Standing out in a Competitive Industry

Standing out in a Competitive Industry

When you’re applying for a job, standing out from the crowd is always a challenge. But, this tough task can suddenly seem insurmountable when you’re applying for an extremely competitive position. Have a read below for 5 actions that are helpful to you standing out in a competitive industry.

However, spending all of your time obsessing over the intense competition will only serve to make you feel more anxious and self-conscious—qualities that definitely won’t help you approach your job hunt and interviews with confidence. So, let go of that intimidation and instead focus on doing what you need to do to separate yourself from the pack.

But, how can you draw positive attention to yourself, when there are hundreds of other people applying to that exact same job? Here are five tips that are sure to help you stand out from that pile of other applicants.

1. Get Personal

Feeling like you’re submitting your materials into cyberspace is always frustrating—especially when you put so much time and effort into them. And, when you know that tons of other people are following that exact same process, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a long line just waiting to draw your number.

This is when making a personal connection can make a huge difference. What exactly does this mean? Start by seeing if you know anyone who currently works for that employer. Whether it’s an old friend or an acquaintance on LinkedIn, having someone who can hand-deliver your resume or put in a good word for you can really help to put your name at the top of the interview list.

If you can’t track down someone who can refer or recommend you, you should still make an effort to be as personal as possible in your application materials. Skip that generic “To Whom It May Concern” line (those letters typically find their way directly to the wastebasket!), and instead do some digging to see if you can find the name of the person you’d be working directly for—or even the hiring manager.

Knowing that you put in the legwork and research necessary to personally address your documents immediately portrays you as a dedicated and resourceful applicant. And, that reputation is sure to put you back at the top of the pile!

2. Improve Your Documents

A resume that’s riddled with typos and grammatical errors. A cover letter that contains the wrong company name. Yes, they’re all sure to make the hiring manager remember you—but not necessarily in a positive light.

It seems basic, but going through your resume and cover letter with a fine-tooth comb is absolutely necessary. Not only is this a best practice when applying for any sort of job, it’s also a surefire way to help you differentiate yourself from the crowd—you wouldn’t believe how much of your competition is immediately discounted, simply because their documents are sloppy.

Aside from just scanning for basic errors, now’s also a great time to polish your materials and make sure that they’re memorable and impactful. Ensure that you include quantifiable achievements in your resume that don’t only tell how great you are at what you do, but show it as well. Start your cover letter off with an engaging and captivating story, rather than that standard, “I’m writing in regards to…” line.

No, you don’t want to send a singing telegram or print your resume on hot pink paper. However, these more subtle tweaks and additions can really help you to be remembered—in a way that’s not eccentric and over-the-top.

3. Go Above and Beyond

I won’t deny that your resume and cover letter are extremely important documents for job search success. But, does that mean they’re absolutely the only things you need in order to land your dream job? Absolutely not.

You should never hesitate to go the extra mile, show some initiative, and share some other materials that a potential employer might care about. Go ahead and send them a link to your portfolio or personal blog. Anything that helps them to get a better sense of who you are as a candidate will benefit you!

You can even take things one step further by completing a sample specifically for that employer. Applying for a social media management position? Pull together a brief example of a social media strategy that you think could work for them. Want to be a data analyst? Share that amazing Excel spreadsheet you built—complicated macros and all. Showing that extra effort demonstrates how interested you are in the position. And, if they actually like the sample work you create? Well, then you’ve already got one foot in the door!

4. Polish Your Social Media Presence

Your work examples and official career documents will only take you so far. After all, employers pretty much expect that you’ll put your best foot forward when it comes to those materials. So, what will they do next? More than likely, hiring managers will look you up on social media.

Believe me, you don’t want to be remembered as the candidate who stars in that video for “Phi Sigma Rho’s Longest Keg Stand” or the applicant who writes scathing reviews of every single ex-boss on Facebook.

So, before even submitting your stuff, ensure you’ve taken the time to clean up your social media profiles. Bonus points for actually taking the time to polish and update your LinkedIn profile while you’re at it!

5. Follow Up

You know all of that intense competition we talked about? Well, it not only overwhelms you—it’s also pretty overwhelming to the hiring manager as well. Suddenly, they have an inbox full of submissions, and it’s up to them to weed out the junk in order to find those diamonds in the rough.

So, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back immediately about that job you’re so excited about. In fact, you likely won’t receive a super timely response. This is why following up is so important.

If you haven’t heard anything (whether that’s a “yes”, “thanks, but no thanks”, or a “we’ve received your submission” email) in about a week or two, feel free to reach out personally and check in on a timeline for a hiring decision. Make an attempt to use the most personalized email address you can find. But, if you can’t hunt one of those down, a general “info” or “careers” address will suffice as well.

Craft a friendly message just asking for an update on the hiring process for that specific position, reiterate your excitement about the opportunity, and thank them for their time. Still radio silence? You’re free to follow up once more. But, after that, it’s time to let it go. We all know there’s a fine line between being persistent and being a pest.

Standing out from the crowd when the job competition is stiff can undoubtedly be tough. But, it’s not impossible! It just involves some thought and creativity. Put these tips to use, and you’re sure to find your way to the top of that resume pile.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Pursuing a Career in Data

Pursuing career in data

Over the years skilled data analysts have become one of the most sought-after professionals in the world. The reasoning? Supply and Demand. With the mass increase in companies relying on data as a business tool, the need for analysts has boomed. As a result, trends are in favor of those pursuing a career in data.

The pool of educated and experienced data analysts is limited.

On the supply side of the equation, there has been a consistent lack of skilled and experienced professionals to fill the increasing demand. Due to this shortage, even at the entry-level, data analysts can command huge salaries and excellent perks.

What do Data Analysts do?

Right now, some of the top jobs in data analysis involve helping employers make investment decisions, target customers, assess risks or help decide on capital allocations.

As data analysts, you probe through mountains of data to spot trends, make forecasts, and extract information. This, in turn, helps employers make better-informed business decisions. 

The career path a data analyst can take depends, in large part, on what industry holds there interest. As a result, they could work at big investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms. They could also work in health care, marketing, retail, and/or insurance.

In general, data analysts are everywhere.

As a matter of fact, financial institutions such as investment banks are a great entry-level career direction. Doors to management can be opened when highly-skilled data analysts excel in this area.

After all, who better to shepherd new hires into the company than you?

Tech companies are big business.

Big tech companies such as Facebook and Google analyze big data to a dizzying degree. To do so, they employ many of the top data analysts for a variety of purposes including advertising and internal and user analysis.

Moreover, it’s widely known that technology changes rapidly.

Due to this, the structural dynamics of tech companies are constantly evolving. New departments are created that incorporate new challenges and pursue new market opportunities.

Data analysts who excel in their existing tech roles are oftentimes the first chosen as leaders of these newly created departments. 

Data Analyst – Education

For those interested in pursuing a career in data, the majority of colleges in the US offer data analytics or data science as both a major or minor. Beyond the bachelor’s degree, there’s also a vast number of data science master’s programs.

That being said, if you’re interested in building your skills in a more flexible or shorter timeframe there are also multiple certification programs and courses available from a variety of educational institutions.

Graduating from a data analysis program with a strong grade point average should lead to an entry-level data analysis position without much trouble.

Alternatively, even a less-focused degree in mathematics, statistics or economics is enough to get your foot in the door.

Data Analyst – Annual Compensation

Some of the top jobs in data analysis can reach as high $100,000 annually during the first year out of college. Experienced professionals are making double that or more.

With that in mind, education is often the most important thing on your resume when applying for a data analyst job. Few people get hired without strong academic performances in math-related fields of study.

Data Analyst Career Paths

Overall, data analysts are good at working with numbers and details. Additionally, they are confident and organized in managing multiple tasks, data programs, and data flows.

You’ll also have strong presentation skills. Typically, with this role, you are required to present your analysis visually and/or orally on a regular basis.

A solid rule, pick an industry that sparks interest. Then pursue the education that backs you up. As mentioned, data analysts are in great demand. Choose wisely and have fun pursuing a career in data.

14 Potential Career Directions:

  • Business analyst
  • Management reporting
  • Corporate strategy analyst
  • Compensation and benefits analyst
  • Budget analyst
  • Insurance underwriting analyst
  • Actuary
  • Sales analytic
  • Web analytics
  • Fraud analytics
  • Credit analytics
  • Business product analyst
  • Social media data analyst
  • Machine learning analyst

For resume guidance, our team at PWU offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization, Interview Coaching, and Recruitment Services. 

