Three and a half years ago, I walked into the office of my government client, and said, “I’m done.
I’m giving my two weeks’ notice.” I was pretty fed up, and had stayed in that seven-year job for two years too long. I had no plan. I went home that evening and told my husband I’d quit. He was happy for me because he knew how miserable the job had become, but he was also worried. We needed both of our salaries. I then took on the full-time job of finding a job. And it is a full-time job. I interviewed at about a half-dozen different places, and accepted a position clear across the country, in Seattle.
No less than a year later, there was a changed in leadership at my new position. I found myself working for the same type of person that I’d left at my last position. And so, I found myself on the market again. I took my time, applied only for those positions I really wanted, turned down a few jobs that couldn’t or wouldn’t meet my package requirements satisfactorily, and then found a position that I love about six months into my search.
I say all this to set up this blog post. In less than three years, I’ve switched jobs twice (eek!). And now, my husband is on the job meat market. His entire group was laid off in September. He’d been at the same (international) company for 17 years, and hasn’t had to look for work in that entire time. Seeing as I’ve been on the market recently (twice!) and I spent five years as a hiring manager, I found myself in the coach position. I thought I’d share a few things here that I shared with him.
I’m going a little “writer’s strike,” like when a television show does a flashback retrospective episode because the writers have gone a strike. So I’ll be references some of my former blogs here. But without the corny commentary in-between. Well, maybe.
1. Network! It sounds cliché, but seriously, network. One month into my husband’s search, and he has two interviews. Both of which came from my network. He’s been applying to positions through the usual places – LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc. – but so far it’s the network that’s bearing fruit. So you’ll just have to get over your inability to ask for help. People want to help! So put on your big-boy-pants or your big-girl-pants, and get out and talk to your network! And network with your networks’ networks – you never know where a job opportunity might pop up. Flashback #1: Check out my blog “Tips for Building Your Network.”
2. For the love of Sam, make your cover letter and your resume count. Take a look at some of my previous blogs (“Your Resume,” “What Does My Cover Letter Do for Me?” and “Transferrable Skills for Your Resume, CV, or Next Job Application”) if you’re interested in learning more. Make sure to keep it real, though. Don’t call yourself the CEO and Founder of Company X if it’s your one-person consulting business. A good hiring manager will catch on.
3. Prepare for the interview. There are different considerations if it’s a phone interview, Skype, or in-person. Make sure you understand what your challenges will be. For example, it’s certainly fine to wear Yoga pants to your Skype interview, but perhaps not in-person. Check out my previous blog on “How to Rock the Interview.” Do your homework, and go prepared to ask questions. Wouldn’t hurt to brush up on the Soft Skills, which I happened to write a blog post about. Amazingly, it’s titled “Soft Skills.” Have at it.
4. “I don’t need to make as much money as I did at my previous job. I just need a job.” This is something (gasp!) my husband actually said to me. (After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I calmly explained to him what that’s not an appropriate way to approach this.) NO! Do NOT undervalue your worth! If a company wants to hire you, they won’t rescind their offer based on your salary requirement. Know what you’re worth. Do a little homework. Find out what the market pays for your skills. Look at what packages tend to be offered at the types of companies you’re interested in. You have to live with your package, so make sure it’s something you’re happy with. Flashback warning. Check out my blog “You got the job. Now, how do you negotiate your package.”
If you find yourself in just such a position, I hope this 90s-sitcom-writers-strike-style blog has been at least a little useful. Happy hunting!