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Go to the Head of the Interview Class: Assemble a Job Business Plan

By Donald J. Strankowski
Ascend Career and Life Strategies, LLC

One high-powered strategy for gaining notice and differentiating yourself from the rest of the job search crowd is called the Job Business Plan. 

Most employers are quite surprised, albeit pleasantly, when someone has taken the time to assemble a business plan for a position they don’t even have yet.  Many of my clients have gained employment in their chosen field and credit the Job Business Plan strategy for playing a crucial and in some cases a deciding role.
 
A Job Business Plan is a two to three page mini-business plan you present to the prospective employer during the interview or, in certain cases, before the interview phase.  It is designed to show them that you took the time to assess their business needs, perhaps by speaking with an inside coach or the hiring manager, and have used your creativity and business intellect in designing an action plan to offer solutions. 

You are also making a statement about the quality of your work and that you employ the mentality of always–doing–more–than–is–expected.  You are showing them that you are a problem solver and someone who has thought through the requirements of the job in advance.  

A resume basically details your accomplishments and past experience.  A Job Business Plan tells the employer how you’re going to solve their particular business needs, as they pertain to the position you’re applying for.  This is your game plan for getting the job done!

Ammunition for the Job Business Plan

The written job description in many cases will give you a good indication as to what needs the employer has.  However, it is always best to hear it straight from the source.  Find out directly from the person–who–has–the–power–to–hire you what the top 3-5 key critical business issues are that the new hire will be addressing.  In other words, find out what the most important aspects of the job are. 

If you cannot get through to the power-to-be or hiring manager, assemble the Job Business Plan based on information from the job description, company web site, and your business knowledge on what the position will entail.  If it’s a similar position to what you’ve held before, this shouldn’t be difficult at all.  You can also (if you haven’t already) develop an inside coach within the company to assist you.  Or, maybe you know someone in your network circles who has a similar position that could help you out.  Regardless of content, the simple fact that you took the time to assemble the Job Business Plan will increase your chances tremendously. 

 Job Business Plan components

Does your Job Business Plan have to hit the bull’s eye in terms of solving the employer’s business needs?  Not at all.  The Job Business Plan is mostly a “statement” that describes your work ethic and business acumen.  You will most likely not be hired because the prospective company wants to implement your plan immediately.  However, you will gain notice and differentiate yourself from the rest of the field based on your creativity, strategic thinking, and proactive approach.

The Job Business Plan should be very professional and business-like.  Here are the recommended key components:

  1. Cover Page: Construct with the company name, address, and position applying for.  Also include your full name as “Prepared By” and date the document.  You may even want to copy their logo from their web site to dress up the cover page.
  2. Vision: This is a paragraph or a few sentences as to what you are going to bring to the position and how you see yourself contributing.
  3. Key Business Issues: Exactly what you’re going to do for the company. What top 3-5 key critical business areas or issues will you be addressing in this position?  Construct one to two paragraphs or provide bullet points detailing as to how you would address each business issue.  Be succinct, clear, and concise.
  4. Timeline: An approximation of when you think you will get things done.
  5. Relevant Skills: List 3-4 of the top skills that you will be utilizing in order to reach your objectives.
  6. Impact: Describe in one paragraph what kind of impact that your addition and the implementation of your action plan will have on the company.

In a perfect situation, your Job Business Plan will have all of the above components.  In some situations, you may simply not have enough information.  Therefore, use the above mentioned components as a guideline.  At the very least, expound on your skill set and what you have to offer and relate this information to as much as you know about the job responsibilities.  As mentioned, the simple fact that you took the time to assemble a Job Business Plan will set you apart form the other candidates.

When to submit the Job Business Plan

Submit the Job Business Plan during the interview for maximum impact.  It has been my experience the Job Business Plan is so well received that your chances for a second interview will be increased dramatically. 

When you present the Job Business Plan during the first interview, it is almost guaranteed that the person who is making the hiring decision will see it, either during the actual interview or after you leave, depending on the company’s hiring process.  Most companies interview candidates in multiple stages, with 2-4 separate interviews for the candidate who is ultimately hired. 
Present the Job Business Plan to each person at every level of the interview process.  This means always coming prepared to each interview with multiple copies of the Job Business Plan.  Work it in when it is your time to speak, preferably when you are being asked questions discussing how you would handle a certain situation or what skills you have to offer.  Introduce the Job Business Plan and then discuss the highlights; no need to go through the entire thing verbatim. 

The Job Business Plan does a great job of selling itself (and you), even after you leave.  Many hiring managers solicit feedback from others who have been involved in speaking with you when making a hiring decision.  Most candidates are selected using some form of a democratic process; thumbs up or thumbs down.  You want to win over as many people as you can in your limited amount of time.  Everyone is important in the hiring process!  Always keep a version for yourself so that you can read along with and review if need be.

Give yourself a competitive edge in the hiring process.  Go up and above and differentiate yourself from other well qualified candidates.  Assemble a Job Business Plan and offer solutions for getting the job done!

If you would like a sample of a winning job business plan, send an email to info@ascendcareers.net

Donald J. Strankowski Jr. is founder and president of Ascend Career and Life Strategies, a career management firm for businesses, professionals, executives.  He works out of Boulder, Colorado and can be contacted at 303-245-7049, via email at don@ascendcareers.net, or on the web at www.AscendCareers.net
Just Published!  Get Hired!  10 Simple Steps for Wining the Job You Desire—in Any Economy by Donald J. Strankowski
Available at the Boulder Bookstore, Tattered Cover, and online at Amazon.com

 
 
 
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