Make Networking an Integral Part of Your Job Search

Be ‘strategic’ when networking

Using Job Boards

Some people rely only on job boards when searching for a new job, but using job boards has a low success rate. They also involve the greatest competition – there are thousands of others using the same job boards and many of them are looking for a job similar to the one you are searching for.

Using Employment Agencies and Recruiters

Others use employment agencies where recruiters try to match suitable candidates to a job that a company asked them to fill to – the recruiter gets paid by the hiring company when the position is filled. So the recruiter searches their own database for suitable candidates – this database is of people who have contacted that employment agency in search of a job. If that doesn’t produce a few candidates, the recruiter will look for more by advertising the position on job boards (where the competition for jobs is severe), and also by searching relevant LinkedIn profiles.

Of course, many job hunters use both approaches, and that increases their chances of success. However, in job searching, many jobs are actually filled through word-of-mouth where a hiring manager asks their contacts if they know of a suitable candidate. If they don’t know of someone, they will ask their own contacts, and so on. This is called networking.

Many Jobs Are Filled Through Networking

Networking is how many jobs in Singapore are filled. It also happens online, especially through LinkedIn, where a hiring manager asks their ‘contacts’ (i.e. all those they have connected with on LinkedIn or Twitter or other social media sites) if they know of someone who might be suitable for a vacant position they have. The process also works in the opposite direction where job seekers ask their contacts for help in their job search.

However, many people don’t know how to network – they merely connect with a wide range of people and end up with lots of ‘connections’ that they either don’t follow through with or are of no use to them in their job search. Knowing many people who are interested in flying drones won’t link you up with a hiring manager who is looking for a marketing executive – except by coincidence of course!

Network ‘Strategically’

To use networking productively, whether it be face-to-face or online networking, it must be done strategically – in other words, it requires a specific purpose and a plan to achieve it. Obviously the ‘purpose’ is to find a suitable job, and the plan should involve identifying all those people who are in a position to offer you the kind of job you are looking for. That is the starting point – identifying people who might have the type of job you are looking for. Then you need to identify where these people ‘hang out’ – what forums are they members of or what association meetings do they attend? These are the places a job hunter needs to ‘hang out’ also.

This can be brought a stage further by identifying the people who know or are connected to the people who can hire you for your targeted job. Where do they ‘hang out’? This is where the job hunter needs to spend their time networking. There is no point in meeting lots of nice or interesting people when networking if they are not in a position to help you in your job search. The time to meet interesting people is when you have a job, but when you are in job search mode, you must be ‘strategic’ in your networking – look for and connect with those who can help you.

Getting the Most out of Working with Recruiters (2)

Help recruiters to help you

We saw in part 1 of this article that recruiters are very busy people trying to match candidates to vacant positions and that they are paid by the hiring companies to do so – this means that they work for those companies and not for you the job hunter. Because recruiters are busy, job hunters should prepare properly before contacting them, including creating an ‘elevator pitch’ to use with them. We also saw how viewing recruiters as your partners in your job search makes the relationship more productive.

In this second part of the article, we look at some more tips for working with recruiters.

Be clear about your job priorities

Knowing exactly what is important to you in a job is essential so that you have criteria for evaluating an offered position. This includes establishing a salary range that identifies that figure below which you will not consider accepting a job no matter what the other favourable conditions might be, as well as the desired actual salary. You also need to be clear about your other expectations of a job such as location, travel, career advancement, career development opportunities, medical and other benefits, etc. Your job priorities should be a written list that you can refer to, and when dealing with a recruiter, that you have clearly and honestly communicated these so that they use them in matching you to a vacant position. This will make the process easier for both of you.

Be flexible with those priorities

Some of your job priorities will be ‘concrete’ in that they are “must have’s” – for example, if travel in your work is very important for you, you will not be happy in a job that doesn’t encompass this, so that’s a “must”. Other priorities may be less set in stone and you should be flexible with these. For instance, a job offer may be on the lower end of your salary expectations but it might have excellent health coverage which can add more than $400 into the overall package. Similarly, reimbursed tuition fees, increased leave or excellent opportunities for advancement may also make-up for the lower salary. So when discussing priorities with a recruiter, especially when a job offer is being made, be flexible where you can, but remain rigid with your “must have’s”.

