8 Resources to Help Find the Right Company for Your Next Job

businessIt’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”  – Warren Buffett

There is a reason hotels charge more for the beach view than the inside building view. It’s all relative, the other guy’s view always seems to be better (you know, the grass is always greener on the other side of the street). Jobs are much the same. You could be fat and happy, enjoying your job and then you get a call from a recruiter who happens to have the most amazing job. More money, more responsibility, better company, great career opportunities, and so on. And, everything the recruiter says may be exactly right (or not). Whatever your reason for looking for a job, if you are already employed and looking to make a move you need to be even more careful that you are making the right move. While most people do research on a company before they make a move, they don’t always do the right research.

Basic Research: First you need to do the basic research on any company you are considering as your next employer.

  • Vault.com Company Research -  Vault.com offers company and employer research on their site.  You can search by name, industry, state, country, number of employees, rankings, etc. (or any combination). There is basic information on each company on their list as well as the company’s website (which will have additional information). There is company search on the right hand side of the page and tons of information. While you are there, take a look at the other job related information.
  • Wetfeet.com – This site is about much more than just company research (more on that later). But, it is a great place to start your research. Click the link at the top of the page for Employers and type in the name of the company on the right hand side of the page. Once you’ve done this, you will get lots of good information on your research companies. Now, back to the other stuff on this site. You can also get great advice on Job Interviews, Resume tips, Job Search and more.

What do Employees Say?

  • Jobitorial.com -   “Anonymous employee job reviews for thousands of companies” is the tag line for this website. This site  has reviews (by employees) of companies, leading with the most popular companies. This section is followed by an alphabetical listing of companies with reviews. The top right hand side of the page has a link to rate your company or to search for companies based on the first letter of their name (although they are not currently accepting new reviews).
  • Glassdoor.com – This site also provides employee reviews and in depth information on companies. Once you are on a company page, you will see individual reviews as well as an overview. There are tabs at the top of the company pages for Reviews, Salaries, Interviews, Photos and Jobs. The reviews page shows an overall rating, listing of reviews and an overview on the right hand side of the page. Take a look at their Jobs links while you are there.

Other Research Sites: There are quite a few company research sites; some are listed below:

Good luck in your search.

Joey Trebif


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The Top 5 Things You Must Remember for Your Interview

UnknownThe other day I was asked to interview someone at the last minute because the hiring manager was called into a meeting. It takes a lot of time and effort to land an interview and the last thing you want to do is to blow it. Well, that’s exactly what this guy did. He was a really nice guy, but he just seemed to make one blunder after another. So many, in fact, that he was the inspiration for today’s post.

We all know the basics – make a great first impression, make sure the hiring manager knows that you have what it takes to do the job and do your research on the company and the interviewers. Let’s face it, we all make mistakes and sometimes things don’t go as planned. But today’s post is not about the human errors we sometimes make, it’s about being prepared. So rather than focus on all of the things this guy did wrong (that is a topic for another post), I thought I would focus on the top things you should remember when preparing for your interview. So what do you need to remember to help ensure you are at your best? Read on.

 

1. Don’t be late:

I am a fanatic about getting to interviews on time. I make sure I know where I’m going and how long it should take to get there. If I have time, I do a trial run to the location.  Once I know how long it should take me to get there, I add 30 minutes on so that I’m there early.  There is always the unexpected traffic jam or maybe mass transportation is late.  In most buildings these days, you have to sign in to security and that could take awhile if there is a line. No matter how early I am, I don’t let anyone know I’m there until 5-10 minutes before the interview. Getting there too early can be disruptive as well.

2. Research the company and the interviewer(s):

Whether or not your interview is at a company that was on your list, you should know everything you can about the company. What they do, how many employees they have why it would (or wouldn’t) be a good fit for you.  LinkedIn is a great tool for this, but you can also look at sites like Fortune.com and Forbes.com to get more information on the company. Don’t forget to look at the LinkedIn profile of the interviewer(s). Lastly, leverage LinkedIn to find people you know who work there (or used to work there) to get the inside scoop.

3. Read the Job Description:

Sounds pretty basic, but you’d be surprised how many people go into an interview without fully reading and understanding the job description. To the interviewer, not knowing the job description will look like you don’t care (or are not qualified).  Design your interview questions (and answers to questions) around the job description, focusing on why you are the right person for the job. Reference specific job description terminology and tie this to your relevant experience. Ensure your questions are not repetitive and do not cover material already discussed in the interview.

4. Communications:

Following on from #3 above, communications is a two way street and you need to leverage both your listening and speaking skills. But communications is not limited to the spoken word, non-verbal communications can be as or more important than verbal communications. Body language, facial expressions and shaking hands are all an important part of the process. Last, but not least, is eye contact. Look your interviewer(s) in the eyes, do not look away when answering questions. Be confident in our ability and conviction that you are the best candidate for the job.

