Finding a new job is scary. And deciding to find a new job when you have secured employment is even scarier. If you are currently contemplating changing your current job and finding a new one, here are some assessment questions to see if making this change is the right decision for you.
- Are you making enough money at your current job to support yourself (and your family)? If you struggle every month to pay the most important bills then changing jobs is something you should greatly consider.
- Are you making enough money to live with some luxury? If you live comfortably and even have some basic luxuries then changing jobs may not be important at this time.
- Is the room for advancement in the business you work for? If there is no chance that you will be promoted or get higher pay the longer and more dedicated you work then this job may not be the best place for you and you should change jobs.
- Can you make a career from your current job? If you can have a lifelong career at the place you work then staying there is a good option.
- (This is the most important of all the questions) Are you happy at your workplace? Yes, work is hard and often not fun, but having a job that makes happy and content overall is a much better choice then a job that makes you miserable every single day.
You need to ask these questions to yourself and talk about them with your spouse or significant other. This decision will affect them as well and you need to ensure that they are a part of the decision making. Once you have made the decision to stay in your current job or change jobs be confident in the decision and feel good about the decision you have made. If you feel good about it, then you will never have regrets about it.
After spending hours of distributing your resume, here it is. You got an interview. The one and only chance to prove that you are exactly what the company is looking for. Talk about stressful. Here are a few tips that should help you make the most of that first job interview.
- The first thing you need to remember is to smile. Not only does it ease the interviewer, but they will take on the attitude you put forth, which will also help to ease your nerves.
- Talk confidently. Yes, it is nerve wracking to go to a job interview, but don’t let your interviewer know that you are nervous. When you speak do not use fillers, such as “ummm,” or “hmmm.” Using fillers like those will make it seem like you do not know what you are talking about.
- Be yourself. Yes you need to smile and be confident, but do not become someone you are not just for an interview. If you are hired you will be working side by side with these people and they need to know that the person they interview is going to be the same person they get when they hire you.
- Practice these things before going into your interview. Think about what are some logical questions they might ask you at the interview and answer them out loud while looking in a mirror so you can make sure that you are smiling. If you think about what you want to say before you say it in the job interview, then you should be able to eliminate those unhelpful fillers.
While there are many other factors that go into securing your job, such as creating a professional and accurate resume before your interview, if you follow these tips they should help you make the most of your interview and, hopefully, help you land the job.
You would think that with all of the career resources online and in bookstores, job hunting would be easy. Just read a few how-to books, follow the directions found online and you should have a new job in no time. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. If it were really that easy, there would be no need for recruiters.
Recruiters match people with jobs. They have many of the same skills as career counselors and career coaches. However, many recruiters will only work with you if you and your resume can make them money. You do not need to pay a recruiter to help you find a job; the company that hires you will do that. However, you must have the skill sets that the recruiter is looking for in order for that person to spend time marketing you and preparing you for interviews.
So what kind of recruiter is the right recruiter? Find a recruiter who is knowledgeable in your career field and who has networking contacts in the company or association for which you want to work. A good recruiter will find out what you are looking for and can tell you whether or not you are qualified and will be hired in that field. The right recruiter will be dedicated to finding you another position if the first one you accepted does not work out. Sometimes the fit between the job and the employee is just not right, and it is not always evident to all the parties involved: employer, recruiter or employee. You want a recruiter who will check in with you once you have accepted a job and are working to find out how the job is going.
The easiest way to find a recruiter is to check out online recruiter resources. You can also ask friends, colleagues and family members for recommendations of suitable recruiters. However, you need to remember that a recruiter who is suitable for one person may not be the right one for you.
There seems to be a rule of thumb out there that if you land a job you should always try to negotiate for more money as a matter of course. If you’ve done your homework and realize that the salary offer is too low for your level of education and experience, you should at least try to negotiate a higher salary. However, negotiating your salary just because you think you should can hurt you in a number of ways.
Contract positions are usually set at a certain rate and are only sometimes negotiable. If you try to negotiate a contract job offer, chances are that you delay many onboarding tasks such as drug screening, background and references checks and getting signed up for benefits. You may also find that the employer still expects you to start on the original date stated in the offer, leaving you scrambling to comply.
If you can negotiate your salary higher for other types of positions, you may leave yourself vulnerable to layoff if your salary is higher than your peers’. Your salary may be the first on the cutting block when it is time for your employer to make budgetary cuts.
