This is a shameless plug to get people to read my story, come to my website, and interact with me...all with the goal of landing my next sales leadership role. If you are looking for your next job, maybe some of what i write here can help you. If you like what you read here, feel free to reach out to me. If not, reach out to me as well.
Losing your job is not fun, especially when it isn't expected.
I was the Head of Sales (VP) at a technology company...not to go into details about my job loss, suffice it to say that I wasn't the right fit for the last company that I was at. I hired 12 stellar salespeople, who according to the company, were not the right fit either. These were "President's Club" caliber people, who are honest, hardworking and otherwise successful. Most have found a landing spot, but if you are looking for a superstar individual contributor, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will introduce.
So being faced with the prospect of not collecting a paycheck, I embarked on a process to not only brand myself, but to market myself as if I were a product I am trying to sell. Marketing yourself as a product is incredibly hard to do. Being able to brand yourself from within your own skin is actually a lot harder.
I can sell anything...but can I sell myself?
So what steps did I take? Some were normal...and some were a little overboard.
Step 1: Draft a new Resume
My resume was not a good representation of who I am. Not to say that I didn't try...I did. But my writing skills are meant for blogs and the occasional book (I wrote a book, here it is)
I enlisted the help of an expert. You can find experts by asking friends for recommendations. I went to Deb James. She last did my resume over 10 years ago. It cost me some money, but it was worth it. The result is an excellent resume. (Click here to connect to her on Linkedin)
Deb went through the process with me, re-wrote my resume and also discussed some of her other services such as an email blast. I ASSURE YOU, that your resume will be substantially improved if you have it written by a professional.
It became clear to me that I needed to be much more proactive in my search, and I needed to get the attention of software companies. I had Deb send out my resume to her list of active recruiters and VC firms. We got some great responses. CLICK HERE for her website.
ALSO, I have made a habit of modifying my resume to match the job description. I do not lie, but I make sure that I include everything in the job description that is applicable to me.
Money Well Spent? Absolutely.
Step 2: Create My Own Branding Page
Every company that I have worked for has a great website that perfectly explains their product/service. Why shouldn't I have one?
Someone had already taken www.weinstein.com, so i searched for a url that would be easy to recognize. So I went over to domain.com and acquired www.weinstein.tech for $148 (3 year term, along with 1 email address). The Email address goes through gmail, and the process is pretty easy.
I then used weebly.com to create website (This is the website). The cost of Weebly hosting and DIY design was $145.32 for the year. I initially used my last professional headshot as the main page photo. I realized that I look old in this photo...more on how I changed it later.
On the website (as you can see) I put a number of things that you cannot put on a resume, but seem to be really important.
Money Well Spent? Most Certainly!
Step 3: If you Build It, They Will NOT Come
Just because you have a website, you aren't assured that anyone will find it or be interested. Unfortunately, I don't have the wherewithal or the time to organically grow my audience. I do have a couple of tricks up my sleeve. Some have worked, some...not so much.
1. LinkedIn Advertisements: I have tried three different advertisements on Linkedin to attract people to my website. My audience that I was able to select was anyone that worked for a software company that had the title that included talent, recruit, HR, and others. The 2nd audience i chose was anyone with the title Principal or Partner at a VC firm.
2. Mass Email: I decided to create an email campaign through Outlook, geared towards a list of recruiters in technology as well as certain PE firms that invest in Real Estate Tech. It's a good idea to lean on your contacts who you are close with to get these lists. Go through websites, and identify the Companies/Opportunities/Investors. A lot of legwork is needed on your part. The good news is that you can do a lot of this during Monday Night Football.
Money Well Spent? This didn't cost me a penny...It occupied a lot of my time, but it was worth it. I have gotten some great interviews (also got some "Remove Me From Your List" responses).
3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator: For $122 per month, LI Nav is a great tool.
Money Well Spent? For $122 per month, it was a wise investment. You just have to use the inmail as well as the advanced search often. Credits are replenished at the beginning of each month.
4. Zoho SalesIQ (Salesiq.zoho.com). O. K. This one is a little out there.
This app helps you identify your visitors , and even communicate with them in a little chatbox at the bottom of the page. The script is easy to install on Weebly, and it allows me to track who is coming to the website, how long they are staying, and what city they are visiting from. I also have a method of tracking which emails are garnering the biggest response rate.
Best thing about it? Aside from some more advanced features, It's free.
Money Well Spent? FREE!!!!! So yessir!
5. Direct Mail:
OK. This was an idea I had while in the shower. It sounded really good when I was thinking it, really good when executing it, and once I got to the post office, I had doubts. But I still did it.
I went on Moo.com, and ordered 1000 Postcards.
Moo Charged me $179.39 for the postcards,
The postal service charged me $.40 per postcard or $240 (I sent out 600)
So I spent $419.39. Not sure if I got any interviews out of it. nobody let me know that they got it.
Money Well Spent? Meh. It was worth a shot, right?
6. Hire a Career Coach:
I recently hired a wonderful person to be my career coach. She gets it. Her name is Wendy Taylor.
I just hired her yesterday, but she is putting my brain at ease.
She asked the right questions, had the perfect amount of empathy, and she has eased my mind a bit.
Money Well Spent? Not sure yet, as I am less than 24 hours into this...but so far, she is excellent.
Step 4: Make Myself Look Younger. There, I said it.
I know that most companies would never discriminate on age, but I didn't want to take any chances. MIND YOU, I understand technology and computers more than anyone in their 20s or 30s, i never want my lack of youth to get in the way of a job.
So on top of the vanity play of dying the grey out of my beard, I also had a photographer friend of mine take some more youthful photos of me (to replace the standard corporate headshot). You can see some of these photos on my website. Here is her facebook page
My father always told me that when interviewing or being photographed for business, always wear a red tie. The world has changed a bit, as I have been told by a number of recruiters that tie are not popular in interviews anymore. While I may not be as young as I once was, I have as much energy and creativity as I always did. And I have many years of Sales and Sales Leadership behind me.
Carly Simon was correct.
TO SUM IT UP:
Searching for a job is an exhausting process.
A couple of things I have learned while doing this.
1. There are a lot of so called experts. There is no correct formula in landing your next job. I think the key is to keep plugging away, and keep being myself.
2. Be creative. Some of my ideas were great. Some were not so great. I just decided to own all of them.
3. Keep my chin up. Not every opportunity is meant for me. The next great one is around the corner.
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