Saturday, March 28, 2009

Top Ten Job Searching Tips

How many of these have you read? Here we go again, but this time I am concentrating on those matters which have emerged over the last two to three years, that we often neglected or failed to use in the past; mainly it's to do with new technology.
  1. Get a professional email address.
    Ditch your school one or pseudonmym name especially if it's like this: babyangel at gmail.com (I can't put it in its usual format as the AI of the search engine Bing decides to make it my contact email address). Now is the time to professionalise yourself, use your proper name or professional name.
  2. Google yourself.
    Sounds egotistic doesn't it? But just in case you wrote something many years ago, and it raises its head to bite you in the foot, it is better to check what is out there on you in cyber space. As an example, I had written several poems years ago, and put them up on the web to enter an online competition; but little did I know they had changed the copyright date to last year which altered the whole meaning of the poem as it was time sensitive. Also you don't want to be saying things which you may regret later. Also while we are at it, blog your email address, telephone number and address as well, all these can leave a digital footprint exposing yourself to other information which you may wish to keep private.
  3. Add your email address to your CV or résumé.
    How many times do I see this omission?
  4. Start blogging.
    This is a free way of getting yourself known and building your profile. There are many blogger sites, including this one. The advantage of Blogger is that it is owned by Google and, therefore, your tagged information may appear in the rankings higher than others using different blog accounts.
  5. Register on online job sites.
    There are many: www.seek.com, www.TradeMe/jobs.co.nz, and also check out your local newspaper online listings.
  6. Use social networking sites to your advantage.
    Make a special professional Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo etc account specifically to your work environment, keep your personal social networks to your friends.
  7. Network.
    Join societies, organisations and clubs associated to your career. Check out the Yellow Pages and online directories to see what is available, then network with these people. They will know of new openings and people in the know who will help you.
  8. Specialize – Become a Subject Matter Expert.
    A sophisticated society has many specialist roles, therefore, the more specialised you are or can become, the more expertise you can provide, and more value to an employer's team. But don't forget to be a generalist in all areas connected with your career.
  9. Lead from your strengths.
    If you know what you are good at, or above average, or just brilliant at ... then move from that area first. If you are good at public speaking then use that as your primary form of accentuating your strengths.
  10. Mitigate your weaknesses.
    Similar to number nine. Play down your weaknesses. Avoid (especially in those first couple of meetings) those things that you are not so good at, or generally don't like doing. This could be as simple as handwriting (if you feel yours is too messy), or keyboarding (if you are too slow), or anything you feel may jeopardize your chances of a job.
Paula Stenberg 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Consultation Process

When people book in for a CV consultation, they often wonder what they should bring with them. So here I have developed a list of useful items to have on standby.

  • an old CV (we can use as a base, foundation or a starting point to develop your new CV);
  • written references (these are handy because we are reading about you from another person, any material from the references we can use 'pull quotes' and add them into your CV building credibility);
  • performance appraisals (again a handy tool for us, as they let us look at you from an employer's perspective; these performance appraisals usually have major projects that you may have worked on, we can then convert these projects into achievement based statements; they also have comments that we can project into the CV – and we only ever accentuate the positive);
  • personality profiles (again we use this material to help paint a profile of yourself within the CV);
  • job advertisements (these are jobs you are wanting to go for, they are useful as they have key words and terminology that you may wish to use);
  • job descriptions (both your current role or past role, and also the future role you wish to target – anything we cite from here will be credible);
  • portfolio (a folio providing samples of what you do).

All these items are good resources for us to help us write and articulate your most salient features.