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Job Search

via Forbes : How To Shorten Your Time Spent On Job Searching

Once you decide you want to make a job or career change, your first tendency is to feel impatient. You want to get through the murky uncertainty of the job search itself and have it behind you. I understand that. I don’t care for loose ends in my life, either.

Being in a rush might delay your success. You need to slow down and do your homework before diving in head first. The truth is, job hunting in today’s environment takes time. In fact, the only thing that is certain is that your job search will take longer than you think it should. For a while, the average job hunt was taking four-to-nine months from start to finish. Some of that time is spent waiting for HR to make a final offer. But the job search itself demands a lot of time.

You probably won’t want to hear this, but the best way to shorten your job search is to get help. Hire a coach. Find someone who is knowledgeable. You need someone who will care about your success and understands the process in its entirety.

I recognize that not everyone wants to hire a coach. Money is tight, especially if you are between jobs. You may have no money coming in at the moment, so hiring someone feels like a luxury you can’t afford.

In the event you can’t get professional help, you can turn to free resources that are at your disposal. Most colleges and universities offer free career services for alumni.

I happen to live in a city where at least two networking groups of job seekers exist. They coordinate their programs with one another and offer a combination of technical support and emotional support, including pro bono coaching for those who want it. Check out your city or town to see if there is a similar support network. If not, consider starting one! It is an excellent way to meet new people from other industries and walks of life.

Job hunting can often feel like riding a roller coaster, and if you stay on it long enough, it stops being fun. That’s why networking groups are so beneficial. Check in your area to see if a support group for job seekers is available.

The worst part of job searching is that when you are starting out, you don’t know what you don’t know. Unfortunately, in this case, the whole “ignorance is bliss” adage is not accurate. In fact, ignorance in job hunting can be downright dangerous! What you don’t know can and will hurt you. That’s why you need guidance along the way.

via Payscale Why Are Cover Letters Still Such a Mystery?

Cover letters are annoying. They’re annoying to write, can be annoying to read, and while they seem like a no-brainer, many people put far too much weight on them. In fact, it’s easy to spend so much time stressing over the cover letter that you ultimately don’t even end up applying.

But, cover letters are also great! They give you an opportunity to hook someone in a way that your resume alone can’t usually do, and show that you’re not just an hour-clocking robot. (That is, unless a machine is sorting through the cover letters and resumes. In which case, this advice might help.)

I’ve gotten plenty of conflicting advice over the years about what to put in a cover letter, which doesn’t exactly paint the clearest picture for penning a successful one. Fast Company says to forget about them and beef up your resume. An old manager of mine said he loved receiving hard copies with handwritten notes. A friend of mine exclusively sends video cover letters. Some companies want you to buck the trend altogether and tell them a great story (ideally about you and your work). The more you think about it, a paper outline of your accomplishments accompanies by a formal letter really isn’t that interesting. Who’d want to read that?

Cover Letter

Is Anyone Listening?

The answer, it seems, is next to no one, and some hiring managers don’t even bother reading them. Katt Hancher, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, and Director of Human Resources at RCG, Inc., says she barely has time to read them. And that she’s not the only one in the industry that gives cover letters the cold shoulder.

“We were recently discussing this at a SHRM social. The consensus was that busy recruiters never read cover letters — no time.”

Instead, Hancher recommends crafting a compelling email when you send your materials over in the first place. Compelling — but short.

“You can say what needs to be said in the email sent when attaching your resume,” she explains. “I sometimes will request a focused cover [letter] in email form, when I need info frequently left off resumes.”

Cover Letters: TL;DR

While some industries will request that you not waste too much of their time with a cover letter (TL;DR), others will be happy to get a glimpse of your qualifications and personality. A great cover letter does both, while addressing why it’s all relevant to the position you’re applying for, and the company overall. Still, finding a character count-sensitive way to do this can be tricky — especially if you know you’re qualified, but don’t quite know how to express that.

Whichever way you slice it, cover letters are a mystery. But there are a few things you can do to make writing bespoke (and they should be bespoke) cover letters easier.

1. Read the job description carefully. And recognize that based on what you’re applying for, some of your experience might not matter as much. Be prepared to spin your smarts in a way that makes sense for this particular role. If you’re a programmer who doubles as a food editor, that’s great, but probably not worth mentioning in the cover letter for tech-oriented job.

Cover Letters

2. Open with a strong first impression. Figure out who you’re writing to (LinkedIn is great for this!), introduce yourself, then contextualize your experience in the first paragraph. Give a brief statement of what you do, how you do it, and for how long you’ve done it. This paragraph should be the shortest of your cover letter.

3. Lead them on. Next, lead them to a list of points with something to the effect of, “Here’s why I think I’d be a great fit for your team.” Then address your main qualifications in an easy-to-scan, bulleted list. You should probably include any impressive impact or ROI figures, and call out the most important things you want them to know about you.

