It’s Not Just About The Money

Okay job seekers, let’s talk about WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). You are looking for a position in your career, to grow within a company, stretch your ability, learn new skills and be successful. Well, at least that is what I look for in a position as I want to be challenged and make an impact on my company.

What do you truly review when you are looking at a new position? Obviously the job itself, definitely the salary requirements as well as the benefits that are provided. But how deep do you ask about benefits.

Yes, health benefits (medical, dental, vision, disability), retirement contributions as well as vacation/holiday/PTO days are all important to make sure you understand. Do you ask deeper, probing questions about additional or non-high profile benefits?

Think about a few other key benefits you should be asking about and wanting insight to from a company:

  • Business Attire – Although you most likely paid attention to this during the interview process it is always good to reconfirm at the start.
  • Core Business Hours – Make sure you know what hours you are expected to either be in the office or be available. Many of us continue to do work after hours but core hours are another topic important to consider.
  • Company Culture – Yes, company culture is an absolute selling point for many of us. It is important to like (not Facebook “like”) who you work with and how the team works together. It isn’t fun going to work and feeling like you are on an island. Working from Home – A great benefit as this will save on gas, car wear-and-tear, dry cleaning and other expenses. It might even be a tax write off for some people.
  • Corporate Discounts – Companies partner together for mutual benefit. Companies such as Dell and HP will offer corporate discounts for employees purchasing computers or accessories; Brooks Brothers offers a clothing discount. Local stores may also contribute for gym memberships, car repair discounts, and more.
  • Travel – Is travel required for this position? Travel could be a positive or negative given each individuals circumstances.
  • Additional Benefits – Ask the question, “are there any other benefits I am unaware that employees receive?” Could be an on-site cafeteria, dry cleaning services, or free memberships to whatever.

If you don’t ask, companies will not tell you everything. They may try to, but do your best to learn in advance.

Get a complete picture of a position and a company before you make a decision. It is your career and (hopefully) you will be there for at least a few years. Make the right decision and look at the complete package… it could actually add to the value of the opportunity.

Photo credit to WebRewards

Advertisements

Students Get The Job Search Wrong

I attended a college career fair recently and was somewhat shocked at the conversations that occurred with me as well as a few I overheard. Granted, this was the first college career fair that I have attended in easily 10 years, which hopefully means I came into this experience with an unbiased opinion as to what would transpire.

The students who attended had one common theme: what can the company do for them. As a recruiter, this is not a question I ever want to be asked. An employer doesn’t have to do anything for a job seeker. PERIOD. End of sentence. Move along please.

What I learned is that colleges, universities, career services, and the specific “colleges” (i.e. – College of Business, College of Science, College of Education, etc.) need to drill into minds is that it isn’t about the student. The students need to focus on 6 key areas before, during and after a career fair.

Dress For Success

Yes, often overstated but seldom adhered to. Recruiters have their own preferences in this area but I am a believer in the conservative suit for men and women. What if your company is business casual or strictly casual? Come in a suit. Why? Because at a career fair you will interact with a wide variety of organizations and it is better to stay on the side of being conservative over what you wore to that 9 AM philosophy class.

Elevator Pitch

Please, please, please do not hand me your resume and try to talk with me. Put together your pitch that you will repeat 50 times in a 2 hour window to highlight your experience and sell yourself as someone a company would be missing not to have. I don’t want to hear about what classes you’ve taken either. I want to hear what you’ve done and how it will help any company.

It’s About Who?

Don’t walk up to a recruiter and say something that resembles the following: “Hi, I’m John and I’m looking for a position in Marketing. What can you do for me?” Actually, I can do nothing for you so move on. A career fair is about the company and how the student/job seeker can help the organization. Job seekers shouldn’t be confused in this aspect.

Being Prepared

This is the killer. If you show up to talk with me and say “um, I don’t know what you do but I’m looking for a career in sales.” Really? You just sold your way out of being considered for any positions I have available. The best way to get around the companies you are unfamiliar with is to…

Use Your Cell Phone

First off, turn your ringer off whenever you are in an interviewing setting. Now, if you haven’t gotten a company attendee list in the days leading up to the career fair from any of the 100 locations around campus advertising the fair, don’t worry. Have your phone at the ready and review the company’s you are unfamiliar with as you walk around. Do a walk through first to see the companies and see those you know and those you wish to learn about. Take your time and build your plan to maximize each stop.

