Finding A Great Job

This is the number one New Year’s resolution…if not for everyone…at least it is my number one resolution. I’ve already started working on this by doing some research. Here is what I have found out so far: Where to find jobs: Start off by asking exactly what kind of job you want. Is it a promotion or an extension of the position you already have, or do you want something completely new? Figure out what you are really good at. Is there anything missing in your bag of skills that a little brush up would help? Are you ready for the next step? If you are, then break down the job hunt into smaller, manageable steps. Steve Dalton, senior associate director of the Career Management Center at Duke University is the author of “The 2-Hour Job Search.” He advises us to get a list of 40 jobs in 40 minutes by creating 4 categories. In the first categories put down those ideal places you’ve always wanted to work. In the second, list all the schools you have attended, and then go to LinkedIn’s Group directory to find alums with the companies they work for. With the third category, go to and use key words to find your area’s job postings. On the fourth category Google the name of your field with the word “trends” to find companies who are doing the really exciting things in your field. Dalton advises to spend only ten minutes in category and list 10 employers from each group. It’s a super-fast way to get a list of 40 potential employers. Prioritize the list with the jobs that most excite you and target the top five first. Expand your network. Don’t just rely on close family and friends. Broaden your contacts from there. Your ten friends have ten friends. That’s a potential 100 contacts. Don’t forget your associates from all those volunteer organizations you are so passionate about. They can prove to be valuable leads for potentially great jobs. There are plenty of hidden jobs out there. Remember it’s time consuming and expensive for potential employers to advertise vacancies. They actually appreciate being approached for vacancies. It shows initiative and drive. Resumes 101 Whether you have a steady employment history or are just re-entering the work force after time away, try writing what is called a “Functional Resume”. This resume focuses on your skills and experiences versus a chronological list of jobs. It creates a much stronger impression of your valuable experiences. It also solves that age problem if you think you are older than their average applicant. Focus your resume on your targeted employer. Create your resume for each application. It isn’t hard to do. Just use a few keywords from the job listing or your research on the company. ANYONE WHO HAS NOT FAILED ...HAS NOT TRIED Everybody thinks they have “excellent communication skills”. Instead of writing that, use action oriented keywords like “developed teams to…” or “assisted customers”… or “supervised”. “Project management” is another key phrase. But it doesn’t mean much unless you include the results. There is only one reason to write a cover letter; to get the interview. You can’t get the job if you can’t get in the door. It needs to be noticed. Forget the “to whom it may concern” stuff. Take the time to find out who the decision maker is and address the letter directly to them. Trust me, it makes a huge difference. It shows initiative on your part and creates a point of contact for the future. Write something out of the norm. These days there are often hundreds of applicants for a single position. Don’t write what is typical. Show your flair as well as your appreciation for the company. Keep the letter brief. Say why you are writing and close the sale by asking for a meeting. Using the word “meeting” is way more professional than asking for an interview. Make the Interview Count! Don’t ever think that your degrees or a solid resume is enough. You have to demonstrate in the interview your problem solving skills. Be prepared. Have several examples of real life experiences ready to demonstrate your abilities. Remember your abilities outside of the work place can end up supporting your skill set just as well if not better than work place examples. Often the topic of conflict resolutions will come up during the interview. Don’t shy away from this one. Be ready with an example that shows how you kept your composure and solved a sticky situation with tact. Another tricky interview moment can center on questions like “what can you bring to this company?” or “give me an example of a situation where you have failed.” Be ready. Pause before you answer…but do answer. Failure is not a weakness. If you haven’t failed…you haven’t tried. Someone who hasn’t tried may not be right for the company. Ask questions. This interview process should never be a one way situation. It’s your chance to learn more about the company and the position. After all, for this career move to be a success you have to like the company as much as they like you. Asking insightful questions will show how interested you are about the job and will leave them with a great impression. If you like what you see and have heard during the interview. Close the sale. Ask for the position. Remember you don’t get the great things in life if you don’t ask. One last thing…say thank you. Say it twice: Firstly, at the end of the interview and lastly in a short thank you note. Don’t forget…a little “nice” goes a long way. Happy Hunting

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