Searching Out of State

It is hard enough to find a job within the city where you live. Try finding a job in a different state. Where do you begin your search? How can you come in for an interview if you live over 500 miles away? Let me help you out a bit.

Your first step is to ask for a job transfer. This is the easiest way to secure a job in another state if your company has offices throughout the United States. Talk to someone in Human Resources about your options and see what they can recommend. If your company is exclusive to your current hometown, see if Human Resources can still help you set up interviews at similar companies in your new state.

If you can’t transfer then the next step is to look online for job postings. Go to job boards to look within you new city and post your resume online. Contact employers over the Internet and explain that you are relocating and would like the chance to discuss opportunities. Using the Internet is the fastest and most productive way to job search out of state.

Finally remember to talk to friends, family, and co-workers about your job search. Word of mouth is the best way to hear about positions and companies you have never heard of before and would have never considered.

If you are able to utilize one of these tactics to land an interview make sure you don’t have any scheduling conflicts. Interviewing out of state takes some consideration into what you are missing at your current job back home and how many trips you have to make for interviews. Be efficient and try to schedule numerous interviews in one trip. This way it is cost effective and saves time spent on traveling. If a hiring manager invites you back for a second interview tell him or her that you are only in town for a few days and it would be helpful to schedule the next interview while you are still in the area. Finding a new job out of state can be easy if you network and make the most of your time, energy and money that is put into job searching and interviewing.

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Musical Chairs

When preparing for an interview; you practice what you’re going to say, you carefully choose a sharp outfit – but the real question is where are you going to sit?

Believe it or not, there’s a psychology some HR people use when seating you for an interview. It’s simple really. All they do is find some way to place them in a seat of power over you. To tell you the truth, I don’t know why they do it. I don’t know if by doing this they get some keen insight into the inner workings of your work ethic. Part of me thinks they do it because of tradition. Another part of me thinks they do it because it’s fun. Whatever the case may be, it’s something you have to look out for when choosing your seat for an interview.

The most common arrangement you’ll run into is the big desk. The person interviewing you sits behind a big desk and offers you the small, uncomfortable chair on the other side. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a choice of two, but sometimes you’re limited to just one. In either case, you have to concede this layout to the interviewer. If given the choice of two chairs, choose the one that will provide the most comfortable viewing angle for the person interviewing. Sure, they get the upper hand, but you also don’t want to give them a stiff neck.

On some occasions, especially if it’s a larger office, the interviewer may lead you over to a lounge area with a couch and some chairs. Your impulse is to take the couch. It’s more comfortable and you think you’ll seem more relaxed during the interview. You’d be wrong. Couches promote slouching. Your eye level will be lower, your posture will be loose and you’ll generally seem less positive because of it. Always choose the chairs. They promote better posture and you’ll project much better because of it.

Other instances may see the interviewer leading you to a table. This can be in a conference room, which means a long table, or a smaller table the office typically uses for impromptu meetings with a small group. The temptation here is to sit across from the interviewer. This actually creates negative space between you, almost setting you up as combatants as opposed to willing participants in an exchange of ideas. You’ll want to sit next to the interviewer, but keep a comfortable distance to achieve this effect.

It’s difficult to not think of an interview as some sort of combat, especially in the business world where executives read The Art of War slavishly. But, you need to try and imagine that the interviewer isn’t your enemy but rather a collaborator. You’re going to share ideas and both decide if this career move is the best for you and the company.

Mom’s Return to the Workforce

 

When I was a young girl I had the privilege of having a mother whose main priority and responsibility was, well, me. She dropped me off and picked me up everyday (as well as some of the neighborhood stragglers who missed the bus). I often scoffed at my classmates who brown bagged it; my lunch was constantly a gourmet feast, packed neatly into a fashionable lunch box with a matching thermos that almost always had steamy tomato soup inside. My science projects tended to shine more than others…mostly due to my mother’s contributions. And, of course all of my papers and presentations were neatly bound and laminated. Every week night, regardless of after school activities, we would all sit down for a family dinner prepared by – you guessed it – mom.  

