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Posts Tagged ‘land the perfect job’

You Applied for the Job… Now What?

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

By Andrea Santiago

Some of the most common job search questions often involve the method job seekers should utilize to follow up with a potential employer or hiring manager after submitting a resume to a potential employer for consideration.
Many career experts, including Lindsay Olson from US News & World Report’s Money/Careers blog, agree that how you follow up depends upon a number of variables, and you need to approach each situation accordingly.
However, there are several common denominators that apply to most circumstances, and these guidelines will help you when you’re trying to navigate the job search process after you have submitted your resume.
The best resume follow-up strategy is to submit such a fantastic resume that you don’t have to follow up. If your resume is spot-on for the position, the hiring authority may contact you first, before you even have to follow up on anything.
So how do you “wow” hiring managers with your resume?
Customize your resume – Pay close attention to the verbiage used in the job ad and job description. Incorporate the potential employer’s words and key phrases into your own resume, (where applicable of course—true to your qualifications of course!)

Research Resume Samples – There are numerous websites that now provide resume samples and resume builders for a variety of industries.

There are many ways to create an attention-grabbing resume. But even the best resumes will still require you to proactively reach out to the hiring authority to get feedback regarding your application and status. If your resume does not stop the hiring manager in his or her tracks, and you don’t receive a call from anyone inviting you to an interview, it doesn’t mean that you are not qualified. The hiring manager may simply be overwhelmed with many good applicants. Sometimes, you can draw additional attention to your resume and help yourself stand out over the other applicants if you are able to follow up effectively and professionally.

How you proceed depends upon the circumstances of your application. Did you apply online, through a friend, via a job fair, or some other method? If you know someone in the organization, it may be acceptable to contact that person directly. Otherwise, you should be careful not to contact the wrong person, or follow up too frequently. Below are a few basic resume follow-up tips that apply to most situations:

  • Be courteous and respectful of the person’s time.
  • Don’t stalk the hiring manager or over-communicate. You could come across as desperate, or you may just annoy the hiring manager so much that they could rule you out based on that. A good rule of thumb is no more than 1-2 times per week, for 2-3 weeks.
  • Don’t go above or around the hiring manager or contact listed on the job ad. Some career experts recommend it, but in my experience as a recruiter, and as a hiring manager, that tactic usually does more harm than good.
  • Your follow up should be brief, well-written, (or well-spoken if you’re leaving a voicemail), and free of errors, typos, or grammar mistakes.
  • Email is less intrusive and generally more accepted than phone calls.

If you follow those basic guidelines when following up on your resume or job application, you will convey a high level of interest, tenacity, and professionalism that employers want from their prospective employees.

5 Ways for Recent College Graduates to Find Available Jobs

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Graduation has come and gone, and another batch of college students now find themselves in the “real world” of job searching. It can be scary, confusing and downright frustrating—especially because many of today’s colleges and universities don’t properly prepare students for their entry-level job search.

You might have a good idea of what you want in your ideal job—but where do you find it? Below are several ways I’d suggest getting started in your job search:

Participate in professional and job seeking communities. Communities are a valuable form of support and advice during a job search. The other participants can also be a great addition to your network. These groups of people exist both online and offline – think social media groups and chats, professional associations, and support groups – and can be a great source of inspiration and information in a job search. Being active and engaging in these groups can make you more visible to those who can help in your job search and allow you to give back with advice of your own.

Follow companies of interest on social media sites. Social media has changed the way organizations hire and source potential candidates, making it easier than ever for a job seeker to connect directly to the company they’d like to work for. Following their official Twitter account, Facebook page or blog feed can help ensure that you’ll be the first to know about potential openings and helps you learn more about the company at hand.

Volunteer or intern at a prospective employer. Although internships are often unpaid, it’s a valuable look inside of a company you desire to work for. During an internship or volunteer position, you’ll get to know employees at the organization all while gaining skills and experience in your field. It’s a great way to prove yourself as a professional and gain an “in” at the company. In fact, many employers look to their intern pool or employee referral list when looking to hire for entry-level positions.

Check major job boards, company career sites and Craigslist. While job listings shouldn’t be the only job search tactic you have in your arsenal, they’re certainly a valuable way to gauge who’s hiring and where. Job and Career Accelerator can help you find up-to-date job listings in hundreds of fields.

