Monday, January 30, 2012

Feel free to break some job search rules

If the typical job search rules you’ve heard made sense once, they may not apply in today’s increasingly competitive job market. “It used to be that you would fill out a job application, then wait for the response, but companies today are hiring without hard-and-fast rules,” says workplace consultant Jake Greene. Greene and other experts offer seven job search rules you should feel free to break…………..

1.       Apply Only If You Meet All Requirements

Ads demanding specific education, skills and industry experience may be more flexible than you might think, according to Jean Baur, senior consultant at outplacement firm Lee Hecht Harrison and author of Eliminated! Now What? Finding Your Way from Job-Loss Crisis to Career Resilience.

“Sometimes online job descriptions are boilerplate and are not completely accurate,” Baur says. “If you match 85 percent of that ad, fill out a job application or send a resume anyway.”

2. Do a Mass Mailing to Maximize Your Chances

If you throw enough spaghetti at the wall, something will stick, right? Wrong, says Greene. Doing your homework on a smaller pool of companies, and tailoring your resume and cover letter to those organizations’ specific needs, is a much more effective way to find a job. “Even if you submit a resume through their Web sites, find other ways -- more innovative ways -- of connecting with them,” says Greene.
2.       3. Emphasize Your Education

Degrees are important but they’re not what hiring managers care about most, according to Gary Romano, a specialist in nonprofit and government strategic planning and principal consultant at Romano Consulting, a Boston-area management consulting firm. “A hiring manager is looking for experience, any experience -- even if it’s at a supposedly menial job -- that demonstrates your ability to show up and do the work,” he says. “If they don’t see that evidence at the top or near the top of the resume, they’ll move on.”

4. Don’t Call

Sure, employers insist they don’t want calls. But Greene says waiting quietly for a response won’t get you very far either. “It’s an outdated job hunt rule to quietly wait for an answer,” he says. “When you’re waiting, you’re not working.” If you’ve reached out with a cover letter or email to the hiring manager or inside contact, you’re not being a pest if you call a few days later, Greene says.

5. Use the Interview to Talk All About You

You may have heard that you should spend your interview time wowing your interviewers with your skills rather than asking about the company’s problems, challenges or what a typical day would be like. But if you don’t ask penetrating questions, you’ll miss out on valuable information -- like how you might be a good solution to the company’s problems and whether you would even want to work there.

“Remember you’re interviewing the company too, so be prepared with some probing questions to make sure the job is right for you,” Romano says. Asking good questions also makes job seekers seem interested and engaged, hiring managers say.

6. Be Vague About Salary

You can’t dance around salary questions now because many hiring managers and headhunters will cull their applicant pool by asking how much you make or what salary you expect. “It’s all right to give a salary range, but be sure you’re all right with the low end, because that’s often what they’ll offer.” Baur also says it’s appropriate to try to defer the salary question until you know more about what the job actually involves.

7. Don’t Contact the Company Again If It Rejects You

If you don’t get the job, it only means there was someone more appropriate for that job at that particular moment. It’s perfectly fine -- even beneficial -- to follow up and say you’re still interested in the company. “I can't tell you how many times I was second choice, but still ended up with the job,” says Megan Pittsley, job market consultant at Lee Hecht Harrison. “After I was rejected, I followed up with a thank-you note and provided information about what I was working on. When their first choice didn't work out, they came to me because I had built a relationship."

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