One of the most important things you can do as a job seeker is to begin an productive networking process. In order for networking to be effective, you need to:
1) Know what you are looking for and be able to articulate it in a sentence or two.
2) Have a list of target companies and a clear industry focus
3) Know what you’re asking for – people want to help you, but you must make it easy for them. You are looking for ideas, advice, referrals and information. Few people know of openings, even in their own companies, so the fastest way to shut down a conversation is by asking “do you know of any jobs?”.
4) Networking is a two way street. Keep in touch with your network by sending useful information on a topic of interest. Email an article, contact or piece of information that may be helpful to them. Give as much as you get.
Remember, you need to find the people out there who need someone like you. Most of the people you speak with will not need your particular skills. However, they are links in the chain to those companies and people who DO need you, so you’re looking for the next link in the chain!
“I have an interview next week – I want to be ready.”
Preparing for an interview can be a daunting task. There are so many potential questions they might ask! What’s a person to do? We advise that you do the following:
1) Identify your top five selling points for the job for which you are interviewing. Do that by looking at the job description or posting. What are they looking for and how do your skills and qualifications match up? How are you a particularly strong fit for this position? Those five strengths form the core of your message for the interview.
2) Now develop stories using the P-A-R (problem-action-result) format that provide evidence that you have the skills and strengths you claim to have. Concentrate on the five strengths you want to highlight for this interview, but you can have other stories handy to illustrate other points you want to make. Practice your stories and keep them to 60 seconds or less! After 60 seconds most people lose interest in what you are saying.
3) Have a “tell me about yourself” opening statement that highlights your five strengths. Again, keep it to 60 seconds or less. If you’re having trouble keeping it short, use index cards to write down your key points. Practice until it sounds natural.
4) Be sure that you have prepared for any difficult questions they may be worried about, such as gaps in your resume. Think about why they might be worried and address their concerns without feeling that you need to provide every detail.
5) Finally, remember that the interview is an opportunity for you to see if this job and company are a good fit for you. Bring a list of questions that you have for them (but don’t ask about salary and benefits until they make you an offer!)
“My resume isn’t getting me in the door for interviews.”
“I want to find work that is more meaningful to me.”
“I’d like to explore career choices with an expert.”
“I’m getting interviews, but no job offers.”
“My job search feels like it has stalled…”
“I’m not sure what I want to do next – I think I need a change in direction.”