Hacking the College Job Fair

Yep, it’s February. If you’re a college senior, you’re busy. And one of the things your busy with is getting ready for your campus’ college job fair this spring.

jobs in carson

What? It’s not on your radar!!! Why not!? College job fairs are a terrific way for you to land job interviews with potential employers. Understand that you’re not going to get a job offer at a career fair: your goal instead is to line up job interviews with different potential employers.

The great thing about college career fairs is that employers come to scope out potential employees. They want to talk to you and, if it you looks like you might be a good fit, set up a full-fledged interview at a later date.

So sign up for the career fair!

Yes, dozens if not hundreds of your classmates are going as well. But they may not have read this blog post. YOU have and in this post are three hacks that, if you follow them, will get employers to ask you in for a job interview.

Warning: these hacks will take some time and a good bit of effort on your part. But if you want to stand out, put in the time and you’ll be rewarded.

Take a look below for our three college job fair hacks.

  1. Study the list of companies coming to the fair.

See what companies are coming and then go research the ones that look interesting to you. And almost all of them should look interesting to you because even though, for example, you’re looking for a marketing job, just about  every company has a marketing department, so don’t automatically say no to a bank or a manufacturer, etc. Still, it’s OK to designate your top 10-15 companies and then focus on them

By study we mean, research. Take a look at its website. Look it ALL over, not just the careers or jobs page. Read as much of the site as you can. Take notes about things that pertain to your degree field.

Read everything you can about the company.  Google it and see what others say about it. Check out Indeed.com and Glassdoor for reviews.

  1. Decide what skills and experience you bring to an employer that bring value.

Remember: employers hire people to solve problems. What problems do you solve? What value do you bring to an employer?

Yes, you have little to no real-world experience in the field you want to enter. But do you have initiative? Are you a member of the dean’s list? Have you worked full-time while going to school full time (that shows you know understand what hard work is and that’s highly valuable to an employer)? And so on.

Write down the skills you have that the field you want to enter requires. Have professors, managers at internships, etc. commented on how great these skills are?

You’re going to need to know what problems you solve/value you bring because now you’re going to….

  1. Write a custom cover letter and resume for EACH company you intend to visit at the career fair.

That’s right: one cover letter and one resume for EACH company. No template cover letters/resume for you. And, while many people say there’s no need to bring a cover letter to a college career fair, writing one specifically for each company helps you stand out. And standing out is what you want.

Yowza, this is going to take work! Yes. It certainly is.

But understanding what particular skills and background you provide to a company and then showcasing how they bring value to a particular company shows a recruiter you understand why an employer hires people.

Any time you look for work you should make it as easy as possible for an employer to hire you.  Presenting how you help solve a company’s problems, etc. makes it a lot easier for a recruiter to see how you match a company’s needs (she doesn’t need to read between the lines) and you’ve made it much easier for her to ask you in for a formal interview.

We can pretty much guarantee that very few – if any – of your classmates are going to customize a cover letter/resume for each company at the job fair. Few – if any – of your classmates are going to be able to talk to a recruiter with as much information as you will because of your deep-dive research. Perform these hacks and watch how well recruiters will respond!

Want some real-world experience before you head to the job fair? Take a look at our job opportunities here at Helpmates and if one appeals to you, follow the instructions on the opening or contact the branch office nearest you.

Negotiating Salary? Don’t Say This!

So you’re in the salary/pay rate part of the hiring process. (Congrats on getting to this point, by the way!) And you and your soon-to-be-employer both want pretty much the same thing, but with a BIG variant: each of you wants to come to a number both are happy with but you want as much as you can get and your employer pretty much wants to give you as little as you will accept while still keeping you happy.

Buena Park Careers

So while we’re going to discuss what you shouldn’t and should say in a salary negotiation, understand this: your salary is only part of your cost to an employer. Benefits, taxes insurance and so on add about another 30 percent to your employer’s salary outgo. So if your salary is $50K, understand that your employer’s cost to have you work for him actually is $65K.

Also remember that your main job as an employee is to provide value to your employer. If you made $40K at your last job and want to make $50K at this one, understand that your possible employer sees that as $65K. So keep this in mind: will you bring in $65K in value? If so, make sure you’ve been showcasing that value (particular education, experience, skills) during the job interview.

Say This, Not That

  • Never give a number first.

