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September 20, 2017

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There is No Substitute for Experience

There is no substitute for experience Ö none! But you canít know it all. No matter how smart you are, no matter how comprehensive your education, no matter how wide-ranging your business experience, thereís simply no way to acquire all the wisdom you need to make a successful career transition.

In this 3-part series youíll find an invaluable collection of grounded, practical advice. Some of the entries are simple entreaties, some portray intriguing vignettes, and others outline lists of guiding principles; all are illuminating, instructive, and insightful. Learning about the mistakes others have made will help keep you out of trouble Ė so take notes, take thought, and above all take action.

Lesson #1: If you have thought about using part-time consultancy as a way to psychologically see you through a job search, consider the following 3 questions to ensure that youíre on the right track.

  1. What would you learn from this assignment? If you would enlarge your knowledge and skills base, then that could be an acceptable reason for postponing a full-time job search. If the assignment means merely exercising your current skills and knowledge, then how long would you need to do this to help yourself out psychologically or financially?

  2. How would your marketability be enhanced? What new contacts would you be making? If you undertake this assignment, will it make you more marketable?

  3. What is the realistic time frame of this consulting assignment? Remember, the majority of consultancy jobs DO NOT turn into full-time positions because most companies have no incentive to bring you on board full-time.

If doing consultancy work will temporary help you out mentally, and you can still continue to interview when you need to, and the schedule won't wear you down physically, then give it a try.

Lesson #2: A job search is a passage and should begin with a destination in mind. There is truth in the notion that if you donít know where youíre going, no wind is the right wind. One of the most valuable lessons I learned through the years is that both your destination and the oceans you are sailing keep moving, so you must be able to adjust your course with agility and confidence. As you start to conduct a job search itís wise to remember some logical principles: The most important one is based on Economics 101. You are required to make a sale to succeed in your search. Start by determining what you have to sell, why someone should buy it, what it is worth, and who is in a position to make a buying decision.

Additionally, donít lose your sense of humor. A couple of years ago I had a candidate prepare for his pending unemployment by printing new (business-type) networking cards with his name, home address, phone number, area of specialty, and the words: ďA Second Start.Ē

Lesson # 3: Most new employees are under-compensated not because employers exploit them, but because they fail to adequately deal with the salary question. Salary negotiations should always focus on value. If you want a potential new employer to pay you more than what he or she initially offers, then you must clearly communicate your special value to that employer. Only you can communicate this special value.

Forget playing games, trying to manipulate others, and being super clever. No employer wants to reward your need or greed. Getting a better offer than originally proposed is relatively easy. Any new employer wants value and the smart ones are willing to pay for it. So communicate your value, not the "going rate", since most employers have more flexibility with salary ranges than they are willing to admit.

Lesson #4: Research statistics indicate 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 arenít aware of this. You only remember the great interview you two had. You donít want to appear pushy or desperate, so you waitÖas the hiring authority meets other candidates. But as time goes on, youíre getting further and further away from the new requirements. When you are contacted by a representative of the company to set up an interview, simply ask what times are available. Once you have heard the times, 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 is important to the hiring authority. Utilizing this type of approach will not only increase your chances of getting the job, but also of having the new job go smoothly once you are in it.

Lesson #5: Donít pick a job Ė pick a boss. Your boss is probably the biggest factor in your career success. A boss who doesnít trust you wonít give you opportunities to grow. A boss whoís too easy on you wonít drive you to improve. I have said it before but itís worth repeating Ė when you accept your new position, youíre hiring a tutor to teach you about work. Be sure to choose wisely.

- Joe Hodowanes

Joe Hodowanes, a career strategy adviser in Tampa, Florida, offers a free resume and career analysis. Fax your resume to (813) 936-0201 or sent it to jmwanes@jmwanes.com via e-mail. For questions, call Joe at (813) 936-0091 or visit www.jmwanes.com on the Web.

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