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)

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Doostang News January 3: Tips for Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Manager of Finance, Boston, MA
Marketing Associate, Austin, TX
Investment Analyst, Hong Kong
Analyst (July 2011), New York, NY
Investment Banker, Columbus, OH

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It’s one thing to contemplate what resolutions you’d like to pursue for the New Year. It’s another to put together a plan of action for achieving what you set out to do. We’re all notorious for promising to ourselves that we’ll do something and then letting our goals fall by the wayside. Oftentimes, this isn’t because of a lack of drive or tenacity, but rather, the lack of a viable plan of action. So consider these tips when putting together your game plan for 2011:

Be Specific

When setting goals, make sure to frame them specifically. What exactly do you want to achieve and how are you going to measure it? If you can’t say exactly what success looks like, you’re less likely to attain it and more likely to make excuses for yourself.

Put It in Writing

Make your goals official by putting them in writing. Once you do this, you’ve created a tangible document that you have to hold yourself to. Doing this will make reaching your goals seem like a more formal exercise, and will give you something to turn back to for a reminder of what you are trying to accomplish.

Document Your Journey

Similarly, it’s helpful to record your progress as you strive to reach your goals. Doing so keeps you on task and lets you know if you need to work harder. If you’re feeling disheartened, you can browse through the progress you’ve made to remind yourself that success is possible.

Identify Smaller Goals

Far easier than tackling one giant goal is taking on multiple smaller ones that lead up to that ultimate objective – think of this as taking baby steps. Figure out what your first step needs to be, and then plan out all the successive steps you will need to take in order to complete your larger plan.

Find an Accountability Partner

Resolutions are easier to tackle when someone else is doing so alongside you. Keep each other on task and talk through obstacles you encounter. If you also focus on being there for your friend, you are less likely to let yourself down.

Change Your Plan of Attack

If something isn’t working, take a step back and reevaluate what you are doing. Don’t be afraid to change your approach or to readjust your mini-goals.

Reward Yourself

The reward shouldn’t just come when you’ve reached your final goal. Make sure to celebrate your progress along the way. You’ll feel more enthusiastic about the journey, and reaching small milestones is something you should be proud of anyway. Identifying resolutions is admirable in its own right, and is a first step in and of itself. Follow the helpful tips above, and you should be better equipped to sustain your momentum!

Happy New Year,
The Doostang Team

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Doostang News December 27: New Year’s Resolutions for Your Job Search

Research Associate, Washington, DC
Sr. Business Analyst, San Diego, CA
Equity Research Associate, New York, NY
Internet Marketing Consultant, Chicago, IL
Business Analyst, Toronto, Canada

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The New Year signifies a shot at a New You – a chance to hit the reset button, so to speak, and realign yourself in a direction that leads to better health, more exercise, or greater knowledge.  The problem is, junk food tastes so much better than Brussels sprouts, you don’t have the time to keep up with all the daily news sources and stay on top of the New York Times Bestseller List, and that one-year gym membership loses its shine in February.  It can be hard to stay on top of your goals, but if you make the effort when it comes to your job search, it really will pay off.  Moreover, if you set short-term, concrete milestones for yourself, you’ll be more likely to stick it out.  Here are some ideas:

  • Resolve to build out your professional network.  Hold yourself accountable and vow to meet a certain number of people – say, two – per week.  You could also decide that you will attend one to two networking events per month.  Picking a number and sticking to it is important, and it’s also a helpful way to track the people you meet and when you met them.
  • Promise to yourself that you’re going to really make your job search a full time job, and set a goal for yourself as to how many jobs you will apply to each week.  If it helps to break it down to a specific number of jobs per day, do that; just make sure you set a goal and don’t fall below it.
  • Decide to have a happier, healthier year by taking up a hobby or volunteering.  It’s hard to sit in front of a computer all day and search for a job, so commit yourself to an activity or join a group that meets once a week, and make it a part of your routine.  It’s important to get out and remain social, so that you don’t get too worn out by your job search and lose steam.
  • Commit yourself to learning a new skill or subject matter.  Use your free time to broaden your mind, and consider taking up something that will allow you to bring more to the table at a new job, so that you can become a more attractive candidate to hiring managers. Were you always hoping to one day learn Spanish or HTML? Now is the time to do it.
  • If 2010 was a rough year for you as far as job search goes, consider seeking the aid of professional services that will look over your resume or coach you on how to perform in an interview.  Perhaps this is something to add to your holiday wish list for those who have no idea what to get you.
  • Make a resolution to build your online presence and leverage social media channels to get a job.  Sign up for various social and professional networking sites, and craft an image that you want employers to see.  Consider starting a blog that serves as an online portfolio of work or as a further networking tool, and make sure that you update it once a week.
  • Perhaps the most important resolution is to find a way to stay positive, even though you may be feeling anxious about not having a job.  A positive person will be more productive, will exude enthusiasm and confidence to hiring managers, and will be more likely to land a job that they enjoy.  Do what you can to keep your head up, whether it’s yoga, a weekly movie night, time with your kids, or anything else that relaxes you and keeps you happy.