Negotiating a salary higher than what you originally stated you would be willing to take may make a potential employer think that you did not do your salary homework or are trying to get more money just because you think you can. This does not leave the employer with a good impression of you. Of course, you could prevent yourself from being boxed into a corner like this by not giving a specific dollar amount answer to the question, “What are your salary expectations?” If hard-pressed by an interviewer, give a wide salary range because this question is often used as criteria to weed out a large candidate pool.
One of the most powerful tools you can use in your job search is networking with other people. It is not just networking with other professionals within your industry-networking can also take place with friends, family and acquaintances who will put you in touch with people who can help you with your career. However, networking must be done with an element of finesse. It can be so obvious to others with whom you network that you are just using them for their knowledge, contacts, and their career positions. In order to prevent this perception, you must be willing to reciprocate, to help the people with whom you network, either now or in the future.
You also have to be careful about distributing your resume to those with whom you network. Feel out the situation. How is the conversation going? If you feel comfortable, ask the other person if he is willing to receive your resume in case he knows of an available position. If you are doing an informational interview that you arranged with a contact, you should not be pushy and try to turn that interview into a job interview. Use this type of interview to find out about career trends, types of companies that may have job openings within the next six to 12 months, and to learn about other people with whom you may network.
Be careful-people who graciously agree to speak with you in an informational interview may get offended if you try to push your professional resume at them-if they are interested in you, they will let you know. Always be prepared by carrying a copy of your resume and other job related documents with you-a good tip to remember wherever you are out networking.
If you were in a social situation, you would not go up to a person and start talking to him or her without introducing yourself. The same is true of applying for a position. Unless a position advertisement tells you to skip the cover letter, make sure you tell the reader who you are and why you are applying in an introductory cover letter.
A cover letter is not a regurgitation of what is on your curriculum vitae or resume. That is why so many potential employers may skip reading the cover letter unless they asked you to list specific information in it such as salary history or availability for work. However, you can grab your reader’s attention by making a bold statement in the first line of your cover letter. Instead of just listing the job for which you are applying and the fact that you are interested in it, tell the reader why the position is important to you. What piqued your interest enough about this position that you are taking time to apply for it?
The second paragraph of the cover letter should outline how your skill sets allow you to make a difference, to be successful in this position. What makes you the best person for this job? It cannot just be experience. Everyone else applying for the position should have relevant experience too. Your experience is already listed on your resume. How can you use your experience in a way to help this company or organization. Will it increase their bottom line, help them to be in compliance, see that they are more efficient?
Lastly, close with a statement on your desire to meet the employer to talk further about the position. Your interest should show strongly in every statement that you make in your cover letter so that an employer will feel obligated to talk to you, as if he may be missing out on the best candidate for the position if he does not interview you.
Job sharing is one way to get work hours flexibility, especially if you need it because of child care or elderly parent responsibilities. My mom did job sharing when I was young. She worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and her co-worker worked Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday. Both loved the arrangement and through careful planning, this went on for 15+ years.
Sharing a job with another person requires flexibility and good communication skills to keep the work flowing even on the days when you are not at work. This goes beyond good face-to-face communication skills as you have to be able to communicate with the other worker when you are not working at the same time. Email is one type of communication that helps in a job share situation. Being flexible and able to accept phone calls on non-work time is also helpful.
Good documentation skills are critical to job sharing. This ensures that the work gets done properly with no mistakes even when you are not there yourself. One example of documentation skills is medical charting for doctors and nurses. The next doctor or nurse should be able to tell what treatment a patient has received and what he will need next. My mom and her co-worker had ‘in’ and ‘out’ boxes so they knew what the other was working on. They also had lots of sticky notes (this was all that was available 30 years ago!).
Neatness counts. If you share supplies or equipment, they need to be checked on a regular basis to ensure that you do not run out of anything critical or misplace a needed piece of equipment. Return all equipment to its storage place. Also check for breakage and let the other job sharer know if something is broken so that this person does not try to use it until it is fixed.
Job sharing adds critical thinking and planning skill sets to your resume. It also adds documentation skills and communication skills. All of these skills are a bonus, so make sure you indicate on your resume under Work Experience that a position you held was a job share. You can list the position then put in parentheses: (job share, 30 hours per week).
