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Job Search Make You Laugh

I thought I would post some comics I pilfered off Google Images.  Sorry to those who did the original work but thanks for sharing. 

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Job Networking

Networking for a new job is easy.  Do you agree?  I think the idea of “networking” kind of scares people when then think of it initially.  Forcing yourself to go meet new people in a new situation because you are out of work is somewhat of a challenging situation.  Job searching alone is tough enough let alone “begging” people you don’t know to help you look for a job.  Right?

WAY WRONG!  I know this is what some of you are thinking when it comes to how to best do job networking.  Let’s dispel a few myths of networking:

1. Networking is something you start doing once you lose your job – This is definitely not true.  A network is being built every day you are alive.  You meet people every day in your job or at Starbucks or around your family.  You don’t just build one once you have a need; like a job search. 

2. Job networking is only done with the industry you are looking in – This is also not true.  People you know best from any industry can help open doors for you.  A friend recently found a new job by meeting his aunt’s boss while checking out the Christmas lights over the holidays.  He asked the right questions at the right time and got hired a few weeks later.

3. Networking is tough to do - This is also very untrue.  Networking is not about you but truly about them.  The best networkers are those who don’t talk about themselves but are great at asking good questions.  If you are good at getting others to talk about themselves you are probably a good networker.  Learning how to ask good questions in a particular direction is how the best network.

Job networking can be tough at the onset but as you unwrap it a little you don’t really need to possess an outgoing personality or be a “people person”.  Be yourself, ask good questions, talk with people you know and put yourself out there a little.  It won’t be long and you will have built you own network beyond what you can handle.  Pick something you like.  Find people who like it to.  Talk about it.  You are networking.

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Job Application Help

Job applications are a bit different from using a resume or letter to locate a job.  Job applications are used many times with larger employers or employers who don’t have an opening.  In general, a job application is somewhat of an agreement between you and the employer.  There is usually a place for you to sign and it is used if/when you get to the point with the employer where they are considering you for an opportunity.   What you put down must be true and accurate otherwise they can consider terminating you if hired.  Another reason an application is used is to “get the facts” about your current and past working situations.  Some employers don’t want to read through sales-type language on a resume.  They prefer to get to the meat of your background for their openings.

There are a few areas where people have some challenge with applications.  Here are some suggestions to help you answer common questions duing the application process:

1. How do I answer the question about income?   The income question comes up a lot in applications.  There is normally a box you need to fill in about your current or past incomes.  If the application is online the field can be mandatory so you have to put something in there.  Let’s deal with that situation first.  If you are required to include an income then do it.  You may get screened in or out because of it but that is the process.  Don’t ever lie about it because it can be fairly easily verified.  You are who you are and paid what you are paid.  If an employer wants you bad enough, what you put there won’t matter at the negotiation stage of your candidacy.  If you put $30,ooo but you know they might pay $45,000 your job is to get to the end where they want you and you want them.  Then you can ask for the higher salary and see what happens. 

If the application is on paper, then you can skip the question and let them know you would like to discuss this in an interview.  You can include it and accept where the chips fall as stated above.  Don’t be so worried about this field.  There is no “way around it”.  From the very start whether they ask for it or not it will impact if they are interested in hiring you.  Someone will ask you about it and you need to be prepared to answer why. 

Many times there is an income box which asks what income are you looking for.  This one can be tricky because you don’t want to go too high or too low.  If you think the company is a good one to get into and you are in need of a steady paycheck, then put a slightly lower figure than what you could get.  If you have a job and just looking around for the right opportunity, aim a little higher.  Different employers can and will pay different amounts for the same job.  Don’t put all your eggs in just this basket.  There are more opportunities out there.  Don’t get caught up on this one opportunity, explore the market for others.

2. What if I am leaving a job where I hate my boss, what do I state as my reason for leaving?   This is anther very touchy subject for people as well.  The complete truth in this blank will cause some red flags to rise about your candidacy in the company.  If you have/had a bad boss and your day in the life was why you are leaving, you can phrase that a little different so not to blame the boss.  You could say that there was no room for advancement in your division or you knew the turnover in the department was high but you thought you could make a difference.  You realized once you started in the position the working environment was more challenging than you had originally known.  Your job responsibilities had changed and you recognized you were not a good fit for the position.  Statements like these will help encourage a hiring manager to “drill down” a little to uncover what is going on.  But what it does is not put the blame on why you are leaving on your last boss but on some things you ignored about the department you were going to work in.  This goes a long way to being honest which is what most hiring managers want.  If they don’t then run as fast as you can.

