6 Tips for Landing a New Job

Job searches can feel contradictory and confusing at times as you try to cover all the bases while simultaneously targeting a specific industry. In these tough economic times innovation is often necessary to land a job.  At the same time, you don’t want to be seen as too far removed from the mainstream when trying new approaches.  Balance is helpful in strategies and personal responses throughout the ups and downs of a challenging job search.

1.  Target Large and Small Companies

Don’t just pander to the Fortune 500 companies in your job search. As most economists note, small and mid-sized businesses do most of the hiring. Maintain a balance of the large companies and smaller regional businesses in your targeted job search.

2.  Consider a Temporary Position

Taking a temporary position doesn’t mean you will always be in a temporary slot.  The contacts may lead to full-time employment or another project with other businesses by further expanding your network.  Temporary positions can also lead to full-time positions, depending on your performance record and personal relationships while in the position.  Act like a full-timer in terms of big-picture planning and personal investment, and you’re likely to find yourself in that full-time position.

3.  Pursue an Internship

If you are interested in a career shift, consider an internship. These positions are no longer just for those finishing up college. Internships now accept established professionals who want to make a significant change in career direction. And an internship – at any stage in one’s career – serves the same purposes.  The internship will help you make contacts while you establish a skill set in a new industry.

4.  Follow up Judiciously

If you have posted your resume on a job site, be certain to follow up. Check email carefully for related job postings or additional leads. Cold call new prospects and conduct appropriate follow-ups. But remember the fine balance between being persistent and being a pest.  Anxiety or desperation about your job search can be conveyed in following up too frequently, appearing too eager or asking too many questions about the projected time-frame for interviews and hiring. Your best business suit is your confidence.

5.  Adjust Your Expectations

Balance your expectations with the reality of the job market. You may be ready to move into an upper management position, but find those jobs are unavailable. Look at the demographics of those currently in the job you desire. In many companies, those positions are held by folks who may have weathered the recent downturn and could be looking toward retirement over the next few years. Although it is hard to be patient and you may certainly feel you are over-qualified for a lower-level position, it can be important to simply get into the organization.  Once you have been accepted as part of the team, it is likely that you can move up quickly and perhaps that plum position will open up sooner than you anticipate. Moving into key positions is often more likely to occur from within the organization, so place yourself in a position to take advantage of eventual opportunity.

6.  Balance Traditional and Emerging Job Search Strategies

Networking is a tried and true method, but it doesn’t always have to be face-to-face.  Use social networking sites – appropriately – for your job search.  Professionally oriented sites such as LinkedIn provide a great place to start, but be sure to clean up questionable postings on Facebook to improve your chances in a competitive job market.

Dream big and balance your expectations with the economic reality. Maintaining a healthy combination in your approach and attitude will move you toward your ultimate career goals!  Balance is the key to your interactions, plans, and attitude in creating a successful search and landing that job!

Author: Alesia Benedict

4 Steps to Secure Your New Job

 

Shifting the focus of your resume can make a more powerful impact on hiring managers. A positive new attitude can help open doors to a new job. Try the following few simple steps:

1.  Focus on Accomplishments

A strong resume highlights accomplishments.  It can be easy to forget achievements if you have not included them in past resumes or kept a separate file. Build your confidence by brainstorming positive results you achieved in past positions.

Give yourself time for this activity and think about what you can measure.  For example, what did you produce for your last employer? Not every industry will have sales numbers, but perhaps you managed the United Way Campaign more successfully than prior leaders. How many junior associates did you coach toward promotion?

You may need to “think outside the box” to identify tangible results of your skills and talents.  Once you have your list, add those accomplishments to your resume. Now tell potential employers how your skills will transfer to their environment and benefit the bottom line!

2.  Target your Industry

The target for your job search may be different from what you have done in the past. As a result, you may have a broad range of skills or a diverse professional background.  This can be a strength or a detriment, depending on how you present yourself.  Research basic skills expected for a candidate in the position in which you are interested. Then expand to the next level by identifying qualities that define an outstanding professional in your target field. Next begin matching your work history with the basic and expanded skills in the new industry.

