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Career-Life Times, Issue #66--Research Rocks! Here's Why...
March 25, 2010
You should click on the birdie to...
Because you're reading this newsletter, you've already proven you have the desire to do more than most job seekers. You realize that preparation is essential to winning the job. As Vince Lombardi once said, ďThe only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.Ē
One of the most important aspects of preparation is doing research about the company for which you want to work. Why? Because knowledge is power. The more you know about the company, the better off you'll be at the interview.
Because doing research can be somewhat tedious, this is a step most job seekers donít take Ė so it will give YOU a definite advantage. You can use the information you find to customize your comments during the interview. The interviewer will be impressed that you did your homework, and will believe that you are interested in the company as well as the job. On the other hand, if you donít know squat about the company, the interviewer may not only be unimpressed, he may be downright insulted. Not a good way to make a good first impression!
One more reason to do this research Ė it may save you from making a terrible mistake! If the company has a poor reputation, is in the middle of downsizing, or has a history of frequent layoffs, itís much better to find out about it before the interview, rather than after youíve accepted a job offer!
So do your research. Google is my favorite research tool. Here are a few more:
The Vault - Company Research: www.VaultReports.com
Enter the company name and see what comes up.
Itís likely that the company has its own web site. If so, read it thoroughly (donít just look at the employment opportunities section). Search other Internet sources (or the library) for articles and news stories about the company. If itís a public company and you have time, try to get a copy of their annual report and read it cover-to-cover.
Hereís what you want to find out:
(1) What are the company's mission, vision and goals? Find out as much as you can about what the company does and how it does it. Is it local, national, international? What products or services does it offer? Does it have subsidiaries? Do charity work? Help the environment? Search the Internet to see if the company has issued any press releases. Pay particular attention to any that have been issued recently.
(2) Does the company have a good reputation? Is this a company you'd be proud to name as your employer? Has it ever been in trouble with the FTC or any other government entity? How does it treat employees? How does it treat customers?
(3) What benefits do they offer? Whatís the typical salary range for the type of position youíre considering? Knowing this in advance will help you with salary negotiations later. But salary isn't everything, so find out what other benefits that company offers, such as pension plans, vacation time and health care programs.
Arm yourself with the results of such research efforts, and you'll be way ahead of the competition when it comes to getting hired!
(Note: This is an excerpt from my Job Interview Success System).
There I was, sitting in the small conference room with 10 other people. We'd all been given a memo to review, so the room was quiet as we read.
Suddenly the silence was shattered by an unearthly sound! "Grrrrrooowwwwlllll!" The grumbly-gurgly-rumbling noise was so loud, I was sure the "big one" had hit (where I work is only 3,500 feet from an earthquake fault) and the roof was caving in!
I quickly ducked my head and scanned the room for falling debris. Then I noticed my coworkers. They were looking at ME, their eyes wide in shock.
"Holy crap! What'd you do, skip breakfast and lunch?" One of them asked.
To my horror, I realized the awful noise had come from my growling stomach!
I considered crawling under the table as my face turned red as a chili pepper, but responded, "Whoops, please excuse me. I don't know why that happened. I'm not even hungry!"
The meeting carried on and five minutes later it happened again. "Grrrrrooowwwwlllll!" Everyone looked at me but no one said anything this time. I mouthed "Sorry" and looked down, embarassed. I wanted to punch myself in the stomach. Stupid stomach!
Fortunately it was a short meeting. After it was over I slinked away to my desk and wondered why my stupid stomach had betrayed me.
Has something like this ever happened to you? Perhaps at a job interview?
You should never go to a job interview on an empty stomach. Food gives you energy and helps to keep your brain alert! But will eating before the interview keep your stomach from growling? Maybe... maybe not.
Stomach growling is the result of the process your body uses (which involves muscle contractions, gases and air) to move and digest food. Stomach growling can happen at any time -- not just when you're hungry -- but if there's food in your stomach or small intestine, the growling is usually quieter.
A good way to keep your stomach quiet is to eat several small meals instead of a few large ones. Remember that on job interview day. Or when you have to attend an important meeting.
You can read more about stomach growling and other fun digestive facts here: Why Does My Stomach Growl?
You might think there's never been a worse time to look for work in the traditional job market, with unemployment at 10.4% and no relief in sight.
But you would be only half right.
While there's never been a worse time for traditional job-search methods, "Guerrilla" job hunters are enjoying consistent success -- even in today's awful economy.
Because Guerrillas choose not to participate in the recession.
To illustrate, here's a recent story from our client files: Steve Cobain, from Pittsburgh, Penn.
