How Do I Fix A Switch Of A Stand-Up Lamp How Not to Conduct a Job Search

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How Not to Conduct a Job Search

There are many self-help books on job search strategy. The problem with most of them is that they describe a “one size fits all” approach. No attention is paid to the real person – not only what they want today, but more importantly what they aspire to in the future. There are steps described that may help you get the next job, but no alternatives are given. What happens if along the way you decide you want to explore a new career, are already open to relocating, or want to take courses to improve your skills? These books probably aren’t about getting off the path the author wants you to take.

Mistake #1

It’s not easy to write a resume, but most people make the mistake of simply listing their job, duties, some accomplishments, education, and maybe some awards and/or associations they belong to. Their career summary or objective section has maybe one or two lines that sound very boring and don’t tell the reader what you are. The point of a resume is to get you the interview, but like a bad book, if you don’t wow the reader at the beginning, they won’t read the rest.

Spend time talking to others about how they perceive you. Also, review your performance reviews and highlight what stands out and sets you apart from others. Finally, visualize what the ideal job would be like for you in terms of responsibilities, management abilities, visibility within the company, and interaction with others, including suppliers and customers. Now write your career summary. Walk around or leave it overnight and then go over it again and make edits. One last point – DO NOT list the number of years of experience you have on your career summary. If a junior recruiter has a job that requires 5-7 years of experience and you notice you have 8 years, you will be knocked out immediately. Your goal is to have a compelling resume that makes the reader excited to read more and learn about you.

The rest of your resume should follow a clear, crisp format with a paragraph below each job explaining your day-to-day duties. The bullets below them describe your achievements. Education, associations, volunteer work, etc. follow the same format as the work experience section.

Mistake #2

Many people don’t like to network. Why? Because it has the word “work” in it. If you see networking instead as personal growth (you learn from every person you meet), then it’s easier. The mistake people make is reaching a wide enough group of people. Your personal network should include family, friends, former co-workers, former bosses, friends from college and high school, and anyone else who can serve as your advocate. They should all have your resume and have a clear understanding of what you want in your next role. Also, contact the recruiters and career counseling department at your college. Attend career transition groups and job fairs, not just talk to company representatives. Instead, talk to others who are queuing with you, etc.

Identify new contacts through LinkedIn (see mistake #3). If someone is helpful, offer to treat them to a cup of coffee. This is probably your best investment because you can ask questions to learn more about a specific company or field and you can practice your interviewing skills.

Mistake #3

Many job seekers believe that if they read the job description and visit the hiring company’s website, they are prepared for the interview. WRONG! Much more preparation needs to be done. Review public filings like 10k’s and 10q’s. If it’s a product-oriented company like consumer packaged goods, try the product(s). If it’s a service company, visit the store or call their customer service center and ask questions pretending to be a customer.

Use LinkedIn in several ways. DON’T just read the resumes of the hiring manager and other interviewers, instead read all the resumes in one company if it’s a smaller organization, or at least read the resumes of everyone in a certain department. Try to get a feel for the company culture – many people have been there for a long time or they are all relatively new; everyone has a university degree or not; and/or all employees are co-located or geographically dispersed. Try to find people who have connections to someone at that company and see if you can get them to introduce you to get an inside look at the pros and cons of working there. It’s a matter of getting a feel for the culture, because the position might be ideal, but if the culture isn’t right for you, you’ll be unhappy.

Mistake #4

Interviewing is like dating. The point of both is to gather information and then see if it’s the right fit for you. The mistake many interviewees make is that they don’t ask enough questions or ask basic questions without follow-ups. As a recruiting executive, I’m rarely asked about the hiring manager in terms of his or her personality, work style, and advancement within the company. These are key elements because studies show that job satisfaction is not always about money, but more about the supervisor and future opportunities.

I suggest that my coaching clients try to follow the 50-50 rule. Let the interviewer ask 50% of the questions and you ask 50%. If the interviewer/hiring manager asks all the questions, it can raise a red flag. It is also important to pay close attention to your body language and tone of voice.

Mistake #5

Even if you know you’ll be back for a second or third round of interviews, send thank-you notes after the first meeting with each person. Email is acceptable, but DO NOT send one email to multiple people. The point of this note is not only to thank the person for their time, but also to reiterate a point or two that you made in the interview, or something that you may have neglected to mention before, but on reflection think is worth it to be mentioned. Watch out for spelling mistakes and don’t use casual language.

Mistake #6

Do you know what you are really worth? Many job seekers think they can get a 10-15% raise when they switch companies and that’s it. NO! When determining your next position, you need to determine your market value. Job duties, number of people you’ll be managing, location, travel if any, and other factors should be considered when determining your pay range. Visit sites like salary.com and payscale.com to help you.

There are other components of compensation besides base and bonus(es) – long-term incentives, commissions, benefits, vacation, car allowances, membership fees, education expenses, etc. The key is to do your homework and practice negotiating, which most people do not do. By being prepared, you get a response when they make an offer. Keep in mind that the company may not be able to offer you the salary you want, but then it’s up to you to negotiate other things like more vacation or flexible hours or a faster review cycle. Imagine a tennis match and you and the hiring manager are lobbing the offer back and forth. Regardless of the outcome, express your appreciation for their efforts to negotiate with you.

The last and biggest mistake

You found a new job – congratulations! Now, DO NOT stop working on your career strategy. Many stop doing anything because the new job is demanding, family problems or they are just exhausted and need a break.

Instead, you should continue to attend networking events and help those who are now in the same place you were a while ago. Make sure you get in touch and thank everyone who helped you. Send an email message to your network letting them know about your new position and providing them with all of your contact information. Update your LinkedIn profile. Continue to take calls from recruiters and try to provide them with a lead, source or industry information.

In other words, stay connected, keep developing your career strategy, and know your worth. Most jobs today are through referrals, so keep in touch with your advocates with an email periodically updating what you’re doing and offering to help them.

Job hunting is never easy. Job hunting takes as many hours as doing it. It can be hard to look at it in a positive light, especially when there are monetary considerations involved, but if you see it more as a journey that involves interacting with new and interesting people along the way, this it will make it easier and hopefully more rewarding.

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