My Advice to Job Seekers

  1. Stop sending your resume in mass.  It isn’t a numbers game despite what you may have heard.  Slow down and spend at least 5 minutes understanding who the firm is what they do.  This way when you come to an interview you can ask intelligent questions.  Remember what the late Mr. Covey said, slow is fast and fast is slow.
  2. When you get a request for an interview, don’t set the terms like it is a negotiation.  It isn’t all about you.  You are most likely part of a larger number of interviewees and doing this only hurts your chances.  This is your only shot at a first impression.  Don’t make the first note be that you are hard to work around.
  3. When someone contacts you, do not ask about pay and benefits before you even fully understand the position.  Take some time and understand first, then seek to be understood.  This isn’t McDonalds and you have no idea from a sheet of paper what the job is actually going to be like.
  4. Just because you have never heard of the company doesn’t mean anything.  This is always amusing to me that people think small and medium companies are struggling because they don’t advertise during the super bowl.  You have no idea on our revenues and what we have achieved.
  5. Do not waste the time of the company interviewing to merely get leverage on your current employer.  If you are picked for a job that means someone else was skipped over, which makes you selfish and rude.  This only hurts your reputation.  Again, it’s not about you.
  6. Set a goal to read a book a month.  This is a very low bar and if you only cut out 30 minutes of TV or Facebook a week you could change your life.   It will completely change the conversation when you go in for an interview.
  7. Do not put Social Media expert as a skill unless you really are.  This will only fall apart on you during the interview.  Spending time on Facebook and Twitter does not make you an expert.  I know several people who really are experts in this field and you are giving them a bad name so stop it.  There is an art to marketing and you having an account on Facebook does not qualify.
  8. Check your resume over with a fine toothcomb.  Make sure you actually know everything you say you do.  Do not lie here, as it will not help you.  If they ask you about it and you stumble it’s over.  I will use us as an example we had at my company.  We had a candidate list WatchGuard as a skill.  Since we are one of the largest WatchGuard sales, training, and consulting companies around we naturally asked him about this.  The guy started going into versions that never existed and models that didn’t make sense.  We finally stopped him because it was hard to watch him trying to piece the lies together.  If he would have just said I don’t know the platform but I am happy to jump in and learn he may be employed today.
  9. When in the interview ask questions and then tie them back to your skill set.  Don’t ask about health and dental, those are questions to benefit you.  Ask questions about the position, the company, and the vision.  When and if you get an offer you can ask away about benefits.  It isn’t relevant during the interview process anyway.
  10. Companies do not exist to provide jobs.  They exist to solve problems, help customers, change the world, and educate children.  Employees are there to serve that purpose, to meet these higher objectives.  If you change your thought process about why you have a job it will change your future.

The company should align with your values and if you find that match, you will be happy with your work.  If you don’t know what your values are then take time to figure that out before you start looking for work.  I promise having your ducks lined up will change the results of your interviews and your future.  All stars always have a team to play on and never ride the bench.