Look for common skills in your background that will be an asset in the industry where you are currently targeting your efforts.  Broad experience may help if you are working with a diverse clientele, such as in sales or healthcare.  Re-frame your wide-ranging experience as strengths rather than a lack of focus or inconsistency in job history.  Finding that common thread will provide insight into your values, and believe it or not, employers are definitely interested in candidates who share their values in support of the corporate mission.

3.  Keywords

Keywords are critical in any job search today; not only for capturing the attention of hiring managers, but also in rising to the top of electronic searches. Translate your skills into just a few buzz words that are likely to get attention. Use powerful language in your resume by selecting descriptors that capture your strengths!

Research companies of interest to you. Most corporate websites will include a mission statement, and perhaps a description of their community involvement.  Not only can you mirror the language of the vision statement in your own resume and cover letter, but you may also discover opportunities to network informally with staffers and executives involved in community campaigns.

4.  Practice your Attitude

Job searches are challenging and can wear down the most positive of attitudes. Change is difficult, but don’t let it get you down. Pessimism never landed anyone a job!

Enlist family or friends to practice your elevator speech and interview skills.  The more you repeat these brief descriptions of your strongest skills and values, the more comfortable you will be in an interview or networking situation.  Don’t just save it for the interview. You never know who you may bump into in the corporate lobby or on the way to HR. Everyone in the corporate environment is a potential advocate for you in the hiring game!

Project enthusiasm into your networking and resume. A fresh year coupled with fresh perspective may give you just the boost you need to energize your search and re-organize your resume. Use your research skills to match your experience with the companies in which you are interested. Re-package your skills, rev up your job search, and then get ready to listen for opportunity’s knock!

 


Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC)

7 Strategies to Showcase Your Unique Value to Employers

 Great Jobs on Doostang

Although the job market is opening up a bit, it remains very competitive. In a tight job market, only the most unique individuals stand out. The first strategy to help separate yourself from the pack is a resume update, even if your resume is only a few years old. Attract positive interest by revamping your resume with the following tips to showcase your value to employers.

1. Replace the tired objective statement with a value outline.

A value statement is the optimal opening for your resume. It is a professional summary that outlines how you can bring value to the company. Gather all your best points in this “introduction.” It is your first impression to hiring managers. Be certain to use current terminology as well as traditional skills of value to employers, such as increasing profits, building productive teams, or streamlining operations to reduce costs. Although the value outline will not include a specific objective, the areas highlighted communicate your career goals and personal brand to the reader.

2. Re-evaluate work experience in your resume.

Remove work experiences more than 10 to 15 years old. In addition, experience that focuses only on basic technical skills, such as MS Office Suite, adds little value to any resume. Regardless of the final length of your resume, space is limited. Replace any older work experiences with more recent and relevant entries targeted at your specific career goal. These unique offerings will set you apart from the competition.

3. Use current keywords.

Keywords trigger interest in your resume for hiring managers and prospective employers, spurring them to pluck your resume out of the pile. The initial screening process has also been automated by many employers and jobsites with search tools, so if you don’t have the best keywords, your resume may not ever be seen by human eyes!  Of course every industry has its own set of keywords, but typical examples may include such phrases as business intelligence, global branding, or compliance audits.

4. Emphasize your personal brand.

Borrowing the marketing industry’s branding approach is another important tool in communicating your unique value to potential employers. Brainstorm the top 5 ways in which you have excelled during your career. Compare those skills to current needs and trends in your field. If your skills do not parallel current professional needs, you may need to pursue training to strengthen your personal brand and subsequent appeal to employers. The ideal personal brand can float your resume to the top of the “to-call” list by highlighting your unique value.

5. Research prospective employers thoroughly.

To increase the effectiveness of your resume and showcase your value, your resume must show how your skills and experiences not only add value to the potential employer, but also how you can help them accomplish their next “Big Initiative.” Use the Internet and explore business pages to discover important projects and align your experience accordingly.

