employment

JOB SEARCH RECOMMENDATIONS

Note: The following is a compendium of information from Tom Purdy, a Professionals in Transitions Colleague, based on his job search in 2001. Some items are based on his personal experience, some are based on items picked up at the PIT meetings some of these items, in turn, came from other, unidentifiable sources.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • Treat this as your full-time job with a schedule for networking, applications, follow-up calls, and time out of the house/away from the phone/computer.  Set up an area to leave out reference materials for easy access.
  • Use all available job search methods.  My best opportunities came from:
    • Applying for jobs posted by recruiter - 4
    • Unadvertised job from same recruiter - 1
    • Networking thru friend - 2
    • Posting resume on internet – 3
    • Newspaper ad- 1 (new job). 
      Note: I did not use the services that charge to forward/post resumes.
  • Only apply for positions that you are interested in & not ALL available jobs to save time and improve the quality of your cover letters, research, and interviews, as well as to make better use of your time.
  • You don’t have to meet ALL of the “ideal” candidate requirements, except for possibly the “MUST HAVES”.
  • Send job specific cover letter listing how your experience matches EACH job requirement.  Limit to one page.
  • Send current resume highlighting job requirements (e.g., bolding, underlining), which can be job specific time permitting.  I use 2-3 page resumes with 15 years of employment, but some recruiters want your entire background.  The key is the top part of the resume’s first page, which SELLS you, your skills, & job desires for the HR scan.
  • Have REFERENCES ready to forward or include them as the final page of your resume (recommended).  Include what types of relationship you have with your references: supervisor, co-worker, customer, &/or personal.
  • Apply for positions ASAP after they are posted (e.g., within 1-2 working days) to ensure that you make the initial cut for consideration.  Note: This is critical for high volume postings: recruiters, large/well-known companies, …
  • CALL contact/company to verify resume & cover letter are readable & received by correct person within 1-2 working days of sending.  This was very important when documents were emailed & for recruiter positions to make sure that your input will be opened.  It can also help break you out of the pack (chance to sell yourself & your skills).
  • Research Company & their “Needs” on the Internet for
    • “job specific” cover letter
    • follow-up phone calls. 
      This will ensure that you sound like you are genuinely interested in their company/job.
  • Prepare questions for follow-up call/phone interview that emphasizes:
    • You have the required knowledge/ experience
    • You know about their company/business
    • How you will help your new “employer” immediately.
  • Be positive and express interest in position during interviews by asking if they have questions:
    • Do they feel your skills match the job
    • Are you a good fit (company culture)
    • What’s the next step in the hiring process.
  • Be prepared for phone interviews at any time.  Organize application paperwork in clearly labeled folders with:
    • Original job description
    • Job/company research information
    • How your experiences match job requirements (e.g., highlight cover letter &/or interview question outline)
    • Communication record.
  • Don’t forget that the interview is a 2-way exchange of information.  Prepare questions to ask your employer to ensure that it’s a good match for you, too (i.e., work you enjoy, good working climate, financially stable, …).
  • Don’t hide the reason why you left your previous job, since being laid off is happening everywhere.  Be prepared to BRIEFLY discuss this issue since some prospective employers may not care, but they can check with your former employer(s).
  • Keep networking after accepting a new position for others still looking and future use by you, as required.

LOCAL NETWORKING / SUPPORT GROUPS

These local networking / support groups provide excellent support for unemployed and underemployed people:

  • Triad Jobs Search Network (TJSN) - Tuesday AM Meeting 9:00-11:00 AM; see web site for locations and other meetings - http://www.people-places.com/tjsn/frame_meetings.html.  This group has networking contacts and presentations by prospective employers with a minimal charge for participation.

  • Professionals in Transition (PIT group) - Wednesday PM Meeting in Greensboro 7:00-8:30 PM; see web site for location- http://www.jobsearching.org/Group emphasizes networking contacts and is very organized.

INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW

The informational interview is a powerful tool for developing contacts in your network. The following sample email message request for informational interview is based on guidance from PIT:

Re: John Smith suggested I contact you regarding an informational appointment or networking appointment

I'm writing today to ask for your input at the suggestion of our mutual acquaintance ___________________.  I am a(n) _____professional from the ____ industry in ___ (city) who has recently been downsized. I am working very diligently to research _________ industry and to network with individuals who can assist me with knowledge regarding the industry (or profession).  If you have 20 minutes in the next week or two I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the ________ market and what you might suggest about how I am positioning my strengths and experience in my professional career. I believe I can gain a great deal from your perspective.

My resume, which I am including, will give you information about my background that will assist you during our meeting. I am not going to ask you for a job, but I would appreciate any suggestions that would benefit my personal and professional development.  Realizing that your time is limited, I promise I won't take any more than 20 minutes. I will be calling you this week to see if we can arrange an opportunity to meet if you can arrange the time. I look forward to speaking with you this week.

