Getting married means adjustments in your life. Often, there is a new address; always, there are attitude shifts. A new job has many of the same challenges as a new marriage, and sometimes both appear in your life at the same time! The challenge of training, learning to live or work with new people, and adapting to a new schedule at home and the job can be intimidating. Here are some tips to make it work:
- Give yourself permission to mess up. It’s like someone gave you a beautiful, shiny new trumpet and now you have to learn how to play it. The first few attempts for every trumpet player sound pretty bad! Any trumpet player will tell you that there’s a lot of practice and a lot of mistakes involved with learning to make music. Marriages and new jobs are the same way — nobody does it perfectly the first few times they do it, no matter what ‘it’ is.
- Look at the big picture. Every hour is part of a day, every day is part of a week, every week is part of a year, and every year is part of a life. The bigger your perspective on your marriage or your new job is, the less stress you will feel about smaller parts of it and the easier it will be to see how those smaller parts fit.
- Prioritize. It isn’t possible to have every important thing be the most important thing; there will be times you have to choose. A schedule helps a lot here, so the priority can change if you are at work or at home. Expect to mess up here, too, because it takes a while to figure out what works for your new family or job.
- Don’t take on any new challenges for a while. Now is not the time to learn a new language. You are already learning a new life and/or a new job, so your energy is limited.
- Realize that “this, too, shall pass.” Do you remember how completely intimidating starting at a new school was? How about learning how to drive? You are at the beginning of a steep learning curve, but it will get better every day.
Some of the same characteristics that help you with a new job help you with a new marriage. These “trainability factors” really apply to just about every area of life I can think of. So if you are at the beginning of a kind of scary new phase of life, relax. It will be worth it!
You have carefully crafted your resume, reading all the tips and compiling your information before editing and polishing your presentation to be the best snapshot of the assets you bring to the hiring interview. How do you get that resume distributed so it gets read? It isn’t enough to go through the paper and send envelopes out to any address you find, hoping you get a response. A lot of companies will now ask you to apply online even though they advertise in that newspaper.
It’s a good idea to learn how to work with online applications and attach your resume electronically. This is pretty much standard, and not knowing how to do it limits you. It’s also a good job skill so you don’t have an excuse for ignoring that whole technology thing.
The next step after writing a resume – distribution – trips a lot of job-seekers up. They don’t really know how to distribute their resume and aren’t honestly aware of all the potential openings available to them. When you employ a hit-or-miss method to looking for a job, you are going to miss a lot of the job openings in your field. A “resume blast” indiscriminately blanketing the job market often is ignored or seen as spam.
If you are serious about distributing your resume effectively, consider working with a recruiter. This is a professional whose career is connecting companies and potential employees. They know exactly how to get your resume into the hands of someone who will want to call you in for an interview. Recruiters often specialize in certain industries or areas. You can do the research yourself, hoping you find the right match, or you can do this:
Professional Resume Services can connect you with the recruiters who fit your search. Instead of that resume blast or scattered attempts, the database of almost 16,000 recruiters is searched for the best options for you. This database is updated quarterly and has major recruiting firms, contingency and retained recruiters, and more. Once the recruiter is identified, a targeted letter in PDF and MSWord format is sent to each one. Then you get an Excel file with the contact information for every recruiter your resume was sent to.
That’s a lot more effective than circling want ads and hoping you find a job.
Nobody likes to be told they didn’t get the job. Rejection has a sting! But there can be some good things about it if you use that “NO” like a tool for making your job search better. There are more, but here are three reasons that job rejection can be good:
- It gives you a chance to find out where you can improve. Most interviewers will have no problem explaining why you did not get the job if you ask them respectfully without arguing. Think of it as free career counseling and use it to focus on what to work on in your job search. Sometimes they will tell you that they’d like to keep your name on file for future positions as they open up and the only reason you didn’t get this job is because someone with more experience or seniority applied.
- It gives you an opportunity to learn from any mistakes. Maybe you really didn’t do that interview well, or you forgot to turn off your cell phone. Is your resume updated and appropriately designed for the job? Did you vent your frustrations with your previous job? Were you dressed like you cared about this position?
- It gives you motivation to keep looking if you change your perspective. To paraphrase a famous quote by Thomas Edison, now you know that job isn’t right for you. Job rejections are like a search engine, narrowing down the choices by reducing the possible matches.
It’s tempting to put all your hopes on getting a specific job, but that is surely going to disappoint you. The reality is that many more rejections will probably be part of your job search because we rarely get the first job we apply for. Most of us have applied for jobs more times than we like to think about. Use these rejections to improve your skills and your resume: this is your chance to polish things up and that’s good!
Recently, there was an article on LearnVest titled “Hello, My Name is Tom and I’m an Underearner”. It’s an interesting read about the characteristics of underearners and the presence of an AA-type support group called “Underearners Anonymous,” (Who knew such a group existed?) It got me thinking about how salary means more than money: It can affect how others see you, and how you see yourself, like a dirty window on the world.
