Past gems from my Job Interview Blog archive to give you an edge during your job search. Contains pearls of wisdom, links, and facts about job hunting that you may not have heard about.
Hopefully one of these gems will create a breakthrough for you.
In 2011, a new law went into affect in Indiana allowing non-violent offenders to shield their criminal history from public view.
This has long been a problem for job seekers who may have been convicted of drunk driving, theft, or drug use years ago, but are still being rejected on job applications.
What's really interesting about this new Indiana law is once a person successfully gets their criminal past blocked from public view, they can legally lie on employment applications about certain crimes.
Niki Kelly, a reporter for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, wrote an article about the new law in their Sunday newspaper.
Wikipedia has a good overview of how the expungement process works and what kinds of crimes can be permanently erased.
Although these kinds of laws are controversial and hotly debated, they do provide job seekers with a second chance in certain cases.
True Story: When companies take things to extremes, laws like this are necessary. A couple of years ago, a female production supervisor with 15 years of service, was fired because of her criminal past. When she was 18 years old, she was convicted of shoplifting a pair of jeans from a department store.
Although she paid her debt to society and never broke the law again, this conviction stayed on her public record. Despite glowing reviews from her company, a promotion, and many years of devoted service, she was fired when the company put into effect a strict "no criminal past" policy.
Not only did this effect new hires, but everyone working there. Despite being a single mom with kids to support, she was ushered out the door and treated like an outcast.
Is common sense dead these days?
What do you do if you can't find a job after months of trying? Lots of talented folks opt to start their own business even while they are collecting unemployment benefits.
But is that legal?
As of February 2011, six states (Oregon, Washington, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey and New York) offer the unemployed a program called Self-Employment Assistance (SEA).
Under the SEA program you can collect your unemployment benefits while launching a new business.
This is a wonderful idea and I don't understand why more states haven't jumped on the band wagon. After all, the economy needs more jobs, right? What difference does it make if you work for someone else, or create your own job if no one will hire you?
For more insight into this trend and a recent success story in NJ, read Barbara Haislip's article in the Wall Street Journal: Laid Off and Launching.
If you love the outdoors, or simply can’t stand being cooped up in an office during daylight hours, you might want to consider pursuing a degree that leads to an outdoor career.
Check out this blog article on Best Universities.com about 10 Outdoor Careers that Can Earn You a Good Living.
According to a 2010 December survey from the Corporate Executive Board Company, 24% of companies plan to scale back their use of job boards. This trend is continuing in 2013.
However, nearly 80% of companies surveyed said they plan to increase their use of other websites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Read all about this trend in an article written by Joe Light in The Wall Street Journal, Recruiters Change Employee Hunting Tactics.
True or False: Employers prefer to hire people who have been referred to them by one of their employees.
YOUR BEST STRATEGY:
Over the weekend I read a disturbing story about a man in Las Vegas who just exhausted his unemployment benefits and is facing homelessness in 3 weeks. His biggest fear is not being able to bathe regularly and how this might affect him during job interviews.
And this is happening right here in America!
I wonder if this unfortunate soul knows there is an emergency number like 911 for people in desperate financial straits. If you dial 211, you will be connected to a volunteer from United Way. They will assess your situation and share with you short term and long term resources that may be available to you in your own community.
Note: 211 won't work with some phone carriers. In this case, simply call your local United Way office and explain your situation.
Another fantastic organization is The Salvation Army. Volunteers are very knowledgeable about grants, charities, government programs, and other resources to help you when there is no where else to turn.
Quote by Spencer W. Kimball: God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.
America is still the land of opportunity with a bright future. No other country has people literally beating down their doors to get in.
I know the news media is often negative about the employment landscape...and you might be at the end of your rope. But, you need to ignore these sweeping mega-trends and stay focused on your individual job search.
Fact: There are always jobs out there. People die, quit, retire, get fired, relocate, and get promoted. Not all companies are struggling in this economy. It's true...unemployment is 9.5%...but, that means 90.5% have jobs. Your job is out there patiently waiting for you. You just have to find it by putting yourself at the right place at the right time. Stay in the game. Do something daily to keep yourself exposed to job opportunities.
