When job searching, you want to make sure you’re doing everything possible to better position yourself among the competition. Some individuals focus on perfecting resumes, while others divert their attention to networking. Today, we’re going to share 4 pivotal perspectives that can change the way you job hunt in 2020.
Organizational Culture: Look to Add to It, Not to Fit In
For years, organizations have used “culture fit” as a qualifier for hiring new candidates. Typically, if a candidate mirrors the organization’s culture (the overall values, interests, personalities and behaviors of the current employees), hiring teams may consider it an indication that the individual will thrive in their working environment. However, progressive education organizations are now realizing culture fit may not be the best tool to measure whether someone will thrive in the organization. Because we serve such diverse communities in the education space, it’s important for our teams to have a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, resources and networks to better understand and aid the children and families we want to positively impact.
So now, rather than concentrating on how a candidate fits into their culture, a growing number of organizations are looking to see what you can add to their present culture while maintaining and building on the value system that they have already established.
To get a good idea of the organization’s current company culture, talk to people who have connections at the organization or search online for more information. In our blog, 3 Sure Ways to Determine if an Organization Fits Your Values, we explore how to scan websites, social media accounts and review sites to get a general feel for what the organization’s culture looks like. If you’re looking for a more substantial explanation of an organization’s values, we also share tips on how to conduct informational interviews to get a deeper understanding of their beliefs from someone who actually worked there.
If you reach out to friends, colleagues or friends of friends who work at the organizations you wish to join, give them the opportunity to share their experiences with you before completely divulging your interest in working there; that way you’ll be more likely to receive an impartial, candid response.
Once you gain the insight you need to decide whether or not an organization is a good value fit for you, determine the distinct areas where your perspectives, resources, networks, or training could enhance the organization’s culture. If you have something new to bring to the organization, articulate your interest through your unique attributes. This opens the door for discussion around your individuality in conjunction with your expertise. Ask yourself “what new insights can I bring to the organization that they may not have yet?”. For example, if you have experience in creating programs or facilitating discussions around diversity, equity, and inclusion and it’s something the organization has been wanting to implement, be sure to communicate that in your cover letter or interview with the hiring manager.
Consider Growing Into Your Job
It’s already challenging to find the “right” job when you’re on the hunt for a new position. Sometimes, we limit our view of the “right” role based on our current experiences, education or training. Therefore, it seems like we’re only qualified for a finite amount of jobs. This method of job seeking can limit your job pool, stifle your opportunities and your potential as a professional.
First, we have to acknowledge, there are more ways than one way to achieve your career goals and make an impact in the education space. When it comes to looking for your next job opportunity, don’t fall into the trap of solely applying for roles you’re familiar with or for positions that perfectly align with your experience. The “right” role may come in the form of a function or organizational structure you’re not familiar with. Entertain jobs that leave you some space to grow as a professional, rather than bypassing them altogether.
Reflect on what you want in your career and the impact you want to have. Take note of your transferable skills and identify which ones can be easily applied across different roles and organizations. Then, research and apply to different jobs based on your job preferences and transferable skills.
Don’t be afraid to go for jobs you know you can’t nail on day one. If you can nail 2/3rds of the job and use your transferable skills to learn the other 3rd, then you should feel comfortable going for the job. Apply for roles that require your current experience but also give you the chance to learn and try something new and challenging.
For example, you may have worked in a school system for a long time. Consider looking for a similar role in a completely different environment like a non-profit or a foundation. Or while you’re scanning the job descriptions, see which of your transferable skills can adequately supplement for the experience that employer is asking for.
Having an open mind to what the “right” job looks like allows you to increase the number of job opportunities available to you, which in turn increases your number of potential callbacks and interviews, ultimately resulting in a chance to expand your experience and make yourself a more well-rounded professional.
Hiring is One of the Many Responsibilities of a Hiring Manager – Proactively Work to Stand Out
Once you’ve applied and interviewed for a job, it can seem like it’s taking FOREVER for the hiring team to get back to you! You’re pacing around wondering, did I get the job or not?
