Working hard or looking for a job for a long time? Take a breather…

Dear Job seekers and those who habe jobs,

When working o looking for a long time for a job and you think you are getting obsessed… you are not alone.

During these small holiday I am spending outside Switzerland, I decided to tell you how important it is to have a break ftom everything… even from looking for jobs…

The article from The Muse which I posted below gives a few reasons why you should sometimes take a break from job seeking:

https://www.themuse.com/amp/advice/3-times-you-actually-should-quit-the-job-search-and-take-a-breather

I really do believe that if we work too hard, even when we are unemployed and try to find a job, we can stop being efficient. We start repeating the same schema, even mistakes, and we fall into a trap. We might even start being depressed because of working too much on finding a job.

Doing a small break from work or from searching for a job will help us in reboosting our energy. We can even start being more creative at work or whilst looking for a job. In my case, when I was unemployed and was only looking for jobs in e-learning, taking small holiday allowed me to think about alternative solutions. This is how I ended up in technical recruitment – connecting my passion for geeky world and the eagerness of helping people. This is how I changed my attitude to recruitment even now. I decided yo also being involved in more training, e-learning and other projects when not wanting to be too repetitive when head hunting.

This being said, dear employees and those who did not find yet your dream jobs: go for holiday somewhere further from where you live, even if it is 100km and only for 4 days. It will make a difference, I swear to you. You will get back to work/job seeking with lots of many creative solutions to your questions.

What matters during interviews?

Summer time is supposed to be pretty calm in the recruitment world. Many managers and candidates are on holiday, people seem to be more relaxed and do not have hiring fever…

This summer is different, many things are happening not only in my company but also in my friend’s lives – they get at least a couple of interviews. As I want to guide you in the interview process, I invite you to read the article below:

https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/interview-questions/2019/tactic-this-expert-uses-to-assess-soft-skills

It is written by Mrs. Samantha McLaren who, like she mentions on her LinkedIn profile, is “Editorial Lead & Copywriter by Day, Horror Critic by Night”.ย 

Samantha mentions that 92% of people hiring think that soft skills are more important then hard skills. She also mentions different interview techniques to check candidate’s skills e.g. behavioral questions, situational questions, projects, technical questions and even reading body language. Later on she gives some tips to people who are hiring, how to check people’s soft skills.

I invite you to read this article so you can be in hiring manager’s head for a little bit. There are many techniques of checking candidate’s knowledge and soft skills. One thing you should not forget is… to be yourself. Interviews are very artificial, not only for the interviewees but also for the interviewers. Of course, we have to prepare for them. But it does not mean we should have a sort of script that we should learn by heart. We should be comfortable with answers to some typical questions and we should know the STAR method, but we also should not pretend we are somebody else. If we have a feeling the job/responsibilities are not for us, we should mention it straight forward.

For all other tips who are more specific and concern most of all behavioral interviews, I invite you to read my post which you can find by clicking on this link.

What is your experience with the interviews and interviewers? Where you already in hiring manager’s shoes? How did it go, was it difficult? Do you have any examples of interviews that surprised you? Please write a comment and let’s exchange some ideas, tips on how to be successful as a candidate but also as an interviewer. And… good luck with all the future interviews ๐Ÿ™‚

Photos by Bored Panda and Reddit.

Unexpected networking ideas when looking for jobs

Dear Readers,

I started refreshing my blog and decided to post here more regularly. The content will be for both job seekers and recruiters.

Recently I bumped into an interesting article about unexpected networking sources, you can read it here:

https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/2014/12/5-unexpected-networking-sources-for-finding-talent

The author, Laura Byrne, who is an Owner of Communications Company in Australia, talks about unexpected networking sources when looking for candidates/jobs. She mentions e.g. your fitness instructor, everybody who smiles at you when you cross the street, your neighbors, dentists, elder generation of grandparents etc.

I agree with Laura 100%. Networking starts… at home. Let’s say you have a husband who works in IT and your company is looking for good C# Engineers. Why not to ask him if he can recommend somebody. Parents have also really big possibilities of networking. If you are a single father looking for a new job, why not start with talking to some other parents during e.g. a birthday party and checking if they know somebody who is recruiting now?

You know how I found some of my jobs/candidates? You would not believe it. My third job was a recommendation of one of my friends when I just found out that another company was leaving Geneva market where I used to live. How much it took me to find this job? Literally 4 days.

One of my candidates that got a job in one of key players in pharma a few years ago was somebody that was recommended to me by my neighbor. My sister found one of her last jobs by talking to a friend of her husband.

