Brutal Truths
(go out a find a job...)

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Co-Authored with Stephen Pittelkow

Brutal Truths was developed to assist you in making better decisions regarding your job status. Based on thousands of actual interviews and experiences with applicants as well as inside knowledge of the business of employment, this guide will lead you through the Ten Brutal Truths necessary to understand the process of finding a new and better job. Whether you are seeking a first job or making a conscious effort to change your current position, the following tactics will allow you to plan your job search more efficiently as you face one of the most important challenges: finding and securing a new job.

Every industry has experienced tremendous pressure to consolidate operations and to produce more with fewer employees, leaving no marketplace unaffected. Will your job be next? As a result of the ever-changing job environment, you must develop active tactics that will allow you to control the decision to change jobs. Use common sense to begin your strategy and if something appears too good to be true, it probably isn't worth your time. If a tiny advertisement claims high income potential, assume the advertisement is misleading. If it were that easy to make $10,000 a month, people would be knocking down their doors and they wouldn't need to run ads. Books endorsing traditional job search methods are not always realistic as they suggest that the use of conventional methods will assure success. Many candidates assume the formal theories presented in these books shield them from the Brutal Truths of an employment search. Unfortunately, these established and commonplace methods won't separate you from the job-seeking crowd and rarely insulate you from any of the harsh realities that materialize from your job search. You must take a more unconventional approach to your search by following these Brutal Truths with the goal of creating your own employment opportunities.

You must begin by recognizing that your job is much more than a paycheck. It is your self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence rolled into one big part of your life. For this reason, begin your job search with the commitment that it will not be done with short cuts or lazy assumptions. It's a job getting a job.

Brutal Truth #1 It's a Job Getting a Job

A passive job search can take forever. A passive search means occasionally looking in the classified section of newspapers, viewing, asking friends for referrals, casually contacting local headhunters (if they are interested) and generally taking a wait and see attitude. When you are looking for a job, you must make every effort to contact every mildly appropriate individual and fully investigate every opportunity, not simply waiting for miracles to occur. You want a miracle? Buy a lottery ticket. If you want a job, move on it immediately.

You may need a new job for many reasons: job eliminations due to mergers and buy outs, reluctance to relocate, poor working relationships or conditions, questionable opportunities for promotion, business failures and a variety of other uncontrollable factors. But by combining both conventional and unconventional approaches to a job search, you may produce options which aren't readily available to other job hunters. At any one time, there are millions of people seeking a better job or a career change who are doing the same things: looking in the newspaper, sending unsolicited resumes to Fortune 500 companies hoping that something is open, casually doing online searches with no master plan  and relying on someone else to make things happen. Although nothing is wrong with that approach, there isn't much to assure success.

Your potential employment targets should be based on personal research about the kind of company or industry that interests you. For example, there are many lesser known companies which may offer the kind of position you are seeking, so learn as much as possible about a company before applying. Even though you don't know much about a company, you shouldn't eliminate it from consideration without doing sufficient research and the public library is a great place to start. The reference area is filled with annual reports, business directories, magazines and newspaper articles and other information about the company in particular and the industry in general. Also, write or call the company you are interested in and ask to receive recruiting or marketing brochures and an annual report if available. Do your homework and then decide whether or not the company can provide you with the opportunities and challenges you want and you can provide the company the talent they are seeking.

You have to always demonstrate a high sense of urgency during your job search. If you see an interesting classified advertisement, send out a letter and resume immediately. If you have developed a list of people to telephone, call them all as soon as possible and don't allow any delays in your pursuit of identifying and targeting additional companies to contact. Always have a list of employment opportunities to be working on at all times as it can easily take thirty days from the receipt of your resume before an interview is set up. Significant opportunities are available for job seekers making the effort to locate companies which fit their needs not just companies advertising in Sunday's paper or advertising on all the major job boards.

