Editor’s note: Pete Leibman book, I Got My Dream Job and So Can You was reviewed on March 14. He kindly agreed to spend a few minutes with me to answer some questions about the book.
- What is the biggest difference for job seeking graduates before the Great Recession (2008) and now in 2012? I had clients who are recent grads having to take things completely in their own hands.In a down economy, it becomes even more important for job-seekers to be proactive with their job search and with networking. On the bright side, the world is more well-connected now than it has ever been before. Facebook has over 800 million users and LinkedIn has over 130 million members (as of early 2012). These platforms, along with others, provide networking opportunities that have never been available to job-seekers. This is good news!
- We know that college career centers can make a small difference in a graduate’s job search but many times not enough. What ways can a graduate optimize the use of his or her career center?The Career Center can provide a lot of value for students and young alumni by helping you get clear on what you want from your career and by helping you get connected to alumni working in fields of interest. The Career Center can also help you develop a strategy for your entire job search so that you can get hired faster.
- You provide a very useful tool in the book for job seekers to intrinsically evaluate their skills and talents. How essential is that to the job search, and will it provide them a better view of their accomplishments and visualize his or her dream job? Employers hire people for one reason: to solve problems and deliver results. Your goal (before the interview and during the interview) is to convince the employer that you have the skills and traits needed to deliver the desired results in the position. Once you get clear on what the employer is looking for (which you can usually gather through employer research and by studying the job description meticulously), your next step is to prepare your “evidence” for why the employer should hire you. You should be prepared to discuss prior achievements and stories from your past that demonstrate how you have each skill and trait needed for success in the position.
- You clearly state in your book that negotiating salary starts at the initial contact of the employer. Could you give an example of how new graduates mistakenly leave money on the table?The biggest mistake you can make in salary negotiation is to think that negotiation begins after you receive an offer. Negotiation begins the moment you come in contact with anyone who can hire you. You can also leave money on the table by throwing out a number first or by discussing salary before demonstrating your value to the employer. One of my favorite sales/negotiation quotes is from one of the world’s leading sales experts, Ray Leone who said “never quote a price to an unsold buyer.” In other words, make sure the employer wants you before you talk salary.
- I am working with clients who are now setting up blogs to help them brand themselves. In your experience, What are the best components to include on a blog for job search purposes to yield noticeable results? Tips for blogging: Keep it professional and positive, write about a topic connected to your field of interest, and make sure it’s well-written. A poorly written or unprofessional blog will actually work against you. You can also use a blog as an “excuse” to reach out to leaders in your field to interview them. This can be a great way to start a dialogue with someone who otherwise might not be receptive to you contacting them. Everyone loves to be interviewed!
- What research methods do you wish new graduate job seekers would use more carefully, frequently, or both?Most job-seekers spend too much time on job boards, while underutilizing online tools that can help them get a better job faster. For example, there are a variety of ways to use LinkedIn to get connected with people working in fields of interest. You can conduct searches on LinkedIn to find alumni working in your field of choice, you can use LinkedIn to search for relevant individuals connected to people you already know, and you can also join groups on LinkedIn where you can get “insider information” on certain fields and where you can communicate directly with people in fields of interest all over the world. A terrific, little-known resource for job-seekers is Jigsaw.com, which is a database of downloadable contact information on professionals and businesses worldwide. This web site can be a great tool to use for employer research and for tracking down contact information for people who are otherwise hard to access.