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How to Job Hunt as a 20-Something in 2013.
I wanted to share some knowledge I picked up during 8 months spent unemployed. This is a conglomerate from personal experience, trial and error, and input from other friends who have been through the same.
This is really long, and I hope none of it is really painfully obvious, but I hope it helps somebody out.
Read on for tips on resumes, applying, interviewing, and following up!
“Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you'd be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don't let life randomly kick you into the adult you don't want to become.”—Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s answer to the question “Any advice to a young person who wants to get into this field?”, from his spectacular reddit IAmA
6 ways to sabotage your career
Careers are rarely sunk by a one-time incident. Getting the axe usually takes time and a chain of events that lead to your demise.
Here are six ways to sabotage your career.
1. Bash your employer in public – You never know who is listening around you. You may not even recognize some of the people you work with out in public, and if you’re bad-mouthing your boss, you could land in some serious trouble when returning to work. Cyberspace is another arena in which you could cause some problems for yourself. Overall, just refrain from voicing your negative opinions of your boss or job in any public environment.
2. Mix pleasure with business – Although workplace restrictions on office romances vary, the wisdom of those choosing to engage in outside-the-workplace lives with co-workers as more than friends may need to be questioned.
3. Fudge the truth – Interestingly, fudging information on resumes in not a rare occurrence. It’s better to be honest on your résumé than to provide false information. Nearly 60% of people falsify their education, employment, or salary information. Being caught can cost you your job or a promotion.
4. Be real, regardless of the culture – Not every job environment is the right environment for tattoos, spiked hair and piercings. Employees who choose to rebel against the dress code and job constraints may end up losing their position with the company.
5. Just say “no” to opportunities – Saying “no” to projects and passing on certain assignments may kill your career. Most people get two shots at accepting some sort of special project. If you turn down both, chances are there won’t be any more opportunities for special assignments or promotions coming your way.
6. React poorly to stress or fear – During times of economic turmoil, employees can behave in ways that they normally may not. Many employees who try to fly under the radar, end up being seen as not contributing to the company, while employees who react to stress by yelling and throwing office items can be seen as just as detrimental to the office environment.
“The answer is always follow your bliss. Always follow your bliss. Find your voice. Shout it from the rooftops. Keep doing it until the people who are looking for you find you. Stay put.”—Dan Harmon
What I learned about salary negotiation today
I met with a mentor/NYU professor today to talk about salary negotiation, and it’s a good thing I did… HR reached out with an offer two hours later! He coached me through the negotiation process, and it was really eye-opening. Here’s what I learned:
- Women typically don’t negotiate. We are socialized to be accommodating and to avoid conflict… and many women see asking to negotiate as a way of starting conflict. This isn’t true! Human Resources is trying to save their company money, so they are probably going to offer you less than what you are worth and hope you’ll take it. You’re not being rude or ungrateful— you’re standing up for yourself.
- Never, ever accept the first offer. As I said above, HR is trying to save money. They’re not going to offer you all they can afford right away. My mentor advised showing zero emotion when you get your offer, thanking them politely, and asking if you can meet a few days later to talk about salary. This will give HR time to figure out how much room they have for negotiation, and it will give you time to talk to a mentor and prepare.
- Do your homework. Use websites like salary.com and glassdoor.com to see what other people in your field (with your experience) are making. This will give you a good idea of what to aim for. Factor in your education, years of experience, and any skills you may have that other candidates wouldn’t. Usually, the highest selling point for you is your education and years of experience. So, if you don’t have a Master’s in your field, be sure to focus heavily on your work experience.
- Figure out what is important to you. Do you want a higher salary? Or would you rather have a few more vacation days? What about funds for professional development (think: conferences, classes, etc)? If you can’t get a higher salary, think about what you would like instead.
- Be conscious of your language. Silence is your friend. When it comes time for the actual negotiation, don’t get emotional or grovel or worry about sounding “too demanding.” Be calm, firm, but polite. Instead of saying “thank you very much for your offer, but I really was hoping to make X, so I would appreciate it if you would consider this,” say “Thank you for your offer. I am interested in the position, but I think X would be a more appropriate amount.” Then: silence. Make them talk first. This part was really tough for me to grasp, because a lot of the things my mentor said felt rude or demanding.
- Ask for 10% over what they offer you. That’s the question, isn’t it? What number do I throw out so I end up with one I want? Well, the standard is that you ask for 10% more than what you’re offered, and then HR will come back with 3-5% over their original offer. However, if you feel like you’re being lowballed (to the point where even 10% over the offer is not enough) you’ll want to talk to a mentor in your field and see what’s going on.
You may ask how this advice panned out for me… and that’s an interesting story. I was offered $3k more than I expected, but $2k less than I wanted to end up with and they said there’s no room for negotiation… so I didn’t even get to use all of this awesome advice!
I think what I’m going to do is accept the offer, rock at my job for the first 6 months to a year, and then ask for a raise or maybe some more vacation time. If anyone has anything to add to this, please reblog and add your thoughts… and then tag it with everything you think is appropriate. I want as many people as possible to see this info!
My worst job interview, and 9 things I learned from it
I’m in the mindset of thinking about work and careers and all that, and I know a lot of you are heading into summer jobs or even careers, and interview season is upon us. So I thought I would share the story of my worst job interview, and what it taught me, in case anyone finds it useful or entertaining. ;) (I guess this is the first of my series of posts about jobs/careers/etc.!)
I’ve been told that I am very strong in interviews now, but that was a skill that took time to grow. One interview, in particular, was a huge disaster.