Some years ago, this advice was used as the theme for a highly successful automobile advertising campaign. The prospective car buyer was encouraged to find out about the product by asking the (supposedly) most trustworthy judge of all someone who was already an owner.
You can use the same approach in your job search. You all have relatives or friends already out in the workplace these are your best sources of information about those industries. Cast your net in as wide a circle as possible. Contact these valuable resources. You'll be amazed at how readily they will answer your questions. I suggest you check the criteria list at the beginning of this chapter to formulate your own list of pertinent questions. Ideally and minimally you will want to learn: how the industry is doing, what its long term prospects are, the kinds of personalities they favor (aggressive, low key), rate of employee turnover, and the availability of training.
You are now better prepared to choose those companies that meet your own list of criteria. But a word of caution about these now "obvious" requirements they are not the only ones you need to take into consideration. And you probably won't be able to find all or many of the answers to this second set of questions in any reference book they are known, however, by those persons already at work in the industry. Here is the list you will want to follow:
If you are aggressive about your career plans, you'll want to know if you have a shot at the top. Look for companies that traditionally promote from within.
Look for companies in which your early tenure will actually be a period of on the job training, hopefully ones in which training remains part of the long term process. As new techniques and technologies enter the workplace, you must make sure you are updated on these skills. Most importantly, look for training that is craft or function oriented these are the so called transferable skills, ones you can easily bring along with you from job to job, company to company, sometimes industry to industry.
Some industries are generally high paying, some not. But even an industry with a tradition of paying abnormally low salaries may have particular companies or job functions (like sales) within companies that command high remuneration. But it's important you know what the industry standard is.
Look for companies in which health insurance, vacation pay, retirement plans, 401K accounts, stock purchase opportunities, and other important employee benefits are extensive and company paid. If you have to pay for basic benefits like medical coverage yourself, you'll be surprised at how expensive they are. An exceptional benefit package may even lead you to accept a lower than usual salary.
Make sure you know about the union situation in each industry you research. Periodic, union mandated salary increases are one benefit nonunion workers may find hard to match.
Making Friends and Influencing People
Networking is a term you have probably heard; it is definitely a key aspect of any successful job search and a process you must master.
Informational interviews and job interviews are the two primary outgrowths of successful networking.
Referrals, an aspect of the networking process, entail using someone else's name, credentials and recommendation to set up a receptive environment when seeking a job interview.
All of these terms have one thing in common: Each depends on the actions of other people to put them in motion. Don't let this idea of "dependency" slow you down, however. A job search must be a very pro active process you have to initiate the action. When networking, this means contacting as many people as you can. The more you contact, the better the chances of getting one of those people you are "depending" on to take action and help you out
So what is networking? How do you build your own network? And why do you need one in the first place? The balance of this chapter answers all of those questions and more.
Get your telephone ready. It's time to make some friends.
Not the World's Oldest Profession, But...
Networking is the process of creating your own group of relatives, friends, and acquaintances who can feed you the information you need to find a job identifying where the jobs are and giving you the personal introductions and background data necessary to pursue them.
If the job market were so well organized that details on all employment opportunities were immediately available to all applicants, there would be no need for such a process. Rest assured the job market is not such a smooth running machine most applicants are left very much to their own devices. Build and use your own network wisely and you'll be amazed at the amount of useful job intelligence you will turn up.
While the term networking didn't gain prominence until the 1970s, it is by no means a new phenomenon. A selection process that connects people of similar skills, backgrounds, and/or attitudes in other words, networking has been in existence in a variety of forms for centuries. Attend any Ivy League school and you're automatically , part of its very special centuries old network. And it works. Remember your own reaction when you were asked to recommend someone for a job, club or school office? You certainly didn't want to look foolish, so you gave it some thought and tried to recommend the best qualified person that you thought would "fit in" with the rest of the group. If s a built in screening process.