Jan 16, 2011

Life Lessons with Deputy Cow #3



Tonights Life Lesson focuses on trying to get a job. I have discovered that there are many important aspects throughout the process that are crucial to scoring the job that you are after. I will admit that I'm not an expert on this topic by any means, but hopefully some of the things I dive into will help you pursue the American Dream at some point in your life. I'll get to all of that in a moment, but first, I want to talk about where I believe we are at as a society in whole as it relates to this subject.

I grew up with the preconceived notion that after I finished school and became a big boy, I would go work for somebody for 30 years and then retire on a gold mine and spend the rest of my days counting said gold mine. My reasoning for this was because that's what my grandparents did, that's what other people's grandparents did, and that's what I thought would happen. To an extent, I was correct. My grandparents and other grandparents out there were part of "The Greatest Generation" that grew up eating mustard sandwiches and wearing potato sacks for clothes through the Great Depression, fought the Nazi bastards in WWII (fun fact: my grandpa was stationed with Elvis Presley and became a ping pong/pool God amongst men), boomed lots of babies, and went on to work for a factory for 30 years, got a nice gold watch, retired, and counted gold coins. The Greatest Generation spawned the Baby Boomers that in turn spawned Generation Y, aka me.

Fast forward to my sophomore year at UD. I found myself sitting in my first Entrepreneurship course and listening to my professor lecture about how the "average" ENT graduate would have approximately 15-20 jobs before settling down and starting their own business. That pretty much shot my whole perception of working for one place my whole life right out the window. The explanation for this piece of data (DAY-ta) was that the average entrepreneur would constantly be challenged taking orders from someone, have a desire to mix things up after awhile and seek out new opportunities, or just get bored with where they were at after a few years. So gone are the days of working somewhere for 30 years and retiring. I'm sure it is still possible, but highly unlikely. For instance, in the past 10 years, I have had 7 different jobs. These range from bagging groceries in high school to climbing the Corporate America ladder for the last 3 years.

So, back to the actual lesson and getting a job. It is a painful process. The economy sucks. Dayton, Ohio sucks. Despite all of those things, there are a couple of ideas I believe could help you increase your chances of getting a job. And here we go.


Resume
Before you even start looking for a job, you need to create a resume. I'm not really going to go into Resume 101 at this time, but make sure that you proofread the hell out of it and customize it for each job application. A general template would look something like this:

NAME
ADDRESS
CITY, STATE
EMAIL
PHONE
OBJECTIVE

To obtain a position where I can maximize my expertise in A, B, and C where I can make a positive contribution to the XYZ organization.

EDUCATION

University of [blah] [Graduation Date]
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, [$100,000 piece of paper hanging on wall]

[High School] [Graduation Date]


WORK EXPERIENCE

Company. Title. 1/1/08 - present.
Job duties
Job duties
Job duties

Company. Title. 1/1/07 - 12/31/07.
Job duties
Job duties
Job duties

PERSONAL SKILLS

List of stuff that you are good at...

COMPUTER SKILLS

MS Office and anything else you know.
ACTIVITIES AND HONORS

List of things you did, awards you won, places you volunteered at, and things like that. This part is important.

References/Letters of Recommendation/Supporting Documentation available upon request.
Cover Letter
I'm not really sure how beneficial these things are, but I recommend writing them up. Similar to the resume, tailor it towards the job you are trying to get. Another template:


To whom it may concern:

I have over five years of experience in the fields of A, B, and C. Throughout my education and career, I have gained a tremendous amount of skills [doing the stuff that this job will ask me to do.] My experiences have also allowed me to [more examples of things from the jobs qualifications list.]

In order to achieve such a high level of performance, I have utilized the knowledge gained from my professional experience and a [degree from XYZ school.] During my education and career, I have effectively [list of skills and experiences that cover the parts of the job requirements that you didn't mention in the first paragraph.] My salary requirement is negotiable based on the job responsibilities and the total compensation package.

Thank you for taking the time to review my resume and qualifications. Please call me at [phone] or via e-mail at [email address] to further discuss this position and schedule an interview. I would be delighted to share any additional information with you or answer any questions you may have in regards to my background. Again, thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
[Name]



Post Resume/Cover Letter
Start looking for jobs. Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, your school's career site, etc. are good places to start.

The Application
After you submit the application, look for a number or contact so that you can follow-up on your application. This is important because it shows that you are interested and might help get your foot in the door or at least let you know where you stand.

The Interview
I highly suggest Googling "interview questions and answers" just so you get a good idea of what is going to happen when you go in for an interview. Off the top of my head, make god damned sure you can answer these questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What do you know about this company/position?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • Why should we hire you?

I can't write the answers to those questions for you, but at the very least, make sure you can answer the "Tell me about yourself" question. Make it short, sweet, and applicable to the job you are interviewing for. Make sure you spend time thinking about this a few days before the interview and that you can actually talk about yourself when asked. Don't ramble on and on and on, but make sure it is a solid statement.

Post-Interview
After you interview with someone, make sure you send them a Thank You card ASAP. If you know you are getting the interview, I would suggest going to the store and getting a card and writing out the thank you note, and leave room at the bottom to mention something specific that came out of the interview. For some reason, this really helps. I personally think thank you cards are bullshit, but necessary, and case in point... I interviewed for an internship, killed the interview, and did not get the job until after I sent the thank you card... and that was the only thing holding it up.

Reality Check
What it all really comes down to is who you know. If you have some sort of inside connection for a job, your chances of getting the job are 1000% greater if the person on the other side of the table has some sort of connection with you. For example, I interviewed for a summer job in during college and had no experience doing the job I was applying for. At the bottom of my resume, I had a line that mentioned I played Rugby at UD. As it turns out, the owner of the company - that just happened to be the guy that was interviewing me - worked out at a gym and had a personal trainer that happened to be my rugby coach. The interview went like this:

Oh, I see here that you play rugby at UD? Do you know ---?
Yeah, he's my coach.
You're hired.


Lesson: Knowing the 7 P's will increase your chance of getting a job. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.