6. Be ready to give specifics about past accomplishments.

Include statistics in your descriptions of past achievements. How did you help your employer reach quantifiable goals? As you prepare your resume, create effective summaries of your successes. Think of the process as telling a brief story, including the problem, your part in the solution, and the outstanding outcome. Using a storytelling approach helps you minimize jargon and display your ability to communicate complex subjects to any audience.

7. Streamline your resume.

Use bullet points to showcase accomplishments and special achievements. Organizing your resume by pulling out points of emphasis makes it easier to scan quickly for important skills and experiences that provide the details to support your value and personal brand. You may use a separate bullet point for each special project that highlights a different skill, cost-saving outcome, or profit-generating strategy.

Overall, avoid being too wordy or too focused on details that don’t emphasize your value to the employer. Make the most of your resume by carefully selecting those keywords and accomplishments that consistently highlight the value outlined in your initial summary. Your resume will be more effective and will help the reader remember the unique personal brand that sets you apart from the competition in a tight job market. Showcase your value to move toward that new job!

By Alesia Benedict

8 Interview Clichés to Avoid

The point of an interview is to show off to the hiring manager how wonderful and unique of a candidate you are.  So why would you waste precious time and words answering questions with clichés?  Unfortunately, when put in a nerve-racking situation, people often freeze up or stumble over their words, and these standard lines are the first things that come to mind.  Here are a few clichés to look out for, and some alternate ways to respond:

1. I’m a Team Player

The ultimate cliché, this one pops up in resumes, cover letters, and interviews.  But what does it really mean?  If you’re a “team player” and really want to get this point across, don’t say this line.  Explain what it is that makes you so great to work with.  Focus on your excellent ability to communicate or your willingness to both lead and follow directions.  Talk about a few instances where you have picked up the slack for someone else without having to be asked.

2. I’m the Perfect Fit

Ultimately this is up to the hiring manager.  Instead of wasting your breath telling them this and expecting them to believe you when they know nothing about you, barrage them with examples of why you’re a great fit.  Then they’ll come closer to making this conclusion on their own.

3. I’m a Hard Worker

Aren’t we all?  Again, saying this really means nothing to the interviewer until you provide concrete examples.  Tell them about all those times when you stayed late, turned work in before its due date, anticipated what needed to get done next, etc.  Make the interviewer really believe that you are a hard worker, because just saying so is not enough.

4. I’m Willing to Do Anything

Often this is the road many people have to take, especially when starting out in entry-level positions.  And while it’s great to have that sort of mentality, you don’t want to sound too desperate in a job interview.  And worse than sounding desperate, you don’t want to imply that the job itself is something you’re “willing to put up with” until you advance on to something better.  Mention specific parts of the job that excite you, and instead of focusing on your willingness to do anything, focus on your desire to do these specific things.

5. I’m a Fast Learner

When you say this, Hiring Managers hear, “I don’t know how to do this“. Saying this makes you sound like you are inexperienced, and that you may be underestimating the level of understanding it takes to do the job.

6. I’m Good with People

That’s exactly what the interviewer is trying to determine in the interview. It’s not just about determining if you have the skills and qualifications to do the job. The interviewer is trying to determine your general demeanor and personal skills, so let them see you in action, don’t simply state it.

7. I’m a very Loyal Person

People who say this are usually overcompensating for holding many jobs in the past, but not staying at any particular job for very long. Candidates who say this are typically concerned that the interviewer will think they’ll get bored and leave soon after taking the position. Instead of saying this, stress how you see this potential employer as a long term career path.

8. I really need this job

Some people think it’s a good idea to talk about their personal life in an interview, and how important it is for their family that they get this job. Even if this is true, do not say it. It only makes you look desperate. The less it seems you need the job, the more valuable you seem to the employer, because other employers want you too.

Clichés hurt you not just because they make you sound less credible, but also because they take away the chance to go into depth and provide specific examples of why you’d be a great hire.  Don’t do yourself an injustice by speaking vaguely with a hiring manager – the specifics will get you much farther.

6 Blunders that Push Your Resume to the “Don’t Call” List

 

Many candidates unintentionally push their resume into the “don’t call” pile with several common errors. Many of these blunders are based on outdated thinking while others develop out of a desire to take advantage of that one moment when the hiring manager is screening your resume. Take a few moments and review your resume to make sure these blunders aren’t pushing your resume to the wrong pile!

