Archive for the ‘job search’ Category

question_markAsk your­self how many peo­ple you know who failed at a job, either left vol­un­tar­ily or were ter­mi­nated, because of their degree, expe­ri­ence or back­ground? In all like­li­hood, most of them failed because of inad­e­quate inter­per­sonal skills, an inabil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate, or because they just didn’t fit in with the cul­ture. In other words, like any rela­tion­ship gone awry, it wasn’t a good match.

If you received a call from a recruiter about a job you applied to, your résumé was com­pelling enough to be selected from the masses. You included key­words from the job post­ing, had good gram­mar, your expe­ri­ence was suf­fi­cient and you look like a poten­tial “match”.

If I only had a penny for every time an appli­cant told me, “It sounds just like me!”

Is it per­sonal perception?

The truth is, the “duties” of a job are only a piece of it. Envi­ron­men­tal, team and orga­ni­za­tional fit are the rest. Most com­pa­nies aren’t that good at con­vey­ing cul­tural fit in the job post­ing. Many didn’t drive the cul­ture that has taken hold so under­stand­ing and con­vey­ing it to some­one exter­nally would be difficult.

Com­pa­nies that take the ini­tia­tive to pro­file tenured top per­form­ers make an invest­ment in their employer brand by ana­lyz­ing the cul­ture and work­force for trends and tar­get­ing recruit­ing and hir­ing prac­tices based on the results. They enjoy low turnover and high employee and cus­tomer satisfaction.

Another truth is, man­agers have var­ied lev­els of com­pe­tency in inter­view­ing. Since most com­pa­nies don’t go through the employee pro­file and com­pe­tency iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process, man­agers are left to do the best they can by hir­ing from the gut. One ques­tion can­di­dates can ask at an inter­view is if the com­pany has iden­ti­fied the per­son­al­ity traits of the most suc­cess­ful employ­ees. Even if the com­pany hasn’t imple­mented psy­cho­me­t­ric test­ing, at the very least the man­ager will tell you the traits they feel are impor­tant and you can dis­cuss them and assess whether you feel they are a match.

Under­stand­ing your own com­pe­ten­cies, to include your emo­tional intel­li­gence, hav­ing ques­tions pre­pared for the inter­view that deal with this topic and being hon­est with your­self about employer expec­ta­tions and orga­ni­za­tional fit, will help you assess whether a job and com­pany are a match for you.

Karla Porter, Director of Workforce Development & HR, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber

workitWalking in the door of a job fair can literally change your life.

Now of course, you can choose to simply show up and weave in and out of the maze of employer booths like a spectator – that’s what most people do. You’ll most likely leave thinking it was, “OK but nothing special, just proves there are no good opportunities around here.”

That’s the big mistake most people make, they treat a job fair as a spectator sport.

Here’s how to work the job fair!

Like any important engagement you attend, it’s important to be organized and prepared. Are you tracking your job search? Do you have a list of companies you have submitted applications/resumes to, the submission date, follow-up date, contact person and documentation of conversations with company representatives? If not, consider at least creating a spreadsheet to track your job search activity. You can also check out Jibber Jobber a free career management tool from Jason Alba. The Jibber Jobber blog also contains many fantastic resources for your job search.

The home page of this blog contains a list on the right side column (updated every Friday) of all employers who will be at the job fair. Click on the employer name to go directly to their website. On the employer website find the careers page (most have them). Look for jobs that interest you. Before you apply, be sure to check out the rest of the website too. The application process can be lengthy and often involves online assessments. Before you spend precious time jumping through application hoops, research the company mission, values, culture and philosophy. Look to see how the company recognizes and rewards its employees. This will help you identify if it’s a company you would like to work for, or not.

♥ job seeker love – Applying for a job at a company you do not know anything about or respect, one that doesn’t have an open position that’s interesting to you or within your scope of education or experience – is not constructive use of your time and likely an exercise in futility, not to mention it’s self-defeating. Let’s face it – we all know times are tough in the job market and scores of people apply for every position announced. It means a lot of rejection so why invite unnecessary unwanted “no” into your life by applying to openings you “know” are not for you?

Once you have applied to the job (yes, by all means apply before you go to the job fair!), go to LinkedIn and do a company search. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account I highly recommend you create one, it’s free. When you search the company you’ll see the company’s employees who have LinkedIn accounts too. Use your social networking skills to identify people within the organization who can give you information on the position and company that can help you. You could even send a message to the recruiter letting her know you’re looking forward to stopping by at the company booth and meeting her at the job fair. <– that’s hot!

Then, click on social networking links on the company’s site or do Google searches to see if they use social networking. Become a fan, follow and interact with the company representatives and employees. Be professional, curious and social. This will put your name on the tips of their tongues! When you introduce yourself at the job fair they will already know you.

Follow this process for every employer you’re interested in meeting at the job fair and track it with whatever method you have chosen. Make notes about what you liked on each company’s website and the jobs you applied to. Note also, which social networks you joined and how you have interacted and with whom.

