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 (08/30/02):
- Developing a job-search plan
- Writing a thank-you letter after phone interview
- Dealing with a two-page resume
- Getting help with making career change
|Q:||Ken writes: I need your help to prepare for my next career and I know marketing is the key and the right direction is the answer. Would you help me in this project?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Developing a job-search plan — and then sticking to it – is crucial to the ultimate success of all your job-hunting activities. A detailed job-search plan basically comes down to a 10-step process:
Step 1: Make the Time/Emotional/Planning Commitment. Job-hunting is work and you need to make the commitment to accomplish some job-search activity daily.
Step 2: Self-Reflection/Assessment. Take the time at the beginning of your plan to reflect on your strengths and interests. Focus on activities you enjoy doing.
Step 3: Research Potential Careers Jobs Employers. Information is power so take the time to research career and job information especially if changing careers as well as to gather information on prospective employers.
Step 4: Develop a Self-Enhancement Action Plan. You may need to get further education or training to make the jump you want to make; now is the time to plan for it.
Step 5: For New Grads or Career-Changers Get Experience. All employers want experience so if you are new to a career field get experience first through internships volunteering or part-time employment.
Step 6: Prepare a Balanced Job-Search Strategy. The majority of jobs are filled through networking so place most of your energies there but don’t ignore the many other traditional and online methods of job-hunting.
Step 7: Hone Key Job-Search Marketing Tools/Skills. Your key job-search tools are your cover letter resume and interviewing skills. Be sure to have these tools as polished as possible.
Step 8: Never Stop Following-Up. Continue to show your interest in employers by contacting them about the progress of the job-search. Just don’t cross the line to annoying.
Step 9: Make Adjustments As Needed. Things change in life and you may need to make adjustments to your plan along the way. Be flexible.
Step 10: Do All the Little Things. It’s the little things in job-hunting that are remembered such as thank you notes and other common courtesy. Stand out from the crowd.
|Q:|| Agnes writes: I need to know how to write a perfect thank you letter after the first called (5-minute phone interview) for the job of Flight Attendant. I really wish to receive the airline’s call within 2 weeks to arrange for the face-to-face interview so I need to write a thank you letter.
Could you please send me some samples as soon as possible.
Many thanks for your kindly help and time.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: First I have to applaud your efforts and diligence in wanting to write the perfect thank-you letter.
I was just chatting with an employer over the issue of thank-you notes/letters from job-seekers and I think her comments reinforced what I hear and read from other employers. Thank-you letters should be part of the common courtesy landscape but just as fewer and fewer people bother to write thank-you notes after receiving gifts so too fewer job-seekers make the effort to write employers to thank them for taking the time for the interview. It’s not a horrible strike against you if you don’t write a letter — mainly because so few do — but by the same token if you do take the time to write a thank-you letter you will certainly differentiate yourself from other job-seekers.
The key to a perfect thank-you letter in your situation is to keep it short and sweet. Thank the person for the phone interview express your interest in the job and the company and state that you look forward to the next step the face-to-face interview. Carefully edit and proofread your letter and then post it as quickly as possible – and given the short timetable you might consider delivering it by hand.
Read more about thank-you letters in this article on Quintessential Careers: FAQs About Thank You Letters.
And you’ll find some sample thank-you letters for specific job-search situations here: Sample Job Interview Thank-You Letters. Just be sure you borrow the concepts and ideas and not the letters themselves.
|Q:||Anonymous writes: Quick question: How do you handle and resume that is now 2 pages… no way around the second page…have to turn in Friday and I am stumped!!|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: There is nothing wrong with established job-seekers having a two-page resume. Even some exceptional recent college grads may need two pages to showcase all their accomplishments skills education/training and talents and abilities.
In fact it’s much better to have a two-page resume with normal margins and font size than to try and condense all your information onto one page using narrow margins and tiny type virtually guaranteeing that no employer is going to even bother trying to read it.
Here are some rules about writing a two-page resume. First if you need to go to a second page do so. Just be sure that the second page is at least half full; anything less and you should find a way to cut/condense to make the information fit on one page. Second be careful not to divide elements from page one to page two; in other words do not start a section on page one that carries over to page two. Third be sure to include a header at the top of the second page identifying it as page two of your resume. Fourth do not even consider going to a third page.
Some other general rules of resume-writing: focus (and quantify whenever possible) on accomplishments rather than job duties or responsibilities; showcase transferable skills when your work experience has been outside the traditional path; consider a functional style over a (traditional) chronological format when changing careers; consider leaving dates off college degrees to avoid age discrimination.
Find lots more information articles tutorials and resources in the Resume and Vita Resources section of Quintessential Careers.
|Q:|| Victoria writes: I am writing for some desperate advice on making a career change. I have been working as an admin assistant/secretary for the last 5-6 years. It was never something I wanted to do. I only did it to get my foot in the door at various companies. I am very bored not challenged at all and I know that I don’t do as well at it as I should only because I hate it so much.
I have taken a job personality test to give me a better idea at what I would be good at and enjoy but I don’t know how to get myself there. I don’t know where to get started and completely changing careers in a totally different field. Not to mention getting the courage to take such a large step.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Changing careers is indeed a big step and one that will take a lot of work and persistence on your part. However to switch to a job and a career you enjoy will make up for any short-term pains or setbacks along the way.
My best advise is to find a mentor’someone you can lean on — and who can give you encouragement – when times get tough. Since you’ve taken some time to reflect on what you want to do now is the time to conduct research into career fields that utilize those skills. Once you’ve identified potential career paths the next step is to determine whether you’ll need further education or training. Finally to make the transition easier you’ll want to gain some experience in your new career path through volunteer work or part-time employment.
You’ll also need to diversify and strengthen your network of contacts. Consider joining a professional organization in your new career field — and get involved. Networking is the single largest method for job-seekers to find new jobs.
Since you have held a job for the last six years now is also the time to brush up on the latest in critical job-search skills including cover letter writing resume development and job interview techniques.
Finally be flexible. Changing careers is rarely easy but the rewards can be great.
Read much more in my article The 10-Step Plan to Career Change published on Quintessential Careers.