May 22, 2018

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Gaining a Competitive Edge

Tip #1: Strive to get an “official agreement” with your ex-company about the reason you left. Do this as soon as possible. You need to know who’s going to handle all reference check calls and what’s going to be said. You don’t want anyone handling your reference calls that may have residual tension or ill feelings towards you. The point here is that you want and need a fair, balanced evaluation. Make sure you’re getting it.

Tip #2: Every 3 to 4 weeks, delete and re-post your resume on your favorite job posting websites. In most cases, the site software will recognize the resume as “new” and it will show up in employer and recruiter searches qualified by criteria such as “new in the past three weeks.” Old resumes won’t pop up in a search unless the hiring person has selected “all.” This isn’t generally used since the results can be overwhelming.

Tip #3: If you can, try to delay the date when your severance package begins paying off. In other words, negotiate to stay on the payroll for as long as possible so you can continue to receive your regular salary and benefits. You’ll end up with more money and the company can claim that your package was no more generous than anyone else’s - meaning that no precedents were set.

Tip #4: Obtain letters of recommendation. Get a well-worded letter of recommendation, preferably on company letterhead (company policies will vary widely on this). It costs the company nothing and should be easy to “give.” Ask to approve the wording of the letter, which should credit your major accomplishments and positively explain why you’re leaving.

Tip #5: Statistics prove the person who is interviewed LAST has the best chance of being hired. Why? Because the last interviewee benefits from all the previous applicants the hiring authority has seen. Previous interviewing helps hiring managers to crystallize their thinking and further define the position in their minds. Of course, you’re not aware of this. You only remember the great interview you had. You don’t want to appear pushy or desperate, so you wait … as the hiring authority meets other candidates. But as time goes on, you’re getting further and further away from their new requirements. When you’re contacted by a representative of the company to set up an interview, simply ask what times are available. Select a time that will make you one of the last applicants to be interviewed. As soon as a firm time is established, start researching the company and analyzing what’s important to the hiring authority. Utilizing this type of approach will not only increase your chances of getting the job but also having the new job go smoothly once you’re in it.

Tip #6: Here are three broad guidelines for handling the emotional challenges of dealing with a job loss while finding the energy you need to search for new employment.

Tip #7: Know when to stop negotiating. If the boss won’t budge on salary, try for a bonus, stock options, or added responsibility. Money may come with added responsibility, but even if it doesn’t, you’ll have a large scope of responsibilities you can market to someone else in the future. Whatever you do, don’t end the talks on a sour note. It’s far more important that both sides walk away happy. Creating a good working environment after negotiations will be more important to your career in the long run.

Tip #8: Answering classified ads. Make it a point to include information on the type of position you’re seeking by addressing the key points of the ad with a strong statement about your relevant experience and achievements. Rather than stating that you can meet the specified requirements, explain how well you have performed them in the past.

Tip #9: Rethink your values. Odds are your next job will pay less than your last. Merit, achievement, and loyalty no longer guarantee advancement. So stop totally identifying your status with occupation, income, and expensive toys. Decide how much money is really enough.

Tip #10: Reach out. Since your next job may be in a completely different industry, network for jobs through organizations that have nothing to do with your current occupation. Try alumni associations and women’s/men’s professional groups.

- Joe Hodowanes, Career Strategy Advisor

J.M. Wanes & Associates

Joe Hodowanes, M.P.A., SPHR, is a nationally recognized career coach, syndicated columnist, and president of Tampa-based J.M. Wanes & Associates, J.M. Wanes & Associates is a career coaching, outplacement, and executive search firm specializing in executive-level opportunities.

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