One thing jobseekers must consider is that sometimes, organizations have hiring processes that are more complex than jobseekers realize. This is especially true for education organizations. According to a 2017 study, the average time to hire within the education space takes about 30 days. But we know sometimes, it can take much longer. Why is that? Well, one reason is that often times, department managers take on the role of hiring managers in addition to their day-to-day functions and managing their team. They must now oversee all of the applications, interviews, vetting and correspondence involved with hiring a new teammate. With all this information coming at them, it can be easy for communication to get lost, especially if this process is new to them.
To make sure you stay on their mind during your application and interview process, create a follow-up strategy to better organize and track your follow up process and talking points.
You need to take control your job seeking process and keep a close pulse on when you need to follow up, who you’re following up with and how you should go about following up with those individuals.
Know when you’re going to follow up
- Most hiring managers would like jobseekers to follow up 1-2 weeks after submitting their resume (unless otherwise stated).
Know who to follow up with
- Identify the appropriate people you should touch base with during the process. Make sure you include the Hiring Manager, individuals who participated in your interview and whoever helped coordinate the interview.
- Save everyone you communicated with on a spreadsheet and assign them to the corresponding job you applied for. If possible, find out their full name, email address, phone number and possible Linkedin to make a professional connection beyond the job.
Know how you’re going to follow up
- Create a fill-in-the-blank template so you’re ready to communicate at any given time. Fill in the emails with key points from your last discussion. You’ll want to have general email templates for your:
- Outreach Emails
- Follow Up Emails/ Calls – Employer
- Follow Up Emails/Calls – References
- Linkedin Friend Requests
- Email plugin extensions like Gorgias, and CloudHQ, allow you to save the templates within the email app so you can just pull your message, plug in any additional information you want to reference and click send!
All of these things will help you stand out among the rest as you communicate with hiring managers in a timely, organized and efficient manner!
Realize the Ball is in Your Court
Right now, great jobseekers have the upper hand and more negotiation power when it comes to finding and landing a job. Unemployment is at an all-time low and it is getting harder for employers to find good, quality candidates to join their teams. When they do find jobseekers they like, they must act fast because that person won’t be job hunting much longer. You need to know this as you’re navigating through job opportunities. That’s why it’s important for you to know how to position yourself as a strong candidate in your resume and your interview. We explore how you can do that in our blogs Top 10 Tips for a Remarkable Resume and 12 Tips to a Great Interview.
In addition to that, establish what you’re looking for in the job itself, but also in an organization. When you’re in your interview, ask clarification questions at the end so you have a clear idea of what you’re getting into. After all, this isn’t a one-way street. It is just as important for you to evaluate the job and the organization during the selection process as it is for the employer to evaluate your candidacy.
During your follow up for your top organizations, communicate the demand on your candidacy if/when you start receiving other offers. This can sometimes expedite the follow-up process, especially if they really want you. Remember, follow up can sometimes be difficult for them too since they’re juggling not just you, but a myriad of other candidates all vying for the same position. If they consider you a priority candidate, they’re not going to want to miss out on having you as a potential employee. Furthermore, if an employer is your first choice but you have another offer outstanding, let the preferred employer know that, along with the date the offer expires. People are by nature competitive and risk-averse; knowing that someone else has made you an offer makes you appear as a more attractive candidate to the employer (you must be good if someone else is making you an offer, right?) and will likely make them move more quickly and aggressively so as to not lose out on a quality hire.
Once you’ve had time to look at everything, compare your opportunities to your requirements and nice-to-haves before you accept an offer. If you need help in the negotiation area, check out our 6 simple steps for negotiating your next job offer.
We hope all of these tips were helpful to you! What else would you add to this list? Let us know!
Since we’re on the topic of job hunting, if you need help finding your ideal non-teaching job in education we can help! You can browse through the roles on our education job board TrulyHired! Or you can complete a WorkMonger profile, where we’ll explore everything that makes you an awesome candidate: your experience, work personality, work ethic and work preferences. We know you’re more than a resume, and employers should know that, too. We can help you communicate that message to them.
Until then, stand out and do good!