by Diana La Femina, Senior Editor, INALJ Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta
Some Advice Across the Board: Job Hunting Advice for Everyone!
I’ve been giving some advice to a job hunter in my life outside of librarianship, and I realized that a lot of the advice I’m giving him can be used across the board. Hopefully the below helps you as well.
1. Do some legwork
Don’t assume a former company will give you another job as a fall-back, but also don’t assume that they (or someone else) won’t help you. Cover your bases and don’t assume anything. You have nothing to lose asking someone for advice/possible positions/etc. Do so in a courteous, unentitled manner and you can’t be faulted.
When I say “legwork” I mean to think through possibilities, even those that seem farfetched. Can’t afford to volunteer? Think of how you could work it out, even if it isn’t feasible right now; you might find that it actually is. Don’t know how or where to volunteer? Begin contacting people and places. Someone will respond.
2. Always follow up
I don’t care if you had an interview within the company you’re at right now with someone you see every day, send a thank you note. The better you know the person the more informal your note can be (don’t go all formal if you two have private jokes or something). The point of the follow-up is to literally follow up. You want to reaffirm you interest in the position (in fact, you’re more interested in the position after the interview), you forgot to mention something, you gave something some more thought. This doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, be a long message. It just needs to be long enough to get your point across and show the other person that you have follow-through.
This also goes for non-interview communications: they gave you advice, they gave you an informational interview, you happened to bump into them in the hall/coffee shop and you spoke about something: send a note expressing your gratitude. You’re networking here.
3. Network when you interview
Leading from that last bit, a job interview has a lot more possibility than just to land a specific job. Near the end of an interview when they ask you if you have any questions (they will/should), ask them what their biggest concerns are with your fit with this position. This way, you can speak to those concerns head-on. And if they have legitimate concerns, admit to them. Don’t know a language they really need? Haven’t done anything resembling the major task they need you to complete? These are things that could actually hold you back in the job.
What should you do? Tell them you’re confident you could do the work, but they’re correct that there would be a learning curve. You understand that they need to hire the person best suited for that position and you hope it’s you. HOWEVER, if they find a better candidate then perhaps there’s another way you can help out in the company. Ask if there are any other areas where they need help that you’d be more suited.
I’m serious, this works. It’s how I got my current position.
Let me know if any of this advice works, or if you have any of your own.
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