5. Prepare Your Sales Pitch:

Let’s face it, an interview is a sales pitch. You are selling you and your ability as the best candidate for the job.  At some point in the interview, you are likely to have a question regarding your background. Use this time to deliver your pitch. As mentioned in #3 above, include accomplishments that compliment the job description. There needs to be a delicate balance between selling and over-sell. Practice your sales pitch with friends and family prior to your interview. Another good technique is to practice in the mirror. One last piece of advice, record your sales pitch and listen back. You are likely to hear things that you will want to adjust before your real performance (and yes, it is a performance). Take a look at Job Search Marketing Toolkit – Your Elevator Speech.

Above all, try to relax in your interview. This will show that you are confident you your abilities and experience.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,
Joey

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5 Job Search Tips for Prospective Graduates

Graduation girlA man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” – Theodore Roosevelt

As the job market continues to struggle, the need to remain competitive remains crucial for new and prospective graduates. Not only are you competing with each other, but you are also competing with professionals who may have years of experience and have recently been laid off or are looking for a change in career. Students should develop a proactive strategy for their job search to gain an advantage. Here are a few tips for prospective graduates looking to get the most out of their job search:

1. Start Early

Students expecting to graduate in May should start thinking about their job search and even applying for jobs now. Starting the job search will give students a good indication of what the market is doing and what companies may be hiring. It will also provide some insight into market trends — for instance, a particular area might have a lot of jobs while others don’t, or a big company that just announced a lot of layoffs could lead to a glut in the market. Starting the job search early will also allow students to start making contacts and developing relationships with company leaders.

2. Network

Networking is one of the most valuable tools in the job search, no matter how experienced you are. Many professionals find their next job because of someone they know. Students should start networking by talking with their professors (who can provide recommendations or refer students to professionals in their own networks) and other students (who will become future colleagues). Students should also take advantage of networking opportunities initiated during previous internships or through contacts made at job fairs. Any of these contacts could lead to a referral or job tip.

- more – Building your network

3. Utilize Your College Career Services Office

Almost every college or university has a Career Services Office, which is designed exclusively to help students with their job search. Members of this office can advise students on best interviewing practices and job search tips. They can scrutinize a resume or cover letter and offer suggestions to make it stand out from the rest. They can even provide referrals from their own networks. Career Services professionals offer a valuable resource that students won’t be able to access once they graduate.

4. Cast a Wide Net

When jobs are not as plentiful, every job seeker has to widen the focus to make more opportunities available. Students who are developing a job search strategy should cast a wide net by looking for jobs in different locations, looking for job postings in a variety of places (such as online job boards, forums, company Web sites, job fairs, and more), and looking for jobs in a variety of related fields (for example, jobs in marketing and public relations and advertising). The more options you make available to yourself, the greater your chances of getting that first job and starting to accumulate the experience you need to land the dream job you want.

5. Consider Other Options

Have a back-up plan. If you can’t find employment immediately upon graduation, there are a number of other things you can do to build professional experience to ensure you remain competitive. Some options include working as a temp, taking an unpaid internship, volunteering in a position or with a company related to your interests, and working abroad. Each of these options will provide you relevant experience and expand your networking base. The experiences you have and the people you meet could very well lead you to a full-time position at a company you love.

The key to any successful job search is preparation and perseverance. Prospective graduates can use these tips to get a jump start on their job search now to ensure the best opportunities for success. What other tips might you have for new graduates looking for their first professional job?

Bio:
Leah Landly is the community manager for BluWiki, an informational Wiki service and free web publishing platform. She covers many topics and answers popular topics.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,
Joey

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Employment Testing and What it Means to You

writingOne topic that is not covered too often has to do with Pre-employment testing. Many employers require some type of pre-employment testing or screening prior to hiring. There is a wide range of testing that may take place. The level and quantity of screening depends partially on State and Country regulations.

There are a few things you can do to make this a more productive process (these are covered in more detail later in the article):

  • Study – There are preparation tests you can take in advance if you would like to “study” and improve your chances of scoring well (these are covered below in “How to Prepare“).
  • Research – For many companies, their tests and methodologies are fairly well known. Do some research to see what you can find out about their testing. Also see if anyone in your network can help.
  • State of Mind – The power of positive thinking. Go in with a good attitude knowing that you will ace the tests.