Employers no doubt will ask you almost right away what your current salary is and what salary you’re looking for. It sounds like an innocent enough question, but you give yourself little wiggle room when it comes time to negotiate if you answer. Instead, say something like this: “I’d like to focus on the value I bring to you and I’m certain we’ll come to an agreement both of us are happy with.”

If the employer refuses to continue if you don’t give a number, give a range. (And if the employer refuses to move forward even with a range, reconsider this employeer. A salary negotiation should be a good-faith, true negotiation. You may want to rethink working for someone with such a “my way or the highway” attitude, especially in this market, where employers are hard up for great workers.)

  • Be positive.

Avoid saying no. For example, aim to say “I would be more comfortable with” instead of “that doesn’t work for me,” or other negative-type words, including no.

  • Polite assertiveness is a good thing.

Never apologize for negotiating. As mentioned above, an employer who absolutely refuses to look at your value rather than his previously set number, probably is not the employer for you.

Yes, many employers have real constraints when it comes to salary. Government agencies, for example. But most have some room to compromise. And that said….

  • Negotiate benefits.

If an employer truly can’t budge and explains why with a legitimate reason, see if you can negotiate benefits such as vacation time/PTO. Or ask about returning in six months to discuss a raise. Mention that you’ll have proven without a doubt why the value you bring is worth it. (And then make sure the value you bring is worth it!)

Bottom line: if you’ve already been through at least one interview, the employer wants you; she wouldn’t be talking salary if she didn’t. You do have some power in this negotiation; don’t be afraid to wield it in a respectful, professional  manner. It’s exceedingly rare for an employer to stop speaking to you because you try to negotiate: most employers expect to negotiate, especially in today’s candidate market.

If you’re looking to make a move to a new position, check out Helpmates’ latest job opportunities. We have several direct-hire, temp-to-hire and temporary jobs that just may suit your needs. Contact us today.

When Following Your Passion is a Bad Idea

We hear over and over to “follow our passion” when it comes to careers. But this may not be a good idea. After all, our skills and natural abilities must align with our passion in order to be successful within it. For example, if we have no sense of rhythm but still love to dance, do we really think competing on – let alone winning – So You Think You Can Dance? is a viable possibility?

City of Orange careers

In addition, think about the times you’re doing whatever it is that really floats your boat. Often it’s every now and then for a few hours a time. What if you had to do it eight hours a day, five days a week? Then it becomes work and work is something we must do about 40 hours a week, whether we’re “in the mood” for it or not.

Plus, no matter how great a career or job is, there’s always something about it that is tedious. Take, for example, the woman we know who is a physical therapist. She loves working with her patients. But then – oh, then! – there’s the paperwork. About one hour of paperwork for each patient. She generally sees four patients a day and then needs to get four hours of paperwork done. And she hates the paperwork. HATES IT!!! And yet the paperwork (patient notes and insurance forms) takes up half or her work day. Is this a career/job she enjoys? Is it worth it to love – or at least really like — what she does half the time when the other half is absolute tedium?

What we love changes over time.

This, unfortunately, is far too true: we as humans are really, really, really bad at predicting now what will make us happy in the future. If you’re 21 chances are the thought of sitting at home reading a book or watching Amazon on a Saturday night sounds like the last thing you want to do (FOMO and all). But – and it’s hard to believe, we know – by the time you’re in your mid-30s or so, going to a club on a Saturday is all “been there, done that.”

In your 20s , 30s and even 40s, all you can think about is getting to the top of your career. But as you age, that desire fades. Big time. So much so that puttering around in the garage or hanging around the soccer field watching your kid play community soccer is your idea of a great time! And this holds true for both women and men. So working 80 hours a week to build a business probably isn’t going to be all that enjoyable once you hit 40 and beyond.

Making a contribution/a difference leads to the most career satisfaction.

Studies show that the key to happiness for humans in relationships/connections. What’s more, a feeling of mastery and a feeling of purpose/meaning – of contributing to something greater than ourselves – is truly what makes for satisfaction at work.

In other words, find the things at which you’re good (bonus: you probably enjoy doing them) and figure out what type of career/job involves using those skills. Using the physical therapist example above, she always loved working with people, she’s always enjoyed learning how the human body “works,” she’s interested in fitness and health, and she enjoys making her patients’ lives better.  The  loathsome paperwork? It’s a real bear. But she figures half a day of happy and meaningful work makes up for the other half. Overall she’s quite happy.

