Quintessential Careers:
Contrasting Good Job-Search to Weak Job-Search

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  • by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

    We realize that some folks learn better by example than by reading a long article, so we thought we would show the contrast between a good -- or effective -- job-search and a weak job-search when seeking new work or employment. If you desire more information about what makes something good or weak, follow the link and learn more.

    Good Job-Search Weak Job-Search
    Job-Search Strategy: Follows comprehensive, proactive approach, focused around networking and actively seeking job leads. For more information, read For Job-Hunting Success, Develop a Comprehensive Job-Search Plan. Limits job-search to mainly posting resume on job boards and replying to job postings -- waiting for something to happen.
    Job-Search Focus: Knows exactly the type(s) of job best suited for -- jobs that provide personal satisfaction. Not sure of your next job or career move? Read: Using a SWOT Analysis in Your Career Planning. Appears willing take any job -- indiscriminate in approach to finding a new job.
    Job-Hunting Technique: Uses personal computer, email, phone, and the like -- only job-hunting on own time if currently employed. Uses current employer phone, email, and work time for job-hunting.
    Resume Approach: Has written, revised, and edited strong core resume that is then tailored (using critical keywords and phrases) to each job, each employer. Carefully proofreads for typos, misspellings (especially company names). For help with your resume, see our Resume Resources and Tools for Job-Seekers. Believes one resume fits all employment situations, all employers.
    Career Brand: Understands core strengths and attributes most attractive to prospective employers and communicates these on resume, LinkedIn profile, personal Website. For help with career branding, go to our Personal Branding & Career Self-Marketing Tools for Job-Seekers and Career Activists. Doesn't understand or use career branding.
    Networking Strategy: Understands the power of having a large and connected group of contacts that can be contacted about potential job leads and uncovering critical information about prospective employers. Uses both traditional networking and social media networking. Read more in our Networking (for Career Success) Articles. Doesn't like the idea of "using" people, so refrains from asking friends, family, and the like for help in job-search for new employment.
    Network-Building Strategy: Uses multiple approaches to continually building network asking current people in network for referrals, joining industry/professional groups, attending trade shows, connecting with new people online, conducting informational interviews, contacting old friends and colleagues. Read more in our article, How to Build and Expand Your Career Network: 10 Proven Techniques. Has no active approach to adding people to network.
    Job-Hunting Approach: Carries out well-organized, focused approach -- with daily/weekly job-search goals. Actively pursues and follows-up all job leads. Stays positive. Deals with whatever job-hunting and work stuff comes his/her way. Tends to get frustrated with lack of results.
    Job Interview Preparation: Reviews lists of common job interview questions and develops responses (including anecdotes that demonstrate strengths/accomplishments). Practices, but does not memorize. Completes additional research on employer and interviewer(s). Plans interview attire. Makes sure knows exact location of interview and how long it takes to get there. For more, see our Guide to Job Interviewing Resources and Tools. Likes to be fresh in the employment interview, so would rather wing it. Or, assumes there's no way to prepare since there is no way to know what questions will be asked.
    References Strategy: Chooses people who are willing to say positive things about his/her abilities, passion, accomplishments. Always asks first (obtaining full contact information), sends references resumes, updates, and thanks them for their efforts. Read more in our article, References: The Keys to Choosing and Using the Best Job References in Your Job Search. Doesn't have any, or uses people without asking first. Assumes must use former bosses as references.
    Interviewing Strategy: Arrives about 10-15 minutes early. Warmly greets everyone he/she meets. Uses strong non-verbals -- smiling, making good eye contact. Brings extra copies of resume. Considers bringing portfolio demonstrating accomplishments. Confidently responds to interview questions. Clearly communicates how he/she fits employer's needs. Stays positive. Asks smart questions that demonstrate interest and research. Requests business cards from all the people he/she talks with. Concludes interview with thank-you and a request for information about next steps. Shows up (hopefully on time) for the interview. Dressed inappropriately, perhaps with poor hygiene (or wearing over-compensating perfume/cologne). Arrives empty-handed. Avoids eye contact and speaks quietly or in sing-song voice. Exhibits inappropriate body language, such as poor eye contact. Chews gum. Provides extremely short, uninspired responses to interview questions. Uses too many pause words (ahs, ums, uhs). Talks negatively about former employer, boss, age discrimination, being laid-off. Asks no questions. Leaves once interview is concluded.
    Post-Interview Follow-up: Immediately writes, edits, and sends thoughtful thank-you notes to each person he/she interviewed with. Follows up a few days later with hiring manager to inquire if he/she needs any other information to help make hiring decision. Continues to follow-up regularly, behaving professionally at all times. Sits around waiting for email or phone call.
    Salary Negotiation Strategy: Knows his/her value/worth in the marketplace. Uses network to get inside information on salary range for position. Negotiates to his/her strengths. Considers full compensation package, not just salary. Find more information in our Salary Negotiation and Job Offer Tools and Resources for Job-Seekers. Doesn't negotiate offer -- or worse, negotiates on desire or needs rather than on research. Tries to negotiate too many aspects of job offer.
    After Landing a New Job: Happily informs network of success -- individually thanking those people who directly helped him/her find the job. Takes steps to hit ground running in new job. Read more in our article, Your First Days Working at a New Job: 20 Tips to Help You Make a Great Impression. Starts the new job.

    Final Thoughts
    No job-search is ever perfect, and no matter how hard we try, we all make mistakes that can cost us job and employment opportunities. The focus of this article was to highlight some of the best and worst job-search practices. Even if you only pick up a few new good job-searching tips, they might be just enough to help you obtain that next job you seek.

    Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.

    QuintCareers.com Founder Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com.