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.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (07/30/04):
- Measuring and determining job satisfaction
- Reconnecting with former network contact
- Deciding on a counter-proposal to job offer
- Learning more about preparing for Webmaster career
|Q:||Steve writes: Dear Dr. Hansen I am at a point with my job where I think I may have a problem. I used to love my job but lately I feel trapped — trapped by being in a job where I feel underpaid and underappreciated and trapped because the job market is still so bad for my occupation. Please help me. Thank you.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: We spend the vast majority of our lives at work. And above all else work needs to be satisfying’ our work needs to give us some intrinsic reward. Our work needs to be valued and our suggestions taken seriously. Pay is important of course but as I tell my college seniors on a regular basis focus on the entire picture — not just on salary. Of course you have probably been in your job so long that the small raises you have received make you vastly underpaid.
Job satisfaction is critical to your success. Once you are no longer satisfied — once your opinions are no longer valued your work seen as mediocre at best and your attitude falters — the downward career spiral begins. If you are no longer satisfied you must bite the bullet — regardless of the perception of the job market — and polish that resume perfect your networking skills and prepare for job interviews.
Here are some things to think about. The more strongly you agree with these statements the sooner you need to leave this job.
You can find the full list of 20 statements — take the full test — here in my Job Satisfaction Quiz: How Satisfied Are You with Your Job? published on Quintessential Careers.
|Q:|| Erin writes: I had a job interview and although didn’t receive the job the employer expressed genuine interest in my candidacy. If the other person who was selected didn’t work out she expressed that they would like me to come in. Time has passed and I am looking for a job again how would I approach her after this much time? What kind of letter would be best?
Also I am looking for examples on letters to a potential employer from a candidate on “How to get reconsidered for employment?” Do you know if they exist anywhere?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: The ideal answer is that you should have stayed in touch with the employer. So much success in job-hunting comes with building a network of contacts — and these folks range from people who have known you for years to people who have just met you. All job-seekers must find ways to build your networks — and there are so many ways to do so. And even if you land the perfect job you should not abandon your network; instead keep in touch with them on a regular basis because you never know when you will wake up and face the situation expressed by the first letter writer.
OK but you did not do that. How was it left? Did you write a thank you to the employer expressing your on-going interest? How much time has passed? Do you even know the hiring manager still works there?
Let’s assume she still works at the company. Your goal should be to rekindle the spark and then ask for her help in your current job-search. In other words don’t limit yourself to working for her. Instead if she was not just being polite but really had a connection with you — and you can rekindle that connection — you can take advantage of HER network of contacts.
So your goal is to write a letter that gently reminds her of who you are updates her on your career progress and requests her help on your current job-search. Do not ask to be reconsidered for the job you interviewed for but instead simply ask for her help and advice.
Follow this link to find A Free Sample Network Revival Cover Letter.
|Q:|| Tammy writes: Your article on negotiating an offer package was extremely useful!! If you have time I just had a few additional questions about a negotiation I am currently pursuing.
I was offered a position that was only $1000 more than my current salary and typically I would try for a much greater improvement. However since I have inside contacts I know that the offer is about as high as they can go.
They have already come up once since I rejected an initial base offer that was below my current base salary but I want to ask for a change in the bonus structure as well as a change in the job title. I simply want ‘senior’ added to my title to more accurately reflect my experience in the industry.
Should I pad the request letter with other requests as well? Since these are really the only two things that are important to me I’m afraid they will get passed over in favor of other requests that are easier to meet.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Every organization negotiates differently and every negotiating situation is different. But you have a great advantage because you know people in the organization so get their feedback about the corporate culture and this hiring manager’s views on negotiation.
While you may think you have not done any negotiating the employer may feel that when you rejected the initial offer you basically made your point about the compensation. And generally speaking job-seekers are allowed one shot at making a counter-proposal. Do not drag negotiations too long because there is often a secondary candidate waiting in the wings.
So talk to your contacts. My sense is that since the employer reacted so positively to your rejection of the initial offer that you are highly desired – and that you have some flexibility to request a few modifications to the final offer.
The key with a counter offer is to first show your willingness to commit to the employer if it agrees with your demands and then to document why your demands are reasonable and in line with the industry.
Since the employer has already come up in salary I would not ask for anything more in the counter offer than what you seek. And remember always to reinforce your unique and positive contributions you will make to the employer.
For more hints tools and advice go to this section of Quintessential Careers: Salary Negotiation and Job Offer Tools and Resources.
|Q:||April writes: If I was interested into going about being a website master or assistant what would be the proper major of field to go in?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You could certainly get the technical skills you need for such a job from a community college or even some sort of certificate program but if you are a regular reader of this column you must know I am an advocate for getting as much education as possible — when it’s possible — so I would suggest you look into four-year colleges that offer a major in Web publishing and e-commerce. These programs might be housed in one of several areas: computer science digital arts or business.
I am an advocate for obtaining your bachelor’s degree not only for the intrinsic value but because it is the minimum standard of many professional jobs and as you advance in your career the lack of a bachelor’s degree could hold you back from promotions and other advancements.
A Webmaster must have a large skill set from the technical skills of how to create and manage Web pages to the softer skills of communications and interpersonal relationships. You’ll be part of a team from all parts of the organization that helps develop and manage the organization’s Web presence. And typically you’ll start as a member of that Web development team — as a Web designer or developer.
Different organizations define Webmasters differently but basically a Webmaster is responsible for managing the evolution and well-being of the Web work as well as the more traditional HTML and other technical work. In some organizations the Webmaster is a senior-level position — part of the strategic team guiding the entire organization.
You can get started now by learning some of the basic skills possibly hosting your own site and conducting informational interviews and shadowing current Webmasters and Web developers.
Learn more about how to conduct career research in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Research Companies and Careers Through Job Shadowing.