Category Archives: Careers
Family members, friends, and your associates are all people in your career network. They can be valuable sources of information and advice when you are searching for work. The Muse has put together several suggestions to ask career questions of the people in your network.
- Ask your networking contacts to introduce you to someone who works at a company at which you may want to work. Having this company contact gives you a real-life person who may be willing to speak with you about your career interests and skills, and provides information about how the company matches with your interests and goals.
- “If you don’t have any particular person in mind that you’d like to meet, it can still be helpful to see if your professional contacts have ideas for others with whom you should connect. Tell them the types of people you’re hoping to meet, and there’s a solid chance they know at least one person who would be interesting for you to chat with.”
- Ask your contacts if they know about certain companies. You could ask, for example, “… is there a certain company in your industry that is doing well but has a reputation for being a terrible place to work?”
- Ask your network for recommendations “for industry events and conferences”. These events and conferences provide valuable opportunities to meet people who work in companies at which you would like to work.
- Ask people in your target companies for an informational interview. They will be able to provide information about the company you cannot get anywhere else, and may also provide names of other people with whom you can speak or job leads. Alternatively, you can ask people in your network to refer you to someone in those companies to have an informational interview with you.
- Ask your network to read over your resume and cover letter and make suggestions. They can provide valuable suggestions for improvement.
- Ask any of your contacts to help prepare you for interviews by having them drill you on common interview questions. Memphis Public Libraries have a wealth of interview books for this purpose that you can give to your contacts so they can quiz you on the questions in these books.
- If you are debating between multiple job offers, asking people in your network to look at the offers may “help you figure out which option to go with … or at least point out some different things for you to think about.”
- If you’re stuck in your job search, call on your network to provide a different way of looking at things or solving problems.
- If people in your network are in a career field in which you’re interested, ask them to tell you about their career path. This information provides insight on how to get through difficulties.
- Asking your network if there was anything they would have done differently in their careers if they could do them all over again provides ways to “avoid certain pitfalls … [and] it can also give you things to consider that you might not have before.”
- Ask your contacts about reading recommendations in the field that interests you and with which they are familiar. Reading sources can be “newsletters, websites, and magazines ….” These resources help you stay on top of your field by keeping up with the latest skills, trends, and developments.
- Ask only reliable people in your network to serve as a reference for you. This tip is especially helpful if you are out of work, but looking to get re-employed. Frequently employers ask for references, so having a list of people who have agreed to be references is a strong asset.
- If you use LinkedIn, professional contacts on that site are able to “illustrate that they support the work you do without too big of a commitment.” You can contact them on LinkedIn and ask if they will show their support for you on that website.
- Remember to ask your networking contacts if they need anything from you. Don’t make networking “a one-way street” for you only. “… look for ways that you can help them, too. Regularly giving to others will ensure that they’re always happy to return the favor.”
Source: Herman, Lily. “21 questions you haven’t been asking your network (But really should).” Daily Muse, Inc., https://www.themuse.com/advice/21-questions-you-havent-been-asking-your-network-but-really-should. Accessed 14 November 2017.