Just make sure you don’t spend all your time combing through job listings that might not even land an interview—you should also be networking, preparing your job search documents and polishing your online presence.

Reach out to your personal and professional network. Networking is often the best tactic to finding your next job. Whether it’s because you know someone at a company you’ve applied at and they put in a good word for you, or because a friend refers you to an unadvertised job opening they heard about, don’t forget to network early and often. Hopefully you’ve built a strong network before leaving school (always network before you need something!). Continue meeting new people and reaching out to others you’d like to build a professional relationship with. Remember, networking is a two-way street—you must provide value to your connections, too. Believe me, you have valuable advice and insight to share. Don’t be shy!

Interview Thank You Notes: Dos and Don’ts!

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Finally! All of the time you have spent on job search websites, reviewing job search engines, and networking paid off! You landed an interview. Everything you do now can either help or hurt your chances of landing the job. Thank you notes are an often-overlooked aspect of the job hunt.

Some disagree about how important it is to write thank you notes, suggesting that they don’t really matter and that they may actually hurt a candidate if done poorly.

On the flip side, some hiring managers appreciate and expect notes. Alison Doyle, About.com’s Job Searching Guide, advises, “Writing a thank you letter, or thank you e-mail after an employment interview is a must.” It seems most people don’t follow that advice! Quint Careers reported that only about 5 percent of job seekers actually follow up after interview with a thank you note.

How can you use a thank you note to stand out in a crowd?

Do

  • Write individual notes to everyone who interviewed you. Collect business cards so you have exact contact information and the spelling of everyone’s name.
  • Reiterate your interest and remind the interviewer of something you discussed by commenting on something that seemed important to the interviewer. For example, if he or she asked a lot of questions about being a team player, share another story that illustrates what a strong team member you are.
  • Try to use “me, my, and I” sparingly to avoid appearing self-centered.
  • Keep it brief and professional, suggests Harry Urschel via CareerRocketeer.
  • Indicate when you will follow up again.

Don’t

  • Misspell the names of your contact or include typos or errors.
  • Do not wait too long to send the note. Many hiring decisions are made quickly, so be sure to mail a note the same day if possible, and consider e-mailing your thank you.
  • Don’t worry about if a hand-written note or a typewritten note is best. While I always prefer typed note, if  time is not of the essence and the note is well written and legible, it is unlikely to matter either way.
  • Be sure you don’t sound desperate in your letter. Reiterate why you are the best candidate, not why you need the job. (It’s about the employer, not about you.)

Here is a sample:

Dear Ms. Smith:

Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position of _______________. It was a pleasure meeting you and learning about (company name’s) history and how you see this position impacting your plans going forward. I hope you agree that my experience and background in (________, __________, and __________) make me an ideal match for your organization’s needs.

Add some detail from the meeting or expand on an idea you mentioned already. For example: As we discussed, my track record of being able to quickly acclimate to new work roles is strong, resulting in meeting goals ahead of schedule. You mentioned that you hope to fill the position with someone who consistently exceeds expectations. Everyone who has supervised me will tell you that I welcome new challenges, outperform benchmarks, and accomplish complex tasks under budget in record time.

I look forward to the opportunity to join your team and to bring my passion for __________ to help accomplish your ambitious goals for the new year. Please don’t hesitate to contact my references or me for additional information. As we discussed, I will be in touch at the end of next week if I do not hear from you sooner.

Sincerely,

Jane Jones

The Truth About Resumes and Job Applications

Monday, April 4th, 2011

By Louise Kursmark

Do you have to include every job you’ve ever held on your resume? The short answer is no.

The more thoughtful response is that you want to include information that positions you appropriately for the jobs you’re seeking, showcases your valuable skills and experiences, and doesn’t raise red flags in the employer’s mind. If you need tips and templates for creating the ideal resume to represent you, check out Job and Career Accelerator’s Resume Builder for a pain-free introduction to the basics or to polish up your latest draft.

So it’s perfectly OK to omit a 3-month summer job if it doesn’t add value to your resume. It’s fine to leave off unrelated positions even if they were full-time and of lengthy duration. But whatever you do, make sure you’re prepared to discuss any gaps or omissions during a job interview without sounding defensive or evasive and without dwelling on irrelevant experiences.