3. Should I include references who I have not asked permission from yet?   References at the application stage are a bit premature for virtually any company.  References take a long time to contact and speak with and very few recruiters have time for this in the beginning.  I don’t know of any employers who check references during the early stage of the process.  You may put people down here who can vouch for you.  I think it is always best to make sure they know they are a reference but if you know them well and are pretty sure they won’t mind, you can add them.  If you get towards the end of the hiring process and are going to receive an offer, most hiring managers will ask for references at that point or at least verify the ones you listed are good to contact. 

Applications can be tricky.  Lean towards a more honest approach on dates, salaries, job titles and the details.  Honesty is always the best policy and will help you stay grounded during your job search.  No need to tell your inner secrets but shying away from some blemishes can signal you are trying to hide things.  Experienced application readers, resume readers and hiring managers will look for inconsistencies and are trained to do so.

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What Is A Resume?

I made an assumption on some earlier posts that most people know what a resume is.  Well I guess I was wrong…most people don’t know what a resume is.  I know this sounds kind of crazy but did you know a resume is not just about you?  Did you know a resume is not a document to show people what you have done in your career thus far?

I am going to say it again…A Resume Is NOT Just About Y-O-U.  Think about that for a few minutes.  Why would I say that when for all these years most people think the resume is about them.  So let’s get something straight…a resume is about the person who is looking at it.  So let’s say you were a house cleaner for the first few years out of college (like I was), do you need to put that on your resume?  Some people would say yes.  Some would say no.  I would say it depends.

It depends on a lot of things.  Job searching and being successful at it depends on a lot of things.  So in this example, if you are going for a job that requires some house cleaning experience (maybe a manager or operations person for a large cleaning company) having field experience is important.  So in that situation I would say definitely include it.  But let’s say you are going for a sales job.  Would you want that experience in there?  Maybe if the sales job was for a janitorial supply place.  If not, then no way.  Nothing against house cleaners but it is not the most professional of jobs even though I have cleaned the toilets of a bunch of music stars when I was back in Nashville doing it, it still doesn’t sound that great.

So the resume is more about perception…what perception do you want to give a hiring manager?  Don’t lie on your resume but don’t include everything and see what they like.  Never submit a resume to a job you are not qualified for UNLESS you know the person.  Then a resume becomes a document you submit which includes the experience (and hopefully only that experience) which displays you in the best light.

This can be tough to distinguish.  Maybe for another post.

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Patience Sucks

Patience is one of my greatest problem areas.  This is something I struggle with in almost every part of my life.  I am not patient with my kids, with getting my work done or even with my coffee.  I always want things done sooner rather than later.  Now I know you are not reading this so you can better understand me.

I want you to think about your patience.  Are you patient or not?  A job search can be difficult and take a lot of time with lots of ups and downs.  Resume creation and distribution can take some time to do it right.  Meeting and connecting with people can take some time to get started and keep going.  Most things in a job search require patience.  If you rush your resume just so you can send it to a posting your found, you are going to make a mistake.  Each resume you email or send needs special attention.  Resumes are not just documents you put together and throw the same one out for each posting.  You need to patiently tweak your resume for each posting. 

If you are trying to get together with others and expand your network, you need to be patient and take your time.  Time with people is what is needed to build the relationship in the right direction.  Do things right the first time.  Be patient with all aspects of your job search and you will make it through it with less stress and more success.

Sometimes slowing down a little lets you see if you are going in the wrong direction.  Move a few steps forward, evaluate your situation and then move again.  Jumping head strong into something might be a mistake.  Now being too patient might get you in trouble as well.  You are going to make it.  You are going to find what you are looking for.  Move forward every day.  Be patient.  Be prudent.  Be successful.

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Jazz Up Your Job Search

I hate, hate and hate some more when people say I can’t get a call back or no one wants to hire me.  I know it is tough out there and you are going to fall on hard times.  I truly do have sympathy.  What erks me is not that you are feeling this way but what erks me is you are not willing to do the tough things (I like to call “heavy lifting”) to get noticed for a new job. 

