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 (06/07/02):
- Using job-seeker research tools to locate specific types of companies
- Dealing with follow-up after dropping off resume with employer
- Overcoming months of unemployment when searching for new job
- Researching jobs available for graduates with a degree in business administration
|Q:||S. Gill writes: We live 60 miles from a large city. My husband is applying for jobs nationwide with not much luck. My question is: Should we move to an area that has more publication positions available? If so can you tell me where to find information on publishing companies location?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You raise an important question for any job-seeker who either lives in a rural area or who desires to work for specific types of companies not located where he or she lives.
First let’s address the issue of job-hunting and researching companies. Since your husband has a specific set of skills for a specific type of company you need to conduct research on where these companies are located. Because of my background whenever someone says publishing I think of magazines but there are many types of publishing companies. My first suggestion is to develop a list of companies and locations. Contact the industry trade association and see about getting a membership directory. For book publishers contact the Association of American Publishers; for magazine publishers contact the Magazine Publishers of America. For other types of publishers you can easily find a trade association by using a search engine such as my current favorite Google.com. You can find even more resources in our Guide to Researching Companies Industries Countries.
Second there’s the issue of a long-distance job-search. Since you live some distance from potential employers your husband is going to need to work harder and smarter to locate employers willing to discuss job possibilities. Once you’ve identified a set of companies the next step is getting the name of the hiring manager at each company; do not settle for someone in human resources — you need the name of the hiring manager. If the companies are concentrated in a few locations you might consider planning trips to these locations – where you can do further research and go on job interviews. While it is always easier to search for a job where you live I would strongly caution against relocating without having any kind of job offers. You can read more tips in our article New City New Job: How to Conduct a Long-Distance Job Search
One final suggestion about methods for researching employers. Our latest article Researching Employers through Informational Interviews takes a unique approach to conducting employer research — and includes some great strategies and tips for gathering in-depth research about prospective employers.
|Q:|| Crystalaura writes: I found your website through a search on google.com for job search etiquette. I found the Job-Hunting Etiquette Quiz to be very informative.
I have a question that I did not see addressed on this or any other site. I have recently (three days ago) submitted a resume for a job I am very interested in. I dropped the resume off in person although I left it with the receptionist and did not speak to the person in charge of hiring.
I have not heard from them yet. I think my qualifications closely match the job posted and I really really want the job.
Is it appropriate for me to follow up with a phone call or do I have to wait for them to contact me?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: It’s only been a few days but should you follow-up? Yes! I won’t say the job-seeker who shows the most interest will get the job but certainly that job-seeker will be noticed above others who did not bother to follow-up. Call the hiring manager today on the pretense of checking to be sure he or she received your resume. While on the phone express your interest in the job and your match with the requirements of the job — and be sure to ask about the hiring timetable.
The clich’ that fits in job-seeking — unless abused — is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease; in other words the job-seeker who follows-up — who shows interest in the job and the company — will get more attention than other applicants. Don’t overdo it though; don’t call everyday. But please do follow-up on a regular basis. And as employment hiring cycles stretch out don’t let the silence from the employer keep you from checking in and continuing to show your interest.
One more comment. When you dropped off your resume did it include a cover letter addressed specifically to the hiring manager? If not I suggest that you immediately send a follow-up thank-you letter once you’ve called the hiring manager for the first time; it may not be as effective as if you had sent it originally but you can again thank the manager for talking with you on the phone and you can say again how well your qualifications match the job requirements. Remember that common courtesy and etiquette go a long way in job-hunting.
|Q:||Stephen writes: I have been unemployed since Sept. 28 of last year. Does the fact that I have been unemployed for several months relay something undesirable to prospective employers when I interview with them? If so how do I overcome this negative?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Certainly everything has been different in the U.S. since September 11th including changes in some of the rules or traditions of job-hunting. Many workers has been displaced — even before the attacks — as the economy continued to weaken and as companies focused on getting increased productivity from a shrinking pool of employees.
And while job-hunting has become much harder even as the economy has shown strong signs of a rebound employers are still going to seriously question a prolonged jobless period such as yours. And the issue is not so much that you’ve been unemployed but more a question of what you have been doing all these months. And dealing with that issue needs to be your focus.
During these past months have you had any kind of educational experiences? Have your worked part-time or volunteered your services? You want to show prospective employers that your skills have not been lying dormant for all these months but in fact you have been sharpening them through one or more of these activities.
What can you do if you’ve done nothing during all these months? I suggest you immediately look at taking a course or two at your local college — or perhaps a distance learning institution. You might also see if there is a non-profit organization (museum service organization school religious group etc.) that could use your skills and expertise.
Finally be wary of communicating any kind of negative feelings about your period of unemployment. Remember that you are always marketing yourself in the job-hunting process and no one wants to buy (hire) an inferior product; always try to be positive in your verbal and nonverbal communications. You can read more tips and advice in my article Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth.
|Q:||Douglas writes: Hey I am curious to know what kind of jobs I could obtain with a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: There are several ways to answer your question — and I’ll try to do just that.
The first answer: You could work in just about any job in business including in accounting finance marketing or management. A degree in business administration provides you with the basic fundamentals of operating companies corporations nonprofit institutions and government agencies.
The second answer: It’s a great degree for someone going into the family business or considering graduate school but a degree in business administration is just too general in today’s world of specialists. You would be a much stronger job candidate with a degree in a specific discipline.
The third answer: The degree is more important than your major and after your first job no one is really going to care about your major in college — so focus on completing the degree.
What’s the real answer? In my opinion the major is too broad. You should find what aspects of business really appeal to you. Sit down and look at the material from courses in each of the major fields of business and decide which elements get you excited and arouse your curiosity and interest. You might also take a look at the types of assignments you most enjoyed completing. And if you are close to finishing your degree consider at least minoring in one of the business disciplines’or perhaps consider an MBA program where you can specialize.
In the end please remember that you’ll always find that job-hunting is much easier when you have a specific focus on the types of jobs you are seeking rather than taking a shotgun approach of any job in business.