Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Are your emails ignored? Try This-

Most people get blown off because their e-mails are shabby, poorly written, meandering, and a waste of time.

And that's because most e-mail ignores the needs of the audience and fails to answer the simplest question: why should the recipient of this e-mail care, understand, know, and agree with what you're saying?

It's probably no surprise that this is the case because they don't teach "Writing Great E-mail" in college (or, really, in business either). That's sad, because it ends up costing lost time in your job and in your job search.

I don't want this to happen to you, so I've collected my ten best tips on writing great e-mail below:

1) Your subject line should say why you are sending the email.

"Over-achieving Operating Executive - David Weaver" is much more effective than "Responding to job post".

This may sound obvious, but please, do not send e-mails to the HR department at, say, Amazon with the subject line, or document name, "Application for Amazon job". They know you're applying to Amazon, and this makes it easy for your email to get lost or ignored.

Putting your name in your subject line will help the hiring manager, who's already strapped for time, stay organized. And providing a theme - with just a tiny bit of self-promotion - will remind them why it's important to read your email.

2) Cut to the chase. Quickly.

"I'm writing to apply for the Senior Manager, Logistics position as my 20 years in logistics with Wal-Mart and Target make me a great fit for your company"... is the right way to start off your e-mail. Put all the details into later paragraphs.

This is super-helpful in this Age of Mobile -- your recipient will probably see the email on her or his iPhone, Blackberry or laptop first, so you need to make it easy for them to read and understand your message while they're on the go.

3) Number or alpha-bullet points.

When you have 8 different points and you list them all in a row without numbers or letters in front of them, it is very difficult for your reader to respond in an organized way.

Use a) b) c) or 1) 2) 3) to break up the email, clarify your main points, and make responding to you easy.

4) Be concise.*

5) Use bold, sparingly, to accentuate words that you'd like emphasized.

6) Attach with caution!

MS Word documents are the safest form for resume attachments. Always send your resume as a .doc or .txt unless a recruiter specifically requests otherwise.

While formats like PDFs may seem harmless, Adobe isn't as widely accepted as MS Office. Don't give a recruiter a single reason to throw your correspondence in the trash bin. And if a recruiter or job listing specifically says "no attachments", be sure to follow the rules!

7) Two-dollar words, please.

William Faulkner said about Ernest Hemingway: "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."

Hemingway retorted: "Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"

While these two Nobel Prize winners might have an interesting debate on words and art, when it comes to your e-mails, you should avoid the long, confusing, "ten dollar" words. They're too tough to read and understand:

"I am a seasoned, world-class operating executive who redefines value-added metrics to leverage world-class retention strategies and synergizes cutting-edge partnership implementations to achieve innovative relationships."

Now, c'mon, you know you've heard stuff like this come out of your mouth, on accident, on occasion, so just let this be a friendly reminder that keeping it simple is the best way to keep your e-mails successful.

8) Make your request clear.

When writing back and forth by e-mail, it is very easy for vague words to cause confusion. Do not do use vague words, but rather make it clear what you want the reader to do and in what timeframe by being precise:

"Can you please confirm our phone interview for 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 6th?"

And, in turn, be very clear about the actions you're going to take, being as specific as humanly possible:

"I followed up with Lindsay and she's requested additional references from my time at Apple. I'll have those to her by 4 p.m. Wednesday."

9) Delete every word that is not absolutely essential.

After you've written an e-mail, please go back through and delete every single word that is not absolutely essential to achieving your meaning. Just like everybody else today, recruiters don't have time to read through wordy cover letters, so keep it simple!

For example, you might replace:

"I am an award-winning sales executive who has proven on numerous occasions to greatly increase the productivity of employees under me and raise revenue company-wide."

With the much shorter and more meaningful: "Increased company revenue by 70%."

Fewer words means more likely to be read!

10) Read the superb thoughts of George Orwell, author of "1984" and "Animal Farm", in this classic 1946 essay: "Politics and the English Language."

*4), revisited: "Be concise" communicates everything I want you to know about communicating with brevity. In the interests of teaching, however, I'll explain a bit further: every excess, useless, stuffed-shirt word that you pour into your e-mail makes it more likely that your e-mail will be ignored. Forgotten. Deleted.