But then I turned thirteen and high school was quickly approaching. My life was about to change – drastically. My mother was becoming increasingly bored and right about the time I was planning my courses for high school she was planning on going back to work.  

At first I was shocked. I knew I was at the point where I was too cool for the parent drop-off, but those lunches? And who would make dinner every night? (Food, obviously, is high on my list of priorities.) It never occurred to me how stifling it was for her to stay home all day.  

Going back to work after an extended sabbatical can be tough on anyone. For stay at home moms the process can be extremely daunting and exhausting. First things first: get on the same page as your family. Talk to your spouse and allow him to voice his concerns about your return to the workforce. Is he available to run some of the mom-type errands if you need to stay late at work? Are his barbeque skills up to par in the event you can’t have dinner ready? Next talk to your kids and tell them how it will affect them. If they are still young it is important to let them know your schedule and how frequently you will be around when they get home from school.  

Now it is time to address that pesky employment gap in your résumé. Luckily you aren’t required to organize your résumé in a time line. Rather, organize it by the types of positions you’ve held in the past. But if, and when, the gap is addressed don’t get defensive about the time you’ve spent at home. Instead try and emphasize what types of activities you were engaged with outside of your home. Were you active in the PTA or your home owner’s association? What about time you spent coaching your daughter’s softball team? These are contributions to the community and will never weigh against you when interviewing.  

The most important thing to remember when returning to your chosen field is that you weren’t unemployed in the first place – you were raising a family and shaping lives. Your new employer isn’t doing you a favor by offering you a job. You have all the necessary skills to be a contributing asset to your new company. You might just have to dust them off a little.

Highlighting Your Work Experience

Chances are, every job you’ve had over the years hasn’t fit into a neat and perfectly descriptive slot. You might’ve held a job for positions like “Keyholder” or “Key Holder.” These are very different positions, but how will anyone who’s never held that exact job know the difference? Sometimes a resume just doesn’t have enough space. Sometimes certain things could be taken out of context.

I’ve held both positions during my working years. When I was a Keyholder, I worked at a bookstore in the mall. This position was one step below an assistant manager. Basically, I was an assistant manager who didn’t work 40 hours a week (because of school). A friend suggested I write “Shift Lead” on my resume instead to explain what the heck I did there. Even that doesn’t cover everything, though, and you can’t write an essay about each place you’ve worked. No one will read that!

Someone who’s been (or may have known) a Keyholder might assume that a Key Holder is the same thing. It’s totally not. A Key Holder is the position at a large home improvement store that refers to the person in charge of the key making service they offer. I didn’t oversee any other employees. I didn’t actually have my own set of keys to the store. What I did do, though, was a huge array of various duties in addition to making keys. People don’t line up in front of the key counter at all hours of the day and night. There’s downtime. Lots of it. So I would help out in any section that needed me for the sake of keeping myself sane. Can I list every little thing I did on my resume? No. That’s not what it’s for.

This is where you come in. As the only person in the interview room who was actually at all of these workplaces, doing these varied jobs and duties, it’s up to you to convey their importance and relevance to your prospective employer. You shouldn’t act as if your résumé is the end all, be all of who you are as an employee. There’s a lot more story to tell than the few little blurbs under each job heading on that one sheet of paper.

Think of your résumé as the outline you’d use to write a history paper in high school. Your outline just has bullet points for you to expand on in your paper. Your résumé serves the exact same purpose. The hiring manager you’re interviewing with has seen the résumé, and now it’s time for you to flesh it out, to give it life and description. Paint them a picture of who you are as an employee. Review your résumé and have notes in front of you with things you’d like to make sure they know more about from it.

For example, your résumé might say something like, “Assisted with departmental development statistics.”

That phrase doesn’t mean much to people who did not work with you, though it looks good on your résumé, it could still use some explanation.

Be sure to emphasize the specific parts of your old jobs that will help you do this one (creative tasks if your new position will deal with creating things, organizational tasks if the new job will include being in charge of others, etc.).

This is a simple step that can really make you a memorable candidate who knows what his strengths, and therefore his limitations, are in the workplace.

