Friday, March 9, 2012

My Thoughts on 10 Job Search Rules to Break

Thanks to Alison Green we have some insight about shifting trends in job searching and we can start to dispel rules that have become outdated.  Below, I offer my comments on her suggestions for what rules we can now break in the world of job searching:

Limit your resume to one page: I love it that this is #1 on the list! I actually recently did the exact opposite. I had a two pager for a few years and recently paired it back to one. I was talking to a Career Counsellor who liked my 2 pager but as an exercise told me to try to get it down to one page by listing only those things I am most proud of about each job. It was actually much easier to do than I thought it was going to be and I love the results. It is very clear and concise. So I am back down to a one pager but that doesn't mean you have to be too. The point here is that now both are acceptable whereas previously two page resumes were frowned upon.

Write in formal language: I very much agree with this one. Your resume is a representation of you and thus should sound like you. Hey, if you speak in a formal mechanical language then go ahead and make your resume like that too.

Include an objective: I didn't even realize people still listed objectives on their resume. I'm not even sure why anyone would have ever used one in the first place. The very nature of me giving someone my resume should make my objective pretty clear shouldn't it?

Lead with your education: This is very true but is also very tricky if you are just starting out. So if you're not just starting out definitely list your work experience first. In many cases, the employer isn't going to care what you actually got your degrees in and will just be looking to see that you have them. But if you're on the hunt for your first job out of school and your college career amounts to the most significant thing you've accomplished then listing it at the top is probably your only choice isn't it? If this is the case, consult with your college's career office and get their help on your resume.

Include "references available upon request" on the bottom of your resume: This is just like listing an objective. It's not needed and takes up space you can otherwise use to articulate the value you will bring to the company.

After you submit your resume, wait a few days and then call to schedule an interview: Making this phone call stinks and is awkward. I was so glad to read it on Alison's list. The Career Counsellor I worked with when I left the theatre told me that I should call every organization I apply to so I can get them to find my materials and bring them to the top of the pile. I hated doing it and from what I can tell it has never paid off for me. Thanks to Alison I won't be making any of these calls any more.

Arrive early for interviews: While I understand what she is saying, there is no possible way I would ever risk being even one second late for an interview. The only alternative to that is to be early. That being said, I'd never actually appear more than 10 minutes early and generally I shoot to be less than 5 minutes early. This definitely means sitting in the car or around the corner. So I say, be early. Be as early as you want to be to make you feel comfortable. The most important thing you can do is assure that you are on site on time so do whatever it takes to do that. But also, yes, don't actually report to the interview until it's time.

When an interviewer asks about your weaknesses, answer with a positive framed as a weakness: To begin with, this is such a stupid question. Everyone has faults and weaknesses including the interviewer. I hate being asked this. But at the same time, I am prepared with an answer. If you want to win you have to play the game right? So yes, admit your weakness like Alison says and then let the interviewer know how you are proactive about overcoming it.

Don't name a salary number first. Talking about salary is so taboo in our society that it has made us all afraid to talk about it when we actually need to. So by all means, don't be afraid to bring it up first assuming that you do so at the appropriate time. Knowing when the right time is, however, is another story all together as you need to be reasonably confident that you are their top choice. If the interviewer knows one thing, it's that you are not going to work for free. He/She knows that you will be getting paid so talking about the amount you are getting paid shouldn't be as hard as many people find it to be. I am going to get into the process of negotiating a salary later so keep your eyes out for that post.

Ask for the job. As Alison says, treat the interview as a collaborative process. You need to know if you could work there just as much as they need to know if they want you. It pretty much goes without saying that by submitting your resume and attending the interview you have already asked for the job. Assume the interviewer is required to go through some sort of process and that actually asking for the job during the interview isn't going to do you any good because they wouldn't be able to upset their process and give it to you on the spot even if they wanted to. Rather, use your thank you note to reiterate your interest in the position without going so far as to ask for the job directly.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of nixing the formal language in cover letters, which always sound so stiff!