Posts Tagged 'career advancement'

Thank You – It’s Important

My sister lives in the Seattle area and quit working for “the man” several years ago.  She enjoyed a career at home in Internet Marketing.  She was doing well until Google decided to change their algorithms making it extremely difficult for small websites to show up in Google web searches.  So she decided to get back into corporate America and began her job search.  The economy is still in recovery and it took her longer than she expected but she finally did land a good paying job.  She credits her success to one simple tool – a thank you note.  She told me that following up her interviews with a nice thank you note set her apart from other candidates.

Set her apart from other candidates?  That’s odd.  I’ve been doing career research for several years now and every article or website I’ve read recommends that applicants send a thank you note after meeting with their hopeful employer.  Apparently that advice is not well received because many applicants fail to follow up in this very simple way.  Remember that employers will often interview many applicants in a day and they will sit with a stack of resumes and interview notes from people just like you.  In order to be successful in your career search – you not only need to score the interview and impress them with your accomplishments, you must also stay in their mind as someone who follows through a process completely.  The thank you note is the perfect way to accomplish that goal.

My sister didn’t indicate whether she sent a physical thank you card or simply sent an email thank you.  I think both would be sufficient but a hand written note would certainly be more rare these days – and therefore more note worthy in the mind of the employer.  Either way this simple little edge should never be forgotten.  So let me join all those other career advisers in suggesting you send a thank you note after your interview.  It really is important.

America Gets Back To Work

Last night President Obama outlined his plan to get America back to work with various infrastructure projects, tax breaks for businesses that hire and other incentives to get businesses back to hiring.  That’s great news for those of us looking for a job or a career change!  I think it is important that the President not only wants to get people working again, but also ensuring those who are working are getting a fair wage.  The economy won’t improve until we all have money in our pockets that we can spend on things other than reducing our debt or buying necessities.  We can only hope that the jobs bill is approved and implemented quickly because as the President indicated – we don’t have 14 months to wait for things to improve.

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Back To School?

Many people who are in the job market – either by layoff or just for a career change – often look first at going back to school.  A better education is never a bad idea, but there are some things you should consider before you enroll.

  • Today’s higher education can be prohibitively expensive – especially if you plan to attend a good quality accredited school.  How will you pay for your classes and books without a job?  How long will it take you to re-coup those costs?  Will you really get that much higher salary?
  • Technology is changing fast affecting many jobs very quickly.  When you finally get that new degree it may already be outdated.
  • A higher education takes a lot of time – time that you won’t be working and making money.
  • Cheaper on-line classes might not be as accepted as a “real” education.  You might just be wasting your time.

On the job training (OJT) may be a more effective way to enhance your career or train for a new career direction.  The hardest part of OJT is finding an employer that is willing to take the time and effort to train you – but it might not be as difficult as you would imagine.  Many employers would rather have a person trained in the specific way they do business rather than bring on an employee with a head full of preconceived ideas.  Most companies know the value of OJT and are more than willing to provide the opportunity.

Your past experience is your biggest asset when seeking on OJT position.  An employer needs to be able to determine that you are the type of person that will learn quickly with the appropriate ambition.  If you don’t already have years of experience you will need to be able to convince a prospective employer that you are that type of person.  Practice several different ways of conveying that information in an interview – before you go to the interview.  Be sure you can provide specific examples either in your professional life or private life that prove you are able to adapt and learn quickly.

The down side of OJT is that you may need to take a pay cut.  You can’t really expect to get paid a full salary without the full training.  But weighed against the amount of money you would pay for a quality education and the difference in cost to you could be substantial.  OJT is your ticket to self improvement and career advancement at a fraction of the cost of higher education.