1. Including Everything

Less is more with effective resumes. Don’t try to cram in all your work history or every keyword that comes to mind. Trying to include everything will only sabotage your resume by essentially hiding your good points under the weight of too much information. Most hiring managers only skim resumes, and if you have created an information overload the screening process is very likely to stop right there.

Change your thinking about your resume to create an effective hiring tool. Good resumes capture the reader’s attention while enticing them to learn more about you. Regurgitating your entire work history onto the page is not going to achieve that aim for you. Limit your work history to the last 10 to 15 years to be most effective.

2. Poor Organization

Including everything is indeed a form of poor organization. However, limiting the work history to the last 15 years may not be sufficient to reduce the amount of verbiage. Aim for a concise and succinct description of your jobs. Include no more than 5 lines in each description. Make the most of the prime real estate on your resume by including brief company descriptions as well. Doing so provides a context for your experience and accomplishments while saving space. Separate out accomplishments by highlighting a few well-chosen achievements in bullets.

3. Grouping All Jobs Together

You may have a great progression of positions with increasing responsibility at a particular company. In order to get the most out of these experiences, separate out each position with its own job description and achievements listed. You limit the effectiveness of your resume by putting all positions with the same company together. Not only is your clear progression blurred, but the reader may also be confused as to exactly what your contributions were. Unclear descriptions of past contributions do nothing in helping potential employers envision you as a successful member of their team.

4. Functional Format

Many job seekers choose a functional format that can also be confusing to the reader. A functional format does not present a clear progression of your career and requires the reader to invest more time in trying to determine what experiences match with each company. Although you want the reader to spend more time reading your resume, the functional format is not a productive way to achieve that goal. Using a reverse chronological format provides a quick snapshot of your history, and with careful presentation will entice the reader to keep reading and call you to learn more.

5. Cluttered Presentation

Many of these points address the issue of clutter in your resume. Additional factors to consider in presenting a clean appearance in your resume include how to manage the dates of employment. As long as you have a steady progression in your work history, including only the years of employment is the cleanest presentation. However, if you have had a number of short-term positions, including the month and year may help illustrate the actual length of employment.

Another common example of clutter on the resume is attempting to include every keyword you can associate with your profession. Be selective in your choice of keywords, using only those that clearly demonstrate your strengths.

Finally, including too much information about professional development experiences can work against you. Identify those training experiences that set you apart from the competition and include only those. Dates are typically not necessary for professional development activities, particularly for annual trainings.

6. Unprofessionalism

You must remember that you are being evaluated in every single contact you make with a potential employer. Personal email addresses such as sexygirl@ or lazyguy@ should never be used in your job search. Email accounts can be set up for free at many sites on the web. Setting up a new email account dedicated to your job search is a great idea to help you stay organized as well. An appropriate email address can be as simple as YourName@ and conveys a much more professional image.

Other unprofessional tactics include talking on the phone with prospective employers while at your current job or with dogs and kids in the background. Avoid these traps that could easily land your resume in the “don’t call” pile.

Making the most of your resume is the best tool for getting a call from the hiring manager. The resume is a carefully crafted calling card and with the right balance of information and presentation can spur the hiring manager to the action you desire. Make smart choices about what to include and how to present information in an effective way to gain the response you want. A strategic review and re-vamping of your resume may be just what you need to prompt that call. You have the power to make sure your resume is in the “Must Call” pile!

Up Close and Too Personal – What to Leave OFF Your Resume

A resume serves as a reflection of who you are:  it contains your education, your illustrious work experience, various ways to contact you…  But then, a resume should never really reflect who you are.  We’re talking about the personal details – the little things that make you the fabulous person you are today, but that should really have no bearing on landing a job.

