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Job Search Strategies

Part One: 10 Rules for Writing a Dynamic Resume
Part Two: Network Your Way to Your New Job
Plus the Best Use of the Internet

Part Three: Effective Interviewing and Negotiating

  1. Practice, practice, practice! It's the best way to overcome interview jitters. You'd be amazed at how many people go into interviews cold and try to "wing it" for career opportunities of a lifetime. Role play with a friend or colleague … and tape-record yourself. It's one thing to read questions and think you know your response … if you force yourself to do it verbally, you'll quickly uncover areas of interview weakness.
  2. The interview should be collaborative—with you assessing fit as they evaluate your skills. Ask what they're seeking in qualified candidates and demonstrate how your background dovetails.
  3. Always prep questions to ask—and never leave the interview without obtaining business cards for everyone with whom you spoke.
  4. Be certain to ask the next step in the process. It helps to structure your follow-up so that you're not left "hanging."
  5. Thank you notes—send the same day as interview! Write to everyone with whom you interviewed. And gear formality to the organization. Email is best and should be formal (Dear Ms. Smith, not Sue).
  6. Use thank you as forum to reiterate key selling points and clarify anything you forgot to mention in the interview. The thank-you email is also an excellent tool for recovering from any interview missteps (“When you asked me about problem-solving skills, I neglected to mention…”), then sharing a powerful, transferable example that ties to something you learned about the organization.
  7. If salary is asked too soon in the process (before you've sold yourself), ask if they're ready to extend offer. (They're probably not—and are most likely trying to assess if they can afford you and if you're the right level.) The best reply if pushed regarding salary requirement, "I'm confident that if we reach a consensus that I'm the right fit for XYZ company, we'll be able to determine a compensation package that we're both happy with." To a repeated query for a number, "I'm considering opportunities in the $75K-to-$95K range plus perqs."
  8. When it is the right time to discuss money (and you want this as far out as possible on the timeline), remember this: they've spent a lot of time sourcing candidates and getting this far to decide you're right for the position. Don't give up your negotiating power too quickly. When the number is expressed, respond initially by repeating the number, then with thoughtful silence (on the phone or in person). If the number is significantly lower than anticipated, note the range you are contemplating and let them respond. Express enthusiasm for the offer extended. Suggest that this is a good time to discuss tangible and intangible perqs and benefits. Then reiterate excitement, ask for the offer in writing, and promise to carefully consider it over the next week.
  9. Top things to negotiate in addition to the salary (as relevant depending upon level of position): all perqs, relocation, car, mileage reimbursement, in-office phone line and computer, flexibility of working from home occasionally/regularly, vacation (remember to negotiate this year's paid vacation), a 90-day or 6-month review with clause to boost salary a given percentage, and a bigger commission number.
  10. If employed, do not give your notice until you've received an offer in writing—and accepted it in writing. And, remember, it is almost always a big career mistake to accept a counteroffer from your current employer.

Happy job searching—good luck closing the right opportunity for you! Through Absolute Advantage, we provide coaching assistance to our clients throughout all aspects of the job search, interview, and negotiation phases … and we'd be delighted to work with you. Simply contact us for a complimentary quotation of the specific services best targeting your requirements.

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