Sincerely,

Interviewing - 8 Mistakes to Avoid

The following are tips from Nathan Newberger,Managing Editor http://www.WorkTree.com

The interview is a critical part of the job search process and also the one where most job seekers have trouble.   There is plenty of advice around on how to navigate through an interview successfully.  This article has put together some simple, but crucial items that job seekers should definitely plan on NOT doing!

1. DON'T SHOW UP LATE.  There is no easier way to lose points with a prospective employer than to show up late.  First impressions do last.  And unfortunately, showing up late screams things like “I am unreliable” or “your time is not important to me”.  Is this what you want a prospective employer to think before you even have a chance to utter a word?  Make it a point to try to be early to every interview.  That way, bad weather, traffic and that last minute phone call stand less chance of ruining your entrance.  If the unforeseen 18‑wheeler does happen to dump 10 tons of tomatoes across the interstate, upon arrival, apologize first thing, offer a quick explanation and move on.  (Ideally you would have called from your cell phone as soon as you caught sight of the delay.)

2. DON'T ACT DISINTERESTED.   No matter what the circumstance never act disinterested during an interview.  If 10 minutes into the meeting you become certain that nothing on the planet could convince you to take a job with the company continue to pay attention and act like you care about the conversation.  Remember that the interviewer does not exist in a vacuum.  He or she has friends, relatives, and associates who may influence future job opportunities.  If you behave poorly, the interviewer will remember and will share the story of you and your unprofessional behavior with others. Haven’t you shared bad job search experiences with people close to you?  The interviewer is probably no different.

3. DON'T BE UNPREPARED.  Being prepared has many facets.  Interviewers expect you to know something about the company and the position you are seeking.  Having this knowledge makes you appear both motivated and truly interested. So make sure you do your research!  Excellent sources of information include, the Internet, periodicals and people already in the field. Another facet of being prepared is being ready for the types of questions that may be asked.  There are numerous articles on the web and in bookstores with practice interview questions and answers.  Make sure to utilize all such resources available to you.  And finally, don’t forget to have extra copies of your resume and references on hand should they be requested.

4. DON'T FORGET YOUR MANNERS.  No matter how old fashioned it appears to use word like  “please”, “sir”, “ma’am” and “thank you”, do not delete these words from your vocabulary.  These simple words can work wonders towards making a positive impression.  Always use a respectful tone of voice.  Do not unnecessarily interrupt the interviewer. Maintain eye contact and a pleasant expression.  Leave the slang, slouching and gum chewing at home. Good manners signals respect for yourself and the people around you; never underestimate their importance.

5. DON'T DRESS INAPPROPRIATELY.  Whether you like it or not, the job interview is not the time to express your individuality.  Always remember that your goal is to gain employment, not to make a fashion statement.  Accordingly, you should not dress in any way that will distract attention from you and your qualifications.  Things to avoid include unconventional hair colors, excessive jewelry and makeup and any clothes that you would wear to a nightclub.  Prior to the interview, contact the companies HR department and inquire about the company dress code.   Do your best to dress accordingly.  If there is any doubt, err on the side of being overdressed.

6. DON'T BE UNTRUTHFUL.  Never, ever lie during an interview.   Mistruths have an uncanny habit of catching up to people.  If the interviewer catches you in a lie during the interview, you have seriously damaged your chances of being hired.  After all, would you hire  someone that you couldn’t trust?  If your employer finds out you lied after you have been hired, it could be grounds for dismissal.  Even if they do not dismiss you, you are still in serious trouble as you have damaged your integrity in the eyes of your boss.  The bottom line is that you should always be truthful when interviewing.

7. DON'T BE MODEST.  When searching for the right job, put your modesty aside.   Don’t be afraid to confidently describe your skills and accomplishments.  After all, if you don’t sing your praises to your potential boss, then who will?  Don’t count on your resume to do all the work; it is only a tool to help you land the interview.  Once you get your foot in the door, it is up to you to convince the interviewer that you are the ideal person for the job.  Worried that you will come across as conceited instead of self‑confident?  Then practice how and what you will say with a friend or family member who can provide honest feedback

.8. DON'T FORGET THE "THANK YOU" NOTE. Once the interview has concluded, take a few moments to jot down your impressions of the interviewer, what you talked about and any interesting points that were brought up during the meeting.  The ideal time and place to do this is in your car a soon as you have exited the building, as your thoughts will be most fresh at this time.   Use this information as you compose a well thought out thank you note to the interviewer.  Mail this note no later than the day following the interview. Remember promptness signals interest. By avoiding these 8 simple mistakes, you can improve your chances of having a successful interview and landing the job of your dreams.