So whether you’re just starting to apply to jobs for the first time, or are a seasoned job search veteran, here’s a refresher course on things that you should never include on your resume:

Religion

If you’re not applying to a job at a religious institution, keep your views off the page.  It’s irrelevant to the job, and hiring managers are not allowed to take it under consideration anyway, so there’s really no place for it.  If you volunteer at a religious organization and you consider this experience especially relevant to the job you’re applying to, you can mention it briefly.  However, if you must include it, keep the organization anonymous and focus on your role instead.  For example:

Volunteer Instructor – once a week, taught a classroom of thirty children, ages 10-12.

Also, keep in mind that anything you mention in the resume is likely to come up during the interview, so include this information at your own risk.

Politics

Again, if you’re not going into politics, leave it off.  These sorts of matters are controversial in the first place, are irrelevant, and if anything, just take up valuable space.  Like with religion, if you consider your political experience extra valuable and relevant to a particular job – and just can’t bear to take it off the resume – avoid mentioning the organization name, and be prepared to discuss further during an interview.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual preference may be a key component to who you are, but it has nothing to do with how well you can perform on the job.  More than this, even though discrimination in the workplace is illegal, it still exists in some places, so don’t take your chances.

Age

Though you may be the perfect fit for the position, ageism in the workplace certainly exists, and you may be eliminated from the pool prematurely if you are perceived as being too old or too young.  If age is an issue, be cautious with including specific dates on your resume as well (most hiring managers can do the math).  So if your 30-year college reunion is around the corner, you might want to keep that graduation date to yourself and also leave off some of your early, less relevant experience.

Health and Disabilities

The law protects persons with health issues or disabilities, but again, you should leave this information off of your resume.  It’s irrelevant and opportunity for discrimination exists.

Criminal Record

The general rule with a criminal record is to be upfront and honest with a hiring manager, but the resume is not the place for this.  Wait until the interview to bring this up.

While you want to give the hiring manager a good idea of who you are, there’s definitely a point where you can become too personal in what you decide to disclose.  Always aim to flaunt how great you are on your resume – just be a bit discerning while you do it.

 

5 Tips to Enhance Your Job Search

Autumn is finally settling in again, but before you start laughing and pointing fingers at all those young children who still have years of school and torment ahead of them, just think about what YOU get to do.  That’s right, school may be out forever, baby, but check out what’s in store now:  the job search.  So tighten those backpack straps, throw on a bicycle helmet, and off we go!

Don’t Even Think About Cutting Class

Make sure to hold yourself to a schedule.  Wake up at a reasonable hour and park yourself at your desk for a generous period of time, giving yourself an opportunity to really focus on your job search.  You may feel inclined to soak up these last few weeks of sunshine, but make it a priority to devote a good chunk of your day to researching opportunities, sending out resumes, and networking.

Keep Your Homework Out of the Dog’s Reach

While you’re looking for a job, it’s important to set goals for yourself.  Assign yourself tasks such as applying for a minimum of five jobs a day, reading one book a week that will educate you in an industry that interests you, or perhaps creating an updated draft of your resume.  Homework is almost never fun, but it’s where we make a lot of our progress – so no slacking!

Get There Before the Final Bell

No one likes getting marked off for tardiness, so avoid the hassle altogether and get there early!  Be mindful of any application deadlines you have coming up, and plan your schedule accordingly.  And instead of sliding into your seat right as the bell rings, try to show up a few minutes ahead of time.  Hiring managers often look favorably upon candidates who turn in their materials promptly – and it’s also quite possible that they’ll make a decision before they close off the position, so stay on top of things and apply as early as you can.

Don’t Forget Your Friends

The best part about school is getting to suffer through it with all your best buds.  So find a few pals who are also treading along in this perilous world of job hunting, and share your woes, tips, and contacts with each other.  Having a support group while you look for a job can invigorate you when you’re down, expose you to new opportunities, and make you realize that you’re not alone.

RECESS

Sometimes when you’re starting to fidget in your seat and can’t peel your eyes off the clock, the best thing to do is to throw open the classroom door, fling your arms out into the air, and just run around outside.  Few of us can sit through an entire day pounding out a bunch of work, so don’t feel shy about taking a break every once in a while to de-stress.  Ultimately, it’ll help your productivity when you get back to the grind with a clear mind and a fresh outlook.

