Social media is increasingly used to check out employers and job hunters. HR managers and recruiters use your resume first and then search for selection criterias, before they jump on the social media bandwagon to scour the net so they can cross check and scope out potential employees. Read more
Whether you are fresh out of college or updating your resume for a new job, if you are using the buzz words everyone else is using, then don’t be surprised if your application ends up in the NO pile. Instead, link your skills to show that you are an employer’s next star employee. Read more
My most recent Melbourne based client – let’s call him “John” – reckons he has applied for more than a couple hundred jobs online since being made redundant late last year and hearing back from exactly… none. John had no awareness of some very useful resume hacks which could have scored him job interviews. Read more
It is really not hard to apply for jobs. In most cases, all that’s needed is to hit the “Apply” button or send an email, and your application is in the pool for a new job.Really? Experienced job hunters know it isn’t that simple. Most job applications seem to get lost in black holes, which is very discouraging.
So, how do you get your application to the top of the pile? Read more
Are you Fnishing up the year as a job hunter, or are you feeling ready to make a career change in the New Year? I know… it may seem a little early to think about it, but are you ready to say goodbye to 2015? Was it a good year for you? Don’t stress it. It will soon be a thing of the past. Why don’t you start early this time to set a plan for your personal growth in the New Year?
How to Get Hired in 2016
#1 Be a Finisher
We all know one of those guys who is all talk, no action. Don’t be one of them. Anybody can start projects, but it’s your mission for 2016 to actually finish something.
You will be known as a finisher, the one who gets things done and makes things happen. A closer. A killer.
If you have a ‘to do list’ longer than 10 items, you’ll need to work late to get it all done, or become more realistic when you create your list. Learn to understand what the priorities are and focus on those. Decide what actions you can take and finish that will have the greatest short term impact, you should be able to count your must-do priorities on one hand.
#2 Take Charge
Improve and master your job. Understand how your position can deliver great value to the business and to your boss. Don’t wait to be told how to do this.
Know the details, the costs, the ROI… No, forget ROI! Real workers deliver ROE = Return on Everything. Seriously! 2016 is your year, so know the results of your work.
#3 Know your Boss’s Priorities
Most of the time, your boss is your biggest asset, and maybe your biggest liability. But you can deal with both by focusing on the right attitude and behaviour for 2016. It is the one and only thing you can control, so bring your best to work every day.
Start the new year by understanding what your boss needs from your position. Why does your job exist? What does the business need from your position? The best time to get a casual chat in with your boss is now (try the Christmas party for starters).
If your boss doesn’t want to talk about it, then you need to figure this out for yourself. If you need to, ask your boss to explain to you why, fundamentally, your position exists. This is your baseline.
#4 Do More
Start by truly delivering on what your boss needs from you. Chances are however that your boss is expecting more, but is too busy to talk to you in depth. He or she may be trying not to overwhelm you with too much.
That’s the ‘2016 Opportunity’ for you: don’t wait to be told what to do. Make the next year work for both of you.
You must know about some things that need to get done in your department, but that aren’t getting done. Just do it. If your boss doesn’t want you to do it, he or she will tell you. But if your boss would like it done and didn’t ask for it–well then you are on the road to being of great value in the new year!
#5 Celebrate your Successes
Set achievable tasks and goals and regularly celebrate them. Toot your own horn! Most managers can’t keep track of everything you’re doing for the business. But 2016 is the year for you to make absolutely certain your boss knows what you’re accomplishing. (I am serious!)
Make a regular list of the noteworthy things you have completed and write this as a message or email to your boss (just in bullet points!). If you have a regular meeting time with your boss, ask for permission to start with your list.
Don’t wait for the question, “What are you working on?”… If that question pops in 2016, you, my friend, have a BIG problem. Make sure that your managers never wonder what you are doing.
You can fill your boss’s head with positive thinking if you set a goal every week or fortnight and tell your boss what it is. If he or she wants your focus elsewhere, then you have just advanced your understanding of his or her priorities.
#6 Ask “What Else Can I Do to Help You?”
This is my personal favourite, and it’s so often done wrong. Who do you ask, your co-workers? No, you ask your boss. If you spend too much time helping your co-workers, your boss is most likely going to ask you why you aren’t focused on your own work – unless of course, your department is full of duds.