So I will repeat one more time: if you are not networking, you are not working. And it is not only to find a new job. You can have a nice chat with a friend from your local football team to find out that they rent a nice house for a good price in Canary Island where you always wanted to go. Or like in my case, you can just step into a small shop in a French village as you saw that the owner was pretty sad and start talking to him and find out that he also likes to play Fifaย  and start playing together online.

Good luck and remember: never give up. Looking for jobs is very hard, but you can make it.

"This business is all about relationships. The guy who whitens my teeth is a cousin of the guy who does my Hair implants and his Sister-in-Law does my Botox."

 

 

Should you apply for jobs you are not 100% match for?

“I will not apply for this job, they asked for 6-7 years of experience and I have 5.”
“I was invited for an interview, but I have no chances – they are asking for French as a mother tongue and I am not a native speaker.”
These are some examples of dialogues I had with people that are applying for jobs. Again not thinking out of the box stops some people from having a good job.
A perfect candidate does not exist! It is the most important rule when looking for jobs. Of course you need to strike a balance between e.g. applying for a job of a senior project manager while not having any experience and applying for a job where e.g. you have 5 years of experience instead of 7 or you have experience in a different industry.
If you fulfill about 75% of the must have requirements, it is worth trying, especially when you know you would be an excellent candidate for the role. How should you prove it?
Adapting your CV and emphasizing your strongest skills in liaison with the job advert would be the first thing. Writing an interesting motivational letter that shows your passion and enthusiasm is another. Remember to speak the similar language as your potential employer.
Hard skills are very important but your transferable skills are also crucial during your job search. These are the skills that you learnt during one job and that you can transfer and use in another job e.g. your assertiveness, negotiation skills, leadership skills etc. If you are able to show them during your job search, it will be highly appreciated by your potential employers.
Use examples from your previous jobs that showed how you acquired new skills thanks to your soft skills. When I was applying to my first job as an IT recruiter, I had no experience in recruitment. I got the job anyway. How? I proved them I was capable of being an IT recruiter by showing my personal skills that were important in this job and also talking about my technical background. I also gave an example from my previous job where my lack of a specific software knowledge was compensated by knowledge of a similar application. Remember that showing that you are a problem solver opens many doors.
Get some new skills or certification during your job search. For example, if you have some experience in online marketing and you notice that most of adverts say you should have Adobe certification in In Design, start learning this program on your own. Next time you apply and get an interview, you can tell them on which level you know the software but you did not use it in your previous job. By explaining you are investing your own time in courses or self studying, you are showing your motivation and initiative.
As a linguist, I am very careful when talking about language skills. I met some people that say they are fluent e.g. in French but then not being able to conduct a simple conversation. Lying about any of your skills can jeopardize your job search. Instead of saying English – C2 or “native level”, it is better to say “fluent” if you are not 100% bilingual. If you only have a pre-intermediate level, do not say you are advanced. But there is another extreme – I know many people who did not apply for jobs because they were not native in a specific language. It is a big mistake in most cases – if you are fluent in a language, you should apply anyway. When you get an interview and show your level, the interviewer will be able to evaluate if your language skills are enough for a specific job. Moreover, if you show them example from your previous employment where e.g. you started with B1 level in German and with hard work and practice you improved to B2, it will be another winning card during your interview that will show your initiative and hard work skills.

I do not want to tell you that you should apply to all jobs that you see. You will not see me applying for jobs of a Graphic Designer or IT Engineer ๐Ÿ™‚ But if you really believe you could be a great fit andย added value to the company,ย but you fulfill only 70-80% of requirements, apply anyway. Youโ€™ll never know if you have a chance unless you try to get that chance ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the failed candidates for the copyrighters job wants to know 'wat was rong with his applicashun'.

 

 

Common mistakes of job hunters

After getting many inquiries recent months about job search, CVS and interviews, I spotted a few repetitive mistakesย  among job hunters:

  • Neglecting your network

“Should I tell my ex-colleague that I am actively looking? What would he/she say if they see I don’t’ have a job??”

You don’t imagine how many people ask me if they should tell anybody they are looking for a job or if they should join any business events.

Sadly still many people are ashamed when they lost their job or when they would like to change.

You should never be ashamed – whichever reasons you have, you can always ask for advice, referral or help. I always quote my friend “When you don’t ask, you don’t get”. NETWORKING is crucial in every job hunt. Talk to your trusted friends or ex-colleagues that you are looking. Ask those who have experience about some advice. People who work in companies that may be interesting for you, can be used as your referral. From more formal things – participate in business events where you can meet people who can potentially help you. Never ever be ashamed of networking!

