About the Book
SMARTER Job Hunting
A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding a Job You’ll Treasure.
Knowing What You Really Want
Taking Your First Steps
If you want to find a job you treasure — where you enjoy going to work each day (either physically or digitally) — a position where you’re having an impact, where you make a difference to the company and the people around you — then Chapter 1 will start you on this process.
To successfully find that treasured job you need a road map.
1. Taking Your First Steps
- 1.1 Why You Need a Road Map to Make Your Search Smarter
Understanding Why You Work – Self Assessment
Chapter 2 helps you define who you are, what you want, and what you’re good at. It helps you, the SMARTer Job Hunter, create strategies for managing your search.
The first step in this process will be looking at your mental state and motivation. Why do you want to work? What activities have been satisfying in the past, and what has caused you stress or burnout? What tactics have you defined to manage your stress during your job search?
Next, it helps you define the Personal, Professional, and Financial (PPF) reasons why you work. This list of the “must-have” job characteristics is very critical to your success. This chapter provides you with directions for creating a Personal Assessment Review Tool (PART) that allows you to compare your PPF requirements to the jobs you are considering. It contains several PPF examples and a scorecard that helps guide your decision-making.
2. Understanding Why You Work
- 2.1 Introduction
- 2.2 Confronting Your Emotions
- 2.3 Define Your Personal, Professional, and Financial Job Requirements
- 2.4 Defining Your Deal Breakers
Building Your Campaign Plan
Chapter 3 discusses two options to reach your goal: the old-fashioned way or the SMARTer way we prescribe. This SMARTer Job-Hunting approach assures that you focus not only on WHAT you want to achieve but on realistically WHO you are and, importantly, HOW you can benefit the employer you’re targeting. It helps you manage your time and understand how to overcome major hindrances for many job seekers, getting distracted and procrastinating.
This chapter teaches you how to build a personal campaign plan that includes multiple steps, such as online searches, networking, and learning about potential employers.
3. Building Your Campaign Plan
- 3.1 Introduction
- 3.2 The SMARTer Approach
- 3.3 Time Management
- 3.4 Preparing Your Campaign Plan
Checking Out the Possibilities
How to Research to Win
Chapter 4 provides a proven workflow methodology that teaches you how to continuously refine your search until you know you have landed on the work you’d like to do and the job you’d like to have.
It teaches you how to use Formal and Informal research processes to your competitive advantage and will inform you of the likely work you’ll be doing. This research approach will expose you to new industries and open new doors. In addition, it guides you on using your research results in your resume and social media profiles.
4. How to Research to Win
- 4.1 Research: Keywords, Industries, and Jobs
- 4.2 Formal Research
- 4.3 Informal Research
The Art of Networking
Chapter 5 defines why networking is so important to the SMARTer Job Hunter. Surveys indicate that over 80 percent of jobs are found via networking (Belli, 2017). Surveys also show that the more people you know, the better your chances of finding a job. Unfortunately, around two thirds of job seekers either don’t network at all or don’t do it effectively.
For a job seeker looking to change careers, knowing people in other fields can be a huge advantage (Granovetter, 1995). Such contacts are likely to be casual but can provide what Stanford professor Mark Granovetter called “the strength of weak ties.” It teaches you how to use your personal and social media networking to your advantage on platforms like LinkedIn.
5. The Art of Networking
- 5.1 Introduction
- 5.2 Using LinkedIn
- 5.3 Creating Your LinkedIn Profile
- 5.4 Engage LinkedIn Groups
- 5.5 Utilize Other Social Media Networks
- 5.6 Attend Conferences and Trade Association Events
- 5.7 Build Your Network
- 5.8 Request and Share Letters of Recommendation
Education and Learning
Chapter 6 helps you understand how to use your degree even though it might be in a different field. For example, a degree in English could highlight your great writing skills for being a Public Relations assistant, a writer of technical descriptions and user manuals (something most engineers hate to do with a passion), a marketing specialist, or a lobbyist. Any position where reports or proposals are required will welcome good writing skills.
If you don’t have a college degree, Chapter 6 helps you create a strategy for addressing questions about your education. It talks about upskilling and how to describe the value of your on-the-job experience.
6. Education and Learning
- 6.1 Introduction
- 6.2 Increasing Your Skills
Getting the Job
Creating Campaign Collateral
Chapter 7 uses the foundation of your job research to create all the components you need to introduce yourself and market your capabilities.
This chapter provides details on how to write SMARTer Resumes and Cover Letters. This approach helps job seekers position themselves as a top candidate and helps them maneuver past ATS (Applicant Tracking System) or EAS (Employment Assessment Software).
