One constant in job seeking is that there is no ONE “right” way to do anything. For example, some recruiters don’t appreciate thank you notes. Others require or expect them. (I maintain that it is safest to send them!)Ã‚Â There is, however, advice that seems to be ubiquitous. If you are job hunting as a result of a lay-off, Sarah Needleman offers some terrific, always relevant advice in her article for the Wall Street Journal. To avoid putting your foot in your mouth, keep these tips in mind! (Tips are from the article; commentary is my own.)
When applying, avoid expressing bitterness or self-pity. There’s no need to be specific about the circumstances of your job loss in your initial communication. While you should have an answer to the question about how and why you left your job for an interview, being laid off is not as much of a stigma as it once was, so don’t get too worked up about it. Focus on the positives – that you still have great skills to offer and are looking forward to using them for a new company.
Signal Confidence. Don’t be overly thankful! The article suggests that it isn’t a good idea to include lines such as, “Thank you so much for giving me consideration” as this may be a signal a lack of confidence. Don’t be overly self-confident, but make it clear what you have to offer instead of groveling and begging for consideration.
Be flexible and not fussy. There’s no question that employers will prefer candidates willing to do what it takes to get the job done. Demonstrate that you are a team player who is willing to hit the ground running.
But, don’t be TOO accommodating! Needleman reports that Russ Riendeau, a senior executive recruiter, does not believe candidates who say they are willing to go anywhere, travel all of the time or make other difficult concessions.Ã‚Â “When I hear that, I know it’s not true,” he says. “I know I’m dealing with a desperate candidate.” So – be flexible, but don’t come off as desperate!
Some unemployed job hunters also hurt their chances by volunteering to take a significantly lower salary than what they earned in their last job. Some recruiters will hold it against you if you offer to take a pay cut of more than 20%. I always suggest waiting as long as possible to discuss salary. Focus on why you are a strong candidate for the job and indicate what aspects appeal to you beyond salary. (Maybe the company specializes in an area where you know you can really contribute.) If you have good reasons for being willing to take a pay cut (beyond the fact that you will take any job to pay the bills), you’ll be more competitive.
Don’t forget – recruiters need to be sure you’ll stay in the job, or they may lose their fees or their credibility with their clients. If you seem like the type of candidate who will leave at the first opportunity, you aren’t going to be considered particularly desirable!
What other ideas do you have? I invite recruiters and candidates to share experiences in the comments!
Don’t forget that Keppie Careers can help you find the job you’ve been seeking, no matter what your circumstances: www.keppiecareers.com.
photo by g-hat