Listen to what the recruiter suggests

Recruiters will make suggestions as to what to include (or not include) in your resume when applying to specific companies, or what to say to a particular hiring manager during interview, etc. One of recruiters’ main irritations is when candidates argue with them over such suggestions and insist on doing it “their way’ – the recruiter knows their client and is making the suggestions so that the candidate will more easily ‘fit’ with what the hiring manager is looking for. So listen and heed what they say!

Work with multiple recruiters

There are dozens and dozens of employment agencies operating in Singapore, some good, some bad, many in-between. Job searchers should do some research on which agencies deal with the industry they are targeting jobs in and through further research, find out if the agencies they are considering have a reasonable reputation. Then the job searcher should work with a number of different recruiters to increase their exposure to the job market – different recruiters and employment agencies will have different companies as clients, and not all recruiters will have access to all available positions or hiring managers. So it makes sense to work with a number of different recruiters in order to have access to as wide a pool of vacancies as possible.

Getting the Most out of Working with Recruiters (1)

Know how to work with recruiters

The recruiter is not working for you

Recruiters are busy people – they get paid on results, and those results are the successful placement of a person into a vacant job. They are paid only when they fill the position and it is the hiring company that pays them. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are working on your behalf – they aren’t! They are working for the company that pays them.

When you as a job hunter deal with an employment agency, bear in mind that the recruiters are busy trying to match candidates to vacant positions. They receive hundreds of applications and speculative resumes for every position on their books and they simply do not have enough time to read all those resumes in detail – they spend less than 30 seconds skimming through them. So you must help them in this process by having a focused resume and clearly showing how you match the key requirements of the job you are applying for.

They are very busy people – so prepare before you call them

Job hunters frequently complain that recruiters are abrupt and don’t spend much time talking to them – as stated above, they are very busy people and simply don’t have the time to talk to people who aren’t a good ‘fit’ for a position they are dealing with. So understand their situation, and when you talk to them, be as brief and concise as possible. If the recruiter phones you, it means there seems to be a ‘fit’ between you and a job, so again remember they are busy and be focused on demonstrating how you meet the requirements of the vacant job. If you talk about irrelevancies, then they will be abrupt in bringing you back to talking about the essentials. For them, time is money!

When responding to a job advertisement, find out the name of the particular recruiter dealing with that position. Sometimes it is stated in the job ad, but if it’s not, call the employment agency and ask who is the recruiter involved. Then use their name in the cover letter / cover e-mail – this slightly more personal touch will always work in your favour. Again, your attached resume must be focused and show how you meet the requirements of the job. If it isn’t thus focused, it goes into the garbage bin.

If you ‘cold call’ a recruitment agency, prepare properly before the phone call – write down what you need to say and ask. Prepare an “elevator pitch” (the 30 second statement of who you are, what you do, what type of position you are looking for, and something unique about yourself) and have it in writing in front of you. The main tactic when talking to a recruiter is being brief, concise and relevantly focused.

View recruiters as partners in your job search

Recruiters may be busy people, but you can still look on them as partners in your job search. To do so, you must be completely honest with them and not try to hide any gaps in employment, or the fact that you were job hopping at a certain stage, or fired from a previous position, etc. They will be able to advise you on how such situations should be presented in your resume and at interview – they will also make sure not to refer you to an employer that they know might have a problem with your particular issue.

If a recruiter phones you but you were unavailable, be respectful and return their call as soon as possible. This is particularly important if you are involved in a job offer negotiation, as there are numerous stories of people who have had job offers withdrawn because they were slow in getting back to the recruiter. Unless your experience and skill-set are very unique, there will always be another candidate to offer the job to! And when a recruiter sends you to a hiring manager for an interview, make sure to promptly provide them with feedback on how things went.

A further posting will continue discussing how to get the most out of dealing with recruiters.

The Difference between Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is a lot more than your resume

You have spent a lot of time and effort in crafting your newly updated resume, and are proud of the result – it looks good! Now you need to get your LinkedIn profile uploaded so that people (especially recruiters and hiring managers!) can find you in searches. So that’s just a matter of ‘cut & paste’ from your resume to LinkedIn – right? No, actually! That’s the lazy option and a lost opportunity to portray and sell yourself to the world.

So if copying your resume is not the proper way to creating a LinkedIn profile, what is? And what are the differences between the two?

The Focus

The differences is firstly in the audience they are aimed at. Your resume should be focused on the requirements of a particular job (generic resumes don’t get you an interview anymore!), so the audience for it is narrowly defined.

