On his website Richard Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, with 10 million copies sold, said that some career counselors who say they’re teaching the principles of his book are not.
In order to clarify those principles, Bolles lists the 25 key ideas of his book. And it’s worth repeating them, so that readers will have a better idea of how an effective job search can be done. Here they are in a nutshell:
- Sending out resumes is not the best way to find a job. In fact he says that only 1 out of 270 resumes actually results in a job.
- Google is the new resume. It is, because most employers use applicants’ names to search the web to see what they can discover about them. And that information may be very different than what people include in their resumes.
- The job-hunting system is broken. In fact there is no real job-hunting system, so many job openings are not filled effectively.
- There are more job vacancies than people think there are. Forget the federal government’s monthly unemployment report, says Bolles. That doesn’t tell the real story. Instead pay attention to the government’s Job Opportunities and Labor Turnover (JOLT) Monthly Report, which details the unfilled job vacancy numbers at the end of the previous month.
- Job hunters and employers search for each other in opposite ways.
- Best and worst ways to search for a job:
- Best ways: Conducting a self inventory, joining a job club, searching for companies to target in the Yellow Pages (or whitepages.com), visiting potential employers (especially companies with 50 employees or fewer) and asking for job leads from all of your contacts.
- Worst ways: Searching internet job postings, sending out resumes and going to government employment agencies.
- Conducting a self-inventory, in which you really discover what type of work you are suitable for and learn more about yourself, is more effective than researching the job-market.
- Tests like the Myers-Briggs are not an effective way to discover the job that might be right for you.
- It is not just skills that matter but the skills that you love to use the most. These show your passion.
- Rather than trying to shape yourself to “fit” a certain job, you should look for a job that will “fit” you.
- Look at a job hunt as a career change. Try breaking down past jobs into building blocks and rearranging them to create a similar job or an entirely new one.
- Answer what? where? and how? What are the skills you like to use, where would you like to use them and how do you discover the titles of jobs that use these skills. You must also determine the type of places that offer these jobs and the name of the hiring managers in those places.
- Using Bolles’ prioritizing grid offers job seekers a chance to prioritize such assets as skills, experience and knowledge.
- Avoid the human resources department if at all possible. Its work is to eliminate applicants. Contact the manager in the department you’re interested in working in instead.
- Make a list of the negative working conditions you’ve experienced in the past and pair them with their opposites. Rank these to find the type of conditions that will provide a suitable workplace.
- Conduct your own:
- Interviews with people who share common interests with you to practice interviewing.
- Informational interviewing to learn more about the type of work you might be interested in.
- Interviewing for hire – the real deal in which you’re interviewing employers to see if there might be a match between you and them.
- Contact any employer that interests you, even if they may not have any job openings.
- Small companies – those with less than 100 employees – are the best to approach.
- The best alternative to a resume is to get in touch with an employer directly – through a mutual contact if possible.
- There are only five things hiring managers are really concerned about when they interview you:
- Why are you here?
- What can you do for us?
- What kind of person are you?
- What distinguishes you from other applicants?
- Can we afford to hire you?
- In an interview for hire, pay attention to the time and don’t talk more than half the time. Also limit answers to questions to no more than two minutes.
- If at the conclusion of the interview you decide that you’d like to work there, ask for the job.
- Always send a thank-you note to everyone you talked to during the interview.
- It’s all about the numbers. Every “no” you hear brings you closer to the eventual “yes.”
- Always have alternatives in terms of places to target and techniques to use.
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