Job Search Lessons To Live By
Success is the best teacher, so if you haven’t experienced success in your job search, why not emulate someone who has?
Consider the case of Martha S., a client of mine from Syracuse, New York, who got hired last week after a 48-day job search.
Here’s the kicker.
Martha got hired in computer networking — one of the hardest-hit among IT jobs — at a $6,000 higher salary.
What can you learn from her efforts?
“To start, I sent out about 50 resumes per week by email and uploaded my resume to Web sites like Monster.com. I also spent a lot of time networking. I sent emails to friends, ex-coworkers, family, and others,” says Martha.
Her efforts paid off with three job interviews – two from networking and one from an Internet job site.
Lesson: Networking works.
Plus, the friends and family in your network can act as a sounding board. “They can help you maintain your sanity when times get tough,” says Martha.
Martha applied and interviewed for what she described as her “dream job,” but after three weeks of telephone and email communications back and forth, the job was given to someone else.
“All the while I really thought this job was going to go through. I even went on vacation for 11 days. As a result my job search suffered. I spent less time looking for jobs,” says Martha.
Lessons: There are two here.
1) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket — never slack off because you think any one job is a sure thing.
2) Treat your job search as the most important work of your life — that means no long vacations until you’re hired. Work first, play later.
In her third interview, which came from an Internet job posting, Martha did well and was called back.
“At the second interview I was in a conference room with four people. It was fairly casual and conversational. They asked me questions and I asked them questions. One of my favorite tactics was to identify where the company was having problems and focus on that,” says Martha.
By stressing how she could solve the employer’s problems, Martha was able to provide tangible answers during her interview that proved she could do the work.
“They immediately offered me the job and for $6,000 more than I was asking for. It’s very close to home, too,” says Martha.
Lesson: The best way to sell yourself may be to shut up and listen.
Employers will often tell you exactly what they’re looking for. “The interviewers talked a lot about their problems, what they do every day, etc. That made it easier for me,” says Martha.
To recap, one great shortcut to success in your job search (or anything else in life) is to simply do what’s working for others.
In this case, Martha found a great job in less than two months, despite the current “job crisis” by doing four simple things:
- Networking with everyone she knew: friends, family, former co-workers, college counselors — “I even contacted an ex-boyfriend I hadn’t spoken to in about six years,” she says.
- Not putting all her hopes on just one job. After one setback, she resolved to keep looking at all available employers, even while interviewing.
- Treating her search for work as a full-time job.
- Focusing her job interviews on how she could solve an employer’s problems. When you think about, that’s the only reason jobs are created — to solve problems. If you can do that, you can get hired, in any economy.