Fresh Career Advice That Actually Works

Posts tagged ‘self development’

Essential Advice on Networking

If you’re job hunting then networking is extremely important. Networking is developing contacts, relationships or friendships with people who can potentially help you in your job search. Therefore it’s crucial to mention your current situation whenever you’re meeting new people or for that matter communicating with old friends or former co-workers. You never know where you might find someone who can offer you useful information, advice, support, resources or referrals.

Remember networking is not just broadcasting your message. Don’t just tell what you need, be polite and listen to others, take interest in them and get to know them better. This is the only way you can establish an effective network.

Resume Business Cards

Always give your business card if you spot a possible employment opportunity. The best choice is to have a resume business card. It functions as a mini-CV. On the front it’s like an ordinary business card with your name and contacts. On the back of the card print your most vital career information. The number of years’ experience in your field of expertise, main qualifications and skills, important achievements. Include the address of your online portfolio or LinkedIn profile*. Make sure that everything’s completed and up-to-date. Now when someone becomes interested in you based on the highlights from your card he/she can immediately go online and see the full resume or a portfolio of your work and contact you.

*An additional tip: LinkedIn assigns a unique address to every profile. It looks something like this: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname/2/987/a32. This isn’t suitable for your business card. To select a new address go to Edit Profile screen and then click the Edit link. The best option is to use your full name.

Advertisements

How to Write an Effective Speculative Letter?

Some employers list job openings on their company websites (and not anywhere else). They’re usually on “careers” pages or “join our team” or simply “current openings”. Sometimes there’s no mention at all of any vacancies. You’ve probably heard that in these cases writing a speculative letter to the company is a good way of eliminating competition.

Unfortunately there’s a very low response rate to speculative letters. In all likelihood it wouldn’t be this way, if it weren’t for the standard mistakes people often make. When we take a look at a regular speculative letter, then the main problem is that it isn’t targeted.

It’s usually addressed to „Dear Sir/Madam“ or worse „To whom it may concern“. This is the best way to ensure it goes straight to the HR department (if you’re lucky) and not to the actual decision maker. Because the letter isn’t tailor-made, the person writing it doesn’t offer a solution to a specific problem. It’s clear that he/she doesn’t know anything about the company, which definitely isn’t impressive. It also hasn’t got a “call to action” (request to do something) in the end of the letter.

7 Tips on Using a Targeted Approach:

1)    Address the letter to a named person who has the power to hire you;
2)    Give a specific reason for writing him/her;
3)    Research the company, so you can offer your advice to improve a situation or add value to the company;
4)    Make it clear you want a meeting;
5)    Ask them to keep your details on file for a suitable position in the future (as an alternative, if they really aren’t hiring at the moment);
6)    Don’t attach your CV;
7)    In the very end of the letter include a “call to action” – make a business proposition and ask them to call you at 555-5555.

You may think that if you have a generic speculative letter, you can send it to a large number of prospective employers. The idea is to cast your net wide enough, that you must catch something. That’s a common misconception. It’s much more effective to send out 3 targeted letters and get 3 responses than 100 universal letters and still get 3 responses.

 

How to Write an Effective Speculative Letter?

Some employers list job openings on their company websites (and not anywhere else). They’re usually on “careers” pages or “join our team” or simply “current openings”. Sometimes there’s no mention at all of any vacancies. You’ve probably heard that in these cases writing a speculative letter to the company is a good way of eliminating competition.

Unfortunately there’s a very low response rate to speculative letters. In all likelihood it wouldn’t be this way, if it weren’t for the standard mistakes people often make. When we take a look at a regular speculative letter, then the main problem is that it isn’t targeted.

It’s usually addressed to „Dear Sir/Madam“ or worse „To whom it may concern“. This is the best way to ensure it goes straight to the HR department (if you’re lucky) and not to the actual decision maker. Because the letter isn’t tailor-made, the person writing it doesn’t offer a solution to a specific problem. It’s clear that he/she doesn’t know anything about the company, which definitely isn’t impressive. It also hasn’t got a “call to action” (request to do something”) in the end of the letter.

7 Tips on Using a Targeted Approach:

1) Address the letter to a named person who has the power to hire you;

2) Give a specific reason for writing him/her;

3) Research the company, so you can offer your advice to improve a situation or add value to the company;

4) Make it clear you want a meeting;

5) Ask them to keep your details on file for a suitable position in the future (as an alternative, if they really aren’t hiring at the moment);

6) Don’t attach your CV;

7) In the very end of the letter include a “call to action” – make a business proposition and ask them to call you at 555-5555.