Staying on top of New Year’s resolutions isn’t always easy; but if you really think them through, establish small milestones for yourself, and follow a set course, you’ll effectively end up where you want to be!

Happy New Year,

The Doostang Team

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New Year’s Guide to the Job Search – 5 Steps to Landing a New Job

land-new-job


A New Year marks the beginning of a new and improved you. It also marks the beginning of a new job search season, meaning it’s time to leave your old job-seeking ways behind and embrace the new, more organized, more prepared you – someone who lands a new job with ease.

So here at Doostang we composed a check-off list of vital job application steps for all job seekers to consider. Make sure you have these 5 steps down and you’ll be fulfilling that “New Job in the New Year” resolution in no time.

1. It All Starts with the Resume

The first step to securing an interview (and hopefully a job) is having a superb resume. Begin by proofreading your resume for any grammatical and spelling errors, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What’s more important is that the skills and experiences you’re listing are relevant to the specific job you’re applying for, so that the hiring manager can be convinced that you’re capable of doing the job he or she is hiring for. That means every resume you send out needs to be tailored to the position you’re trying to get.

You may think your resume is top notch, but getting a second (and third, and fourth) opinion never hurts, so get some input from your friends as well. And if you want to be absolutely sure in the quality of your resume, get feedback from an expert and get a professional resume critique.

If you need more in-depth guidance on resume-writing, you can find our collection of resume tips and advice here.

2. Always Include a Cover Letter

Every resume you send out should be accompanied by a cover letter. And just as you would personalize a resume, a cover letter should also be custom-tailored to the job you’re applying for. This is your chance to expand on your resume and prove to the person reading that you have the skills necessary to do the job they’re hiring for.

Keep the length under one page and take the time to proofread, as spelling errors can quickly disqualify you from the race. And make sure you’re not making any of these deadly cover letter errors.

3. Pick Up the Phone

Phone interviews are commonly used as the preliminary step to weed out unqualified candidates, so chances are your first actual conversation with the company will be over the phone. This step should not be taken lightly, so do your research ahead of time and be as prepared as you would be for an actual in-person interview.

Use the fact that the interviewer can’t see you to your advantage and have your materials in front of you – your resume, company info, questions for the interviewer, and whatever else will aid you in that initial conversation.

Always answer with a professional greeting. “This is John Smith speaking” will impress your potential employers much more than a puzzled “Hello?” The same goes for your answering machine, so while you’re in the process of applying to jobs, replace that quirky voice-mail you recorded back in high school with a professional-sounding message.

Another tip – stand up while you’re speaking on the phone. Your voice will project louder, making you sound more energetic and positive.

4. Questions Questions Questions

Although there’s no way to know for sure what you will be asked in any given interview, there are ways to make sure you’re as ready as you can be. Be prepared to go over your resume and explain every point in detail – that’s almost a given in any interview.

Examples speak volumes, so have some stories ready that highlight your achievements. When you’re asked a seemingly random question about how you handle challenges or your work style, use a relevant back-up story as a supporting point – your interviewer will be impressed.

Keep in mind – what the hiring manager is really trying to find out is (1) do you understand what the job entails? and (2) can you actually do the job? Prove to them that both of these are true and you’ll can be sure you left a positive impression.

And make sure you have a set of questions ready to ask as well. Remember you’re interviewing the company too, so use the chance to see if the job is a good fit for you.

5. Giving Thanks (And a Reason to Hire You)

The Thank You Note is the final step to securing that job. It’s not just your chance to be polite and thank the interviewers for their time (please do) but also your chance to remind everyone you’ve interviewed with why you’re perfect for the role and seal the positive impression you’ve made on them.

