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Career-Life Times, Issue #7 -- The Perfect Job?
August 07, 2004
I hope your summer is going well!
We've got a lot to cover in this issue, so get yourself a cool beverage, get comfortable, and enjoy!
Welcome to the seventh issue of CAREER-LIFE TIMES! I hope you find this little publication to be informative, useful and entertaining!
If you don't like it, there's an unsubscribe link at the end. And if you have any ideas on how I can improve it, please let me know -- I greatly value your suggestions! My email address is also at the end.
* Ever Thought About the "Perfect" Job?
Do you love your job? If so, congratulations! (You can skip the rest of this article!)
Many people actually dread going to work each day. Others are rather ambivalent...they can take it or leave it.
If you do not love your job, perhaps it's time to give some thought to your chosen career. After all, you'll spend a huge part of your life at work. Wouldn't it be better if you actually enjoyed earning a living?
So, what do you enjoy? What's your idea of the perfect job? Have you given any serious thought to pursuing that--what it would be and how you would obtain it?
There are thousands of interesting and exciting professions in the world. How many of them have occurred to you?
I think a fun job would be the "Professional driver on closed course" that you read about (if you squint) in the fine print on TV car commercials. Zooming across the desert salt flats, doing donuts in the dust in a brand new sporty car... yep, I think I could handle that. I'd also love to write for a living. Hey, wait a minute... that's what I'm doing!
What's your passion?
Do you like animals? Ever thought about running away to join the circus? Seriously, they are often looking for people to groom, feed, clean and exercise their exotic and domestic animals. How about working in a zoo or animal hospital? Or what about starting up your own dog-sitting/walking business? Studies show that interacting with animals reduces stress and helps people relax. Wouldn't it be nice to come home from work relaxed and unstressed?
Do you like movies? Ever thought about being in one? My husband's niece is a movie extra. She's appeared in several TV shows, including "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Although she's never had a speaking part, she's having a lot of fun working around movie and TV sets while she finishes college. Casting agencies are always on the lookout for extras, especially for location shoots.
Do you like sports? Ever thought about being a golf pro? Did you know there are more than 25 million amateur golfers in the United States? I'm sure many of them could use some professional help! Tennis players are probably in the same boat. A friend of mine is a tennis pro at a ritzy country club. He makes a great salary doing something he'd do for free.
Do you like to travel? Every thought about teaching English overseas? There are many opportunities to do this, particularly in Asia. And you often don't need any kind of teaching certificate or credentials. Or how about working on a cruise ship, or being a tour guide?
The point is, if you put your mind to it, you could probably find a "perfect" job that doesn't feel like work! So as part of your career planning strategy, think about what you'd truly love to do, not just how much money you'd like to earn.
An excellent resource for information on tons of fabulous jobs is FabJob.com
Find your passion, then do your research and take action to live your dream!
Many job seekers tend to overlook job fairs. They are crowded, busy, competitive and sometimes confusing events. But where else can you visit dozens of potential employers on the same day and in the same place? And you know what? Job fairs can help you land a job! Here's how to get the most out of these events:
1. Do advance research. You goal is to target the most promising employers at upcoming job fairs. To do that, you need to know who those employers are and what they offer. Usually, the promotional materials or advertisements for job fairs will list participating employers and the general types of jobs they have open. Get online and search for information about the companies you are interested in. Knowing more about the companies than the other job seekers who visit their booths will help you make a memorable impression. The more you know, the better.
2. Bring enough résumés. Bring at least 25 clean, crisp copies of your résumé (more if it's a large event).
3. Be prepared to fill out applications. Most companies will not accept a résumé INSTEAD of an application. So even if you provide them with a nice résumé, you'll probably be asked to fill out an application form, too. Be sure to bring a pen and a "cheat sheet" with the information you'll need to complete job applications on the spot. This is better than taking the applications home and sending them back later, as many job seekers will do. You'll beat them to the punch!
4. Dress for success. First impressions are important. Just because job fairs tend to be friendly, informal events, don't be too casual. Dress and act professionally, be enthusiastic, and remember to smile.
5. Arrive early. Pick up a booth-location map and plan your route. By arriving early, you may be able to get in and out before it gets too crowded. Visit your targeted companies first, then "shop around" and do some networking.
6. Think "Quality" over "Quantity." It's much better to spend quality time talking with only a few, well-targeted employers who are looking for your specific skills, than to drop off your résumé at every booth you see.