Finally, keep in mind at no time is any personnel or human resource department obligated to grant you an interview unless it serves its purposes and if you wish aggravate an entire personnel department, utter the phrase "informational interview." It extremely annoying to interview anyone for the fun of it as a well-meaning but unprepared candidate has no right to be afforded the luxury of a practice session. Also, you do not enhance your chances by "dropping in" without an scheduled appointment. This practice is a sure way to doom yourself because you are wasting everybody's time. Hiring is only one thing the personnel office does but it is usually the only thing an applicant sees during the first visit. Benefit problems, employee relations and counseling, payroll and budgets take up tremendous amounts of time and interviewing is only one responsibility which must be accomplished during a busy day in the personnel department. If you want to learn about the company, do research on your own time. If you want a job, identify your abilities which will excite the company and impress everyone you meet.

Brutal Truth #2 Know your Strengths

Far too much time and money are spent on the trivial matters of a job search. The color of your clothes and the creativity of your resume are meaningless if you are late for the interview or if your correspondence is full of typographical errors. Spend more time preparing for your interview and less fretting over what you will wear. Your choice of jacket may be important, but it makes little difference if the interviewer perceives you as a putz.

Prepare yourself for the interview by addressing common sense questions likely to be asked. Your answer to questions such as "Tell me what you know about this company?" is going to give an interviewer far greater insight into your abilities and intelligence than if you are asked to give three adjectives to describe yourself. Quantifiable questions such as "How did you contribute to the success of the project?" and "What specific steps did you take to increase profit?" are asked to see how you think, not how you talk. Although these questions can tell much about your talents, always be prepared to handle the goofy questions such as "Where do you want to be in five years?" with equal success. Your ability to reason and to organize your thoughts under pressure are the traits most desired in an interview. Traditional answers to standard questions will only put you in the large group of pleasant but forgettable candidates. So, answer every question with equal skill and avoid answering with time-worn cliches such as "I like people." Most of us like people, but what does that have to do with the job?

Wake up on the day of your interview thinking about the questions you will be asked. As you drive to your appointment, organize your answers. As you park the car, check your appearance in the rear-view mirror. And, finally, while walking into the office, with a bit of apprehension, continue to concentrate on your attributes and successes as you will feel excited, confident and prepared. You hope the interviewer will be as prepared for the interview as you are, but you can never be sure because in almost all situations, your letter and resume are only briefly scanned by the interviewer, immediately after returning from a meeting, coffee break or the restroom. You may have prepared well for the interview by doing your research and completing a comprehensive assessment of your abilities, while the interviewer may be quietly wondering what's for lunch so don't assume that the person across the desk from you has any stake in your interview except to fill the job. This provides us with two important thoughts for successful interviews: avoid late morning interviews for a better chance at full attention and, more importantly, don't let success rest in the interviewer's hands alone. Armed with knowledge of the company, effective answers to the good and bad questions, the ability to read your interviewer and careful preparation for the whole interview process, will show your strengths in even the toughest interview.

Brutal Truth #3 Be Prepared

The more prepared you are for an interview, the better your chance of being evaluated in a positive manner by the interviewers. Your goal is to convince the decision-makers of your ability to be successful in the position. You don't want to be remembered as a generic and merely adequate candidate. Your goal is to demonstrate an ability to effectively and efficiently complete the duties of the job.

An interview usually lasts no more than an hour and the facts and impressions gathered by the interviewers during this brief time will provide a majority of reasons for the company to hire you. All of your answers are samples of your abilities and no matter how many questions are asked or how many references are checked, job decisions are always based on the opinions of the interviewers. You can dramatically increase your chances of success by being prepared. To be prepared, you should know about the company's successes and failures, its competitive climate, current sales and annual history, how the company started and why it prospered, why the position needs to be filled and every piece of public information that is available about the company. Remember, the place to start is the reference area of the public library or company website but while waiting for the interview, take a look at the magazines and publications in the office. Usually, there is an internal company publication, bulletin board or other clue about what is going on within the company. This type of preparation works two ways: this unique awareness impresses the interviewer and gives you a better idea of the work environment and whether or not it is as attractive as perceived.

