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A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Job

Posted March 5, 2018

I found the following online 60-minute course on Glassdoor.com, a free online resource for job seekers. It’s an amazing resource that not only includes job listings, but reviews of businesses, reviews of employees who work at these businesses, and a treasure trove of other work-related information, e.g.  the best places to work in your area, and how to figure what your salary should be based on your skill set, years of experience, area of the country, and other earmarks. Glassdoor has its own scale to determine these factors called Know Your Worth. Glassdoor is an associate of Indeed.com, the second most popular job listing site in the world, after Monster.com, which is indeed a monster.

Each numbered item in the list of ten is a quote from Glassdoor’s Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Job, by its own career expert, Scott Dobroski, but within each numbered paragraph, I have paraphrased the information provided and added some insights from my own years of experience working with job seekers.

1. Don’t search job titles; identify your job skills, and search them.
Before you even begin your search, be sure to have a good, clear sense of your most valuable skills and beyond that, how your experience and skills have prepared you for a particular role at this particular time in your career. A job seeker should always be looking for the “next step” in the evolution of his or her career, and their resume needs to be an effective marketing piece to clearly represent you in black and white. Job titles can vary from business to business and can actually be misleading. By focusing on your skills and the skills required for a certain role, you may discover you are qualified for a role and title that will surprise you. Never assume you know the definition of a title. Ask for clarity if you need to.

2. Utilize online resources and company websites.
There is so much more information online these days in addition to job listings, that you really are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t take advantage of it. Becoming a savvy seeker will help you become a more successful job applicant. Checking out a company you are interested in by checking out their website can tell you a lot about the company and may surprise you with an opening that is actually right for you. But before you even send your carefully prepared resume for a job that looks like it might be a good fit, check it out online, and consult the company’s reviews on Glassdoor.com. No use wasting your or the company’s time if you can determine on line that you aren’t interested.

3. Narrow down your to search to best options and apply only to positions that sound most fitting to your skill sets and career goals.
Become a creative, inquisitive seeker. The water hydrant approach to job seeking is only going to get you tired. A better strategy would be to get clear about as many “criteria for the perfect job” as you can and only apply to jobs that excite you and fit your own list of criteria. An example of such a list of criteria follows: Salary: $75K; Size of organization: 50-75; Location: Oakland; Role: Assisting a sales team by producing their marketing materials. This is a description of the role rather than a title. Then only apply to positions that fit the criteria you are clear about. To search for best options, do some digging of your own: attend a social event where you will get the feeling of the company in which you are interested, volunteer at such an event, see if one of your friends or colleagues knows someone at the company, etc.

4. Save the best listings you find for the future.
Even if you don’t hear back from a company, if this is a job description that seems perfect for you, save it. It will now become an example of the type of job and type of company you are looking for. Seek out jobs and companies that are similar. Another strategy is to keep an eye on that company to see what other jobs they might post in the future. I had a client once who did not get the job she desperately wanted, and it killed her to learn from the employer that she was second choice, not first. She told him to remember her if there was ever an opening in the future, because she was sure she would still be interested in the role. About a month later, she received a call from the employer telling her the other candidate had not worked out, and was she still interested? Yes she was, and as it turned out, she stayed employed there for the rest of her career. You never really know how close you are to finding the perfect fit.

5. Customize your resume for each application.
I do not think this means you have to completely reinvent your resume every time you send it out. That would be exhausting. I do think you need a good, up-to-date resume that represents your skills, experience and accomplishments as clearly as possible. But, if, when you look at the job description, you think of ways you could more clearly tie your experience to the job requirements and/or the focus of the organization, it will be more effective to “tweak” it in that way. Be sure to have someone proofread your resume before you send it out. Resumes with grammatical errors end up in the shredder.

6. Don’t restate your resume in your cover letter
And don’t say anything even close to, “Enclosed please find my resume. I’m sure you will see that my resume fits the requirements of the job.” Use the cover letter to say something important about your background and skills that isn’t necessarily in your resume. Or use it to express your particular passion or personality. But do not do this to be manipulative or say something that isn’t authentic. And even if a cover letter is not requested, it is a good idea to include a good one.  

7. Prepare for your interview.
Be sure to research the company or organization with which you will be interviewing. Go online to see what you can find out about the employer in general and what you can find out about them from their own website. Look at Glassdoor’s reviews. And know your own resume! Memorize it. Look with an eye toward anticipating likely questions you will be asked, or if you are likely to be asked tough questions. Practice!

8. Always Ask Questions.
A good interview is an interview which becomes a good conversation.  Good conversations go back and forth.  Preferably ask authentic questions when they occur to you during the interview. If questions have occurred to you as you’ve thought about the job description and the company or organization, by all means ask them! Or if “red flags” appear during the interview, don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions to flesh them out. But don’t make up a foolish question just so you so you will have one. Be curious. Make sure your questions get answered so that you will know why you are making the decision you do when you do so.

9. Send a thank you note. |
Yes, send a simple thank you on a nice-looking card or note paper. This is basic manners after a business meeting, and so many people do it that it is noticeable when you don’t. You never know when you will encounter the person again who has interviewed you. You might be doing business with that person, so leave them with a good impression, whatever happens.

10. If offered the job, don’t accept on the spot.
Give yourself some time to think about the decision once your head has cleared. If you didn’t do so before the interview, be sure you consult Glassdoor’s salary scale. Know Your Worth so you can be more confident about accepting the offer or negotiating for a higher salary. If the organization wants you, they are not likely to get stuck in the mud over your salary, as long as you are being reasonable as well.

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