Tips to Help Organize Your Job Search

Job searches are no easy feat. While most will recommend that you treat it as a full time job, sometimes you already have one of those. As soon as friends and relatives get the feeling you are looking around, a slew of advice will come falling your way, so it’s important to keep your priorities organized. Here’s how to deal with situation one and two.

Situation 1—Employed

You’re going to have a tough time making sure that the right people know you’re looking, while the people you’re working for don’t—that is until you’re ready. Your plan should be rather discrete, all while making sure you are able to give your two weeks’ before leaving. You might have to dedicate less time, so it is all the more important that you use the time you have wisely.

  1. Don’t send emails at work, unless it’s during personal time (i.e. lunch) and definitely do not use your job’s computers. Same goes for making calls on company time, unless you know that there is absolutely no other time.
  2. Don’t lying about where you are going, this is almost worse than not giving two weeks’ notice.
  3. Contact a recruiter, they can be an extra set of eyes for you and they know how to handle these situations discretely.
  4. Put away an hour after you get home, preferably after you have dinner. In this time you will send out two/three resumes and personalize your cover letter for each one. You’re doing this to get to the next best thing, so make sure you focus on making the best impression in each of those. Time is tight here, make sure your search is specific. After all, you’re already working, so you must have figured out what you don’t want to encounter at your next job.
  5. Schedule interviews either early in the morning or second half of the day after 3 (pending you’re currently working a 9-5). This will insure that you cause the least amount of disturbance at work and your absence might be perceived as a doctor’s appointment.

Situation 2—Unemployed

Well you’ve got all the time in the world. Sure, you might want to sleep in. Maybe indulge in some ice cream if you’re current situation is due to a lay off and not your fault. After your morning period is over and you are ready for your search, you have to treat it as though it’s you job. Get yourself up at the time every day. Use job search engines and off you go.

  1. Figure out your application style. Do you need to go on job boards and click on every job you like, save the links and then spend time applying to each one? Or maybe you just need to take it one at a time; using one Indeed.com on Monday, Monster.com on Tuesday (etc.) and so it goes every day until you’re employed? Now is the time to figure out how you work. Everything at once, a little bit at a time—you pick and take that route.
  2. Narrow down your search. This is the most important thing you can do. Before you go crazy and apply to everything out there, you have to know what you want. Whether you got fired, or left voluntarily, you should spend some time self-reflecting and figuring out what you don’t want to do. Find your passion and pursue it. Now is the time.
  3. Do research about apps, web browser extensions and facebook, reddit pages that will help motivate you and give you advice as you look. We have a few ideas. For example, our page facebook.com/winstonstaffnj is filled to the brim with ideas, tips and current openings. Find some more facebook pages like that, and you’ve got yourself some positive information. On reddit, like on many discussion boards, you can find like-minded individuals in the same situation as you. Don’t go through it alone, you don’t have to. There’s 7.9% more of a nation out there (based on December 2012 unemployment numbers, and that’s just the U.S.) of people in you same situation. Support is all around, talk to people. There’s also web browser extensions for reddit r/jobs that will keep a ticker of the jobs currently out there. There’s an extension called morning coffee on Firefox and Daily Links on Chrome that can help you open all the right links when you open your browser. You can program it with job boards to keep yourself focused.
  4. Tell EVERYONE. You have nothing to hide. Remember that person you once spoke to at a café that did something you thought was interesting, email them. You’ve been meaning to tell your aunt you would love a career in her field, tell her. Is there a staffing agency nearby? Find a way to talk to one of their recruiters. You once saw a brilliant speaker? Email the place where he performed and get his contact info. The more people know, the bigger your network, the more likely you’ll be connected to the right person faster.
  5. Freelance in the meantime. For those of us who need to get paid to purchase food and other necessities. Sitting around and waiting for the right opportunity might sound ridicules. This is another way your local staffing company can help. There might be a temporary assignment in your field that could help keep up your experience until you find your dream job. Have you been meaning to write a blog? Do it now. You’ve been meaning to start a website? Now’s the time. Not only will that get you motivated again, it could connect you to more people as you find the means to do so and it will definitely help you display what you’ve been doing in the meantime. Who knows? It could even be a big hit and it become your full time income.

Final point is, whether employed or unemployed, job searchers are doable. If you’re motivated, eventually something will turn up. And don’t just apply and send your resume by the tons. You would think more throws leads to more hits, but not if you’re looking to throw into the wrong places. Don’t use a bat to cut through brick, it will be much harder and you’ll feel like you’re putting in all this effort without results. If you use a screwdriver or a hammer however, you’re more likely to at least make holes and finally crack the thing (your job search) open.

