Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Joys of Finding and Starting a New Job

Is there anything more agonizing than the job hunting process? From start to finish there is nothing fun about this ordeal. Think for a moment about all that it takes to get a new job and get started at it:

1. The decision to find a new job. For some it may be easy, such as if you currently don't have a job, or if you truly despise what you have to do day in and day out. For most folks though there is a groggy middle-ground. You feel safe where you are, but perhaps your job is dull, repetitive, not well-paid, or an infinite other number of problems. Or perhaps you hate your actual job but love your co-workers, or viceversa . This makes for a difficult dilemma-- "should I stay or should I go" as the Clash once said-- because you may be in a comfortable situation, but you'd like something better... however, there's always that notion in the back of your mind that your next job won't work out, or perhaps leaving your current job will jeopardize you and/or your family in some way (real or perceived), or various other factors that play into it. Ultimately, overcoming this first step and saying, "I want a new job, now I have to go out and get it," is the most important one when all is said and done. You either stay and tough it out, or leave and tough it out. Nothing is straightforward one way or another.

2. The resume. Next you have to polish your resume. Undertaking this process can be easy or daunting, depending on your level of perfectionism and your estimated opinion of what prospective employers are looking for. If you want to throw an average resume out there, you will certainly not be stressed over this step. However, if you begin to consider what other applicants might be writing on their resumes, as well as trying to determine what would most impress a hiring manager... well, you're in for a lot of self-analysis and poring over details. There's no real right or wrong way to put together a resume (other than some general guidelines such as avoiding typos and using poor grammar), and in fact if you were to ask 10 objective people about your resume, you'll like get 18 different answers about how it should look and what it should say. Resumes will forever be an imperfect and maddening science, at least as long as the job search process works like it does now.

3. The job search. In today's world it's rather easy to look for a job posting. Simply go online to a small handful of job sites, enter your criteria, and boom, you get dozens of listings. You can even have job openings emailed to you with various services likeCareerbuilder and Monster. Unfortunately, that's not the best way to do it in the real world. Let's face facts here: Job boards are full of job postings that you'll never get. Perhaps the company knows who it wants to hire already, but by company rules, they have to post the job to outsiders, meaning you're just aspeed bump in the road to hiring someone else. Or inevitably there will be the perfect job for you but it's 2 hours from your house and you're not ready to move. And so on and so forth. Instead you'd probably be better off going the hard way: networking. Start talking to people about your job search, but more importantly SHOW these people what you're capable of doing and they'll be more than willing to talk about you amongst their peers and help you get the job you want. This process takes longer, but in the end you'll have better results. Building solid relationships is much better than blindly throwing around a solid resume.

4. The numbers game. Whether you're replying to job openings, networking, or simply finding companies in the phone book and sending off resumes blindly (not encouraged, but may be worth doing if you're really in a pinch), you are still just a number in the machine of job hiring. After a while you'll find that it will take you "X" number of resume mailings, to get one interview. Some people will have an easier time than others (based on their experience, chosen field, etc.), but whatever the case, there is a ratio that will correlate to the number of responses. Perhaps it's 5 resume sends to 1 response, or perhaps 10:1 or maybe even 100:1. Just realize that you're not the only one applying, and you may never hear back from the vast majority of companies you try and reach. Daunting indeed, but something you must quickly get over and keep on avenging.

5. The interview. Okay, so you got that precious response, now you have to go present yourself to one or more interviewers. Just like in putting together a resume, there's no set criteria that works for every interview, just a few general guidelines like dress appropriately, answer questions openly and honestly, and show who you are. Otherwise, you're at the mercy of the interviewer and hopefully you'll appease them on that given day. Throw in the fact that you're secretly skipping out on your current job to do this, and you're in a very uncomfortable position. Encouraging, huh!?

6. The wait. So you had your interview. Now you wait to hear back from your interviewer. Perhaps it's a few days, perhaps a couple of weeks, but hopefully the amount of time delay will be cleared up during the interview. In any event, it's challenging to sit back and
wait for an answer, especially as you have to keep going to your
current job every day. Meanwhile, as you wait to hear back, you need to decide what kind of offer you would expect from them, and whether or not you'd even want to work at this place. Sometimes you interview perfectly and get the job offered to you, but the place of employment just isn't up your alley... you have to work this out in your heart. Sometimes your instincts are right on this one and you're better off not taking the job. This is up to you, but perhaps others can help you make the decision.

7. The offer. Mr. or Ms. Interviewer has now offered you the job. (Congrats!) First is the difficult part of negotiating your salary and benefits, which may not be negotiable but are important to have all on paper right up front. Assuming you accept, now you have the fun part of telling your current boss that you're leaving. This may be really difficult if you're very attached to your job, or it may be a breeze if you're actually hoping your boss will let you leave right away (aka--getting fired). Giving that letter of resignation can be a sigh of relief or a ball of stress.Everybody's in a different situation, just be prepared.

8. The start. Day 1 on your new job... meeting people and trying to
remember names, taking in the atmosphere, learning all the ropes to
your position, getting a feel for the rhythm of work, and all of the
other experiences make for another stressful situation, though one that will dissipate over time. In the end, you will hopefully get used to it all and succeed. And if not, well, you can always go ahead and start the search all over again!

Best of luck in your hunt... may you be a fortunate one and find your dream job without all of this hassle!

(Thanks to PeoplePlus Consulting for the image!)

1 comment:

tricia said...

very great job advice, thanks!