I have had many times in my life when I had to get out and look for work as an employee and I know that during those times getting myself in front of hiring managers is never easy. The job search itself is a stressful experience.
Some people I know are actively looking for work as employees so I thought it would be helpful to share a few words of advice from my experience and from a stress management perspective of being prepared.
I hope it will be helpful. When I say helpful I mean that using these ideas will help reduce the stress you experience when looking for a job and that your success will come sooner rather than later and I ask and welcome and appreciate your feedback.
What gets you in the door is still the same
Today when I speak to Career Consultants at companies like Adecco or Manpower I am told the number one item to get you in the door to hiring manager is still the Resume or CV.
I say Resume or CV to make a distinction because the title of the document that shows your employment history including your education and skills may be different depending on where you live. In Canada, for example, your job history, education and skills outline is called your Resume. In Ireland or France the same document is called your CV. So if you have just moved to a new country it is always good to know the local terminology.
Action Step: Call a local employment agency or hiring agency and ask them what the correct terminology for this important document is.
How to build the important document
Depending on where you live again you need to create your Resume or CV to meet local standards. For example, in Canada I believe it is not permitted to ask for job candidates to submit a photo with their Resume but in France it is not obligatory but common practice to include a photo with your CV. Beyond the photo issue you really need to have the layout of your personal work history in the right format since hiring managers scan your details quickly and you don’t want to mix them up. You want to get their positive attention.
Action Step: Many employment agencies like Adecco, Hays, Manpower and Office Angels will have details on how to write your CV or Resume to match the local standards on their public website. If you do not see details on their website give one of the agencies a phone call and ask for advice. Make sure you find out the preferences as to whether a one page or two page document is the local standard and if there is a need to include letters of reference when your CV or Resume is first submitted.
Caution: Make sure you spell check and grammar check your documents!
Another important document
When you send your Resume or CV to a hiring manager it is a good idea to attach a letter to the document to illuminate your most valuable skills and to add a personal touch. Again, according to employment agencies, this document has different names in different places. In Canada, this document is called a cover letter, in France it is called a letter of motivation and in Ireland the current trend is to write a brief note in an email and add a short personal note like in a cover letter directly at the beginning of the CV.
Action Step: Again, contact agencies to find out what is the current standard regarding a separate letter or a CV and letter combination document.
Ask for the name
If you are sending in an application if it is at all possible find out the name of the hiring manager and address this person directly in your cover letter or letter of motivation or email introduction.
Action Step: Check out the company’s website and see if you can find the name of the hiring manager. Then phone the company and confirm their name is what is on the site. You don’t want to be using the wrong name. If the hiring manager’s name is not on the site still phone and ask to confirm their name and the spelling of their name.
Learn about how to manage your personal presentation
In this instance, I am actually referring to two ideas I have learned from career consultants. One is to make sure you dress for the position. Two is to make sure you know how to conduct yourself in the interview.
Action Step: Check with employment agencies for tips on their sites on appearance standards and interview preparation. You can also investigate books on both how to dress for employment interviews and how to prepare yourself to act in an interview.
How to Get an Advantage
If your CV or Resume passes the first test and you are asked to come for an interview. If at all possible, then find out who the hiring manager is (that is if you don’t already know it) and write a hand written note of gratitude in a tasteful card to thank the manager in advance for the opportunity for the interview. Then mail it if there is time for it to arrive before the interview. If there is a lack of time drop it off in person at the front desk of the office simply marked attention: Mr. / Mrs. Hiring Manager. If they read it before the interview hopefully they will be pleased that you made the effort.
Action Step: Get yourself a pack of tasteful blank cards with just a nice image on the front and nothing written inside plus some local stamps so you will be ready and prepared to send the note when the opportunity presents itself.
Note: If you are working with a career consultant remember to send them a thank you note during the time they are working with you to show them you value their work.
Today with many companies having an internet site many hiring managers will expect you have done online research on the company you wish to work for. So take the time to do the research and make notes on things that you see as pivotal in the company history – things you could mention during the interview. To obtain this extra information you will of course have to read more than the ‘about’ or ‘home’ page on the company’s site.
Action Step: While you are looking for work check out the websites of companies you would like to work for and start to learn about them. You just might see a new job posting on their site or some very interesting information you can talk about during an interview.
After you study what is important to share in general during an interview (number five) make sure you know the benefits you have to offer that will make your noticeable above all the other candidates. If you have a second language and this could be help you to be chosen for the position bring this to the attention of the hiring manager. If you have international as well as local work experience and this is beneficial in the industry you are looking for work in make sure you weave this into the conversation too. Also, remember to see if you can get the interviewer to share with you a little more about what they are looking for in a candidate during the interview so you can focus on the areas they find most important.
Action step: Ask your career advisor or career consultant what skills you have that are important to remind the hiring manager about. Then create a set of reminder notes of things you need to remember to do or say during an interview on small pieces of card and bring them with you to the interview location. Review them before going into the interview.
Note: You could use the reverse side of my Free goal cards to make your notes on. Learn about how to get these cards here.
After the Interview
Perhaps you did not know the hiring manager’s name before the interview but you made it to the interview stage. Once you have the interview make sure you know their name and the spelling of their name to send them a thank you card. If at all possible ask for their business card. In the card be brief and grateful for the opportunity. Avoid the desire to ask for the job in this card just show your professional gratitude.
Action Step: Send the card right away.
What if you did not get the Job?
If during the interview you are told you are not the right candidate for the job still send the thank you note to the hiring manager. Be grateful. You never know maybe the hiring manager knows another hiring manager who they may recommend you to . Regardless, it is always great to be grateful in all areas of life.
Action Step: Send the card right away.
Visualize your Results
Some things happen by chance, some things happen by intention. If you focus in your mind each night about how you are going to find the right work and about how you are going to be successful in the interview you are more likely to succeed.
Action Step: Here are a selection of articles that can help you focus your mind more so you can achieve all your life goals quicker.
Even if you are finding it is taking a long time to find the ideal job position for you never stop taking new training programs. Hiring managers can only be impressed by someone who is actively working on making themselves a better candidate for a position.
Action Step: Ask a career consultant who knows the industry you wish to get into what are the training programs that will be beneficial for you to take.
Learn from people who have the job you want
If you know people who have the job you want take the time to invite them out for a lunch and ask them their advice. You are sure to learn something. You may even learn where job opportunities are since your friend is in the industry and most likely connected to a network of people.
Action Step: Ask a friend who has the work you like to share with you a lunch so you can learn from them. If you don’t have a friend in the industry call someone who is in the industry in your town and ask them will they take the time to share with you. You will never know if they will say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to helping you till you ask.
Never Give Up
It is work looking for work as a friend of mine told me who inspired me to write this article. But don’t give up since it could just be the next phone call or the next CV or Resume you send that gets you to where you are going.
My friends looking for work recommend using employment agencies and books like ‘What Color is your parachute?“. I read online that over ten million copies of this book have been sold.
Action Step: Look up agencies in your favourite search engine and read details and reviews on what is called ‘the Bible of Job Hunting’ via this link What Color Is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changersand get yourself a copy.
Best of Success to you,