It is your job to knock your boss out with great work. If you have lots of time to help co-workers, then you may not understand your job or you may need to ask yourself why your job isn’t keeping you busy (see points 2, 3 and 4).
#7 Accept Instructions
There’s a good chance that your boss knows more than you do, at least about significant aspects of the business. I know it’s hard to accept for some, and it also sometimes seems like a stretch, but just accept that your boss has a lot to teach you.
If you have a good boss this won’t be a problem, as there will be lots that you can learn, and if he or she is not well-suited for the role, well, I still want you to accept them as your superior.
Suck it up – but be positive and bright! You see, if you have a weak boss, you have a great opportunity to help them. Become a genuine asset to them. Help them succeed.
You could gain a new friend, maybe discover something new about your Manager and if you’re good without being sneaky and narky, your boss’s superiors will notice. If they don’t, you should probably find a new place to work or learn how to toot your own horn a bit more (see point 5).
#8 Visualise Your Sucessful Day
You don’t have to be overly creative to visualise your own success. It’s the sort of thing people do each time they buy a lotto ticket. But the difference is that you are in charge – it is not a ‘luck’ situation.
Sounds weird or a bit too flaky? I assure you, it’s a powerful action you can take to achieve your goals. Visualise it first – close your eyes and see your boss congratulating you on your great work. Hear your manager saying “Thank you.” Hear your peers saying “Congratulations!” Feel yourself shaking their hands or that clap on your shoulder or the toast to your health when you raise the glass to celebrate an achievement.
Why not visualise yourself at this time next year saying to a friend, “2016 was a great year!”
#9 Plan Your Top 5 Goals for the Year
You do have written goals for your life, don’t you? Did you also write your top five ‘make a difference’ goals for your year at work? This is the age of contribution, value and ‘sharing’. I suggest that you consider doing something that truly makes a difference, and preferably a difference to someone else. Volunteering or Pro Bono work could be a start for that – you don’t have to do much, but I know from years of doing both that you will grow and improve your life.
#10 Be a Positive Achiever!
I also know from personal experience, that you will improve your chances to celebrate, if you set small and achievable goals instead of big long term projects. You will enjoy the work more when you celebrate the small successes. People like to be around positive achievers, so in 2016 be patient, be positive and stay focused on the progress you’re making.
On that note, take a break! Enjoy the Festive Season and prepare yourself early for 2016 – whether you’re job hunting from scratch or thinking about a new career for a New Year. And, when you go out there remember to hunt wisely!
In job ads and interviews, bosses can embellish everything from the benefits (“Flexible vacation anytime!”) to the workload (“Team leaves at 4:30!”). But where employers really stretch the truth is in job postings— a bit like how you beef up your résumé and cover letter to give the best impression possible. Read more
Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me. D’oooooh wrong. That is so old fashioned that it hurts just reading it and it definitely does not apply to your application documents. Read more
Job hunting sucks. We all know that. The usual job search experiences range from seemingly unending rejections to permanent communication black holes from job sites or recruiting firms. The whole experience is definitely no fun, particularly if you are unemployed with bills to pay. Read more
If you have been following the advice on this blog, you’d be very precise with your job application. It’s never a good idea to ‘spray n pray’ a standard resume and cover letter. That’s just wasting everyone’s time, including yours. Instead, you should be extremely precise with your applications by only applying for jobs that are a good fit for you. But how do you really know if a job is a good fit? It’s not enough to say “yeah, I think I could do that” or “I’ve done that before” – you need to be specific and thorough with your analysis of the job. Read more
So, you want to score a startup job interview, but you haven’t landed a job interview yet? I guess you need a few essentials?! Well, it’s not an easy task. Just how do you find a job at a business that may only have four or five team members and no real recruiting budget?
Stop what you are doing.
My team and I have worked in the midst of over 70 Sydney-based startup’s for the last 2 years and we have helped a good number of them with their advertisement and selection process. We not only spend a good deal of time looking at candidates, profiles and the usual resumes & cover letters, we are also running a startup ourselves. So, we decided to put our heads together and we came up with this to-do list for a successful startup job search.
I’ve read many applications and the resumes that come through, and as a whole, it’s clear that most people don’t know how to approach getting a job at a startup.
Here are our 13 essentials to
score an interview with a Start Up.
