In my 16-year career, I’ve learned two
truths about job hunting. The first truth is that job hunting is an art, not a
science. The second truth is that everyone and their mother is more than eager
(whether or not we ask for it) to provide advice when it comes to job hunting.
Do you keep short term jobs on the resume or
do you remove them? Do you keep the specific dates that you were at a job or do
you just put the year? Do you apply to a job via the link on the ad or do you
bypass the link and apply directly to company via email or physical mail? The
answer to these questions often depends on whom you ask.
Since graduating from college in 2003,
I’ve had a few short blips of unemployment. During those times, I have looked
to career coaches or career experts for guidance as I have looked for a new
job. The problem is that every career coach or career expert has their own
opinion as to how one goes about getting a new job. If I am to be honest, it is
completely and utterly confusing. The advice that one career coach may give is
likely to be the complete opposite of the advice that another career coach may
One of the issues that has come up
recently is the question of whether or not to have gaps on my resume. For the
last few years, I have adhered to the idea that my resume must be gap free.
Recently, I was advised that gaps in my resume were acceptable, especially
given the golden rule that resumes (unless one is applying for a CEO or CFO
position), must be no more than one page long.
Due to restructuring, I am currently
looking for a full-time job. Once more, I have had to wrestle with the question
of what advice to follow in regards my resume and job-hunting methods. After a
lot of soul searching and reading, I have come to the same conclusion that I
came to the last time I was looking for a job: do what is right for you. The
information a job seeker receives is not akin to a set meal that one must eat.
It is akin to a buffet in which the job seeker has the ability to choose what
advice and tactics works for them and their job search.
Job searching is hard, period. But Richard N. Bolles is trying to make that search just a little easier.
Last year’s edition, entitled, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018: A Practical Manual For Job-Hunters And Career-Changers, is a practical and reliable guide for the job hunter. In the book, Mr. Bolles talks about everything from resumes to cover letters to figuring out your ideal job and helping those who are changing their careers midway through adulthood.
I initially read this book in 2014, when I needed comfort during the job hunting process. I re-read the book because I will be out of work as of one week from today and I needed that same comfort. In the last four years, the book has not changed (with the exception of references that were not available 5 years ago). What I really appreciated about this book is that it both challenges the reader and provides support during a difficult time in their professional and personal lives.
I recommend it.
Ask anyone who is looking for a job and they will tell you that the technical aspects of the process are easy.
Log in to whatever job search sites you use, input the keywords of your preferred profession, and hit the apply button for the job you feel you are right for.
What is not so easy is remaining positive. For every 10 or 15 jobs that a job seeker may apply for, he or she may only receive two or three calls or emails to set up interviews. After a while, this process can feel demeaning and degrading. What is the point of continually applying if the only response is crickets?
Passover is coming up this weekend. Passover is the story of Moses, a man born into the household of the Egyptian Pharaoh. What he does not know is that he is not the son of the Pharaoh, but of a Jewish slave. His mother sent her son down the river in a basket to prevent Pharaoh’s soldiers from killing him. As an adult, Moses learns of his true origins and will lead the slaves to freedom. But that journey will not be easy.
Sometimes, we need to travel through the desert a little to get to the promised land. We also have to have a little faith in whatever higher power we believe in (if we do believe in any specific higher power).
I have faith that I will find another job, I believe that my G-d somehow has a hand in this process. I just need to travel through the desert for a little while.
Before I go any further, I must advise of two important points:
*-I am not a professional job coach, nor am I employed in a professional capacity as a recruiter or in a HR position.
*-The suggestions are strictly based on my experience.
Let’s face it, being unemployed is uncomfortable. It’s unpredictable, it’s emotional, it has lows and highs that seems unable to navigate at points.
What I would like to share with you today are my suggestions to help my fellow job seekers.
- Be Persistent– I know it’s not easy, I’ve been living with this reality for the last few months. You spend all day sending out resumes, you go to local seminars, you interview well and you still can’t find a job. There are a lot of jobs out there and a lot more candidates than jobs. We just have to keep going. There is no other way.
- Do your research
- My research is done in two phases: One of the practices I’ve added to my job search is to find out information about the job before I apply, especially if the information on the ad is vague. Glassdoor and LinkedIn are great for research. One of the features that glassdoor offers that other job search sites don’t offer is anonymous reviews by employees and interviewees. I will also use hopstop to tell me how long it would take to get to the job site and what is the best way to get there.
- Once you get the interview, research is key. In addition to Glassdoor and LinkedIn, I often will use google to find out more about the company. Based on the research, then questions (which are very important and will be discussed at another time) can be formulated for the interview.
- Consider temping or volunteering– Temping and volunteering are great because not only do you make connections, but you may learn a new skill that may help you to get the job you want.
- Always get to the interview site 10-15 minutes early– Do a dry run of the route to the interview site if you have to. If you take public transportation, hopstop is a great website to advise the best way to get to the interview. The rule of thumb that I follow is be at the interview location no more than 20 minutes before the scheduled time. And if for whatever reason you realize that you will not get there on time, just call them.
- Utilize local resources– The local library may offer job coaching or job search resources. For New York City residents, the New York Public Library offers a variety of resources. Or, if you like, use yelp to look up a local career coach.
- LinkedIn is the place to be for job seekers– LinkedIn is the best job search site on the net right now. And it is the first place that a potential employer will look if they are considering you for a position.
- Clean up or increase the privacy setting on your social media accounts– I’m a believer that just because I have a few pictures on my Facebook page from spring break, that does not mean that I am lush who will be come into the office every Monday morning hung over. Unfortunately, that is not reality and some companies may pass judgement on a candidate based on what is or isn’t on their social media account. It’s best to either clean up the account or set the the highest privacy settings.
- Keep verbal diarrhea to a minimum– No one is perfect. Sometimes in our eagerness to please the interviewer and get them to consider us for the position, we may talk a little much. I know this because this is something I have to work on. Keep your answers short and to the point.
- Use emailed job alerts– Most of the job search engines for free email alerts. This is one feature that I highly recommend. Even if you are not able to go through the job search sites until later in the day, you can still look for a job with the emails.
- Use a professional email address– A resume with the email address email@example.com is likely to go into the no pile fast. I recommend using something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are my tips for a job search. If you have any other suggestions to add, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Those who have been following my blog for the last month or so know that I am looking for work.
I start a temp job tomorrow. It is what it is, but I am grateful for the opportunity.
I have noticed two things while on this job search.
The first is that there are an incredible amount of job and job search engines posted online. Some which are questionable.
The second is that some companies required the job hunter to jump through hoops just to apply. First there is the job search engine. Then there is the link to the company website, for which a user name and password must be created. Then the resume is uploaded, but the information from the resume has still be filled out or edited. And then finally, before the application is complete, there are questions about the applicants sex, race and whether or not they are disabled or a veteran.
I understand why the application process is the way it is, but it’s frustrating.
But at the end of the day, it has to be done. There is one only way to get a job and that is make a job of finding a job.