We have all been there. Looking for an new job while we already have one and worrying if our current employer will find out. Several states in the U.S. have different employment laws that allow employers to fire at will. Therefore, protecting yourself from giving your current employer a reason to let you go early is very important. One of those reasons might be if you are seeking employment with another company and your boss catches wind of this. There are several ways this can happen and I will touch up on the two most common ones below.
1) Using Online Job Boards: While searching for jobs online, you might come across a job board that posts advertisements for available openings. These postings allow a job seeker to apply directly to the listing from a PC or laptop computer. If you are doing this at work, more than likely you are being watched or your computer activity is being monitored. NEVER look for a new job while you are at work if you are concerned about continuing to get paychecks until that time comes. You might be surprised when your boss calls you to the office and asks why you have been using the computer equipment to search for a new job when you should have been working.
2) Posting Your Resume Online: This is one of the easiest ways to expose yourself and eliminate the possibility of a confidential job search. You are searching for a job online and decide to upload your resume to a website that promises to match you with employers in your area. This can go wrong one of two ways.
- The website is a scam and takes your personal contact information to use for illegal purposes such as identity theft.
- Your current employer utilizes the website to “search resumes” in their database and stumbles across yours.
Both of these are something you don’t want to happen if you are trying to keep your new job search a secret. Sometimes utilizing the help of a confidential resume service can give you the protection you need since they will make sure your information is kept secure from public misuse. Also, this may be very beneficial if you are in a government role and need to protect highly sensitive or classified information from being posted online.
Check with your local state laws and your company’s policies before attempting any job search and without knowing your rights. There are ways to keep your information confidential and achieve a successful transition without being terminated early.
You submitted a resume to a potential employer and finally got a response. They called you in for an interview next Monday. You are excited and over-joyed after 14 months of rejection and disappointment. Finally you know this is the one and can’t wait to get started. Then reality sets in…you have not been on an interview in over 7 years since the loss of your last job, not to mention the past year has been spent sending out resumes instead of being in a workplace environment. This makes you feel out of practice and immediately your mood shifts from ecstatic to anxious. You feel the stress and fear coming down upon you like a heavy snow – cold and uncomfortable. Panic mode sets in and you know you must prepare for the coming week ahead. Your first impression is everything, so now that the resume has done it’s job, it is time for you to do yours and sell yourself to the interviewer.
The above situation is exactly what most job seekers who have been out of the workforce for any extended amount of time go through once they are tossed back into searching for something new. This fear and anxiety can lead to a number of circumstances during an interview which may interfere with the ability to make a strong enough impression to make it to the next stage. Below I will describe a few of the top “interview killers” and how to avoid them.
1. Overdressing: Dress appropriately for an interview. Do not wear a $1000 suite and tie to an interview at a restaurant or retail store. Do not wear khakis and a button-up to an interview for a bank executive job. Catch my drift? Hiring managers can sense anxiety or just plain ignorance by the way one dresses for an interview. Know your industry and dress exactly how you would for a day at work.
2. Nervous Habits: Ditch the nervous habits during an interview - chewing gum, shaking your foot, biting nails, playing with a pen, flipping through documents, or even referring to your resume for answers. All of these are signs that you are nervous and potentially might have something to hide. Referring to your resume for answers is a clear indication that you want the attention drawn away from you and to a piece of paper because your arm pits are sweating. Do you get what I’m saying here? Don’t be nervous. It accomplishes nothing and leads to failure. Learn how to control your habits during a stressful situation and just be yourself.
3. Ask Questions: Here is the biggest interview killer. Many interviewees don’t ask questions or don’t ask the right ones. Asking the person who is interviewing you intelligent questions about the job shows them that you are extremely interested and motivated in what they have to offer. This subliminally lets them know that you really care about getting the job and you will perform above their expectations. However, be careful about what type of questions you ask. Find out things like, what are the long-term benefits (this shows you are in it for the long-haul and employers hate turnover), what do you expect from me as an employee (this lets them know you are concerned about their expectations and that you are willing to meet them), and where is the bathroom (do this with a smile as a joke)? Humor always helps. Avoid questions like (or save for last), what is the pay, is the boss nice, or are there any hot girls/guys that work here, etc? These questions only show them that you have a personal interest only in what you have to gain and not what the company can gain from hiring you. Bad idea!
If you stick to these three things, you should be OK during an interview unless you just have no idea how to be human. Good luck!
By Justin Olsen
Throughout my career I have noticed that many job seekers do not realize the significant impact their resume has on their job search. Often times they will submit a very generic document with little or no formatting, poor grammar, and incorrect dates/information. These mistakes can have many serious affects on a hiring manager’s decision on whether or not to hire you. This can also reduce the amount of “hits” you receive online when posting the resume to online job boards.
Some tips you might want to jot down are, keep your resume concise and straight to the point.
- Avoid too many “action” verbs and over-exaggerated descriptions of jobs. Employers know that you do not “dynamically answer the phone.” It is very important also to have a clean and professional format.
- Avoid templates and try to find an expert writer who can draw out your key strengths and accomplishments without making you sound like you do back flips in the office!
With these simple concepts in mind, you should be able to arm yourself with a powerful resume that is sure to get better results and jump-start your career.
By Justin Olsen