Typical Pre-Employment Tests:

  • Personality Tests – These are assessment tests and a generally a key part of the employment selection process. These tests are popular in Europe and are becoming increasingly more popular in the US, they are used in many countries. “Passing” these tests are key to getting a job offer and are typically designed to
  • Drug Testing - Most mid to large employers require some type of pre-employment drug and/or alcohol testing.  Again, this is driven by State and government requirements depending on industry and location. Sometimes you are required to give a blood sample and sometimes a urine sample (or both)
  • Job Knowledge or Skills Tests – Employers may require that candidates take one or more skills assessment tests.  These are designed to evaluate your knowledge of the industry or the position. Skills testing is generally used to assess your abilities. There are many types of skills and assessment tests, such as Numerical Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Financial Reasoning and many more. There are also specific tests for some technical industries such as Engineering and IT.

You will need to score as high as possible in order to move on to the next round in the hiring process. All testing can be tough depending on how well you do on tests and how prepared you are. Understanding the underlying principles and content of pre-employment  boosts the chances that you will score well. Being prepared also has a big positive impact on your outlook and this also increases the likelihood of doing well.

How to Prepare:

  • Research – The Internet is a wonderful thing and if you do some research on the companies you are considering in your job search you are likely to find out information regarding their tests. Additionally, leverage your LinkedIn network to see if anyone you know works at your target companies or knows someone who works there. Insight into the specific tests will help you prepare.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

Test Preparation – Honest Abe said it best. The more time and effort you can spend preparing for your tests, the better the chance of passing. There are a wide variety of tests out there and it is almost impossible to cover them all. Following are some resources for the most common testing that you can use to help you prepare:

  • Aptitude Testing: An aptitude test is used to determine a person’s ability in a particular skill or field of knowledge.
    • Numerical Reasoning Test Practice – A Numerical Reasoning test is test to determine number-related skills and abilities. Experience Your Test’s Content in Advance
    • Verbal Reasoning Tests – Verbal reasoning tests measure an individual’s verbal reasoning skills and ability. They measure overall cognitive ability.
    • Inductive Reasoning Test – Inductive reasoning tests help to assess your ability in identifying a pattern or consistency among sets of objects or verbal data.
    • Situational Judgement Test Preparation – Situational judgment tests assess individual’s abilities with realistic, hypothetical scenarios and ask the individual to identify the most appropriate response.
  • Personality Testing -A personality test measures individual’s character or psychological makeup. Learn How to Pass a Pre-Employment Personality Test
  • Technical Test Prep:
      • Law Firm Related Testing – Law Firm related testing is used in development and selection for graduates, managers and leaders; and has shown to be highly predictive of future job success.
      • Aptitude Tests for Engineering – Aptitude tests help to access individuals’ work related perceptions, judgement and reasoning.
      • Financial Reasoning Test Practice – Financial Reasoning tests are designed to assess how effectively people analyze, interpret and use numerical information in a financial context.

Knowledge is power and knowing what obstacles you might face is half the battle. Prepare, research and practice.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,
Joey

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Job Search – Take the Plunge

plungeWhen you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.” – John Lennon

When I was growing up I used to go to a pond near my house with my friends to look for tadpoles. It was a small pond with an old car tire in the middle that you could touch if you stretched. One year, all of the tadpoles were in the center of the tire and we just could not reach them. So I decided to step on the tire and then reach for the tadpoles. As soon as I put my foot down I was committed and the tire sank and I fell in. I remember thinking I was going to drown, but the pond only came up to my chest and I was able to climb out (with my tadpoles of course). Job search is much the same, sometimes you just need to commit yourself, kick it up a notch and take the plunge. Today’s post is a collection of recommended job sites from readers.

  • VizualResume.com – Several months ago I did a post on visual resumes (see Visual Resumes – Do You Have Yours?) and I missed out on reviewing VizualResumes which provides examples of visual resumes. The left hand side of the screen has the examples (scroll down to see additional examples). Click Visual Archive to see additional resumes. You can also submit a resume sample.
  • Dice.com – This site provides technical job opportunities. The main page has links at the top for MyDice, Find Jobs, Post Resume and more. Below the search function is a list of featured resources. Center page is the list of current jobs. Once you’ve made your selection for your search, there are plenty of ways to filter your search.
  • HR Job Search Secrets – “Accelerating your job search” is the tag line for this site. There are tabs at the top of the page for resources, services and blog. The left hand side of the page has the “job seekers guide to the hidden job market” followed by some posts. Center page are video blogs. Click on resources to see a number of posts which provide some resources. There are embedded links to additional resources or contact information in many of the articles.
  • RetiredBrains.com – “The Complete resource for retirees and those planning for retirement” is their tag line. There are links at the top for Retirement Jobs, Financial Resources and more. The left hand side of the page has links for “find retirement jobs”, “resume writing services” and lots more. Center page provides a wide range of resources, including Find Jobs, Employment Assistance and lots more. Clicking Find Jobs takes you to the search engine and shows additional links for Resumes/Letters and Job Alerts.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,
Joey

Joey@careeralley.com
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