We’ve been saying for a long time that employers are paying more attention to “soft skils” – leadership, communication, and so on. Now, business schools are starting to teach soft skills, according to a recent article by Phred Dvorak in the Wall Street Journal.
Archive for February, 2007
You’ve often heard that just sending your resume in to a big company through their online job site is a waste of time, right? Well, here’s proof.
Bostonworks.com reports on a study where researchers took a job opening and wrote 100 resumes specifically for that position. They then added 10% more information, and submitted them. Only 12% were picked up by the system as qualified.
Therefore, even if you are perfect for an advertised job, and your perfect resume shows that, there is still a greater than 90% chance that their automated system will NOT select your resume for further consideration.
One question that trips a lot of people up during the hiring process involves salary history. Knowing what you are currently paid might give some indication of what your current company thought you were worth when they hired you. However, it may or may not have anything to do do with fair compensation for the new company and position for which you are interviewing.
A better way to answer this question is to have done your homework, and report that the ACS Salary Comparator (or other impartial expert) indicates that the typical salary range for the new position would be between X and Y. Then ask if that’s the range they are planning to offer. This shows that you are educated about the position for which you are applying, and that you understand what is relevant, and what is not.
Also remember that negotiation should not start until you have an offer in hand, and that salary is only part of the total compensation package. (And sometimes not even the most important part.)
A recent article gives “88 Surefire Tips and Tricks” on How to Ace Your Job Interview. It has a lot of great specifics, including stay current, do your homework, and always appear professional.
The Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library has a great list of resources you can use when researching a potential employer before going on an interview. Some of them are specific to chemists – about the only thing not listed is checking for patents issued to the company.
Checking out the company is something I highly recommend. Not only does it set you apart from other candidates (most of whom don’t bother to do this), but it shows you’re serious about that company, and you’re not going to waste their time asking questions you could easily the answers to on your own.
Thanks to Jennifer P. for pointing this out!
Networking is NOT asking everyone you know for a job.
Networking IS building relationships with colleagues and peers over a long period of time, and helping them without expecting anything in return, so that when you need something you can call on their eyes and ears to help you find it.
Barbara Safani of CareerSolvers recently wrote a great article with Seven Rules for Networking Success, which includes examples of what to do, and what not to do. Check it out!
I talk to a lot of job seekers. When I ask how their job search is going, they tell me about all the online boards they have been submitting their resume to. Very few of them are researching companies, talking to people, or doing anything more than pressing “Submit”.
Jim Durbin, a recruiter and consultant here in St Louis wrote a great article called Are you really going to apply online? that explains better than I could what really happens when you submit your resume to one of these job boards. Well worth reading!
I was reminded today how powerful email is, when a college accidentally sent me a message that was intended for another “Lisa”. While in this case it caused only minor confusion, I thought I would share a couple of stories that illustrate just how powerful this tool can be.
A few years ago I emailed a proposal to a potential client. He emailed back, rejecting my proposal in favor of doing the work in-house. I forwarded their rejection to my business mentor, along with a comment asking for advice. My mentor emailed back, saying the client had made a big mistake, and would shortly be coming to me to bail them out when their staff proved inadequate. Unfortunately, her email client was set to reply to the ORIGINAL sender, so it went to the client instead of to me. (Yes, it was ugly, and no, neither of us ever worked for that client.)
The wife of a co-worker was using her husband’s computer. She wrote an email to her friend “Lisa”, detailing her distress with some personal and medical issues. However, since she was logged in as her husband, not herself, the email was send to her husband’s “Lisa” alias (me) instead of her “Lisa” alias (her friend).
Lessons to be learned?
If you have a common first name, you will occasionally get very interesting emails.
Make VERY sure of the address before clicking “Send”.
Do you have an interesting or embarrasing email story to share? Post it as a comment!