Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Don't Wait to Start Your Job Search

Don't Wait to Start Your Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]Don't Wait to Start Your Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Waiting is part of the job search. Some of it you can't control. Some of it you can. For example, perhaps you want a break between jobs, so you wait before starting your job hunt. Then you submit your resume for job openings and wait even longer. Perhaps you get an interview, and then you wait to hear whether you’re hired.

For many people, this waiting time is full of anxiety. If you wait too long, your skills atrophy, your bank account shrinks, your network weakens, and your confidence and motivation lag. Research shows the longer you are unemployed, the longer it takes to get hired as employer interest in you fades. For many shy and introverted people, time alone and away from interacting with people on a job is a heavenly respite. But waiting has a price because you aren’t collecting a paycheck when you wait.

Following are some areas in which you can control the wait in your job search.
  • Starting a job hunt: It’s important for anyone who has been laid off or fired or is in transition to start a job search immediately to get employed more quickly. Employers like to hire people with fresh, sharp skills. If you wait even a month to start looking, your application may go straight to the trash.
  • Creating a perfect resume: Don’t wait to create a perfect resume before starting your job search. Take some basic steps to create a good resume, as outlined in one of my previous Shy Job Seeker Blog posts. Then get to work using your resume. If you fool around too long trying to write a flawless resume, time and opportunity will pass you by.
  • Waiting for employers to call: If you are holding your breath while waiting for employers to contact you, be prepared to pass out. A better course of action is to contact employers—either directly or by a networking referral—and let them know you are interested in the job. This step is difficult for introverts and shy people, but it is critical and can have a big payoff when you are trying to stand out.
  • Getting the perfect job: Avoid waiting for the perfect job. If you turn down good jobs to wait instead for that perfect opportunity, you may kick yourself as time drags on. Instead, make a list of your ideal job requirements, and if you get a job offer that meets your key needs and wants, go for it.
When I was growing up and told my Dad that I wanted to wait for something, he’d respond, “That’s what broke the wagon.” Don’t let “wait” break your job search.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Exert Extra Effort to Enhance Employment Edge

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog 

Exert Extra Effort to Enhance Employment Edge [Shy Job Seeker Blog]Applying for jobs takes effort. For each job application, you may need to complete a lengthy online questionnaire and then transmit your resume and cover letter. If you are tailoring your submission to the job as I recommend, it takes even more time. Many people get exhausted by the process, which they liken to a full-time job.

So what I’m about to say may not sit well with all you worn-out job seekers: Putting extra effort into your job search may be the reason you get hired. When an employer considers all the qualified candidates, you want to be the one he or she remembers most. You want to be the one who stands out. You want to get the job offer. If you focus your hunt on the jobs you most want and seek opportunities by networking, you often can streamline the process because you are not applying for every job opening.  

So what does extra effort in the job search look like? Following are some examples. 
  • Seek out a contact at an organization of interest if possible. Let the person know you are applying for a job and ask if he or she can put you in touch with the right individual. Human contact can keep you from getting screened out. You can often accomplish this kind of networking via email, which makes it less daunting for shy and introverted job seekers.
  • Show enthusiasm throughout the job search process and during all employer interactions, including in your cover letter, phone conversations, emails, and job interviews. Believe it or not, many job candidates react to job openings as if they could take it or leave it. When I was a hiring manager, I had candidates tell me they just needed any job. That’s not the best way to show you’ll work with gusto for the employer.
  • Give examples of your skills and knowledge in your cover letter and resume and in job interviews. Show how you will meet and exceed the company’s needs and expectations by providing specific examples of how you helped previous employers function, improve, prosper, and grow.
  • Submit samples of your work and explain why they are relevant to your potential employer. Consider creating a website that showcases and links to your best material, if your field lends itself to that type of presentation. It’s a great way for introverted and shy job seekers to excel in the job hunt.
  • Prepare for job interviews by researching all you can about the company and the job and making a list of questions to ask, such as the employer’s biggest challenges and the traits of their ideal candidate for the job. Don’t ask about points you can learn from the organization’s website. Show your knowledge of the field, the company, and the job by making insightful comments about the organization’s purpose or products. Also rehearse answers to commonly asked interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want to work here?” Preparation is a great way to reduce shyness and nervousness.
  • Look the part. Be sure to dress well for interviews. It never hurts to be a bit more dressed up than you will need to be on the job. Good dressing and grooming make a great impression and show you care.
  • Say you want the job. Hardly anyone tells employers, “I’d love to work here. I want this job.” Making this statement is a powerful way to make a memorable impression. Employers want you to be a committed and excited part of their team, so don’t let them guess about this point.
  • Send a thank-you note or email after job interviews. Restate your desire for the job. Most job seekers don’t send thank-you notes, and it’s an easy way to be remembered, especially if you are shy or introverted. Plus it’s good manners.
  • Make a follow-up call to the organization about a week after the interview. Let the person know you want the job, mention again how your skills fit the job, and ask if the person has any more questions for you.
Extra effort shows you have good thinking skills, good execution skills, and good work ethic. It shows you care. It shows you want the job. And look at it this way: If you put in extra effort to get a job, you will get hired and be done with the grueling job search marathon. So remember: Exert Extra Effort to Enhance Employment Edge!

Have you taken extra effort in your job search? If so, tell me what you did and what happened.