- Apply to jobs by making connections. “Your goal should be to speak with someone before applying so that you can send your application directly to a person—not through an automated system that prompts you from an organization’s website….” – Avery Blank
- Skills and personality are equally important. “What they taught you at the college career center is true: You must be good at what you do and be able to showcase your credentials to an employer. But you need much more than that. If you really want to get ahead, you’ve got to know how to impact and influence people, navigate relationship dynamics, and add value far beyond what’s detailed in the job description.” – Melody Wilding
- Don’t stay at one company too long. “… if you don’t have room to grow, don’t waste too many years in one place in one role; keep your eye on the market and don’t let better opportunities pass you by! Being nimble and jumping is often the name of the success game today.” – Annie Nogg
- Negotiate the job offer. “When I started out, I was told to be grateful for my first job offer. I was instructed not to show disrespect by trying to negotiate. Boy, is that so off-base, particularly for women who face a wage gap. The gender wage gap costs a full-time working woman a lot of money over the course of her career, and it starts with her first job. Always negotiate on principle, especially if you’re a woman.” – Alexandra Dickinson
- Don’t apply to every job you see. “Today, job seekers are much better off targeting specific brands or companies in a more strategic fashion and starting a conversation rather than blanketing the universe with resumes. It will payoff to have the right start to your career in the long run than throwing your hat in the ring for every opportunity that comes along.” – Kelly Poulson
- Don’t show up unannounced to meet the hiring manager. “… showing up unannounced demonstrates a lack of respect for the hiring manager’s time, and puts the person on the spot, forcing them to engage in a conversation they may not be prepared for. It frankly also demonstrates a lack of understanding about modern office etiquette.” – Angela Smith
- Don’t always try to follow the straight and narrow. “The way to your dream career is not always a straight path—what’s important is that you’re traveling in the right direction. In today’s market, you may not land the job of your dreams right away. Use creativity to find a role in an alternative field that’ll help you grow relevant skills and qualifications. It’s perfectly OK, maybe even common, to take a few random turns on the way to your ideal job.” – Ryan Kahn
- Send a specific resume for each job to which you apply. “Gone are the days when you can rely on crafting one perfect resume. Think about it: Are you not a good fit for so many different jobs? Likely you are. And these positions all have different keywords in their job descriptions. So you must customize your resume, or create a new version to fit each job you’re applying for. Keyword optimization is a critical first step to avoid being shut down by an applicant tracking system, too.” – Theresa Merrill
- Network. The odds of getting hired just by applying online are very small. “What you want to focus on is building relationships with people who work at the company, used to work at the company, or are somehow affiliated with the company. You can do this [by] tapping your network (alumni, friends, family, associations, etc.) or using LinkedIn to identify key people. Remember, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows what you want.” – Antonio Neves
Source: Lastoe, Stacey. “9 popular job search tips you should definitely ignore.” Daily Muse, Inc., https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-popular-job-search-tips-you-should-definitely-ignore. Accessed 14 November 2017.
Whether you’re a young adult leaving high school and planning for a career, a student in college preparing for a career fair, an adult creating a LinkedIn profile, or navigating tech hubs, the websites below can help you.
- Career Planning for High-Schoolers: https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/career-planning-for-high-schoolers.htm
- Navigating the College Career Fair: https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/college-career-fairs/
- The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide: https://www.learnhowtobecome.org/ultimate-linkedin-guide/
- Navigating Silicone Valley and Emerging Tech Hubs: https://www.computerscienceonline.org/cutting-edge/tech-hubs/
- Apply for jobs that seem a little out of reach but are not that far above your abilities and accomplishments
- Get to know people through LinkedIn who work in places where you want to work
- Instead of talking about how much you know, talk about how you can solve problems that potential employers have.
- Your pre-existing network of support, which includes your friends and family, can help you and provide networking connections.
- Create a specific resume and cover letter for each job you apply to. Don’t just use the same resume and cover letter for every job. Writing in the keywords from the job description into your resume and cover letter is critical to landing an interview. Companies use applicant tracking systems that scan your resume for keywords, so the more of them that show in your resume, the higher your chances of getting an interview.
- Prepare for each job interview and speak from the heart during the actual interview. This helps you project your authentic problem-solving abilities to employers.
- When writing thank you letters after the interview, which you should always do, try to connect with the interviewers based on a nugget of personal information they provided or how they provided useful information about the job to you during the interview. This technique helps you connect with them.
- Approach each company as a problem solver. You want to tell them what you can do for them. Always prepare for the interview ahead of time.
- When on the job, don’t settle for mediocrity. Be willing to stretch yourself and be “willing to learn a new role.”
- Listen to what you think about each job rather than what your friends or family tell you about it. Keep in mind that you’re the one who will be doing the work, so your opinion is really the only one that matters.
- “Do work that builds you up most of the time.” Your skills, talents, and strengths can point you in the right direction. Making a list of your skills, talents, and strengths will better prepare you to find work that is suitable to that list so that the job will be a good fit for you.
Source: Kalish, A. (2017). 11 things I wish I’d known when I started job searching, according to Muse readers. In The Muse. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/11-things-i-wish-id-known-when-i-started-job-searching-according-to-muse-readers