10 Tips to Help With Your Job Search (Part 2)
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
As I mentioned in Part 1, fifteen years ago I helped to start a ministry at a local church to help people who were going through a job transition. The ministry is still going strong. Four years ago, I decided to create my own Career Transition Workshop and offer it to churches and non-profits to help people in job transition. Over the years, I have taught the workshop to many people in many different venues in addition to doing personal career coaching and utilizing a Career Direct assessment to help match people’s personalities, interests, natural talents, and values to career paths that best suit them. My experiences over the last 15+ years have given me a good idea of best practices to help shorten the time in transition.
Here are the last five tips to help in your job search:
Networking – Networking is still by far the best way to find your next position. LinkedIn has made it even easier to network without leaving the comfort of your own home. This does not mean that you do all your networking through LinkedIn. You still need to get out, meet people, practice your elevator pitch, etc. The important thing to know about networking is that it is not all about you. It’s not what you can get without giving. It’s not collecting business cards. It’s not handing out as many business cards as you can as fast as you can. Networking is about relationships. Networking is about giving. Networking is about sharing. Networking is about engaging. Networking is getting to know people and having them get to know you so that when they hear about a position, your name comes to mind immediately.
Working with Recruiters – Recruiters are great. They have inside information about a company and about the position that you don’t have. They know how much the company is willing to pay. They know exactly what the company is looking for and their job is to find the best candidate for that position. Recruiters, however, are not your friends. Don’t get upset if they present you, you don’t get accepted, and you never hear from the recruiter again. Their job is to place candidates, not to find you a job. It’s not personal, it’s just business. So, by all means work with as many recruiters as you can, but don’t put all your eggs in the recruiter basket. And, by the way, if you want recruiters to find you, have a fantastic LinkedIn profile!
Interview Preparation – Did you know that once you get an interview, you are almost 80% on your way to landing the job? At this stage, the interviewers have read your resume, checked your LinkedIn profile, and maybe even completed the preliminary phone screen. So, they know you can do the job. Now it comes down to whether they like you and think they can work with you. Let’s face it, no one likes to interview candidates. It takes time away from the day-to-day duties. It’s tiring having to review resumes, separate candidates, and finally actually interview. Every hiring manager hopes that the next candidate through the door is the right candidate. So it’s simple, don’t blow the interview!
Remember the things that irritate hiring managers, and don’t do them – like arriving too early, showing desperation, talking negatively about your past employers, having your cell phone go off in the middle of the interview, not smiling, not making eye contact, playing with your hair or touching your face, acting defensive, having a weak handshake, showing little warmth or sense of humor, over-explaining things, having little or no knowledge of the company, concentrating too much on what you want, trying to be all things to all people. Make them like you. Separate yourself from the other candidates. Showcase your value. And if you’re a baby boomer, use your age and experience to your greatest advantage. There is little you need to learn other than the details of the product or service. There are probably no problems that you haven’t already seen. You can hit the ground running because of your experience. You are looking for a home, not just a stepping stone to a better position. That’s what separates you from the younger candidates.
Interview Questions – There are questions that the interviewer will ask you and, of course, questions that you will ask the interviewer. The worst thing you can do at the end of the interview when asked if you have any questions is to say, “No.” So what are typical questions you are asked? Tell me a little about yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What motivates you? What are some of your significant accomplishments? Tell me about a time … These are typical. The worst one of the bunch is the “tell me a little about yourself,” because you don’t know what the interviewer is looking for. So, when you are asked that question, ask them if you can ask a couple of questions first. Try to find out the specifics of the situation. Why is the job open? What problems are associated with having the position open? What is the impact of those problems? What is needed to fill the open position? Once you find that out, you can now tell them a little bit about yourself by going directly to your experience and skill set that is going to fill their need.
There are always additional questions to ask. Questions about the job, questions about the company, questions about the department, questions about the hiring manager, questions about the team, questions about next steps, questions about expectations in the first 30 days. The more questions you ask, the more interest you show. The more interest you show, the greater the interest in you.
Salary negotiations – The first and best tip about salary negotiations is to be prepared. Know what you are worth. Know what you need to live, not necessarily what you want. Your worth is not what you were making on your last job. Worth is what the industry is willing to pay for your skills and experience. Remember, things have changed over the years. What companies were once paying for this position may not be what they are willing to pay now. The more homework you do the better prepared you will be to counter the initial offer.
Also, always take into account the full compensation package, not just the base pay. What you may not get in salary you may be able to make up in bonuses. Don’t make it personal. Remember that you want it to come out as a win/win scenario. You have to work with these people if you get the job and you don’t want to leave a bitter taste in their mouth. Finally, you should always be ready to walk away. If what they are offering does not provide what you need, then it makes no sense to take this job. It’s a hard decision to make, but if it doesn’t pay the bills, it’s not the job for you.
I hope that these five tips, along with those in the previous article, have given you some information that will be useful to you and will help shorten your time in job transition. Looking for a job is hard work, but for the vast majority of people, the hard work will pay off.