Connect with us here for a free 15-minute consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Operations Management: Definition, Principles, Activities, Trends

Operations Management Career

We write for a lot of Operations Management professionals. We mean A LOT. Hundreds each year, across all industries and verticals. This article was particularly insightful to us as Power Writers USA continues to provide world class support to it’s clientele.

Original article click here.

WHAT IS OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT?

 

Operations management involves planning, organizing, and supervising processes, and make necessary improvements for higher profitability. The adjustments in the everyday operations have to support the company’s strategic goals, so they are preceded by deep analysis and measurement of the current processes.

 

Historical background

Operations management was previously called production management, clearly showing its origins in manufacturing. Historically, it all began with the division of production, starting as early as the times of ancient craftsmen, but spreading more widely only by adding the concept of interchangeability of parts in the eighteenth century, ultimately sparking the industrial revolution.

 

Still, it was not until Henry Ford took a twist on manufacturing with his famous assembly line concept, otherwise known as “bring work to men,” that the management of production for improving productivity became a hot topic. From the 1950’s and 1960’s, it formed a separate discipline, besides bringing other concepts, such as Taylorism, production planning, or inventory control, to life.

 

As the economies in the developed world were gradually shifting to be service-based, all the corporate functions, including product management, started to integrate them. The service side also began its approach by applying product management principles to the planning and organizing of processes, to the point where it made more sense to call it operations management.

 

Multidisciplinary nature

Operations management is now a multidisciplinary functional area in a company, along with finance and marketing. It makes sure the materials and labor, or any other input, is used in the most effective and efficient way possible within an organization – thus maximizing the output.

Operations management requires being familiar with a wide range of disciplines. It incorporates general management, factory- and equipment maintenance management by tradition. The operations manager has to know about the common strategic policies, basic material planning, manufacturing and production systems, and their analysis. Production and cost control principles are also of importance. And last, but not least, it has to be someone’s who is able to navigate industrial labor relations.

Interested in a deep dive into operations maangement? Read the following slides.

 

Required skills

The skills required to perform such work are as diverse as the function itself. The most important skills are:

 

Organizational abilities. Organizing processes in an organization requires a set of skills from planning and prioritizing through execution to monitoring. These abilities together help the manager achieve productivity and efficiency.

Analytic capabilities/understanding of process. The capability to understand processes in your area often includes a broad understanding of other functions, too. An attention to detail is often helpful to go deeper in the analysis.

Coordination of processes. Once processes are analyzed and understood, they can be optimized for maximum efficiency. Quick decision-making is a real advantage here, as well as a clear focus problem-solving.

People skills. Flaws in the interactions with employees or member of senior management can seriously harm productivity, so an operation manager has to have people skills to properly navigate the fine lines with their colleagues. Furthermore, clear communication of the tasks and goals serves as great motivation and to give a purpose for everyone.

Creativity. Again, problem-solving skills are essential for a creative approach if things don’t go in the right direction. When they do, creativity helps find new ways to improve corporate performance.

Tech-savviness. In order to understand and design processes in a time when operations are getting increasingly technology-dependent, affinity for technology is a skill that can’t be underestimated. Operations managers have to be familiar with the most common technologies used in their industries, and have an even deeper understanding of the specific operation technology at their organizations.

 

THE MAJOR PRINCIPLES OF OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT

Some of the fundamentals of the everyday work in operations management worth expanding a little more. Below you will find two major approaches that are important to understand the driving forces behind the decisions about planning, designing and organizing processes.

They are both embracing the idea of focusing on the delivery: supporting the organization to deliver better results, by an optimized input of materials, equipment, technology, and human resources.

 

The Ten Principles of OM by Randall Schaeffer

 

Randall Schaeffer is an experienced manufacturing and operations management professional, an industrial philosopher, and regular speaker at conferences organized by APICS, the leading US association of supply chain and operations management. He presented his list of 10 principles of operations management at an APICS conference in 2007, saying the violation of these principles had caused the struggle US manufacturing companies were experiencing.

