When I first got into sailing as a young man (I was in my 30’s), my father-in-law suggested we take a class – what a concept!
Sailing is actually pretty simple. First, you can’t sail directly into the wind (I wonder why?). Next, never spit into the wind. And finally, if you feel yourself getting seasick, get yourself over to the lee rail. (Okay, this one takes a little explaining. The lee rail is on the opposite side of the boat from where the wind is coming from, so it is sort of a corollary of the second rule.) I suppose I should add that if you are just off the wind, the sails are all pulled in tight, hence the phrase “hard on the wind,” and as you bring the wind around the boat towards the stern (the back of the boat), you let the sails out. When you get the wind directly behind you, you put the front sail or jib on one side of the boat and the back sail or main on the other. This is called wing on wing.
Gosh, I guess it is looking like there is a lot to learn if you want to go sailing and be safe out there, and there is. Perhaps this is why rather lengthy books have been written on sailing.
Just like sailing, job search would appear to be relatively simple. All you have to do is write up a resume, create a 90-second announcement, answer a few job postings and then just sit by the phone and wait for it to ring. Well, once again, you would be wrong. If it was that easy, it wouldn’t be as much fun as we all know it is.
Learning the basics is step one. I don’t know if I should tell you this, but I have been studying the process of job search for over 40 years and I am still learning. I guess you could say that there is a lot more than meets the eye.
Reading is a good idea. There are lots of books out there and you should read as many as possible. The only mandatory book is Rites of Passage by John Lucht. If you haven’t read this one, you should. Much of the information about retained search you can skip over if you like, but there are good sections about resumes and interviewing that are not to be missed.
I am not going to try to cover all the basics in tonight’s newsletter. In fact, I hope some of you will share your ideas on what you feel are the basics. Just send them to Leads@TheFENG.org and use the subject “Job search basics” and Leslie will put them in our “Notes from Members” section.
My first basic is on outgoing signatures. You need to get proficient at email. Sounds simple, but I can assure you that 75% of the messages I get need more than a little work.
How do you get better at email? Why don’t you write to yourself and see what it looks like? The way to do this is to set up another email address anywhere you can get a free address and send your typical emails there and read them. Open them up and honestly see if they make sense to you and are properly formatted. Does your name appear at the top? If you have set up your primary personal mailbox correctly, it should. Are you sure your spouse’s isn’t there instead? It seems a lot of folks don’t know that it is, or don’t know how to change it.
Yes, it may take calling a teenager over to teach you how to set up your computer, but let’s put achieving our goal of finding a significant job ahead of our pride. If you need help, ask someone.
Once you get your email looking good, now work on attachments and what they look like on the other end. Does resume-rev-57.doc or resume-long.doc really look as professional as BudMatthewR.doc? (I’ll let you think about that one for a while. I hope you know what the right answer is, but I am not going to give you any hints!)
Well, that should get you started. What do you consider the absolute basics to be? Perhaps we can even call them your personal pet peeves. What are everyone else’s bad habits that you find annoying? (I promise we won’t tell you ours about yours if you come up with some good suggestions.)