Dr. Randall Hansen is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home page of The Career Doctor.
If you have any career- or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In This Issue (02/01/02):
- Job-seeker in need of job-search advice and strategies
- Question of following up your resumes and cover letters
- Job-searching from a distance’finding a job in another state
- How to explain job terminations to prospective employers
|Q:||Steph writes: My job was eliminated in November. I posted my resume on all the major job search sites and applied for various positions. I never receive an a reply from any of the employers; I’ve only received automated responses stating if interested someone would contact me within several weeks. Also only several employers have contacted me by phone. How can I get noticed to enable me to get interviews? Thanks for your advice.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: There are any number of myths and misconceptions about job-hunting and one of the biggest ones is that you’ll find a new job if you post your resume on a couple (or many) job boards such as Monster FlipDog CareerShop etc. The truth is sadly that only a small percentage of job-seekers actually find a new job through this method. Job ads of any kind — in newspapers journals or online – can play a role in your job-search strategies but they should only play a small role. You would probably have better success with a direct mail campaign to key employers than you would simply responding to job postings.
Your second mistake is that you have not followed up with any of the employers. Another problem with job postings is that there is often no way for a job-seeker to follow-up with the employers; and in fact we’ve heard many employers actually discourage follow-up from Net job postings. So what can you do? You can expand your job search strategies beyond job boards and focus on job-search techniques that have great success such as networking (by far the best technique) using employers’ career sites mounting a direct mail campaign contacting the alumni or career services office of your alma mater for contacts.
If you’re determined to focus your time on the Internet please read my partner’s article: Maximize Your Internet Job Search. And one of my articles might help you also: The New Era of Job-Hunting: Strategies for Finding Employment on the Internet.
How do you get noticed? Well of course you need to have an exceptional cover letter and resume but you also need to be the squeaky wheel — you need to follow-up all your job leads.
Finally if you do nothing else I strongly suggest you read my latest article 15 Myths and Misconceptions About Job-Hunting. I think this article will give you some great insights on how to change and improve your job search strategies.
|Q:||Mike writes: I would like to know whether I should follow-up a resume with a phone call? Thanks.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Repeat after me “I will follow-up every job lead and after every job interview.” Now keep repeating it chanting it to yourself.
I cannot emphasize this advice enough. Regardless of the economic climate or employment trends — which are only beginning to turn around now — employers are rarely going to be calling you and knocking down your door; job-seekers MUST be proactive.
One of the things I stress when reviewing cover letters is that job-seekers MUST put in a sentence about following-up with the employer within a specific amount of time (usually a week to 10 days). This statement puts employers on notice that you plan to contact them about the job you are applying for — but of course this strategy only works if you then take the initiative and contact the employer.
Did you just send a resume — or did you also send a cover letter? Except in those rare cases where the employer specifically asks for just a resume you should always send a cover letter — a key selling tool for you whereas your resume is more a statement of facts and accomplishments.
Get on the phone right now and call each employer. Make sure they received your resume and ask about the search process and timing. Make a case for yourself to be interviewed. If you get someone’s voicemail leave a short message but be prepared to call back again later in the day; certainly do not expect the employer to return your call (though some may actually do so).
You might be interested in reading through a collection of follow-up tips we have compiled on Quintessential Careers. If so please go to Critical Job-Hunting Tips: Key Follow-Up Advice.
|Q:||Rose writes: I am currently a New Jersey resident and have been employed by Prudential for the past 15 years in an administrative capacity. I am looking to relocate to North Carolina in the immediate future and have been job hunting online unsuccessfully for a few months. Can you give me some advice on securing a position in another state. Thanks.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Long-distance job-searching is both an art and a science. There are certain strategies you should follow — that’s the science — but sometimes getting a job offer (or offers) before you actually move is the art — your finesse at finding opportunities phone interviewing and more — and sometimes it’s just pure luck.
Let’s look at the basics of looking for a job in NC when you live in NJ. I assume you have a specific city or region in North Carolina correct? So what can you tell me about the major employers? Have you contacted each of these firms? You can easily find these companies by any number of sources including state government or economic development Websites local chambers of commerce local phone books geographic-specific job books and more. Once you made a list of these companies did you contact them directly or through their Websites? Have you looked into local chapters of professional organizations or clubs that you currently belong to — or that you want to join? Have you contacted your alma mater’s career services or alumni offices to get contacts of alums living in that area of North Carolina? Have you visited the Website of the local newspaper(s) and/or subscribed to the print version? Have you looked into recruiters? Have you used North Carolina-specific job sites such as the North Carolina Job Bank? Have you actually traveled down there and established some contacts?
As you can see there are lots of strategies for tackling a long-distance job search. Now if you want all the details and specifics along with links and other resources please read our article New City New Job: How to Conduct a Long-Distance Job Search.
|Q:||Donna writes: I am having a difficult time finding work with a B.S. degree in Business and a MA in Education. I was terminated on my previous job what is the best way to explain that to a perspective employer.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Unless there a criminal reason for your termination I see no reason why an employer would ever have to know you were terminated from your last job. Perhaps you chose to resign. If the reason was simply corporate rightsizing or restructuring or personality clashes or some other non-criminal reason I would simply state that it was a mutual decision between you and your former employer and that you were seeking new challenges and opportunities — a chance to offer your key skills and education to help other organizations excel. Always put a forward-thinking positive spin on your answer — always with an push toward helping prospective employers excel; helping solve their problems. Never be negative never feel you need to explain but also never lie about it.
I think the biggest problem job-seekers who have been terminated face is themselves. The great majority of us have been fired terminated downsized or rightsized at one time or another so I know how you feel. You need to rise above the bad feelings you may be having about losing your job and focus on putting a new shine on your cover letters resumes and interviewing style. Now is the time to take advantage of your network to search out new opportunities and new directions; and don’t forget to take advantage of the alumni and career resources of your college(s).
I strongly recommend you read my article Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth‘it’s full of helpful advice strategies and resources for helping you rise above and move forward.
Best of luck.