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 (04/11/03):
- Emphasizing the importance of following up all job interviews
- Getting out of job offer after originally accepting the offer
- Developing career plans for job-seekers age 50 and above
- Breaking into the sports psychology profession
|Q:||Astro writes: Should I write a follow-up letter after not receiving a response after an interview for almost a month? If so I need your help in writing a follow up letter for position I interviewed and did not receive a response for all most a month. I browsed your site but was unable to get any sample letter for such a situation. Please help.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Employers are definitely slowing the interviewing and hiring process waiting for budgets to stabilize and for the economy to improve and allowing themselves to get the pick of the best candidates on the job market. That said waiting so long after your interview has probably sealed your fate.
The best thing job-seekers can do is follow this procedure regarding job interviews and follow-up.
First at the end of the interview — if it went well and you feel a strong fit — ask for the job. If you are not comfortable being that aggressive then at least ask the employer about the timetable for filling the position. This information will give you an approximate planning window.
Second as soon as possible after the interview write thank you notes to each person you interviewed with. If you interviewed with numerous people you can use a standard thank you letter — but be sure to customize elements of each one. Check that you have correct names and titles. You can also email a quick note of thanks but you should also send a regular thank you via postal mail. (Find sample thank you letters here.)
Third a few days later but not longer than a week after the interview (or sooner if the employer has a short timeframe) contact the main interviewer (hiring manager) and again express your interest and fit with the position.
Fourth follow-up again in another week (or sooner)’and keep the weekly follow-ups until the position is filled. As long as you are polite and only call about once a week these calls will show your ongoing interest in the position – without be annoying or sounding desperate.
Read more in our article FAQs About Thank You Letters.
|Q:||Anonymous writes: I accepted a job offer over the phone and now a week later I have decided that I do not want this position after all. I am supposed to start next Tuesday a week from now. How do I go about declining this offer now?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: The most important rule is to tell the employer as soon as possible. Don’t fret over the change too much. Just as with buying an expensive product we often experience cognitive dissonance — sometimes referred to as buyer’s remorse — where we will uneasy about whether we made the right choice. And if you feel that strongly about the job or the employer not being a good fit for you then you need to unaccept the offer.
The fastest way of course is to simply call the person who made you the offer and tell him/her you had a change in heart and cannot now accept the offer. For cowards like me I would write a polite letter (or email) to the hiring manager expressing my appreciation in the job offer and in the confidence the company saw in me thanking him/her personally for the time spent with me and then informing him/her that I have to rescind my acceptance and decline the offer.
Whatever communications method you use you want to be sure to express your appreciation and offer apologies for changing your mind. You can’t rebuild the lost trust — at least not in the short-term — but taking this approach you are also not completing blowing up the bridge.
Job-hunting is a small world and you just never know when someone from your past is going to resurface with a later opportunity. So be gracious and be quick. The sooner you can let the employer know of your new decision the better.
Finally just be certain that declining the offer is what you really want to do- – because once you reverse your decision you will not be able to go back and accept it again.
|Q:|| N.C. writes: I read with considerable interest your article on Developing a Strategic Vision for Your Career Plan. After reading it 3 or 4 times I have some points for clarification and will be obliged if you can please clarify them for me.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: First thanks for taking the time to read one of my articles. I think career planning is vital — at any age — because without a plan job-seekers are like a boat without a rudder. Career-planning is all about taking a step back from the daily grind of your job and developing a vision of where you see your career progressing over the next 5 to 10 years.
Planning doesn’t guarantee you will achieve all you set out to accomplish — and you may even change your plans one or more times over that time period – but what planning does guarantee is that you will have a better foundation for understanding what direction you want to move toward. I like to think of career planning as building bridges to your future.
And I think for mid-level managers and executives who are reaching or past 50 career planning is an even more vital exercise. You still have plenty of work years left — if you so choose — but it’s at this time in our lives where we want to have more control over what is most likely the final phases of our careers.
Career experts don’t know what to expect over the next 10 to 20 years. Yes our society is most certainly youth-oriented but don’t forget that we have this amazingly large cohort — the baby boomers — who have reshaped everything over their lives’and most experts expect they will reshape how we view and value older workers as well as redefine the meaning of retirement.
So take a break from your work. Over a long weekend or a few vacation or personal days step back and spend some time envisioning where you want your career to go next. Then put that vision on paper adding action steps to lead you to that new vision. Begin to use develop and strengthen your network to help you achieve that vision.
Here are some other great career and job-search tools for job-seekers 50 and older.
|Q:||Anonymous writes: Advice on what steps I would need to take if I am interested in becoming a sports psychologist. I have an undergrad in International Business. Would I need to get a master’s in Psychology in order to practice? Where can I get some direction?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Sports psychology is (a) the study of the psychological and mental factors that influence and are influenced by participation and performance in sport exercise and physical activity and (b) the application of the knowledge gained through this study to everyday settings.
Sport psychology professionals are interested in how participation in sport exercise and physical activity may enhance personal development and well-being throughout the life span. Sport psychologists are also involved in assisting coaches in working with athletes as well as helping improve athletes’ motivation.
According to a survey by the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology most sport psychologists are clinical practitioners or sport scientists who offer sport counseling or consulting part-time. And from what I gather most require a minimum of a master’s degree; the best opportunities are available for those with doctorates.
Some useful organizations to gain more insights into the field include: The Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology (AAASP) The North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) and The International Society Of Sport Psychology (ISSP).