I'm optimistic. The best days for America and for you are still ahead.
Pearl of Wisdom: Everyone has a gift to give you. It may be one tiny piece of information that leads you to someone who knows about a job opening. Often times opportunities are laid right at our feet, but our limited awareness of things prevent us from truly listening and taking action.
Don't make that mistake.
Getting a job offer is nothing more than putting yourself in the right place at the right time, with your best game face on. That involves connecting with as many as people as possible on a regular basis.
Pearl of Wisdom:Believe it or not, 60% of the decision to make you a job offer will be based on whether or not the interviewer likes you.
Fact: Managers hire people they like.
Studies have also concluded that the decision to hire you, or not, is made in the first 5-10 minutes of the interview.
How can that be possible?
In that short period of time, you just hung up your coat and barely took your first sip of coffee. Sheesh...give me a chance!
So, your answer to this one question--Tell me about yourself--is pivotal in winning an employer's approval, and receiving an offer.
Would you also believe that your answer to this famous interview question must be no longer 30-60 seconds?
The number ONE complaint I hear from job seekers is: no feedback from a company after a job interview.
Nothing. Just dead silence...
Don't you just hate that?
I came up with a good way to get hiring authorities to call you back without shooting yourself in the foot. And even if they don't call you back, you can close things off in your mind and move on.
I call it my 3 strikes and you're out procedure.
True or False: Posting your resume to a major job board is one of the best ways to get noticed by employers.
You are much better off creating and perfecting your LinkedIn profile. This is without a doubt the number one social media site to be found by employers and recruiters.
True or False: Calling employers on the phone, whether or not they have an opening, is a waste of time and annoying to employers.
Tip: Always call the department manager or the person who would be your boss. Avoid calling Human Resources.
True or False: In today’s economy, it’s a buyer’s market and employers have plenty of good candidates to choose from.
True or False: Most employers use your resume to screen you out.
True or False: Most employers prefer to either promote someone from within, hire a part-time employee, or hire a temp worker.
Your strategy: Get hired as a temp, contract worker, consultant, or part time employee. Most large corporations hire Temps through a Temp Agency, Staffing Firm, or Contract House. Many Temps are offered a permanent position in less than 6 months.
True or False: Hiring Managers like it when job seekers bring samples of their work to the job interview.
Your strategy: If you’re a programmer, bring in a program outline of a successful project you completed. If you’re an engineer, share some sketches, graphs, or visuals of a recent project that magnifies your skills and accomplishments. If your job doesn’t lend itself well to visuals, bring in a copy of a written performance evaluation, or a written testimonial from one of your customers or bosses.
True or False: You send your resume to a company in response to their want ad. If you follow up with a phone call to the hiring manager you risk upsetting them and not being considered for the job.
True Story: When I was a hiring authority, I was prepared to make an offer to someone. A better qualified candidate called me at the last minute. I found their resume, interviewed them, and hired them. It never hurts to follow up on your resume, but don't become a stalker candidate and repeatedly call. Call once and let the chips fall where they may.
True or False: Employers are far more interested in your skills, accomplishments, and credentials than they are your attitude.
One of the best pieces of interview advice I ever learned was...ask for the job at the end of your on site interview. Do this even if you are not entirely sure you want to work there.
You always have the option to turn down a job offer; but, if you don't get an offer, you don't have any options.
It also makes you stand out over other candidates because most people are either too chicken to ask, or think it takes away their negotiating strength if they appear too anxious.
Hiring managers like it when candidates want to work for them and aren't afraid to ask for the job.
True or False: Mass emailing your resume to 1,000's of employers and recruiters is an effective way to find a job quickly.
YOUR BEST STRATEGY:
True or False: Physically walking into every Temp Agency/Staffing Firm in town, unannounced, with your resume in hand is a good way to find a job.
YOUR BEST STRATEGY: