For people starting a new job. If a task typically takes someone ~3.5 hours and you can get it done in 1 hour, don’t turn your task in right away – wait about an hour. If your manager(s) discover how productive you really are, they will quickly overwork you without proper compensation.
We reached out to founder and CEO of the internationally recognized career website JobJenny, Jenny Foss, to get some job searching tips from an expert. Jenny is a job search strategist, long-time recruiter, and author of the soon-to-launch book, Do This, Not That: Career. First, we asked why Jenny thinks job hunting is so hard. “Most of us don’t learn this when we’re going to school. We go to school (particularly college) to study a vocation but, unless we get lucky or proactively pursue support on how to make the most out of job search, we tend to fumble our way through it,” she explained.
“Complicating this further is the dearth of information and advice available to us — and the fact that there is literally no barrier to entry to becoming a ‘career expert.’ Given this, you’ll give a wide range of advice, some of which will directly conflict with other advice that you’re uncovering.”
“Last, job hunting is hard because, even under the best of circumstances, people tend to be overwhelmed, confused or quite stressed when they are job searching. It’s not a fun experience for the vast majority of professionals.”
Keep your mouth shut, and don’t volunteer information.
I had a phone interview scheduled this morning, but accidentally slept through it. When I got up and saw that I missed it, I had the desperate urge to call and offer up excuses, in the hope that maybe, just maybe, they’d be understanding and give me another chance.
Instead, all I did was apologize and ask if we could reschedule. That’s it, one sentence, no additional information, no explanation or excuse as to why I missed the first interview.
They replied within 20 minutes, apologizing to ME, saying it was probably their fault, that they’d been having trouble with their computer system for days, and of course I could reschedule, was I available that afternoon?
Don’t ever volunteer information, kids. You never know what information the other party has, and you can always give information if asked for it later.
Next, we asked Jenny for her best job searching tips. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to people, even strangers. Whether that’s asking someone for an informational interview, reaching out to a friend of a friend, or talking with a professor, former colleague, or recruiter. People tend to be so worried about being a bother that they take few proactive steps to further their connections when job seeking and this is a huge mistake,” Jenny says.
“Certainly, you want to approach with genuine curiosity, and be thoughtful of what you’re asking for and how much time you’d like, but never be afraid to ask curious questions to learn more about a company, a job or another person.”
Don’t be fooled by the “working for a dream company” ideology. You’ll be much better off with an amazing boss at an average company who champions your work, allows you to develop mastery in your field, and gives you autonomy.
We also asked Jenny if there are any red flags to look out for when job hunting. “Oh, gosh, yes. Definitely work to understand why the position is open,” she says. “Also, try and get a pulse on the culture of the company and the well-being of the people. This could be as simple as reviewing the job description — If the demands seem to (far) outweigh the compensation for the job, that’s a red flag. If the interviewers or hiring managers seem super scattered or unorganized, that’s another red flag. If they try to hire you on the spot, that could be another red flag…. trust your gut as you work to find a role that aligns with YOUR career aspirations and compensation expectations.”
If you’d like to hear more from Jenny to help you in your career search, be sure to check out JobJenny right here.
We also got in touch with Mac Prichard, creator of the career searching site Mac’s List and host of the podcast “Find Your Dream Job”, to hear why he thinks job searching is so tough. “Looking for a job is like planning a trip. If you’re unclear about your destination, your journey will be a lot harder and longer than it has to be,” Mac explained. “So before you send out your first application, know the job you want, be clear about the salary and benefits you need, and identify the companies where you want to work. When you do this, your job search gets easier and faster and you will have a more rewarding career.”
Next, we asked Mac to share some of his best job searching tips. “Be clear about the job you want, create a target list of employers, and network inside the companies where you want to work. Hiring managers place great importance on referrals. Make this principle work for you by asking people in your network for introductions at the organizations you’ve targeted.”
Rememeber, at a job interview, YOU are also interviewing the company. Ask more questions, don’t settle so quickly because it might not be for you after all
We also asked Mac if he knows of any red flags to look out for when job hunting. “Pay attention to your experience as a candidate. How employers treat applicants speaks volumes about a company’s culture and what it’s like to work there,” he said.
Lastly, Mac wanted to add, “To get the best job and enjoy the most rewarding career, you need to spend time up front in a job search getting clear about what you want and what you offer. When you do this work, you can be much more selective about where you apply and you will have a shorter and easier job search.”
For more wise words from Mac, be sure to check out his podcast right here.
Interview starts immediately.
Today, a candidate blew his interview in the first 5 minutes after he entered the building. He was dismissive to the receptionist. She greeted him and he barely made eye contact. She tried to engage him in conversation. Again, no eye contact, no interest in speaking with her. What the candidate did not realize was that the “receptionist” was actually the hiring manager.
She called him back to the conference room and explained how every single person on our team is valuable and worthy of respect. Due to his interaction with the “receptionist,” the hiring manager did not feel he was a good fit. Thank you for your time but the interview is over.
Be nice to everyone in the building.
Edited to add: it wasn’t just lack of eye contact. He was openly rude and treated her like she was beneath him. When he thought he was talking to the decision maker, personality totally changed. Suddenly he was friendly, open, relaxed. So I don’t think this was a case of social anxiety.
The position is a client facing position where being warm, approachable, outgoing is critical.
Unless it has been years since the last time you had to search for a new job, you probably remember the experience all too well. Whether you had the stress of potentially not being able to pay rent looming over your head or you just desperately wanted out of a position you could not stand, job searching is usually more stressful than exciting. Sure, if you are moving to a new city or just looking for something new, finding a different job can be the start of a new adventure. But for the vast majority of us, updating our resumes and sending countless emails into the void feels like a nightmare.
So to expedite the process, we’ve compiled this list for you. Every position is different, but I’m sure you will find something useful here that applies to your field. And to find out even more about job searching, we’ve consulted Zety’s 2022 HR Statistics Report. When it comes to what job seekers prioritize, 96% of them find it important to work for a company that embraces transparency. So if that’s important to you, know that you’re not alone. Finding a company that is up front with employees and consumers should not be a problem.
Job descriptions are usually written to sound more complicated and high profile than the jobs really are. Don’t let the way it is written intimidate or deter you from applying to a job you think you can do.
Now you might have a few different ways of searching for open positions, but most people tend to use social media. In fact, 79% of job seekers say they’ll look for open positions on social media, with 86% of younger workers saying the same. LinkedIn and Indeed are among the most popular sites with job postings, but nowadays there are plenty of other location or field specific options as well. The competition is fierce though. For corporate jobs, the average posting receives 250 resumes. Only about 6 people will actually be offered an interview though, so you better make sure your CV stands out.
In fact, only 1 out of every 6 applicants for any position is called in for an interview. While this may sound disheartening, at least your time is not likely to be wasted by going on countless interviews. Once you’ve been called in to meet the hiring managers, you are already so much closer to the position than most applicants. With all of the resumes that recruiters receive, they are likely to take less than 10 seconds to scan your information. If it’s not abundantly clear that you are right for the job, they’re moving on. This is why it’s always important to tailor your CV to each place you apply. By making the recruiter’s job easier and putting the most relevant experience front and center, you’re less likely to be overlooked.
During a job interview, if offered a glass of water, accept it. That way when you get asked a difficult question you can take a sip for some extra seconds before answering.
Now, you might be wondering what everyone else who is applying for similar jobs is looking for. According to Zety, the top 5 pieces of information job seekers want to find when they are researching positions are: details on compensation packages, details on benefits packages, basic company information, details on what makes the company a great place to work, and the company’s mission statement, visions and values. In fact, when it is difficult to find information about a company online, 37% of job seekers said they will skip applying there altogether. The theme of a desire for transparency continues. When a company is too elusive online, they are only hurting themselves. Potentially perfect job candidates are deterred by not being able to see if their values align with a business.
Many job seekers want to understand the values of a company because it can be hard to set aside personal views at work. Sure, employees need to be professional, but they should also be able to stand by their employers and be proud to work for them. In fact, 50% of job seekers said they would turn down an offer from a company with a poor reputation, even if it meant they would earn more money there. On the other hand, 92% of employees said they would be willing to jump ship and leave their current jobs if they had an opportunity to work for a company with an excellent reputation. While many companies are scared to show any personal views or political affiliations for fear of alienating customers, sometimes that is exactly what they need to do to gain a solid reputation.
From here on out, make “What was your company’s COVID response?” a standard interview question.
I work in software. My whole company has been working from home for the past two months, and performing at 100%. Now management is forcing us all to come back into the office on June 1st, for no discernible reason.
I don’t want to work for a company that cares so little about the health of employees and their families, ever again. I’ll be looking for something new as soon as it’s practical, and I will definitely be asking prospective employers this.
Employers put “entry level” in job titles to trick applicants into accepting less pay. If the “entry level” job requires you to have significant experience, demand more than starting pay.
When it comes time for the “do you have any questions for us?” part of a job interview, always ask why the position has opened up. This might help you get an idea of what kind of environment you’ll be going into.
When it comes to the hiring process, there is a lot at stake for companies as well as potential employees. Candidates are in need of a job, but hiring managers also want to ensure that they choose the perfect person to fill the role and stay with the company for as long as possible. On average, companies spend $4,129 per employee that they hire, so it is in their best interest to keep turnover rates as low as possible. Yet somehow, 61% of employees report that “the realities of their new job differ from expectations set during the interview process”. Perhaps it is because interviewers are desperate to fill a role or they don’t have as thorough of an understanding of every position as they should, but understandably, this can lead to frustration for new hires.
When a job interviewer asks, “What’s your biggest weakness?”, interpret the question in practical terms rather than in terms of personality faults.
“Sometimes I let people take advantage of me”, or “I take criticism personally” are bad answers. “I’m too honest” or “I work too hard”, even if they believe you, make you sound like you’ll be irritating to be around or you’ll burn out.
Instead, say something like, “My biggest weakness with regards to this job is, I have no experience with [company’s database platform]” or “I don’t have much knowledge about [single specific aspect of job] yet, so it would take me some time to learn.”
These are real weaknesses that are relevant to the job, but they’re also fixable things that you’ll correct soon after being hired. Personality flaws are not (and they’re also none of the interviewer’s business).
For those of you who are interviewing on Zoom, these tips helped me get three job offers.
Raise your camera to eye level or slightly higher. I prop my laptop up on a couple books. This keeps your gaze from pointing down. Eye contact is important, even on a video conference.
Create a brief doc outlining key points you want them to know about you (including a “tell me about yourself” intro) and several questions you have for them.
Open the doc on your computer, and launch Zoom in a small window at the top center of your screen above this doc. Doing this keeps your eyes focused on the top of the screen while they are talking, making you appear more engaged than if you were looking, say, at the bottom left corner at the person talking. And having your notes just below just in case helps to calm nerves and keeps your thoughts clear.
Loyalty to your company only rewards the company. Hopping companies is the best way to increase your salary, don’t sit there hoping for a raise. Apply to other jobs, get a better offer and use it to leverage a raise or take the offer.
You’d be surprised how many people nearly double their salaries just by applying for jobs.
Despite the collective disdain for the job searching process, most people end up experiencing it many times during their lives. In fact, the average number of jobs held throughout a person’s life is 12.5 for men and 12.1 for women. It makes sense, as most people go through various transitions such as acquiring education, changing their interests or moving to a different city, but plenty of people voluntarily enter the job market for other reasons as well. Apparently, the top reason why workers quit their jobs is because they felt underappreciated. Getting a better offer is another common reason to transition to a new job as well, as 81% of employees say they would be open to leaving their current jobs if an attractive offer presented itself.
DO NOT badmouth your current company during an interview, even if the interviewer asks why you’re looking to leave.
