Listen up

This blog post about finding and keeping a job in a shrinking market is worth your time to check out. I want to highlight this interesting section:

Interview with your ears. Eighty-five percent of all job seekers talk too much in the interview. Listen closely to what the employer needs then respond as someone who can satisfy those needs. An open-ended question such as “Could you please tell me more about that?” will elicit additional information from an interviewer as well as clearly demonstrate your interest in learning more about the position.

I don’t know where the 85% number comes from but it rings true to me as many people see conversational opportunities as a chance to speak but not to listen. This probably holds true for interviews but whatever the percentage the message about listening attentivley is worth noting. Truly understanding and responding appropriatly to a question is one way we demonstrate to employers that we are suitable for a position.


Picture this

Here’s why you don’t need to include your picture on your resume.

You and your references

Having an employment reference on our resume who doesn’t remember us or who gives a lukewarm reference can mean a lost job opportunity. While doing some research I stumbled upon this page (pdf) that does a good job of summing up the ins and outs of references.

Key points:

  • Check in with your references to get their permission and let them know you are still looking for work (especially if you haven’t talked with them in a while)
  • Make sure the contact info (email addresses and phone numbers) are correct

Now hiring

Did you know that the Times-Colonist has a new feature on Saturdays that lists the names of employers who have jobs to offer ? Well now you do and if you check it out you will see that among the jobs listed that Beanstream is looking for a Junior Programmer and Victorian Epicure is looking for a Purchasing & Inventory Assistant

6 questions

This blog post provides a set of questions that if answered honestly, provide an opportunity for self-assessment.

What’s in a name ?

Think about the last ten jobs you applied for. How many of them were of the on-line variety ? I’m guessing almost all of them. Unless the organization you apply to has their own unique resume creation and submission system (like UVIC), your email and resume is going to sit in an in-box until they get around to clicking on it.

This article at Career Hub reminds us that the filename we choose to give our resume represents a marketing opportunity – one that should not be ignored.

… your first and last name always be included in the file name. It is also a good idea to include a word or short keyword phrase that describes your main skill set or industry (for example, CFO, Marketing Executive, etc.). It is important to keep the keyword phrase fairly short, so as not to create an unwieldy file name that extends beyond fields in a database or beyond the edge of the reader’s window or screen (such as on a Blackberry). A further recommendation is to separate words with hyphens for readability. I have found that underscores (_) also work well for this purpose.

Following is a sample structure for an effective file name:

It’s a tiny detail to be sure but sometimes the small things make all the difference. Besides, we can’t afford to pass up a marketing opportunity – especially one like this that takes almost no effort.

The passive job search

This blog post includes from Fortify Your Oasis, looks at some economic issues but also discusses the various paths toward finding a new job. Typical job search activities normally include:

  • Waiting for the phone to ring
  • Print advertisements
  • Online advertisements
  • Placement agencies
  • Cold-calling employers
  • Personal contacts and your wider network
  • These are listed in order of how passive they are. The most passive approach is simply waiting for an employer to call us. This rarely happens but if you talk to many job seekers this is the approach that is commonly followed.

    If you look at this list and find yourself spending time doing things at the top of the list rather than the bottom then it is likely that your job search approach is simply too passive in nature.

    If you want to be an proactive, efficient  job seeker focus 90% of your energy and time on the items at the bottom of the  list.