I do not want this to happen to you. So please, being concise means making your point and then making the recruiter's day by letting them get back to their work.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Five Tips for Standing out in Your First Job

With a very competitive job market and many candidates to choose from, getting a job can be a difficult task.  Keeping that job can be a challenge as well.  Knowing these five steps will give you the knowledge on how to maintain that job, as well as becoming a superior employee.
Be the One Everyone Wants to Work With
Members of Generation Y, or those born roughly between 1978 and 1993, unfortunately, have a reputation of showing up to work with a sense of entitlement. Combat this perception by showing that you're willing to pay your dues and learn from any assignment, owning your career progression and being a "can-do" person. If you encounter roadblocks, marshal your resources to get around them rather than letting a project languish.
Surpass Your Boss's Expectations
Find out what the boss wants from you first, and then brainstorm ways to go above and beyond the call of duty. You can also establish a good rapport by making your new boss feel needed. Show that you are ready and willing to be guided, and bond over the fact that he has some years on you. Understand the value of self-sufficiency, and approach your boss with a problem or complaint only if you've explored all options for resolving it yourself.
Carve a Niche for Yourself Through Innovation

Ask yourself what your company or department needs, and think about how you can use your unique set of skills and talents to provide it. So what if you're hardly a Renaissance man or woman? You're still new blood. Can you offer a fresh perspective on a vexing problem that has been plaguing your managers for months? Can you find a way to do something faster and more efficiently?
Take the Extra Step to Help Someone
Beach-ball management, or bouncing a request over to a colleague because it's not your responsibility to handle it, is all too common in the professional world. If someone asks you a question and you don't know the answer, make it your business to find it. By doing whatever you can to ensure your department or organization is perceived in a positive light, you will add value and stand out as a team player.

Subtly Promote Your Achievements
If you want people to take notice of you, you must make your accomplishments visible. How do you share your contributions without being perceived as arrogant or boastful? The key is enthusiasm. If you emphasize your passion when describing an achievement, people will think you're just excited about it. An excited person appears earnest, and it's hard to be critical of someone who's earnest.

Citation: A. Levit “Five Tips for Standing Out in Your First Job” Yahoo! (2011). Retrieved June 13, 2011.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ERC Golf Tournament

  This past Saturday, June 11th, Executive Recruiting Consultants raised $4,400 for the Springfield South Dakota's Golf Course.  It was a great day with perfect weather.  Thanks again for all the volunteers, sponsors, and golfers.  We look forward to this being an annual event!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Agriculture Ready For Change

Agriculture is ready for change

A distinguished professor from Iowa State University in the Department of Sociology, Cornelia Flora, says that reducing financial risks and improving sustainability are important to everyone and public policy should move in that direction.

“We need a long-range approach on how we use the land,” said Flora, emphasizing the need to be more sustainable.  “And farmers are already making adjustments.”

Using new crop rotations, planting fruit trees on marginal land that will keep soil in place, and having cattle graze on grasslands are some changes that Flora would like to see.

Flora says the goal of any future change should not be to decrease productivity but to be more sustainable while at the same time making money.

Citation: “Time is now for transformative change in agriculture, says ISU professor.” Midwest Producer. (2011).Retrieved June 9 2011.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

ERC New Team Member

ERC welcomes Stephanie Falor to the team! Stephanie will be our intern for the summer and will be assisting the operations department. We are extremely excited to have her and she makes an excellent addition to our team.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fordyce Forum Conference 2011

  Last week, members of Executive Recruiting Consultants, Inc. attended the 2011 Fordyce Forum in Las Vegas.  Picking up many new ideas on how to exceed the expectations of our candidates and clients.  This was proven to be an excellent conference for all who attended and we look forward to utilizing the knowledge we acquired.  We are geared up for the second half of 2011 and very excited to implement new ideas into our company.

ERC Baby

Congratulations to ERC's Adam & Jessica Myers on the birth of Jameson Merritt Myers. Weighing 10lbs 2 oz. Mom and baby are doing great. Congratulations Adam & Jessica!