It seems like common sense, but I keep seeing it happen again and again. My partner and I are both hiring for highly sought after jobs, and we keep running into candidates who use the interview to badmouth their current job, talk about how dumb they think their current manager is, or how the work is beneath them. DO NOT DO IT.
Here are some general vague responses you can use if you get asked that question. Really, any responses is acceptable, so long as you’re professional:
• My company is great, but I think I’m ready for the next step in my career.
• As things have changed at my company, so has the role, and I think I need something that will be a better fit.
• I think I do very good work in my current role, and I think this job would compensate better for my efforts.
• I’m not looking to leave my current company, but when I heard about this role coming open, I knew I had to take the opportunity.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the salary you want/deserve.
I just finished the loooooong process of being interviewed for a new position at a new place of work. In the final meeting with the hiring manager, I was told the range they were looking at for the offer, and the upper-end was what I was making at my previous job (which I would be leaving to take the new role).
I decided to be transparent and tell the hiring manager that. I then said I would feel more comfortable with 7k more. Inside I was SO nervous that they’d pull the rug from under my feet, say I was being greedy (in more professional terms), and wave goodbye. Instead, they said it would be a stretch, but they’d see what they could do.
Came back the next day with the offer I was hoping for! To top it off, they said they appreciated my transparency which is why they went to bat for me.
Never be afraid to ask if you feel it’s fair and you’re deserving.
Do not fall for jobs asking for ‘Rockstars’ that’s code for underpaid, overworked and unappreciated.
One reason it can take so long to find a new job is because of how competitive the market is. Currently, in the United States, the unemployment rate is at 6.7%, meaning 10.7 million people are searching for new jobs. Over one third of those individuals fall in the “long-term unemployed category” as well, meaning they have been without work for at least 6 months. It can be very easy to find yourself in that category though, as it takes the average person 24 weeks, or about 5.5 months, to find a new position. Even if you have a lead, companies can move slowly. The average amount of time it took to hire a new employee in 2016 was 39 days, as reviewing resumes, scheduling interviews and going through intense vetting processes often takes time.
When deciding on a new job, don’t underestimate the importance of its distance from your house. Sometimes a bad job can be made worse by a long commute home and vice versa.
Any time you successfully solve a problem, handle a difficult situation, etc., write it down and use it in future job interviews.
This is for anyone who may job-hop to increase their salary. Or for those who are generally afraid of “Tell me about a time when you…”-style questions in job interviews.
We all have those days where something out of the ordinary happens and you have to deal with it somehow some way. Instead of just doing it and talking about it later (or worse, forgetting it the next day), write down the entire scenario and how you successfully handled it on a Word document so you don’t forget it.
This way you’ll be much more prepared and it’ll give you a bit of a leg up against other job seekers.
If a company says, I can’t pay you too much now, but if you stick around you’ll be greatly rewarded…. Leave. They’ll just dangle it like a carrot if you want a promotion.
Ideally, we would all love our jobs and be jumping out of bed in the morning excited to start our day. And while that is not the reality for most people, it is important to try to find a job that you do enjoy, at least a little bit, because you will be spending countless hours there. Well, maybe not countless, but approximately 1,786 hours there each year, or 38.7 hours each week. And on average, you will work the same job for about 4.1 years. So while it might be tempting to apply for anything and everything when you’re unemployed, remember that a job that sounds miserable when you apply is likely to get much worse after sucking up almost all of your time.
When you check a company’s Glassdoor, pay attention to the date of the reviews. If you notice a lot of good reviews in a short time frame, that means HR sent out a bulletin to internal employees to write artificially inflated reviews for the company.
Beware the “Intern Trap”. Don’t take a job as a X Intern at a company that doesn’t have anyone who can do X.
Interning should be a process of learning a craft while you help to contribute to the overall institutional goals.
If a company is advertising for an intern position, but doesn’t have anyone who does that job, then they are probably just trying to pay someone less for a job that they want someone to be able to do. Traditionally, these are jobs that young people are adept at, but older people may not have the skills to perform.
