This is an adapted copy of a previously published article by ALT’s own Emily Lee.
It’s simple supply and demand. When markets slow down, available positions and the supply of candidates decrease. Whether you’re starting your career, have been downsized, or are unhappy with your current role, now is the time to put the extra effort into your search. Below are 7 tips to help you forge ahead.
Without your computer. Get out there and engage with real, LIVE people. Call a former classmate for coffee, attend a CLE seminar, meet with a recruiter, get involved with a charity… The more people you engage with on a daily basis, the more opportunities for them to see how fantastic you are and recommend you when the time comes.
Do your homework
Have an interview coming up, or even just an informal coffee? Know the organization’s business inside and out before your meeting. In this digital information age, your first question should never be “what do you do?” or “what does your company do?” Use the tools at hand – Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. – to find out as much as you can about the person you are meeting. It is truly amazing how much you can discover, and knowledge is power. It also really helps generate conversation.
Dress the part
Get into business mode – put on your power suit or the outfit that makes you feel confident. Look good, feel good really applies at job interviews. Even if your interviewer is more casual, dressing professionally shows you are taking the meeting seriously.
Flip your perspective
Put yourself into the employer’s shoes and really think about why they should hire YOU. Focusing on what you want (more money, better lifestyle, clear career path) doesn’t help the decision-maker decide that you are the right person for the job. There will be a time to discuss those things, but first you need to tell them why they should hire you. They won’t know you’re the best person for the job unless you tell them why!
When the time comes to discuss why you want to leave your current employer, keep in mind that everything negative can be turned into a positive. “I’m hitting the glass ceiling” can instead be “I am looking for an opportunity with greater possibilities for growth and advancement”. “My work environment is toxic” becomes “I am looking for the opportunity to work with good people”. “I am grossly underpaid” could instead be phrased as “I want to be valued for my contributions”. Bashing your current or past employer will only make you look bad.
Ask for what you want and express your interest. Too many times we assume that the person we are talking to knows what we are looking for. Leave every meeting with a reiteration of your ask (the job, a referral, a reference). Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Send a thank you note. Handwritten ones are special, but a well-typed email also does the trick. Thank the interviewer(s) for their time and reiterate your interest in the role. Make sure you collect business cards at the interview to easier find email addresses. Be respectful of the process and don’t harass anyone for feedback.