Archive for July, 2010

How Less is More (Effective)

To impress or attract attention, one often pours it on. A job hunter’s first impulse is often to try to dazzle a recruiter or hiring manager with a long, cleverly composed, anecdote-filled cover letter; a resume listing every position they ever held and every accomplishment attained; and, if they score an interview, a theatrical performance focused on why they are the best candidate ever for this job!

But it’s too much, it’s just too much. Hiring managers have seen much of it before. They’re also overwhelmed with other candidates who are also pouring it on. What they want is information and a straightforward appeal for the position by someone who is truly qualified and really wants the job — that will get their attention.

Out of nervousness or because it is so important to them, many job seekers make the mistake of doing too much. They talk too much in an interview, their resume is too long and overloaded with unnecessary details, their cover letter is too packed, and they bother the hiring manager too much in trying to get their attention while they’re making their decision. If you may be guilty of any of these too-much tendencies, it’s time to embrace the less-is-more mantra.

Consider these tips for being more effective with less in a job hunt: (more…)

July 30, 2010 at 11:42 am Leave a comment

Why Job Hunters Must Respond Right Away

It may seem obvious that job seekers should make responding to a potential employer a priority, yet recruiters say this is one of their  biggest frustrations: Job candidates often don’t get back to them right away. And if they don’t, the recruiter often moves on to the next candidate on the list.

Now, you may say that recruiters and hiring managers have it coming to them — they can take FOREVER to respond to your initial inquiry and many more moons to get back to you between interviews, while many (sadly, wrongly) don’t even bother to let you know that you didn’t get the job. That may all be true. But whoever said job hunting was fair and equitable?

The rule for job hunters is to respond — with lightning-fast speed — to any inquiry, call, email or other form of communication from a hiring manager at an organization where you have any desire to work now or in the future. In a competitive market, the job hunter who fails to get back to a company even by a day (or certainly two or three) likely has lost out on the opportunity — once a hiring manager decides to get moving, they want to move now! Further, not only does the job hunter who gets back in touch score the interview and sometimes the offer, but this sets up a future relationship with the company. If you respond right away to hiring managers, you’re demonstrating that you’re attentive, quick, and plugged-in — a reputation that can only aid you if you join the organization.

Here are some tips on how to become that responsive job hunter: (more…)

July 29, 2010 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Tips for Negotiating an Offer — Even When You Really Want the Job

The hiring process remains a two-way endeavor right up until the time a job candidate accepts a position. Yet, understandably, many job seekers are wary of pushing too hard once they’ve received an offer, figuring that if they don’t take the job “as is” the employer will be only too happy to move on to someone else.

And while in this competitive environment you don’t want to be unrealistic, you shouldn’t say “yes” without giving the offer some serious thought, and trying to negotiate to get the best deal you can. Hiring experts remind us that you’re unlikely to be in as good a bargaining position as you are right now — once you’re working there, it’s much harder to negotiate, and right now, you have a perfect record with the organization — so you’d best take advantage of it.

Here are some tips for negotiating an offer, even when you’ve been looking for a while and really want this job: (more…)

July 28, 2010 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

How to Get Your Search Back on Track

Like many things in life, job hunts have fits and starts. Sometimes you think you’re close to landing a position so you settle back a bit and figure you’ll see what happens — and then if it doesn’t work out, you need to start all over again. Or you may have procrastinated and now it’s late summer and those contacts you were planning to call aren’t around — and you’re in danger of missing the deadlines you’ve set for yourself.

The key to getting your search back on track is to take things step by step and to stick to a new plan. An overwhelmed, disorganized job hunter is usually an ineffective job hunter (and someone not real enjoyable to be around besides!). It’s time to stop fretting over the fact that your search got stuck in the mud, and to focus on moving forward with energy and focus.

So here are a few strategies for refocusing your job hunt: (more…)

July 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

How to Maintain Your Online Reputation

Though it’s never good to start off with an apology, am doing so today: This post will be a bit briefer than usual as  we lost electricity at home (gotta love Washington-area summer storms and our power company’s response! ugh!), so am posting from work (where there is power) Monday morning.

Yet I wanted to respond to an email correspondent who recently asked about how to maintain a good, smart  image online — mainly on social networks — and stay on top of what is being said about you without spending all day checking on that. Good question and good concern.

Consumer-oriented businesses are increasingly worried about their online reputation — a spate of bad reviews, or has recently happened with BP, an online campaign against their products or services can turn into a marketing disaster. Yet individuals have reason to be concerned as well. Hiring experts preach the importance of marketing yourself online — developing “you as a brand” — but part of that requires keeping that brand or image focused and clean of detrimental messages. Hiring managers routinely “check you out” online, so you need to maintain your online image.

Here are some tips for doing that: (more…)

July 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm Leave a comment

When You’ve Been Out of the Market

Workers drop out of the job market for a while for many reasons. Some are personal: to raise kids, take care of parents, or perhaps take some time off to travel or volunteer if they have the means to do so. Sometimes, people take a portion of their buyout or severance payment and take some well-deserved time off figuring out what they want to do next; and who could blame them?

Then, usually, reality — whether financial or otherwise — intrudes, and it’s time to look for a job. Among the first things you do is to update your resume — but what do you do about that time you took off? How do you explain it? Or should you try to work around it and hope that your previous experience and contacts will get you in the door? But once in an interview, should you bring it up?

Hiring experts say that as with most elements of a job hunt, it’s best to be honest and not to hide this period when you’ve been out of the job market. Yet it’s also important that you seek to explain this gap (see Dec. 2 post, ” How to handle gaps in your resume”) in a way that you makes you a more attractive candidate rather than someone a hiring manager will worry about.

Here are some tips for addressing on your resume and in interviews a period when you’ve been out of the market: (more…)

July 23, 2010 at 2:22 am Leave a comment

When to Take a Chance

Often, those who have lost their jobs are told by well-meaning folks that this is a time of opportunity. And though you may want to throw something at them after hearing this advice  — sure, it’s an opportunity to send out tons of resumes and be rejected tons of times! — there is something to this. When the job you used to have — and perhaps, let’s be honest here, wasn’t all it was cracked up to be much of the time — no longer exists, it’s often a good time to start looking at taking a chance on doing the kind of work you’d really like to do.

And therein lies the opportunity. Most of us had dreams, sometimes many years ago and for new grads, just last week, of doing a certain kind of  work we really enjoy or toiling away for an organization doing something meaningful. Then, often, life — spouses, kids, mortgages, college tuition, caring for elderly parents — gets in the way and we comfortably settle into jobs that pay the bills and help us establish a career path. Yet when a roadblock is thrown in front of that path it can be a good time to take a chance on reviving a career goal that we may have lost along the way.

You can’t always do this — those mouths to feed and bills to pay often demand that job seekers find something soon in D.C., and realism prevails. Yet sometimes, just sometimes, a job hunter can gamble a bit on fulfilling their broader career goals and ambitions. Here is when to consider taking that chance: (more…)

July 22, 2010 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

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