Lessons Learned from Experience:
Thanks to Jeff Perry, Elizabeth Kenyon
and Rich Snow for these tips!
Create your own
Business Cards are a must-have Networking
A few ways to go about this:
- Buy business card stock for your printer.
- Create business cards for the cost
of shipping using the web site Vistaprint.com
- Your local printer can print up cards,
typically $40 for 500 with a clip-art logo.
- To create cards on your own printer
go to the store and buy the Avery microperforated card stock
designed for this. Be sure to get the appropriate variety (inkjet
or laserjet) depending on what sort of printer you own (About
$13 for 250 cards) This has one advantage over going to a print
shop - you can print them as needed and revise the card at any
time without having a huge supply of extra "wasted"
cards with the old design.
- For creating the card you have two
choices 1) download a wizard for microsoft word from the Avery
web site or 2) use a web-based wizard. The first method is more
flexible and works better in my experience. Be sure your cards
have two sides, the front should contain basic information to
contact you and a title. On the back- on the first line put your
title and years of experience, on the 2nd line put a list of
technical skills (keep it one line) then skip a line. In the
remaining lines put essentially your elevator speech.
- This is also handy for yourself as
a reminder if you get nervous. Be sure to add the revision date
in the lower right corner (ex: REV 9/2001) This way the reader
will be able to figure out how many years of experience you now
have when he comes across your card 3 years after meeting you
- remember you put years of experience on line 1 of the back
of the card.
- Send your resume and cover letter using
more than one method (ex: email and US mail) - Remember, part
of your goal is to be sure that your information comes
to the top of the pile.
- ALWAYS call and confirm your resume
arrived. DO NOT TRUST electronic web-based submission systems.
I sent my resume to Nokia and later learned due to a computer
glitch all resumes submitted via the web during August were ...which
leads me to the next item... People have had success calling
as soon as five minutes after the submission.
- If you can, stop by and visit the HR
department particularly if you really want the job. This requires
proper planning. You won't get far without at least the name
of an appropriate person in HR - so...call ahead and and get
one. Also, leave a voice mail saying you will be in the area
and would appreciate a few minutes of their time. This way your
name will be familiar when the secretary calls to announce your
arrival. Be prepared not to be seen - you never know if they
will be too busy to see you. Leave your business card anyway
with the receptionist and a verbal message. Be friendly and smile.
- You must make a habit of following
through on every application or contact you make.
- If you meet someone for an informational
interview or for an interview, make a point of taking their card
and sending a personal "thank you" note. Aside from
the positive impression you make, remember that your "job"
is to make your information come up on top of the pile.
and did we mention Persistence?
- Persistence really pays off!
- A local HR person asked me to make
a point of checking in with her periodically just to see if there
was a new opening. How did I get the chance to make an impression
with her company? By calling to verify receipt of my resume,
and being friendly.
- Make a point of scheduling followup
calls in your Daytimer or a Contact Database (such as Outlook).
These are standard sales tools that every job seeker should use.
- Don't be shy. Make the call. If you
have any worries that you will flub the call, you can write a
script as to what you want to say. Introduce yourself. At a minimum
you can verify that the organization received your resume and
cover letter, and ask where they are in the recruitment process.
You will find out if the job is actively being recruited. Don't
worry if it is not, its much better that you don't waste time
fretting over a posting for a job that is frozen, or filled.
- What to do if the call turns into an
You can answer a few questions on the fly if you like, but it
is helpful to suggest that a "follow on" call, or a
"phone screening" could be scheduled later on. Giving
you time to prepare to knock 'em dead.
- Should you post your resume? How focused
a search are you engaging in? Would you 'find out' about jobs
you are interested in from your 'grapevine'? Or are you just
starting out? Do you work with a 'pet' recruiter, or 'play the
- The problem is that you don't want
to lose an opportunity because a company has your resume on file
and an unscrupulous recruiter submits your resume without your
permission. The company may disqualify you because they don't
want to get into a dispute over payment with the recruiter. It's
all a matter of company policy, and it doesn't matter how good
your qualifications are for the job.
- One way around this is to use "anonymous"
features on sites such as Monster.com. That way a company or
a recruiter has to contact you directly to submit you for an
opening. You have more control.
- You should make a practise of tracking
companies to which recruiters have submitted your information.
- You have to actively prevent a recruiter
from sending your information to a company you have already contacted!
Don't work with a recruiter if they won't tell you who their
- At the same time, don't expect a recruiter
to tell you who their client is unless they have a good idea
of your qualifications vis a vis a specific posting. The better
local recruiters will let you know who they are pitching you
to before they contact the company, it is in their best interest
not to pitch you to a company you have already contacted!
- You can select "no recruiters"
on many job search sites to select only jobs that are posted
directly by hiring companies.
- There are seemingly thousands of job
sites and a lot of the entries on these sites seem to be out
of date. A friend in a local company tipped me off to one trend.
His company is still listing open positions on their website,
even though there is a hiring freeze in place.
- The flood of internet information is
hard to sift through.
An excellent site like DICE for example will have identical postings
for a position from many recruiters. They may not have any personal
contact in the company that is hiring for the position. Sometimes
recruiters seem to post non-existant job descriptions to get
your information into their database. They then go on to prospect
your contacts. Lesson learned? Work with reputable recruiters.
- Job sites like Flipdog "walk"
the web looking for employment information on employer's web
sites. This may lead to incorrect posting dates (jobs long filled
are listed as "new"), and incorrect job locations.
Lesson Learned? Always verify job postings against the employers
site when using sites that don't require the employer to enter
- This places even more emphasis on networking,
and company research as methods to determine what openings are
real and available. While we try to "follow our bliss",
we also need to "follow the money" to determine who
really is hiring in this market! And where the internet is soooo
interactive, it becomes a little bit like a videogame. You could
go on and on applying to postings and never really following
through or researching the companies. Take the time to follow
Schedule / Taking a Break
When we are out of work, our job is to
Set yourself a "work" schedule. These times when you
will engage in job seeking activities such as Networking, Checking
Job Boards, Making Call-Backs and writing correspondance, Training,
and visiting the local Career Center.
But you need to recognize "burnout" and fight it.
What can we do to fight job hunter's burnout?
So many people complain of being isolated, spending hours searching
for non-existent jobs on their home computers.
Remember to TAKE A BREAK.
Get outside. Meet People!
- Write "vacation" days into
your schedule, and give yourself permission to get outside and
take a hike, take a class.
- "Take off" every Friday or
Monday, and enjoy yourself.
- Make a point of joining social activities
outside the home.
- Volunteer for non-profit work that
furthers your personal goals.
- Learn a new skill, enroll in the first
class for that Masters Degree.
- Keep active, go to the gym, go for
a run, or walk down the street for coffee.
- Now is the time to learn a little bit
about meditation, start a yoga class, or get into aerobics.
As they say out West: Altitude affects
The Monday Network