Improve your Vowels: A Conversation with Brad Raney

Brad Raney spoke to the WorkSource Professional Network on September 23.  He is the author of “Improve Your VOWELS, Improve Your Career! The A,E,I,O,U’s of Finding Your Perfect Job!”  Brad’s job seeking wisdom doesn’t stem from his personal job search; he’s happily employed as a sales manager with a local television station here in Jacksonville.  His presentations draw on his work with his sales team during this brutal recession, and what he says about sales applies directly to people looking for work.

Brad starts his conversation by recalling how he felt when he looked at the sales forecasts for the local market for 2009.  The picture was grim.  The recession had tightened its grip on our local economy, and projections were that the sales volume would be down 25 – 28%.  “Basically, that meant that thirteen years of growth in the market would disappear in one year,” he says. “It was devastating for our sales staff, who were all on commission only.”

Brad started thinking about how he would keep his staff motivated during what promised to be a terrible year for earnings.   He went back to something his father had said to him often: “If you can’t make something, learn something.”  He decided that the best way for staff to stay motivated during a tough year was to “focus on the process, and not on the outcome.”

So Brad developed a series of sales meeting topics focused on what the team could control, rather than what they could not.  He eventually turned the topics into a series for other organizations and finally, into a book. 

The vowels he turned into motivational presentations are:

  • A for Attitude
  • E for Energy and Effort
  • I for Integrity; both yours and the companies you choose to pursue
  • O for Outlook
  • U for Uniqueness; what makes you different from the competition

 The principles apply to a job search just as they do to sales (we insist all the time that they are one and the same skill.) In a down market, focusing on the quality of your search rather than the quality of your outcomes may be the best way to stay focused and measure success.  If you revise your resume and suddenly get several interview requests, that’s progress – even if you did not get the offer.

More on worrying about what you can control in the next blog post.

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