Three Big Interview Questions and What They Mean

If you ask for interview advice, you will always hear: “ask questions” as an answer. It shows you are interested. But what are you interested in? Why are you asking questions? Often, you are so nervous and eager to start working that you just ask things for the sake of completing the task. The whole interview is a routine: enter, smile, shake hands, sit straight, hair out of face, answer, ask, follow up and finally (hopefully get the job). What we are quick to forget, is that there is (or should be) a purpose to everything we do during an interview. The interviewer does his job to make sure you are a good fit for his company. You should be looking out for yourself, making sure that you are a good fit. You might counter me, stating that a job is a job. That’s understandable in this economy, but if you are looking for a career, you cannot just settle for “a job.” Asking meaningful questions will help you find out if you’re interviewing for a job or a career. Here are the best questions to ask and a breakdown of why you should.

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Question 1.

Is this a new position? If so, why was it created? If not, what kind of expectations do you have for the next employee?

This will accomplish a few things. First, you will find out if the company is expanding and if so that could mean a few things. It shows economic stability. It’s a large commitment for a company to decide to take on new hires. Before you go in, research if the new position is part of larger contract the company signed for a year or more, which will dictate if the position will be around for a while or just a test. The second half of the question should give you a good idea about what your work will be like, day-to-day and lead to more questions about your role. With that idea, you should be able to determine if it’s something you would enjoy doing during 40+ hour weeks for at least a few years.

Question 2.

What do you expect the new hire to accomplish within the first month, 60 and 90 days? Do you expect there to be a learning curb, how long?

This question should solidify your expectations. You will find out if there will be a lot of pressure and multitasking expected. If you’re not a person who can handle that, it’s better to focus your energy in pursuing something else. Basically, can you handle this position or will you be running out cursing after a month of work? Perhaps the company wants to spend a month time training you at first and that’s something you know you need when you start a new role, then congrats, continue in this direction.

Question 3.

What do you enjoy most about working for Company X?

Your Interviewer should be able to name at least one thing. If they are interviewing you, they are likely in a senior position and should have a good reason they have stayed with their company. On the same note, if the person interviewing is rude and short with you and you did not warrant this type of reaction, it might be sign they are not happy with their situation. Interviewing you is just another nuisance they have to do to fulfill their job requirements. Someone who is smiling and welcomes your warm attitude (which you undoubtedly brought with you) will certainly have a thing or two to say about why they love their job. Hopefully their enthusiasm will be contagious and get you excited to work with them.

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How to Overcome Your Shyness for an Interview

So you’re shy. Being outgoing is not exactly a talent the majority has been blessed with. That being said, coming into an interview and giving one word answers will not exactly make the impression that gets you the job. Here are a few ideas to help you get over the intimidating first meeting.

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              1. Don’t Focus too Much On Your Nerves

You have a purpose there, to get the job. You absolutely cannot be thinking about how hard this might be for you or how you’re not going to get the job anyway. There is no room for negative thinking once you’re in. They already chose you based on your resume, all you have to do is put the cherry on top. This is your chance to not be neurotic and stuck in your own head. Learn as much as you can about your potential employer by listening. You hear that? You don’t have to talk so much anyway. If the interviewer stops talking, ask another question and listen away. People who are outgoing enjoy talking and they will gladly fill in the silence you were so nervous about.

               2. Fake it ‘till You Make It

OK that might be a cliché but that does not mean it won’t help you. Let’s face it. You know no one can do the job as well as you. The interviewer has yet to find out this useful piece of information that will determine the status of your employment. Now, there are two things you need to focus getting out there. One is emphasizing your qualifications. The latter is showing that you are listening. If you are really getting into it, again, you should even ask the interviewer a few questions. To do so without stumbling, try using short sentences. Most importantly, try practicing. It would be best to do so with a friend that you have known and have no problem being open with. If none are available at the moment, try using a mirror. Or post a picture of someone you like on the wall and pretend to talk to them. Prepare your answers so they are straightforward.  Basically, if someone asks: “Why do you feel you’d be a good fit in our company?” You can answer: “My previous work in such and such was very similar to the work you are doing here.” But don’t stop there, make sure to give an example. Such as “The work Magnet Corp has done with magnets is very similar to the research I have done on them. Now I would like to apply my research. Two magnets with positive charges with move away from each other. Perhaps I could prove otherwise.” Obviously that’s an example, but the point is, focus on the knowledge you are confident with and the rest will just fall in.

And Make sure to take the picture you were talking to off the wall when you’re done. A lot of questions will arise to those who didn’t have previous knowledge about your exercise.

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             3. Make sure your handshake is firm and you smile

When you come in and leave, perfect these basics. They will be the impressions that last without you being too aware of it. A firm handshake will offer muscle memory and muscle memory makes the brain remember you. A firm handshake lets someone know you mean business. If you smile, your interviewer will know you are pleasant and happy to be where you are. Combine the two and voilà! No one even knew you were shy.