One of the problems that can develop during a job search is a completely unrealistic idea of salary. It’s easy to undervalue your abilities and ask for too low a wage, or to assume you can demand the paycheck someone with years of experience in your field would get. If you add up your monthly bills and just ask for that much, you aren’t using all the information that should go into salary ranges.
Underearners are people who are not getting the salary that someone with their qualifications would reasonably expect. This could be because they don’t value those qualifications or are afraid to ask for a raise. It could be because they’d have to live up to their potential and they are afraid.
There are a lot of reasons why salary and self-esteem are connected. In some cases, there is discrimination causing salary issues, but this cannot be assumed because sometimes the reason for the lower paycheck is actually performance-related. You need to dig deeper to find out why that paycheck is that amount.
During a job search and interview, salary is a subject that you should be prepared to confidently discuss with a prospective employer without being demanding. The more you understand your worth, the easier it is to see that you deserve (earn) a wage that is accurate. There are two excellent resources available to you:
- Job Search Resources — this page has a wealth of information, including salary calculators and self-assessments
- Job Search Success System — this is a full course that will give you the skills to show your worth accurately to potential employers.
When you are getting the salary you should be getting, it’s like seeing your world through a clean window.
Stress in the workplace is universal, but there are things that you can do to alleviate that stress and channel it into good energy. Here are a few suggestions that can help you take control of the situation to your benefit:
Realize that you only have control of your own stuff.
- You can do something about your desk or area of responsibility.
- You can do something about the way you respond to a situation or the things you tell yourself.
- You can’t force someone else to act the way you wish they would.
Do a good job with the stuff you have control over.
- Keep your work area picked up and functional. It doesn’t have to be sterile, but make it calm by putting away the clutter & paring the accessories down to one or two things that you really enjoy looking at. You can switch them out as often as you like but only display the minimum.
- Focus on doing your job well and being friendly without drama. Don’t gossip or backstab; think of your coworkers as future referrals for your next job and act accordingly.
- Take advantage of training sessions, assessments, and improving your job skills. Get job counseling and expand your horizon to include working toward a different job if that’s what you’d like to do.
- Own your mistakes. Stop the blame game in its tracks by acknowledging when you blew it and put the emphasis on fixing the problem and going on.
- Take a walk instead of reaching for the snack. Replace unhealthy coping skills with healthy ones and use the energy from that stress reaction for exercise.
Let the coworker deal with their own stuff because you can’t do it for them.
- If you work with a chronically angry person, you probably are not the source of their anger. You just are there to dump on. If you can, avoid giving them an opportunity to dump on you. If it isn’t possible, imagine an open garbage bag they are dumping into and toss it when they are done.
If your workplace is truly intolerable, focus on leaving as soon as you can with good references from this job. Don’t burn any bridges by bad behavior and do what you can to keep your stress level down. This is great motivation to research career options, develop a strategy, and look for another job armed with all the skills you can develop.
Stress isn’t caused by a situation; it’s caused by our reaction to a situation. Your body goes into the same type of stress mode with any intense situation, from athletic competitions to scary movies to roller coasters to the workplace. Taking control of what you can will keep that stress positive for you and your career.
The first impression people have of you can keep them from wanting to know you better or encourage them to seek you out. Your cover letter is that first impression for your resume and its quality will often determine whether or not that resume gets attention. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when you are writing your cover letter:
- Do your homework. Find out who to address the letter to, what style would be appropriate, and the job description. You want this letter to be personalized appropriately, professional in tone, and accurate in specifying what you are applying for. This is NOT the place for a generic “to whom it may concern” form letter that obviously is used on all your applications.
- Identify your strong points and write a rough draft or outline matching those strengths to the job description. Now reduce that to one paragraph.
- Keep it short. All you are doing is a three-paragraph overview to get them interested in looking at your resume. The first paragraph tells them what job you are seeking and how you heard about it (include any mutual contact people). The second is that paragraph you came up with from the previous tip. The third paragraph should be a “thank you for your time” and statement that you will be following up by the end of the next week. Be sure you do the follow up!
- Proofread, edit, and proofread again! This is really important. If you know that you overlook mistakes, get someone to proofread it for you and check your corrections. Focus on being professional, polite, and concise. If your letter is on paper, hand-sign it. For an email, a typed signature is acceptable.
Think you have your perfect cover letter? Pretend you are the person getting that letter with your resume, along with hundreds of other applicants, and read it again. If you feel that you still need help, consider a professionally written cover letter. This is your potential employer’s first impression of you: big things are at stake. Make that first impression a good one so they will want to read your resume, call you in for an interview, and offer you the job!
You’ve just graduated and now the future looms. You worked at a minimum wage job through school, so you are already past an ‘entry level’ resume, right?
An Entry-Level resume goes past the job history in the school cafeteria and coffee shop to include everything that makes YOU a good candidate for a career with the company you are hoping to join. It combines your coursework, skill sets, internships, and all your experience to showcase the benefits you bring to the hiring table.