4. Organize your thoughts. The cover letter allows you space to use sentences and paragraphs, but do so sparingly. Odds are, the hiring manager is going to be reading through several (possibly hundreds) of cover letters. Make yours easy to read.

5. Play the game. Many companies use applicant tracking systems to skim through resumes and cover letters in search of specific keywords. These are usually outlined in the job description. It sucks to feel like you’re writing for a robot, but these days, you kind of are at first. Pull out keywords from the job posting that are relevant to your experience, and work them into your content.

6. Be specific. Why you? Why them? In your cover letter, you should have at least two good, solid, memorable reasons for wanting to work for the company to which you’re applying. Do you care about their social mission? Are you interested in working for the industry leader? Is there a particular client of theirs you love, or a campaign from the past year that you really admired? There’s obviously a reason you want to work for the company, so say so.

Tell Us What You Think

And here’s your chance to tell us that all of this advice is bologna! How do you handle cover letters? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Tell us about it in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

via Free Malaysia Today : Experts Give Tips On How Jobless Grads Can Find Work

PETALING JAYA: A degree used to be the golden ticket to employment, but this is no longer the case with hundreds of thousands of graduates produced every year.
The low entry requirements and competitive fees set by most of the 661 higher education institutions nationwide have allowed many more Malaysians to arm themselves with a degree.

There were more than 400,000 Malaysian jobless graduates last year, a number which former Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Prof Ghauth Jasmon said in an FMT report, was set to rise higher in the next few years.

This is a matter of concern to the nation, especially as according to a book published by the higher education ministry, “Soaring Upwards: Malaysian Higher Education 2015/2016”, there are over 1.253 million students enrolled in the 661 institutions.

Unemployed Graduates

While the government is trying to make sure all graduates find jobs within six months after graduation, the students themselves have to take the initiative to become more marketable, said industry experts.

Jobstreet’s Country Manager Chook Yuh Yng said while a degree can help open the door for job interviews, it might not be enough to help graduates secure the job.
This is because a degree, today, is seen only as a qualification which showed that the graduate had gained expertise in the subjects they studied, she said.

“Don’t think a degree is your passport to getting a job. It is just an entry point for the graduates to qualify for some jobs, but a degree alone doesn’t guarantee you will secure the job.”

The same was said by P Kumanan, a business development manager at an international recruitment agency.

He said not all degrees have value in the job market and in fact, only fewer than 20% of the degrees are actually valued highly. And at times, experience trumps paper qualifications, he added.

“It also depends on where they get their degree,” said Kumanan.

Unemployed Graduates

So what do future graduates need to do to ensure that once they leave their institutions, they won’t become part of the statistics on jobless graduates?

According to both Chook and Kumanan, the most optimum situation is of course, the combination of paper qualifications, experience, and language proficiency.

“Although we think there is a lot of universities, there is still a shortage of talents. For example, the market needs a lot of Chinese speakers, but there is a limited number of them,” said Kumanan.

“The level of English proficiency that is being taught in the universities, especially local universities, is not to the expectation of the market.

“So it’s important for the students to decide what the job market has to offer four years later, rather than just getting into anything that can qualify them easily.”
Chook echoed the same remark, saying that tertiary students should aim to make themselves as appealing as possible for when they enter the job market.

She stressed the importance of internship during studies, as this would tick the experience box on the prospective employee’s resume.

“It depends on how fresh graduates can position themselves for the jobs they are hoping to get. They must remember that for any job, they are not the only person applying for it.

“There is competition from their peers and maybe even from people with a little bit of experience. And maybe their competitors are even willing to get a lower salary.
“That is why it is important for them to position themselves well. They need to show that they are better than the other candidates in terms of knowledge, and internship experiences.”

Chook said internship experiences can also show employers that the candidate has most of the sought after soft-skills, such as the ability to be a good team player and to solve problems.

via DeSoto Times-Tribune : Finding Your First Job

You’ve made it through four years of college. Now what? Getting your first job after graduation can feel like a daunting task. We have such high hopes of finding the perfect career quickly and easily – until we hit a wall. Based on a recent piece by the Wall Street Journal, many college graduates can relate.

First Job After Graduation 

The National Association of Colleges and Employees reports that companies plan to hire 5% more young workers this year than last year. This sounds like a great forecast. It makes you wonder what’s going on that’s impacting new graduates.

It seems there’s a mismatch of what companies are looking for and what applicants have to offer. Approximately thirty percent of applications aren’t meeting the minimum requirements for entry level jobs. To compound the issue, some jobs require higher level minimum requirements than are really needed to perform the job. This means that companies aren’t able to find the candidates they want. And, young job seekers are left without jobs.

In addition, ninety percent of college seniors believed their interviewing skills were strong. This was a stark contrast to the perceptions of hiring managers.