Research and colored note cards

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The first research paper I ever did was on the history of cloves, which is a bit strange because I was a second grader at the time. While other kids were looking for information on kangaroos or the history of chocolate, I was reading about the history of spices. This may all seem a bit odd, but I don’t pretend to have lived a normal childhood.

My interest in research started back then. I enjoyed the colored note cards—pastel pinks, yellows, blues, greens—that represented different subject matters my paper would later highlight. I loved the old books with faded covers and black and white pictures of people who lived across the world. In short, I loved the very art of collecting information about a particular subject.

But not everyone has a positive view of research, in fact, probably very few people do; colored note cards just don’t do it for everyone. But research is something no hopeful applicant should ignore, because a well-researched applicant is an attractive applicant. Imagine you have an upcoming interview. Before going to the interview, you decide to spend a couple hours researching the prospective company. Such research leads to preparedness, confidence, and several other qualities that appeal to a potential employer.

Researching is also incredibly easy to do given the huge network of information available via the Internet. I recommend checking out a company’s main website and also any related company or industry blogs. After reading up on the different sites, it’s a good idea to prepare some questions for your potential employer ahead of time. But you should also be ready to modify those questions according to the natural course of the interview.

Research will always pay off for the serious job seeker and it’s a relatively simple process thanks to the Internet—one that won’t consume nearly as much time as the whole colored note card system.

The Perfect Career For Your Personality

Choosing a career path is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, but how do you decide what is right for you? You may take a career path that uses the skills you have or the education you’ve gotten. You may even choose a career based on what you think you should do — because of what your parents or teachers have told you is right for you.

But you may not know that you are naturally more suited for some careers than for others. Why? Each of us has an individual personality type that affects how much we’ll like a job.

Think, for instance, about a carpenter versus a counselor. A carpenter works with concrete objects, according to specified procedures, and has a tangible result. A counselor works with people and their feelings; she has to judge success and the results of her work based on abstract concepts. Which of these sounds more appealing to you? Do you have a strong preference for one or the other?

Now, imagine if you had to make your less-preferred choice your career, and you will get an idea of the impact that your personality has on your job satisfaction. There is quite a bit of variation in how people think and process information, what they see as important, and how they make decisions. All of this variation can affect how happy or unhappy someone is in a work environment. Each one of us has different criteria for what a great job is, and to find your own perfect career, it is crucial to identify what is important to you.

The first step is to figure out your personality type. The most common personality test used for career counseling is called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This personality test measures four facets of personality:

Extroverted/Introverted. Do you get your energy from being with people, or being alone?
Sensing/Intuition. Do you see what’s actual, or what’s possible?
Thinking/Feeling. Do you make decisions with your head or your heart?
Judging/Perceiving. Do you like to make decisions, or keep your options open?

There are many ways to find out what your personality type is. Some people prefer to read about the types and choose what seems to fit best. There are also free quizzes on the internet based on the principles of the Myers-Briggs that can give you an idea of where you may fit.

However, if you are serious about finding out what type you are, the most reliable and accurate method is to take the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This is a scientifically validated instrument that will identify where you fall in each of the categories. This assessment can only be administered by someone trained in its application, and must include a consultation with a trained coach or consultant according to its licensing guidelines. You can take the personality tests through a career counselor in your area, or online. If you take it online, you will typically get the results the same day, and you can usually request a special report that will go into detail about what is important to look for in a career.

Once you have figured out your personality type, you will want to look at the careers you are considering and evaluate whether they fit what’s important to you. Some questions to ask yourself:

*How much time will I spend interacting with people? Will it be too much/too little?
*To what extent will I be expected to follow standard procedures? Will I feel restricted by too much structure? Will I feel frustrated by too little?
*Will this job require me to use logic and reason things out? Will it require me to use compassion and consider how decisions will make people feel? Am I comfortable with the extent to which I will have to act based on thinking or feeling?
*How much latitude will this job give me to make my own schedule? Is it too little? Too much?

It’s important to be realistic about what a job entails, and to ask as many
questions as possible about prospective jobs so that you can evaluate how well they’ll fit you. As you learn more about yourself, you will become more able to judge which jobs will bring you satisfaction.

By: Molly Owens