Remember, sometimes being outgoing means that you say the wrong thing because it’s the first thing that came to mind. Just look at it from the angle that you have the time to calculate every thought before you say it. You’re taking a pause to find the courage to speak and you also have the time to really think through an answer.

Pitfalls of Networking Events

During a recent networking event, I realized that although I had only been working for a few months after graduating college, my hand shaking skills were not in tip top shape. There were a few things that I said that might have sounded awkward to someone who had never met me before. I certainly did not do anything inappropriate, but I am not sure I was on my A Greeting Game.

Working in an office for eight hours a day five days a week gets a person into a routine. The people you speak to on a daily basis rarely change. Except for some turnover or the clients you may call, we feel we have communication down to a T, which leads us to lose some of our interpersonal skills. You might be great speaking with someone on the phone, you might even work in customer service, in which case all you do is talk to people, but it’s easy to forget that face-to-face communication may be difficult if you’re used to speaking to the same ten people by the water cooler about TV shows on the night before.

  1. Taking Over the Conversation

This was a hypothetical networking event, but let’s face it, any event we go to that has multiple people we have never met before has networking potential. As such, you certainly do not want people to think you are not interested in them. There are certainly things that you can do to insure that you’re not standing there, telling people about your job or pet for too long. When a person you’re speaking to gets bored they will begin to look around the room. They might ask to leave to refill their glass. Anything that shows a waning interest should give you a good clue that it might be time to switch topics. The easiest way to do so would be to say: “Has this ever happened to you?” If you really feel like the only reason you were still talking is because you’re trying to fill dead space, maybe it’s a good idea to walk over to another group with your discussion partner. This way, the person you are speaking to knows you are still interested in them but you have also picked up on their subtle clues. Instead of filling time with nothing, expand your network effectively.

2. Don’t forget to Circulate

This brings me to my next point. People attending a gathering, and this is the case with human psychology, tend to stick with a group that forms early into the evening. Humans get anxious around people they do not know and after getting through their anxiety once, might not want to do so again.  Plus, why move onto something else if you are enjoying the conversation and the people in your standing circle? But again, you’re networking. Do not give people dirty looks as they attempt to enter your circle. Make sure you make people attempting to speak to you feel comfortable, like your collective is open to new ideas. It’s already much harder for one person to join a group because now not only are they worried about making one impression, they are worried everyone else in the circle might be judging them. Networking is nerve-racking enough, do not make it harder by creating a clique. If you notice that you keep creating circles around yourself, make sure you step away. If you do so repeatedly, congratulations! you are what they call “the life of the party,” and you should definitely be using your great people skills to their maximum potential.

3. Complaining

Do not stand around complaining that you do not have a job or that the event is just too dull. You never know if your next employer is at the event. Also, as mentioned before, networking is not really about your personal preferences, it’s about socializing, having a good time and making connections. People might care if you prefer to live in New York vs New Jersey, but they certainly don’t care to know that you would have preferred not to spend money on a ticket that does not at least offer a free drink. Which brings me to my last point…

4. Do not Drink more than a glass or your best minimum.

You might be able to handle your liquor but how many people at this event know that? Honestly, when a person repeatedly go back to the bar and order more beers, a lot of questions arise. Is that person is not comfortable in their own skin? or Why are they wasting money like that (bar drinks are pricey) at an event for meeting people and holding discussions? It certainly will not put your best foot forward at an event that’s about presenting the best of what you have to offer to someone’s network.

 

What you should do is have fun, socialize, exchange business cards, follow up when you get home and of course, do not forget to Smile.

Telling All the Right Reasons

Have you ever found yourself so frustrated over your current job that the first thing out of your mouth at an interview is about how unfair you were treated compared to another employee or something similar? You might want to consider the fact that you will not be receiving a call back or an interview. No one is assuming that you did not have an awful experience, it just is not exactly the first thing a prospective employer likes to hear. The small irritability that you held onto for such a long time grew over the two years you had to experience it on a daily basis. As such, there is probably something you will not like about your prospective job and your prospective boss does not want to hear that it might already bother you, during barely your first encounter.

Here are reasons you should be avoiding and others you should definitely consider using:

As you can tell, most of the green lit jobs are related to issues outside of your control. It’s highly likely that the red lit explanations will also happen without your expecting them to. The main difference is how you handled yourself in an unfortunate situation. If you want to be honest, it’s always a good idea to explain what you learned from the experience, mistakes you plan on never repeating again and how in this new company you will work your hardest to avoid them.