What are you good at? Take your skills and make a real contribution to businesses throughout Orange County and Los Angeles. Look at the opportunities we currently have open here at Helpmates and contact us/apply if one or more look interesting. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

‘So, Tell Me a Little About Yourself.’

The following questions are so common, there’s no chance you’ve never heard them in a job interview: “Tell me about yourself.” “What’s your biggest strength/weakness?” “Why should I hire you over someone else?”

Common interview questions, all. Yet as common as they are, consider them unimportant at your risk: recruiters and hiring managers aren’t so much looking for a right answer as they want to see how you approach your answer, how you carry yourself and how you handle yourself during your answer.

La Mirada Jobs

In fact, here’s a bit of a secret: most job interviews don’t take place to see if you can do the job (after all, you wouldn’t have been called in if the hiring manager didn’t think you had the skills and background necessary). Instead, the hiring manager/recruiter is looking to see how you will fit in: does your personality mesh with the company/department? Are you thoughtful in your answers? How much do you know about us? And so on.

And, believe it or not, how you answer “Tell me about yourself” is one way your future boss tries to figure that out.

Take a look below for how to answer the above four questions.

Tell me about yourself.

The hiring manager doesn’t want to know your personal history; he really wants to know why you want the job. So give a brief synopsis of your career and then segue into how the job opening fits in with your skills, background/education and career goals. Make sure to provide one or two specific reasons why your skills/background are a good fit: “With my background in social media marketing at a marketing agency for startups, I’m excited to take the strategies I learned there to help a startup’s marketing as part of its internal team.”

What’s your biggest strength/weakness?

This question can be just one (your biggest strength) or the other, or it can be a combination of both (the hiring manager will ask one and then ask you the other).

The old “I have such a great attention to detail it drives my friends/spouse crazy,” in which you try to couch a strength (attention to detail) into a weakness (it’s so great, it’s crazy-making), is too old hat and the hiring manager will be on to your mealy-mouthed answer.

Instead, in the case of a weakness, be honest and discuss something you are working to improve and then give specific examples of how you’re doing so: “I have a tendency to speak to quickly when I’m nervous and that doesn’t help in sales calls. So I’ve joined Toastmasters to improve my speaking skills.”

And if the interviewer asks for your greatest strength? Think of a strength of which you’re proud and how it benefits this particular position: “I’m an excellent listener, which allows me to really dig down and find out what’s really behind a prospect’s objections to a sale. I can then provide him honest and detailed answers that alleviate his concerns, which has helped me close more sales.”

Why should I hire you over someone else?

This is where your deep research into the company’s goals and challenges really pays off. You will answer in a way that shows how a particular skill, experience or educational achievement helps the hiring manager solve his or her problems or reach goals.

For example: “I noticed on a press release on your website that your company just hired a construction firm to add another wing to building so that you can expand your print-on-demand capabilities. I’ve trained people on how to use such printers and I’d look forward to the chance to help train the new workers you’ll need to man them.”

Helpmates can help you find your next full-time position. We work one-on-one with our job candidates, helping prep them for their job interviews with our clients.  Check out our current job opportunities and if you find one or more that interest you, follow the instructions on the job description.

Looking for Work During the Holidays: Why it Works

It’s the holidays! Time for great food; enjoying the red, green, yellow, blue, and white lights; listening to noels as well as goofy old-fashioned holiday songs (which still make you a tad weepy in a good way because they remind you of your grandmother); watching children’s faces light up with delight at special holiday decorations; getting together with friends and loved ones; shopping for gifts for those you love (and even those you’re not that keen on).

So who could possibly have time for job hunting?

holiday job search los angeles

You do!

At the least, you should make the time for job hunting because as busy as you are getting ready for the holidays, as much as you may not want to look for work (it’s not nearly as much fun anticipating the hunt for a job as it is the hunt for the perfect gift), looking for work during the holidays is a terrific idea because (drum roll): employers still have holes in their employee rosters! What’s more, here in December 2017, it’s still a candidate’s market and employers pretty much are desperate to find good people.

Yes, employers may distracted by the holidays as you are and hiring decisions may be put on hold later in the month as many people take vacation and some businesses close for a few days. But if you keep your full-court press on your SoCal job search at this time you’ll keep that momentum going in your search (a job hunt thrives on momentum).

