Friday, September 26, 2008

Turn Downtime to Your Advantage

I've said it before—what a suck-ass job market. And it doesn't look like it's changing soon.

What to do? Well, you can either get upset, which gets you nowhere, or you can embrace the situation.

I know quite a few talented recent grads who are hitting the wall in their job search. They're all handling it differently, but one is handling it especially well. We'll call him Mike (since that's his name).

Mike is using his downtime to get actively involved in his local ad club. He volunteered to help on two major events for the club. His theme concept was even chosen to market one of the events. Talk about a nice piece to add to his portfolio. It's also an excellent way to get his work out in front of the very people who are in a position to hire him.

Sure, Mike is frustrated in his search. But he is placing himself in the best position to land a copywriting job in the near future.
  • He's expanding his portfolio with professional work.
  • He's meeting industry people who can hire him, pass on job openings, or act as a reference for him.
  • He's sharpening his skills while working with other talented people.
  • He's keeping his enthusiasm high.
You can either get down about the situation, or you can take positive steps to put yourself in the best position to get a job.

I vote for the second choice.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

THE Question to Ask During an Interview

You know the drill.

You arrive armed with a few questions to ask during the interview. They are evidence you've done your research and you're interested in working for that company specifically — not just any company. The questions show you're engaged, driven and serious about the opportunity in front of you.

And once in a while, a question you ask may be what gets you the job.

I heard one such question this weekend from my friend Melissa. She just started a new job and was telling me about her interview. She said something didn't seem quite right, so she asked them:

"What concerns do you have about me and my ability to do the job?"

What a great question – and one I recommend you ask.
  • It shows maturity and self-awareness.
  • It shows you are open to honest feedback (a trait in very short-supply).
  • But, most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to address what they deem to be your weaknesses. You can talk about the adjustments you would make or even address some false perceptions they may have about you. The question gives you a second opportunity to sell yourself. And that may be all you need to separate yourself from everyone else.
It's a simple question. But one that may open the door to you landing the job.