CHAPTER 1: Why it is important to Choose a Career – Mark’s Story…
As an expert in staffing and hiring, I learned the steps necessary to have a successful career. In this book, you’ll find a proven approach to make sure you select the right career or transition to the right position in the right company. In the chapters that follow, you will find the most efficient way to navigate the hiring cycle and find the fulfilling position or career you want.
Over the past twenty years, the process of hiring has undergone a complete metamorphosis, and this book will ensure you understand the steps necessary to find your place in the career you want. After you have completed each chapter, you will know how to choose your career and how to get the job you want. You must always remember this entire process is about YOU!
CHAPTER 2: Your career, your choice
Overview: Deciding on a career | Career transition | The Veteran’s transition | Time management
Making a career choice can and should be one of the most important decisions in your life. There are a few other decisions you will make that will be just as important: getting married, buying a house, having children, and deciding when to retire. I’m getting ahead of myself when we start discussing retiring – first we need to decide on a career.
You want a career that is satisfying and financially rewarding. What are your passions? What are your interests? Identifying your passions and interests is the key to finding a career that you can be proud of and one that you want. I am not a psychologist, but I do know that finding the right career can be an important key to your happiness. A great family life with all the activities you experience can only be better with the choice of a fulfilling career. I personally know folks who get stuck in a career and are unhappy. In my case, my career choice did not align with my passion (other than the coaching aspect) and, unfortunately, it had a negative effect on my family life.
This part of the chapter is dedicated to everyone who has served in any branch of the military. Thank you for your service!
As a Vietnam Veteran and the founder of a nonprofit organization that assists and coaches Veterans as they transition from the military to a civilian career, I know it can be a difficult leap from military life to a career in the private sector, but your transition doesn’t have to be difficult when you have the right tools and realistic expectations in place. During most of my Veteran coaching sessions I was asked, “How soon prior to my separation should I begin looking for a job?” As a rule of thumb, private-sector companies will not usually hold a position open if your separation date is more than three months away. But now is a great time to begin identifying the type of work you want to do and the companies for whom you want to work. Once you have selected an industry and identified companies in that industry, you can begin your research to find the specific companies with whom you want to work. (Factors can include region, whether they have a Veteran hiring initiative, cultural fit, and so forth.) Chapter 5 will show you how to use LinkedIn to identify employees of the specific companies you identified and begin connecting with them.
Chapter 3: Your resume and cover letter
Overview: Resume tips | Types of resumes | Resume template with explanations | Resume template you can copy and use | Cover letters
Your resume is an important tool as you navigate the hiring process. But it is just a tool. Even though I don’t consider the resume to be the most important part of finding the right position, I am addressing it as Chapter 3 because – to begin the networking process, create a LinkedIn profile, or even be considered for any position – your resume needs to be prepared in anticipation of your new career and position.
Let me begin by saying that I am not a huge fan of cover letters. I cannot think of anyone who was hired because they composed a great cover letter. Sometimes cover letters are required and necessary. The cover letter is essentially a tease to get the employer to want to review your resume. By volunteering to write and include a cover letter with your resume you could risk disqualification even before an employer reviews your resume! I suggest that if a cover letter is not an additional requirement of your resume submission, don’t write one!
Chapter 4: Online job boards and company websites
Overview: Resume tips | Advice and insight from other human resource professionals and recruiters
Seeking employment has become an artform. And getting your information seen by the right person is an entirely different playing field altogether. The go-to method for the typical job seeker is using online job boards. There are hundreds of specific job boards designed for each area of professional expertise. For example, there are nonprofit, government, sales, start-up, and executive sites, to name a few.
Using online job boards and company websites to find a position is only part of the process. Granted, if you have a critical skill set (for example, a respiratory therapist during a pandemic), I am sure that using job boards and company websites will suffice. Yet for non-critical skill sets, you cannot completely rely on using just the job boards and company websites. You need to enhance your job search activities with assertive communication including networking; direct communication with the company, recruiter, or hiring manager; and tapping into other business and social media outlets.
Chapter 5: The Art of Networking
Overview: In-person networking | Virtual networking | Tips to use LinkedIn’s robust capabilities | Jobs created | Jobs found
Networking is perhaps the most important element in finding the right position with the right company. The Art of Networking is your ability to research, identify, and connect with a contact who can help you learn about a company, find a mentor, or perhaps find the position you want. Connecting with the right person and communicating your interest in working for the company is the essence of networking. Networking will allow you to stand out from the other applicants who are sending in their resumes and passively waiting for a response.