It helps you build a Portfolio “brag book” and discusses why it can be one of the most impactful things you can use to differentiate yourself.
7. Creating Campaign Collateral
- 7.1 Introduction
- 7.2 Developing Your Elevator Pitch
- 7.3 Business Cards
- 7.4 Writing Conventional and SMARTer Resumes
- 7.5 Writing Conventional and SMARTer Cover Letters
- 7.6 Preparing Your Portfolio
- 7.7 Ways to Follow-Up
Tell Your Story: Be Outstanding
Chapter 8 teaches you how to tell your story and why you should use this technique. Because emotion is the driving factor for most human decisions, effective storytelling can work in your favor, especially if you’re going into a new field where you don’t have overwhelming evidence of how good you are.
Learning how to tell your story will allow you to engage the interviewer and leave a positive impression.
8. Tell Your Story: Be Outstanding
- 8.1 Why Tell Stories
- 8.2 Adding Emotion
- 8.3 Elements of a Short Story
- 8.4 Tips for Storytelling
- 8.5 Stories for Typical Interview Questions
- 8.6 Other Storytelling Considerations
Preparing for the Interviews
Chapter 9 deep dives into the three requirements, Preparation, Practice, and Performance, that SMARTer Job Hunters need to properly prepare for the interview with the recruiter or hiring manager. In addition, Chapter 9 instructs SMARTer Job Hunters on research techniques to develop intelligent questions about the job and the company.
The interviewer is likely to ask you ten to twenty questions. Consider them as a way to build an instant rapport with the interviewer right at the beginning. You will be able to study some of the most common questions that recruiters are likely to ask and prepare strong answers.
This chapter helps you prepare for interviews online, with tips on how to prep your visual presence, position the camera, maintain eye contact, and adjust the settings on Zoom to make you look good.
9. Preparing for the Interviews
- 9.1 Introduction
- 9.2 Research the Company
- 9.3 Preparing for the Job Interview
- 9.4 Common Interview Questions
- 9.5 Preparing Your Appearance
- 9.6 Assemble a Portfolio
You in the Interview
Chapter 10 builds on the advice provided in Chapter 9. It helps you physically and emotionally prepare for the meeting, whether in-person or online, allowing you to feel confident throughout the interview process. It focuses on connecting with the interviewer, managing trick questions, and asking questions to clarify what they are looking for.
It also helps you quantify your achievements by using methods such as CAR (Challenge-Action-Result), where the Challenge was the problem you addressed, the Action is the steps you took, and the Result is the outcome you achieved in terms of savings, profitability, or efficiency.
10. You in the Interview
- 10.1 Introduction
- 10.2 What Your Posture Reveals
- 10.3 Managing Trick Questions
- 10.4 The Interview Process
- 10.5 Concluding the Interview
- 10.6 The Power of Follow-Up
SMARTer Job Seeking Over 50
Chapter 11 helps experienced job seekers overcome the additional challenges age might bring. You know that (though unspoken) biases and stereotypes about age exist in our society. This chapter helps you first to remove these from your own mind. Then, it helps you understand that your experience and wisdom gained through the years offer great value to an employer, even more than you may be aware of.
Finding a job over 50 is indeed harder — if you go the normal route, you will be unemployed for 5.8 weeks longer than those between the ages of 30 to 49, and 10.6 weeks longer than those between the ages of 20 and 29 (Brenoff, 2015). Chapter 11 teaches the SMARTer Job Hunter how to accelerate their search by being aware of negatives that might be in the interviewer’s mind and countering or even reversing them.
If it’s been a while since you last went job hunting, Chapter 11 discusses why a personal coach could be a critical asset in addition to your support group.
11. SMARTer Job Seeking Over 50
- 11.1 Introduction
- 11.2 Negative Challenges
- 11.3 Advantages of Experience
- 11.4 Preparation for the Interview
- 11.5 Appearance Matters
Other Job Considerations
Chapter 12 provides a strategic approach to special circumstances that may affect your SMARTer Job Hunt. For example, you may not want a conventional full-time job with standard benefits, working in an office or company site. In that case, you can consider other avenues defined in this chapter, such as freelance, consulting, or part-time work. Our career coaches can help the SMARTer Job Hunter sort through the options and make an informed decision considering the Personal, Professional, and Financial elements on their scorecard.