Preparation also includes your physical appearance as well. Make sure your clothes and, if applicable, your makeup are in order before you walk into the personnel office. A quick stop in the rest room before the interview can save embarrassment. Lipstick on your teeth, a stain on your shirt, filthy shoes or sale tags left on your new interview suit will make your interview unique, but for the wrong reasons. You may be concerned about a facial blemish or other uncontrollable factor and, while these may be noticed, they should not leave as lasting an impression as the ones you could have taken care of at home.

Current and former employees can provide valuable information about the realities of companies in which you have an interest. Although you may have to filter some sour grapes, the insight you gain is worth it. Questions for former employees should include "Why did you leave the company?" and "Do you miss your job?" Sample questions for current employees may include "How's business?" (And why is it good or bad.) "How do they treat you?", "Are there internal promotions?" and other questions which will provide you with inside information about working conditions. Ideally, the time to begin assessing the company environment is before you start working there. Their website can also provided a wealth of information: just don't hit the "careers" section. Take the time to look around as well as doing some legimate research on the company using available, third-party sources.

This preparedness must continue through the interview itself. You may be well-prepared, but no interview goes as planned. If the first question is not the one you expect, are you prepared to answer anyway? First impressions are valuable: Impress the interviewer by organizing your thoughts and listening to your cues. If you answer the first question with a rehearsed, though incorrect, answer, you're in trouble. The interviewer's impression is that you aren't listening; and if you don't know the answer, don't make up something. Interviewers will rarely argue with you or expose your ignorance because it's a waste of time and energy. The interviewer will nod politely and bring the interview to close and you will receive a reject letter a few days later. During the interview, you can help yourself by being controlled and patient with your answers. Speak in a normal tone and don't appear to be over-anxious. Listen to the question, formulate your answer and begin speaking. If you rush or begin answering before the question has been asked, you may be judged to be undisciplined and reckless. Think, then respond.

Finally, your physical behavior provides clues to the interviewer as well. If you fidget or move around in your chair, you make it difficult to focus on what you are saying. Annoying habits such as sucking your teeth, sniffling, foot jiggling, constant throat clearing or other odd noises may be an unconscious reaction to your interview anxiety, but they are distracting and may type you as a basket case. You want to be remembered as the competent, qualified candidate, not the one who made funny noises.

Brutal Truth #4 Assume They're All Idiots

Although you never know it until you work with them, people make mistakes all the time; those who make the decision to hire are no different. To guard against becoming the next lost file or forgotten resume, you must do everything possible to guarantee a positive assessment of your abilities. When you answer a question, be succinct, eloquent and give thoughtful answers. When describing accomplishments, tell a complete story and make sure every detail is relevant and to the point. Don't stray to unrelated tangents just for the hell of it. Stick to the question at hand, answer it correctly and completely and pay attention to the next question.

Companies advertising for a position want to see the position filled as soon as possible. Before every interview, managers hope the next interview will present the ideal candidate, the one who fills the job description perfectly. You may believe that the job of interviewing is fun, but after the first fifty interviews of anyone's career, interviews are, as a rule, both boring and mundane. Prepared candidates will make the interview process enjoyable for both themselves and the interviewer by having a good conversational exchange of ideas, opinions and questions. Companies which aren't advertising are more difficult to impress, but one little known truth may make any job search worthwhile: companies are never satisfied with their current group of employees and they are always envious of their competitors. In fact, most companies have roughly the same talent to work with, and the differences occur only in how people are used and treated. A day rarely goes by that someone doesn't whine to the personnel department about the need for better people. If you understand this and can demonstrate your abilities to the interviewers, you will impress them and their company.

During the interview, don't take a chance with a flamboyant or attention grabbing answer. Your responses must be well paced, easy to follow and, most importantly, provide excellent answers. If the question is about specific accomplishments, be specific. Don't generalize; talk about your efforts and their results. If sales increased, complete the story with quantifiable answers: How much? How fast? How profitable?