7. Be prepared for interviews. Some companies may want to do short, on-the-spot interviews at the job fair. Be prepared to talk about your best selling points, the assets and skills you will bring to the company. Doing research, as suggested in Step 1, will help you to design your answers to meet the company's specific needs. As the interview is wrapping up, remember to ask what the next steps are.
8. Keep track of where you submit your résumés. Collect business cards and make a list of the companies you apply for. Jot notes about conversations you have with representatives or topics discussed during interviews. This will help you when following up later.
9. Send thank-you letters. Send thank-you letters within 24-48 hours to each of the companies/representatives you spoke with. Even if there was no real interview, doing this will help you to stand out in their minds among the hundreds of job seekers who visited their booth during the job fair. Tell them how much you appreciated the time they took to talk with you and answer your questions. Mention the name or location of the fair and the positions you discussed, and reiterate your interest in working for their company.
10. Follow up. Depending on their answers to your "what are the next steps" question (see Step 7), follow up appropriately with the companies for which you applied.
Follow these steps and a hectic, crowded job fair may just lead to the job of your dreams!
(This article was written by my friend, Kevin Donlin. Info about him is at the end.)
Want to get hired faster? You can almost always shave days, weeks -- even months -- off your job search if you stop following the herd. In my 8 years of helping people find work, I've watched too many job seekers take too long to get hired because they do the same things as everyone else. This is especially true for recent college grads.
So start doing a few things differently in your job search. And start getting called for more interviews.
Here are three ways ...
(1) Look where others don't. When you began your job hunt, where's the first place you looked for openings? I'll bet my next house payment it was either the classified ads or the online job boards. That's where EVERYBODY starts their job search. And that's where you have the MOST competition for openings, like fishing off the same pier with 10,000 other people.
Change your approach.
Where's the last place most people look for job openings? Their network of contacts. Specifically, current and past employers. You know, the people who've signed your paychecks.
Think about it: if someone thought highly enough of your skills to pay you a salary every two weeks, do you think they MIGHT be willing to share job leads with you, or at least pass your name on to someone they know who's hiring?
So today -- right now -- make a list of at least 5 current or former managers you are on good terms with and whom you can contact for job leads. Then call or email them to let them know what you're looking for. Today!
(2) Write a very different cover letter. Sorry, but there's no nice way to say this -- most cover letters stink like a high school gym locker. And, without seeing yours, I can predict with 95% certainty that it has one major flaw -- it's focused too much on you and your needs. Specifically, I'll wager the last cover letter you sent out was rife with language like this: "I am applying for a job with potential for advancement, where my skills will be utilized and where I will be challenged ..." or something similar.
This is how almost everyone writes cover letters. I know, because I've read almost 10,000 of them since 1996.
Stop it. Now.
Instead, do this: replace every "I" and "my" in your next cover letter with the word "YOU."
This will force you to shift the focus from "me, me, me -- gimme a job" to "you, you, you -- how can I help you, Mr./Ms. Employer?"
Your cover letters will be dramatically more effective. And you'll start getting more interviews as a result.
(3) Follow up differently. Most folks fail to follow up effectively after sending out their resumes and cover letters -- when they follow up at all.
Instead of calling employers every week and asking, "Did you get my resume?" or "Did you make a hiring decision yet?" try to add value each time you follow up.
Examples: research the competition and write up a quick report, then send it to the hiring manager. Or share a success story from your past that's relevant to the employer's situation.
In short, try to give employers another reason to hire you every time you contact them. Nobody else is doing this, which is a screaming opportunity for you to get noticed -- and get hired.
Now. These three tips are predicated on a simple idea: why be ordinary?
You can break out of the herd -- and find a job faster -- if you do just a few things differently in your job search. Why not start today?
Now go out and make your own luck!
+ + + +
Kevin Donlin is President of Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1996, he and his team have provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients in all 50 states and 23 countries. Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, CBS MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly, CBS Radio, and many others. If you'd like some help with your resume and/or cover letter, I HIGHLY recommend him! For more information, click here: GreatResumes.com
An acquaintance of mine, Michael Senoff, recently told me about an interesting home business opportunity he's offering. It has nothing to do with Internet marketing or digital products... it's a hands-on business where you make and sell invisible-ink pens. Michael's been doing this himself for the past 10 years.