A LinkedIn profile, on the other hand, has a potentially much wider audience – if you are job searching, you want recruiters and hiring managers from different companies and possibly different industries looking to fill a range of jobs to find you. Even if you are not in the market for a job, you want to portray a professional image of yourself because customers, clients, suppliers, colleagues, your bosses, competitors’ staff, their bosses, etc, may all have a look to find out more about you. And wouldn’t it be nice if a head-hunter contacted you even if you are not looking to change jobs!

So you need to craft your LinkedIn profile in such a way that all of these people can find you. You do this by focusing on two other differences between a resume and a LinkedIn profile – the Headline and the Summary.

The Headline

The headline in your resume should be focused on that one job you are sending it for – it should say something about your job title or area of competency and mention a few key skills required for that job. The headline in your LinkedIn profile should contain some of the keywords people might use in a search to find someone just like you – someone with your skills, your strengths, and experience. The headline is the first place a LinkedIn search goes to, so you should help your potential searchers by using the keywords they will use. If you want some help with this, Google or LinkedIn search for someone reasonably well known in a position similar to yours. Look at their headline and note the keywords they used.

The Summary

The summary or profile in your resume should be just one paragraph in length (but short enough to read in a quick glance) and mention your position, some skills and achievements related to the key requirements of the job you are seeking, and perhaps an educational qualification if that too is key.

The version of the summary in your LinkedIn profile can contain all the information used in your resume’s summary and a lot more! You have a maximum of 2000 characters to use, so make the most of them. Write this summary in the first (I, my or me) or third (he/she, his/her) person – a resume summary shouldn’t contain pronouns, but LinkedIn ones do – and be less formal. Bring in something interesting about yourself, perhaps a passionate pastime or leisure pursuit – if you play on the local football team or are dreadful at but love tennis, mention it – it will portray you as more human. Even though there is a separate section in LinkedIn to list your skills and competencies, it can be useful to use some of those keywords in how you describe yourself – this again helps your profile to be ‘found’ in searches.

Be Creative

LinkedIn facilitates telling your story in multi-media, so, depending on the type of industry you are in and how you want to portray yourself professionally, make good use of this facility. You can have a link to your ‘master-copy’ resume (the not so focused one), a link to a video clip of you presenting at a meeting, a picture of you missing that tennis ball (!), a picture of that award you received, etc. Just make sure that they are in keeping with the image you want to portray and are appropriate for the industry you work in.

Understanding Recruiters

You need to understand recruiters to work well with them

Most people going through the job search process have to deal with recruiters at some point. However, many people are critical about their experience of dealing with them and complain about them not responding to phone calls, being rushed or abrupt, asking for resumes to be sent but never calling back, etc. Understanding more about recruiters and how to partner with them makes the encounter more productive and less stressful.

Types of Recruiters

There are two types of recruiters and they each work differently: agency recruiters, and retained recruiters.

Agency recruiters work on a contingency basis, meaning that they only collect a fee when they place a job seeker with their client company – the person taking up the appointment must stay in the job for a certain duration, generally ninety days. They usually deal with recruitment for junior and middle-level positions.

Retained recruiters are hired exclusively by client companies to manage senior management positions and their fees are paid up-front. As most people’s experience of recruiters is with agency recruiters, they will be our focus in this article.

So what do recruiters actually do?

When a company engages an employment agency, the recruiter contacts the hiring manager involved to gain more specific information on the job vacancy such as responsibilities, required skills, salary, reporting structure, etc. They then check for a match with their own company’s database and also scrutinise major job boards for suitable candidates. In recent years, they are also making greater use of LinkedIn.

Once the recruiter has identified a number of possible candidates, they contact them, usually by phone, for a screening interview. While this may seem like a casual chat to a candidate, it is very much an interview! Their goal is to ascertain the candidates ‘fit’ with the job, their expectations in relation to salary, job advancement, etc, and to discuss why they want to leave their current job (or why they left their last job).

When the recruiter has 8 to 10 candidates that appear to be suitable for the vacant post, they invite them for a more in-depth interview at the agency’s office. This time, as well as focusing on whether the candidate ‘fits’ the job, they collect information on their background (experience, education, goals, etc). If the client company has requested it, there may also be psychometric or aptitude tests. The additional goal in these interviews is that the recruiter wants to screen out any candidates they feel may not stay in the job for three months – their fee depends on this!