 

Reality. Operations management should focus on the problem, instead of the techniques, because no tool in itself would present a universal solution.

Organization. Processes in manufacturing are interconnected. All elements have to be predictable and consistent, in order to achieve a similar outcome in profits.

Fundamentals. The Pareto rule is also applicable to operations: 80% of success comes from a strict adherence to precisely maintaining records and disciplines, and only 20% comes from applying new techniques to the processes.

Accountability. Managers are expected to set the rules and the metrics, and define responsibilities of their subordinates, as well as regularly check if the goals are met. Only this way would the workers put in the necessary efforts.

Variance. Variance of processes has to be encouraged, because if managed well, they can be sources of creativity.

Causality. Problems are symptoms: effects of underlying causes. Unless the causes are attacked, the same problems will appear again.

Managed passion. The passion of employees can be a major driver of company growth, and it can be instilled by the managers if not coming naturally.

Humility. Instead of a costly trial and error process, managers should acknowledge their limitations, “get help, and move on.”

Success. What is considered success will change over time, but always consider the interest of the customer. In order to keep them, all the other principles have to be revised occasionally.

Change. There will always be new theories and solutions, so you should not stick to one or the other, but embrace the change, and manage for stability in the long term.

 

The 16 principles of operations management by Dr. Richard Schonberger

 

Dr. Richard J. Schonberger, renowned researcher of American manufacturing and author of the book “World Class Manufacturing: The Next Decade,” has become widely known in operations management by his set of 16 customer-focused principles.

Team up with customers. Know what they buy and use, and organize product families accordingly.

Continual, rapid improvement. Aim for non-stop improvement to always deliver the best quality, aim for a quicker response to customer demand, and always offer maximum flexibility. Thus, it gives more value, in a more flexible way.

Unified purpose. Involve frontline employees in strategic discussions to make sure they understand the purpose of their work and have their say in what to change.

Know the competition. Know their customers, their best practices, and their competitive edges.

Focus. Allow no variations that the customers don’t buy or demand.

Organize resources. Set priorities in organizing resources in a way the operations are close to the customer rate of use or demand.

Invest in HR. Offer cross-training options, job rotation, and improvements in work safety and health. Also offer more rewards and recognitions.

Maintain equipment. Always think of improvement of current assets first, instead of a new purchase.

Simple “best” equipment. Keep the equipment as simple and flexible as possible, at a reasonable cost.

Minimize human error. Improve the equipment and keep frontline workers accountable.

Cut times. Shorten product path to customer by making processes and delivery faster.

Cut setup. Be prepared to support different processes and get all information and tools ready for on-demand production.

Pull system. Improve the workflow and cut the waste by producing on demand.

Total quality control. Use only the best materials, processes, and partners.

Fix causes. Focus on controlling the root causes that really affect cost and performance.

Visibility management. Promote corporate achievements, let the market know about your improvements in competence or productivity.

 

 

The activities of operations management

There are three major groups of activities performed by operations management, deriving from its planning or designing, organizing, and supervising functions. All activities involve considering assets, costs, and human resources, and are preceded by a thorough analysis of processes.

 

Design

Before planning processes or designing products, operations management should be busy analyzing the market to test the demands. If it delivers promising results, e.g. a niche to target or a new product or service to develop, you can start planning.

 

In most cases, planning involves designing a new product, from the initial concept to the actual launch, with several testing phases involved. During planning, you will have to consider both technical and business requirements.

 

Sometimes the processes need to be updated: designing a new supply chain or other logistics processes. If your product is a service, process design aims for a variety of requirements and customer contact levels.

 

Again in other cases, it’s about a new facility: your company decides to expand its operations, and you will have to decide on the location of the facility, its capacity, and its layout.

 

Plans should always support the business objectives: they are in focus when considering the costs and finding the best matching quality and capacity, or calculating inventory and human labor needs.

 

Therefore, it is important to set proper measures in the planning phase, to know if the actual performance meets them, or there is need for adjustments. Capacity is one of these measures, as is product quality, or delivery times. The initial figures are usually estimates based on the market analysis conducted beforehand.

Bonus tip!  If you are thinking about operations management as a career, make it a point to reach out to industry professionals and conduct some informational interviews to learn more about what’s to be expected of you in that role.  It can be very insightful!

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