Cobain was laid off as a financial services executive in December 2008, after which, he followed the standard advice given by a well-known outplacement firm. "They introduced me to the 'new age' of job search, which was mainly Internet-based. It focused on getting a resume out, playing a numbers game, going through advertised positions. And it was a very frustrating process," he says.
"In nine months, I looked on all the employment web sites, responded to 400 advertised openings and sent out about 1,500 resumes by email," says Cobain. "That produced four job interviews and no offers."
Frustrating, yes. And all too-common. Repeat after me: If you do what everyone else is doing to look for work, you'll get results like everyone else is getting.
And everyone else is taking 29.7 weeks -- about 7 months -- to find a job, according to February 2010 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks the average length of unemployment.
So, Cobain changed his job-search strategy and decided to "go Guerrilla" in December 2009, one year after being displaced.
He did five things differently. And he got six job offers in only six weeks. He's now working again.
Want to know what he did?
1) Write a job shopping list
That's what Cobain was taught in outplacement. But 1,500 resumes later, he had nothing to show for it.
Guerrillas know better. They create a targeted list of 10-20 employers, then go after them systematically.
What, you say? Your ideal employer isn't hiring? Doesn't matter.
Because the one-word antidote to a hiring freeze is "attrition."
Guerrillas know that companies lose workers every day, week, or month, through resignations, death, or layoffs. By focusing their efforts on a shortlist of employers, Guerrillas contact hiring managers enough times to stay top of mind until a position opens up or is created for them.
2) Create a Guerrilla Resume
Guerrilla Resumes, using color graphics and logos, along with short quotes from past clients or managers, get extraordinary results, as Cobain found.
"Virtually everybody commented on the creativity of the Guerrilla Resume," he says. "I had several people tell me that, instead of the position I was interviewing for, they should hire me into their marketing or PR group."
3) Tell your network how to help
Cobain got job leads for several weeks after sending a "chain email" to friends and past co-workers that said, in effect, "Here are the 10 employers I want to work for. Who do you know that I should be talking to there? And could you please forward this email to 10 other people?"
4) Get names of hiring managers
In most cases, they were VPs or CEOs at his target employers. In no cases where they HR people. Because hiring managers give orders on when and how to create jobs. HR managers only follow those orders.
5) Contact hiring managers, Guerrilla-style
He inserted his Guerrilla Resume in a coffee cup, wrote a cover letter asking to meet for coffee, then sent all three in a box addressed by name to the hiring manager.
"I had numerous comments congratulating me on the creativity about how my resume arrived," says Cobain. "Several people asked: 'How did you find me? I usually don't get resumes. How did you know I was the person you needed to come to?'"
So, what were the final results?
Cobain's Guerrilla job search produced eight interviews, six offers, and a new job as a VP close to his Pittsburgh home -- in six weeks. He started work on February 22, 2010.
Now, go out and make your own luck!
Resume not working? Ready to try something different in your job search? You can get instant access to the same Guerrilla Resumes mentioned in this article, here: GuerrillaResumes.com.
1. More Articles. You can find more articles by going to my online Article Index. Here are some new ones you might enjoy:
And from my blog...
2. Work at Home Jobs. Interested in working from home? There are lots of scammers out there who want to take advantage of you. Avoid them and get legitimate information and resources here: Real Work at Home Jobs.
3. The Best Career Strategies of 2010. If you haven't already grabbed this f*ree report I compiled that's loaded with helpful career tips from dozens of experts, you can get it here: F*ree Report.
4. The Job Interview Success System. The job market is getting better, but it still sucks. You don't have to go it alone. Get step-by-step help and a big advantage over your competition with my job-winning System. Read all the details here: Job Interview Success System.
is that little extra."
Entertainment Night at the Senior Center
Claude the hypnotist was just beginning his show: "I'm here to put you all into a trance. I intend to hypnotize each and every member of the audience."
The excitement grew as Claude withdrew a beautiful antique pocket watch from his coat. The polished metal gleamed in the light.
Claude said: "I want you each to keep your eyes on this antique watch. It's a very special watch. It's been in my family for six generations."
He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting, "Watch the watch, watch the watch, watch the watch..."
The crowd became mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth, light shimmering off its polished surface. Hundreds of pairs of eyes followed the swaying watch, until, suddenly, it slipped from Claude's fingers and fell to the floor, shattering into a hundred pieces!
"SHIT!" exclaimed Claude.
It took 3 days to clean up the Senior Center.
So, what did you think of this issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me a note at Bonnie@Best-Interview-Strategies.com
Please forward this to your friends!
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P.P.S. I apologize for the glitches (especially in links) you may see if you receive this as straight text. If you can receive your email in HTML format, choose that and it'll look better. (There may still be some odd formatting quirks, though.)
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