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 (06/03/05):
- Utilizing the Internet as part of job-search strategy
- Figuring out why prospective employer ignored job-seeker
- Providing a salary requirement in job-seeker cover letter
- Dealing with a very bad boss situation
|Q:||Jarret writes: Can you tell me the best way to use the Internet in terms of job-hunting? I have not been having much luck in finding a new job and I am at a loss for what I am doing wrong. I post my resume on a bunch of job sites and I reply to job postings’ so what am I doing wrong?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: The good news is that the Internet is seeing a kind of renaissance — if we can call it that — in terms of its value in helping job-seekers find job leads and new career opportunities.
The bad news is that many job-seekers are still using the Internet incorrectly as a tool of job-hunting.
There are now many ways to use the Internet to assist your job-search but I must again state that you will be much more successful in your job-search if you use all the tools available to you not just those online’ but for the sake of your question let’s stick to Net sources.
In my mind there are two powerful ways to use the Internet in job-hunting.
The first and just a variation of an old favorite is networking online. As I have stated many times before all studies show that networking — obtaining job leads from people you know — is the most powerful tool of job-hunting. And with more and more networking and community sites online there are more ways to expand your networking. Sites like Friendster and LinkedIn offer many ways to connect with and expand your network.
The second is the thoughtful use of online job sites — but not the way you have been doing it. The best job sites are not the big job boards but rather company sites or niche sites. More and more employers are developing very user-friendly career centers on their Websites — and if I had a specific list of employers I wanted to work for this is where I would start. If I had a specific industry or geographic location where I was searching for a job I would use one or more of these targeted job sites.
And please don’t forget about the value of the Internet as a research tool for your job-search. You can find information about companies organizations and even the people interviewing you.
Read more about the state of Internet job-hunting in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Internet Job-Hunting Turns a Corner: A Quintessential Careers Annual Report 2005.
|Q:|| Mara writes: I read your article regarding Job Interview Follow Up Do’s & Don’ts. I interviewed with a company for a position I was really interested in. The company has no more 50 people and I met with 5 two of them were in HR. I sent thank you notes to each one. After two weeks and hearing nothing I figured they found someone else. Then HR emailed me (I would expect a phone call is faster means of communication) asking me to come in again and when I responded both by email and phone I never got a response
Some people have said it’s probably not a company you want to work with. What do you think?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I might have to agree with some of your friends that this behavior might be a sign that the company is not right for you. While I talk a lot about job-seeker etiquette in this column whenever I meet with employers I also remind them of the importance of etiquette and respect — and I feel as though this employer needs a little lesson in those areas.
Nice job by the way in writing a thank-you note to each person’ and yes for all of you readers you must thank each person who interviews you — and yes they all need to be original letters (though parts can be the same).
The only flaw I can see in your job-search strategy is that you did not follow-up after sending the thank-you notes. I’m dealing with a client in a similar situation right now’ you must be proactive and you must continue (politely and professionally) to show your interest in the position and the company.
My best guess is that you were possibly a second choice candidate and when the first choice either backed out or looked as though he/she was going to back out you then received the email from human resources.
And just an aside but I am a big email person and chances are someone is going to find me a lot faster through email than phone so I don’t see anything wrong with the company sending you an email.
Learn more about the importance of following up here in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Follow Up All Job Leads: Don’t Wait by the Phone (or Computer).
|Q:||Tonya writes: I was browsing your site and really finding the information useful. My quick question is do you have a sample cover letter on your site that includes how to ask for a certain salary. The job asks that applicants submit their salary requirement? Can you help me? A template of this?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Asking for salary requirements help employers screen out job-seekers — both the lazy job-seekers who don’t bother to conduct any research and the over- and under-qualified job-seekers.
Your goal as the job-seeker is to uncover — as close as possible — the salary range for the position you are applying for. You can find this information (or a close proximity) either through a contact within the company or from industry salary sources.
If the salary range seems acceptable to you — and you are qualified for the position — then you have it a lot easier. If the salary range is not acceptable but you still want the job for other reasons then you may need to approach the situation differently.
But regardless you have a couple of options in dealing with a salary requirement request. Just remember never to put down a specific number — give yourself some negotiating room if you make it to that point in the process. So here are some options when dealing with a request:
Here’s a sample paragraph I would put in my cover letter: Per your request an acceptable salary range for this job based on the description and my research is $45000-$50000 not including benefits or supplements. My requirement is flexible and negotiable depending on such factors as additional benefits faster salary reviews and increased advancement opportunities.
Read this article on Quintessential Careers: Responding to Requests for Salary Requirements or Salary Histories: Strategies and Suggestions.
|Q:||Carol writes: My boss is always trying to make me feel stupid by telling me that I don’t understand things etc. He will tell me to do something and then when I do it the way he told me he tells me I did it wrong. I was on vacation for a week and when I came back I found out that they were hiring someone else to do most of my job description. I want to send a letter to the board of directors but not sure of what I need to say. Can you help?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I get so many emails from folks with bad bosses that it makes me wonder where they all come from’ and it certainly makes the bad bosses from shows like The Office or comic strips like Dilbert seem tame in comparison.
Only you can decide whether it’s worth the fight. The sad reality is that in many cases even if you have well-documented evidence of abuse you will get branded as someone who makes or has troubles — and depending on the size of your industry or town that label could make it much harder for you to find new employment.
So my advice would be to start documenting everything including gathering information from co-workers who have witnessed the abuse and consider action. Perhaps talk with an attorney that specializes in labor laws. I would not talk with the folks in human resources nor would I make any comments about suing the company. Keep it quiet and to yourself before — or if — you take any action.
Of course more importantly for your sanity and self-worth you should immediately be searching for a new job with a new employer. Besides with the new hire I would say the writing is on the wall concerning your future with the company. Start searching today!
And while it sounds too late for you you might find some guidance in this article Dealing With a Bad Boss: Strategies for Coping.
For some key rules on all aspects of job-hunting check out this detailed list of Job-Hunting Do’s and Don’ts Articles published on Quintessential Careers.