Brutal Truth #5 The More, the Merrier

If your interview lasts ten minutes and you find yourself in the lobby before you know it, your interview wasn't too successful. The signs of a successful interview are seeing more people than you expected to see and spending more time than you expected to spend. For this reason, you must allow plenty of time at each company so don't try to squeeze an interview in at lunch or budget a doctor appointment's worth of time for such an important meeting. Your goal is to get to the next interview and each successive interview is part of a multi-step process which will take more and more time as you get closer to a job offer.

As you sit through additional interviews, you are exposed to the true decision makers. Although employment representatives are the first filters you pass through, rarely will their opinions influence the final hiring decision. Your goal is to get past them as soon as possible and begin impressing the decision maker: the department head seeking to fill the job. You cannot ignore any interviewer or take a condescending view or once again you'll be on the reject letter list. The vice president of human resources or personnel director is the other primary target to impress, but you won't be given the opportunity to do that unless you impress subordinates first.

Speaking to a variety of interviewers will allow you to gain unique insight into the corporate culture you seek. Do your interviewers all sound and look alike? Are all the employees clones of each other? Do they talk about their company with pride and excitement? Do their offices show originality and creativity? These employees can provide a look at the behind the scenes activities and it is to your advantage to understand this as much as possible.

Unfortunately, all people feel they can interview effectively. Effective interviewing is an art and those few people who can do it benefit by making consistent hiring decisions. During the interview process for a single job, you will be exposed to a wide variety of interviewing techniques. Some interviewers love the sound of their own voices and ramble to prove a point, while some will use silence as a tool to elicit a more complete response to questions. You aren't responsible for keeping the entire conversation going, but you are responsible for answering the questions and behaving yourself. Also, the perception of your interviewers can be based on subtle and seemingly insignificant observations. If you take control of a plodding interview, you may be perceived as pushy and not a team player, while in an entrepreneurial environment, this approach may be considered refreshing. When in doubt, don't take the chance.

The actual interview has a reasonably consistent format. After brief introductions, the interviewer will provide some details about the job and its responsibilities as well as information about the type of candidate the company is seeking. Pay attention! This is similar to the teacher telling you the answers before administering the test so let the interviewer talk as long as they want to talk. Your subtle nods of understanding may provide you with far more information than other applicants but make sure you do get ample time to talk as well.

Many times the interviewer takes notes but don't be concerned as this allows a better opportunity to evaluate your answers later. Interviewers should guide the interview in a non-aggressive fashion allowing you adequate time to answer questions and providing you with an opportunity to ask questions as well. The questions should be open ended, but this only helps keep the interview focused on you and your abilities and qualifications. For every routine question, you must provide an intelligent and appropriate answer which best reflects your abilities. Prepare for any question imaginable and especially prepare yourself for the sneaky ones designed to elicit your views on God, country, family and host of inappropriate and downright illegal subjects. You should be aware that any inquiries not specifically job-related are suspect but most people will answer the question "How old are you?" without hesitation because they fear elimination as a candidate. Consider what these questions tell you about an organization. As the interview process takes you beyond the personnel department, be prepared for questions which stray even further afield. But the closer you get to those who do the job, the more opportunity you will have to discuss the specific job and its challenges. Department heads are rarely reviewed on their interview techniques so the questions can range from insightful to insane but unfortunately, you have to continue to answer them until the interview is over. It can be extremely difficult to effectively answer an intelligent question, but it's a real bitch to effectively answer a stupid question.

Rare is the company which effectively trains department heads and supervisors in the art of interviewing. No matter what type of questions are asked, your challenge is to impress the company. Fear not, there will be ample time later for the company to impress you.