Everyone knows that you can be fired, be stuck somewhere underpaid or with some terrible coworkers. Just like you wouldn’t introduce yourself to a possible friend by telling them how terrible one of your last friends treated you, no one planning to build a lasting business relationship with you wants to be left with a bitter taste upon first meeting. As always, smile, be positive and explain how you plan on your past negatives to creative positives and you will undoubtedly ever again be in a red light situation.

Amazing Skype Codec and New Cloud technology gets lost in iPhone 5 buzz

Mob mentality can be personified in the numbers of Chinese children taken out of school to make iPhones that Apple is expecting to sell to on launch day. When the government can state that the anticipated sale of iPhone 5 will single-handily boost the economy, despite loud cries of “don’t buy it” coming from Apple’s opposition, you know Tim Cook is keeping Steve Job’s business model of selling to a culture alive and well.

How about the business altering new Skype codec that is set to make your communication crisper and less choppy? Audio engineers at Skype teamed up with Xiph.Org to make CD quality audio that is intended for the internet. Even if you disregard Skype and video calls, if this kind of technology is successful, we would be looking at a whole new way of streaming music on the internet. Now that’s a business improvement that can put the world ahead again. So maybe dancing around an iPhone with a smaller plug in its bottom is not really worth our time anymore. What about updating your company to the cloud? As business people, we should move away from navel gazing at our phones and return to looking for innovation that can make our business move faster. It would also be a great change of pace for recent technological media.

I doubt that Andriod phones are made in a more educationally sound environment than Apple phones are. The keyboard on any OS before Andriod’s Ice Cream Sandwhich isn’t exactly the best. But I don’t even see the internet pointing that out anymore. But just about every article I have written about technology in the last month has been about my disappointment with Apple, and that’s not normally my top priority. Speculation about the new iPhone takes up a large portion of the internet about five months after the release of the previous model. And that considering the updates are not even that spectacular.

Here we are again, with model 5, which really has few noticeable changes from the 4S, considering its most popular feature Siri is still in beta. Again with the smaller, thinner, better, words being thrown around. The difference is that if parts of the previous phones were ‘revolutionary‘, the only ‘revolting’ aspect of the 5th model is the smaller charger and larger screen. Let’s call the new phone what it is, a leap to catch up to current Andriod phones. Instead of standing in line right now, let’s wait for the iPhone 5z (or G, S, X, really take your letter pick) to come out with an actual NEW and Revolutionary feature that will cause all of the competition to jump in and try to get ahead again. I have said it before: technology became lost when innovation stopped being a business model and culture turned into one.

Please, Please Just Email Me Back

There’s a pet peeve that office people quickly pick up and share across the border—people not answering emails. Like any other other relationship, the one between you and your recruiter or you and your financial advisor, etc relies on communication. We are all responsible for keeping it up. All that I ask is that you send an email. I can even disregard the fact that I don’t get responses to emails that say “please email me when you receive this.” I am talking about the people that do not show up and call or even send me a “hey I can’t make it” in the line of her email. You might not like the person you are communicating with, but just like it’s rude to ignore someone standing right next to you, calling out your name, it’s certainly rude to ignore their little envelope on your screen. Being rude really never gets you anywhere and might also gets a little note on your contact that says: “did not call.”

What to do and Why

           If you can’t be somewhere because you did not think you were a fit

Email saying: “I do not feel like this opportunity is a good fit for me. Please feel free to contact me/I will contact you in the future if need be.”

I understand I did not exactly resonate with you and that is OK, but let me know. If nothing else, I might reevaluate my approach. I am not going to harass you if you tell me that you would like to contact me next time you need my help. I do not like bothering people because that is not a good business practice. Plus, if you do not want to talk to me now, I know there’s a good chance you won’t change your mind in a week. I will give you space, promise.

          If you did not like the opportunity I had for you

Email me letting me know what you would prefer: “ I understand that you currently offer XYZ, and I do not feel like that would be the best fit for me, please feel free to contact me if ABC ever comes across your desk or if you know someone who can help.”

It’s a small world. Networking is key everywhere. With today’s unemployment rates and general financial gaps, chances are you will be running into the same people. You do not know if your next potential job has already employed someone who has heard your name and knows they do not want to deal with you. The label No Show, stays with you for a long time. Think about your encounters with people. Unfortunately, the bad ones stick sore in your memory longer than the good ones. If you do not give someone the tiny piece of respect that is communication, it won’t be quickly forgotten and your networking will definitely be hindered.

          Really, just send an email

Email is a really easy way to communicate. If you find that you get jittery making a call or  you have a tough time saying No, email gives you the perfect opportunity to do so without putting too much of your ego/confidence on the line. The bottom line is: if you ignore me, I will definitely ignore you. We leave in a world full of people. No one is 100% self sufficient. One simple act of kindness goes a long way. Letting someone who is working for you or with you on something know you are indisposed shows them his/her effort is still appreciated even though it’s not the right fit right now.