By Eve Nicholas Herald Columnist
In my experience, most job hunters tend to ask questions about the basics. Writing a killer resume. Transferring old skills to a new career. Making a positive impression with employers during interviews.
Today, I’d like to offer a few tips that don’t fall into the “standard job searching advice” category. I’m not exposing any major secrets here. Just touching on a few issues that you may not have considered for your search. Here they are:
1. Know where to network.
You are probably aware that the majority of vacancies are filled through word of mouth. Therefore, it’s common sense that the more people you meet, the faster you’ll land a new position.
Personally, I don’t like networking. I’m a bit shy in public, so I understand why many job hunters roll your eyes at this advice. In fact, before the economy took a nose dive a few years ago, I used to tell introverted job seekers to play to their strengths and find other ways to capture an employer’s attention. But times have changed. Networking is crucial in a crowded job market.
Let’s say that you don’t have a network in place. How do you meet professionals in your field? Here’s a tip. Review the biographies or LinkedIn profiles of people who work in your industry (note: executive bios are often published on company websites). Many of these documents will provide lists of affiliations, conferences and events.
Investigate the different opportunities to determine which ones hold meetings in your area. Register. Show up. Talk to people. Now you’re networking! To boost your visibility even more, volunteer for committees or offer to write articles for association newsletters. This will help other members see you as a colleague rather than a stranger who is eagerly looking for a job.
2. Know how to save money on career counseling.
Not everyone needs a career coach. Most people either have a clear direction or inkling about what positions they’d like to try. But some folks benefit from the guidance and support of a job counselor. That’s OK. Except for one thing. Career counseling can be expensive.
To save a few bucks, contact the career office of any college or university that you have attended. Many schools subsidize these departments through their alumni organizations, and you might be surprised at the range and quality of services that are available for free or reduced rates. Also, you don’t need a college education to take advantage of no-cost employment resources, such as WorkSource.
3. Know what the interviewer is asking.
The next time an employer says “Tell me about yourself” during a job interview, don’t rush into a monologue about your personal life. Realize that the hiring manager is actually asking a very simple question: “Why should I hire you?”
Almost all interview questions can be interpreted in this way. The interviewer may say “You seem over-qualified for this role. How do we know you’ll stick around?” or “What makes you want to leave your current position?” or even something nonsensical, like “Why did you choose to wear a starched business suit to this interview?” No matter that, the real question is usually the same. Be ready to explain why you are the best contender for the job.
Eve Nicholas: Eve.GetaJob@gmail.com.