Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Johnny C's Juicy Jobs Of The Week

[Weird title, huh? Not if you've listened to any of the podcasts it's not, but this is a family-friendly blog.]

First order of busines today was to fax my invoice for a freelance article I wrote recently. That will be featured on a website to be launched very soon. I accepted a lower freelance rate than normal for two reasons: (1) It's a new launch, so will have the heck promoted out of it and my name gets a nice boost, and (2) The subject matter pertains to a situation that could help me big time, so by losing a small bit of cash with the lower rate it could reap much larger dividends in the future. Time will tell...

Also found out that a few ex-colleagues are reading my blog. Thanks chaps, much appreciated! Still feels like I'm there with you playing Xbox games in the kitchen instead of making the company money. Good memories. Oops, too much? [Insert ironic smiley icon here, not sure what intricate combination of commas and semicolons to use for that wry facial expression.]

So, here's a few tips for anyone else out there looking for a new job. In no particular order. You're welcome.

Be Patient
Unless you're the only person in the whole world who can do your job, you won't get a response to your application the next day. Sometimes not even for a week. Be patient, send it and forget it. They will call you for an interview if they're interested. Move onto the next application and remember that you haven't got a new job till you sign that contract. All the talk and negotiation is just part of the game.

Salary Is Not Taboo
I always ask the salary range in the first interview, or even on the phone when I get called if possible. It's better not to waste people's time if it's not in the range you're looking for. I got strung along years back through three interviews before finding out it was a salary that was much too low for my experience. Only made that mistake once.

Pack, Not Pad, Your Resume
There's two camps on this. The "one-page bullet point resume" or the "three-page detailed resume." I have tried both ways in the past, and have found that the latter gets more response. Put your profile, relevant experience and accomplishments at the top for the "HR scanners" who want that quick hit of info. But include the rest further down. Don't leave them guessing, or force them to make an extra phone call to fill in the blanks. Make their job easy and lay it all on the line when you apply. Takes a while to put a full resume together, but it's worth it in the long run. My opinion only, and I know people will disagree... but it's my blog.

We Want God To Work For Us
No they don't. Most job descriptions list all the qualifications that the ideal candidate will have, for example, God. Don't be put off applying just because you don't have skill #29 out of 40. The ideal candidate doesn't exist. If you have 75% of the skills the company is looking for, it's worth going for it. They will train you or outsource the rest. But be realistic. If it stresses "Must speak Spanish" and you don't, then you're going to look a right tool when they ask you to phone the sales office in Madrid and translate for the CEO.

Negotiating the final offer is a game of tennis. They lob an offer at you... you take a step back, think about the return... and lob the ball back with a spin on it. Unless you're extremely lucky -- or the person in the first tip that is the only one who can do that job -- then you won't get all you ask for. You have to compromise and look at the big picture. Make sure the offer is a fair one, and feel good about it, otherwise you will resent the company as having put one over on you when actually start the job. It's only downhill from there. You gotta work for a living, so at least enjoy it and feel like you're being aptly rewarded. You'll do a better job too.

Send Two Applications
When you apply, if it's just an or e-mail then use that, but also research someone at the company who heads the department you are aiming at, and cc them the e-mail too. [Risky if the person you cc doesn't realise it's their job you're applying for. Oh well, that's business life, and means HR aren't being discreet enough if that happens.] All the "hr" and "info" applications will go into one slush pile, but hopefully yours will be rerouted through the company and get noticed. This tip worked for me recently actually... but I aimed for the boss of the company as a long shot.

Get A Life!
Don't spend all day in front of the computer looking for a job and panicking. You'll be running around the Internet like a headless chicken. Have a system and stick to it. Get out, grab a tea, hit the gym -- don't feel guilty that you're missing opportunities, they will be there tomorrow.

[Disclaimer: By having read all the above confirms you agree that a new job is not guaranteed. You can't not agree because you've already read this sentence, thus agreeing. So you can't sue me. Good luck!]

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