Tag Archives: Job applications

It’s Counterintuitive for Job Seekers

5imagesIt would be interesting to review a few perceptions that job seekers have on issues stemming from feelings rather than from thinking. Such perceptions are based more on gut feelings rather than logic. Examples follow.

The interview is about me.

People feel good when asked to come in and interview, because they think the interview is about them. In fact, it is not. The interview is about the interviewer’s needs and the interviewer’s competitive evaluation process that considers the candidate’s ability to provide what the interviewer needs.

Accept LinkedIn invitations only from people you know.

 When in transition, it’s not about whom you know so much as it is who knows you. After all, it’s you who is looking for a job. And the more connections you have, the more opportunities you’ll have. If you’re hiding in a box, no one will find you.

Create your own résumé.

People in transition need to preserve their savings, and so many compose their own résumés, which eventually get changed or edited or rewritten by others equally unqualified yet willing to help. The typical outcome is a less than competitive résumé that generates very few or no bites. The best advice, therefore, is to hire a trusted and recommended professional, certified, and experienced résumé writer. A less expensive solution—provided you’re absolutely certain your résumé is a good one—is to have it edited by a professional editor. Such an editor or resume writer knows what sells and would put that knowledge and expertise to work for you. And yes, the good ones are not inexpensive.

No need to tell family about being in transition.

Many people feel uneasy or embarrassed about revealing too many details of their transition. That’s a big mistake, because family and friends really are the people who will go out of their way to be of help.

No need to pay for career coaching.

Again, like with the résumé, people want to preserve their savings and do not want to spend on professional help such as experienced career coaches. This too is a huge mistake. A career coach will not only shorten the in-transition period but also teach you pertinent interviewing skills as well as how to negotiate a job offer. In most cases, fees spent on career coaching are dwarfed by the benefits gained from knowing how to negotiate a better compensation package.

Focus only on your past career path and ignore other possibilities.

In today’s fast-changing business environment, new jobs are being invented every day, and many of the past’s traditional jobs are morphing into new ones or becoming totally eliminated. Job seekers who do not consider job opportunities in fields unrelated to their past ones make a mistake. Some reach a point—possibly because of age discrimination or the elimination of their traditional jobs—at which a change in career might be a wonderful solution. It worked for me extremely well.

Social Media: So, What Is It for People in Transition?

4355757753_70f08de04aThere’s no newspaper or magazine nowadays that does not devote some space to the fast-developing new phenomenon called social media. My explanation for this is very simple: Let’s say you invite some people for a social gathering to take place in your house. Among the dozen or so you host will be some who are very knowledgeable about certain subjects, and some others, less so. That doesn’t mean that those who aren’t very knowledgeable will not contribute to the conversation. They will, but their content will be less factual or less valuable to the listeners.

So, how does this situation apply to the electronic versions of social media? Today there are a significant number of such venues. The more popular are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (which is oriented more toward business contacts). People use them for communication in a similar way that those guests of yours do in your house. However, the interchanges happen electronically. Some of the written material is thorough, researched, meaningful, and at times useful. Other information simply amounts to chitchat that has no value except perhaps to a very few. The advantage of social media is that if you don’t like what you read, you can just move on to read something else. Conversely, when you’re faced with a similar situation in a physical venue, it would be rude to tell the speaker you’re bored and you’d prefer to move on.

If you’re in transition and looking for your next job, you’ll have to interact or network with people extensively. Not everything you hear people say will be valuable to you, but some of it will. Similarly, you have to be selective about your sources of reading material and their contents; it’s easy to be swept into meaningless and verbose articles at the end of which you realize you’ve gained nothing. On the other hand, once you learn to become selective and focus only on substantive reading material, you’ll realize you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, meaning that some other people can provide you the information you need.

Twitter, as an example, is limited to 140 characters. Some tweets are obvious wastes of time. The fact that John finished eating his muffin is irrelevant to most readers. But if someone draws your attention to a newly written article about a subject you’re trying to learn more about, that article could prove to be very valuable. The conclusion is that you need to eliminate the garbage found on social media and follow the selective few gems that will compensate you for your precious time.



What can we learn from watching the Crystal Ball?

9imagesLast night I read a magazine on which issue the front page has a heading “The Permanent Temporary Workforce”.  Their in-depth section The Disposable Worker highlights several facts.  Most of them are expressing the negativity that currently exists in the labor market.  “Since the early ‘80s, the US economy has been taking longer to regain all the jobs lost in a downturn”.  Companies are hedging their bets by hiring temps instead a steady workforce.  And this trend will likely continue similar to Europe which makes a lot more use of temporary and part-time workers.  It mentions also that 26% of working Americans have “non-standard” jobs. These are those that work less than 35 hours per week, independent contractors, on-call workers or day laborers.  The article talks about “labor on demand” and this is on all levels and not only low paying jobs.  Because of these conditions Americans are willing to accept lower pay.  All in all the current conditions are gloomy but let’s focus now on the positive.  The article is predicting that as soon as the economy will show signs of improvement the better employees will jump ship to a company that pays better.  This will lead to openings and opportunities.  The long term prediction is that a decade from now the retirement of the baby boomers could cause labor shortages which again lead to opportunities.  It is important for jobseekers to understand the big picture but they need jobs now and not in the next decade.  So what are they to do?  Because of the tough competition the answer is not simple.  Since most jobs come through networking therefore more and more networking is the answer.  But here I am not talking quantity but quality.  People need to become more sophisticated with their job search.  They also need to learn how to benefit from the fast-evolving social media.  If you don’t buy into these concepts then somebody else will.  Could you guess who is going to get a job faster?