Use Targeted Strategies to Land a New Job

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Investment Analyst, Boston, MA
Strategy Sr. Manager, SF Bay Area, CA
Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Corporate Development Manager, Burlington, MA
Corporate Banking Analyst, New York, NY

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One of the single most important pieces of advice that hiring managers offer is to be single-minded in your job search. Although it can be tempting to take a “shot-gun” approach targeting any available opening, such a broad strategy is likely to work against you and can in fact communicate desperation. Following a targeted strategy projects confidence that appeals to hiring managers.

Narrow Your Job Search

To create confidence in your approach, identify a single position or “family” of similar types of positions for which you will apply. However counter-intuitive this may seem, you need to focus on the most highly desired positions for which you qualify. Targeting your efforts gives you a clearer focus, increasing your confidence and strengthening the core message in your pitch.

Align Your Resume with Your Target Position

Review your resume and highlight accomplishments that support your proven track record in this targeted area. Your resume must communicate the ways in which you can contribute to the employer’s bottom line. Compare the job description for the open position to your resume to be certain your accomplishments correspond to as many of those qualifications and needs as possible.

Create a List of Potential Employers

Potential employers may be compiled from online job postings, information from your network, or savvy analysis of the local business market. Conduct research on employers for potential openings, projects, and areas of professional interest. Prioritize the list based on factors of greatest importance to you. Then start to work on highlighting your expertise by creating solutions to the company’s challenges that you discovered in your research.

Develop a Plan

Your plan should include the basics of finding a contact to whom you can send your resume, as well as potential problems you can address based on your accomplishments and skills. Outline a link between a potential problem the employer faces, your plan, and your history of specific accomplishments in which you addressed similar challenges. Use your plan to show the employer exactly how you will provide immediate value by actually beginning to work for them before you are even interviewed!

Make a Cold Call

Call the hiring manager to follow up regarding your resume and discuss the ways in which your previous accomplishments, such as saving $100K annually by streamlining production processes, could translate into immediate results for their company as well. With your research on the company, you have an edge by providing specific examples about the value you can bring. Be specific in your examples, whether you are talking about sales figures, cost reduction, or winning Fortune 500 accounts.

Write Your Own Script

Writing down your accomplishments increases your confidence. Following a script can also help you express yourself more clearly on the phone. Review the script a few times to sound natural when talking with the hiring manager. While you may not follow the script verbatim, it can help you remember key points in making a case about your strengths. If you are unable to get the hiring manager on the phone, write up your script as a formal plan to include as an enclosure with your resume and mail it to the appropriate person within the company of interest.

Showing the employer your strengths and drive by addressing company problems before you even interview will distinguish you from the competition. Each contact with the company is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and expertise. Be certain to take advantage of every interaction to show off your accomplishments and you will land a new job!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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What to Consider When Making a Career Switch

Analyst, White Plains, NY
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We’re no longer of a generation that chooses one career and sticks with it.  While our grandparents may have stayed with a single company their entire working lives, nowadays people bounce around companies, continents, and career paths all the time.  Unfortunately, this means that our forefathers may not be able to give us the best advice when we decide we want to make the transition.  So here are some important things to consider while making that uncertain, foreboding, and always exciting career switch!

Assess Where You’re At

A crucial part of changing direction is determining exactly where you currently stand.  It’s important to understand why you want to make a change, and what specifically you have at the moment that you want to modify.  Is your work unfulfilling, not paying you well enough, or leading to a dead end?  And are there ways you can remedy these current problems without jumping ship?  Making a career switch is a huge task, so instead of falling into the “grass is always greener” mentality right away, it may be wise to evaluate whether or not you can find ways to be happier where you currently are.

Do Your Research

Before you make any hasty decisions, it’s important to understand what you’ll be getting yourself into.  You don’t want to transition out of a career just to find the same problems in the new industry you’re entering.  For the new field that you’re considering, make sure you have a solid understanding of salary range, career path, corporate culture, and so on.  You don’t want to glorify a new career solely because it presents a change, and then come to find out that you were happier beforehand.

Get Qualified!

Just because you feel passionate about a new position doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to come easily to you.  Even if you’re an expert in your current field, you may find yourself having to start from scratch when you transition to a new one.  Figure out what prerequisites are essential for the new career you’re pursuing, and accept the fact that you may have to spend considerable time becoming qualified for the new position.  This might mean taking classes, learning new skills, or hitting the books and catching up on industry literature.

Make Connections

Another step to start thinking about is how you’re going to work your way into the “in crowd” of your chosen industry.  It’s important to know the right people when you’re making a career switch, as they’ll be able to impart advice, make introductions, and present you with new paths to consider.  To that end, think about finding a mentor you can chat back and forth with as you grow and become more established in your new vocation.

Making a career switch takes courage, so pat yourself on the back if you’ve decided to embark on this transition.  Remember that it won’t always be easy, but that the best things in life take hard work and tenacity.

Best of luck,

The Doostang Team

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Graduate School vs. Full-Time Career

Analyst, Richmond, VA
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Many individuals who are finishing up their undergraduate degrees are faced with the dilemma of choosing between pursuing higher education or jumping into the real world and landing a full-time job.  There are certainly pros and cons to each path, but ultimately it comes down to the individual.  If you are facing this conundrum, here are some things you may want to consider:

Graduate School

Pros

Many people in favor of going to graduate school straight out of college argue that this creates a much smoother transition.  You are still in “school mode”, having spent the last 17 or so years of your life in the classroom, and you don’t have as many commitments in the real world that are holding you back.  Because you are fresh out of college, you don’t have a job that will be difficult to leave, and you likely don’t have a family of your own to think about when potentially moving across the country.  In short, you still have the flexibility that makes focusing on graduate school much easier.

People in favor of graduate school after college also argue that in this sort of economy, delaying the job search may be a good idea.  You don’t have to enter the fray quite yet, and in addition to waiting out an iffy job market, you are adding more credibility to your name by earning additional degrees and accolades.

Cons

The downside of entering graduate school is that if the institution you are attending does not sponsor your degree, you are getting yourself into further debt without the guarantee of a job immediately after graduation.  You may also lack the real world experience to determine what exactly you want to pursue, and whether or not your choice of study will be useful in the real world.

Full-Time Career

Pros

One of the biggest pros for waiting a few years before going back to school is that the real world experience you bring with you enriches your academic experience.  You have a better perspective on the practical use of your degree and know more thoroughly what you want to get out of it.  Waiting a few years before returning to your studies may also ensure that you end up pursuing an area that you’re actually interested in, instead of jumping into something right away just for the sake of staying in school.

Another plus to having some real world experience under your belt is that, upon graduation, you are more likely to land a great job. Companies often prefer real world experience in addition to a degree, as opposed to someone who has the same degree but no idea of what it’s like to be in a real working environment.  Also, there is the added benefit of already having the proper connections from your previous job to help get you back on your feet and working again, which you wouldn’t have had if you went straight into grad school.

Cons

The downside to putting off graduate school is that it may be difficult to get back into it.  You may find that you love your job and it’s difficult to leave.  You may have a family, in which case it could be hard to relocate to a place that otherwise would have been an ideal fit for you.  Or you may feel too distanced from academia itself to feel entirely comfortable heading back.

There are certainly drawbacks to each side of the debate, but people pursue both paths successfully all the time.  What it really comes down to is weighing all the pros and cons and deciding what is right for YOU.

All the best,

The Doostang Team

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