– by Jim Pawlak
If you’re having a tough time getting interviews, or if you can’t get beyond round 1 of the interview process, you need to rethink your job-search approach. Here’s a book that provides the guidelines to a successful search.
“Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy” by R. William Holland (AMACOM, $17.95). Holland applies the basics of selling to the job search. His “7 Rules” are crafted around one theme: “You must show the value you can create for a prospective employer.”
Here are the new rules for job search:
1. “Always demonstrate your value.” The job search isn’t about you. Making a sale starts (i.e. getting the job) with uncovering what your prospect needs. Be flexible; while you may think that traditional jobs offer more security, they don’t. More employers are hiring contract employees on an as-needed basis. You may have to sell yourself as a “hired gun” and move from assignment to assignment.
2. “Your resume: It’s all about the value you create.” A resume is your sales brochure. A “one size fits all” resume won’t work in the job market. Read the job description closely; the requirements are usually listed in order of importance. The description also includes keywords; you need to use them in your resume. You can also find out more about the job and the company’s keywords by looking at its Website and trade publications.
3. “Use social media and other sites for job leads.” Post your resume on online job boards – but you will have to post the “one size fits all” version. Trade publications and the websites of professional associations list jobs.
LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. have broadened the scope of networking because they generate referrals – which carry more clout with employers. When people vouch for you, you’re no longer part of the applicant herd. Make sure your social media profiles are complete and professional. Use social media to exchange information. You can learn a great deal about companies through your online network, too.
4. “Interviews: They’re about the value you demonstrate.” Success depends upon preparation. Great salespeople never make a cold call. They do research on their prospects and come up with questions to ask.
Always dress for success; that means business professional. Forget the cologne and jewelry – and don’t smoke during your drive.
Be “on time” – which means being in the parking lot 30 minutes before the interview. Why? When arriving early, you’ll have time to review your notes on the company, the questions you will ask and your resume.
Multiple rounds of interviews are common; the initial ones drill down into your resume. Be prepared for lots of open-ended questions. Use the keywords in your answers and keep them brief and on point. Send a thank you to the interviewers; I prefer hand-written over inbox-cluttering emails.
Coach your references, too. Think of them as customer testimonials that help close the sale.
5. “You get what you negotiate, not what you deserve.” Develop a list of job-related have-to haves and nice-to-haves; you are interviewing the company, too. Never discuss them in the initial round because an employer will think “It’s all about you.” As the process proceeds, you’ll have ample time to ask list-related questions.
Know what you’re worth. The market rate changes with economic conditions.
6. “Career choice is more than following your passion.” Holland believes “the role of passion is overrated” because it plays into the “all about you” theme. Totally matching a job to your passion is difficult because employers value different things. It’s more about finding what you’re really good at – and becoming even better.
7. “The best way to reenter the job market is never to leave it.” Always look for opportunity to learn how to add more value to your career. The longer you stay at a firm, the greater the likelihood that your learning diminishes. What your company needs you to learn isn’t necessarily what you need to stay on top of your profession.