Take a look below for X reasons why looking for work during the holidays…..works!

  1. Not everyone can stay focused on the job search, so you’ll have less competition.

We understand all too well how distracting the month of December can be. And not everyone can compartmentalize their different priorities – certainly not as well as you can! And because you can focus on the search, you can snag an interview from someone who’s distracted by holiday events and to-do lists.

Yes, you may find that hiring managers are a bit slower to get back to you. You also may find that when you are hired your new manager may say you won’t be starting until after the New Year. (But that’s OK, because instead of being “unemployed,” you’ll be “on vacation” and you can truly enjoy the holidays!)

  1. Can you say “Networking opportunities galore!”?

Take advantage of the many holiday gatherings and parties held at this time of year to – discreetly – connect with people who could possibly help you in your search. Not sure how to network at holiday gatherings? This article has several good tips.

  1. Many companies have “use it or lose it” budget policies.

Many department/hiring managers are given department funding that requires them to use all of the funds budgeted to them each year or else the money not used won’t show up in their budgets next year. (“After all,” their manager may reason, “they didn’t use it this year, so they don’t need it next year.”)

So hiring managers may be eager to fill an open position before the year ends and you may find yourself being called in for interviews and getting an offer faster than you might have anticipated.

  1. Many holiday positions can turn into permanent work.

Seasonal jobs often do turn into full-time work even after the holiday season ends. Savvy department managers know they would be foolish to let great workers go and so you well could be pleasantly surprised to be offered the chance to continue working after January 1.

So there’s one more reason to look into seasonal/holiday work if your “real” job hasn’t yet panned out.

  1. Temporary assignments also often become full-time opportunities.

Working with a staffing service such as Helpmates during the holiday season – or any time of the year – can help you bring in some cash while you look for work.

Yet many of our associates take on a temporary assignment and later are hired by our client company as their own employee. This happens regularly throughout the year and during the holidays.

So if you’re looking for your next opportunity, take a look at our current openings and, if one or more look interesting, follow the directions for applying.

Happy Holidays!

In Your Job Search, Focus on What You Can Control

Famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden used to tell his players to focus only on those things they could control.

His wisdom applies to your job search: you can’t control how many job interviews you receive but you can control how many people you reach out to. You can’t control whether or not you receive a job offer as a result of one of those interviews, but you can control how well you prepare for your interview, how much research you perform on the company and the hiring manager, how much you practice for the interview, and so on.

southern california careers

Take a look below for other things you can focus on in your job hunt.

  1. Making sure your resume and cover letter are free from typos, misspellings and grammatical mistakes.

You don’t want to trip up your chances from the get-go, so proof your resume and cover letter for any and all mistakes. If you feel your grammar and spelling skills are sketchy, ask someone you know who is up on spelling and grammar rules to proof your documents.

Another way you can really help your candidacy is to write a different cover letter for each position to which you apply. You also should tweak your resume to showcase the skills and experience you have that best meet the job’s requirements. Yes, this takes more work, but every job is different and your resume/cover letter should “sell” your skills, education and experience in a way that best fits any particular job.

  1. The best positions often go to people who know someone at the company.

Is this “fair”? That’s not the point: this is reality. However, you can control your own network and allow it to help you find a great position. So start asking around (let people know what you’re looking for and the skills you possess). If you see a position you like, check LinkedIn to see if anyone you know has a connection with the employer.

  1. Many people apply for the same position. Competition can be TIGHT!

Don’t let that worry you because as someone who wants to take control of his/her job search, you are going to contact the company (or ask around your contacts) to find the name and contact information of the hiring manager for the position. Then you’re going to contact that person directly. Yes, you are!

There’s a lot you simply can’t control about the job search process, but there’s plenty that you can when it comes to your own efforts. So take as much control as you can and contact potential employers directly, make sure your resume/cover letter is different for each job and has no mistakes at all, and expand your network to help you learn of – and be recommended for –terrific positions.

If your job hunt is taking too long, consider working on some temporary assignments with us here at Helpmates Staffing as you search. Many temporary assignments can – and do – turn into more permanent positions (so you may not need to search anymore)! Take a look at our current job opportunities and then either apply or contact us.

When You Get Caught in a Lie

It happens: you’re feeling great and there’s a ball game you’d love to see playing downtown that afternoon. So you call your boss in the morning, giving the best “I have a bad cold” impersonation you can muster, telling her you’re not feeling well. She buys it and you head off to the game.

