My colleague across the pond, Bill Boorman, thought it curious that I was having a difficult time not making food analogies in my blog post comments today and told me he wanted to bake me a virtual cake. Thank you Bill for being my first guest blogger ♥
Now here’s Bill!
I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but Karla has an obsession for food. Could it be that it’s a diet phase, and hunger is bringing food in to all her writings. Barely a blog goes by without a mention of an éclair, bun or other pastry product. We were discussing this on twitter recently (it was a Saturday) when I commented on two things: 1) Being a Saturday I should really get a life & 2) that I talk about “cake making” in my training. Curious about this, and desirous to discuss food further, invited me to add a guest blog.
If you bake a cake as badly as I do, the reason is because I get bored of recipes and guess the ingredients. Forget the scales; chuck in a handful of this and a handful of that. Mix it in a pot, drink a beer then stick it in the oven. Surprise, one hour later I take out the smoking stodgy mess and then rush to the shops to buy a real cake made by an expert baker, so that we don’t have to spend another of my children’s a birthday singing happy birthday whiles they blow out candles stuck in a potato covered in tinfoil. (This is true!) And a wife expressing an opinion that makes Gordon Ramsey sound like a priest.
Where did it all go wrong? Despite my blaming the cooker and banging the thermostat, I know in my heart of hearts I should have really paid more attention to the traditional recipe handed down from grandmother to grandmother, before deciding that actually I knew better than those that had gone before, and winging it. More preparation to get the ingredients and timings right, following the words of the wise and I would have ended up with a cake to be proud of.
O.K., that’s a wise culinary lesson but what has this got to do with a blog aimed at job seekers? For me, it’s simple. While putting together Career Carnival, I collected over 30 expert blogs and twitter tips on every aspect of the job seeking process. This is the recipe you need to follow in your search for your next big step. From reading all of this material I can give you my 10 commandments for the job search. Be sure to follow the recipe!
- Before you start anything define what you want. Be clear what will be right for you, why you want it and use this to define your search. Check with people who know if you are being realistic in your expectation.
- Create an on-line presence that includes a linked in profile fully completed including references. Check Facebook etc., and see what it says about you. Change it if you think it wouldn’t look good to hiring managers.
- Collect references from past managers and create a brag file that illustrates your achievements.
- Conduct at least 4 mock interviews with friends who you trust to be critical.
- Apply for one job at a time, make each resume and cover letter personal to that job and keep a track on a spreadsheet of every job you apply for and where you’re up to. It’s not impressive to say “Sorry, what was the role again?”
- Make friends of recruiters. They are not the enemy and your relationship with them will determine where you are in their thinking. Be professional and courteous, and always ask for (and more importantly accept) feedback.
- never be late for an interview and spend time preparation. The right ingredients for the interview are 80% preparation,20% presentation.
- During the interview take notes and ask 3 types of questions:
- Questions about something you’ve been told by the interviewer. Shows you have listened and are interested.
- Questions that show you have done your own research about something you haven’t been told.
- Qualify what the next step is, and if you want it, ask for it.
- Make sure you close for any job you want by stating that and asking for reservations. If there are none, ask for the job.
- Always plan and follow the plan. An old cliché but “Fail to plan, plan to fail!”
This is my recipe for success. Follow the instructions to avoid ending up huddled round a burning potato rather than pulling out a masterpiece, testament to your ability.
You can follow me on twitter: @BillBoorman (I highly suggest you do ~Karla)