Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy

Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy

by R. Holland


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The rules for finding work once seemed pretty straightforward. In this myth-busting book, Author R. William Holland, a human resources insider, shows job seekers how those rules have changed. A clear resume, rehearsed interview answers, and face-to-face networking are no longer enough to land the job of your dreams—or even any job, for that matter. The key, rather than to emphasize past accomplishments or education, is to sell your value to prospective employers. In Cracking the New Job Market, Holland introduces the prevailing rules of this new approach to job seeking and equips readers to master the skills required for success. You’ll learn how to gather information on what a prospective employer finds important; emphasize key skills, accomplishments, and qualities in tailored resumes; tell the right stories during your interview; identify the intersection between personal talents and what the marketplace needs; unlock the networking power of social media; and negotiate the best possible offer. With enlightening insights and practical tips, this book delivers job-hunting strategies that actually work and can help you landing a great job—even in a challenging economy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814417348
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 08/17/2011
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

R. WILLIAM HOLLAND, PH.D. is founder of R. William Holland Consulting, LLC, specializing in HR and career management. He has also served as executive vice president at Right Management, Inc. and as chief human resources officer at Meridian Bank, the University of Pennsylvania, and the BP outsourcing business for Andersen Consulting. He is currently a senior vice president for BeamPines.

Read an Excerpt

Rule #1

Always Demonstrate Your Value

When Bob learned that his name was on a list of IT employees whose jobs were to be downsized—a polite term for “fired”—he knew exactly what would happen next. This was the third time in five years he had gone through the same routine. He would attend a group meeting, which would be followed by a one-on-one session with an outplacement counselor, followed by an appointment the very next day to start his job search.

Bob would again be told that terminated employees should not dwell on negative emotions. Those who start on their job searches right away find work more quickly than those who do not. The group meetings always seemed to be held during the week but never on Fridays. He would eventually understand that outplacement firms got paid based on their

“pick-up” rate—the number of people who actually start programs. Getting them to start without an intervening weekend improved the rate.

But Bob had more to think about than how outplacement firms made money.

He was worried about his own finances and how long it would be before the family had to make major adjustments in their standard of living. He

had new bills to consider, like health-care premiums and perhaps tuition for a return to school for the training required to change careers—to an area less subject to downsizing.

He also started to think about the damage this last layoff did to his reputation. Though aware that layoffs in some fields and industries are more common than in others, he wondered if employers were beginning to think that the problem was with him and that he simply couldn’t hold a job. Three jobs in five years would surely get a thumbs-down from hiring managers. They will want to know what’s wrong with me, he thought.

But now was not the time for self-analysis. First, he had to find a job a and he knew exactly what to do. He quickly updated his résumé by adding his most recent position to an already polished document. He had been taught by outplacement counselors: “Always keep your résumé up-to-date and stay in touch with your networking contacts.” Of course, most people hate to network. They are not very good at it and quit doing it the minute they find other employment. The motto of outplacement professionals Bob worked with was, “Be prepared and stay connected. And don’t forget to join as many self-help groups as you reasonably can.

They will help you tap into the hidden job market.”

Bob would do all that, but this time he would make a significant change.

He had learned about a new way to look for white-collar work: value creation. He noticed that certain people had figured out that their job instability wasn’t their fault. There was nothing wrong with them and they knew it. The skills each one brought to the job market were similar to those of others, yet these people appeared to be most in demand from employers. When he met them, he wondered, “What do they know that a don’t?”

During previous job searches, Bob approached the task in a predetermined sequential order: update the résumé; look for positions that match; and in knee-jerk reaction, apply for the jobs at hand. He now understood a however, that the requirements of similar jobs change from one organization to the next, depending on the specific problems each company is looking to solve. Now, his first order of business was to discover what those problems are and to adjust his application accordingly. Using this new approach, he landed an IT manager’s job at a comparable salary within five months.

Bob was convinced that his application got attention because of what he noticed about the position description. Besides the normal competencies every candidate is expected to have, there were key words in the job description that he could use to customize his résumé, making it specific for this job opening. The keys included the maintenance of a professional image (one of the main reasons the job was vacant) a alignment of IT goals with corporate strategy, and IT policy development. These were skills Bob had demonstrated in previous positions. This time, however, he made sure they were emphasized throughout the application process—including in his résumé, cover letter, and interviews. The key points represented areas in which the hiring organization wanted value created. The IT manager positions in other companies might emphasize different problems. For each opening, it was important that he customize his résumé to address the areas the companies considered important and never assume that the same job in one company would address the problems in another company.

You should note that none of this made Bob’s job more secure. He could get a job one month and be downsized the next. He would, of course, be disappointed but not downhearted. There was nothing wrong with him, and he knew it. He also had the added advantage of understanding value creation and the role it plays in today’s marketplace of jobs. He is now able to adjust his approach to finding a job to reflect the new realities in the market—adjustments he would not have made using the same job-search methods he had learned earlier. At one time, employers were impressed by his familiarity with different aspects of information technology. He now understood that they wanted more. He had to emphasize how his skills matched the job descriptions of potential employers. He

received a lot more interest once he focused on exactly what employers wanted, and as a result, he became a lot less anxious about instability in the white-collar job market.

Table of Contents


Foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich


RULE #1 Always Demonstrate Your Value

RULE #2 Your Résumé: It’s About the Value You Create

RULE #3 Use Social Media and Other Sites for Job Leads

RULE #4 Interviews: They’re About the Value You Demonstrate

RULE #5 You Get What You Negotiate, Not What You Deserve

RULE #6 Career Choice Is More Than Following Your Passion

RULE #7 The Best Way to Reenter the Job Market Is to Never Leave It

Appendix A: Helicopter Parenting Is a Good Thing

Appendix B: Financial Planning for New Career Realities

Appendix C: Applying the Job-Search Rules to Worldwide Employment

Appendix D: Example of a Functional Résumé


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