What’s a young person to do? First, know that finding your first job can be tough, no matter what you studied. Decide that you’re going to commit to your job search in the same way you committed to college. It’s a process that takes hard work, time, and dedication.

But, don’t assume your college degree along is enough to land a job. Do everything you can to grow your skills and increase your work experience. Search for internships, paid or unpaid. Volunteer your services for nonprofits that will allow you to grow your marketable skills. Target opportunities that will help you to beef up your resume, not just your pocketbook.

First Job After Graduation

If your college has a career center, this is a good time to get to know them better. Get help with your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Give your elevator pitch to anyone who will listen. Write out answers to common interview questions and review them. In other words, prepare and practice, practice, practice.

When you search for a new job, don’t rely on the internet to serve up your next opportunity. Betting that the company will call you after you apply online rarely works. Network as much as you can. If possible, contact the hiring manager directly to express your interest.

Last, but not least – take a little pressure of yourself. When you first take a new job, it can be tough to know if it’s a good job for one year or for your entire career. Only real work experience can help to give you this information. Don’t feel like you have to find the perfect job for your first try. Look for a good job that you find exciting and that you’ll be proud to put on your resume.

If you stick to these principles and treat job searching as a job, you’ll land yours faster.

via Uloop :   6 Ways to Stay Organized in Your Job Search

When you’re rushing to get a job, it’s easy to jumble up the details associated with one job search with those that correspond to another job. Add this stress to the challenge of managing college alone, and you’ve got enough to worry about.

Students typically don’t have loads of time to spend sorting out job application details if they start blending together, so it’s best to set up an organizational system that you can use to keep application processes straight.

1. Set up a master document of all the places you applied

On Google Docs, make a document in which you create a simple table with the following columns: “job title or position,” “employer,” “employer contact information,” “start date,” “location,” “why I’m drawn to this job,” “pay rate (if disclosed on the ad),” and “special notes.”

This way, you can aggregate all the most important information about your job search results in one place. You can embolden or highlight the position name if you get contacted for an interview (and you might even include a section where you can indicate when you applied, whether you’ve been contacted, and when your interview will be). This master list will lower the chances of you forgetting where you applied and when your interviews are.

2. Create a quick reference sheet of your key experiences

Different jobs call for different skills and experiences as pre-requisites for applying. If you, as an applicant, can highlight the right qualifications, there’s no reason that employer shouldn’t hire you easily! The point is to make the employer wonder how they’ve been getting along without someone like you.

The best way to do this? Organize the experiences you have had, and create different reference sheets for different types of positions. For instance, make a reference sheet of experiences that outlines your administrative experience, and maybe another that amps up your programming experience. You can use these sheets to “study” before an interview so that you don’t somehow forget your most relevant experiences.

This is helpful especially if you’re someone who has gathered a lot of work experience in different fields or types of employment, as you won’t always get to talk about everything you’ve ever done when you’re interviewing for 10-15 minutes.

3. Write down where you found the best jobs (for current and future reference)

If you’re looking for jobs on one of those general sites like Indeed or Jobs.com, start writing down which ones have been more helpful to you. There are so many websites that draw from databases of different kinds that you may find yourself confused about which job listing came from which site, and which websites tend to bring up jobs you’re most interested in — especially since job search websites have very similar names sometimes.

Make a list of your top 4-5 favorite job search websites so that you don’t waste your time searching on a database that you don’t find productive.

4. Plan out what you’ll wear to your interviews in advance

This one should be pretty obvious, but it’s easy to wake up on your interview day and realize you can’t find the shoes that look good with the sleek blazer you wanted to wear, or that your black skirt is wrinkled up in a bag of unwashed laundry. It’s good to lay your outfits out the night before your interview day so that you can be sure everything is washed, clean, and easily located.

5. Bring a notepad to your interview with pre-written questions for the employer

One of the best ways not to get the job is to say “I have no questions” at the end of your interview. To stay organized and ensure you display interest and care in the position you’re seeking, prepare a few questions in advance that you plan to ask the hiring manager and have these already written down in your notebook when you get there. This is an easy way not to forget this crucial element of an interview.

6. Write down notes during job interviews

Avoid looking like you’re writing a novel down in your notebook while you’re speaking with employers, but don’t fail to write down important logistical details the interviewer tells you about the position.

For instance, if you’re being interviewed and the employer begins by running through a general overview of the job’s timeline, don’t just listen and hope you’ll remember it all later. Employers will think you to be diligent and conscientious if you take the time to write down the critical information associated with the position (and it’ll be much easier for you to remember which job is which).

Getting a job involves a lot of prior preparation and organization, both of which matter if you really want to get a position that matches your needs. Those applying to multiple jobs will need to set up an organizational system that keeps different groups of information separate, for this ensures a successful application process.

A lack of organization can turn employers off if you arrive at an interview unprepared, and failure to ready yourself beforehand will make you much less confident when going in to speak with employers. Your efforts will make a difference!