Networking is the key to understanding a position and the company and making sure that your background and experience are noticed by the employer you have chosen. The relationships you create through networking can help you find a mentor or a company champion – or even create a position that did not exist.
Chapter 6: Employment agencies, staffing companies, and recruiters
Overview: Executive search and employment agencies | Staffing companies | Agency recruiters | Corporate recruiters in the HR department
Over the past forty years there has been a dramatic cultural shift in the American job market. Remaining with a company for your entire career is no longer the norm. The growing number of temporary and contract work opportunities is here to stay. Some staffing experts suggest that over 40 percent of the workforce will consist of temporary and contract workers by 2025. Yet the future of the temporary staffing industry depends on the economy. For example, when the unemployment rate is low companies will turn to staffing organizations. A low unemployment rate means the applicant pool is limited, there is a lack of qualified applicants, and competition from other employers is high. When the unemployment rate is high there is an increase in the number of qualified applicants available for open positions. The staffing industry usually sees a downturn in business during these times. Yet even though the staffing industry directly responds to the economy’s volatility, it remains a large part of the employment marketplace.
Chapter 7: Your interview
Overview: Types of interviews | Interview and Pre-interview questions | Tough Interview questions | How long is the typical interview? | Telephone interviews | In-person interviews | Video interviews | Automated video interviews
Yes, the dreaded interview. The component of the hiring process that will either have you on the road to the next step in your career or seeking out another company. The interview process does not have to be as stressful as you may think. I will show you in the following pages how to make the interview YOUR INTERVIEW – and not the company’s interview of you.
In my many years of preparing candidates for interviews I have seen some who are comfortable, some who are hesitant, and some who dread even the thought of participating in an interview. If you are comfortable with the interview process, you will find interview tips in this chapter that will make your interview experience easier. If you are hesitant or dreading this part of the hiring process, I am sure your level of comfort will be elevated, so you will enjoy the interview once you understand the unique methods of how to make the interview YOUR interview.
The process of hiring will be in a constant state of change. Your ability to secure a position depends on your experience and background as well as how the interviewers perceive you will fit in with the company. Twenty years ago it would be safe to say that a successful interview consisted of 80 percent of your ability to perform in the position and 20 percent of how you may fit into the company. Further, in the past you may have had a single interview before receiving an offer for the position. Today, many companies will conduct three, four, and even five interviews before they decide to offer the position to the selected candidate.
Chapter 8: Negotiating your position, salary, and benefits
The secret of negotiation is to know that if you do not get what you want, you can walk away. That may sound harsh, however, if you accept a position that is not in your Circle of Acceptance all things that are job related will suffer. Almost immediately you will second-guess your decision. Once you begin the job you might start looking around for something better, and your work productivity might suffer. If you accept a position that is outside your Circle, there is a good chance you will regret this decision.
Chapter 9: Working remotely and the hybrid workforce
The make-up of the workforce started undergoing a drastic change at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an incredibly short timeframe the labor force saw a dramatic increase in the number of employees working remotely. While the concept of telecommuting has been around for years, it was rarely viewed by employers as a productive business practice. March 2020 changed so much! Remote work became a necessity – and not an exception – as the pandemic demonstrated that much more work could be done remotely than previously thought.
Chapter 10: Your onboarding experience
Congratulations! Your research, networking, and resume have landed you an interview, and you aced it. You have received an offer for the position and the salary that is in your Circle of Acceptance. Most companies will present you with an offer letter outlining your salary, position, benefits, and a booklet of company policies (although most policies are boilerplate, make sure you read the entire pamphlet). Remember, no surprises! The offer letter will most probably be conditional upon your ability to pass a background check and possibly a drug screen.
Chapter 11: The first six months in your chosen position
You are ready to begin a new position or launch your career. Is this the right choice? Did you make the right decision? Of course, these are questions you will ask yourself. We all second-guess important decisions such as a new position and especially if you decided to transition your career.
Chapter 12: Summary: Bringing it all together
Appendix 1: List of states that prohibit interview questions on salary expectations
Appendix 2: Worksheet with additional interview questions
Backed by decades of combined staffing and recruiting experience, the authors share real-world strategies for your entire job-search process.