One example would be your probable expertise with technology, and the ability to multi-task. You might not realize that being able to use Photoshop and being unintimidated by computer programs can be assets, but they are useful skills. A generation that has grown up with smartphones has the ability to go on to other technologies with ease. A good resume can turn that into a point in your favor during the interview (assuming you have turned off that smartphone to give your full attention to what is happening!)
Did you show up on time without fail at that school job? Did you have any good reviews? Your research paper on Medieval French Literature might not apply to the job you are seeking, but the skills you developed and used will. Most employers will appreciate a worker who can research what needs to be done, break it down intelligently, and explain the steps coherently in lucid writing.
You could figure out this resume writing all by yourself because you do have the research skills. But it might be a good investment to see what a professional service can do for you. A lot of the time, a graduate doesn’t have the time or the understanding of what employers are looking for. It’s difficult to figure out which skills are assets if you don’t know how to look at the whole picture.
In today’s job market, you need expert advice to make your entry level resume showcase your skills and education and get you started on your career path with confidence.
If “networking” isn’t working for you, maybe you need to change your ideas about what networking actually is.
Networking means different things to different people. For some, networking is that mysterious executive function only done by the upper tiers of a corporation. For others, networking is connecting regularly with friends for lunch. Networking to the tech team involves software and hardware and creative solutions to computer glitches.
All the definitions of networking include the basic concept of interconnecting individual parts. That interconnection creates the larger unit we call a network…and your own definition of networking is influenced by what you see “the network” is in relation to you. Do you think that you have no place in a network? Think again:
- are you part of a family?
- do you see people during the week?
- do you communicate with anyone using some sort of technology?
Each one of those points is a networking opportunity. You are already part of some type of network, and you probably are part of several different networks. The workplace, job searches, religious affiliations, family, even regularly attended locations like a coffeeshop or online social media are networks. If you don’t recognize them as such, then the challenge is to change the way you interact with your networks so that you improve your part of the process.
Learn more about what you can do to improve your networking. This can mean everything from deliberately listening when folks talk to you to investing in professional coaching like The Job Search Success System. Subscribe to blogs like this one, as well as to those relating to your interests. Comment on those blogs; that back-and-forth interaction is the foundation of networking.
At its most basic level, networking is the acknowledgement that we do not function in isolation. We are part of networks in every area of our lives: from transportation and supply systems…to the way you are reading this post…with all the people your life touches in between. What you do within your networks makes a difference in your future and the future of those around you.
Even if you have no plans to run a business, you have an online brand: it is the persona the internet world perceives you to be. What comes up when your name is put in a search engine? Are you on social media with embarrassing pictures? Why would I tell you to “own” your online brand?
To own something is to be invested in it, to take responsibility for it, and to proactively maintain it.
Any prospective employer is going to be looking at what kind of presence you have online. The positions with more at stake may involve a bit more research, because there will be a desire to know if there’s anything that will be a problem once you are in the company. Security clearances can require quite extensive background checks. Depending on the position you are seeking, what comes up online on your “brand” might cost you a job.
Now is the time to invest in your online brand. It can be an investment of time and effort, or you may choose to actually maintain a purchased site in your name with your professional highlights. A LinkedIn profile is worth the research and investment. Learn about online personal branding and get advice on the type of development your career should involve.
Now is the time to take responsibility for your online brand. Do what needs to be done to clean up your profiles on Facebook and the rest of the social media you are involved in. Maybe you need to tighten up your privacy settings, and perhaps you should have a professional social media page, or a personal one — and be very careful about what is allowed on each. It isn’t difficult to find horror stories about pictures that should never have been posted being circulated beyond what was intended with consequences unanticipated. If you have made a major mistake, fix it to the best of your ability and be prepared to show how you have matured.
Now is the time to proactively maintain it. Make the commitment to own your online brand and consistently check to see how the world sees you. Most of the people in the world will never see you in person, but if they can get online they can find out about you. Do what you need to do in order to keep your brand one that reflects the best about you.
A job search or career change is like building a home: both require thought, research, and careful planning to be successful. When you look at blueprints for a custom-built home, you see the wisdom of many experts compiled to create the perfect house. Codes and construction standards, design details and homeowner’s dreams — it’s all there in the blueprints, ready to become reality.
If the experts aren’t part of the design process, those blueprints will be missing something. It’s like a kitchen designed by someone who only eats at restaurants; the non-cook has no grasp on what is practical for a kitchen. You could end up with cupboards too small for cereal boxes, counters with no outlets to plug the toaster into, and an oven that can’t be opened when standing in front of the stove because the island is too close.
With a job search, there are similar problems that can arise. If you are trying to design your career plans without expert advice, you are going to miss some important factors that will cause problems later on. It’s just the way things work; we learn through mistakes, and if we are smart, we learn from others’ mistakes too.
When you are keeping up-to-date with regular reading of available resources you are going to be able to see where you can do things yourself and where to call in an expert. Our Job Search Resources list contains all you need to accomplish this goal, with links to many experts and tools. You can find links to:
- career research and exploration
- job search sites for free or pay
- social networking
- salary calculators
- and much more
The more expertise invested in designing the plan, the better your blueprint for a successful job search or career change will be.