Brutal Truth #6 After the Interview

The interview only begins the employment process. After you leave the interview, you are finished until they call you back. If you want to send a thank you note or card, that's fine, but don't expect a response to it. And, be prepared for no response at all. Above all, if you choose to send a note, keep it businesslike and don't think a quick email has the same impact. Consider this: Instead of sending a thank you note, why not send a brief letter further outlining your skills. Perhaps you will want to amplify an area of skill touched upon during the interview but not discussed to your satisfaction. Letter or not, the company will call when good and ready and if you still want to call, wait a month.

Although it seems a natural progression to fill the job after finding the perfect candidate, this does not always happen. All kinds of obstacles occur in the form of travel schedules, budget constraints and political maneuvering. Don't take these delays personally, but learn to cope with them patiently. Funnel all your nervous energy into finding other opportunities to work on and don't put all your eggs in one basket by discontinuing your search because you really want a particular job. Any number of things can go wrong even if you have every confidence that the job is yours so make your decision on jobs offered not on jobs that you desperately want. Wanting a job has nothing to do with your chances of getting it and all your energies should be spent proving why you are a good candidate instead of how happy you would be if you got the job.

Smart companies will get back to you as soon as they can, but your follow-up phone calls will not speed up the employment process and you run the risk of irritating a number of people in the office. And don't overlook the personnel clerks or receptionists as they act as effective gatekeepers and enjoy the power they wield keeping uninvited guests away from their bosses. If you think "she's just a secretary," keep the thought to yourself because these employees can ruin any chances you have with the company by losing or throwing away your resume and application, not forwarding or taking phone messages or basically treating you as you treated them. Don't pander, but treat these employees with respect and courtesy and you will have a fair shot at getting your application to the right people. If you call and it seems hectic, call back at a more opportune time. If you have something to say, say it. Once you have done what you have to do, shut up and wait for your appointment and take the time to collect your thoughts for the interview. Personnel offices are extremely busy places so show respect and stay out of the way.

Brutal Truth #7 Learn from your Failures

If you do not get the job, remember that something good comes out of each interview, although at times it can be difficult to see. You will rarely get legitimate feedback from your interviewers and requests to get feedback will be politely evaded by the personnel department. The release of information has become so full of legalities, it is rare to get a straight answer out of anyone, so don't push; try to figure out the reasons yourself.

Why did your interview fail? Did you make insulting remarks about an employer? This is an automatic red flag as you will be perceived as a discontented employee. Focus on the positive attractions of the new company while speaking in qualified terms regarding your current employer. Were you really qualified for the job? Take a look at the requirements and try to figure out what position is being advertised and what qualifications are being sought. If you didn't have the required experience but were reasonably close, you were right to send a resume. If you were vastly over or under qualified, you wasted their time.

Were you provided with a poor reference? Reference checking is becoming so limited that companies are using any method possible to check you out. If the reference likes you, great; and if the reference dislikes you, you're history. Methods companies use include circumventing the personnel office and contacting your co-workers directly or asking their employees who may have worked with you at a previous job to comment on a wide variety of subjects including your absenteeism and tardiness rates, your work ethic, your drinking habits and anything else that pops into their minds. No one wants to disrupt your current situation but they will if they believe it is worth it so be careful when it comes to giving references. Also, networking within personnel circles is quite common and best of all, it allows for no documentation or potential legal hassles. It is not unheard of for a copy of your resume and cover letter to arrive on your current personnel director's desk after the company at which you've applying received it. Information is exchanged all the time in the personnel business and many of the telephone calls personnel people get during the day are surprisingly frank requests for information. Finally, even though you might not have said a word to anyone about your job search, every time you send out a resume or schedule an interview, you run the risk of being discovered in your own company especially if you have applied to competitors.

Although you may request feedback from your interview, you will be lucky to get it. If you are fortunate to receive an honest appraisal of your interview, do whatever it takes to solve these concerns, even if you don't believe they exist. Their perceptions may be wrong and you could very easily be right, but they have the job to offer and you don't.