12. Other Job Considerations
- 12.1 Introduction
- 12.2 Hybrid Work
- 12.3 Consulting Work
- 12.4 Internships
- 12.5 The 6-Figure Job Search
- 12.6 Recruiters and Placement Agents
- 12.7 Freelance
Military Retirees and Spouses
Chapter 13 guides vets and their partners on translating their military experience and skills, such as a tank commander, into corporate skills as a team leader for detailed planning and rapid reaction to unplanned circumstances or problems. It emphasizes the need to learn the civilian counterparts to what you did in the military. For instance, rather than “squad leader,” use “team leader with 15 members reporting to me.” Chapter 13 provides examples of how to apply your military background to an equivalent civilian job.
Veterans’ spouses have an additional job-seeking handicap: they suffer from constant relocations, moving every two to three years. This makes it difficult to gain and hold a normal on-site job. Remote freelancing work may offer a solution for military spouses who need flexibility in work hours due to time zones, changing addresses, or the need to spend time on childcare or eldercare. Chapter 13 provides some job categories that a military spouse may consider pursuing.
13. Military Retirees and Spouses
- 13.1 Introduction
- 13.2 Civilian Positions
- 13.3 Mental and Physical Health
- 13.4 Jobs for Veterans
- 13.5 Veteran’s Resumes and Cover Letters Considerations
- 13.6 Preparing for Your Interview
- 13.7 Jobs Ideas for Veterans’ Spouses and Others
- 13.7.1 Web Design
- 13.7.2 Writing Support
- 13.7.3 Writing
- 13.7.4 Translation
- 13.7.5 Virtual Assistant
- 13.7.6 Platforms that Offer Home-Based Freelance Jobs
- 13.7.7 Avoiding Scams and Dead Ends
What To Do When You Get the Job!
Chapter 14, addresses what should you do when you are told the job is yours if you accept their offer? Now what? Should you take the company’s first offer? Then immediately tell your fellow employees at your current job?. Should you start the following Monday?
It clarifies why it is important to compare the offer with your customized PART ScoreCard to review how it compares to your personal, professional, and financial goals.
It helps the SMARTer Job Hunter understand how to use their checklist of discussion items to negotiate salary and benefits. Then, when the executed offer is in hand, you should follow a professional procedure for announcing your departure from your existing company. Also, the chapter discusses why it is important to take a short vacation to clear your mind for what’s ahead.
14. What To Do When You Get the Job!
- 14.1 Introduction
- 14.2 Negotiating Salary and Other Compensation
- 14.3 Departing from an Existing Company
- 14.4 Thank Your Contacts
- 14.5 Why Take a Break
- 14.6 Getting Ready for the New Job
Positioning Yourself in Today’s Job Market
Chapter 15 details research that provides the SMARTer Job Hunter with an understanding of what employers are thinking. For example, one major problem now that COVID restrictions are being lifted, is that many employees do not understand why they are being asked to return to the office. Understanding employer thinking helps SMARTer Job Hunters make informed decisions.
Job seekers’ advantages are closely reviewed in Chapter 15. SMARTer Job Hunters are provided with knowledge-based research and trends. This helps them learn strategies, hacks, and coping mechanisms to emerge as a winner in this evolving market. In addition, SMARTer Job Hunters are made aware of the technology tools recruiters use and what they look for. This helps SMARTer Job Hunters align their skills with what is being sought.
15. Positioning Yourself in Today’s Job Market
- 15.1 Benefit from Knowing Employer/Employee Challenges
- 15.2 The Great Reset
- 15.3 The Great Resignation
- 15.4 The Skills Shortage
- 15.5 The Gap
- 15.6 Understanding Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
You Have Choices
Chapter 16 discusses the opportunities in today’s job market. The good news in the job market is that many jobs are out there. Many employers, such as retail outlets, hospitality, and airlines, are complaining about being understaffed and are offering better salaries and working conditions. Thousands of jobs are being created in new and rapidly growing industries such as cybersecurity, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and renewable energy (Fernandez & Rennolds, 2022).
This book aims to provide SMARTer Job Hunters with knowledge of current conditions and ways to find the job that will fulfill their Personal, Professional, and Financial needs.
Following these guidelines will give SMARTer Job Hunters an advantage over others who may be seeking the same opportunity and will propel them forward more quickly than a scattershot approach.
16. You have Choices
- Opportunities in Today’s Job Market
This SMARTer Job Hunting book is based on the results of our research. We created a carefully structured study and had participants follow the methodology prescribed in this book. Chapter 17 User Experience is what three of the participants shared about their SMARTer Job Hunting experience.
17. User Experience
- 17.1 Introduction
- 17.2 Andy H
- 17.3 Kelly B
- 17.4 Jessica G
The research on which this book is based is extensive. Chapter 18 allows you to read more about the trends in job hunting and the modern work environment.