Monday, December 17, 2012

Stuff I Learned While Job Hunting

Thought I would post something a bit unfunny but useful.  At least, I hope it is useful!  To someone.  Somewhere.

There is lots of advice on what to expect, how to act, do's and don'ts when looking for work.  How to write resumes, cover letters, what an interview is usually like, where to look for jobs, etc.; I could go on and on.

But there are other things that nobody told me that have become important for me personally.  Here are three of those lessons I have learned so far about jobs and job hunting:

Attractive paycheques, while important, should be lower than number one in your priorities.  Of course you should try to get as good a salary as you can at your job, but if you have even a fleeting moment where you think, "I might have to make some sacrifices, but the money will be worth it.", then don't do it.  Plain and simple, ditch it.  Trust me, a somewhat lower salary (but obviously enough to have a roof over your head) without rearranging your life will get you farther; you will be happier, in the environment you want to be in and will likely move up faster because of the fact that you are happy to be there!

Never think that you have a great resume.  Mine is constantly evolving.  Each week, sometimes every few days.  Because what might work at first, could get stale.  Not only that, what stands out to one employer, might not stand out to another.  Mimic the language of the posting for which you are applying.  In fact, have a few resumes.  Every time you open up a resume to make changes, rename it right away so it saves as a new version and you don't lose the older version; you never know when you might want to bring something back.  If you are not applying anywhere in particular but putting your resume on a job search website, look for the job descriptions of what you really hope to do with your life and mimic those, mixing and matching things that sound like you.

It is not automatically a good sign when an employer comes to you.  I have always wanted to be head-hunted by a company; that has got to be the epitome of a we-think-you-would-rock-our-business-world" kind of way.  So, I was pretty excited the first time an employer I had never heard of, called and told me they saw my resume on a job search website.  They only asked me if I liked what I do and when I said yes, stated that "Oh, you must like working with people then!".  That turned out to be the screening process.  They didn't tell me what company it was until about 4 minutes into the call, because I asked them.  As for the position, they just had a vague idea that there were various customer service related openings.  I wasn't that excited anymore.  The in-person interview was one of those interviews that seemed to go well (potential for making good money, sounded like a great place to work) but after walking away, had me wondering, "Wait a minute, what was that?"  The questions I asked them were answered in a very vague way, completely dancing around the topic.  And I was in the interview for five to ten minutes before they bothered to mention what the position actually was (which turned out to be something completely unrelated to anything I have ever done or am suited for).  I am pretty sure this was not head-hunting at all.  Bottom line, if an employer reaches out to you and cannot competently tell you what specific position is the reason they are calling you, be wary.

Feel free to comment and share some experiences you have had or lessons you learned...there is probably lots of good insight out there!

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