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In The Press

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Thursday, September 15, 2005
William Hageman September 11, 2005

You're competing with 200 other people for one job opening. You've got to do something to make yourself stand out.

Consultants and authors Jack Heyden and Scott Kane ("Winning the Job Race: Pathways Through Transition," Gray Hair Management, $19.95 paper) have some ideas.

Their 4 1/2-year-old Deerfield company ( aims to help senior professionals in the job race through coaching, mentoring and networking.

Here are some suggestions from Heyden and Kane:

  • You need to know your value. That means knowing your professional strengths and weaknesses as a worker and being able to figure out quantitatively the value you had to your previous employer.
  • Next, be concise and specific in your interview. Be able to describe what you can do and have done in a precise, understandable way. A hiring manager won't understand long-winded statements about wonderful things you felt good about.
  • "When we work with people here," Heyden said, "the real emphasis is, if I meet you in the proverbial elevator and ask you what you do, if you can't tell me in 15 words or less what you do, with me really understanding, we're going off the wrong direction."
  • Don't assume the interviewer is getting your message. "I think the one common mistake most people make is they assume that the talking they're doing is understood by the person listening," Kane said. "Most people will be very courteous to you and say, 'Gee, that's very interesting, that's nice.' But they won't have a clue what you're talking about, nor do they know what you want. Most people can't figure that out unless you've figured it out first."
  • Don't wait until you're out of work to begin preparation for a job search. Plan ahead. Heyden and Kane said that the average senior position these days lasts 1.8 to 3 years. That means you should never stop trying to enhance your position. "The average time you're going to be out of work is going to be one month for every $10,000 in compensation," Kane said. "So if you were making $100,000 and lose your job, you'll be out an average of 10 months."
  • Heyden added that it could take two months to get everything in order for a job search if you are starting from scratch.
  • Keep your eyes open at work, and look for clues that some job shuffling--yours, perhaps--may be coming.

"People will walk in and say, Gee, I really didn't see this coming," Heyden said. "And then at the end of our discussion, eyeballs pop open. Because they'll say, "It was happening and I just didn't want to see it."

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

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Winning The Job Race Book by Scott Kane and Jack HeydenJack Heyden and Scott Kane are executives with over 60 years of combined experience who, in early 2000, were out of work, did not know each other and who were forced to reinvent themselves to survive in the 21st Century workforce.

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