When the recruiter has a list of 5 or 6 strong candidates, they send the details to the hiring manager, along with the recruiter’s notes and recommendations. Usually the recruiter then coordinates the interviews for the hiring manager who interviews them.

Many recruiters will coach the candidates on how to approach the interview, how to answer certain questions, what they need to know about the company, etc. This is very valuable and candidates should pay attention to this advice.

As well as getting feedback from each candidate, the recruiter follows up with the hiring manager. If the hiring manager wants to hire one of the candidates, the recruiter establishes the details of the offer to be made and contacts the candidate to discuss the offer. The recruiter acts as a negotiator between the two parties until agreement is reached. Once the candidate starts work and stays for 90 days, the recruiter’s fee of 20% to 30% is paid.

If the hiring manager doesn’t want any of the candidates seen so far, the recruiter restarts the process to look for more candidates.

A follow on article will discuss tips for working better with recruiters.

How to Focus Your Resume

A resume must be focused to get past the gatekeepers

How do I focus my resume?” is one of the main questions that career coaches get asked. Most job seekers have already heard that they must have a focused resume to get past either the software or human gatekeeper – an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) or the person tasked with screening the resumes received. What these ‘gatekeepers’ are looking for is that applicants meet most of the requirements to do the job – these will also probably be the selection criteria used at interview.

So here are some ways that you can ensure that your resume is focused on the requirements of the job.

Firstly and most importantly, read the advertisement for the position you are applying for. This will contain a job description and a section usually called ‘Required’. The ‘required’ section may be divided into ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ qualities. You need to go through that job description and required qualities and mark or highlight all the keywords used. In particular, you are looking for the keywords used to describe skills, experience and education or qualifications. You should also do this for the desirable qualities.

Type this list of keywords and keep it in front of you. These keywords must appear in your resume for it to be ‘focused’ and to get passed the gatekeeper.

Determine the more important keywords and use these in your profile / summary and in your key strengths sections. If possible, use some of the other keywords here too. When writing your experience section, use as many of the keywords as you can when describing your responsibilities. If an educational or other qualification is required, make sure you list that too. Your aim is to show that you meet at least 80% of the requirements – less than that and you probably won’t be called for interview – more than 80% almost guarantees that you will.

But what if the job wasn’t officially advertised and there isn’t a job description with requirements? This can happen when you hear about a job through networking – somebody tells you about a vacant position and asks you to send in your resume to the hiring manager. Don’t worry – you still have a couple of options.

The US Department of Labour (Labor) maintains a huge database of jobs that includes the requirements for each job. This database can be freely accessed at https://www.onetonline.org/ – just type in the job title and you will have a [usually] long list of job requirements. You will need to do some guesswork here and reduce this list to a manageable number of key requirements to work with to focus your resume.

Another option is to use the job title in a Google search and look for previous advertisements for similar jobs. You can also do this in a LinkedIn search. Use a few previous advertisements and see which are the common requirements mentioned in each. These are likely to be the key requirements for the job you are targeting too, and the keywords you need to use in your resume.

You could also use LinkedIn search to identify specific people in a similar role – you might even be lucky enough to find the previous holder of the position you are going to apply for! Look at their profiles and again note the similarities in their skills (especially the ones they have listed as key skills), experience and education / qualifications. Again, these are likely to be the key requirements for those positions that must be used as keywords to focus your resume.

Focusing your resume in this way with keywords that reflect the key requirements of your targeted job should ensure that you get more interviews.

For any job interview, you need to have two clear objectives

Have clear objectives for your interview

People spend a lot of time preparing for interviews. They try to guess the questions they could be asked and prepare answers for them – hopefully they even practice answering the questions out loud. But preparing for interviews is much easier if you have clear objectives of what you are trying to achieve during that interview. For any job interview, you need to have two clear objectives: Firstly, to demonstrate that you can do the job; and secondly, that you will ‘fit in’ to the company or team you are being interviewed for.

Of course, both of these objectives require that you have properly researched the target job and company – preferably before you finalised the resume you sent with your application. Failing to learn as much as you possibly can before an interview can lead, not only to failing to secure a job offer, but to having a very uncomfortable experience during the actual interview. Incredibly, far too many candidates don’t seem to know sufficiently about a company to be able to adequately answer the questions “why do you want to join our company?” or “what do you know about our company?

Hiring managers hate uninformed candidates, and many state that they will not employ someone who comes across as uniformed. Not properly researching the company means you will come across at interview as uniformed.