Thank You

Identify the 3, 4 or 5 companies that you felt were of interest for you to start a career with and make sure you follow up with the recruiter. Keep it brief but show your interest and restate how you can help the company.

The entry-level job market is certainly a competitive space and students need to take every advantage of this impression. Trust me, recruiters take note of those that separate themselves from everyone else.

 

 

Photo Credit to Riverview Gardens School District and Video Credit to WorldTalkLIVE.

Love What You Do

In this economy, it maybe difficult to find a job you love but you absolutely should do everything you can to find that job.  Keep alternative options in mind.

You might start your own side project/business doing whatever is your passion.  If you are passionate about web design, gardening, interior decorating, sports management or anything else, chase that opportunity.  If you have a project that you enjoy in the works, you will feel your creative juices increasing and certainly your happiness will improve.

If you are looking to expand your experience in your current job, look to take on alternative projects that are outside of your particular scope.  Don’t look for the large project but something small that will expand upon your expertise and introduce you to new areas of business.

Make sure that whatever you do, it does not affect your normal workload.  Continue to prioritize your projects and focus on your main workload, but it certainly won’t hurt to touch upon something new.

How To Leverage Your Network When Looking For A New Career

So you’re looking for a new position.  What is your game plan?  Where do you start?  Do you know?

Time to go and post my resume.  Wait!  You’re going to what?leverage

Take a second and think for a moment.  Have you thought about your network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other site?  No.  Well this should be your starting point.

To be more specific, LinkedIn is probably your best place to go first.  Regardless of your perceived safety in your current position, you should update your online profile/resume 3-4 times a year.  Why, to let people know what you are doing.  Why is this important?  Networking.  You never know when you will connect with someone that you maybe able to help… or that might help you.

Facebook is a great next step.  Here you can network with friends and family; those people that tend to have a personal interest in helping you in your search.  You may need to follow up with them and make sure they are thinking of you but a good place to build from.

Twitter is great to connect with your followers and let them know your skills and what you are looking for. (but you network really well so your followers already know what you do!)

Sure, along the way you might check out the job boards and see what is out there because that is only human.  Did you know that the majority of jobs are not posted externally?  This is why networking and referrals become so vital in your search.

Work with your social network to let them know more about you, professionally speaking, so that you are in their mind at any given moment.  Also, get to know your network better.  You never know when you both might be able to assist each other.

What’s Your Hardest Req

What a line, and what a sales pitch for 3rd party recruiters.  Yep, I’ve used it as well in a different place and a different time.sales-pitch

Why did this work so well?  Agencies and other 3rd party recruiters had access to the sites that a lot of companies didn’t have access to recruit talent.  This was in a time when posting your resume was step #1 in your job search.

 

 Today, posting your resume isn’t always on your list.  Sure there are circumstances when you want your resume out there for recruiters to grab quickly and it is still completely acceptable and legit.

 

 However, in today’s social networking climate, the chance that you post a resume is reducing immensely.  Why, you can let your network know your status (looking for my next gig in _____) and then work your network OR let your network work for you.  This is part of the value in having a strong and relevant network and having a relationship with your network.  But I digress from this tangent… another topic for another day.

 

Companies are not as eager to give agencies or 3rd party recruiters their reqs because the introduction and adoption of social media into HR and recruiting activity into the corporate environment is allowing corporate recruiters to be seen and heard regularly, either in conjunction with their company logo or separate from that logo.

 

The only catch with this is that corporate recruiters now need to figure out the best way for candidates to see them, or want to see them.

 

Again, it comes back to value.  If all you do is push jobs then you will be viewed as a bot and typically not followed.  Network with your target market and get savvy in this area, it is where the passive candidate even looks to see what is going on.

Make A 5 Year Plan

One of the most used interview questions seems to be “where to see yourself in 5 years?”  There is a lot of psychology behind that question in terms of what a particular interviewer may want to hear but it really brings up a bigger question: do you know what you want to be doing in 5 years?calendar

Seriously, this is a great question.  The reason it is so great is that what you are doing right now has an impact on what you maybe doing.  I know a lot of us can’t see beyond this coming weekend but it truly is important to think about.

