The job search project
Searching for a job is always an interesting journey. It is rare that we are an expert in the job search process. While it is true that we no longer stay in the same job or organization for our whole career, searching for a new job is still is a relatively rare event in our professional life. Our experience of job search is usually very limited. We develop various professional expertise relating our professional life. We get good experience, acquire knowledge and expertise, diplomas and certifications. But searching for a job and selling hard our own person as the best candidate? You can be the expert in your field, and still find the job search process difficult.
So here are some advice and tips to enhance your job search.
The first thing to have for a successful job search is your library of documents. It includes:
It is essential to always have a current an up-to-date resume. Don’t let the comfort of a regular permanent position let you lose control over your resume. It should always be ready. Periodically review and update your resume. For two reasons:
- It is much easier to develop over time a high-quality document than preparing an excellent resume in a few hours when you need one.
- You never know when you may need it. Luck in life is also being able to create and take opportunities when they appear in your life.
Here’s an article from idealist.org on the importance of keeping your resume up-to-date:
6 reasons why you should always keep your resume up-to-date
If you’re not applying for a job, it’s easy to let your resume collect dust. After all, why bother updating your resume if you’re not actively searching for a new opportunity?
This is the wrong approach to take, says Erin Greenawald, Editor of The Daily Muse. click to read more
diplomas and certifications
Have ready and accessible all your diplomas and certifications. As you get older, have kids, move around, change house, it is hard sometimes to remember where our documents are. Your career documents are a top priority and should be kept preciously. You should always know where they are, all of them. I also recommend that you maintain an electronic copy of all of diplomas and certifications. You can even keep them on a cloud drive such as box.com or dropbox and have them easily accessible on demand anytime.
If you have a project-based job, like many working in project management or creative jobs, keep a portfolio of all the projects you worked on. I have two versions of my resume:
- A position-based resume, which is the classic format based on the position I had during my career
- A project-based resume, based on the portfolio of projects I worked on or managed in my career.
If your work on your own, then you definitely need to maintain your portfolio.
a number game
A job search is not an evaluation of you. It is not a perfect process. You will lose more often than you will win. It is the unfortunate truth. It is not because you are bad, or you cannot do the job. Many other variables are at play here: number of candidates, bias of the hiring manager, job environment, etc.
It is a number game. Just keep applying and enjoy life in the meantime. If you keep applying, improving your resume and interview skills constantly, you will at some point win and get a job offer.
prepare for an interview
As some point, your resume will be successful, and you will be called for an interview. Even if it is a numbers game, you want to maximize your chance of success. You don’t want to just rely on luck.
So here are 7 tips to prepare for an interview.
7 Tips to prepare for an interview
1. Know the organization
Do some research on the organization. You want to show some basic knowledge of the organization you want to work for. Now, don’t go overboard here. The interview is rarely more than one hour. You will not have a chance to show advance knowledge of the organization in that short timeframe. So be strategic and make sure you know key relevant information on the organization. This should be a short list.
2. Review the job description
You should of course also spend some time reviewing the job description. Based on the information available, you should do some research and reading to be ready for questions. The objective here is to reasonably anticipate the questions that they will ask at the interview. With this preparation, it will be easier to quickly create a good answer at the interview, even if you are nervous.
3. Review your strengths
An interview is a sale job. You are selling your skills and the idea that you are the best candidate for the job. It is not a time to be shy and humble. Of course, you don’t want to sound arrogant. In preparation for the interview, you should review your strengths and list activities and results that you accomplished. In both your resume and at the interview, it is best to focus on facts. You don’t want to just say generic sentences such as “hard-working”, “dedicated”, “team player”. Anybody can say that. Give examples.
The first 3 tips are actions that you should take before the day of the interview. This preparation should ideally be done at least a few days in advance. After that, you have to take care of you, your health and mental energy. You want to be at your best the day of the interview. Calm, positive, dynamic and energetic. Just like sports training is more than just the physical training. You also have to manage your recovery period, nutrition and sleep.
Make sure you sleep well the night before the interview. Sleep is a key success factor, even if it is often ignored.
Nervousness can make even the best candidate look very… awkward at the interview. You want to be calm, positive and have some peace of mind. You also do not want to look desperate. Yes, you want the job, and will likely celebrate if you get the job offer. However, it is important to make sure that this wish makes you look like someone serious, not someone desperate.
Strange analogy, but it is not good to sound desperate when dating. It is the same here. You don’t want to sound desperate in a job interview.
My favorite tool is a 20-minute meditation in the hour before going to the interview. An excellent tool is Headspace.
6. Prepare the answers
Managing your time during the interview is essential. You want to use most of the time allocated for the interview. Going too short may leave some empty holes in your answers; taking too long brings the risk of being cut out. In your answers, try to cover briefly 3-4 main points. It is better to cover briefly more ideas, than expand on only one idea. Because the interview is an oral discussion, you should practice at home out loud some of your answers before the interview. You will become better by practice and also develop a sense of time.
7. Believe in yourself
Finally, believe in yourself. This is just an evaluation. It is not a judgment of you. You may win this one; you may lose this one. They may have a better candidate, or they may be wrong in their assessment of you. These staffing processes are not perfect and scientific.
Believe in yourself. You will get your turn and win. Maybe this one, maybe the next one. In all cases, believe in yourself and enjoy life.
Good luck in your job search. See every staffing process as an opportunity to learn. As a last word, here’s an excellent text to keep things in perspectives.
It will help both the hiring manager and the candidates. You can also find great articles from the author, Lou Adler, on LinkedIn at:
Michel Dion, PMP, CPA
Founder and Developer of Project-Aria
Discover my book:
Leadership Toolbox for Project Managers: Achieve Better Results in a Dynamic World