Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics & The Heisman Trophy

The hype of the Heisman Trophy is now starting to fade. Congratulations to Mark Ingram, Jr. of the Alabama Crimson Tide for his impressive win. The statistics which won Ingram the honor: In the 2009 season, Ingram rushed for 1,542 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also obtained 322 receiving yards with 3 touchdowns. He will add more stats during the big BCS Rose Bowl game against Texas.

But I hear you saying, “Hey Dude, This blog isn’t about football.” And you are right.

This blog is about job hunting, and in essence, the Heisman race (the award for the “best college football player in America”) IS a form of job hunt (or at least a “title” hunt–“Heisman Trophy Winner”). So here is what job hunters can learn from college football: The use of statistics.

Statistics help us measure who did what on the football field. Which teams won which games. Which players achieved what statistics. Which stats were noteworthy enough to win players awards like the Heisman (or the Outland or the Lombardi — way to go, Ndamukong Suh!).

Again, I hear you say: “What does that have to do with me? I’m a 50-something job seeker or career reinventor and I haven’t played football for 30-plus years (or maybe ‘never’)!”

It has everything to do with you. I was just evaluating a client’s resume. She did an excellent job of building out the infrastructure of her resume. She is a project manager who did NOT just write “managed projects, coordinated people, tracked milestones,” etc.

THAT kind of drivel won’t win anyone the Heisman Trophy of work. No, this client, with little help from me added STRONG statistics to her sales document (a resume as you know IS a sales document).

I saw how she “increased productivity of a 20 person team by 27% on a 2 man-year project in the DoD sector.” I saw how she “Coordinated 4 disparate development teams from different but related projects and rolled them into one 12-person team; modified the milestones, and reduced a 1,500 man-hour project to successful implementation in under 900 hours.”

No, these stats are not as exciting as Mark Ingram’s 246 yard game against South Carolina, but to this resume guru, and to her, a Project Management guru, this IS fascinating stuff!

Think about it… Is your resume a warmed over job description? Or can you describe some actual statistics that you accomplished in your work? And I don’t want to hear how your job doesn’t really “involve” statistics. Even if you are a humble fast food worker, you could say: “Pleasantly served an average of 112 patrons per lunch hour with a 98% satisfaction rate.”

McDonalds or Burger King would be impressed if they met a teenager who either a) knew or, b) could make up such statistics. What does it show? It shows you know work, business, and Heisman Trophy winning are all about ONE thing: Results. If you are not adding to a employer’s results, what good are you?

That is blunt sounding but the intent here is to shake you into a new awareness (I almost slipped and said “paradigm” –close one!).

If a fast food employee can use “lies, damn lies and statistics” as the old adage says, certainly you, a professional can come up with some tangible, measurable way you helped your employer or your team.

Of course I am not advocating any deception. This post’s headline is simply to get your attention and because I love that old saw about statistics.

So, DON’T lie, but start today to track your stats so you can MEASURE your accomplishments. This shows potential employers that you know what is important to them. Statistics worked for Mark Ingram!

Here’s hoping you gain a lot of yards on your job search this week and in this holiday season!

Please remember to comment here about your job search victories, challenges, and even statistics!

Season’s Greetings to all and to all a good night!

America’s Job Coach
www.americasjobcoach.com
Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010

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“SHE-Shoring” During This “HE-cession”

“HE-cession” means that during this recession, the unemployment rate for men is 10.7 %, but the unemployment rate for women is “just” 8.1%. This term was coined, I believe, by David Zincenko of Mens’s Health in a USA Today op ed piece. Let me know if I am wrong.

So, are employers “SHE-shoring?” America’s Job Coach invented this term while reading about the He-cession. We’ve heard for years how women are paid less than men for similar work. Some studies say up to 30% less! I am not a statistics guru, but I think we can all agree that in too many cases, women earn less than their male peers for similar work.

Now add to the mix that fact that this recession has been slightly “less cruel” to women. Fewer women than men have lost their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics (8.1% verses 10.7%). My question: Why?

SHE-shoring is “Offshoring Gone Female.” Offshoring, in case you have been under a rock for a dozen years, is where a company ships chunks of its work off US shores to countries like India, China, Mexico, Ireland, and a host of other places. Employers “offshore” tasks to locations to try to save labor costs. And firms often layoff US staff after completing the offshoring.

Computer work, customer support work, manufacturing etc. are often functions which see work offshored but all professions are being touched by this trend. Even some USA fast food restaurants will use an offshored person to take your order over the drive through window. That person then sends your order over the Internet to the locals who cook and wrap your triple cheeseburger.

So can I blame that China-based fellow for the lack of honey mustard in my chicken nuggets bag? I suppose it was the local guy who stiffed me on the dip though. But hey, they are communicating across the globe so it is no wonder my sauce is missing sometimes! As Thomas L. Friedman has aptly pointed out, The World Is Flat.

So, most major companies have embraced some level of Off-Shoring to save labor costs. Do they therefore, have a grand design or plan to lay off women less often than men? If a Fortune 1000 company sends work overseas to save money, doesn’t it make sense that they also would lay off their most expensive people first? Does this explain the He-cession? If a gender pay gap exists inside a company, does ACME layoff Harry or Harriet? Is Joe sent packing before Joan?

Who knows what goes on in executive minds when they are deciding what staffers to cut. Now however, statistics imply that men are harder targets for the layoff axe than are their wives, sisters, moms and daughters.

Who cares? You should. This blog exists to help people get on their feet during a career transition. Part of that is knowing the look of your playing field. If you are a male looking for work or a better job, be aware of SHE-Shoring. If you are a female looking for work or a better job, be aware of SHE-shoring. It is critical to know your competition when job hunting.

I heard a story about a guy who was prepared to answer the salary negotiation question with, “I’ll take $100 a year less than my closest competitor for this job.” The tale is likely anecdotal, but you get the idea about being aware of your compeition…He-cession, SHE-shoring, and all.

Kindly share your SHE-Shoring or He-cession story or comments with this job coaching community!

America’s Job Coach
Author, “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010”