Brutal Truth #8 Work Smarter and Harder

There is no easy way to get a great job except through hard work and perseverance. A little luck doesn't hurt, but you must be qualified for the job, have great references and bring recognized talents to the organization that aren't currently available. The days of sliding by doing mediocre work are over and these days, every job is scrutinized and its validity is constantly assessed. If you dodge one budget cut, you're still not safe as all the non-essential services and people within organizations are continually being exposed, challenged and eliminated at an incredible pace. Don't assume the budget cutters won't find you, because they will, and your contribution to your company's success will constantly be challenged and regularly assessed. Do as much as possible to eliminate your risk of termination by working harder and smarter and making yourself valuable in everyone's minds.

The solution, at least in the short term, is to work as hard as possible in your current job while you look for another one. The moment you are unemployed, your value is reduced considerably, so stay employed and use that leverage in any decision of employment you make. Once people make the initial decision to leave a company, their outlook and attitude often change for the worse. They begin to bring home their personal items, office supplies and anything not nailed down and send a lot of clear messages that they are short term employees. You cannot tip your hand or get any indication to anyone that you are in an employment search. Although you may be in the middle of an intensive job search, tell no one even remotely connected to your company about it. If you want to talk to someone about it, tell your dog. But the moment you tell anyone at work, consider it public knowledge by lunchtime. You can maintain a passive job search via the web but don't rely on automatic notifications to do the work for you: keep checking websites and talking to people to always have the pipeline filled.

Your ability to cope with a maddening job search cannot be over emphasized at this time. If the search stretches over months, it is easy to blame the system and all the pinhead Human Resource officers you have met for their inability to recognize greatness. Although they are easy targets, don't blame anyone but yourself for your lack of success. If you get the world's best job on the first try, that's great. But always plan for any contingency and be prepared to invest significant amounts of time into your job search and pursue any job you have identified with a substantial amount of time and effort.

Brutal Truth #9 Don't Make A Decision Until You Have To

The employment process can last for a few days or a few years but eventually you will achieve your goal: generating choices regarding accepting or rejecting job offers. Although your goal is new or better employment, you must eliminate all emotion in your decision and assess only the facts. Smart decisions are based on facts and as more facts about the job or company become available, review them and look at their value. Avoid making a decision until you have enough facts and avoid any time constraint that may restrict you from gathering all the facts available. If anyone rushes you to make a decision in a short amount of time, assume the purpose is to conceal something and if possible, you should withdraw from the decision. The more information you gather, the better your decision so take your time and evaluate the facts on their own merits and then make a sensible choice.

If you have been an effective employee, it is possible that your company will listen to the concerns you have and will try to resolve them before your depart. The leverage of a new job is considerable but you have to be willing to follow with your original threat of leaving if the things you want changed cannot be accommodated. If you decide to stay with your present employer, be careful. Once anyone attempts to leave a company and is brought back, it usually doesn't work for the long term. You may be viewed as a traitor of sorts by the employees, even if you are assured behind closed doors that your departure and subsequent decision to remain will be held in confidence, it won't be for long. If you want to stay, stay. If you want to go, go. But, things usually don't improve too much despite promises. If unemployed, it will be very difficult not to jump on a job offer even if you don't want the job. Desperation may force you into taking a job just to pay the bills so don't anguish over the decision at make the best of it. If you can wait for something better then pass on it but be careful and remember that eventually, almost any job is better than no job at all.

The decision you make will obviously effect your future in many ways, so the reasoning to seek a certain job must be based on logic and clear thinking. Don't let emotion be the reason for any major decision. If you are looking for a new job because your boss is a jerk, there is no guarantee that your next one is going to be wonderful. If you are looking for a job because you aren't appreciated, you have to remember that respect and admiration are earned not inherited. And, if you are looking for a job because you are bored and want something new, make sure you don't confuse the novelty of a new job with long term job happiness. You must be honest with yourself and focus on your ability to begin the search, if necessary, to prepare for interviews and to decide on any job offer based on its own merit. Thinking with facts will help to assure decisions you can live with long term.

