK, so you're resume might show that you're maybe a little overqualified. But temp work isn't about that. Bringing a resume and pointing to your experience and abilities only shows that you really do want the job and have credentials and stability to back it up.

In the End, It All Comes Down to Attitude
Never act like you're doing them a favor working for them or that you're looking for holiday work just because you have to. Always be enthusiastic and positive. Smile a lot. They're looking for someone to perk up the holidays, not the Grinch. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Enjoyment is Key

There is no substitute for working at a job you enjoy.

You may not love your job or jump out of bed every morning with excitement to go in, but to be completely miserable is not healthy.

Having the right job can affect your feelings, your family, your  energy and even your whole outlook on life. 

Do people recognize this? Of course they do. But, when it  comes to jobs and careers, most people play it safe. They tend to underestimate themselves and therefore remain in jobs that offer little future. Worse yet, many are in positions that are dull, routine and less than challenging. 

These people have stopped growing. They are not giving themselves a chance. Why? Well, it’s easier to stay with what is familiar rather than risk the unknown. 

It is also hard to overcome inertia and take that first step. However, one of the great lessons about jobs and careers is that every person has a reservoir of talents and skills that are untapped. 

What’s more, this unused potential has been proven to exist at virtually all ages. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Burn Bridges

No matter how you feel about your current or previous employer, do not burn bridges.

If you were stepped over for promotion or let go, do not make a scene. You never know when your actions will come back to haunt you.

The business world is a small world when it comes to individual fields. Odds are someone you might want to work for one day will hear of your actions. Not to mention the fact that you will need a good, if not great, reference from previous employers.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Be Remembered

If there is an opening for a job, there will be plenty of applicants, no matter the state of the economy. You need to stand out by being remembered.

Your resume and references may help you get your foot in the door and have employers excited to meet you, but you get offers by them remembering you.

When in the interview, not only be prepared, but tell stores that will stick in people's mind.

When asked about your hobbies and interests, have an anecdote that will make the boss chuckle or be impressed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Encouraging News

Today CNN reported initial jobless claims are the lowest they have been since 2008. 

The number of initial claims fell to 407,000 last week, down 34,000 from 441,000 claims filed the week before, the Labor Department said Wednesday -- far better than economists had expected.

While this does not mean we are entirely out of the woods, it shows the tide is turning. Do all you can on your job hunt with the most eye-catching resume and sharpest interviewing skills. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The holiday season rolling around can really lose its luster if you are unemployed.

We all have so much to be thankful for that the thought of little to no income can overshadow the riches we do have in our family and friends.

We at SET hope you have a happy Thanksgiving among those riches.

A few things to keep in mind; is your resume as presentable as possible or just mundane? Are you aware and looking for all the available job openings? They are out there. Do you have skills that can crossover to another field you haven't given thought to yet?

We have been in the business of helping people find employment for many years, and you know what, we are very good at it. People in your life are no doubt grateful for the help you have given them, but, now, maybe it's your turn to receive a little help yourself.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Selling Proposition

Don't wait for the economy to change for you, you need to change with it.

The best way to go about this is to have a "selling proposition."

Start by identifying the needs and opportunities faced by employers most likely to hire you.  Then think about how you’ve met similar challenges in the past and received good results.  Next, craft a brief statement that gets right to the point. 

Your next step is a communication strategy.  Do you have any liabilities?  A good communication strategy will first get across how you’ll contribute.  But, Gerberg stressed it also needs to neutralize or even turn to an advantage any liabilities. 

Any experience you have in a related field to your own, expand so you can be more marketable and be able to do more for a future employer.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Interviewing Myths + 1

Fortune magazine released its top 10 myths about interviews today. And, although the list was solid and informing, it seemed to lack one aspect — finding a personal connection.

When interviewing, you want to present the best possible appearance to coincide with your impressive resume. Yet, more than that, you have to be liked by the interviewer. They may like what you have done at other businesses, and respect your references, but do they like you?

How does this happen, you ask? Find that personal connection.

When you walk into the boss's office look around at everything. Does he like art? Have golf clubs? Movie posters? Pictures from exotic vacations?

Look for anything he likes, you like. When asked to tell about what you enjoy hobby wise; this is when you strike — the connection.