But who should you run into at the ballpark but your boss (who took official PTO for the afternoon). She’s not happy and she told you to meet her in her office the next day at 8 a.m. sharp!

Are you toast? Possibly, but not necessarily.

The scenario above actually happened several years ago and the gotta-go-to-the-ballgame employee was fired. But that may not be the case today, as many companies now meld vacation and sick-days into one entity called Paid Time Off (PTO). Employers generally want their workers to take time off for vacations and stay home when they truly are sick. But if you lie about it….

Los Angeles jobs

Most of us are employed at will, which means a company can fire us at any time for any reason. (We also can quit at any time for any reason.) Most employers understand that “things happen,” and pretty much wait for egregious actions (theft) or big mistakes (losing a major client) before using the employed-at-will option and firing an employee.

But you definitely could be fired for lying (such as calling sick when you’re actually well).

However, most lies aren’t serious ones. They tend to be small: you made a relatively minor mistake and you’re trying to cover it up. Chances are you won’t be fired for these, but such a lie will damage your reputation with your manager and affect her trust in you.

So what can you do if you find yourself caught in a lie? Some strategies:

  1. When found out, don’t try to cover it up.

You’d just be continuing the lie and making the consequences when truth does come out even worse for yourself.

  1. Immediately. And sincerely.

As you do so, take full responsibility for your lie. Own it. Say you knew it was wrong and stupid and you deeply regret it. Don’t say it was a small lie, it didn’t affect anything. You can explain why you said it, but don’t try to use that explanation as an excuse: again, own your actions.

  1. Tell your manager you realize she may not trust you as much.

Again, this is part of owning your lie. You must understand that she probably won’t trust you to the same extent going forward and you must address this. Tell your manager you will work hard to rebuild her trust and that you realize this will take some time to do.

  1. Work hard to regain your manager’s trust.

It will take time, but no self-pity allowed. Work harder than you ever have. Unfortunately, you may never regain her trust. If that is the case, after a few months of giving it your all, you may want to start looking elsewhere because chances are good you will miss out on promotions and other opportunities.

When it’s time for you to look for another position in Southern California, make sure you take a look at our current job openings with some of the region’s top employers. If you find one or more opportunities that appeal  to you, apply online or contact the Helpmates office nearest you for more information.

How to Decline a Job Offer (So That They Won’t Hate You)

Let’s say you’ve been offered a job but it’s lacking.   In something.  The pay isn’t enough. It’s too far to commute. (“91 freeway westbound in the morning? Are you KIDDING me!?”) Your ex-boyfriend just announced on InstaStories that he got a job there. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that the job isn’t what you thought it would be and so you’ve decided to turn it down.

But in order to get a job offer, one usually must say right out loud while shaking a hiring manager’s hand goodbye: “Thank you for this interview(s). I think I’d be a great addition to your team and I hope you will offer me the job.” Or you said as much on the phone. Or probably in your thank you letter after your interviews.

So. Turning down the job after you baldly and repeatedly said you wanted it? This is embarrassing.

No, it’s not.

People decline job offers all the time. What’s more, job offers get rescinded all the time. So, minor embarrassment aside, it’s perfectly normal to say no thank you after an offer’s been extended.

Los Angeles jobs

But. You never know: you may want to work at this company someday in the future. So be careful how you the job down: you want to do so with grace, professionally and in a way that makes the hiring manager think well of you.

Take a look below for how to do this.

  1. Don’t not show up on your first day.

Sure, you’re nervous about saying no. You also may be worried that you might be making a mistake by turning it down and so you postpone making a decision until the day you’re supposed to start. And so you don’t show up. And you don’t answer texts or calls or emails from your (could have been) new boss.

Instead, be a professional and as soon as you’re certain the job’s not for you, let the hiring manager know, preferably no later than a week before your start date. (Even better, turn it down before you even set a start date!)The absolute latest you can tell someone you’re not coming in: the day before your first day and even that is cutting it way too close.

Not showing up just shows extreme immaturity and massive inconsideration. Man- or woman-up and tell the hiring manager with days to spare.

  1. It’s best to call the hiring manager. Second best is an e-mail. Never text.

Yes, it could be a hard call to make. But the hiring manager deserves this courtesy. And you’re a professional: you definitely can do this.

