Archive for February, 2010
An important tip: From the minute you step into the building of the company or organization where you’re interviewing until you leave to go home, consider yourself in an interview situation and act accordingly. An email correspondent wrote, in response to a blog post earlier this week (“It’s not only what you say but how you say it”) that the same can be said of what you do. Make no mistake about it, when on an interview you’re being scrutinized and all of those who you meet will be looking for clues as to what kind of employee you might make.
I offer this advice not to make candidates even more nervous about interviews but to help job seekers avoid some of the missteps that some– even those well-prepared for the actual interview — make in this situation. From my own experience and that of other hiring managers, here are some tips on acing the “little” things as well as the bigger ones: (more…)
These days, most contact with potential employers — at least until one reaches the final hiring stages — is made via email. Though most of us have adopted a relaxed email style with friends and colleagues, email sent to anyone at a company where you’re seeking a job should be treated as business correspondence, not as casual chatter. On online discussion groups frequented by recruiters, email laxness is cited as a serious mistake that could land a job seeker’s candidacy in the recruiter’s “delete” file.
Here are some email rules that job seekers should take to heart so that they are taken seriously by potential employers: (more…)
Just as a professional appearance is crucial in making that all-important first impression in an interview or networking situation, so is one’s speech. Yet recruiters report that candidates who do everything else right often mumble, swallow their words, ramble or otherwise mangle their speech so much that the interviewer is distracted from the importance of what they’re saying by how poorly they’re saying it.
Yep, here’s another thing to worry about in a job interview — and especially in the increasingly common pre-interview screening call: you’ve got to sound serious, confident, friendly and capable. And journalists, so attuned to the written word, aren’t always as skilled with the spoken ones. But with practice and attention, hiring managers say this too can be mastered. Here are some tips: (more…)
One of the most frustrating aspects of a job hunt can be waiting to hear back from a prospective employer. While most applicants recognize that they may never hear anything after sending in a resume or making initial contact, one expects that a hiring manager will get back to them — one way or another — following an interview, right?
Yet several email correspondents recently have suggested that this common-sense expectation may be a thing of the past. Even after one or more interviews, applicants say some hiring managers don’t return emails (let alone phone calls) or will get back to candidates only after lengthy periods — and in some cases, to provide little more information than that they aren’t sure when they’ll make a decision. What’s a job candidate to do, short of giving up?
Hiring experts say that such deafening silences typically mean one of the following — and here are some strategies job hunters that can employ in these situations: (more…)
Most mid-career job hunters have been labeled, at one time or another, as “overqualified” for a particular position. Sometimes this is code for being too expensive or not a good fit for the organization; other times it may be a subtle form of age discrimination. (See Jan. 25 post, “What you can do if you suspect hiring discrimination.”) Yet often there may be legitimate worries on the part of the hiring manager about whether a candidate has TOO much experience for a particular job and may be likely to leave it the moment something better comes along.
First, ask yourself whether this is true — is the position for which you’re applying well below your level of expertise and experience, and if so, why are you seeking it? If you’re desperate to land anywhere, you may be setting yourself up for a fall. And if you’re hoping to talk the hiring manager into another position, you might be better off with a more general introduction to the company. However, if you truly believe you’d like this job, could do it well and it could lead to jobs with this company more in keeping with your experience level, here are some strategies experts suggest for convincing hiring managers that you are a good fit: (more…)
Job boards are the solace of job hunters but often can become their biggest time waster as well. It’s so easy — actual openings pop up on your computer screen with instructions on how to apply and helpful links, and there you go, you can send your resume and materials in minutes! Of course, the problem is that thousands of other job seekers are doing the same thing and you have absolutely no idea of whether you will be seriously considered for the position. It’s like sending your resume into a black hole.
Hiring experts remind us and anecdotal evidence underscores that the vast majority of job hunters don’t land jobs they find on boards — success comes through contacts, networking and work one does (such as free-lancing or contract work) for an organization that opens doors to a job. Then why use job boards at all? Experts say to approach them as one tool in your job hunting arsenal. By regularly perusing good job boards (and we’ll get to the award winners in a minute, and why they’re good) a clever job hunter can get an idea of where there are openings in their field, can research the qualifications necessary and then can use that information to contact organizations and tailor their materials to the type of openings available.
Some tips on how to most effectively use job boards in your search: (more…)
Often we’re so focused on securing a new job or assignment that once we do, we’re at a loss for how to begin. Before actually starting a new position or taking over a new beat, experts advise embarking on a “listening tour” — doing some research and asking those in a position to know some pertinent questions that can save you a lot of time and hassle in your new position. (This of course comes after you’ve signed all the pertinent paperwork and thanked all of those who helped you land the job. See Jan. 6 post, “How to wrap up a job hunt.”)
Remember, beginnings are critical; you only get one opportunity to “start off on the right foot” in a company or organization. The impression you leave now — based on everything you say and do as you get started — may have implications for years to come. So rather than jumping in blindly, experts advise taking the following steps as you get started: (more…)
An email correspondent asks for some tips for offering real help to those in her network when they’re looking for a job after a layoff or buyout but also laments what this means for her — as she’s job hunting as well. While she, and so many job seekers, want to help those who are looking, those freshly laid-off friends and former colleagues now represent competition for jobs!
Further, there is a larger issue here: with networking being the best-advised strategy for landing a good job, journalists are coping with a situation where an increasing number of those with whom they network are also looking…how can that be helpful in a job search? Yet hiring experts say that even in fields like journalism where it seems that every other person has been laid off or barely survived losing their job, there are networking strategies that are effective (and can also allow you to help others): (more…)
D.C. and the Md. and esp. the Va. suburbs are known as the “world headquarters” of associations — there’s even a trade association for association professionals! While journalists are often familiar with the alphabet soup of associations as a good source of ideas and background on various industries and subject areas, these groups are also a good source of job openings for those with news experience.
Hiring experts say that transitioning journalists should consider association work because it can make good use of their research, communications and writing and editing skills. It’s also a good way to leverage one’s subject-area expertise — often associations prefer to hire professionals with knowledge of their particular area.
Here is some advice on why to consider association work, and how to find good openings in this world: (more…)
Hiring is a subjective practice, sometimes frustratingly so for job seekers. While most hiring managers and recruiters seek to be fair and to make their choices largely based on applicants’ experience, aptitude and demonstrated abilities, at some point in the hiring process they must reach a comfort level with that candidate — which, of course, puts us back squarely in the subjective realm.
Though what impresses one hiring manager may turn off the next, here are some common responses that hiring managers queried on various career Web sites and in discussion groups (and from my own experience) gave when asked what — beyond skills and experience — makes a job candidate stand out. Happily, many of these are common-sense practices that job hunters can make part of their standard job-hunting routine: (more…)