A job application, however, is not the same as a resume. Job applications are legal documents and usually state that the application is a complete record of your employment. So you do need to include all of your jobs and other experiences that you might have chosen to omit from your resume.

In a nutshell, your job application = the whole truth. Your resume = the truth. Just remember these simple guidelines and be prepared to discuss any part of your past with a potential employer.

How to Find and Land a Perfect Job

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

By Miriam Salpeter

Finding and landing the perfect job depends on a number of factors. There is no “silver bullet” method that works for every job seeker, but there are a number of undeniably important aspects that, when done well, can make a difference for struggling job seekers. This article includes tips, information, and resources about an array of key topics for job search success, including how to conduct relevant self-assessments, how to research the market to determine promising job paths and industries, innovative methods to expand career networks, tips to effectively prepare for an interview, and advice about how to vet people serving as job references.

Self-Assessment

Many job seekers overlook self-assessment. Without fully exploring interest inventories and skill suits, many flounder and apply for inappropriate positions. If career coaching is not an option, consider suggesting that patrons investigate free online tools to help identify what they may want to do next. These assessments may trigger ideas and help get some job seekers out of a rut.

Job & Career Accelerator’s Occupation Matcher

Patrons of any library subscribed to Job & Career Accelerator can explore a wide variety of occupations and discover new opportunities by using the Occupation Matcher. The Occupation Matcher walks users through 180 questions that reveal occupations that best match their backgrounds and goals. Each user also gets a list of occupations based on his or her interest score and employment preparation level.

MAAP – Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential

http://www.assessment.com offers a partial report and five matches for free, and offers more comprehensive assessments for a fee. The free report may help encourage a job seeker to research a previously unexplored field.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

This assessment provides a four-letter composite about a person’s personality. It assesses people as either introverted or extroverted, intuitive or sensing, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. Many believe these indicators can help steer job seekers into positions best suited to their tendencies. Candidates may try a free, shortened assessment here: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp and learn about a few potential career directions.

Research the Market

Understanding the current job market is important, and many traditional reference tools, such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook, may help job seekers decide on appropriate next steps. Another terrific resource to help people learn about up-and-coming fields is U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Careers” article. Using “best company” lists, such as Forbes’ list of best places to work,  may be useful. Glassdoor.com is an online site where people share information about where they work; it offers an insider’s look at companies that may interest job seekers.

Expand Networks

The most effective way to land an interview is via a referral. The more people who know a candidate, the more likely he or she is to benefit from a referral that results in an opportunity.  Social networking provides opportunities to significantly increase the number of people who know about a job seeker. These are some of the best online tools to use to expand a network:

LinkedIn. The number one professional, online place for job seekers, this is a must-have social network. After completing a profile, job seekers should visit Groups to identify active online communities who share their interests. Alumni organizations, professional associations, and personal interest groups may all be good launching points to meet new people.

Twitter. While not always considered a professional network, Twitter is diverse and offers a wonderful tool to meet and expand a network of people with shared interests. One useful Twitter tool is “Twitter Chats.” Twitter chats occur when people who share goals or interests come online to share information and resources via Twitter. Leaders name chats using hashtags (#) to make them easy to search. One chat for job seekers is #JobHuntChat, Monday nights at 10-11 eastern time. Job seekers may find chat topics covering an array of interests here.  Anyone is welcome to join chats to ask questions, meet people, and grow their networks.

Interview Skills

None of these other tips matter if job seekers are not properly prepared for resulting interviews. The best advice for jobseekers: research the company. Use obvious tools, such as company websites, their YouTube channels, Twitter feeds, and LinkedIn Company profiles. Additional resources to learn about companies include:

Answering questions well is key to interviewing well. Job seekers should not try to memorize answers to lists of interview questions. Instead, suggest they prepare several stories to illustrate past successes, describe interpersonal relationships with colleagues and supervisors, and detail one or two negative situations they managed to salvage. Usually, having strong stories covering these topics will help them address most typical interview questions. They should be sure to follow an outline for the stories that includes the problem, the action they took, and the result (PAR).

References

Unfortunately, an unprepared reference may signal the end of a successful job search path. Job seekers should fully prepare and vet the people who will serve as their references.

They should ask permission to provide someone’s name as a reference ahead of time, and provide their recommenders with updated job search materials and information about the position. Be sure to tell the person about the interview, and suggest specifics the employer may want to know.