Friday, 15 March 2013 21:33

Job Hunting | Revamping Your Job Search

Job Hunting // March 25, 2013 

If you’re searching for a job, here’s something you already know: it sucks.  There’s nothing fun about going through hundreds of job listings, tailoring your resume to each one and firing it off into the abyss, not knowing if it’s ever even going to be viewed by a recruiter.  Looking for employment is a job in itself, and it sucks up time, energy, patience, and probably a lot of your sanity.

I was just like you.  Applying to every job that even remotely related to my skillset and going months without so much as a “you’re useless” email in response.  I had basically the same framework for a resume my entire time job hunting, but I only started getting hits for interviews in the past few months.  So what changed?  After a lot of trial and error, and rewriting my resume every single time I sent it out, I finally got it to a good place…started getting calls for interviews — a victory in itself in the overcrowded job market — and just recently accepted a job offer (hurray!). I spent a year tirelessly searching for a new opportunity, and if there’s some sort of instant, miracle advice to land the perfect job, I certainly don’t know it.  But what I can tell you is that there definitely are some ways to get yourself noticed.  Here’s how I got there:

1. Fix that resume… over and over.

Do NOT just make up one standard resume and send it out for every job.  A generic resume  that can apply to all sorts of jobs is not going to convince anyone that you’re a good fit for the job in question.  You need to put in that time to read the job description and illustrate how your skills apply to it.  Be specific.  You should go so far as taking keywords in the description and literally putting them in your resume.  Recruiters get hundreds upon hundreds of applicants for each job listing.  Their eyes are going to skim over each application and look for the most critical skills.  Anything that doesn’t have them?  Trash!

2.  Think about changing the layout/format of your resume.

I added a line at the very top of my resume that specifically mentioned the job I was applying to, and then listed several sentences underneath it about how I am that person.  It doesn’t matter that my current job is something different; I can be that person you’re looking for and here are x, y, z reasons why.  Your first sentence should be compelling and confident.  For example, mine is: “Driven, efficient and customer service-oriented marketing professional with experience managing the social media presence of an online magazine.”  I was mostly applying for jobs in marketing or social media related fields.  This opening sentence flat out states exactly who I am and what I do.  When I changed this sentence from what it was before, suddenly I started getting calls.

3.  Network your face off.

There’s a reason networking gets mentioned all the time.  The more people that you talk to and let know that you’re looking for new opportunities, the more likely someone might actually refer you somewhere.  Bring it up to everyone you talk to.  Seriously!  If you work in a big company, take advantage of it and try to set up informational interviews with people in fields you are interested in.  Most execs are more than happy to talk about what they do and how they got there.  You’ll get valuable insight, and they might also keep you in mind should something open up in their department.  It’s good to have friends in high places, y’all.

4. Google yourself and change things that need changing.

Google is a beautiful thing: it makes finding things ridiculously easy. This can also come back to bite you in the arse.  I Googled myself not long ago and was shocked to see that an essay I wrote in 6TH GRADE is actually online somewhere.  When an employer Googles me, they get to read “What The American Flag Means To Me” by a 12 year old version of myself.  Lucky them.  My point is, you need to know what is out there about yourself.  If you have a public Facebook or Twitter page, you’d better believe that you’re going to be judged by it.  Either protect your accounts, or make sure that you don’t have anything up that might raise eyebrows.

5. Promote yourself!

You have talents and skills — show them off!  Buy your own website under your full name and think about starting a blog.  You don’t need to be considered an “expert” to do this.  You can write or tweet about your thoughts on things relevant to your field.  It will make you appear more credible and competent.  If writing really isn’t your thing, you can also just buy some webspace and post your bio/resume on it.  That way if people Google you (and they will), it will be one of the first things they see.  It’s worth the investment of your time, and it’s really not as hard as you may think.

And there you have it!  None of these are magic keys to a new job, but if you utilize all of them, you’re definitely going to increase your chances of meeting your goals.

Let me know if I missed any great tips that have helped you.  And happy hunting!


Published in Job Hunting

Job Hunting // October 22, 2012 

An interview is essential not just for the employer, but for you, the candidate. Just because you may be in need of a job doesn’t mean every open position is right for you. The interview process is your opportunity to find out if a position at a particular company makes sense for you and your career goals.  
The key to finding the right career fit is to ask intelligent questions that require the interviewer to provide you with more information than you can find in the job description or on their company website.

Just as Forbes.com cites that there are only three real questions that matter to recruiters and interviewers, I believe that there are only three real questions that matter to the person being interviewed. Here are three essential questions every Made Woman should ask when she’s in the hot seat:

  • Are there opportunities for advancement or growth within this position and the company overall? – Most Made Women have plans to climb the ladder, so you’ve got to find out immediately if that’s even a possibility. If the company is small with just a few permanent positions, odds are there isn’t a lot of room for upward mobility. Likewise, if you’re a specialist in your field (for example, I am the only public relations specialist at my company), find out where there might be room for you to continue to advance, ie: might you eventually become a manager or director?  
  • What type of person do you hope to see fill this position? – This is my favorite question to ask at an interview. Usually interviewers are impressed that a candidate is showing thought for the best interest of the company. It will also get them to tell you what they want before you reveal too much of yourself. If they are looking for an outgoing, outspoken candidate and you’re typically more introverted and don’t like to put yourself out there (or vice versa), that’s a good sign that the job isn’t for you.
  • What is the company culture like in terms of work/life balance? – No matter how ambitious or how dedicated you are, everyone needs time off for travel, family or R&R. The interview is a great opportunity to find out what a company or position is like after hours – if they have after hours. You can usually tell just in the way the interviewer reacts to the question if the work/life balance is there or not.

