A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert 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 of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
In This Issue (03/14/03):
- Revisiting steps in job-hunting and career planning
- Dealing with requests for salary histories/requirements
- Looking into a career as college professor
- Sending thank you messages after job interviews
|Q:||Anonymous writes: How can I get a job?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You know you can’t get any more basic in a question to a career column than this one but I am going to expand my answer a bit. Since we are well into our Florida spring weather it seems only fitting that everyone reading this column do a little spring cleaning — no not getting your house and yard in order but getting your career in order. How long has it been since you spent any time reviewing your position and planning for a job or career change?
So whether you are looking for your first job or just taking a hard look at your career here is my 10-step career tune-up.
Step 1: Examine your life/career. Are you where you want to be in your career? How well does your current job and career path meet your life goals? Do you feel as though your life and career are in or out of balance? Be completely honest with yourself in answering these questions.
Step 2: Set career/job-search goals. Create a vision of where you see yourself in six months in six years. Research careers jobs and employers. Be sure all your goals are realistic.
Step 3: Reconnect with/expand your network. Your network of personal contacts is the most powerful job-search tool under your control. Expand build strengthen your network.
Step 4: Upgrade your knowledge/skills. Employers want employees that have a set of what’s termed ‘soft’ skills including communications (written and verbal) interpersonal teamwork problem-solving analytical and adaptability.
Step 5: Consider additional training/education. One of the best ways to improve your employability is to gain additional knowledge training or certification.
Step 6: Update/polish your resume. There are so many new rules of resume-writing including different formats and versions that you best spend a fair amount of time on this step.
Step 7: Learn/refresh job-search techniques. Do you know how to generate job leads? How to use your network? You must stay current with the latest job-search techniques.
Step 8: Practice interviewing. One of the most overlooked areas of job-hunting is preparing and practicing for job interviews. Research the employer; practice answering common interview questions.
Step 9: Test your marketability. Job-hunting is all about marketing yourself to employers. Determine what makes you unique among all other job-seekers.
Step 10: Consider advancing internally. Don’t always assume the best job opportunities are those waiting for you outside your current employer.
Get more details on each step in my newest article 10-Step Career Tune-Up published on Quintessential Careers.
|Q:||Trudy writes: I was looking for information regarding resumes with salary histories. I am applying for a job and it is requesting salary requirement. I have never had a job that had salary pay only hourly paid wage. How would I add this to my resume? Do you think it would be ok to add a heading on my resume SALARY: No salary wage. Or what would you do in this case?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Everyone please repeat after me: Never never ever put salary information anywhere on your resume. If you decide to include salary information with your job application always place the information on a separate piece of paper. But it’s a big if whether you should even bother sending the salary requirement information.
Let me first talk about resumes. A resume is a key selling tool that you develop to get your foot in the door – to get you an interview. A resume is a statement of facts: education skills accomplishments work history. Things that do not belong on resumes: personal information names of supervisors and salary/wage information. Finally always proofread carefully; a resume should have no spelling errors or typos.
Back to salary histories/requirements. There are a number of reasons why employers are interested in this information but the biggest one is the fact that knowledge is power in job-hunting. When the employer has your salary history and salary requirements then the employer has power over you when it comes to making you a job offer. Your biggest issue will be deciding whether to include any salary information when you submit your application. There are risks for either decision so take the time to consider this issue carefully. Don’t include salary information and risk be eliminated immediately; include it and risk being seen as over- or underpaid.
Learn lots more about resume writing in the Resume Resources section of Quintessential Careers.
Read more about the whole issue of salary histories/requirements in my article Responding to Requests for Salary Requirements or Salary Histories: Strategies and Suggestions published on Quintessential Careers.
|Q:||Matthew writes: I recently read your article Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path. I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I was looking into a career as a college professor. I was wondering how you got your start teaching at the university level?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Please forgive the trip down memory lane here but Matthew did ask so here goes’
While not totally cognizant of it at the time I started my career change journey from hotshot marketing manager at a couple of consumer magazines to college professor while getting my master’s degree in marketing magazines. How? To help offset the costs of graduate school I taught a number of journalism and communications courses. Little did I know it at the time but that taste of being in the classroom on the other side of the desk started in motion a growing desire — and eventually consuming passion — to make a difference in people’s lives.
The teaching bug hit me again when I accepted an offer to teach an advertising class one night a week at a local community college. What began to puzzle me though was that I was beginning to spend much more time planning and looking forward to that one night a week than I did my day job. That set in motion the rough stage of career change for me. First introspection and identification of my strengths and weaknesses and my career and job interests. Next I conducted research on types of teaching jobs at various colleges and universities. I then realized that educating was my calling in life and that in an ideal world I would want to be a college professor full-time.
The last step was developing a plan to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. Luckily I had a very supportive wife and so we uprooted the entire family and moved to Tallahassee so I could enter the doctoral program at FSU. All three of my degrees are related to marketing; if I had wanted to teach something else my path would have been different; likewise if I had wanted to teach at a different level.
Of course being a professor involves a lot more than teaching at the college level. In many ways I wish that’s all it did include. Unfortunately being a professor involves more than teaching; it also includes research and service. At a college like Stetson professors have freedom to really define their research and so I have the flexibility of combining my interests in marketing career development and job-hunting into one big research stream. The service component is spending lots of time serving the university the discipline the profession and the community.
So as my article states. Take your time in examining and evaluating your interests and desires. Then research and explore various career options. Talk with people in the careers you’re considering. Finally choose a major. Just remember to take your time and really spend some time examining all your options.
|Q:||Dorothy writes: After an initial or second interview is it appropriate to email a thank you and follow up note or must you type a letter and mail?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Here’s your answer: it depends.
But more important than delivery method is the fact that you are sending a thank you note! While career experts differ on whether thank you notes should be typed or hand-written mailed or emailed on plain paper or on note paper they all agree on one thing: that job-seekers who send the thank you notes will have an edge — however slight — over job-seekers who do not bother to take the time send one.
My advice is to take the cue from the employer. If all the people you’ve interviewed with have given you their email addresses and the culture seems to be one where people depend on email then send your thank you electronically — it will get there faster and have an immediate impact. If the culture seems to be one of more traditional communications methods then consider either mailing your thank you notes — or hand delivering them (yourself or through a messenger service) to the employer. And even with an email thank you you might also send a hard copy.
Remember to tailor your letter to the culture of the company and the relationship you established with the person(s) who interviewed you.
Read more in this article from Quintessential Careers: FAQs About Thank You Letters.