Goals keep us motivated.  Why?  It all comes back to personal branding.  How others perceive you directly impacts your career.

  • Do you want to make a career change?  Begin to network (through any number of social networking channels) with individuals in that profession and find out how they got started.  Then begin putting an action plan in line with calendar deadlines to keep you focused.
  • Do you want a promotion (or two)?  Begin by interviewing your manager, your manager’s peers, or your manager’s manager to see how they achieved those levels and what they may recommend for you to consider to begin preparing for that level.
  • Do you want to start your own company?  Think about a field where you can add value and begin to create a network that will help support your goals.  Don’t let them know immediately what you are doing but start to build those relationships now.

Everyone talks about setting up a plan.  Plans are easy and are typically altered over time for one reason or another.  Executing the plan is where the payoff comes.  Begin to set yourself up now for further success in the next 5 years.

Get in the Twitter Game

Twitter is everywhere.  It is on your computer as an application (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/19/t-top-20-twitter-applications/), your phone (http://mashable.com/2008/12/21/twitter-mobile-applications/) and maybe even your t-shirt.

The fact is, Twitter is everywhere and everyone it talking about it.  Jon Stewart isn’t such a big fan though (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-OH285DdNM) but the craze is here and growing rapidly.

Whatever your reason for being on Twitter, follow people who might give you valuable insight to it and how best to utilize the technology.  It is never too early or too late to practice good Twitter-tips.  I like Dan Schawbel (@danschawbel) as he provides a variety of tips on Twitter and on Personal Branding which is his specialty.  While I do not agree with everything he puts out, it is very topical and gives some good exposure to different areas.

Build a network of what is of interest to you; jobs, technology, news, politics, finance, gaming, sports, dating, or whatever else and build a common interest theme.  Then, add people outside of this concentration to allow you to join a plethora of conversations and get exposed to a lot of areas.

Once you are on Twitter, join the conversation.  The best way to build your network is to be heard.

Be prepared

The time will come when you will either consider or be forced to look for a new position.  There should always be a few things on your mind in these times.

 

Active or passive.

Active is when you are fully engaged in a search and you are more in “selling” mode than anything else.  Make it your job, or second job.  Spend the time to research companies, positions, chat boards, post questions on Twitter, etc.  Active candidates are also in a touchy area, don’t over sell and don’t undersell.  Know when to speak, when to add details and when to be precise with your answers.  Companies are interviewing numerous candidates for each position and you want to make sure you are at the top of the list.  This is really the bread and butter for recruiters, have a req fill a req and move on.  Make sure you are prepared even when a recruiter calls without notice.  If you need to, schedule a time to speak with them when you may provide your undivided attention and to make the best impression.

 

Passive is when you have a job and receive calls.  The candidate believes they have the control of these conversations because they do not have to do anything, but this is where top recruiters prove themselves.  Recruiters will turn this more into a conversation, probing and networking are commonly the most advantageous avenues to proceed.  Candidates need to remember it is all about perception so be courteous even if interest is low.

 

Jobs

Keep a list of what you apply for.  I know we are in a paperless world, or strive to be.  Figure out what works for you in your job search.  Create folders for positions or companies will help you to straighten positions out.

 

If you print them out, put them in folders, labeled with a copy of the position from the site where you applied and a copy of your resume (only if you have multiple copies of your resume that you distribute).  This will allow you better organization for follow up and, when the recruiter calls, you will be able to immediately refer to your notes.

 

If you save them on your computer, create a folder (Job Search) and copy/paste a document folder for easy access.

 

Both work, what is your preference.

 

Network

Networking isn’t always about being social.  Sure, there are the social sites (Facebook and MySpace) and the professional sites (ZoomInfo, LinkedIn and Spoke) but it is good to mix your messages at times.  If you are active (and not working), let people know if they hear of anything to let you know.  If you are active (and working), obviously be more discreet in your advertising.  If you are passive, just keep your name out there just in case… it never hurts.

 

These are three quick tips to keep in your mind throughout your career.