Here's a quote from someone who joined his program:
"My husband and I never thought it would be possible for one of us to stay home to raise our family. What was once just a dream is now becoming a realistic possibility since we teamed up with Michael making and selling his invisible ink pens! We are NOT sales people but his marketing system is so simple and easy to follow we were getting sales before it had even sunk in that we were 'in business'! This is the perfect home business opportunity with low start-up costs, a product that virtually sells itself, almost immediate profits and most importantly, it's FUN! Michael's marketing course and personal help and advice over the phone have shown us how to get started quickly without spending a ton of money on advertising and overhead!" (Liana and Kevin Pardoe, Maple Ridge, BC, Canada)
I read Michael's website (IDpen.com ) and it sounds like a pretty good option for anyone interested in working from home. I have not tried this business myself, but Michael has a good reputation and he offers a money-back guarantee. If you're looking for a way to earn a few extra bucks while searching for your dream job, you might want to check this out. (And no, I'm not getting any type of incentive from Michael.)
I thought you all might be interested in this contest I saw mentioned in an online newspaper column. The writer doesn't say what the prize will be, but it sounds like a fun competition. Here are the details from Paul Giblin...
"What is the strangest job interview question you've been asked? Be sure to include your name and important details, including your response and whether you were offered and accepted the job. I'll print the oddest of the bunch and award a fabulous prize for the single most bizarre question within a few weeks. Send entries by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Oddball Job Interview Question Contest, c/o Paul Giblin, Tribune, 7525 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251."
Good luck! And if you win, please let me know and I'll include an announcement in this newsletter.
Here's a neat tip posted by someone in a Monster.com discussion forum: "I recently submitted a resume to an unnamed company with only a fax number listed. If you put the phone number in quotes and enter it on the Google.com search engine, 9 times out of 10 you will be able to track down the company. In my case, I was able to track down the hiring director and called her up after submitting my resume. She said she received a pile of resumes, but I was the only one to contact her directly. I have an interview on Friday! Just thought I'd share that for folks who want to address a company by name when they submit a resume."
The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
Here's a slightly different take on that, from a Diversity instructor referring to why immigrants generally do so well compared to their American counterparts:
Americans see every opportunity as a job."
Euphemisms for Corporate Layoffs
Dissing the gruntled
Our corporate catch-and-release program
Butt-harvesting the cube farm
Transferring to the couch division
Enlarging the Cult of Oprah
Helping stem the dangerously high employment rate
Increasing the ratio of Chiefs to Indians
Preventing Carpal Tunnel
Reallocating senior management's bonus resources
Returning yuppies to the wild
We Need More CHiPS! No, I'm not talking about the chips that go with dips (although some of the CHiPs I'm referring to deal with dips!). Thanks to Arnold's muscles, the California state budget has finally passed and along with that came an end to the California Highway Patrol's 2-year hiring freeze. So now they're recruiting like mad. If you've ever been interested in a career in law enforcement, and wouldn't mind living in one of the best places on earth (the San Francisco Bay area, where most new recruits will be stationed), or driving in some of the worst traffic on earth, here's your opportunity. The open recruitment period is Aug. 12th - Sept. 2nd. Go to www.CHP.ca.gov for more info.
Extreme Relief for Stress. After a long, hard day of working your brain or your brawn, it's important to relieve the stresses of your job (or job search). My favorite method of stress relief is laughing, and I've recently found something that works wonders for me. It's a show called "MXC" (short for Most Extreme Challenge) and it airs on Spike TV at 5 and 5:30 p.m. (Pacific time). I watch it while I'm exercising. Really. It's one of those wacky Japanese game shows where the contestants wear silly costumes and compete in funny physical challenges. But what makes this mildly amusing concept laugh-out-loud hysterical is the voice-over commentary in English. It's not sophisticated humor and you have to listen carefully because it sometimes zips along at a blistering pace... but it will make you laugh! Everything you hear--from the team and contestant names to the sound effects, play-by-play, and dubbed interviews--adds to the visual physical comedy to produce an absolutely hilarious show. Check it out and enjoy a good, stress-reducing laugh session!
Making Fun of Politics. Speaking of laughing, there's a funny
animated feature at www.JibJab.com featuring the ultimate job seekers,
Bush and Kerry. It takes a while to load, but is worth the wait.
Regardless of who you're favorite candidate is, I think it'll make you
laugh. If it doesn't, you take your politics too seriously!
So, what did you think of this seventh issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me
a note at
Please forward this to your friends!
P.S. To prevent your email service provider's spam filter from interrupting delivery or this newsletter to your email inbox, please add Bonnie@Best-Interview-Strategies.com to your address book or "safe list."
P.S.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 the HTML format, choose that and it'll look a lot better. Don't worry, I won't have any slowing graphics.
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