Jobs

Do you really want a better job in 2013? 0

 

The more I hear from recruiters, the more I believe some people really don’t want a new job. Sure they say they want a better job, they say they are looking, they say they are serious, but… they do not want to do the work required to land a new job.

It reminds me of the verse in Choo Choo Ch’Boogie by Asleep At the Wheel

I need some compensation to get back in the black,

I take the morning paper from the top of the stack,

I read the situation from the front to the back,

the only job that’s open needs a man with a knack,

so I put it right back in the stack.”

In 2013, if you really want a better job, resolve to do the work to get it.

Job Seeker Tip #32 – Never Chew Gum During An Interview 1

Recently I was asked for tips on acing a job interview. After giving the matter some thought, I came up with 101 Job Seeker Tips.

Today I want to tell you about tip #32 – Never chew gum during an interview.

I’m sure you will see why.

“this job” vs. “I’ll take whatever” – Three ways to focus 1

Resume must match Job listing, management position

Is your resume specific enough?

As the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, it is easy to say “I’ll take whatever job comes along”. This then changes the tone of your cover letter and resume. You start to show yourself as a jack-of-all- trades. The downside to this is you may be perceived as a master-of -none.

The more you tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job listing, the more likely someone reviewing your information will see a connection. Being one of several hundred generic applicants, you will not stand out. Some recruiters would say that the more generic the résumé, the more desperate the job seeker. So stay the course and focus on the following:

1. Take the time to read the entire job listing

2. Craft your cover letter and resume to specific, measurable requirements for this job

3. Do this for each listing you apply for; never just copy and paste your resume

Doing this you may feel you are limiting your possibilities for employment. But how many generic resumes and cover letters have you sent out? How many have resulted in a call for a first interview?

Focus on the key requirements for the position and highlight them in your cover letter and resume. Then be ready to talk about them because the phone will be ringing soon.

The Three C’s of Interviews – Two land the interview, the third lands the job 5

Has this ever happened to you? You hear about a job and review the posting. The job description reads just like your resume. You have done everything that the company is looking for. Your references and your on-line presence confirm you are that person. You apply and get a call for an interview. The job seems destined to be yours! But something goes a little sideways during the actual interview and two weeks later you learn they hired someone else. What happened?

Employers really are only looking for three things.  The first two are what get you into their office for the interview. The third is what actually gets you the job. 

The Three C’s of Interviews are:

  1. Capability
  2. Character
  3. Compatibility

First, they want to know if you can do the job. Some major employers now use keyword software to sift through on-line applications looking for specific skills. Make sure you read the posting completely and include references to the exact skills being advertised.

Second, employers want someone they can trust.  Be sure to coach your references so they know what position you are applying for. Remind them of specific projects that you were involved in so they have a positive story to tell about your abilities. And review your on-line presence. Know what an employer will see when they Google your name.

The third C is the hardest to measure. Before the interview make sure you have done your homework about the company, the industry and the major players in the organization. As you enter the building, the office or the conference room, you must be observant. Look at the posters and pictures on the walls. How are the employees interacting? Are there clues you can pick up about the culture?

Years ago I had an interview for a management position.  The Executive I was to speak with was seated at his desk. Behind him was a huge photo of a sailboat. I was the Commodore of our sailing team in college and had lived on a sailboat for a year between high school and college. It was very easy to find a mutual interest that showed the interviewer I was compatible. Conversely, at another company the poster behind the interviewer said “we are going to have a sales contest, the winner gets to keep their job”. That was a very different kind of interview.

In the end, you can feel pretty confident that you have gotten past the first two C’s when they call you for an interview. Your job during the interview is to make them “C” you fitting in. Do that and you will be sitting in a new hire orientation for your new job.

The 9 Hour, 12 minute and 36 second challenge 1

How do you spend your workday? On average, a full-time American worker spends 9 hours, 12 minutes and 36 seconds working and commuting. Do you enjoy what you do? Can you honestly say “I can’t believe they are paying me to do this?

I spent a summer during college working for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. My job was to collect water samples in the Chesapeake Bay. I would tow an 18 foot Grady-White motor boat with twin Mercury outboards to different rivers that feed into the Bay. I would then follow the incoming tide, stopping to take water samples at designated intervals. One overcast day I saw two water spouts dancing around the mouth of the York River. I saw magnificent sunrises, sunsets and met interesting people at every marina I stopped at. “I couldn’t believe they were paying me to do what I would have done for free”.

Ok, you’ve got me. Having a summer job and “working for a living” is not the same thing. But, the closer you can get to that feeling, the more satisfaction you will get from your 9 hours, 12 minutes and 36 seconds.

Four ways a new job is like Back-to-School 0

Back to school cartoon

Going back-to-school is a lot like starting a new job

When you begin a new job, it’s a clean slate. Just like the first day of a new school year, everything is before you. The opportunities are endless. Then comes:

  1. The first pop quiz (A question from your boss about how you would handle something)
  2. The first written test ( You must write the proposal to land  the Attwood Sewing Machine account)
  3. The first report card (Your 90 day review can be nerve-wracking even if you know you’re doing a good job)
  4. Parent/Teacher Night ( Ok, your job won’t have that, but you may be invited to social functions that your significant other is expected to attend)

Have a plan for your new job, set your own expectations. You will be better prepared for the first pop quiz and everything that follows.

Are You Using Your Vacation Time This Year? 1

 I met Steve when he spoke this spring at a WCBS and The Wall Street Journal sponsored Small Business Breakfast in Connecticut. He’s a fascinating guy with an interesting background. The story of how he became the spokesman for Jobs on WCBS is a story to itself.