As with everything else, make sure to personalize your note and reference some of the things you and the interviewer talked about so that he or she can easily remember who you are.

For a more thorough look into what you should include in your Thank You Note, you can read all the details here.


So once you’re ready to apply to that fantastic job on Doostang, go down this list and make sure you have every step down. When you’ve mastered all the steps in the process, you should have no trouble fulfilling the career portion of your New Year’s resolutions.

Happy New Year!
The Doostang Team
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10 New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Land a New Job

land-a-jobWith this year coming to an end, it’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions. And if you’re looking for a new job in the new year, here at Doostang we composed a list of job search resolutions all job seekers should take to heart.

1. I Will Apply to More Jobs

This is logical – the more job applications you submit, the greater the chances that someone will actually review your resume, invite you for an interview, and offer you the spot. Creating simple rules for yourself, such as “I will apply to at least 3 jobs a day” or “I will average 15 job applications a week” is the first step, so start spending more time on Doostang.

2. I Will Focus on the Jobs that Matter

Don’t just amp up the quantity of job applications, do it strategically. Don’t apply for positions you’re blatantly underqualified for, and – this goes without saying – don’t apply for positions you’re not interested in, just to fill your daily quota. The less time you waste applying to jobs that are out of your league, the more time you will have to focus on the opportunities that really matter.

3. I Will Perfect My Resume

You may think you’ve perfected your resume already, but is it really at its full potential? Doubtful. Remember that your review is bound to be biased and try to look at your resume from the perspective of someone who’s never met you. Can a stranger get a good reading of what you can bring to the table? Can they tell what you actually did at your last job? Are all the jobs and responsibilities you have listed relevant?

4. I Will Have Someone Else Review My Resume

A fresh, outside perspective can shed light on things you may have missed in your review, so ask a friend to go over your resume with you. Or better yet, get a professional resume critique and you can be sure nothing gets overlooked.

5. I Will Personalize Every Application

Make sure you personalize your materials to the job you’re applying for. No need to make massive changes to your resume every time, but it is important that the experiences and skills you’re listing are highly relevant. Make a separate list of all of your accomplishments and responsibilities. For every job you’re applying for, go down the list and pick the most relevant ones – those are what needs to go on your resume, the rest you can leave out.

6. I Will Write a Cover Letter for Every Job

Always include a cover letter with every resume you send out. It will give you a better chance to elaborate on your experiences and skills as they relate to the position you’re applying for. And as with resumes, make sure each cover letter is targetted to the job you’re applying for.

7. I Will Come Prepared to Every Interview

Do the research before every interview and get as much detail about the company and the position you’re applying for as possible. Try to figure out ahead of time what kind of person the employer wants to hire for the spot, then show the interviewer that you possess the desired skills.

8. I Will Have Better Answers for the Interviewer

Odds are your interviewer will ask you to elaborate on your employment history. Prepare this summary ahead of time and make sure it supports and enhances everything you’ve listed on your resume. When answering questions, give concrete examples that prove your point. Take some time to think of stories that illustrate some of your strengths: an example of you skillfully handling conflict, a story that shows that you’re a dedicated worker, and so on. Write these down and study them before your interviews, so that when you are, in fact, asked if you’re a team player, you can not only answer affirmatively but have a supporting story ready as well.

9. I Will Prepare Questions for the Interviewer

Don’t forget to have a list of insightful questions ready for your interviewer. Ask things that show that you’ve done your research and are eager to know more. Perhaps the most important question to ask is what problem the employer is trying to solve by hiring someone for this spot. Once you find out what the challenges are, show the interviewer how you’re the right person for the task. And remember, this is also your chance to get more details about the position and see if it’s a good fit for you.

10. I Will Always Write a Thank You Note

This is a vital but sadly, often overlooked step in the application process. A Thank You note is your final chance to make your mark on the interviewer, so don’t take this step lightly. Try to send it within 24 hours of your interview and reference some of the things you’ve discussed during the interview so that the interviewer can easily recall who you are. And of course, use the Thank You note to remind the interviewer why you’re right for the job and what you can bring to the company.


And there you have it job seekers, if you take these 10 Doostang resolutions seriously and make them your own, job search in the new year should be a breeze. Good luck!

Wishing you much career success in the new year,
The Doostang Team!

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