The Monday Network - Tools and Strategies from our Members

 

Lessons Learned from Experience:

Thanks to Jeff Perry, Elizabeth Kenyon and Rich Snow for these tips!

Business Cards
Sending your Application
Follow Through
Persistence

Posting Your Resume
Working with Recruiters
Bogus Postings Online?
Work Schedule / Take a Break!

Create your own business cards

Business Cards are a must-have Networking Tool!
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.

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Sending your application

  • 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.

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Follow Through

  • 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.

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Persistence... 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 interview?
    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.

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Posting your Resume

  • 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 field'?
  • 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.

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Working with Recruiters

  • 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 client is.

  • 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.

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Bogus Postings

  • 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 information directly.

  • 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 up.

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Schedule / Taking a Break

When we are out of work, our job is to find it.


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 Attitude!!!

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Good Luck!

The Monday Network

 



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