Today, there are many ways to communicate. There’s old fashioned in person talking. There’s talking on a landline at home or work, and talking on a cell phone. Then, there’s email and cell phone texting. If you keep going, you’ll find things like messaging on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so many more.
Chances are good that you assume that other people prefer to communicate the way you do. For example, if you’re comfortable with texting on your cell phone for business, you may do it without consideration as to whether the person on the other end is okay with it too.
But, we’re in the middle of an interesting time communication wise. In one workplace, you have many different generations working together. There are those who didn’t use computers until they were well into their professional careers. There are those in Generation X that grew up without computers, and then with them later in school. And, then you have those who don’t remember a time without computers or cell phones.
Every generation may have different communication preferences. Even within a generation, the preferences vary. One person may feel completely comfortable texting any time of day or night about work. Another may feel completely comfortable to call. While a third may think nothing about sending an email with many people carbon copied on it.
The problem is, when we don’t openly discuss our preferences, we may annoy those we work with. It’s not to say that disclosing our own preference will mean everyone will accommodate our wishes. But, if we don’t talk about the differences, we won’t know where the pitfalls are. After all, there’s no one right way to communicate.
I prefer not to text about work. I’d rather have an in person conversation, a phone call, or an email. Email feels easiest for me. Although there are times when a live conversation is more effective.
Whatever you do, don’t assume. You may even want to talk to your team at work about what the communication guidelines will be in your group. What does each person prefer? Is it okay to text or email at night or on the weekends? When is it appropriate and when should things wait? Are there times when a meeting is more effective, or is the efficiency of email the way to go?
The same thought process should be applied to job interviews. If you’re the company, be aware that job seekers may not love it that you text them or call with no notice. You’re right that they’ve never complained. It’s because they’re hoping to get a job from you, and they want to be easy to work with. If you’re the candidate, rely on more traditional communication methods such as phone and email. Don’t assume the company is okay with a text. And, only call if the recruiter or hiring manager has given you their contact information.
When you’re job searching, you’ll hear a number of terms to describe people who will help you to look for work. One is recruiter. One is headhunter. Others are placement agency or placement firm. You may even hear someone described as an internal recruiter versus an external recruiter. Are you confused yet?
An internal recruiter is one that works for the company you’re apply to work for. They may source (find) candidates for the hiring manager (the future boss). Very often, they do the first official company screening call. They’re also the ones that help to shepherd you through the interview process. At the end of the search, they’re also often the person you’ll be negotiating a job offer with.
But, there are times when the company wants to (or needs to) enlist a little extra help with their search for great candidates. When this happens, they’ll hire external recruiters. External recruiters are sometimes called headhunters. You’ll find that external recruiters either work for a recruiting firm or staffing agency – or they may be independent.
A few well known staffing agencies are Robert Half and Korn Ferry. There are many more national agencies, and local agencies that you can pick from.
There are a few times when recruiters seem to be the most helpful: in senior level executive searches, for contract work, and for technology jobs.
If you choose to work with an external recruiter, there are a few things you need to know. First, they should be free for you to use. The company pays the recruiter for their services. This is great news, but remember – the recruiter works for the company. They may seem nice, but every call with them is an interview.
Another thing is, most recruiters will force you to disclose either your salary history or your future salary requirements. If you’re looking for a contract role, this is an hourly number. Be prepared with how you want to answer the question.
Recruiters say they’ll help you negotiate. The more you get paid, the more they get paid. This is true, but – there’s more. Think of how a realtor works to sell a house. If the house sells for $10,000 more or less, the realtor’s commission is only marginally impacted. The same thing applies to recruiters. Their number one goal is to form a match between a company and a job seeker. The exact amount of money is less important.
Headhunters can be a valuable resource to your job search. But, don’t make them your only resource. Keep looking on your own. And, keep checking in with the recruiters if you don’t hear back. If you don’t stay in touch, they’ll assume you found a job.
January is finally here. The start of this New Year seems to be hitting many people hard. It’s the beginning of a new decade. Even the year, 2020, gives us some pressure to find our way and see the future more clearly.
Over the holidays, you may have taken a little time to line up your New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you want to get in shape, lose weight, or learn a new hobby. Or, maybe you want to spend more time with loved ones.
For many people, their resolution is to embark on an entirely new career path. Maybe you’re ready to get into management. Or, on the flip side, you could be ready to become an individual contributor again.
Write a list of your career resolutions. Think of what you’d like to accomplish. Would you like to land a new job? Make more money? Take a class? Finish a degree? Manage others? Do more public speaking, or learn a new software program? Write it down. Write everything down.
Once you have a goal list, begin to estimate how much time each goal might take you to accomplish. Then, begin to plot out your goals by months of the year. To make real progress, you can’t assume you’ll finish everything by March. Space things out, and be realistic with your expectations.
What I hope you’ll see is that goals and resolutions aren’t just for January. They’re something to work on all year. In fact, you may want to revisit them each month or each quarter to see how you’re doing so far. That’s how we plan goals at work, yet for ourselves, we often forget to put in this level of planning.