One of the most important things you need to discover in your research of the company are the specific requirements of the job. These will form the selection criteria for the interviewers to evaluate and score during the interview process. These are the set of skills, experience and qualifications that you need to demonstrate you have in order to be selected as a suitable candidate for the job. These are what you have to demonstrate that you have in order to meet the first objective of convincing the interviewers that you can do the job.

Your research should have a general and a specific aim. The general aim is to discover the requirements of that type of job wherever it is situated or in any company. The specific aim is to discover the particular requirements of the job for that one company as the requirements may differ slightly from company to company. This research may lead you to discover dozens of requirements for the job and you must break this down into the six to eight “key requirements” for the job. These six to eight “key requirements are then the focus of your interview preparation and you must be able to demonstrate that you possess these. To do this effectively, you should have an example of a time you used that skill or gained that experience. Having these little stories will add impact to your interview.

Your research should also uncover what the culture of the company is. To understand their culture, you need to know what they value and the type of people who work there. Is it the type of company that values creativity over bureaucracy? Do the people working there look for new ways of solving a problem or are they more likely to follow standard procedures and proven ways of doing things?

There are two benefits of knowing a company’s culture, values and the type of people working there. Firstly, you will be able to discuss how you will ‘fit in’ to such a company – this is always a major concern for hiring managers. Secondly and more importantly, when you discover the company’s culture, values and the type of people already working there, you can decide if that really a place you would like to work in? You don’t want to work in a place where you are so different to the majority of people working there – that would lead to constant stress and conflict for you. If you don’t fit, don’t waste your time and that of the interviewers!

So, proper research will help you demonstrate that you can do the job, and ‘fit in’ to the company and team‘s culture and ways of doing things.

Should you keep your LinkedIn profile General or Focused when job hunting

Decide whether to keep your LinkedIn profile focused or general

To be effective, a resume must be focused on the specific requirements of that one job in that particular company. When applying for different jobs, you send (or should send!) differently focused resumes for each position applied for. A LinkedIn profile on the other hand has a potentially much wider audience – and you cannot have (or shouldn’t have!) different profiles for different audiences.

A question arises then, particularly during job hunting, as to whether you should have a general LinkedIn profile, or to focus your profile on your specific target job (i.e. the position you want to secure).

When you are clearly focused in your job search and have a specific job target in mind, a LinkedIn profile focused on that job is the way to go. Your LinkedIn profile will be more consistent with your focused resume, and searches from hiring managers or recruiters related to your job target are more likely to lead to you. So, for people who are searching for a new job, a focused LinkedIn profile is recommended.

However, keeping your profile general will have it look different to your resume and may be more appealing – you can ‘play’ with it more and make it more personal – more ‘you’. Being general, it will attract or match to a wider set of jobs in searches, leaving you open to a wider set of opportunities.

But if it is too general, your profile might not sufficiently match the keywords hiring managers or recruiters might be using in searches – the keywords they use are related to the key requirements for the job they wish to fill. You might end up with a prettier or more attractive profile, but it won’t be particularly useful to your job search if it doesn’t lead to ‘hits’ in job searches or tells recruiters and hiring managers that you have the skills that match their job vacancy.

The other issue in whether your LinkedIn profile should be general or focused is about what your current employer sees! If your profile is very specific or focused on a particular job, and that job is different to the one you are in now, your employer will know that you are looking for a new job. Remember that LinkedIn informs all of your contacts that you have updated your profile, and if you are ‘connected’ to your manager or others in your company, they will see your new profile and status.

If this is not an issue and won’t cause you problems, then go with a focused profile as it will achieve better results when job hunting.

If it is an issue and you don’t want your boss to know you are ‘available’ to the job market, keep your LinkedIn profile more general, but a little focused too – you want searches to lead to you for the jobs you want. The way to do this is to ensure that your profile’s Headline and Summary contain the keywords that match the type of jobs you want. Of course, there will need to be some emphasis on your current role so that your profile seems informative of your current situation and therefore less like you are looking for a new job. This dual approach is ambiguous and will serve both your purposes of looking for a new job while not alerting your boss about what you are doing!

How to approach your Job Search in Singapore

For best results, use more than one approach to your job search in Singapore

There are three approaches to finding a job in Singapore: Job boards; Employment Agencies; and Networking. For the best results, use all three.

Job Boards

Job boards can be very frustrating for job seekers. People submit lots of applications for different jobs and frequently do not receive a response – this can be very demoralising. Recruiters only respond to people they think will match a job they have available on their books.