When preparing for an interview, plan on asking these three questions (or something similar, depending on what’s most important to you!) of the interviewer. The most surefire way to land your dream job is to interview the employer as they go through the process of interviewing you. So think up those need-to-knows, relax during the interview and dazzle the employer with thoughtful, savvy questions.

Published in Job Hunting
Saturday, 02 June 2012 16:45

Job Hunting | Post-Grad Job Search

June 4, 2012 

Congratulations Graduate! Your hard work over the past 4 (or 5 or 6!) years has paid off and you’ve graduated. You’ve probably been celebrating non-stop for weeks and you deserve it. But now that all of the graduation festivities are over, and you’re actually face to face with the real world reality sets in:  And that means it’s time to find a job. Oh, joy. Let’s look at the tough news first: although things are turning around, it’s still a hard job market and 1 out of 2 college graduates will either be unemployed or underemployed.   Now the good news: there are several ways for you to stand out from the crowd to make sure you’re able to snag the job of your dreams.

1.    Get Clear

I graduated from college with a glossy new degree in Communications… and no idea what I wanted to do with it. I ended up taking the first job that came my way and spent several years trying to figure out what I really enjoyed doing. It would have been much easier to get clear on what I loved doing first and then go out and look for jobs that fit the criteria after. Got to love hindsight, right?

Begin thinking about what you enjoy doing. Which courses did you particularly like and what organizations did you love being a part of.  While you’re at it, get a good sense of your deal breakers. For example, if you know you hate working with numbers, that accounting job may not be for you. Lastly, think about your strengths. What are some things you’re super awesome at and what types of jobs would allow you to showcase your awesomeness on a day-to-day basis.

2.    Get Social

I would venture to say that one of the most important aspects of the job search is networking – both online and offline. Hiring managers are people. And people are more keen on giving opportunities to people they know, like and trust. Begin by working your current network. Hey, what are friends for? Let everyone in your circle know that you’re looking for a job and more importantly what type of job you’re looking for. Reach out to your alumni group to get on their list of upcoming networking events. Research your desired industry so that you can attend industry specific events. Networking is nothing without proper follow-up. Make sure to follow-up with everyone you meet within 48 hours so you can continue to nurture that relationship. I see a lot of coffee dates in your future!

3.    Build A Personal Brand

We covered offline networking in the previous point, now let’s focus on building your online network. The best way to set yourself apart from a crowd in today’s job market is to create a killer personal brand.  Create a simple online portfolio to begin showcasing your strengths – create a website using wordpress.com or sign on to about.me. Think of this as an extended resume where you can include more information on why you would be an excellent candidate for a job in your industry.

Start using social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with individuals and companies in your desired industry.  With these tools, you can connect with the movers and shakers in your desired field as well as begin sharing pertinent information to further showcase your skills. Show future employers exactly why you’d be the perfect addition to their team.

4.    Do Your Research

Repeat after me: No More Generic Cover Letters. Do not even think about copying a cover letter template and simply changing the company name. Show potential employers that you truly understand their company and department by conducting thorough research before submitting your resume and cover letter. Use the cover letter to truly convey how much you would like to work for their company and why they would be foolish to not have you on board. You can also use the cover letter to showcase a little bit of your personality.

5.    Stay Positive

Searching for a job is hard work and it’s easy to become frustrated when things don’t seem to go your way. It’s important to stay positive and keep moving forward towards your goal. Create a structured plan of how you’re going to attack the job search and then work through your plan. Be sure to reward yourself as you hit milestones and keep your positive attitude. You never know when you’re going to meet your future employer and you want to be in a positive, upbeat mood when you do.

The most important part of your job search is being organized and persistent. With the right attitude and these tips you will be off to a great start! Good Luck!

Published in Job Hunting
Monday, 24 October 2011 02:33

Job Hunting Guide | Acing The Interview

October 24, 2011

You never know, this may be the year that you land that once-in-a-lifetime job you’ve been waiting on for far too long! So, are you prepared to get that call from a top company that wants to add you to their employment roster? Would you know how to dress-to-impress for the interview or how to best answer an interviewer's questions so that you stand out amongst the competition? As a Talent Acquisition Manager (a swanky title for Recruiter) at one of the leading entertainment companies in the world, I want you to do your best during an interview so that you can sign that coveted offer letter and secure the job of your dreams. Here are a few tips that are sure to increase your chances of sealing the deal:

Tip #1

Girlfriend, those stilettos, jeggings, noisy charm bracelets and dangling earrings might have looked fabulous at the Summer Soiree, but be sure to leave them in your closet for the next night out on the town. For an interview, you want to have a basic, conservative look--the less flagrant distractions, the better. An interviewer should be more attracted to your bright eyes, welcoming smile and confident persona than to your wardrobe.

