How to Get A Job: The Basics (Next time: Background Checks + Past Firings + Outdated Skills)
Ok, I've been somehow directed to this site when I click on one of many emails promising me NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU and it's part of my routine to click through each of them. I work contract gigs so I have to constantly be looking seeing that my roles last between 3 and 6 months. And I keep ending up in this place, which is far and away much different than any other job site. Why?
The complaining. For those of you who attach your actual names to complaints about the hiring process, the hiring directors, why you're a "victim" or "not being treated fairly"? I question your sanity. Because if you don't think your name being associated with rants about finding a job isn't a negative against you? Then you need to wise up. Looking for pointers or asking about different approaches ("Haven't heard from interviewer...should I call?") is one thing. Yelling out online that "I QUIT" or "THIS IS HOPELESS" or '"NOBODY WILL HIRE ME" will make you very unattractive to employers. Assume everything you write here is being seen by potential employers.
The random declarations - The "I'm a fork-lifter with 10 years of experience. I need a job ASAP" routine. What the hell is this? How does anyone think this shout-out to no one in particular is going to be received. You are not applying or inquiring about a specific position or to a specific company. You are promoting yourself unsolicited to other job seekers. What good could this possibly do? Or, for those that do this? Have you no experience in formally applying for jobs? And if you don't, this is not the right way.
HOW TO FIND A JOB
Now, make a resume and not just one, but one for every job you apply for. "WHAT? THAT'LL TAKE FOREVER!" Um, no it won't. You start with the fact-based chronological resume. All the positions you've had. The training. The skills. The accomplishments. The education. Everything you've ever done on one master resume. This is not one you will ever send out. This is the one you will copy-and-paste from to make tailor-made resumes for every kind of position you apply for. When I was in college, I worked as a file clerk at a law firm. But had been cooking for years before that and still worked nights at a bistro to make extra money. I had my "law firm" resume stressing my filing, reading, organizational skills and I had my cooking resume with the obvious skills and experience being highlighted. Both came from same Master Resume, but both were unique to whatever kind of job I was applying to. I currently have 8 resumes. I work in technology and there's a lot of overlapping, shared skills, but each one highlights exactly what the employer wants to see for their specific role. Make a master resume. And make specialized ones from it.
Contact both past co-workers/supervisors/clients as well as personal friends for professional and personal references. And coach them on what to say. Don't let them "improvise" when they get a call. Say: "If they call, please state I led my teams with enthusiasm and communicated my goals with success and always made my deadlines..." This way, they won't feel put on the spot. Or if they're busy when they get the call, they won't give a crap answer to get off the call. They'll revert to the one line you gave them and frankly, that's all you need. You don't want them to go on and on. "Johnny? He's great. Enjoyed working with him. Led our production teams and our crew loved his enthusiasm. And we could count on him to make those deadlines, which is the biggest priority for his position." Your bullet points in his/her words. Done.
Know your situation - If you're aren't in a rush to find work and aren't sure you want to continue what you've been doing and even if you're short on time: LEARN SOMETHING NEW --- for god's sakes, you can watch Harvard lectures for free on YouTube. I myself -- because I have to -- have learned 7 software programs in the past 6 months. Why? Because that's the way of the world now. My skill set last summer? Was fine for last summer, And the contract job I had then. But these new jobs?? They want more skills. More knowledge. And I make sure I can offer what they want. I just started coding (java, html) as well as development video courses on Lynda.com and LinkedIn. If you would've asked me a year ago if I'd be taking coding classes? I would've laughed and said: "I can't do that stuff." But you know what? The hell I can't. Is it easy? NO. But with online courses today (videos, exercise sheets, etc), it's not as difficult as I imagined. MAKE YOURSELF MORE VALUABLE. There is no shortage of resources online to make you a better candidate. Stop bitching on here and start learning or you'll be left behind no matter what job you want.
I'm 51 years old. And I work with mainly 20-and 30-somethings. How? See above. I stay CURRENT with my skills and I am already an easygoing, affable professional who can get along with anyone, doesn't mind having a supervisor younger than me (trusted they know what they're doing), so the whole age thing? Is moot. I don't volunteer my age. My high school graduation. I buy Just for Men hair dye before interviews and don't dye all the grey away but enough to shave off a couple years. I dress in current style. And my haircut is youthful. And I exercise regularly.. THESE ALL MATTER. I look younger now than I did when I was 35 (overweight, drank too much, my appearance wasn't a priority). Proving to a hiring director or whoever that you can jive with those younger than you? Needs to happen immediately in the interview. SMILE. BE AT EASE. You're the mature experienced one. INTERVIEW THEM. DON'T COME OFF AS ARROGANT OR UNWILLING TO BE TRAINED OR WORK WITH YOUNGER PEOPLE. BE EXCITED about collaborating. Let them know that. Don't bring up your bum knee or your migraines or your insulin shots or leaving early on Wednesdays to make physical therapy. NONE OF THAT BELONGS ANYWHERE in the job hunt. If you are truly disabled, you know how to handle it. If you are not legally disabled, don't suggest that you might be.
"My network sucks."" Yea? Mine too. But here's the thing. Stop thinking that your network is just your close friends or close ex-coworkers. It might be the guy you chat with getting coffee every morning. Or the nice customer service rep you see at the store you want to work at. Or whoever. Everyone you interact with is potentially someone who can help you. Always say this: "If you know someone who's looking for someone, i'd appreciate it..." This puts no pressure on your network people. "IF" is key. Not "Do you" or "Tell me" or "Can you"...but "If"
OK, I have to bone up for a phone interview at 3pm. Don't wish me luck. I don't need it. Or prayers. And next time, I'll talk about background checks, past employers, etc.
STAY POSITIVE -- It matters
Pause to think strategy?
Have you been working toward a goal in your worklife but it keeps eluding you? I think one of the toughest calls to make is deciding whether "patience is the better part of valor" and sticking to a plan, or to "cut bait" and switch strategies admitting that current path isn't working. Different circumstances lead to different answers. But ..... In my experience, pausing to consider the question is always a good thing!