When I’m setting goals, I often prioritize them. Since it’s often not possible to complete everything, it’s good to think through which goals are the most important. And, if you have tasks that tie back to a larger goal, make note of it. It will help you as you’re plotting your future year.
And, there are some years when things are on a pretty good track. They’re going at a good pace, and you want to keep moving in the direction you established the year before. Those years are great. If you find yourself in this position, enjoy it. Soak up the progress you’ve made and the stability you’ve created.
But, for the rest of us, it’s time to get started. After all, the job market is still looking pretty strong. This is the perfect time to begin to reestablish what you want for yourself going forward. Think of it like a gift to yourself. If you could do anything with your life, what would it be? If you had a clean slate, what would you wish for?
In summary, write your resolutions down. Map them out on your 2020 calendar. The more work you put in now, the more goals you’ll meet.
This is the perfect time to work on your 2020 plan. As you prioritize your New Year’s resolutions, consider a career cleanup along with your plans to go to the gym more often. If you’ve been thinking of a career change, whether it’s an internal promotion or moving to a new company or field altogether, this is the perfect time.
Start by evaluating your personal priorities. Are you looking for a financial boost? Or, are you searching for an improved work-life balance? Do you want to find a way to apply your current skills to a new type of job?
Whatever your ultimate goal, start by taking a look at your own personal brand. Consider the content and photos that you’re posting online to sites like Facebook. Ensure that your social media accounts have strict privacy settings, so you’re able to control the image your future employer has of you. Sign up for LinkedIn or update your existing profile. Ensure your work history is up to date and that you are connected to those in your life who might help you with your search. If you feel comfortable, ask a colleague for a written endorsement on the site.
Clean up your day-to-day practices at your current job too. Ensure that you’re on time and meeting your existing commitments. Present your appearance in a neat and orderly fashion. Even when you do find a new job, you will want to maintain a positive relationship with your former employer. Additionally, your current work practices reflect on you as you begin your search.
Next, dust of your resume and update your cover letter. Ensure that your resume is accurate and reflects all of the work you’ve been doing. And, remember to keep it to one or two pages in length. No hiring manager wants to sift through pages and pages of a candidate’s work.
Once you’re comfortable that your personal brand is ready for prime time, start looking for jobs online. Sites like Indeed.com aggregate jobs from many other sites, so you’ll save time in your search. Use your personal priorities to guide you and select a few types of jobs and organizations you’re the most interested in.
Finally, start the process of networking. Look for industry or interest specific events to attend. Events are a great opportunity to talk about yourself and your goals. Practice talking about yourself and what you’re looking for. You should work to narrow this pitch down to about thirty seconds or less.
Bring your business cards, and be prepared to give them out. For each event, consider setting a goal to exchange business cards with three to five people. Setting a goal makes it easier to do and in no time, you’ll find yourself with an expanded network.
The New Year is an exciting time that’s full of possibilities. If you set your mind to it, 2020 could be your most exciting year yet.
The title of this column may sound funny. After all, you’re looking for a new job, not a steak and baked potato. On the surface, you’re right, but there are lessons you can carry over from your dinner tonight to your job interview tomorrow morning.
Like a dinner party, you never know who you might be introduced to when you’re searching for a job. When you go for an interview, it’s important to be friendly to each person you meet – whether they’re the intern or the CEO.
At dinner, there are also three topics universally considered impolite to discuss: religion, politics and money. Religion is obvious, since you often don’t know which religion someone may be, or if they practice any religion at all. Politics make sense too.
During the job hiring process, many people will review your resume and your cover letter. Some you may never meet and others you will spend hours with during the hiring process. During the interview, it will be difficult to distinguish someone’s religious affiliations or political beliefs. Making an assumption about someone else’s beliefs may easily lead you down the wrong path.
Although you may feel very strongly about your views, it’s important to consider one thing. Is it more important that everyone you meet during your interview process knows your personal views, or is it more important that you get a job?
The purpose of an interview is for your future employer to make judgments about you. They want to decide whether or not you would make a good fit for a particular role. In the same way that you wouldn’t want to distract them or turn them off by wearing jeans, you should also avoid the pitfall of sharing your personal views.
The best policy is to brand yourself with your educational and work-related achievements. Focus on these in your resume, cover letter and in-person discussions. Downplay things like religion and politics that will distract from these points.
Talking about money during dinner can create tension. In an interview, discussing money is not recommended because you may harm your chances of receiving the highest possible salary. The saying goes that in negotiations, whoever speaks of money first is the loser. Keep this in mind, and allow the interviewer to show their cards before you do.
After a dinner party, you tell the host thank you. You should also take the time to thank the company that interviewed you. They hosted you. They have put schedules on hold, setup meetings, and sometimes have even flown you in. At a minimum, send a thank you note via email to each person you meet.
The only exceptions are when you are applying for a religious or political organization with whom your personal views align. In that case, you may be more open. But remember, not everyone at the organization may share the organization’s views, so be sensitive in how you share.