The Twelve Days of Job Hunting
Happy holidays, everyone! This is the last post of Capitalista Careers until the new year, so I thought a recap of the most important job tips and cautionary tales from 2013 is appropriate. Let’s kick off 2014!
1. Don’t talk too much. I’m all for a good vent sesh, and it really does help, but just don’t become that scary-unemployed-person-who-isn’t-fun-anymore-because-she-can’t-stop-bitching-about-the-last-interview. That doesn’t help. Seriously, you can ask my boyfriend.
2. Think about the next five, ten, fifteen years. Think about further than that. What do you want it to say on your business card when you retire? What skills will help you with that? Even if you take a job that isn’t 100 percent what you want, consider whether it might provide you with the tools for later.
3. What are the most important things? This answer isn’t the same for everyone. For some people it’s the salary, for some the commute matters most, the hours, the work environment, etc. Give some thought to which one or two aspects are your top priorities. Even if you don’t get everything, it will make the search easier if you know what your priorities are.
Congratulations! You got a job interview! After days/weeks/months of hunting, searching, and groveling you landed yourself thirty minutes of face time. Go, you. Give yourself a pat on the back. Have a cookie. Hell, have a drink.
4. Google the company. This seems so obvious to me but it is amazing how often this step gets overlooked. Look through the company’s website, go on LinkedIn, google the CEO. Search the person conducting the interview. I am giving you permission to stalk unabashedly.
Things Your Interviewer Does Not Need to Know
5. That you’re occasionally/perpetually/sometimes late. Don’t be late to the interview. I’m a big proponent of the early is on time, on time is late, and late is not hired philosophy. If they ask what your biggest flaw is, being late should not be the answer. Even if it is, maybe consider this a new opportunity to say goodbye to your tardy ways.
Things Your Interviewer Should Know
6. That you’re a team player. Employers have no interest in bringing someone on board who isn’t willing to work with the other staff. Talk about how you appreciate sharing ideas and thoughts.
7. Thank you. This is such an important last step. Even if the interview had flaws, even if you were five minutes late (but try not to be), people remember those who take the time to drop a quick message thanking them for their time. It only takes a few minutes, and it will separate you from the crowd because it is amazing how many people don’t do this. Don’t be lazy.
What You Should Ask in an Interview
8. What responsibilities does the position entail? What does a day or week typically look like? Even if the job description is detailed, it is good to know the day to day. If you apply for an associate editor position it might be a surprise if they have you filing or answering phone calls. This way you can cross check and minimize the risk of disappointment.
What You Shouldn’t Ask in an Interview
9. How much will I make? I can’t even. I am always so surprised when people think this is an acceptable question during an interview. Especially an initial one. It’s presumptuous. It’s tacky. It’s going to hurt your chances of getting hired. Of course, this is a factor that you might weigh while making a decision about your career, but save that chatter for when you’re officially offered the position. Employers want you to be more “You better work, bitch” and less “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.”
They’re your worst enemy by day, your favorite topic at happy hour by night. They’re bad coworkers. And they come in all shapes and sizes.
10. Don’t be the Over-Sharer: This person might come across super friendly. Right away. Maybe too soon. At first it might seem like harmless banter…but then you are suddenly privy to all of the intimate details of his or her life. If you know a coworker’s bikini wax schedule, you probably know too much. Catch Phrase: “This might be TMI but…” How to Deal: Politely change the subject. This is a helpful life lesson in general. Try to keep things professional with this person. Having friends within the workplace makes things fun and more comfortable, but if someone doesn’t know where the line is, it can make for awkward days. How to avoid being this person? Simple. If you have to ask if something is TMI, it probably is.
11. Practice common sense and common courtesy. Treat the office environment like your home. A happy relationship with your coworkers is the foundation for a happy work environment overall. Keep common areas neat, don’t leave your stuff in the fridge forever, don’t steal office supplies that aren’t yours. You know, just be a normal, polite, functioning adult. And if all else fails…bring bagels. Coworkers love bagels.
12. Become the person you want to be…or the person your resume says you are. Want to learn Photoshop? Do it! You have the time. Want to learn French? Oui? Go for it. There are so many online classes and downloadable podcasts. You could develop or craft an entire new set of skills. You can actually come out of this period of your life for the better. Not as a chubbier, more sarcastic and bitter version of your former self who is on a first-name-basis with the Chinese delivery guy.
And one for luck…
13. Be positive! If you’re hunting, keep your eyes on the prize. 2014 will be a fresh start for everyone. Let’s make it successful!
xo The Capitalista
Alexandra Saville (@CapitalistaBlog) is the Media and Writing Specialist at Law Street Media. She has experience in the publishing and marketing worlds and started her own publishing company right out of college. Her blogs, The Capitalista and Capitalista Careers, focus on the young and the entrepreneurial.