Doing things like everyone else is doing is not going to get you hired let alone noticed.  You are going to be added to the “stack” of resumes a hiring manager gets unless you can stand out.  Jazz up your job search by being weird or different in your approach.  Don’t go over the line but find out how to stand out from the crowd.

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Resumes Look Forward

For the longest time most people belive the goal of a resume is to review your job history.  And to some degree that is true.  A resume takes a snapshot of your working life and places it in one location for someone else to review.  One question always comes up and that is:  “How long should the resume be?”  The answers to this question vary from one person to another typically based on their own preferences and how many resumes they have looked at in their careers.  The answers vary because most people are still looking at the resume as a look backwards in their past and wondering how much info they need to stuff to make them look good.

What a resume should be doing is presenting your qualifications forward with the intent of your next job.  Forward looking resumes sell your experience towards what a hiring manager is looking for.  Forward looking resumes are more hopeful and exciting and less mundane.  Most resumes look like this:

Objective:  I want to do such and such for a great company who values my contribution…boring/mundane.

Work Experience:  (Job Title) – every day I would wake up and go to work and perform these duties.

Education – I went to school a, I attended program b…

References available upon request

Contrast a forward-looking resume below:

No objective…replace with:  JOB TITLE GOING FOR in bold

Summary with bullet points and/or paragraph.  Goal is to paint a brief picture of who I am and what skills I bring to the table.

Work Experience:  An overview, easy to read review of the company I worked for, the job title with brief description AND most importantly the accomplishments I had at the job.  Accomplishments must apply to some degree to the job I am going after stated at the top of my resume.  Accomplishments are one of the most important pieces to a forward-looking resume.

Education:  Put only the schools and degree programs that will help you with selling yourself in the job you are going after.  If your schooling is not enough, enroll in a new program and list it as enrolled.

That is it.  Forward looking resumes talk about the skills and experience you have to do the next job and ONLY the next job.  Traditional resumes throw as much up on the wall and see what sticks.  They are boring and lifeless.  Instead push forward.

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Glimmers Of Hope

Glimmers of hope are fantastic.  The call from a recruiter or hiring manager.  The friend who says they will take your resume into the company and see what they can do.  The job posting you find that is EXACTLY what you want to do.  All these glimmers of hope are fantastic.  They get us jazzed about our job search and propel us forward; or do they?  Do you propel forward when you start to see glimmers of hope?

Most people get excited about the small wins.  The “relief” valve on their brain lets out a little more pressure that has been built up.  A small sigh of relief is felt and there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Most people don’t propel forward when they see a glimmer of hope.  Instead you grab onto it like it is your last chance opportunity.  You grasp it so tightly in your hands you find yourself dreaming about the opportunity both day and night.

The optimist would say this is a great opportunity.  And it is.  The pessimist would say it is no big deal and these things typically don’t work out.  The realist would say:  “Excellent!  Now let’s go get some more” and keep moving forward with finding another one and another one.  Having one glimmer of hope is nice.  Having three is great.  And having 10 ideal. 

Don’t let one glimmer of hope slow you down.  If you focus on this one you will lose track of your goals.  If you find three or 10, you will be able to make better decisions because you will eventually be able to weigh your options.  Weighing your options is better than deciding if this particular glimmer of hope is the right one or not.  Don’t slow down your search.  Speed it up.

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Blinders Are On

Do you know why blinders were used in history?  Blinders are things that were used to shield the eyes of animals or people from something they don’t need to see.  Are there things in your life you don’t need to see?  Are there distractions in your life you wish you didn’t have?

Time to put your blinders on.  Distractions are anything, I mean ANYTHING, that gets in your way of doing what you need to do.  Get rid of your distractions and put your blinders on when you are working on a resume or cover letter or making calls or whatever job search activity you are doing.

Blinders will filter out what you don’t need to see while you are staying focused.  Don’t allow distractions to derail your job search, ever.

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Tired Of Excuses

No more excuses from anyone about not being able to find a job.  Excuses are lame.  Excuses are wrong.  Excuses are ways to avoid what you don’t want to do. 

STOP MAKING EXCUSES.  Do I make myself clear?

Please think about this concept a little before you think I am just frustrated or irritated with you.  I am not.  I just want you to wake up from your woe is me slumber and get mad, serious or angry.  Once you grab hold of one of those emotions, you will win at this job search thing.

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