Thermoforming Report

August Thermoforming Report: Standing Out Among the Outstanding

by Keith Brown, President & Owner, Siena Group.

August 2023.

Hiring remains hot, even as summer heat waves (hopefully) wane. If you are anticipating seeking a new opportunity, the article below highlights a few key items to help you differentiate yourself from others in the mix. The short version: prepare well, align your previous successes with the current needs and challenges, and connect with the culture of the organization.

As usual, we have several great articles relevant to our industry and quite a few amazing All Stars to highlight! Check them out down below in the links on the right. We also have more extraordinary talent in the Featured Talent tab.

How do you STAND OUT during job searches?

The familiar saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is never more true than when you’re searching for a job.

Even if you’re a great candidate for the position, you know that you’re not the only one. You may check all the right boxes in terms of qualifications, and you may have a compelling track record to talk about, but chances are, so will several other candidates.

So, what can you do to stand out from the crowd? How can you show that you are prepared to go the extra mile – that you want the job and deserve to get it more than the other candidates?

Do Your Research

You should always be prepared to answer some form of this question from the interviewer: “What do you know about us?” And don’t just recite the About Us page from the website. Instead, look at the annual report to get a feel for the type of language the company uses and to understand what really matters to the organization. Make note of the keywords that characterize the company’s approach, and then you can play those back at the interview. 

Also, do not forget to ask about the culture of the company. Here’s a great template: “There is a lot of information out there on your great company, but it always helps to understand from your perspective the overall culture of the team, the leadership style, and the team dynamics. What are your insights?

Culture, chemistry, and fit are differentiators so learn about them and highlight how you align. Be sure to think through possible responses before your interview so that you can be quick on your feet with a relevant – and outstanding – response!

Get a Head Start on the Job

Demonstrate how you’ll add value to the business by presenting some thoughtful, insightful ideas that you’d like to propose. Putting that kind of time and effort into your preparation for the interview is an effective way to show that you really want the job. It also demonstrates that you have the skills and resourcefulness to come up with new ideas.

On the cautionary side, don’t go too far.  There are stories out there from a number of different disciplines where senior-level leaders (hiring managers) asked candidates to generate a business plan to prove their mettle… but it tends to feel like the hiring managers are just using candidates as their free consultants! 

The key to this one is to listen well to understand the key challenges you would face walking into the job and relating how you’ve been successful in delivering on similar challenges in your recent past. Connecting the dots – your skills and your abilities to the company’s needs – is the essence of standing out. 

Show that You are Resilient

Often technical expertise and relevant industry experience are a given, and what management is also looking for during the interview process is evidence of skills like resilience. The ability to bounce back from difficulties and learn from adversity shows you can cope and adapt in a fast-moving world with rapid technological changes. Businesses today face constant disruption, frequent restructuring, and ongoing transformation so employers are looking for evidence of your ability to survive and thrive in such a climate. Be sure that you have examples that illustrate your ability to deal with and adapt to change. 

Remember, in this world, things change quickly. As you highlight your successes and how you’ve delivered results through change, make sure you are specific. Generalities and sweeping statements do not instill confidence. Whether you are a leader and have achieved success through your team or as an individual contributor, be explicit and detailed – without going overboard. Highlighting your resilience delivers much more power when you tie it to specific results.

Develop a Growth Mindset

Another skill that can help you stand out from the crowd is agility – a willingness to move with the times, take on new skills, and expand into new areas as business requirements and priorities evolve. Companies invest a lot of money to hire top talent, and so of course they are hiring not just for now but for the future too. Therefore, tell stories using real-life examples to demonstrate your learning agility and your readiness to stretch yourself. 

As a leader and hiring manager, I always appreciated hearing about a time when the person I’m interviewing shared a story when they didn’t know something, went and learned and figured it out, and got the desired result. Believe it or not, you don’t hear this kind of example often and therefore sharing this type of example carries weight.

Build Your Own Brand

Personal branding, the process by which you determine what makes you special and then communicate that branding message to the proper audience, has become increasingly important to all career-minded individuals. If this seems like a daunting task, there are tools to guide you. One of the best comes from PwC, an international professional services network, in the form of a personal brand workbook to help you find and showcase your strengths so you can stand out from the crowd. You can use the activities offered here to take charge of your professional success by tapping into your unique skills, talents, and passions.

The process outlined by PwC is a lengthy – but valuable – one that helps you to identify who you are and what makes you stand out; it gives you clarity about where you would like to take your career and your life. The brand-building materials you develop as part of this experience are certain to position you for career success now and in the future.

The ability to clearly articulate your strengths, know your opportunities – and your willingness to learn and grow, and highlight your overall approach and style will only add to your value and help you stand out. 

Wrapping Up

When coaching candidates on the pending interview, we talk through a number of things. There are no secrets to interviewing – it is a skill just like everything else. Investing the necessary time in preparation is the key to being different and standing out.

  • Learn to listen well.
  • Understand the needs and challenges you would face.
  • Ask great questions.
  • Connect as many dots as you can, highlighting your experiences and successes to those challenges you learned about in the conversation.
  • Share your technical skills but also make sure to talk through soft skills like resilience, agility, and more.

Being prepared and showing you are prepared provides the interviewer with the impression you are truly interested in the potential job, took the time to plan, and care about the outcome. And that sets you apart from the crowd – or at least positions you at the front of the pack. 

