The Career Doctor: Career Advice for All
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 (04/08/05):
- Handling networking opportunity for new college grad
- Struggling MBA needs help with job-search efforts
- Determining the skills and attitudes employers seek
- Reading into job offer prospects after multiple interviews
|Q:|| Sing writes: I am going to graduate college this May. Recently a relative gave me a contact number to a vice president of a company and asked me to call him to ask for any opportunity in his company. My questions are as below:
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: We’re certainly at crunch time for college students gradating in May — and who want a job before graduation. You should have started your job-search months ago but be in high gear during these last few weeks.
And your best bet for finding a job is through networking such as in your situation. I hope you are also attending career fairs checking with your career services office and even targeting specific companies where you want to work. Just a reminder that the Internet should be a very small part of your job-search.
To your first question. You’ve done the right thing. You could leave your phone number too but it is appropriate that you will keep trying to reach him. I would not take it as a bad sign yet; he could be out of town. If you have other contact information for him such as a cell phone or email you might consider sending a respectful message through those routes. And when you leave a message remember to keep it brief stating in the first few words who referred you and stating why you are calling. Keep it that simple.
Your second question is all too common — and you are correct you do not want to sound too desperate or unfocused. Only you can answer this question but if you don’t have an answer to it I suggest immediately doing some career research and assessment. Employers want prospective job-seekers to be focused on specific jobs — while identifying the key skills that make you a more attractive candidate than others applying for the same position.
Get more help in the College Student Recent College Grad Career & Job Resources section of Quintessential Careers.
|Q:||Kimberly writes: I graduated from a MBA program with honors in December and have been unsuccessful in my job search. Thus far I have done the following: (1) networked through associates and friends; (2) attended career fairs; (3) applied for positions online that are posted to corporation’s websites or my university’s job postings. I have not had an interview since December. Can you provide any advice?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: My best suggestion for you would be to run immediately to the career center of the university from which you received your MBA. There is obviously something wrong with your job-search and I don’t have enough clues from your question.
If I were making a guess based on similar questions I have received from MBAs in your same position I would say it probably relates to three things: no or limited job experience a poor or underdeveloped network an unfocused resume.
If you have no job experience immediately seek some out through volunteering consulting or temporary work. Employers expect undergrads to have job experience — so you can only imagine how much they expect from a MBA.
If your network has not led to any kind of results then either your network is weak or you are not using it correctly. Besides the usual family friends co-workers professors etc. have you joined one or more professional organizations? You need to get more involved with your networking.
How’s your resume? I suggest getting it critiqued from a professional — either a resume expert or someone from your field. An unfocused resume will not get you job interviews.
Here’s where you can find other useful information from Quintessential Careers: Job and Career Resources for Job-Seekers with MBAs.
|Q:||Margaret writes: Do you have information on which skills and attitudes employers want? I have tried searching the site but as yet can’t find this.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I wish all job-seekers asked this question and I especially wish college students would ask this question while still in college. Because job-hunting is a self-marketing practice where you need to convince the prospective employer you have the skills it is seeking job-seekers must know — beyond the technical skills specific to each job — the softer skills employers seek.
So besides identifying your key accomplishments from your college and work experiences you also need to be cataloging your mastery of a number of other skills.
Here’s a short list of the some of the key skills employers seek from job-seekers:
There are also a number of personal characteristics employers seek such as loyalty honesty work ethic professionalism and a willingness to learn.
And remember that once you understand the skills and characteristics that most employers seek you can tailor your job-search communication — your resume cover letter and interview language — to showcase how well your background aligns with common employer requirements.
You can find much more detail on this subject in this article published on Quintessential Careers: What Do Employers Really Want? Top Skills and Values Employers Seek from Job-Seekers.
|Q:|| Anonymous writes: I have a few questions I hope you can assist me with. I have recently been invited back to a third interview with a company. This is a lunch interview with the CFO Supervisor and an IT consultant. I had previously met with the CFO and Supervisor for the second interview. What could this mean? Is it a good sign? Do they want the IT consultant to interview me by asking IT related questions? Are they really close to making a decision? Am I in really good standing for the position? Will they make me an offer at this location?
I have several more questions but I’ll let you answer those for me first if you will.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: From what you’ve written I would say you are in great shape — and yes I would expect an offer to be forthcoming either at the lunch or shortly thereafter.
With job-hunting the toughness of job interviews often goes in inverse relation to the order. Thus the first interviews are usually the hardest where you can expect to be grilled asked to take various psychological tests sit before a panel of interviewers even given a case you are asked to solve.
But once you get to the later interviews especially revolving around a meal and especially with the same people you have already interviewed with it now becomes more of a question of fit. Does this job-seeker have the personality to excel in our culture. And I am assuming the consultant is there not to grill you but to meet with you.
The key to this interview is all about fit. You still need to be in job-seeking mode but allow some aspects of your personality to show. Enjoy yourself — but be sure to follow the rules of dining etiquette.
These rules or protocols should guide a job-seeker’s conduct. Some people call these rules good manners but more refer to them as business etiquette. By adhering to proper etiquette a job-seeker can gain a perceptual edge over other job-seekers that can lead to a job offer.
Dining etiquette is all about knowing all aspects of table manners (napkins silverware glasses plates) as well as having ordering savvy. I don’t think a job-seeker who uses his salad fork for the main meal would not get hired but someone who orders something messy like ribs and eats like a pig might lose the offer.
Check out all the etiquette resources offered in this section of Quintessential Careers: Job-Hunting & Business Etiquette Resources.