Instead of just sending out a generic resume, today’s job candidates need to take the time to tailor their resume to fit every job being applied for. While this may make the application process take longer, it will be well worth the effort in the long run. Here are a few tips to tailor your resume and help make the application process go faster:
Keep the information on your resume up to date. Just got a new cell phone? Change the contact information right away. It is easy to forget to change such a small thing, but you shouldn’t wait until you’re applying for a new job. An out-of-date phone number can have big, negative consequence (such as not being contacted for your dream job).
Read the job qualifications and duties carefully. Add the same keywords to your resume so that it will make it through the recruiter’s software scanner.
Use separate resumes for experience in different industries or a functional resume for two or more closely related industries. It makes it easier to add crucial keywords to your resume when tailoring it to a specific position.
Learn to be a cut and paste, toggle expert. Not all job application databases will let you upload a resume into different information fields. Become familiar with Control+C and Control+V to copy and paste. PCs use the Alt+Tab keys and Macs use the Apple+Tab keys to toggle between screens. Copy text from your resume first, then toggle to the job application page and paste the text into the information boxes.
Name your resumes generically and modify the name each time you upload it to an application database. For example, label your updated resume “Edit512” for the industry it addresses and the date you updated it. Do not name your resume with a company name. It is too easy to upload your Xerox resume for an IBM position, and forgetting to change the name will count against you as a job candidate.
Following these easy tips will help you to be more prepared for your job search.
When you are busy organizing job descriptions and sending out hundreds of resumes, the last thing you want to do is to think about composing yet another document. After all, many employers do not ask for a cover letter, and many of them may not take the time to read one. So should you just skip the cover letter? It depends on the application requirements and what you want to say to a potential employer.
A cover letter is not a restatement of your resume. The mistaken assumption that it is is one reason why hiring managers do not read them. However, companies often run multiple ads for different positions, and the first line of your cover letter should make it clear which job you are applying for and how you found out about it.
Use the second paragraph to show how your experience can add value at the employer’s company. This is where people make the mistake of reiterating what is on their resume. Instead of informing the advertising employer that you were the Director at XYZ Advertising Agency, you can state that the position also gave you exposure to various media outlets, key decision makers and Fortune 500 companies.
The third paragraph of your cover letter is your opportunity to clarify anything that is not specifically addressed on your resume, such as you have the skill sets for one career but would like to use them to move in a different direction, potentially into a related career. You can also use this paragraph to give the employer information that they asked for in their ad that would typically not go on a resume such as salary history and expectations.
Use your closing paragraph to express that you are looking forward to speaking with the employer regarding the position. If you send a paper copy of your cover letter, make sure you sign it in the space between Sincerely and your full name. This is one detail people often forget to do.
If the employer does not request a cover letter or specific information that does not go on a resume, you do not have to send one. However, a cover letter gives you an opportunity to showcase your writing skills and to give the employer a feel for your personality and work style.
If you are the type of person who gets very nervous during a job interview, practicing your interviewing skills in a mock interview setting may be for you. A mock interview is when you have someone such as a career coach, a counselor or a friend act as an interviewer to let you practice answering interview questions.
Most people are so nervous during an interview that they forget to listen for related questions. For example, the question “Tell me about your strengths” is related to the more challenging question of “Why should we hire you?” If you can list your strengths, you should be able to answer the second question by showing how your strengths and expertise would add value to the organization. Another interview question that throws people is, “Tell me about yourself.” Many people do not expect such an informal question. If you wrote a cover letter for this position in which you told the reader about your background, then use the cover letter as a starting point to answer the question. Highlight your skills and accomplishments and share why you would like this job and how you would be a good fit for it. Be careful that you are not confusing “Tell me more about yourself” with “tell me about your personal life”. The employer wants to hear about what your will bring to the organization professionally-not what is going on in your personal life.
Videotaping a mock interview is especially helpful because it can show you your body language and the unconscious messages it is sending. For example, raised or hunched shoulders may signal you are afraid, while excessively shifting your weight around and fidgeting may indicate that you are very nervous or have something to hide. Seeing how you act on video will allow you to eliminate distracting behaviors and concentrate on providing solid answers to the interview questions. Practice the answers to the mock interview questions and monitor your body language until you feel comfortable enough to do a real interview and you will see how calm and collected you will be the next time you are sitting across the table from a hiring manger.