Just as an example from my job hunt – a few years ago I tried to change from recruitment to training activities. I sent a few spontaneous applications to the universities with my profile and explanation why I was passionate about teaching. I was skeptical about spontaneous emails but the feedbacks I received surprised me – 2 recruiters sent me some links where I can find jobs related to teaching which I still check. One gave me a quick call and assured I should still benefit from my training experience in every new job. He was even interested in e-learning software I am using. As you can see networking is a mutual benefit for everybody ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sending your CV everywhere

An extreme is to send your CV to everybody, including sourced that you have not checked properly. If you do it, you risk being sent to the roles that you would never apply.ย  If you would like to apply through an agency, talk to a few of them but choose 1 or 2 that you have a good relationship with, people you trust. If you are applying whilst still working, tell your recruiter(s) if they should not contact your current employer.

  • Not planning

This leads us to another point which is proper job search planning. When looking for a new job, you will be using different portals, agencies or network. Write down all roles, companies and people you contacted. This tracker will allow you to control your job search more and to avoid an awkward situation of… forgetting where you applied ๐Ÿ™‚

Even before you start looking for a new job, it is very important to make a list of companies you are interested in, people who can help you in expanding your network, list of roles you would like to apply for, training/certificates that you are missing in order to change your career path and list of your referrals that can recommend you during your search. Proper planning before looking for jobs will allow you to find your next role more efficiently.

  • Not following up

“I had my interview 2 months ago, should I check with them what the status is?”

The answer is yes and the question is why did you wait for 2 months. Again, following up after the interviews or even an application is a part of networking. Even if the feedback is negative, you don’t risk anything by asking and you can win a lot. When following up, you can use this time to introduce quickly yourself and to be remembered. Even if they were not interested in your profile or they rejected you after the interview, you can find out how to improve next time or even have a short discussion about the market and other options. And remember to have a good timing – don’t wait too long but also do not be too pushy by calling recruiters 4 times every week ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sending the same CV/cover letter for every role

When looking for jobs, always remember t adapt your profile to jobs you are looking for. I personally have a few CVs: focused on recruitment, on training, on project coordination and admin. When looking for jobs, you should always adapt and use skillets that can be useful in a particular role. Moreover, read about the company before applying so you will not be surprised when they call you or if they ask you why you chose to apply to their company during the interview.

  • Using only traditional online adverts

When applying, you should always diversify your job hunt. Don’t focus only on online adverts. Use different portals, choose 1-2 agencies, talk/expand your network, do spontaneous applications. use LinkedIn… Your options are very large.

  • Not appreciating your knowledge and work achievements

When reading CVs or practicing for interviews, I realize that many people do not know how to sell themselves and do not appreciate what they did in their career. Lots of people do not give examples of projects that they participated in or training content they created. Recruiters do not know what you are doing. Even if something is obvious for you, don’t be shy – explain in the CV and during interview processes you created, tell them about your career achievements, show they solutions you proposed to problems you encountered. Appreciate your knowledge – only then your potential employer will appreciate you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Accepting anything

I heard many times “Kasia, I am looking for anything and anywhere, please help.” Anything is a forbidden word in my dictionary.

As you should appreciate your skills and respect yourself, don’t accept everything that you find on the market. If there are jobs that during the recruitment process turned out not to be in liaison with your skills or that are not as interesting for you, don’t be afraid to reject them or renegotiate conditions – of course in a nice manner as the network you are created during your job hunt is priceless ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Stopping job search

Job hunting is very tricky and networking is very challenging. Job search or job market analysis should never stop, even if currently you have a job. We are afraid of being rejected – nobody likes to learn that somebody from your network will not be eager to recommend you or that the interviewer did not like your profile. Learn from rejection to improve.ย ย And remember Chris Bradford’s saying – โ€œThere is no failure except in no longer trying.โ€ Happy Job Hunting! ๐Ÿ™‚

jobhunt_funny

 

Cover letters writing tips to make your profile interesting for the recruiters

Remember that even if you tailored your CV, using a fill-in-the-blank cover letter can destroy all your efforts in job search. Below I listed a few tips that will help you to create a cover letter format that will bring attention of recruiters.