For example, they probably need/want a Social Media Manager, not a Social Media Intern, but they want to pay less, hence the title. If you interview for a position like this, ask who at the company you will be learning from. If they don’t have someone senior in the role, they may be willing to offer a mentor in other valuable skills – a senior marketing manager, for example.
Consider negotiating a title that reflects what you will be learning, not just what you will be contributing. This will help you develop your resume and, well, hopefully learn new skills. Also consider negotiating a title change and salary adjustment to reflect that title. “It seems that you don’t have anyone at the company in a position to mentor a Social Media Intern and that what you really need is a Social Media Manager. I’m happy to take that role, at the junior level, and prove my worth to the company.”
Really take a look at the learning on offer and what it’s worth to you – if they’re paying you $20k less a year, then your mentorship better be up to that value. You can save yourself a lot of wasted time and money by avoiding this “Intern Trap”.
EDIT: To be clear, some internships are genuine where you trade your work for real on the job learning (and a small paycheque). These should have someone on staff who is responsible to the intern – an actual mentor – or there should be a clear trade of skills/experience for your work and time. These are not the “Intern Traps” I intended to warn about. Nor am I talking about internships or practicums related to an educational course of study.
I’m talking to job seekers looking for a job who might be undervaluing their skills, potentially negotiating with a company that is trying to take advantage of the applicant.
In Canada, where I’m from, unpaid internships are (now) illegal, though were prevalent early in my career. These privilege people who have enough resources and support to be able to give their time and labour away without financial compensation and disadvantage people who can’t afford to work for free because they have bills to pay.
EDIT 2: A lot of people are reading this post as anti-internship. It is not intended to be! I am very pro-internship. This is a tip to ask in the interview to determine if what is on offer is, indeed, an internship or if it is a lowball play for your skills and labour. Just know what you are getting into by asking about the mentorship, training, and skills that they plan for you to learn. If they don’t have a plan, they might be exploitative. If you had a great internship experience, great! Lucky you! And thanks for sharing these experiences. It’s great to know some people have made the best of their situations, or, indeed had a good experience with a company that does internships right.
When you meet most of the qualifications for a job but they require prior experience, apply anyway.
Many employers will be willing to overlook the lack of prior experience if they like you.
When it comes to how satisfied Americans are with their current jobs, the results are mixed. 49% of employees in the US say they are very satisfied with their current positions, 30% report being somewhat satisfied, 9% say they’re dissatisfied and 6% say they are very dissatisfied. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but what is interesting is that most of those people are not actually engaged at work. Only 30% of Americans say they are engaged at work, compared to 70% of employees at the world’s best organizations. I guess not everyone has to be stimulated to be satisfied, but I can’t help but wonder if these people spend their days feeling bored. Maybe they end up reading Bored Panda on the clock…
No matter how much your workplace pushes “team building” and “family culture” – remember, they’re not your friends and it’s still a workplace.
Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. I work for a small business who put huge emphasis on everyone being friends and building a strong team, but it just means it hurts more when someone inevitably stabs you in the back. I’m not saying go around and be a dick to people for no reason, but it’s better to build relationships outside of work or in places where there aren’t any politics or power imbalances.
Before ending a serious relationship, change 100% of all of your Passwords and remove your account info / auto login on ALL devices
I’m in the midst of hiring which is no small thing in this COVID world. I had one applicant who stood head and shoulders above the rest, she was exactly what my org was looking for.
Unfortunately, during the interview process she informed us via email she was no longer interested in the opportunity. So, we moved on to our 2nd pick candidate.
Fast Forward 2 weeks. I get a call from the applicant wondering if we had found someone and expressing interest in the job… I told her that she said she wasn’t interested and I showed her the email she sent us. Apparently, she didn’t send the email.
She had recently broken up with her boyfriend during her applying for this job and he “hacked” into all her accounts and fucked her life up. He deleted all of her social media and also sent us a false email saying she was no longer interested in the job.
