Table of Contents
- Unsuccesssful Search
- Job Search Planning
- Networking and Cover Letters
- A Good Interview
So you have just lost your job, or maybe you have been out of work for some time. Now you're wondering where to turn next. You start your job search on your own; you turn to the internet, newspapers, or other job boards.
Your day starts something like this, you wake up at your normal time but then you realize that you don't have to rush to get ready, get your morning coffee, or your breakfast. So you head to the kitchen and get your coffee and fix something to eat. You also pick up the paper and instead of reading the financials you start in the classifieds. As you read you notice several jobs that look interesting and you make a mental note of them. Suddenly you realize that you might need a plan! Then you go back to your bed room and finish your morning routine, except instead of dressing for work you put on your grubbiest clothes and head to the computer to search the job boards. As you read through the 1000′s of jobs listed you remember that your resume is desperately in need of an update. The next day is very similar to the first with only a few variations.
Several days pass and you have a couple of good prospects. One company calls and asks for an interview. You spend the day before the interview going over possible interview questions. You tweak your resume and cover letter and finally you feel you're ready for the interview.
As you enter the interviewer's office you realize that you are a few minutes late due to traffic. The interview starts with the typical questions, "Tell Me about yourself" so you start with, where you were born, your marital status, your hobbies, and education. The next question may go something like this "What are two of your strongest skills", and you answer something like this, I'm a hard worker, and very dependable. Then it happens, the killer question, the one you didn't prepare for "What Are your two Weakest Skills?" (I hate that question). You stammer a little squirm in your chair and say something like this. "I don't have any weakest skills" then you laugh a little, you know, that laugh you do when you're nervous.
This kind of thing happens every day in job interviews all around this country; I have a few tools that will make your job search more successful, things like effective Job Search Planning, résumé / cover letter writing, effective networking, interview techniques, and interview follow-Up. So let's begin.
Job Search Planning
A plan for your job search is an important part of this process. The plan helps you identify and state your skills in a way that a Hiring Manager (HM) can readily determine if your skill set matches what the employer is looking for. The job search plan should contain the following steps:
- Identifying your specific skill set.
- Identifying potential employers.
- Matching your skills to the employer's needs.
- Developing a network of people who can help you identify employers.
- How to work that network effectively.
- Developing strong interview skills.
- What to do following an interview.
Résumé / Cover Letter Writing:
- The rules for résumé verses cover letters.
- How a cover letter should be structured?
- How to choose the correct style of résumé.
- How to structure your resume around a job description.
- Why we tailor each résumé for each job description and employer.
- What is a network?
- Why do we need a network?
- How to build a network.
- How to effectively work a network.
- How to prepare for an interview.
- What can I expect during the interview?
- What questions will I be asked during an interview?
- Why follow-up after your interview?
- What should I do to follow-up?
Networking and Cover Letters
The statistics show that 80% to 85% of all job placements are never placed on a job board and the other 15% to 20% is spread out over internet, newspaper, and other job postings. As a job seeker we need to find a way to tap into the 85%. These 85% are placed because someone knows someone else. An Engineer knows that his company is looking for another Engineer so he tells his friend who is looking for a job. Because of his recommendation his friend is hired. This takes place the majority of the time and that Engineering job is never posted. If the jobs aren't posted then the general public never knows about the job. We find these jobs through effective networking.
After we find a job to apply for then we need to get our qualifications in front of a hiring manager and that is done by writing an effective résumé, a résumé that speaks to your qualifications in the same language that the company understands. The cover letter is the introduction of the résumé it is written in first person where the résumé is written in third person. I can't stress enough the importance of tailoring each résumé to match each separate job description.
Each of us has a network of people and many times we don't realize it. Just check the contact list in your cell phones, the list of members in your church, club, family, or other organizations you may be involved with. The key is to build and work your network effectively while you avoid becoming a pest.
A Good Interview
Interviews are funny things, for example I have been in interviews that the interviewer lost control of the interview. Other interviews the interviewees have lost control of the interview. That being said the hiring managers have hired from poor interviews, while other interviews that seemed to have gone perfectly and the hiring manager hires someone else. The better prepared for the interview the greater the odds are that you will be hired.
Follow-up after the interview is very important. A very effective way to follow-up is a "thank you" note. Many times we walk out of the interview and realize we've left out some very important skills the job description identified. In the "thank you" note you may include a brief explanation of those skills.
My final suggestions are to build a network, find someone who will be a job coach and hold you accountable for your activity, locate a course that will provide support and direction, get up in the morning, every morning, get dressed as if you are going to an interview, and spend as much time in your job search as you would if you were working full time. Hopefully this small bit of information helps in some small way. I wish you much success in your job search.