What Is The Best Way To Plan To Win?
Simply stated, the best way to plan to "win" is to out-prepare the field of candidate competitors. The few that do get job offers.
Earlier blog messages in this series that addressed matters such as the best use of cover letters, stress-free interviews and submitting job applications electronically should be reviewed.
FYI: Three of the more effective concepts that best exemplify commitments to excellence that separate winning candidates from the balance of the field are the following:
1. Plans Of Action: The most important thing a candidate can do to present himself in his best light before a search committee is to submit a timely, well-formatted, concise plan of action, which must avoid the following pitfalls that most candidates fall prey to:
a. Failing to forward plans of action (either electronically, or via hard copy) to the search committees at least a week before a scheduled interview.
Most candidates hand-deliver their plans of action as they walk into the interview room, which is too late for the search committee to digest its contents before the interview begins a definite candidacy killer.
b. Failing to use the standard long range planning format when drafting a Plan of Action, which requires: (i) dividing the prepared text into, first a short range planning segment, second an intermediate range segment, and third a true long range planning segment; and (ii) within each of the three segments providing concept planning and pro forma budget data projections.
c. Failing (i) to keep the number of photographs to a reasonable 6-8 total; and (ii) to limit the length of the plan of action to 8-10 pages, or less.
2. Job Descriptions: Because most search committees do not have a working job description for the positions they are seeking to fill, candidates should either: (i) draft an original job description for the position they are applying for and include it within their submitted Plans of Action; or (ii) amend weak existing job descriptions to bring them up to the standard of originally drafted documents. (See August 1st blog.)
3. Web Site URLs: In the cover letter: present the web site URLs for: (i) your personal career website; and (ii) for your maintenance program web site. (See 10/1/14 blog message.)
While candidates that do not commit to implementing the above three commitments to excellence can still remain eligible to be hired, the reality of the situation is that if other candidates do commit to these pursuits of excellence they will be guaranteed of getting hired before those candidates that do not.
Therefore, this is a risk not worth taking.
Because less than 20% of all job applicants make a serious attempt to commit to excellence when applying for a job, as a general rule those candidates who absolutely plan to win will: (i) always get interviewed; and (ii) have earned their way on to the short list of finalists candidates.