Tip #2

Please avoid looking at your resume and reading from it during your interview. The first step to impressing the interviewer is to know on-demand all of your experience. You shouldn't have to glance at the paper in front of you to explain the depth of your professional fabulousness.

Tip #3

Never speak negatively about your current or previous employer. It's just like going on a blind date--the last thing that your date wants to hear is all about the disastrous last relationship that temporarily drove you insane.

Tip #4

We have all had that interview where you really vibe and connect with the interviewer. Remember, even if you establish a commonality to break the ice, he or she is not your friend and you are still in the hot seat. You want a job from this person, so always maintain a high level of respect and professionalism.

Tip #5

Be able to recognize the job that you are ready for today. Sure, your mama thinks that you are the smartest person in the world, but landing the right job has less to do with smarts and more to do with progressive experience. True, you may have what it takes to learn the VP level job, but the current skillset on your resume reflects that you are assistant level. While it is great that you are ambitious and trainable, an employer is looking to hire someone who requires the least amount of training and is experienced enough to walk onto the job and do it. Don't be discouraged; instead, get in on the level for which you currently qualify, put your best foot forward and rock it straight to the top, girl! A good boss will recognize your potential, and if you're patient and demonstrate a tremendous work ethic, growth opportunities are inevitable.

In this economy, getting a job is not an easy task. Still, when an opportunity does come knocking, if you abide by these tips, you will be better prepared to seize it.  Here's to a brand new outlook and to landing that brand new gig! 


Published in Job Hunting

October 24, 2011

As college came to a blurry close, I noticed that everyone around me seemed to be garnering employment like it was easy money.  People began mentioning their plans to work at Merrill, or Bain, or Delloitte or some other one-name company whose actual purpose I only pretended to understand--while I was still un-gainfully un-employed.  “Oh you’ll find something,” everyone would say, “you’re going to be a college graduate!” However, graduation day came and went and I was still scanning Monster.com daily for any job that paid over minimum wage; wondering if there was a way to sell one’s degree for food/shelter that wasn’t provided by my mother.  

After a few sad weeks of unemployed wallowing and intense Craigslist Job Hunting, I realized something. Many of my friends had jumped at jobs they didn’t necessarily want, simply because they feared no other opportunity would come their way.  My unemployed ass had the time and luxury to figure out what I really wanted to do.  I could be an entry-level-anything! A public relations assistant, a fashion-merchandising assistant, a healthcare consulting assistant. The world was my entry-level oyster!  This, however, did not change the fact that I couldn’t find a job, was living on mama’s dime and sleeping in the same room where I’d previously been visited by the Tooth Fairy. So I decided to do something. 

I filled my schedule with activities that would not only distract me, but would also make me a better candidate for whatever fabulous job I’d nab in the future. I got an internship and a part-time job, beginning what I liked to call my “post-grad two-step.” When my great-Aunt Ethel asked what I was doing with my life, I didn’t have to tell her I was sitting at my computer waiting for the Employment Fairy to sprinkle me with magic job dust. I was working! 2 jobs! In fact, I was busier than some of my friends with 9-to-5s! In the same way that the procurement of one man will make you more desirable to rest of the male species, the procurement of one job will make you infinitely more attractive to the rest of the job market. 

Six months into my post-grad hustle, I was offered a job at a company that I love. I wouldn’t have given up those months of soul-searching, career-obsessing and job-stalking for anything -  they allowed me to get my priorities in order. 

So my advice to you? Keep your head up. Keep busy. Do all of the things you said you would “when you had time.” What about that short story you’d been meaning to write or the oil painting you’d always wanted to make? Start on it.  Volunteer for a charity or organization that you’re passionate about.  Give back. The free time that you’re being afforded as you search for the perfect job shouldn’t be seen as lost time. It’s a time to find yourself.  Look at it as a blessing, because before you know it, you will have been working for 20 years, deep in a career you love, wishing you had a chance to rest, relax and regroup.


Published in Job Hunting
Monday, 10 October 2011 18:06

30 Days of Made: Career Edition

October 10, 2011

They are out there. Prowling the job boards. Stalking Monster.com. Attacking any job opening they see. They are job hunters, and they need all the help they can get. That's why we decided to make our very first "30 Days of Made" a Career Edition. We want to give those hopeful hunters out there an edge in their search.
 
We also made this week's issue an essential how-to guide for snagging the perfect job. From an HR specialist's pointers on beefing up your resume, acing the interview and secrets to breaking into the beauty industry to daily job search tips on Facebook and Twitter--we have you covered. Plus, check out our interview with the newly appointed FOX News affiliate reporter Maya Holmes and get insight into what it takes to get a job in this economy.
 
Don't get depressed
on your job hunt. We know searching for jobs can get tiresome. But we are in this together. The hunt is on.


Stay Made,

Serena Watson

Editor-In- Chief

Made Woman Magazine



Published in Career