1. Know what you’re good at!
Fluffing around will not get you anywhere. I know it sounds harsh, but that’s the world you are going to enter. If you are a marketer, developer or designer, list that at the top. List it in the subject line even. “Ruby on Rails Developer Looking for Early Stage Start Up” would be a good example. I should be able to glance at your cover letter and know specifically what you are looking to do. Please don’t write a career objective! Get straight to the point.
2. Your resume
If you insist on sending a resume, it should be named “yourname.pdf”. Do not wond a word doc.
3. Be creative.
One of the best cover letters (preferably in the email body) I’ve ever read said, “I’m amazing at creating buzzwords, hot tubbing and finding adventure. I’m also a kick ass Rails Developer, just coming off a long term contract. Early stage startups are a plus.” This sure as hell beats “I’m looking for a challenging and engaging environment to develop my talents.” If you are afraid to be creative, don’t apply. I have not seen a single startup who hired a ‘generalist’. I am dead serious here, if you can’t focus on something, at least in your introduction, you have a <0% chance of landing a job interview. Specialise! Customer support! QA! Development! Marketing! Intern! Product Development! Design! Get it?
4. Be real – be genuine – be human.
The worst case scenario when looking for a job is sending out resumes and getting no responses. startups tend to be different. They know how to deal with applications if you are not wasting their time. Be a human and ask questions that can be answered by friendly folks. Keep the discussion going.
5. Be clear.
You are looking for a job. Cut the buzzwords. Start Ups don’t work with ATS filtering systems. What is the best fit? Steady? Fast paced? Live in Melbourne? Just say it. Cut the c#%p.
6. Trash the traditional resume.
You really don’t need one to work at a startup. A simple email along the lines of ‘this is what I have done… I’m looking to join a team as a _________ to kick some goals’ is a great way to do it. List specific projects and accomplishments. Show that you can be to the point, effective and humble. The rest will be requested when you get an interview.
7. Comment on their blogs!
Yep – again – I am not kidding here. Most company blogs are largely lacking in comments! An easy way to get into the founders inbox is write a post about the company, saying how you admire / like them. Be genuine and say something valuable. Founders tend to look at the blogs, and if in your bio you are clear in what you are looking to do (Front End Developer!) you might just get on the expressway to an interview.
8. Email is a great way to show you’re on to it.
Reply almost immediately. The more out of the usual workday, the more important. Keep your emails concise. “Hey Lisa, just got your email. Quite late here but I would love to respond, a) b) c) d). Feel free to call if you have any questions.”
9. Have a personal blog.
I don’t care how good you are – if you don’t share – then I most likely won’t look at you. Write posts about what you specialise in. Get people to comment on it. Stand out. You control your personal brand, and if you don’t do this you are showing you don’t care.
10. Did I mention, have a personal blog?
Today. Now. Get. On. It.
11. Not caring is the #1 reason you won’t be hired at a Start Up
12. Hack on stuff.
I’ve seen it many times. There are great fits for people and startups. When you find that special company, do what you do for them. E.g. “I know you have processes to do things like this, but I couldn’t help but see your XYZ campaign is missing some pieces. If I was there I would help by doing _______.” Consider it the interview the others were too lazy to do. When getting a job, standing out helps, a tonne. But, obviously be selective and don’t do this for every app, nor spend too much time on it.
13. Go out to Start Up events.
Meet folks there. Follow up from there. We don’t care if you are intro or extrovert – we see you – we will sort it out. Just show up and show initiative.
One last word. You are not too old to apply!
Don’t let anyone suggest that you are too old. That’s absolute nonsense! Yes, we all know … Gen X and Baby Boomer applicants tend to be more expensive than their younger counterparts. Is hiring more mature candidates a luxury that should be considered by startups often strapped for cash? In fact, I have experienced it right around me that not only can older employees contribute to startups, but failing to leverage their kind of experience has been detrimental to a number of startup companies. Hiring a Gen X or a Baby Boomer for a startup then becomes not a luxury, but a really good idea that can help provide a true competitive differentiator. Remember, startups are all about not following the rules, disruption, flexibility and being nimble. Just because, on average, the startup world is younger doesn’t mean that there aren’t places for more mature employees to shine and add real value.
So get with it, and if you think you have what it takes, apply! Keep it simple, get to the point and remember to hunt wisely.
PS. Feel free to comment or share this blog post or contact me if you want some further insight and tips.