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Research first, apply second


We all get in a hurry at times, trying to get somewhere when we haven't allowed enough time, or we run into a 'road block'.  Recently in my village a bridge is being repaired and drivers are impatient, having to detour around the section of closed street through a neighborhood, or way around by going a mile south or north and then east or west.  We get just as impatient, frustrated and anxious when we've been looking for a new position.


I've notice over the years that many folks JUMP on applying for a position, to their detriment.  By that I mean they don't do their homework, seeing if they can match the position's requirements and 'read between the lines' those unwritten, unspoken additional factors that make for the applicants who do get screened in for interviews.  (Remember, the initial process is not really screening in, but eliminating most candidates who don't fit the requirements at all and then the ones that JUST fit the position's requirements; see the resources on cover letters for those who are members of the EaRN Network for more on this.)


Researching the organization is so critical when applying for a known position.  But the research needs to start BEFORE you apply.  Too many candidates only do the research after they've applied!  This is like playing your card, even an Ace, before you know what trump suit is.  Someone who has done their research can trump your fine qualifications because they have understood the organization, its needs, networked where they can, and found other information about the organization and industry.


One of the ways to research merely requires that you become acquainted with your local library's reference librarians, and through them the resources available to you.  Ask them to point you to the print and online resource information and reference volumes that have available.  Leave them your business card (because you ARE really self-employed), writing a note on it about the type of information you're seeking.  Visit with them regularly.  Often they will run across something later to share with you.  A thank-you note to followup with them can also show your appreciation and cement their remembering you and your information need.


So, NEVER apply too quickly to a position until you know you match the prospective employer's needs.  Much of the important information you need to 'dig up' before you just fling your cover letter and resume at the employer.  If you don't match, you don't get screened in, and you'll just be 'clogging up the works'.  And even if you are screened in, you need to show during the interviewing process that you are attempting to learn what insiders already know by your research, including the questions you ask the prospective employer's staff.


So, go this week and visit your local library, introducing yourself to the reference librarians.  Your ability to find work and stay employable depends on it.


-Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, National Career Development Association Master Career Counselor

Ready for the Holiday Hiring Rush?


It may seem counter intuitive, but the need for the Christmas holiday temporary employees has already begun.  So, if you are considering looking for such work, better get started ASAP.  Here's an article worth a read.

Are You Ready for the Holiday Hiring Rush?

By Beth Goodbaum in ThomasNet News/Industry Market Trends, October 11, 2011

The fall season has only just begun, yet traces of the winter holidays are already emerging as job seekers and employers prepare for a holiday hiring rush, new reports suggest.

Managers in a variety of sectors foresee a holiday hiring surge this year, albeit amidst challenges. For job hunters, whether unemployed or looking for extra financial padding, now is the the time to apply for a holiday gig.


Read on at