Feature: Stay Ever Prepared

Feature: Stay Ever Prepared

Feature: Stay Ever Prepared

This is the fourth in a four-part series that describes the new Darwinian world of job volatility and three of the key skills required for survival in this difficult employment environment. To read the first three parts, click on the Newsletter archive at WEDDLE’s and look for the issues dated September 1, 2003, September 15, 2003 and October 1, 2003.

Good jobs come and go quickly these days. Great jobs come and go at warp speed. Recruiters are under intense pressure to find the talented people their organizations need and get them hired. Fast. Therefore, one of the most important strategies you can use for dealing with today’s Darwinian world of job volatility is to be “interview ready” all of the time.

What does that mean? It means that you are always prepared for that first contact with an employer, whether it is a telephone call from one of its recruiters or the chance to apply for an opening you’ve just seen advertised or just heard about from a friend. There’s no delay while you throw together a resume. There’s no hemming and hawing while you try to remember what’s going on in your industry. And, there’s no embarrassed silence while you try to cover up the gaps you’ve let emerge in your professional knowledge.

Look at it this way: recruiters have thousands of applicants sending in their resumes every day for openings with their employers. From their perspective, they have the pick of the crop, and human nature being what it is, they believe they can now be more selective than ever. From your perspective, this situation guarantees that the competition for any job will be intense, and the competition for the best jobs will be off the charts.

How will recruiters sort winners from losers? They’ll look for candidates who have state-of-the-art skills in their career field and are up-to-date in their industry and the business world, in general. In addition, they will expect you to demonstrate that professional knowledge and business awareness from the very first minute of their very first contact with you and continuously thereafter. That’s what I mean when I say it’s important that you stay ever prepared.

I know that’s a big challenge; sure, you have other things to do. But, continuous preparation is a critical key to success in this demanding new job market. So, how can you get it done? That’s where the Internet comes in. As the “information superhighway,” it offers a myriad of ways to help you get ready and stay ready for whatever opportunities may come along. Conveniently. With the minimum investment of time and effort. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Take college courses and training programs online. E-Learning or education accomplished online has expanded dramatically in the last five years. Today, over 2,000 institutions of higher education, ranging from Alaska Pacific University to Cornell University and Duke University, offer online programs. You can earn an Associates, Bachelors or graduate degree as well as a certificate in the latest developments in almost every profession, craft and trade. To find the program that would be best for you, use the directory of academic institutions at Google.
  • Read the journals published by your professional association. Joining the national association in your field enables you to tap into the wealth of news and information such organizations normally provide in their publications. Increasingly, you can receive and/or access these journals and magazines from the Internet, saving you time and ensuring that your awareness of issues and trends is up-to-the-minute. How can you determine which associations are serving your profession? Visit the free Association Directory at WEDDLE’s.
  • Check the news feeds at business and other media sites. You can read the latest world and business news at the Web-sites of the major television and cable networks (e.g., CNN, MSNBC), business publications (e.g., Bloomberg Financial News, The Wall Street Journal), newspapers, and your Internet service provider. The key, here, is to develop a habit. Find the news sources (yes, you should use more than one) that are the most interesting and helpful to you, and then visit them daily. There’s no better way to stay up-to-date in today’s rapidly changing world.
  • Study the press releases of major employers in your industry. Make sure you know which organizations and individuals are the key players and that you know what they are doing. Certainly, you can visit specific corporate sites and find a wealth of information. To broaden your perspective a bit, however, I suggest that you use a browser (e.g., Google, the search engine at Yahoo!) to get both an organization’s own press releases and any commentary written about them in the media. All you have to do is enter the organization’s name, and the computer will do the looking for you.
  • Dream jobs don’t stay open for long, so it’s important that you are always “interview ready.” That’s tough to do in today’s busy world, but the Internet can help. It brings news, information and important developmental opportunities right to your desktop at home. Take advantage of them, and you’ll ensure that every first impression you make with a recruiter is a good one.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and Perry-Martel International, an executive search firm, have released the results of a survey of high tech employers in North America. Among its findings: 97% of the respondents who described themselves as executives felt that the best way to land a job in today’s economy was by identifying select firms, approaching an executive there directly, and emphasizing your potential strategic contribution. In contrast, 73% of the respondents who described themselves as non-executives felt that the best strategy for landing a job was networking (which was identified by only 1% of executives), where you lead with the skills and experience you can bring to the job. What does it all mean? Networking is undoubtedly still important in reaching hiring managers, but if the position you want is senior enough to warrant an interview with the hiring manager’s boss, make sure you also know how to present yourself effectively as a strategic contributor when you meet with the executive.

    Catalyst, a research and lobbying group focusing on women’s issues, has reported that the pay differential between men and women in industry is largely caused by women’s lack of line management experience. A recent study at Carnegie Mellon University, however, points to another factor that may also be at work. A researcher found that male Masters degree graduates earned $4,000 more than their female peers. When probing for the source of this difference, she discovered that only 7% of the women negotiated for a higher salary, while 57% of the men tried to wring more cash out of the employers. How well did they do? The difference between the original offer and the final salary achieved by the male workers’ negotiations was almost exactly … $4,000.

    SoftwareJobLink.com has launched its portal site for software-related jobs with large and small employers across the country. Basically, the search engine on the site enables you to identify positions posted at the Web-sites of companies such as Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Siebel, Borland, Business Objects, Symantec and Open Text. Among the kinds of openings you can expect to find are those for help desk and software sales, consulting and development as well as human resources, marketing and other fields.

    WEDDLE’s has announced additional results from its recruitment site research conducted for its upcoming 2004 Guides and Directories. The following sites are no longer in operation: FashionJobs.net, Jobs in Fashion (under never-ending construction), CADDjobs.com, Careers.com (now a part of CareerBuilder.com), and EmployUs.com. In addition JobSpectrum.org, the job board of the American Chemical Society, has been re-named cen-chemjobs.org.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. If you were a bilingual sales representative looking for a better job, which of the following sites might translate into success?

  • Asia-Net
  • Bilingual-Jobs.com
  • LatPro
  • 2. Where might you look to find an information management position with a major healthcare system in your hometown?

  • HIMSS.org
  • Achoo.com
  • CIO-CHIME.org
  • 3. If you were a graphic artist with Web experience, where could you portray your credentials so that an established employer might see them?

  • Webboyz.com
  • 3D Café
  • Webgirlz.com
  • WebWarhol.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2003 Guides and Directories



    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time/consulting jobs: Yes

    Distribution of jobs: National: USA

    Number of jobs: 235

    Salary levels of jobs: $51-75K, $76-100K

    Offer a job agent: No

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 760 days

    Restrictions on who can post: Those in a certain industry

    Other services for job seekers: None

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All of the sites.

    2. All of the sites, but Achoo.com, a site for general healthcare information

    3. 3D Café