Take a listen to Steve’s thoughts on vacations from his recent Podcast.

Then weigh in on your vacation plans.

 

Five Ways To Bring Your Job Search Into Focus 4

Is Your Job Search In Focus?

Yesterday I had an eye exam. I was left alone by the nurse and  I was looking at all of the equipment. I realized that together these were tools to help my Doctor understand clearly what was going on with my eyes, helping him bring my vision into focus.

As he was very busy, I had a few minutes to ponder how job seekers could bring their search into focus. Before he came into the examining room, I came up with five:

  1. Know What Your Greatest Strengths Are – If you really understand what you do best, you can match that to specific job postings, not wasting your time “spraying and praying”.
  2. Include Key Words on Your Resume – If you are applying online and you are not doing this, you are probably wondering why you haven’t heard from anyone. LinkedIn offers help with Key Words. Click on Your Profile, go into “more” and you will see Skills and Expertise. Enter key words from the job posting and you will see additional ideas
  3. Do Your Homework – If you need to ask the interviewer “what they do”, you are wasting their time. Set up Google alerts for every company you are considering. Search the companies websites for interesting facts. Read up on regulations that may affect the industry.
  4. Practice – The more you practice interviewing, the more comfortable you will be. Enlist a friend or family member and conduct mock interviews. Or put sample questions on cards, stand in front of a mirror and practice answering them,
  5. Stay The Course – It’s easy to get very excited when the phone rings. Landing an interview could mean you are one meeting away from a job. But you need to treat your job search as an on-going process. Your focus needs to be on the big picture, which means continuing to research companies, continuing to send out resumes and continuing to follow up on applications you have submitted.

My Doctor, when he finally got to see me, corrected my vision and brought things into focus. You can bring  your job search into focus by doing these five things.

Five Ways People Burn Bridges When They Leave A Job 10

There are times when wanting to get out of a situation seems like the only thing that matters. “Just get me out of this job”. And the consequences? You’ll “cross that bridge when you come to it“. So something happens at work that you see as the last straw and you decide to quit, to give notice, to say “take this job and shove it”.

However you may feel on the inside, when you finally make the decision to leave, you must do it on good terms.

Don’t be the person who:

  1. Failed to give proper notice
  2. Slacked off after you gave your notice
  3. Talked trash about those in the office you never got along with
  4. Called out sick two days before your last day (but went clothes shopping for your new job)
  5. Failed to thank those that mentored or helped you

At the time, you may feel justified in doing these things. Later, you may find that things aren’t as great in the new company and those problems you had with your previous job seem smaller and smaller. Now what do you do?

If you pulled any or all of the five things above, your chances of getting your old job back are pretty much slim to none. Leaving on good terms sets up a safety net. And if they can’t re-hire you, they can and will give you a positive recommendation, perhaps even a contact they know is hiring.

Don’t let getting out of the job at any cost cloud your vision of how you should leave. Keep your bridges in good repair instead of burning them. You never know when you’ll need to cross one.

Students – What You Get From A Summer Job That You Can’t Get In The Classroom 4

You may get more than a paycheck from your summer job

In high school, I had after school jobs doing landscaping and I pumped gas. Each summer when school was out I would work the grave yard shift at a gas station. I’d go in at 11PM at night and get off at 7AM the next morning. I thought it was great because then I could spend the day with my friends in a boat on the water. I’d sleep a little bit in the evening, sometimes a very little bit,  and then go back to work.

To get through college, I drove a school bus and I was the Assistant Manager and Projectionist at Cinema City Theaters in Tabb, Virginia. Later I had jobs on campus in Student Government and even taught sailing for the college as an adjunct professor to earn some extra money. I made it through high school and college with all of those part and full-time jobs. At the time all I thought I was getting from them was a paycheck. But as I look back at them know, I know got a lot more.

I learned about alarm clocks and how to get places on time. I learned that employers expect you to show up at 11AM if they put you on the schedule for 11AM. I learned they don’t mean show up somewhere around 11AM ’cause we know you were out late and you may need a little extra time to get going today.

I learned about raises by watching what happened to those who had been at jobs longer than I had. I saw that those who were rewarded were usually the ones who were solving problems for the boss, taking on extra responsibilities and making the day go smoother. I saw that the employees who always had a problem with something were not well liked and in time were no longer employees.  I also saw that the Boss’s son seemed to get away with things that no one else could (and never got fired).

I learned how to deal with supervisors and managers and owners of the small businesses I worked for. I found that the relationships I developed with them were far different from the ones I had with my teachers in the classroom. Each workplace had its own structure, its own set of rules. Some places I worked were very strict.

I spent three weeks and three days as a fry cook for a new fast food restaurant that opened near the college. Very strict, very high expectations and very greasy. At the movie theater, my boss was just the opposite. She was much more laid back and as long as things got done when they needed to be done, life was ok. She even let me borrow the company van so I could take five friends with me to the Hampton Roads Coliseum to see Jethro Tull in concert.  Pretty wild.

Some of my friends actually thought about the types of summer jobs they took and found internships and jobs in the field they wanted to pursue. At the time it just seemed kind of cool, but now I see how helpful that was to their ultimate career choices. You might want to give some thought to the types of jobs you seek out in high school and beyond. They really can be the groundwork for rewarding jobs after school.

It’s not too late to find a summer job. And if you already have one, congratulations! Enjoy your summer away from the classroom, but as you work and earn a paycheck, don’t be surprised if you actually learn something.