There are times when starting a Job Search while employed is smart. Starting a Job Search after a job loss is dismal, hours are long, more stress than anyone should endure and your boss is either an understanding tyrant or doesn't drive you to being all you can be or somewhere between. For many, a Job Search is the outcome of bad management or mergers/acquisitions or transfer of work to foreign countries.
Because every few years the game plan must change to meet current practices of the employers, here are some "trueisms" that that have held reasonably firm over the years.
- If I register on multiple job sites my odds of being found and hired rise.
QUESTIONABLE: Being listed does not gain visibility especially with the cost to
start a job board these days. There is no indication that this is
providing any greater visibility than ads in newspapers, trade
journals or magazines. You are most often just another person
hoping for visibility with thousands of others registering each and
Select a few good job boards and update your resume regularly
to stay at the top of the lists. Consider including an industry
specific job board in your mix. Explore LinkedIn due to the strong
networking potentials there and frequent jobs being posted for
free or through company paid postings. If you are a professional
and you are not on LinkedIn and heavily involved, fix that now!
- Most job openings are posted on-line or in local newspapers.
NOT TRUE: Many are "closed" or "hidden" allowing recruiters to search for the
candidates or get references without posting. This is a quick way
to avoid the mass marketed junk responses the highly unqualified
respondents. The "higher in the food chain" the position is, like
executives, these positions may go through Executive Search
Groups to avoid public visibility and question of what is going on
inside a company.
Network! Get the straight story from those inside plus you can
make better and stronger connections internally. Network with
those in your industry, those in jobs you are interested in.
- Changing jobs regularly is frowned upon by employers
NOT TOTALLY: The policies of companies to quickly "dump" people at the first
sign of change creates the "job hoppers" and those people are
still scrutinized. Companies are looking more towards offering
6 to 18 month contracts to avoid long term entanglements if the
economy or business changes or if they suddenly don't like the
worker. If you want to advance your career, if you want a better
salary, job hopping becomes a legitimate path.
Avoid the shorter terms of 6 months or less and try to stay with
the same or very simular type position for a year minimum. Focus
you transferable skills versus duration at the positions held.
- Cover letters are a waste for everyone
NOT AT ALL: Your cover letter is your advertising and a key strategic part of
your search. Here you walk about your uniqueness for the job
offered while the Resume covers your experience, skills and the
core competencies they are seeking/requiring.
As you customize each Resume, customize each Cover Letter.
IF the posting specifically says NO COVER LETTERS, obey,
otherwise promote yourself through your Cover Letter.
- My Resume and Cover Letter are insufficient to get an Interview
NOT TRUE: The tighter the job market the more you need to promote your
experience, skills, and core competencies. This holds true for
specialty or niche markets as well. Others are going full blast
to compete against you, therefore you must also compete.
Go proaactive on every hint of a position that is open and seek
an interview. Your initiative speaks well to some managers who
may be willing to talk or discuss other openings in the company.
- Less Salary Means More Attractive Candidate
NOT TRUE: If you have and bring value, go for the appropriate salary as less
raises questions about you and your value. Don't cheat yourself
out of the substantial amount of money you COULD HAVE MADE
by low-balling yourself.
Never start the salary conversation. Everyone has a budget so
let them go first and negotiate on your strengths. If you are
really that good, exceptions can be made or they can change the
job title to the next level up.
- Being Overqualified Gets You The Job
NOT TRUE: The most qualified does not always get the job. There is a need
for a qualified and well balanced individuals in the soft skills
areas such as interviewing skills, confidence, qualifications,
personality, persuasion, presenting, negotiating, etc.
Arrogance will get you a job you may not want and cost you the
ones you may have loved. Always go to provide you are the best
OVERALL candidate for the position. Some people just can't get
the soft skills down.
- Age discrimination is rampant starting at 40
YES, IT IS TRUE It was 50, now it's 40 despite the people are actually stronger
workers in many cases during their later years if their energy
and capabilities are strong. Education, skills, and experience
still top uncontrollable attributes. Your values will be of greater
worth to a new organization needing veterans to help mentor
the less experienced hands hired.
Being the team player is key, someone who will embrace change
and mentor others. Age should be a non-issue if you show you
have these traits.
- Take the first offer you receive
NOT ALWAYS: If you are working towards you first job and lack a strong skill
set or experience, consider taking the first offer as it may be a
gift. IF you are a seasoned professionals, refrain from taking an
offer that may be trying to save from overspending on another
If you have the right stuff, you may find multiple offers possible
or within a close timeframe. Consider also if this is your dream
job, the package and location are ideal, or it is something you
can build on as you move towards retirement.
- Resumes are one page only
NOT ALWAYS: This is a factor of your experience, job title and experience.
A new graduate from college most likely will be one page. A
College Professor, Researcher, Medical Doctor, etc. will be many
pages and include books and papers written, events as an invited
speaker, patents, copyrights, industry and professional honors,
research engaged in, etc. For most people going beyond three
pages should involve decades of professional work with honors
The Resume focus on is education, experience and transferable
skills. Education is both college and industry or product training
to stay up with trends and new technologies. ALWAYS include
project experience and achievements showing how you made an
impact to the company: grew revenues, increased margins, cut
cost, enhanced production or reduced manufacturing times,
positioned products in a better light. Companies are money
driven, even non-profit ones. If you help that focus, you're good!
- I just graduated from college with nothing to differentiate me from others
NOT ALWAYS: o Were you on the Honor Roll or Dean's List?
o Did you receive a Scholarship?
o Did you win or place in competitive activities outside school?
o Did you win or place in school sponsored competitions?
o Did you receive other honors for class work?
o Did you hold positions in college requiring advanced skills
in the area of your studies?
o Did you represent your school at external activities?
o Were you granted any advance course placement from testing?
o Were you recognized by groups outside of school?
o Were you covered by local news media for your activities?
o Were you nominated by your school for special honors?
o Did you assist graduate students with their Thesis or
Dissertation (if so they MUST recognize you in that work)?
o Were any papers you wrote published by the school?
o Were you given a research grant by the school or industry?
o Were you honored by a company or industry for your work?
o Did you create a new device or approach which was noticed?
o Did you file for any copyrights or patents on your work?
o Do you hold any copyrights or patents for your work?
o Were you hired to perform services that graduates would do?
o Were you hired to offload professional university technical
staff due to your advanced skill levels as an undergraduate?
o Did you do any Summer Intern work in a professional area?
o Something else you did that will get that WOW! response?
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