How to Make Supply and Demand Work for You in a Search

Anyone who has ever taken an economics course knows that the cornerstone of most economic systems is simply the laws of supply and demand. If there’s too much of a product or service for the demand, the price goes down. If there’s not enough, one can charge more for it. When too many journalists are chasing a diminishing number of journalism jobs, for instance, employers are willing to pay less for their services. But when there’s not enough qualified professionals to fill openings in a field — say nursing, and especially specialized types of nursing — those with the needed skills can demand higher salaries and bonuses.

So it goes. It’s simple. But how can you make this work for you, especially if you are one of the journalists rather than a neonatal nurse? Even if you may appear to be on the glut side of the coin, hiring experts say, you may have certain skills and attributes that are not necessarily in abundant supply. Timing, types of experience and location also play into the supply-and-demand equation in the job market, and savvy job hunters should keep these factors in mind.

Here are some tips on how to make the laws of supply and demand work for you in a search: (more…)

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August 19, 2010 at 2:14 am Leave a comment

Avoid These Job-Hunting Sins at All Costs

August seemed like a good time to check in with a few recruiting Web sites and blogs, and with some hiring managers and recruiters about what makes them crazy about job hunters. (Don’t worry, job seekers, you’ll get your turn to gripe soon as well!) And while they each have their own pet peeves, the most-mentioned sins fell into these categories: arrogance, ignorance, sloppiness and a catchall that I’ll call bad attitude and bad form.

We all make missteps in managing our careers and a few mistakes won’t take you off course too much. Yet over time, if you regularly fall into one of these categories, you’ll likely have trouble getting ahead in your career. Here are some tips on the job hunting sins, why hiring managers worry about them and what you can do to avoid them: (more…)

August 18, 2010 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

When It’s Your Turn to Ask the Questions

Hiring experts stress the importance of researching an organization and asking smart questions throughout the interviewing process. This not only shows that you’re prepared and indicates your interest in a position yet allows you to facilitate a real two-way relationship with the hiring manager — which has been shown to increase the likelihood of receiving a job offer from that company.

And it’s also a way, obviously, to obtain important information before they make an offer. Sometimes that information will cause you to end your candidacy as the organization, pay or duties may not at all match what you’re looking for — and better to do this earlier rather than later to avoid wasting your time and that of the hiring manager.

Yet the types of questions you ask and the way in which you ask them are crucial to your success in the interview process. Many otherwise well-prepared and qualified job candidates blow it at this stage by botching their questions in both the style and substance categories.

Here are some tips for succeeding when it’s your turn to ask the questions: (more…)

August 17, 2010 at 1:05 pm 1 comment

Tips for Polishing Your Resume

Just as April is a perfect time for some spring cleaning, the last few weeks of August — when things are slower and most of us start looking ahead to the busy fall — is a great time to dust off the cobwebs from your resume. Hiring experts say that even those not involved in an active job hunt should have an updated and polished resume — because sometimes when you’re not looking, that’s just when someone gets interested in you, right?

And for those on a job hunt, it’s important to continually update your resume. Use the hard-won knowledge you’re gaining about what works and doesn’t in a job search to ensure that you are using your resume to its best advantage — and that all parts of it are working for you rather than against you. Also, you want your resume to scream relevance — and the best way to do this is to highlight what you’ve been doing lately, such as freelance or consulting work.

Here are some tips for polishing your resume whether you’re actively job hunting or not: (more…)

August 16, 2010 at 11:42 am Leave a comment

How to Handle Screening Interviews

A fair number of email correspondents have been telling me recently that before they even get to speak to a hiring manager, they’re being put through a screening interview, usually conducted by someone in the organization’s HR department and often over the phone. With all the competition out there and with companies taking care with each precious opening these days, screening interviews give the company a chance to weed out those who may not have the necessary qualifications, and to focus hiring managers’ attention on those who likely will be the best candidates.

Yet a screening interview also offers an opportunity for the job candidate —  not only is this a chance to win over the first interviewer and get to the next round, but you may also be able to throw your hat in the ring for other openings in the company. So treat this as seriously as you would any other interview and make the most of it, rather than viewing it as a hassle.

Here are some tips on how to handle screening interviews: (more…)

August 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

What Makes the Real Difference for Hiring Managers

Recently, I was asked to help diagnose what went wrong for two job candidates who didn’t get a  job they thought they were about to land. Their resumes and cover letters got them in the door, their interviews seemed to go well, and while the situations were obviously somewhat different — one was seeking a journalism job and one a policy position — each felt they stood a good chance of getting an offer.

And then, for whatever reason, the job apparently went to someone else. (In one case, the applicant believes they were the No. 2 choice, having been told that by a “source” in the organization.) Their obvious question: What happened?

While they may never know exactly why they didn’t get these jobs, it gave me an opportunity to check in with some hiring managers and ask this basic question: What makes the real difference, especially in a competitive environment between equally qualified candidates? And while different hiring managers have different lists, all included this: someone who seems truly interested in the position — those who appear likely to enjoy this job and therefore will give it real effort and energy. If a candidate isn’t qualified, this won’t matter, but then, they wouldn’t have gotten this far in the hiring process.

So here are some tips for impressing a hiring manager with your interest: (more…)

August 6, 2010 at 2:04 am Leave a comment

When You Think You’ve Made a Big Mistake

During a long career, everyone at one time or another is likely to have made a bad choice — taking an internship, job or promotion that ends up being a mistake. Sometimes you just didn’t do as much research as you should have on the organization or the position. Other times, the hiring manager may not have been entirely honest and may have left out some key details about the job (or alternately, may have oversold the “opportunity”). And sometimes it’s not your fault or theirs — it’s just not the right position for you.

If you get that nagging feeling that you have accepted a position that’s a bad fit, you’re faced with a hard choice: Do you tough it out and hope things get better, for the sake of your resume and career (not to mention a paycheck), or do you figure it’s time to cut your losses and start sending out resumes like mad in the hopes of landing something else?

Obviously, this is a highly personal decision and will be based on a number of factors including the stage of your career, how long you had been looking for a job before you found this one, how tough you think it would be to land another position and whether you have other means to support yourself (you won’t get severance if you quit) while you look again.

Yet here are some common-sense suggestions on what to do when you think you may have made a big mistake: (more…)

August 5, 2010 at 2:17 am Leave a comment

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