You may think that if you have a generic speculative letter, you can send it to a large number of prospective employers. The idea is to cast your net wide enough, that you must catch something. That’s a common misconception. It’s much more effective to send out 3 targeted letters and get 3 responses than 100 universal letters and still get 3 responses.

The Best Motivator for Doing a Good Job Is the Job Itself

People are often so desperate for a job that they’re willing to apply for a position they don’t like just for the money. This is truly an unfortunate situation (but can be accepted in case of an emergency).

Every company wants to hire someone who likes his/her job, is interested in it and will work with passion. It’s just as important as the actual qualification. You have more influence on the recruiter if you’re selective and value yourself higher.

It’s proven that you’ll get better results if you enjoy the work you do. In addition you won’t be miserable and exhausted when you get home. It’s also easier to develop your industry skills if you have real interest in the field. The best way to select a position is to forget all the jobs you dislike. Make a choice only between those you’d enjoy doing. Then you won’t just be working pay check to pay check. You’d actually love showing up at your job every day.

After you’ve found a role you’d really like to take on, visit the company website and Google the names of the firm’s most influential members. Do you like their thoughts, ideas and the principles they value? If not, you probably won’t be happy there. Usually a company has the “face” of its leaders.

If the vacancy has passed all your tests and you still like it, be ready for strong action. Refresh your knowledge in the field by reading books and/or professional journals about the subject, doing research on the Internet and networking with people in the same industry. It’ll give you a great boost of self-confidence because you’re now more adequate, informed and qualified. This is something the employer will certainly notice.

When considering your likes and dislikes stay objective. What that means is that don’t apply for a job as a lecturer at a university if you haven’t graduated from high school. Maybe it’s an extreme example but finding a suitable job from the ones you have the potential to get is really important. Otherwise it’ll only cause you negative feelings when you’re constantly being rejected by the employers.

Checklist:

  • Choose a job that you can enjoy or be passionate about.
  • Find out whether you like the ideas and principles of the company.
  • Educate yourself as much as possible in the desired field.
  • Stay objective and apply for a job you can handle.

What to Do With Employment Gaps?

With large gaps in your work history the employer might think that you’re unstable, unreliable, unmotivated, undesirable, undedicated, you have personal issues, that interfere with your ability to do the job; you’re not up to date; you were in jail, rehab; you were doing drugs, drinking; you were collecting unemployment benefits and started looking for a job when the benefits ran out.

The less you see the more frightening/intriguing it becomes. It’s like with horror movies, they are scary as long as they don’t show the monster and let the audience imagine it instead. You should definitely show the “monster” (and try your best to clean him up a bit). The truth is, that if you don’t fill the gaps, the recruiter will fill them for you.

Two Ways to Hide Gaps:

1)    When listing your employment history use only years instead of months/years. This will completely hide any short-term gaps. And there’s another plus too. Your CV becomes easier to read and looks neater. You should consider doing it even if you don’t have gaps in your work history (unless otherwise instructed).

2)    When writing down your work experience the general rule is to go back 5-10 years or 3-5 jobs. Therefore if you have an older employment gap you can leave it out altogether.

Two Ways to Address Gaps:

1)    If you have a recent gap, create a new CV section with the heading RELATED/OTHER EXPERIENCE (depending on the content). Make a list of your activities during the time you were unemployed. Write down everything you can think of (you have time to edit later). Here are some ideas, so it’ll be easier to remember what you actually did. Travelling, volunteer work, freelance work, internships, courses, business ventures, maternity/paternity leave etc.

Of course the best variant is if your activities are in relevance to your job objective. So if you’re seeking a position in the travel industry, then independent travelling will be an advantage. Another possibility is to identify any transferable skills acquired from the different activities that are applicable to the position you’re seeking. For example: you successfully handled all of the family money for 5 years as a full-time parent, i.e. you can keep financial records.

2)    It’s tricky if you actually didn’t do anything. Well it’s never too late. Start searching for opportunities (volunteer work, internships) to improve your situation. If it isn’t possible for whatever reason, create a CV section – SELF DEVELOPMENT. You have to prove that you continually updated your skills and therefore remained marketable. It’s important to read professional journals and specialized books. Write down how you kept current on the latest developments in your chosen field.