Be thought of to a high degree in the interview, but close by being liked. This is an enormously important aspect and the one missing from the Fortune list. But, don't worry, we've got you covered.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Above and Beyond

There are a lot of discouraged job seekers out there, with good reason, but you can't let that take all the steam out of your drive for employment. 

There are still over 4 million good jobs going unfilled this very moment. No kidding. Keep in mind the door swings both ways and many employers are not finding the caliber of people they want to fill openings. But then again, they haven't met you yet!

Take your initiative to the next level.  Contact employers who have not advertised, but are the most likely to need your talents.  Before a job ever gets advertised, it is often filled by referrals, networking, recruiting from competitor firms, or a letter hits the desk of the decision maker at just the right time.  It could be yours.

Develop some ideas about how you can make contributions to employers, in light of trends in their industry.  Then identify key people in companies in the industry, and write them, letting them know you’d appreciate feedback from a knowledgeable industry source as to whether your ideas make sense.

The idea listed above can be something as simple as learning the birthdays of the higher-ups at a company you want to work for and sending them well wishes and reminding them of your yearning to be a part of their business. 

When you read business news, ask yourself, might this signal an opportunity for me?  SET Personal Marketing streams news daily from our website and Facebook page to people for trends, target industries and locations. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No Limits

People in healthcare and energy fields might not be interested in considering other industries, since so many good jobs are being created there, but are you missing out because of your limits? 

With so many industries in trouble or not hiring, many people need to find a job in a new industry. 

This is a scary thought, but one that should be taken seriously. Can you branch out with what you majored in? Did you have a minor that could open new doors to you?  

For people in administration, HR, accounting, finance and legal functions, switching industries is often not a problem. But others face a challenge because they usually have no experience and little knowledge about other industries. But that doesn't mean you are out of luck. 

Figure out your transferable skills, look for firms and job opportunities where there is growth because of the demand for the product.

Lastly, don't be afraid to further your education. This doesn't even have to be taking classes of any sort. If a friend or former co-worker has a skill or knowledge you think could benefit you, ask them to give you a lesson or two.  What are friends for, after all. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Idle Hands

The worse thing you can do when in between jobs, is nothing. Not only will it show a gap in employment on your resume — a red flag — but the skills you possess will suffer as well.

While searching for that next executive level position, practice whatever your skill set is, don't let your knowledge become rusty. Stay up with the news and where business fads are going, they change a mile a minute.

If you have skill to freelance; do. If you like to volunteer; do.

Don't make the mistake others will of letting your business IQ drop just because you are not currently in the mix of things. You'll be back sooner or later, and it will be much sooner if you can show employers you are ready to hit the ground running.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mission Statement

Look at your resume and see if it just lists your previous experiences and education, or if it really shows what you can do for a new employer.

A good mission statement in a resume is subtle, you don't want to come right out and say it, but rather show it through what you have done for other companies, in helping them to become more successful and run more efficiently.

When you describe your experiences with previous companies state what you did to add to that company, not just a simple overview of your functions in the office.

Your resume has to sell you, make sure you jump off the page and be someone a CEO can't wait to meet for an interview.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Conscience Networking Postings

Think future employers won't look you up on Facebook or MySpace after an interview?

Think again.

Be conscience of what you post on any social networking site. You don't know who might be checking them out.

Just because the content and pictures of you are not while you were working, employers may feel those postings are just as good representation of you as your resume or interview.

If your social sites are open for anyone to view, go through the content and ask yourself if there is anything that paints you in poor light. If there is, you may want to make some changes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A resume is so much more than words on a page chronicling your job history through the years.
More entries are not necessarily better as they may show you have bounced around a lot from job to job, which could hurt you when applying for a new position.
A great resume is a work of art, especially with times the way they are now.
Not only does the ink on the page have to show your skills and experience, but it has to be presented in such a way that grabs the eye of the reader…a possible employer.
Some people might think of a resume as something mundane or a chore they have to attend to from time to time in case they need to look for work in the future.
This thought process has to be changed.
You are no doubt proud of the university you attend and the degree/s obtained. You worked hard in your past positions for companies and are more skilled because of the knowledge obtained through the years. So why would you let all that fall flat on such an important piece of paper?
Develop a “Straight Line” resume.
This means you need to have all your ducks in a row. SET measures all the resumes we write by several criteria, and this one is basic. The idea here is to make sure that if you have a stated goal at the top, which you should, then every other part of the resume needs to support that goal.
If you say you want sales, for example, you don’t want to be emphasizing operations achievements. Or if you’ve been working in a consulting firm and want to switch to the corporate side, you don’t want to be talking about building consulting revenues. Rather, you cite the improvements you brought about for clients, because that’s what counts for your prospects.
Don’t think of putting a resume together as chore, but rather creating a masterpiece of you, which will catapult you into your next job.

