19 April 2011

Weekly Top Five - 19.Apr.11

In  High Fidelity, the characters compare their top fives in a variety of categories. Being big fans of both the film and novel, we here at the What bring you our Weekly Top Five, a feature focused on five fantastic things that you should become familiar with.

Job Hunting Tips
Let me begin for apologizing for the lapse in articles here. Part of the reason for that has a lot to do with this article. I have recently reached the end of a two year-long job search, which can be quite time consuming. Now, as an administrator in charge of, among other things, hiring, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips on how to secure employment.

5. Know Your Goal - It may seem unnecessary to list this, but knowing your goal and focusing in on that goal is vital to finding the right job. For example, I graduated from college with a media arts degree. After working on a television show and doing a lot of event videography, I realized that the media industry can provide many jobs but not as many careers. So I re-focused my efforts on starting a career in the museum industry, in which I have nearly 10 years of experience. With this focus I was able to narrow down my search into a very specific area that paid off in the end.

4. Sell Yourself - Applying for an open position turns into a sales job in itself. Your cover letter, resume, and interview are all selling points and opportunities to highlight the traits that make you the best possible candidate for the job. The tricky thing here is that different people look for different things in resumes. I happen to find value in reading cover letters, while many will skim or skip over them. I know other hiring managers who have specific pet peeves. For example, a friend of mine discards an entire application of it is addressed "Dear Sir," as she is not a sir. Another is turned off by people who mention they are proficient in Microsoft Office and/or the internet, as everyone applying for that job should be. So go over your resume, trim the fat, and only highlight your most important and impressive traits.

3. Get to the Point - I enjoy good writing and detailed work as much as anyone. But there is a time and place for that, and it is not in your application. Keep your cover letter short and sweet, and use it to introduce your resume. Your resume should be bulleted and brief, and most importantly, one page. When hiring for an open position, I am bombarded with dozens of emails, all with attachments. Save the person you are applying to some time and space by being direct and getting to the point. Time is valuable in any business, so be sure not to waste a perspective employer's time by over-sharing on your application. Also, on the subject of time, never, ever show up late to an interview!

Good examples of how to dress for an interview
2. Look the Part - The first impression you make in person will be your appearance. Make it count! In the past, I've had candidates show up to interviews in a mustard-stained shirt and flip flops or wrinkled khakis and dingy sneakers. To me, this shows that these candidates were not taking the job seriously enough to warrant dressing professionally. For every job I have applied to, no matter how small or simple, I have always worn a suit. On one occasion, a supervisor later told me in confidence that she hired me and eventually promoted me solely based on the fact that I wore a suit to the interview. I also recommend dressing professionally for phone interviews and sitting at a desk. Doing so will put you in the mentality of a professional atmosphere and that will carry over in your voice.

1. Act the Part - Perhaps this bit of information will not work in all situations. For me, it worked very well. There was a vacancy within the organization in which I work, and after several months of it being open, I began taking on some of the responsibilities associated with that job. When it came time to hire somebody new to fill the vacancy, I already had proven myself as a viable candidate by taking on those responsibilities. This is a fine line to walk, as I have also tried this in other organizations unsuccessfully. That being said, if you find yourself in a position where hard work, initiative, and exceeding expectations is not rewarded, perhaps it is time to apply these tips toward looking for a new start.

Job hunting in itself is a full-time job. While it can often be discouraging, keep it at. Eventually you will find an organization that recognizes your abilities and offers you a position. I hope that these tips serve you well, and best of luck in finding a new job!

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