  1. Length of the cover letter. One of things that has been brought to my attention is that many people still write 2-3 pages when applying for jobs. Recruiters would like to read something original and something that would show them why you would be good for the job. Remember that “less is more”. Keep your letter simple. After an interesting beginning, jump into the core of the letter with a few examples. 3 paragraphs is enough.
  2. Do not repeat your resume. I saw many cover letters in which people were quoting bullet points from their CVs when talking about their responsabilities. Cover letters aim to show your personnality, a passion for the field that you are applying for.
  3. Addressing cover letters. In an ideal world you would know to whom you are writing. Of course if you are applying through a portal, you cannot address it to a concrete person. Still, “To Whom It May Concern” is too bland. If you don’t know who you should be writing to, don’t address anybody just jump right into the body of the letter.
  4. The opening paragraph/sentence is the crucial element, it will bring or lose the recruiter’s attention. Instead of saying “I would like to apply for the role of…”, use something more original e.g. “I have wanted to work in education ever since my English teacher showed me passion to languages.”
  5. Don’t tell in the letter that you are qualified explicitly, show it instead. Many cover letters start with “I would be an excellent candidate for this role”. This sentence is very empty and does not mean anything. Tell about your experiences, use examples – it will show that you are qualified without using an explicit sentence.
  6. Read about the company before writing a cover letter. Share why you are interested in joining the team and working for the company by dropping in a few details that will show that you did your homework in doing your research about the enterprise.
  7. Close your cover letter in a strong, decisive way. Finish off by quickly explaining why you would be an added value to the company and that you look forward to meeting the team to discuss your skills.
  8. Pay attention to structure of your cover letter. The first part should be about who you are and why you are contacting this particular company. The second paragraph should be focused on showing why you are an added value to the company. The last part should conclude on a potential collaboration.

Remember there is no “recipe” for a perfect cover letter. If you are able to keep it short, tailor it, focus on examples of your achievements and prove to the recruiter that you are a good fit to the company, you did a good job and you have a big chance to make the recruiter read your CV and get an interview. Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

coverletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social networking when searching jobs

Recently I had some discussions with a few friends who are looking for jobs. One of them has a LinkedIn profile that is out of date another has never had it.

I am very much recommending having your own LinkedIn profile. For German speaking part of Switzerland I would also recommend Xing and for French part – Viadeo.

As LinkedIn is the most international, I will focus on describing this site. All others would have similar functionalities.

A few things I want to share with you:

  1. LinkedIn is a major tool for recruiters. When I was working as a recruiter, at least 85% of candidates I was sending to our clients were from LinkedIn .
  2. LinkedIn is a major tool for job seekers. I got my two first jobs thanks to LinkedIn.
  3. It is very important to update your profile. Every time you change your job or learn a new skills, please add it. I know many people who put their last professional experience from e.g. 2014.
  4. References are a key thing. I know some recruiters who had an order from their bosses that they should never speak with candidates whose profiles do not have at least 3 recommendations on LinkedIn. Please ask for recommendations all of your previous employers.
  5. Volunteering is nowadays very popular. It shows that apart from work you have other interests and that you like helping. Whenever you participated in e.g. organizing an event for people to teach them something, you are a regular blood donor, you volunteer in animal rights organizations or help disable people – please write it down. It helps a lot and makes you more visible for the recruiters.
  6. Do not copy paste your CV. At one point when looking for jobs I did the mistake and I need to correct it. Make your LinkedIn profile more like 1-2 CV pager with all professional experiences but without too many tasks/details, your major achievements, skills (endorsements too) and education.
  7. Follow companies that you are interested in and subscribe to groups. I subscribed to major HR/Recruitment groups in Switzerland and Europe. You can participate there in discussions, learn when there is something new happening in your area. When following a company, you can have updates about their newest jobs, some news about their departments, business etc.
  8. Have a professional photo on LinkedIn. Some people think that LinkedIn does not require a good photo and put photos from their parties or trips. Forget it!
  9. LinkedIn is NOT a Facebook. Do not post strange posts about your private life, photos or funny stuff ๐Ÿ™‚
  10. Manage your contacts. You have an option to invite all people e.g. from your gmail account. It simplifies finding your contacts especially in the beginning but also gives access of LinkedIn to your emails etc. You can easily skip it if you want. But remember to add people to your network. E.g. after an after work event when you met some new colleagues, managers, ask them if they have LinkedIn and if you can add them. If their name is too common, they can send you an email with a direct link to your profile. Do not add all people from the world to your connections. It is useless and also can look not serious.
  11. Use job search option on LinkedIn. You can also create some alerts for jobs (when you created your own Boolean Search with ” ” and OR, AND etc). LinkedIn will also recommend you jobs that are suitable for your profile.
  12. There are different LinkedIn accounts. You can have a basic one. There are also accounts that are good for Business Developers (to promote your company within new clients), Recruiters or Job Seekers. I would recommend the Basic one, especially in the beginning. In general a Basic Account is enough for you, I am also using now only this one and it is still a great tool ๐Ÿ™‚

With regards to Xing or Viadeo, it is all similar. I would recommend to update these portals too as they are pretty popular in German/French speaking countries and can help you in finding jobs.

Good luck with updating/creating your profiles. If you have any question, write a comment below or click on contact tab to see my email address to send it.

Have a happy job hunting with social networks ๐Ÿ™‚

linkedin

An extract from my LinkedIn account with recommendations, courses in which I participated and list of languages. Please remember to always update all information on your profile.