School’s Out

With the economy and job market the way they are, many people have made the decision to go back to school.
This is by no means a bad idea, but simply using school as a way to ignore the problem of unemployment may lead to another dead end.
To start, maybe the reason you are having a hard time finding a job is because your resume is not eye-catching enough, and that has nothing to do with work or education history. It just may be presented in a way that is not standing out among the others on an employer’s desk.
In addition, if you have a great resume, but know you interview poorly due to the stress, then it won’t matter how many degrees you have, the issues holding you back will persist even after you decide to return to the working world.
Yet, taking a class or brushing up on skills you identify as required for the kinds of positions you are going after, is a wise decision. And in the meantime, telling an employer you are a quick study, have grasped new things quickly all your life, and always look to learn more to stay on top of the field, is never a bad statement.
When you decide to go back to school simply to avoid the poor economy, it’s not so much a matter of running away, as it is ignoring the problem. Not only will you not be putting your best foot forward, you will just continue to pile up expenses through tuition.
Continuing an education can be the right choice. Just make sure that when you throw your hands up in the air and say you’re going back to school, you are doing it for the right reasons, and with some specific goals. And give some added thought to whether you could get a job right now with the education and skills you possess, if you presented them in a way that makes it easy for employers to see how you’d contribute.
Education is always a wise choice, but the school of preparedness is never out for summer.


Having a top-notch resume is just a part of marketing your skills and yourself to employers.
In this day and age of technology, go one step further and create a personal website, centered around your skills and work experience.
Your personal marketing website will accent your skills, further entice employers and help close the deal for employment.

Digital Resume

If you only have hardcopies of your resume for mailing, there is a problem.
In this day and age, a digital resume is necessary. Not only is it easier to change and update, but there are job listings out there that ask for it to be attached when filling out other information online.
A hardcopy of your resume is good to have on hand for an interview, but one that can be sent off in the blink of an eye is imperative.


When you use a hashtag (#) before a word on a Twitter posting, it helps others find that topic.
Use hashtags to help in your job search, to see how and where others are discussing a certain topic.
You will quickly see the keywords most people are following (you can check that at These are the keywords that will let you connect with more people.
If you use them, you can build a larger network more quickly on Twitter, and you network will be composed of people with interests closely aligned to yours.

Know Your Audience

Don’t make the mistake of sending the same blanket résumé to every job posting you discover. Do some legwork.
Find out a little bit about the company beforehand and what they may be looking for in an employee. Sometimes you can get a job description.
If not, find out as much as you can about the position and market your skills accordingly. One way to do that is to check out what’s required for similar positions in other companies.
Sending out the same résumé to everyone may fall flat because, although you have the skills companies are looking for, they might not jump off the page in a general resume.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Turnaround

When asked in an interview what your weaknesses are, take the opportunity to turn what could be a negative topic into a positive.
If you know you are a perfectionist, convey that by saying you are too hard on yourself sometimes because you always feel like no matter how a good a project is, it could always be better.
Always take this opportunity in an interview to reinforce your strengths, rather than actually displaying any weaknesses.

The Spots

It’s true a lot of networking can be done over the Internet these days, but don’t forget the good old-fashioned way of meeting in person at a popular hangout.
If you know the social clubs and watering holes where others from your industry relax, make it a point to stop by from time to time. It can’t hurt to get your name and face out there, so if someone does know of an opening in the future with a company, they’ll think of you.
Stopping by a nice lounge or club for a cocktail could turnout to be the first step into a future job, so cheers!

Blog It Out

If you have something to say that can offer insight into your line of work, consider blogging about it.
Blogging can pertain to any daily thought or feeling, but  has also become a very real amenity businesses are utilizing these days.
Joining the business blog world will allow you to share your insights and market yourself while looking for work.
A good business blog will give deeper meaning into what you have to offer your career field and show possible future employers that you are the person they want add to their company.