Unfortunately, we hired someone so that opportunity is lost to her forever.
If you are in serious relationship then your partner has all of your passwords. They do. It is ridiculously easy to get someone’s passwords if you have access to their phone or computer. It is to your advantage to just assume someone you are serious with has all your passwords. BEfore you break up with them you need to change all, yes ALL, of your passwords.
It is amazing how evil and vindictive people can be when they are heartbroken. Even so-called “nice” people can have a moment of temporary insanity after a break up and torch your whole life if they have the chance.
Don’t give them that chance. Change your passwords
When applying for jobs (especially to large organizations), look through the job description and add any keywords they use to your resume as frequently as possible to get your application through HR.
I’ve learned this heuristically over the last couple of months. I’d love comments from anyone who works in HR hiring or similar fields that can either corroborate or refute this theory.
HR is the first line of defense for hiring at most large organizations, but HR people aren’t all that great at judging qualifications for specific jobs (e.g. A person with a Master’s in HR doesn’t know what makes for a good nuclear safety inspector). This leads them to filter out resumes using keywords and jargon as an indicator of abilities. Paid resume development tools have figured this out. They essentially populate your resume with the keywords that they’ve found effective at getting interviews, but you can do this yourself if you know your industry well and research the job.
If you’re currently on the job hunt, don’t get discouraged. Finding the perfect position can seem like an impossible task, but when it comes along, all of your efforts will have been worth it. We hope you learned something from this list that you’ll take with you throughout your future job hunting journeys, and I hope those journeys are full of more excitement than anxiety. Keep upvoting all of the pointers you find useful, and then let us know in the comments if you have any more job searching tips that could help a fellow unemployed panda out!
When you submit a resume to a potential employer, submit it as a PDF, not a Word doc
I actually judge the potential of the candidate by how they format their resume (typos? grammar? formatting? style?). If you format it as a PDF, I see your resume how you want me to see it. If you have it as a Word document, margins, fonts, etc may be lost or adjusted when I open it.
Ensure you show me your best self by converting it to a PDF.
And please… proof read it. Give it to a friend or family member to proof read it thoroughly. I will likely not recommend you for interviewing if you have poor grammar or obvious typos. I assume you are providing me a sample of your work when I look at your resume. It shows either that you don’t care or aren’t detail oriented when you have typos and I assume I can expect the same if I hire you.
Edit: There is a lot of conversation about Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and how they can vomit on PDFs. So, please be aware of this when submitting to systems that may utilize this.
If an employer says you have to treat an entry level job as more than just a job to be successful, that’s key for you’ll be overworked and underpaid.
Never tell the recruiter how much money you make and never be the first to give a number
A lot of recruiters will ask what salary you are interested in, partly to see if you are within their budget but also this is a huge opportunity for you to sell yourself short, especially if you don’t fully understand the scope of the role yet.
Instead, say something like “I think I would need to hear a bit more about the scope of this role and expectations before discussing compensation for it. Can we revisit this discussion after I have had a chance to talk with the team and determine whether I am a good fit?” – they might immediately ask you what else you want to know about the role here so be prepared.
Recruiters will frequently ask how much you currently make as well, again, partly to see if you fall within their range and again a huge opportunity for them to take advantage of you. I would recommend never answering this. Instead say something like:
“I would prefer not to disclose that at this point in the process. I would prefer to have a more comprehensive salary based on my skills, what I can offer to the team, and company benefits. Is there a certain budget that you had in mind?”
This does a few different things. For one, the recruiter doesn’t know what you make now – so if your current compensation is below their range, they cant just offer you the minimum or even attempt to match your current salary. You’re also asking their budget range to get a better idea of what this company is comfortable offering as well as their benefit package. Most companies will let you know what their benefits early on in the hiring process.
TL;DR Don’t tell the recruiter your salary! It might be way below what they were going to offer you in the first place and will immediately minimize your negotiation attempts!
Note: this post originally had 58 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.