Many people fall into the trap of personalizing their situation and allow their emotions to dictate their frame of mind. All intelligent decisions are based strictly on quantifiable information and an individual's personal feelings rarely have anything to do with the process. You must make every effort to separate your personal feelings from your professional frame of mind. Individuals basing their decisions on personal feelings usually aren't around too long due to their remarkable lack of success. Your job search must be run the same way; do what makes you happy but that happiness must be able to be justified as well. You will be hired for a new job because they like your abilities more than your personality. If you have a nice personality, you will an even more attractive candidate but you won't just get the job on your winning smile and pleasant demeanor. Think with facts and always remember, business is business.

Brutal Truth #10 Trust Yourself

The entire job search can be an exasperating exercise. It likely will take longer than originally thought and your self-worth takes a beating with anxieties growing each passing week. The one constant factor through the process must be the trust that you have in yourself. It is still your responsibility to find a job and even when you aren't successful in an interview, you must be confident that your talents will be eventually recognized and your search rewarded. If you lack confidence in your own talents, how can you expect someone else to be excited about your candidacy?

Don't get cocky, but maintain your self-esteem and view rejection letters and refusals as part of the process. This doesn't imply that the best course of action is to sit quietly at home confident in the knowledge that you are valuable and that your wonderful patience will be your saving grace. Trusting yourself is only effective when used with other job-seeking strategies. If you can continually present yourself in the most positive and professional manner possible, you will improve your chances of landing the job you desire.

As the job search continues, make a conscious effort to maintain and improve your physical being as well. Eat right, exercise and get enough sleep. These efforts will go a long way to aid both your appearance and self-image. Take the extra time you may have to do constructive things for yourself; take a walk, read a book or do volunteer work, but don't turn into a couch potato waiting for the telephone to ring. Remember, each day your first job is to find a job and it must remain your top priority. There will be days of frustration and days of long-awaited success but by maintaining an even disposition, you will be able to endure the demands of the job search much easier.

You are a talented candidate but you cannot allow the failure to get a job within your original timetable to cause any personal damage. There are many factors in this world over which you have no control, but focus your energies in areas where you can: hard work, committment, ethical and honest work relationships, a desire to learn and the establishment of personal goals. Self-respect remains one of the only things you alone control completely, so consider it a precious and important aspect of your personality. Remember, first and last, trust yourself.

Summary: After you are Employed

Congratulations! Now it's your responsibility to make this new job succeed whether it's the greatest job in the world or short term relief to your current job search. Making it work means dedicating yourself to the job's responsibilities with a minimum of delay, demonstrating committment and proficiency in the tasks required and making yourself valuable in the shortest time possible.

It's ironic that when your interview skills are at their best, you get a job and put your new found skills away until the next employment crisis or opportunity occurs. It may be years before you find yourself needing a new job, but it is vital that you continually apply the concepts presented in this guide to your new position as well as all positions in the future. If you continually make realistic assessments of your performance and job skills, you can direct your future more effectively. If you take action before your company questions your value, you can minimize any negative changes in your job status by having a plan ready to go.

When business suffers, companies react by looking at all the ways they can save money. Cutting payroll is the quickest method to conserve expenses, although from your point of view it doesn't make sense to eliminate jobs to save money, don't let logic get in your way this time. Bad business scares people and things are done for the sake of survival that may mean the loss of your job. The people making the decisions feel it could be worse...they could be losing their jobs as well. If you are lacking a specific skill, make every effort to gain proficiency as soon as possible. Community colleges, for example, offer a wide variety of courses which will allow you to gain a significant amount of information in your field of interest. Also, if you lack a four-year college degree, get one as soon as possible. It's worthwhile to review your company's benefit package as it is likely that tuition reimbursement is available. Any continuing education will make you more attractive to retain and, if you do get the axe for any reason, you will be more attractive to hire.

The next ten years of employment prospects look tough because of the erratic nature of the marketplace and the swiftness of change required by many industries. Even though change and volatility will remain a major part of the employment picture, you can be secure in the knowledge that, given your talent and perseverance, you will win.

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