After 20 years as a recruiter, Judi Perkins started VisionQuest, a company that teaches job seekers the science and psychology of finding their dream jobs. Her columns and articles appear regularly in numerous online publications and in more than 300 newspapers. Her e-book, How to Find Your Perfect Job, helps job seekers determine what’s going on behind the scenes of an interview and how to successfully present, package and sell themselves. Perkins discusses the first 30 days of finding your dream job.
To find your perfect job, you need to know what it looks like and what it doesn’t. You need to understand that you’re selling a product, and the product is you. If you aren’t packaging and marketing yourself in a manner that is attractive to your buyers, then not only do you get passed over for someone else, you weren’t even part of the decision-making process.
Put together a picture of what your perfect job looks like. You need to consider eight primary points: salary, location, philosophy, chemistry, growth, stability and can you do the job and will you like the job. Look at your previous jobs. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Which bosses were better managers? Under what circumstances did you perform best or not well at all? What contributed to those different outcomes? Why did you leave your other jobs? Armed with this information, you know what answers you’re looking for when you interview, and you’ll know what opportunities are worth a closer look.
Make a list of all of your accomplishments, including the ones that seem insignificant. What might be insignificant to you may be very important to someone with whom you’re speaking. Additionally, when your accomplishments are fresh in your mind, you’re able to pull out and present the one you want, without having to scramble around in your brain for the most applicable answer you can think of.
Have your resume done professionally. Choose carefully because there are a lot of firms who use templates or set up shop because they believe resume writing is such an easy, profitable business. Your wisest bet is to use a firm run by someone who has a history of evaluating resumes from a hiring standpoint. People who used to be recruiters or human resource directors are best.
Every resume needs a cover letter. Don’t pay a firm to write you a generic cover letter and don’t write your own generic letter. Don’t regurgitate your resume. Don’t write eight paragraphs that are all about you. Don’t start each paragraph with I or My. Don’t commit those or any of the other sins that 99% of all people do. Learn and understand what the purpose of a cover letter is so yours is one of the very few that are read. A good letter is critical to being invited in for an interview. Once you learn how to write a cover letter, it’s a piece of cake to whip one off for each individual company to which you’re applying.
Prepare for the interview so that the company will want to ask you back. The time to decide if you want the job is before you walk in, not after you leave. You need to sell yourself even while you’re learning if this is an opportunity you want to pursue. It’s much easier to shut the door than it is to open it back up.
Start by searching on the internet or at the library. Make sure you know what the company does, who their market is and why they believe in themselves. When the hiring authority asks you, “What do you know about the company?,” if you obviously don’t have a clue or try to fake your way through an answer, you’re done before you begin.
Use the information from your research to make a list of questions to take with you. The answers to these questions will show you if you want to pursue this opportunity.
Do a flight plan on how you’ll answer typical interview questions. This is your sales pitch. You’ll do infinitely better if you plan beforehand, rather than answering with the first lame thing that comes to mind whenever you’re asked a question. Start by putting together a nice crisp version of “Tell me about yourself.”
Write a thank you letter. Highlight one or two aspects about the job or company that are particularly attractive to you. If you plan to pursue this job, the letter should be easy to write because it will be genuine. If you’re not going to pursue it, then withdraw yourself.
Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. The strategy behind this action isn’t to find out information, though it’s nice when you do. The reason you do this is to keep your name in front of the buyer, just as companies run their commercials on television ad infinitum. Following up demonstrates enthusiasm and who doesn’t want to be liked? All things being equal, a company will hire the more enthusiastic person every time, especially when that person has specifically named the reasons for their enthusiasm.
Because what you do—or don’t do—determines where you’ll be and if you’ll be happy with the results. If you follow the steps I’ve just outlined and you’re pro-active, the chances are far better of you landing a position at a company that leaves you thrilled to be there.
Attitude is equally important. When you know exactly what you’re looking for and have a plan to find it, you can go after it with laser-like focus. You’re excited. You make things happen. You entertain ideas and ways to get your name out there that you otherwise might have dismissed, if you’d even thought of them in the first place. You get to screen for the interviews and you get to decide which ones to pursue. You’re in the driver’s seat making it happen instead of waiting for something to find you.
Everything happens for a reason. Everything is a blessing, and it’s always about the power of choice. We create our own reality.
…it brings growth. There’s a great quote by Maya Angelou: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” The choice I want to make in these situations is to ask myself, “Who am I in the face of what’s taking place right now? And what do I want to do with this situation?” And then continue my choices in that fashion.
Having the courage to get into recruiting and deciding to stick with it. My previous job had been in public relations and prior to that, news reporter for a non-network television station, so recruiting seemed to be a natural blend.
For more information on Judi Perkins, visit www.findtheperfectjob.com.