Happy job hunting!

Overcoming the “Under-Qualified” Stigma

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It’s happened to everyone: you come across a job description for a position that’s right up your alley. The job is interesting and looks like something that you are completely capable of and excited to do. And then your eyes wander to the “Qualifications” section… You don’t have a Masters degree, 5+ years of experience, or a Series 7 license. So what do you do? Scrap it and move on? If you’re lacking many of the key qualifications that appear mandatory, then indeed you’re probably better off allocating your time and effort applying elsewhere. But if you’re only a few qualifications away from that ideal candidate description, you might be selling yourself short if you give up before even trying. Read on for a list of tips on overcoming the “under-qualified candidate” stigma.

Emphasize Your Skills

Ok, so maybe you don’t hit every bullet point with your qualifications. But don’t give up hope just yet. For many positions, the “Qualifications” section is merely a list of attributes of the ideal candidate. This doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to consider someone who meets only some of the requirements. So instead of dwelling on what you haven’t done, focus on what you’re great at. Many skills that you acquire throughout school, volunteer work, or another job are transferable to other positions, and can be used to replace any prerequisites that you might not meet. Highlight these skills or experiences in your cover letter, and explain how they will help you excel in that specific job. One important caveat: don’t waste your time applying for jobs that you’re completely unqualified for – for example, if you’re looking at a position for an Associate Attorney at a top law firm, you better have a law degree.

Go the Extra Mile

If you come up short on knowledge or experience, emphasize to an employer that you are willing to work harder than any other candidate to brush up on your skills and become well versed in the subject matter. Don’t underestimate the value that hiring managers place on a strong work ethic. Include in your resume and cover letter examples of your ability to learn quickly. If you possess many of the other qualities of the ideal candidate, you may find that your enthusiasm to learn and contribute may very well land you the position.

Network

Networking is a great way to gain introductions into a company. Networking can also help you establish someone on the inside as an individual who can vouch for you. When you come across that tricky job description, mention to your contact that you’re planning on applying, and explain why. Be honest, and address any points that might weaken your application. Companies want to hire individuals they can trust. If someone with a good history at the company is able to put in a good word for you, it will further bolster that company’s confidence in bringing you on.

Volunteer or Intern

If you find that no matter how you try to spin it, you just can’t land the position you want based on your qualifications, offer to volunteer your services for free. This isn’t to say that you should ever allow a company or an individual to take advantage of you. But if you volunteer or intern for a company, you’ll gain valuable experience that you can parlay into a future opportunity at the company. Get in, work hard, and show them that they need you. Even if doing so doesn’t lead to another prospect within that company, you’ll gain important knowledge and skills that will qualify you for a position similar to the job you had hoped for at the outset.

It’s easy to look at a job description, think, “There’s someone out there who’s better,” and quickly abandon the effort. But have a little faith in yourself – play to your strengths and commit to working even harder than the next guy, and you may find yourself more qualified than you think. So take a chance – you’ve got nothing to lose – and you may find yourself one step closer to your dream job!

All the best,
The Doostang Team

Doostang Success — Business Consulting Job within 1 Month of Beginning My Search

Alison

Wofford College, 2007
Senior Business Consultant – Perficient

“Initially, I was weary of looking for a new job. I had a stable job that was unfulfilling, but due to all the rumors about how hard it was to find a job, I was afraid to even look. I checked out listing on other job sites and became more disheartened after wading through hundreds of jobs that sounded like scams to find one possibly interesting position.

Then I tried Doostang! After spending a little time on Doostang, I found a number of opportunities that I found interesting and decided to submit my resume.

Within 1 month of beginning my job search with Doostang, I found a position as a Senior Business Consultant with Perficient (formerly Exervio) in Charlotte, NC.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Private Equity Intern – Progressive Investment Company, New York, NY

Consultant – Top-Notch Consulting Company, Washington, DC

Pre-MBA Associate – Top Private Equity Firm, Los Angeles, CA

Simulation Analyst – Rapidly Growing Boston Area Robotics Company, Boston, MA

Investment Banking Associate – National Securities Company, New York, NY

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