Reserve a few hours (at least) a few days before the job fair to review all the companies you applied to. All your company research and notes will come in handy now…….

Create company profiles by copying and pasting important information about the companies you applied to that will be at the job fair (from your spreadsheet, database or whatever system you used) in a separate document for each. It could be a Word document or any other. Be sure to put the company name and contact info at the top in nice bold letters for easy reading.

Prepare targeted resumes and cover letters for each company.

Once you have done this create individual company packets by putting the profiles you created with the targeted cover letters and resumes clipped to them, in alphabetical order by company name, for easy locating. The best bet is to put them in a presentation or portfolio binder so the sheets won’t fall out while you’re walking down the job fair aisle <– embarrassing.

The big day!

You wake up early, or go to work, do whatever you have to… but the job fair is on your mind. You dress professionally for a job interview. A suit is appropriate. That’s it……… A suit.

Not jeans, not nightclub attire, not beachwear, or shorts or athletic wear……. a suit.

Really? Yes…..

Why? You are there for a serious event that could change your employment status, your career, the well-being of your family and your income among other important things, too numerous to mention. If you don’t make a good impression forget the interview…

Can I wear flip flops or sneakers? No, don’t be ridiculous.

You will receive a map of numbered employer booths when you arrive at the job fair. Take a moment to sit at one of the tables available to fill out job applications (some businesses still offer paper ones!) and write the booth number of the employers you want to visit on the top of the corresponding company profiles you created.

Use your map to navigate to the employers you are prepared to meet. Before approaching each booth review the company profile so it is fresh in your mind and you can speak intelligently to the company representative.

Approach the representative with a smile and handshake. Let her know you have conducted extensive research on the company and its opportunities and you prepared a cover letter and resume especially just for her as an introduction to your talent and skills. Hand her the resume and thank her for taking the time to meet with you. Try to create a brief dialog using the knowledge you gleaned from your research. Take cues from her on when it’s time to move on. Unless she leads the conversation down an in depth path and moves it to a more private area, do not overstay your welcome. Realize that thousands of candidates attend the job fair and many will want to meet with her. Ask for a business card before you move on, clip it to the employer profile and repeat the same process at each employer booth.

The sure fire quickest way to become disqualified right off the bat there and then is to approach the booth and ask, “So, whaddaya got?” Approaching the employer’s booth knowledgeable about the company and types of jobs they offer will give you a “candidate advantage”.

Go home, relax a bit from being overwhelmed and then get to work writing thank you emails to every company representative you collected a business card from.

Ahhhhh…… mission accomplished!

Posted by Karla Porter, Director of Workforce Development & Human Resources, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber. You can read more on job search and the world of employment and new media at her blog.

success

Jobs are less abun­dant but they haven’t dis­ap­peared. Less jobs mean the bar has been raised and it has enabled and pro­voked employ­ers to be choosier. You have to work harder, be smarter, have a bet­ter pre­sen­ta­tion and story than any­one else.

You have to rock ‘em, sock ‘em, knock ‘em — more — to get the offer. You have to be Super Candidate.

Mar­ginal or good doesn’t work when jobs are scarce and can­di­dates are plen­ti­ful. Mar­ginal or good works when jobs are plen­ti­ful and can­di­dates are scarce.

Painful to hear, some­one gets the job when there is an open­ing. Not get­ting the job doesn’t mean you weren’t a wor­thy can­di­date or that there isn’t a job for you.

If you are objec­tive you’ll real­ize it means some­one else:

  • Had more rel­e­vant experience
  • Pre­sented her­self more impressively
  • Had more refined per­sua­sive skills
  • Showed more pas­sion for the company’s mission
  • Expressed more desire to do the job the way the com­pany wants it done
  • Left the hir­ing manager(s) feel­ing syn­ergy and they missed her the moment she left

In other words.….….…. some­one else was the bet­ter fit.

Instead of hav­ing self defeat­ing feel­ings, if you were not selected for a job you have inter­viewed for, it means you prob­a­bly wouldn’t have thrived in that posi­tion (or maybe that cul­ture) as well as the per­son hired. You wouldn’t want to work some­where that isn’t a great match, you wouldn’t be happy. So, learn from the expe­ri­ence. Ana­lyze how you can refine your search for a bet­ter fit and and any other area you might improve on. Write it off and keep look­ing for the oppor­tu­nity that is a match.

Keep on search­ing, look for unpub­lished jobs. They do exist. This week, a com­pany in Wilkes-Barre told me they have grown to the point they need another per­son on staff and asked me to help them find an office man­ager with excep­tional orga­ni­za­tional skills and basic book­keep­ing. It’s a laid back, pro­gres­sive, very cool place to work, with very com­pet­i­tive pay and ben­e­fits. –» This isn’t posted on a big job board or even their com­pany website.

When some­one lands the job of her dreams, it is huge cause for cel­e­bra­tion. Check out JT O’Donnell’s Job Jam to see how it’s prop­erly done!

Post by Karla Porter, Director of Workforce Development & Human Resources, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber. Read more at her blog.