Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Dissent, disagreement, compromise and consensus 4 – the jobs and careers context 3

This is my 4th installment to a series on negotiating in a professional context, starting with the more individually focused side of that as found in jobs and careers, and going from there to consider the workplace and its business-supportive negotiations (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 484 and following for Parts 1-3.)

I offered Part 1 of this series as an orienting directory of what I will address in it, with a goal of at least relatively systematically outlining the key point-by-point topics areas that I would cover here. And I then devoted Part 2 and Part 3 to the first topics point listed in that Part 1 discussion: negotiations and the need to pursue them with strategic care and intent in a preliminary phase job search.

My goal for this posting is to turn to the second, jobs and careers oriented topics point of that listing to at least begin to address it here:

• Job search as it plays out when reaching out to and applying for specific work opportunities of real interest to you, with this process continuing on through terms of hire and employment negotiations.

And I begin this by in effect completing my Parts 2 and 3 discussion of earlier job search steps, by picking up on a detail that I mentioned in passing in Part 3, that becomes crucially important here: job search prioritization and the value of practice before actively pursuing what might be one of your top choice and ideal next job opportunities.

I wrote Parts 2 and 3 of this series from the perspective of new job seekers who are facing a need for at least somewhat significant change in what they would do professionally: desired and planned for on their own part or simply imposed upon them as their new reality, or arriving as a combination of those possibilities. And that meant a job seeker not always knowing precisely what they would best seek out next as they more actively start to search for a new job opportunity that would be right for them. But anyone seeking a new job, and certainly anyone who has not done anything like that for a significant period of time, should assume that they are at least a bit rusty in the skills that they have used for this in the past and that they will actively need now. They should assume that their professional networking has to be brought up to date. Their resume, if they even have one still, is certain to be outdated. Their interviewing skills almost certainly are too. And they might very well benefit from learning and using new types of job search skills, that might not have even existed in practice the last time that they were in search mode.

So even if you start out knowing precisely what type of job you want to find and land next, and from the start of any new job search that you would enter into: even if you have no uncertainty as to what your next best jobs and careers step would be, you almost certainly need to do some preparatory work and (re)learning curve work as a part of that. And you all but certainly would benefit from practice too.

• Do not start out cold in this, by sending what you have now in writing, and using your current off the cuff interview approach as it is currently formed, on what you see as your top choice job possibilities. Find opportunities to practice on and to gather in input and insight on how to refine your message, and for all of its faces: written and verbal, distant and face-to-face.

This practice can include you’re going through practice interviews with friends and colleagues who know you and who would give you honest feedback: critical comments included. And from a resume and cover letter perspective, and with follow-up correspondence in mind: emails included, this means getting editorial and content detail review and feedback too, with this coming from people who you respect for their ability to write effectively. The details in this can be decidingly vital; just consider as a specific detail case in point example, the importance of more effectively quantifying the value and significance of the accomplishments that you would cite as bullet points on your resume, or in interviews when asked about yourself. That can make it a lot easier for others to see, and at least basically understand the level of value that you have brought to your work and that you could bring to a next job too.

Finding the right people here who will help you with this and who can be candid – even if that might bruise your ego a bit, is vitally important here. People who only tell you what they think you want to hear, are not helping you and certainly if that means your repeating a mistake that you made for them, when addressing others at a business that you really would like to work at.

This is where your professional networking can really help, and certainly if you know an appropriate manager or executive who might be willing to meet with you to give you a practice run mock interview. Note, and this is important: any such practice run can only work if this professional approaches it as if they were actually interviewing you, asking the types of probing questions that they would actually ask then, and eliciting the types of feedback from you that they would need in order to ascertain how effectively and thoroughly you have done your homework as to what “their” (your target) business does, and what you would do there if hired.

But this type of feedback and practice is only part of what you should do, and certainly to the extent that through preparation is possible for you for this, given scheduling opportunity and help availability. The second, and more routinely discussed type of practice here, is to go on actual job interviews: starting with applying for and interviewing for positions, with businesses that would for whatever reason start out as not being among your first choices.

There are some basic ground rules here:

• Seek out these positions as actively and fully as you would a top choice opportunity. And pursue them just as thoroughly and systematically too, with a well crafted resume and job application that is fit to meet the needs of and attract the interest of that business and its hiring manager. And if you can get an interview there, prepare for it and go through it as if this were your first choice business and work position that you are seeking. And follow through with emails at the very least to everyone you meet with by phone or in person – and most certainly with anyone you actually meet with at an interview. Always assume that if a hiring manager asks you to meet someone on their business’ staff, they are crucial gatekeepers in making any hiring decision.
• And do all of this with a mind that is open to the possibility that you might in fact like the people you meet there and the workplace that you would move into there, and that this might become a top choice for you – even if unexpectedly so.
• If you do any less: if you “phone this in” in some way and act as if a “practice” job search and interview campaign does not matter, all you will be practicing from going through this exercise is how to cut corners and disqualify yourself from real consideration when that will really count.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will consider top choice and most preferred positions. And as part of that, I will discuss goals and priorities and even knowing what would qualify as your top choices here, and why. And I will at least begin to discuss the negotiating sides to all of this in more detail, and for turning a potential second or lower choice job opportunity into a top choice one for you, among other possibilities.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at Page 3 to my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, and also see its Page 1 and Page 2. And you can also find this series at Social Networking and Business 2 and also see its Page 1 for related material. And I particularly recommend your at least briefly reviewing a specific job search best practices series that I developed here on the basis of both my own job search experience and from working with others going through that: Finding Your Best Practices Plan B When Your Job Search isn’t Working, as can be found at Page 1 of my above-noted Guide as its postings 56-72.

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