Whether you call or email, follow these guidelines:

  • Thank the hiring manager for the offer. Tell her how much you appreciate her consideration of your skills and background.
  • Give a brief reason why you’re not accepting the offer/changed your mind. You don’t have to go into great detail: you’ve accepted a position at another company. After much thought, you’ve decided to stay put. You and your spouse discussed and the longer commute will just cut too much into critical family time, etc. You don’t even have to give a reason, you can just say “As wonderful as this opportunity is, unfortunately I am going to decline.” (If you say this in a phone conversation, understand the hiring manager probably ask for a reason. Have a good one handy. Again, you don’t have to go into details.)
  1. Offer a solution.

You’re not going to say “give me 20 percent more than you offered and I’m your gal!” Instead what we mean by a solution is to say you have several connections in your network who may be great for the position and you offer to talk to them about it and send their information to the hiring manager

You see, by turning the offer down, you’ve created a huge problem for your hiring manager: he has work to be done that no one’s going to do and he to go through the interview process all over again! By offering a solution you show that you understand you’ve created a problem and you want to help fix it.

This shows empathy and professionalism.

  1. Say you want to stay in touch.

The world of work is small one. Particularly within industries. There may come a time when you will want to work for this company. Or you may see the hiring manager at conferences, seminars and other professional events. If you aren’t yet connected on LinkedIn, say you will send a connection request soon (and then do so that day). Even a simple “Thank you for your time and offer and I hope we meet again,” will be enough.

Say yes to your next job offer by contacting Helpmates. We have many great job and career opportunities in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Good luck with your job search!

When You Haven’t Had a Job Interview in 6 Months, Do This

Let’s say you’ve been unemployed for a while. A long while, at least six months. You were laid off from your Orange County company and were able to score a nice severance package and so you decided to “take it easy” for a few weeks, catch your breath, rest up, relax, maybe take in some of the Southern California day trips you’d been wanting to take, but never had the time.

And then a few weeks turned into six, then into two months and you woke up one  morning and said to yourself: “Todays’ the day! I’m revamping the resume, taking a look at some job boards, maybe make a few calls.”

And you do start with gusto. But 45 minutes in to the resume redo, you decide to check Facebook. Then it’s on to the Fox News or CNN websites. Before you know it, it’s 11:30: can’t make any calls now; it’s time for lunch.

As you eat lunch at your desk, you browse your favorite sites. You look up again and it’s 2 p.m. How did THAT happen!? So you work for another 45 minutes and then take a break.

Break over, but it’s now 4:45. Contacts won’t be at their desks. You call it a day.

The Same Pattern, Day After Day

Three months in and you’ve revamped the cover letter, but you’re starting to get worried: that severance package won’t last forever.

So you make some calls and people are polite but you can her them yawning on the other end. They’ll let you know if they hear of anything.

You start applying to openings you see on the job boards. You carefully craft each cover letter to the position and tweak your resume for that particular opening, too.

Still, that sound you hear? Crickets.

Six months is coming in mere days and you’ve no prospects and you’ve gone on no job interviews and you’ve definitely received no job offers.

Panic is now your middle name.

Time to REALLY Get to Work!

Even if you’ve been diligently applying for jobs, networking, and so on but have no job offers or even interviews, well, we’ll be blunt here: it’s going to be a lot harder for you to get interviews/job offers. Not impossible; but definitely harder. In a way, employers will look at you as if you’ve been out of work for five years: “What’s wrong with you that you’re still unemployed?”

(Note to self: never again “take it easy for a few days” after being laid off. Start the job search within no more than a week after leaving your employer.)

Enough with the Bad News. Here’s What you MUST Do: You’re Going to Break Some Rules

  • You’re going to approach companies directly (No more applying on job boards. You are DONE.) You’re going to find out who can hire for the type of work you can do and you’re going to contact that person directly.
  • Once you get a name, you’re going to research the hiring manager. LinkedIn, Google, the company’s website. You’re also going to research the company’s website to see what its goals and challenges are and you’re going to Google the heck out of, finding everything you can about the company.
  • Once you’ve done your research and you know the hiring manager’s name, you’re going to write her a letter. But not any old letter. Nope. Definitely not. Instead, you’re going to write a letter about a problem you figure the hiring manager has and how you can solve it for her. You could call this a “pain” letter if you like (go ahead, that’s what she calls it).
  • People hire people to solve their problems and you’re going to state how your skills and experience can help a hiring manager solve that problem. And you’re going to ask for a meeting or phone call to discuss your capabilities in person (instructions on how to do this).
  • Next you’ll place that letter (don’t fold it) with your resume in an 8.5 x 11-inch manila envelope and address it to the hiring manager.
  • And you’ll do this again for several different hiring managers at different companies.

