WorkWise: When to make a change in your job search

culp@workwise.netOctober 28, 2012 

How can a skilled, persistent job seeker tell when it’s time to change some aspect of your search?

‘CURRENCY’

“If you’re consistently receiving rejection or signals that something is just not clicking,” says Aaron Basko, “you’re not conveying how what you do leads to profit.”

Basko is assistant vice president for Enrollment Management at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md. This could be true in a job hunt or inside a company where you can’t seem to advance or sense that your work isn’t valued.

He further mentions that your values might conflict with your occupation. Even if that isn’t true of you, take some time to consider whether you’re communicating the wrong concepts.

“Think about the currency of your field,” Basko advises. “Be able to convey a value statement. What is the ‘x’ that organizations will pay for, and if I can increase (it), they’ll pay more?”

How do your skills and interests help a company? He says that if employers aren’t calling you back, invite a person in the industry or occupation to coffee and ask what you’d need to accomplish in a job there. Those accomplishments should impact profit.

Jay Meschke agrees with this more strategic approach, which ups the ante. President of CBIZ Human Capital Services Inc. in Leawood, Kan., Meschke has extensive experience in recruiting and career transition. He recommends information interviews if you’re looking for advice if “precipitated by a warm introduction from a source known by both parties.”

‘OTHER EYES’

Meschke also says applicants and employers approach interviews differently. Applicants decide whether they think they could handle the job, which isn’t the same as seeking positions for which they’re qualified. In other words, they’re not looking for a match.

“Employers see them through other eyes,” Meschke continues. “They look at reasons for interviewing: “there’s really a job needing (his) skill set; the person feels good for applying to a number of jobs; or the person has thought through how this employer can use (his) skills.”

Those “other eyes” are busy at work if you don’t fit the company’s culture, too.

Cathy Reilly, director of Administration at the private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe in New York, N.Y., spent 20 years hiring administrative staff. “You can tell in five minutes,” she observes, “if a person is approachable, friendly, too shy or stand-offish. When the fit is off, it becomes time-consuming and tedious for managers or HR. Fit is not something that can be corrected with training and is most often a reason why employees are eventually let go.

Reilly also notes that many applicants haven’t researched organizations or even “come prepared to find out what the culture is.” She indicates that reading a company Web site is a mere first step, only because it reflects “what the company portrays, not the hidden culture of how things get done. You have to be able to relate well to people and the particular environment. That’s how you get things done.”

Focus your greatest effort on communication.

She suggests determining whether the company is structured or relaxed, casual or formal in doing the work. Do people e-mail, speak over the telephone or meet face-to-face? For more insight, speak with staffing firms, she recommends, and study a company’s patterns, including turnover rate, community engagement, customer feedback about products or services and the extent to which it uses social media.

If your job hunt is wilting, analyze how you’re communicating your accomplishments to employers, who will look for what they value. Look for a match.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at culp@workwise.net. © 2012 Passage Media.

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