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