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If you're looking for a job or just thinking about it, this short guide will help you find the job best suited to you. This will help you look forward to the beginning of each day and make you a happier person in general. Whether you've been laid off, quit, terminated, or have a current job this article can give you some ideas for landing a great job.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
The first step is straightforward, analyzing yourself about what makes you happy during the day. If you're not sure a good indicator is to take note how often you look at the clock. If it has been three hours since the last time you bothered to check and you've been totally engrossed in what you are doing, that's a good sign. Alternatively, if you're looking at the clock every 5 minutes thinking to yourself when you will be finished with your current task that's a pretty good indication that the next job you should not include too much of the things you just suffered through.
Now it's almost impossible to find the perfect job, rarely is one's day one hundred percent ideal. But you can minimize your undesirable tasks and situations. For example, if your current job drives you crazy with meetings you should be able to ask enough questions at the interview on you next job to find out how much time is spent on various activities during the day. Or if you dislike writing long reports you can try to assess if that will be a big part of your job from the job description or during the interview process.
WHERE YOU WORK
Where you work can trump the actual work you do; it can make a good job seem great, or make a great opportunity turn into a miserable experience. Will you be accepted and bond with your co-workers? Are they the kind of people you would go out to dinner with or have fun with at company events?
If you feel like an outsider, this may be a big consideration before accepting a job. Unfortunately, this is difficult to determine as everyone is on their best behavior during the interviews and in the short time period it is hard to find out or observe what the workplace and people are like. But you can go to the company's web site and you might get a feel for the people that work there or make some judgments about the management philosophy. Also, and most importantly, this is where your networking helps you. If you have friends, or friends of friends that work at the company it's worth it to give that person a phone call and try to find out what really goes on at the company you are interested in. But be prepared, this might wind up being a long conversation!
One of the best and quickest ways to get a new job is to network; you need to do a lot of it and talk to anyone who will listen. For example, if you are selling pharmaceuticals it's time to call that friend you haven't spoken to in 8 years to get the phone number of his father who works in the business. Most people are willing to help you out if they can, even if they barely know you. I've met people on the golf course looking for jobs and have sent them contacts afterwards just to help.
Even casually mentioning you are on the market to people you know can't help directly will usually get them to think of other people that may be able to help you. To get a name and number of someone who is in the industry you are looking for is an amazing lead, and you should follow-up on it immediately. There are also resume distribution services that can help with getting your name and resume out quickly to large numbers of hiring managers. Also, you can look up recruiters or even better get recommendations from friends for headhunters that are good to work with. The last thing you need is a recruiter that doesn't understand your skills and is simply checking buzzwords off a list he or she can't read correctly.
THE RESUME & COVERLETTER
It is obvious you need a decent resume, but I am surprised at the number of terrible resumes that come across my desk. My favorite is the cover letter that started "I am applying on behalf of my husband ...". The resumes littered with grammar and spelling errors hit the trash immediately. In my experience only about one half of the resumes look presentable. So that is why I advise everyone to get your resume professionally done. And if you already have a resume, even better, you'll save time (and money). But spend the $100 to make it look good. Think of it as an investment, if you get the job you want it will be one of the best investments you will ever make. Here is a link to get a free critique for a top notch resume and cover letter from a professional resume writer.
Customize your cover letter, don't make it general and send it to every job that looks good. Go to the company's web site and learn about the products and the company. Reference the products and how you would be a valuable asset. You will knock the socks off the hiring person and have a better chance at getting an interview, at which time knowing about the company and products will help you talk intelligently and ask questions that will show others your interest in the company.
This section could be an entire book, but it really boils down to the following:
a) Be prepared - know the details for the job you are interviewing for, as well as the company and products
b) Wear nice clothes
c) Have fun and be outgoing, smile a lot and make eye contact
d) Pay attention and sit up straight
e) Ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate your expertise and interest
f) Make it a conversation, not a question and answer session
g) Don't talk about compensation unless the interviewer brings it up. And if they do, try not to be the first one to say a figure. A response of "it depends on a lot of factors, but what is the salary range for this job?" is a good way to put the question back to the interviewer.
The follow-up is easy to do, it's probably the easiest of the steps, yet most people don't bother. This makes it even more important as it can make you stand out if they are interviewing a lot of candidates. A quick letter to the main interviewer saying how much you like the company and appreciate their time and interest for the interview you can go a long way. It shows that you value their time and effort and can be the thing that gives you the edge during their evaluation process.
For most professional jobs, there is usually some wiggle room after an offer has been made. If you break down the offer into categories you can then figure out what if anything you would like to negotiate. For example, an offer may include base salary, stock, bonus, and time until the next review. You need to pick your battles, as the nickel and diming or asking for too much won't get you very far. Keep in mind that even if you don't have any other offers, the employer doesn't know this and is unlikely to take the offer off the table if you ask for a better deal. Usually In the worst case, the answer will be no and the offer will still stand because they have made an investment in advertising, interviewing, and choosing you. But by making a counter offer, you are technically refusing the current offer and it could be withdrawn.
So in the previous example, you may choose for a larger base salary since many of the bonuses and raises work off of that figure. Or you may like a little more risk and ask for more stock or options. And a lot of this depends on your situation; if you're young you may be inclined to take on more risk. But if you have a family and obligations for other personal issues a higher salary is likely to be a safer choice.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope you came out of it with a few tips on how to land your next job. I just checked the clock; it's been about three hours since I last looked at it.