The problem is the very large number of job advertisements on each job board and the equally large number of people applying for them, so it’s very easy for your application to get lost in the crowd. Many claim it is a game of luck, while others claim it is a numbers game that has less than a 10% success rate. Either way, to increase your chances of getting a response from a recruiter, you have to increase the number of applications you submit.

Another problem is that there are many job boards to explore and this can take up a lot of your time. A more efficient way is to use a job aggregator such as Indeed.com which displays available jobs advertised on most other job boards. This saves you time sifting through countless job boards and allows you to spend this time on just one job board, meaning you can be more focused in your job search. A particularly important factor in this is that you can be one of the first to spot and apply for a newly advertised position – it is reported that nearly 50% of successful applications leading to a job hire were made in the first week the job was advertised. So make sure that you are one of the first!

Employment Agencies

Many people complain about their experiences working with employment agency recruiters. This is frequently due to a misunderstanding about their role. You must understand that the recruiter is not paid by you, the job seeker, but by the employer when a position is filled. So their main focus is not on you, the job seeker, but on satisfying the person who pays them – the employer. Furthermore, each individual recruiter is dealing with hundreds of job seekers and simply doesn’t have the time to deal with each individual’s concerns, so they may appear rushed and abrupt – they too have to reach targets!

So, before you speak to a recruiter, prepare what you are going to say and be brief and as concise as possible. Having an ‘elevator pitch’ to use with recruiters can be very useful. While it is best to use a number of recruiters from different employment agencies, do some research to see if there is a specialist recruiter for your particular industry and job area. Even if these are based overseas such as in Hong Kong, it is frequently worthwhile to contact them.

Networking

Networking is by far the most effective way to job search in Singapore. The principle behind networking is that someone you already know may have a job vacancy or know someone else who does. Or someone you already know may know somebody who knows somebody else who has a job vacancy or where one exists. A high number of jobs in Singapore are not publicly advertised but are by ‘word of mouth’ where a hiring manager asks another manager or friend if they know of someone who would be suitable.

I have written previously on the need to know exactly why you are networking (you can read the article here) and to be focused in your networking activities. It is also important to not just rely only on using LinkedIn but to utilise the network you already have – i.e. all the people you already know. However, they must know clearly what you are seeking – otherwise they can’t help you get it.

Effective networking requires careful planning and you must know how to do it properly so as to avoid annoying people and becoming a person to avoid. If you are not adept in networking, speak to someone who is or take a training in it.

How Essential Is Your Job To Your Firm's Mission?

how essential is your job

If you were offered several different jobs, there would be a lot of factors that went into deciding which job to take.

In addition to the usual factors like seniority level, salary and work-life balance, new research by professors at University of Wisconsin and Washington State University, suggests another important factor to take into account.

How indispensable you are to place?

In other words, is the role a ‘lynchpin’ and how essential is the job to the firm’s overall goal?

Examples of lynchpin roles are engineers in a technology company, or a management consultant at a consulting firm.

To gauge the lynchpinness of a job there are four dimensions that come into play:

  1. How vital the work is to the overall purpose of the company.
  2. If someone else can do the work.
  3. How quickly other work activities would stop, if the job was not done.
  4. How many other work activities would stop, if the job was not done.

The study in question found that being an “organizational lynchpin,” as researchers put it, has several advantages.

First, and most obvious, is that of job security. If you are perceived as vital to the life of a company, you really don’t have to worry about being fired or replaced. This is good, but it’s not the only advantage.

Lynchpins also feel a higher sense of job satisfaction because people like to know that they are doing something meaningful and something that others depend on. Being essential also helps to foster a deeper emotional connection to the company. All this leads to more enjoyment at work, and a smaller chance of getting burned out by your job.

So, why is this good to know?

  • As you are considering future career choices, it’s important to think about your role in the company in question. Are you getting a job as just a cog in the machine, or are you signing on to play a significant role?
  • This also has implications for internal transfers within an organization. If you are offered a transfer to a more central position in the company, it is something you want to seriously consider.
  • For supervisors, this research also suggests that efforts to increase employee satisfaction are best targeted to those employees who work in more peripheral areas of the company. That’s because they are the ones who will most likely be unhappier in their jobs due to burnout, a sense of being left out or a feeling of not being important.