As a talent recruiter, we represent clients AND candidates! We’re here to help in any and every way possible! We provide résumé facelifts, job searches, client introductions, interview tips, and resignation strategies [read more in our Job Transition Tips blog]. Let’s Strengthen Your Search!  

“Connecting the dots – your skills and your abilities to the company’s needs – is the essence of standing out. ” Keith Brown, Owner/President, Siena Group

  • Post-consumer PET Prices Fall. via Plastics News.
  • Plastics Industry says EPA Plan ‘Fails to Deliver’. via Plastics Today.
  • Green Investors See Growing Anti-ESG Mood in Plastics Votes. via Plastics Today.
  • Resin Report: Price Erosion may have Hit Bottom. via Plastics Today.
  • Tupperware Buys More Time with Debt Restructuring. via Plastics News.
  • How the Auto Industry is Embracing Plastic Recycling. via Plastics Today.
  • Automation Without People is a Recipe for Failure. via Forbes.
  • Technology has Changed the Risks Manufacturers Face. Are You Up to Speed? via Industry Week.
  • BLS Employment Report – July 2023. via MRINetwork.
  • Back to Hiring
    Forget “back to school” – let’s get back to hiring! This article includes what I’ve been hearing about the industry market, seasonal hiring patterns, a forecast for the rest of 2023, hiring tips for getting ahead of the curve, plus advice for college grad job seekers. via Siena Group.
  • How Millennial Leaders are Changing the Business World for the Better
    The new generation of Millennial CEOs is shattering the tired “Me Me Me Generation” cliché, leading businesses with confidence, embracing disruption, dealing effortlessly with change, and hungering for knowledge and fulfillment rather than authority and wealth. via CEO Magazine.
  • Technology Trends Outlook Report: July 2023
    Which technology trends matter most for companies in 2023? This new analysis by the McKinsey Technology Council highlights the development, possible uses, and industry effects of advanced technologies. New data analysis for tech talent dynamics! via McKinsey.
  • What Type of Strategist Are You?
    Strategists come in different types and breeds. Together with a GREAT visual, this article breaks down the five distinct types of strategists, including their key strengths and weaknesses, and ends with key challenges for growth. via Forbes.

There are a number of recent articles that provide more information on the Stand Out topic. Here are a few worth reading, with key points/subtopics:

Article, Publisher, DateKey Points
8 Hard Truths You Must Accept to Stand Out at Work
Psychology Today, 7/6/23
1) The most successful go-to people embrace the concept of real influence.  
2) Technical expertise is not enough to stand out in an organization. 
3) What unites successful go-to people is their ability to add value to their interactions.
4) The more value one adds to their working relationships, the more invested others become in their success.
How to Make a Lasting First Impression when Job Hunting 
Forbes, 7/16/23
1) Clean up your Social Media Profiles 
2) Invest in a Tailored Resume (I disagree with this one – give me a call and we’ll talk it through!
3) Arrive to Interview Prepared 
4) Do a Trial Run 
5) Follow up after the interview 
5 Mistakes that are Sabotaging your Job Search
Forbes, 7/24/23
(essentially nearly the inverse of the previous article) 
1) Using a generic resume 
2) Forgetting to show your impact 
3) Not expanding your search 
4) Failing to follow up on leads 
5) Not preparing thoroughly for job interviews 
When You Lose your Job, Loudly Let People Know 
Forbes, 7/24/23
1) Talk about your job loss 
2) Connect with a Recruiter (contact me!)
3) Network on LI 

Technical Sales Support/New Product Project Implementation Leader: This Thermoforming Professional is a unique combination of Technical Sales Engineer, NPD Project Leader, True Product Cost and Profitability Guru, and Senior Design Engineer. With 30 years of experience in thin-gauge thermoforming, with particular expertise in med device products and packaging, he is a bonafide SME!

NDP Leader/Medical Packaging Sales Manager: This strong NPD Leader – with nearly 10 years as a designer and technical expert in med packaging (both flexible and rigid) – has interfaced across all internal and external stakeholders to generate solutions, which has led to $10M in new business! He has recently completed his MBA and is looking to make the transition into Sales Manager.

Vice President of Operations: This high-level Senior Operations Leader brings 20+ years of tremendous experience in leading teams in a high-growth environment in flexibles, recyclables, and plastics/thermoforming. With multi-site accountability, he loves being in the plants, working with the site leadership teams, implementing new products, being on the floor, and making things happen!

Director of Operations: This gifted Operations Leader brings significant experience in plastics with expertise in sheet and cast extrusion and thermoforming. He knows how to effectively and quickly assess an organization and make the necessary changes to drive sustainable operational efficiencies. Bonus: he is bilingual in Spanish with working professional proficiencies in a few other European languages!

Even More Thermoforming Talent! We work with so many talented people in many different functions – all in thermoforming. Whether it’s an Operations Leader, Plant Manager, Supply Chain Leader, HR Leader, specialized Engineer, Quality Leader, Sales Leader, or pretty much any thermoforming role, we are here to help. If you have a need, please do not hesitate to just reach out! 

Click for more All-Stars.

At Siena Group, we are your Thermoforming Talent Partner. With more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, hiring & recruiting talent, we bring a greater understanding of the companies we partner with and the candidates we pursue.
Let’s Strengthen Your Search!

Share our post with others

Love what you see? Share it with your connections now.