Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Posts Tagged ‘job search advice

Five More Reasons Your Job Search May Not be Working

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A few weeks ago, I outlined 5 reasons your job search may not be working. Here are some additional items to consider as you troubleshoot your job search:

Are you specific in the details you share?

Remember to show, not tell. Give examples, so prospective employers know the scope and the scale of what you are talking about.

When I recruited, a lot of candidates would simply list in vague notions a generic laundry list of attributes — e.g., I learn quickly, I work hard. It was the rare candidate that gave a thorough example of exactly what the objective was, what was delivered, what happened as a result, and what s/he did specifically. The candidates with specific details give the best interviews.

Can you get inspired at will?

I recently gave a mock interview to someone who made little eye contact and had overall low energy. This wasn’t what I remembered from an earlier session, and he admitted that he had a rough week. We all have good and bad days, but you can’t just leave it to chance that a good day will occur when you have an interview. So come up with a process for how you can get inspired at will. Champion athletes have very specific routines when they prepare for game day and so do successful jobseekers.

Do you let doubts show? In later rounds of interviewing, I have seen candidates start focusing less on the interviews and more about whether they want the job. While, yes, you should be using your meetings to get information you need to make a good decision, there is no decision to be made yet.

Don’t second-guess why you are there — you definitely want that offer. You can always say no to the job, but don’t let doubt creep in too soon and give a signal to the prospective employer that you may not be interested.

Have you let things slide?

There is a lot of time between submitting a resume, rounds of interviews, and getting a decision. You need to stay front of mind with everyone you met. They are seeing other people and may forget about you. Don’t let things slide as you wait between stages – send key decision-makers a status update about you and reiterate your interest in continuing the discussions.

Do you have quantity, as well as quality?

You might do everything right, and the positions loses its funding or it goes to someone internal or a better candidate comes along. You need to have multiple leads to pursue at all time. Your job search will stall if you move from only one lead to another instead of pursuing multiple leads simultaneously. You need quantity in your search.

–Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, SixFigureStart

Dealing with Depression During the Job Search

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I know what you are thinking – all this talk about an improving economy and yet you don’t have a job yet.  They are saying America is doing better, but then you read about the significant cuts that are being made in New York.  What’s this furlough nonsense and why does it not sound good for my job prospects?  And don’t get started on Greece…if that economy falters any more, can America truly be out of harm’s way?  These are great questions, but dwelling on them will only hurt your job search.

When I first became unemployed, I seriously thought that I would get a job within a month’s time.  And I thought that I had the secret key to job search success.  I would just treat my job search like a job (who else had thought of such a unique concept).  I woke up at 7 a.m. and worked until 5 p.m., sometimes later, with hopes of securing a position somewhere…anywhere.

I got off to a good start.  I had a notebook filled with every single job I applied to.  I tailored cover letters and resumes.  I made follow-up calls, even though they often didn’t work on the initial attempts because HR staffs were also cut during the recession. (You should still make them, though.)

But then, after a month went by, I started getting up a little later.  I started enjoying The View (women arguing over politics…genius!).  I started getting a little angry.  I started making mistakes, like sending the wrong cover letters out and applying to jobs without sending the writing samples I had promised in the email.  I wasn’t getting job interviews.  Jobs that I felt I was destined to get went to someone else.  There is nothing more disheartening than getting a letter telling you that you weren’t even good enough for one interview for a job you seemed destined for.  It was a brutal period that I’ve only touched upon in previous blog posts.  I was depressed and needed to snap out of it  or else I was never going to get a job.

Realizing that I needed to make some moves, I changed my job search a bit and began reaching out to contacts for freelance work, which kept me busy and provided me with a little extra money.  But I made some other changes.  I played hooky from the job search at times and did other creative things that allowed me to stay sane.  First, at my girlfriend’s request, I went to Home Depot and Ikea and inexpensively redesigned our living room, which allowed me to be artistic and create a new space in which to perform my job search.  Newness makes me happy and is refreshing.  This was a fun step that recharged the batteries.

Second, I started taking care of myself again.  Yes, the 99-cent menu at Burger King fit my budget, but it also made me unable to fit my clothes, so I began a workout routine again that kept me in shape and energized me for a day of sending out resumes and heading out to job interviews.  Looking unhealthy adds to the depression, but looking fit gives you the confidence you need to conquer the world.

I also reacquainted myself with my Xbox.   I spent four hours sending out a resume and then took a break – playing MLB 2K10, and I had a blast.  It was fun and it broke up the monotony of the day.  Plus, while I was losing at the job search, I was winning in the game, and in a weird way, that lifted my spirits.  Everyone needs a boost.  Sometimes, I would take walks outside, meet some friends and play a little basketball and at least one day, I didn’t look for a job at all and just lounged and pampered myself with rest and de-stress.

I eventually found a job.  It took me time and it certainly wasn’t roses and sunshine along the way, but if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the news or the stress and if we allow our egos to get in the way, the jobs won’t come.  Sometimes, just like when you’re looking for a date, you need to let go a bit, have fun, relax and live life, before you actually get what you are looking for.

