Questions and Answers with Career Expert Andrea C. Eastman
Please note: On a somewhat infrequent basis, Quintessential Careers asks noted career experts five questions related to their expertise and publishes the interview in the current issue of QuintZine, our career e-newsletter. Those interviews are archived here for your convenience.
Andrea C. Eastman is assistant director of Career Services at Brown University, Providence, RI.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What do you feel is the most disturbing trend in job-hunting today?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||In my view, lack of follow-up is the most disturbing trend in job-hunting today. In this economy, job-seekers can’t afford to be lazy about anything, which means send thank you notes after informational interviews and job interviews, follow up after your resume is sent, and be persistent! Expression of continued interest is key, and it will make you stand out from the crowd.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||How persistent should job-seekers be with following up after sending a resume/cover letter in response to an ad and not hearing from the employer? How soon and how often should the job-seeker contact the employer?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||Once a resume has been sent, call 7-10 days afterwards to seek confirmation that the document has been received. If necessary, leave a message, but understand that you probably won’t get a call back. Wait a few days and call back again. At this time, don’t leave a message, and don’t be nasty. Keep calling until the recruiter/hiring manager answers. Keep in mind that recruiters have hundreds of applicants for just one opening and are probably overwhelmed. When recruiters are caught at their desks, they are forced to review your resume! Moreover, your persistence and interest in the job shines through. These are qualities that will set you apart from other less motivated job-seekers, and these behaviors may lead you to an interview. Each time you follow-up, your strategy should be to reinforce the perception that you are the ideal candidate for the job.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||We are hearing increasingly from job-seekers about frustrations with Internet job-hunting. They complain that they never hear anything from employers, and that employers increasingly put up impenetrable barriers to keep job-seekers from following up and being proactive. Are the old rules of job-seeking and follow-up changing? How will job-seekers need to adapt to the new rules of Internet job-hunting? Are there ways to follow up after responding to an online ad, and if not, what can job-seekers do in lieu of following up to increase their odds?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Old rules of job-seeking and follow-up are changing slightly because of the influence of the Internet, the poor economy, and a tight job market. There are many qualified job-seekers out there, and employers are inundated with applications. As a result, more and more frequently, hiring is based on personal referrals. My recommendation is that if you’re a job-hunter, devote time to speaking with people who are affiliated in some way with the company/organization in which you are interested. Most schools have alumni career networks in place that will help you identify contacts. If there isn’t a network in place, draw upon personal connections, such as family, friends, doctors, dentists, and hairdressers. Conduct informational interviews, attend the meetings of professional organizations in your field, and go to job fairs where you can talk to employers in person. [Editor’s note: To learn more about conducting informational interviews, see our Informational Interviewing Tutorial.] Bottom line — network, get off the computer, and get yourself in front of employers!
Ideally, you can use networking contacts to identify the “real” hiring manager for positions and have your contact either refer you or go directly to the manager on your behalf. Or, you can attempt to reach the manager directly. Be ready to talk intelligently about how you can help the organization be more successful. This technique is key and will make you stand out from other applicants.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the one job-hunting secret you share with clients/students but that may not be widely known?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||It’s okay to take on an internship or a temporary job after graduation. For many, doing so will result in direct, hands-on experience that serves as a great resume enhancement. Frequently, internships and temp jobs lead to more permanent positions because candidates have already proven themselves to employers and are a “known quantity.” Do what it takes to get your foot in the door!|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the biggest myth about job-hunting?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||Many job-seekers grossly underestimate the effort, planning, and time involved in conducting an effective job search. I often recommend that students view a job search as taking another class, and that alums consider it a full-time job, meaning that they should devote a certain number of hours per week to it and stay committed to a schedule.|
Andrea C. Eastman has approximately 12 years of combined experience in career counseling and human resources management. She has worked in various settings, including higher education, consulting, nonprofit, insurance, defense contracting, and banking. As assistant director of Career Services at Brown University, Eastman counsels undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni. Additionally, she has developed and presented numerous workshops, including resume writing, interviewing, finding internships, evaluating benefits packages, managing the transition from college to work, and working a career fair. Through her past work experience in the human resources arena, Eastman is familiar with the employer side of the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring processes. She received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Brown University and a master’s degree in counseling from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining the staff at Brown, Eastman was an assistant director of Career Services at Tufts University and senior career counselor at Johns Hopkins University.
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