Joyce Lain Kennedy
Career Q & A
August 10, 2012
DEAR JOYCE: I'm no beginner. I think I've tried everything to get a good job. What else can I do? -- E.L.
DEAR E.L. -- Consider these 10 suggestions to reignite your search:
IDENTIFY YOUR BEST CHANCES. Create potential employers most likely to value the qualifications that you have and want to use.
Executive talent agent Debra Feldman (jobwhiz.com), who personally conducts job searches for individuals seeking professional or executive jobs, spells it out for us:
"Don't begin by writing a resume that's candidate-centered and sounds like an obituary of past jobs. Research employers to find those that satisfy your preferences. Make a list. For each company on your list, outline the employer's challenges and describe how you can solve, address or manage them. The intent is to show the employer that the supply of ideal candidates is not infinite and that you are the best available candidate the employer will find to handle the job the employer wants done."
WORK THE PHONES. Job hunting is harder work than actually working. Networking pros say it takes 200 to 300 telephone calls or contacts to turn up 10 live job leads.
ERASE REPUTATION FLAWS. Do you know what others are saying online about you as a person or as a worker? Google your name. If you've got image problems, search online for "reputation management tools," and apply solutions to issues that may be roadblocks to being hired.
NEGOTIATE YOUR SHORTCOMINGS. When you can do the work but lack the normal industry experience or education, the only way to beat the deficit is to get to the boss for whom you'd be working. Then let the boss run interference with HR staff.
Negotiating skills are key to successfully communicating that what you know is more important than where you learned it. Read Roger Dawson's "Secrets of Power Negotiating, 15th Anniversary Edition: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator" (Career Press).
REVIEW AND REVISIT. Periodically check back with each earlier contact, including those who turned you down. For all you know, the first pick for a job quickly found something better and moved on. Change happens.
DRUM UP NEW LEADS. Just as you can never have too many friends, bulk up your job intel circles with vendors, accountants, bankers, marketing staff and people in your target industries. Also, it's never too late to hire a neighborhood teen to help you master making new friends through social media.
COUNT INTERVIEW STARS. Even when you're not trying to nab a marquee role, if you're not delivering at least a three-star (out of five) interview performance, you're blowing your chance to claim an offer.
Think: Have you developed unattractive, desperate overtones that undermine you in interviews? That can happen to anyone. Line up a pal and practice interviewing with a video recording until you present yourself as confident and competent. My book "Job Interviewing For Dummies" (Wiley) can help.
STAY AFLOAT. Are you so financially strapped and stressed that your judgment is off? Do any legal thing you have to do -- drive a cab at night, wait tables, moonlight anywhere you can.
Drive along your neighborhood streets and take notice of businesses that may want to temporarily hire you at a bargain wage. Think of odd jobs you can do for $20 an hour, like installing safety bars in seniors' bathrooms, for example. What can you do for $10 an hour, other than paint street addresses on curbs?
HANG WITH UPBEAT PEOPLE. Whether you tie-up with a fellow job hunting buddy or join a free job club, try to associate with people who see the bright side of life even when they're standing in the rain at midnight. Nothing will take you out of the hiring race faster than coming off as a person of misery. Find job clubs online by Web searching for "job clubs" followed by the name of your city.
INVESTIGATE MORE RESOURCES. If you don't find something in today's tips that you can use, cruise "Find a Job" by Alison Doyle, the About.com job-search guide.
(E-mail career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org; use "Reader Question" for subject line. Or mail her at Box 368, Cardiff, CA 92007.)
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