Job Search Skills: Getting Control of Your Social Media Presence

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How do you view social media as a part of the job search? Is it a positive tool for helping you track down positions and reach the people and decision-makers who really matter? Or is it a minefield to be negotiated—a realm where you have so many accounts and profiles that they’re a nightmare to keep track of, and a source of constant worry about how you’re representing yourself to potential employers?

Whatever your take on it, the folks at Wired have put together a simple-to-follow wiki that can help you get control and squeeze more value (and a lot of worry) out of your online presence. In a nutshell: it’s a guide to building a social profile through which you can link to each and every piece of the social media realm in which you already participate.

The major advantage to doing so is summed up perfectly in this excerpt from the wiki: “The deeper and more fully fleshed-out your presence is on a trusted service […] the easier it is for your friends to find you, and the harder it is for anyone to impersonate you.”

Bear in mind: it’s not only your friends that will want to find you online. Every time you apply for a job, there’s a strong chance that someone with the power to affect a hiring decision will be seeking you out in cyberspace—a chance that increases exponentially the closer you come to actually being offered a job. Bearing that in mind, perhaps it’s worth taking the time to organize and tailor exactly what those people can discover about you. Even if that doesn’t involve the sort of public profile Wired is advocating, it should definitely include an examination of your privacy settings on Facebook (especially when it comes to photos—it’s so easy to end up tagged in a picture you didn’t even know was online) and a scan (and potential removal) of any tweets or status updates that may compromise your image as the consummate professional.

Written by Phil Stott

April 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

In Case You Missed It: How the Hiring Process Really Works

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What does $27 get you these days?  Depending on the place, you could probably get a drink or two with some friends after work and be able to remember the night the next day.  You might instead go on a date to Friday’s, choose from the $9.99 menu…and <gasp> pay for her, too!  Or you could spend your money and completely change your life, with advice you will remember for a lifetime; advice that could help you land your next job.

On Friday, April 16, 2010, Vault.com teamed up with SixFigureStart to present another edition of its weekly seminar series aimed at providing job seekers and those looking to change careers with the intelligence they need for the career they want.  Caroline Ceniza-Levine was on hand for a webinar entitled “How the Hiring Process Really Works: An Insider’s Guide to Getting the Job” that provided a behind-the-scenes look at what the recruiter sees during the job search.

According to Caroline, because the economy is still in a state of flux, the employer continues to have the upper hand in the job search.  However, with companies now starting to hire more than before, the time is ripe for job seekers to get out there and be noticed.  Still, with the uptick in the economy giving employed people the courage to test the waters and change jobs, the market has become even more competitive than before.  Sharpening your job skills is of the essence.

The webinar, which you missed (yes…you!), focused on the 8 steps of the hiring process from the employer’s perspective:

1.  The job opening is defined.  Our company needs a new public relations specialist.

2.  The budget is approved.  The company gets the green light on offering $XX for the job.

3.  The search kicks off.  HR posts the job on the company site or through a job board, like on Vault.com.

4.  Resumes.  The handwritten ones ripped out of spiral notebooks are thrown out here, as are resumes that are too hard to read, too long, or have spelling errors.  You have been warned.

5.  The interview process begins. Remember, you only have a few minutes to make an immediate impression.  Develop your elevator pitch fast. Make sure you follow-up with a thank you.

6.  Finalists are selected.  Keep your energy up as you move through the process.  Each interview takes you one step closer to the job.

7.  An offer is made.  Everything is negotiable, including salary.  And if you didn’t get an offer, maintain contact with the potential employers, because if the offer isn’t accepted by the first place job seeker, the runner-up can still find him or herself with the crown.

8.  The new hire begins work.  This is where you want to be.

Caroline offers key advice on how your own job search should not begin with Step #3, but rather before then, through various networking possibilities.  This is what we often refer to as the Hidden Job Market.  For every job that gets on a job board, there are so many others that don’t make it because someone with the proper networking capabilities got to the company first.  These networking opportunities, such as friend referrals, can also help address issues with your resume, such as a gap in employment, or extreme career changes.

In addition, Caroline answered some of the following questions:

  1. I got laid off and my boss and my boss’ boss offered to help with my job search; how do I take advantage of this opportunity?
  2. What are the best ways to talk about gaps in employment?
  3. I sent my resume to 50 places and had two friends put my resume forth personally, but I have heard nothing.  Feels like a big black hole and I am getting very frustrated.  Why am I not getting any responses?

You can find out answers to these questions and other advice that will help your job search by purchasing a downloadable version of this webinar…or register for the next webinar and learn on Friday, April 23, 2010, from 12 – 1 p.m., how to Identify Your Ideal Job Targets.  This webinar will teach you how you can get your dream job when you don’t know what it is?  Go to http://www.vault.com/SixFigureStart.html to register today.

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