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8 Rules You Should Break To Get the Job You Want

8 Rules You Should Break To Get the Job You Want

If you haven’t been job hunting in awhile, and you’re out there pounding the pavement, you may have noticed that a few things have changed since your last job hunt. Today’s job market is tough, which means that you need to make an extra effort to stand out in the crowd.

Here are ten rules you should break to get the job you want.

1. Register with an unemployment agency or head hunter.

According to Bill Ellermeyer, only 10% of jobs wind up in the databases of agencies, so while your state probably requires you to register with your local Workforce center in order for you to receive unemployment benefits, don’t rely exclusively on these sources to land a job.

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2. Send the same generic resume to a bunch of companies and people all at once.

At one time, spamming 300 different companies with your resume may have worked. Why wouldn’t it? After all, the more companies that see your resume, the greater the odds of getting hired, right? Well, not necessarily. If your resume is so generic that you are able to send it out to that many places, it’s going to portray you as a generic, cookie-cutter applicant that looks like every other applicant. It’s worth taking the time to research the company with whom you want a job and tailor your resume accordingly.

3. Talk about yourself.

Instead of plodding through a laundry list of your education, past experience, and qualifications, research the company and ask intelligent questions. Offer insights or solutions “free of charge,” without expecting a job offer in return.

4. Apply for jobs when you’re feeling the most “motivated.”

While you may feel the most motivated to look for work if you just received a foreclosure notice, job hunting when you’re feeling desperate is never a good idea, because you’re going to carry those “desperate” vibes with you. No matter how badly you need the money, wait until you feel better before you take action.

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5. Apply only if you qualify for the job you want.

One mistake that employers sometimes make is hiring people who are overqualified, who already know how to do the job—or at least think they do. When new employees start a job with the attitude that they already know everything, it can cause real integration problems, both with the staff and with established company procedures. Keep this in mind, and don’t be afraid to apply for a position that is over your head. You don’t have any bad habits to unlearn!

6. Only apply for open positions.

You have an invaluable viewpoint as a company outsider. You can see weaknesses that insiders can’t see. Do they have a lame blog, or no blog at all? How’s their social networking? Is their website up to date? Is an overworked database administrator creating a bottleneck in their software testing process? Take the time to find out what’s at the bottom of the company’s “virtual inbox,” and offer to do those things for them, whether they have an opening—or even a position!—or not.

7. Scratch a company off your list if they turn you down.

Sometimes new hires don’t work out or other positions open up, so if you have a good feeling about a company and you think you’d like to work there, write them down on a “contact later” list, and if you’re still looking for work in a month, give ’em a call.

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8. Compose and practice an elevator speech.

Instead of answering the question, “What do you do?” with “I’m a technical writer” or “I’m unemployed,” come up with a creative job title, such as “Software Developer Language Adapter,” and then tell a humorous, 60-second story about how you translated unintelligible notes written by an ESL Chinese programmer into a readable English help file, in spite of not being able to understand his answers to your questions. People love stories, and they’re more likely to remember you if you tell them a story, especially a funny one.

Conclusion: Use your imagination to get the job you want.

Ignore the panicked voices in your head, and focus on the ways in which you can serve your new company and its customers.Think of a potential employer as a potential client. Make lists of your strengths, experience, and skills and imagine using them in your new job. And then make lists of what you would like to see and do in your new job and imagine that you’re already working there. Imagine walking in the front door on your first day. Imagine that you are perfectly qualified, that you are working with awesome people, doing what you love to do, solving problems and coming up with better and more creative ways to serve.

Does it get any better than this?

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Happy hunting!

Featured photo credit: Maytee X HunStrts/filin ilia – aliyo.hu via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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