Useful Ways To Follow Up On A Job Application

how to follow up on a job application

You’ve sent in your job application or resume, and have been anxiously checking your email or voicemail every day since, hoping to hear back from the potential employer.

The work that goes into filling out and submitting a job application can be tedious, time-consuming and stressful. Following up, the key to staying at the top of the hiring manager’s mind, is one more item on the list of things to do.

However, following up on your application doesn’t have to be a drain on your time. You don’t have to send a boring email asking the company to share the status of the position or letting them know that the purpose of your email is to follow up on your application.

If you consider this aspect of your application as a way to market yourself, along with your skills and experience, try approaching the situation from a new perspective.

Adding Value Through Job Application Follow-Up

Make your follow-up useful and different, by including information that will actually be of value. Here are some ideas to achieve this:

Send them information that you may have forgotten to share.

Many people have experiences talking to someone and then, hours later, remembering something that would have fit well in the conversation or been helpful to the other person. This also happens often in job interviews.

For example, the interviewer asks you about a few of your achievements and you forget to talk about 2 important ones.

Wait a few days before sharing the information, and if you haven’t heard anything, send over details of the 2 achievements.

Send an employer new information.

If you’ve earned any recognition or awards, published an article, or completed a significant project since you met with or spoke to your contact, consider sending the information to them.

Let them know the new experience you’ve gained, new skills you’ve learned or the honors you’ve received.

Send them an article.

Think about the communication you’ve had with your contact at the company, and if you see/find an article with information that you think would benefit the company’s growth or make an impact in their operations, send it to that individual.

The article will show your interest in their company and your understanding of their business.

Companies receive a ton of application follow-ups. Remember to not bombard them with follow-ups, and use the opportunity to add to your interview or conversation.

Try This Approach To Find Your Dream Job

how to find your dream job

When looking for a job, we all have a dream company and job in mind. We also include a few back-up companies/jobs in our job search efforts, just in case Plan-A doesn’t materialize.

However, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and the University of Wisconsin-Madison believe that having a backup plan can actually derail your success rather than help you achieve your goals.

After studying how people reacted to certain scenarios, their research shows that a safety net may actually decrease your motivation for reaching your highest potential.


THE STUDY

Jihae Shin, assistant professor of management at UW, along with professor Karen Milkman of UPenn, surmised that a backup plan may cause someone to work less hard in obtaining a goal.

The two researchers set out to find out if this hypothesis rang true by setting up an experiment with hundreds of people divided into two groups.

In one group, respondents were given a test to unscramble sentences. Those who did well could leave early or get a free snack.

Researchers added one aspect to a second group of people. The second group was told to also come up with ideas about how to get free food or how to make up any lost time later in the day, if they didn’t unscramble the sentences quick enough.


AGAINST COMMON PRACTICE

What the researchers found went against the notion that successful people always had backup plans in case something went awry.

People in the experiment who made backup plans fared worse on the unscrambling tasks.

Shin and Milkman discovered, through follow-up questions after the experiment, that the lack of accomplishment from people who had backup plans was partly due to a diminished drive to succeed.

Failure is associated with negative emotions. These are important for pushing us to succeed, in order to avoid the consequences of failure. When you have a back-up plan in place, the emotional safety net can reduce the desire to achieve your goals and succeed.


DRIVE VERSUS SAFETY NET

Whereas a backup plan may make you feel safe and reduce negative emotions associated with failure, a safety net could interfere with accomplishing your primary goal.

Security makes you feel better, but it might diminish your desire and drive for what you really want to achieve.

For example, you may settle for a job at a less well-known company because you already have a connection there versus reaching for a loftier objective at a prestigious firm where you don’t know anyone.

Fortunately, the researchers have a solution.


HOW TO ACHIEVE PLAN A FIRST

Shin and Milkman explain that you should rely on a backup plan only after you exhaust all possibilities for earning your original goal.

Many times, people may fall back on Plan B prematurely when they are already close to finishing Plan A.

Figuring when to switch gears means you should know yourself, determine what it takes to realize your objectives, and recognize when you can’t do any more.


What you do during your job search, does depend on your specific situation. However, it might be worth considering and incorporating the findings of this research into your job search.

Before spreading your efforts across Plans A, B and C, perhaps you should give Plan A everything you got first. It could make the difference between getting your dream job and having to settle for something less inspiring.

Having said that, to find your dream job it is essential that you go about the search in the perfect way. Take a look at our free guides to help with this.