Results can happen pretty quickly once the letters go out. This takes considerable work upfront (finding names, research, crafting the letter, etc.) but hiring managers will contact you. After all, you’ve just shown them evidence that you can solve their problems! Not all of them, of course, but enough will and you’ll soon be headed out on interviews.

Whether you’re looking for a full-time position or some temporary assignments while you look for your next opportunity, Helpmates can help. We have dozens of job openings every day: take a look and if one or more look interesting, apply as instructed.

Do the Job to Get the Job

We can’t take credit for that headline: it comes from the great Nick Corcodilos of AskTheHeadhunter.com who is a firm believer that candidates have much more power than they believe and that the absolute best way to find work is to directly approach a hiring manager. (Go ahead, visit his site and read as much of it as you can; you won’t be disappointed.)

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More importantly, once a candidate has piqued the interest of said hiring manager, it’s up to the candidate to, as Corcodilos puts it, “do the job to get the job.”

Here’s what he means, and it’s downright brilliant:

When candidates are pretty much equal in background, skills, education and ability to perform the duties of the job well, who tends to get the job? The one who shows the most enthusiasm for it.

Enthusiasm is important, but a critical part of that enthusiasm is understanding that one must work to prove one is the best candidate for the job.

In other words, the candidate that is so enthusiastic for the job that she’s willing to show the hiring manager that she’s up to job by actually “behave[ing] like an employee” instead of candidate, often is the one who receives a job offer.

This Doesn’t Mean Working for Free

Far, far from it. What it means, according to Corcodilos, is showing a hiring manager how you actually will do the job and how hiring you will help an employer become or stay profitable. (Remember: the main reason companies hire people is to solve problems and all employers’ problem boil down to one thing: making or saving money (and saving money is pretty much the same as making money).

Here’s a real-life example of this:

A reporter – one without a college degree – decided to apply for a job with a national PR firm. The job description said a college degree was required.

Still, because of her background and writing skills (she sent samples), the hiring manager called her in for an interview. The interview went well and the hiring manager gave her an assignment (as he did all interviewees): she could choose one topic out of three offered and write a pro and con piece on each. She needed to get her samples back to the hiring manager within a week.

The interview was on Monday. The young woman wrote the pro and con pieces on all three topics (six pieces total instead of two) and delivered them to the hiring manager on Wednesday (rather than the next Monday).

She got the job. Without the required college degree.

The “Do the Job” Interview

When going to an interview, be prepared to show your stuff! Corcodilos suggests that you tell the hiring manager beforehand that you want to demonstrate how you will do the work she hires you to do.

At the interview ask the hiring manager to present you with a real problem, one she’s actually facing, and show her how you’d solve it. This can do nothing less than impress the manager big time! (Don’t worry that you will get something “wrong,” because you won’t know all the facts about the problem; just solve the problem as best you can with the facts you have. Ask questions if needed).

Before leaving, look the manager straight in the eye as you’re shaking hands goodbye and tell her that you know you can do the job well and that you want it.  (If you end up turning the job down later, that’s ok. You may learn it’s not what you really want. The idea is to get the job offer.)

Not Easy, but Effective!

This strategy is not easy. It takes guts. A good amount of self-confidence and assertiveness. It may not be possible to speak to or e-mail the hiring manager before the interview to let her know you want to demonstrate your value in this way.

Yet even if you can’t tell the hiring manager beforehand, you can certainly announce it at the interview itself. Study the company as thoroughly as possible so that you can know its goals, challenges and successes as much as possible. (If you land an interview via a recruiting or staffing service, ask your recruiter for as much information as possible about the company.) Know your strengths and how they can translate to providing value to the hiring manager and do not be shy about demonstrating that value.

Go do the job and GET THE JOB!

For help in finding great openings in Orange and Los Angeles, counties, contact the Helpmates’ office nearest you. Or search our job opportunities and if one piques your interest, follow the instructions to apply.

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