Take This Book to Work: How to Ask for (and Get) Money, Fulfillment, and Advancementby Tory Johnson, Robyn Freedman Spizman
Expert advice from Women For Hire, the leading recruitment services firm for professional women
Asking the essential question at the right moment is a skill, one that any woman can master quickly. And it is a powerful tool that can get women more of everything they want in the workplace. Take This Book to Work identifies questions that every woman/i>/p>
Expert advice from Women For Hire, the leading recruitment services firm for professional women
Asking the essential question at the right moment is a skill, one that any woman can master quickly. And it is a powerful tool that can get women more of everything they want in the workplace. Take This Book to Work identifies questions that every woman should master, with expert advice on each question, including:
* How to ask for the things you really want, such as more responsibility, references, work schedule flexibility, and more
* How to tailor your body language and voice to be at their most persuasive
* Which details will best support your request, and how to organize them most effectively
* What not to ask and why
* And so much more!
This is a user-friendly guide from Tory Johnson and Robyn Freedman Spizman, jam-packed with all the guidance every woman needs to approach her next request with courage, confidence, and success.
- St. Martin's Press
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Take This Book to WorkHow to Ask for (and Get) Money, Fulfillment, and Advancement Chapter One
How to Ask If a Company Is Hiring
It’s helpful to have information about a particular company’s current hiring needs, whether it’s from online postings, newspaper advertisements, or even an employee of the company who knows what her department is looking for. However, not every company has a career section on its Web site, advertises its openings, and keeps you updated on its needs. In fact, many small and medium-sized companies don’t do any of this. So how do you ask if they’re hiring or have openings?
Whom should you pursue? If there’s a company you’ve been eyeing, do some research on its struggles and its potential for growth. Online searches, media coverage, and industry-specific networking may reveal a lot about the needs and strengths of a particular company. That information could indicate opportunities for employment.
Additionally, in your daily newspaper, you may read about a company that is expanding in your city, and this information could spark your interest in exploring possible positions. You might walk the mall and discover a new store that’s about to open and will need to make hires.
Let’s say that you are thinking of looking for a new position and find yourself at a party or industry event. The conversation is so fascinating that you start dreaming about joining their organization. In such a case, you can say, “While I’m not yet actively searching for a new position, I’m so intrigued by what your company is doing. Might you suggest the right person for me to connect with to determine what possibilities exist for employment? I’d welcome the chance to see if there’s mutual interest.”
Announcements about new appointments to senior positions are a good way to spot potential openings. While you might not have seen any openings for a particular publication, you recently read that a new editor-in-chief was named at a great magazine. Send a note congratulating her and inquire about work. “I was delighted to read about your appointment since I’ve been a subscriber for several years. I know that every new manager likes to make her mark by bringing in fresh talent. I’m hoping you’ll be willing to consider me for some writing assignments once you’re ready to plan your first batch of articles.”
The bottom line is to be alert and aware of the information and people you encounter. This can lead to a range of opportunities even if a specific position isn’t obvious from the onset. When you spot something you’d like to pursue, don’t make the mistake of sending a generic letter addressed to no one. You must determine to whom your inquiry should be specifically addressed. Call the receptionist or head of human resources at the company that has piqued your interest, and ask her who is handling hiring decisions. If you’re told that there are no current needs, try reaching out to the person who heads up the division you want to work for. “I recently read about your expansion in Latin American markets. I have extensive international experience that could prove to be a great asset to your plans. I’m hoping you’ll be willing to set up a time to meet when we can talk about potential openings or even consulting assignments. If you’re not the right person to handle this, perhaps you’d be so kind as to tell me whom I can reach out to by phone or e-mail?”
Overlooked opportunities. Part-time, freelance, and consulting jobs are some of the main types of positions that are usually not posted or advertised. If the company is one you really want to join, find out how to contact the person in charge, human resources, or the department you want to be a part of. When you make your contact, share the highlights of your abilities and experience and ask if there are freelance opportunities suitable to your skills. This option works best for more-senior positions that aren’t necessarily advertised because there is no head count or budget for a full-time staffer. However, a department head is often able and willing to make provisions to bring on consultants. These positions can be lucrative in themselves and can turn into full-time roles. Again, since these options aren’t advertised, you’ll need to inquire about them by taking the initiative.
Have a pleasant, strong, and concise pitch ready to offer as to why you’re calling. If you get an assistant, you can say, “I know from reading the article in Crain’s that Mr. Lerner is leading the expansion to the West Coast. While his hiring plans might not yet be firm, I wanted the opportunity to connect with him about possible freelance work since I have extensive experience and success in this area. When would be a convenient time for me to speak with him? Or do you think it would be best for me to send him an e-mail detailing my experience and interests? I am confident he will thank you for this lead.”
How to Ask If Your Résumé Has Been Received
Your résumé is the marketing tool that helps you get your foot in the door. You’ve worked tirelessly on making it perfect, so don’t spoil your efforts and abandon your chances for landing an interview by not following up. Not only will a prompt follow-up increase your chances for an interview, it will also prove to your prospective employer that you are interested in a specific position. This step separates you from the people who simply submit dozens and dozens of résumés without having any particular passion for or interest in a role, in hope that one of them will elicit a response.
Every job seeker knows that you often submit résumés without hearing anything in return. You wind up sitting by the phone or computer desperate to know if the human resources people have received your résumé, especially since you can’t just call up and say, “Hey, did you get it or not?”
Résumés are often lost or overlooked, so while you’re assuming that your résumé has been received and reviewed and that they have declined you, they may not even know you exist. This is another reason why follow-up is so important. You may wind up needing to resubmit your résumé.
Fortunately, there are effective, professional ways of finding out if the company you’re interested in has received your résumé. Finding out presents an opportunity for you to restate your desire to pursue the position and remind them of your qualifications and why you are the ideal person for the job.
Whom should I call? Figuring out whom you should call is just as important as making the follow-up connection. You will have to identify the hiring manager responsible for screening and selecting prospective candidates for the position. If it’s a small company, you can usually call the main number and ask anyone who answers to provide you with the name of and contact information for the appropriate person. The larger the employer, the more complicated it often becomes to pinpoint the appropriate person. Among the options:
1. Call the main number and ask to be connected to human resources. Sometimes an assistant will answer, and you’ll be able to ask for the name of the person you’re trying to reach. Always ask for the name of the assistant and create a connection with him or her by expressing your gratitude. You can also ask for advice on the best time to try to reach the person you want to contact.
2. Visit the careers or jobs section of the company Web site to look for contact names and/or e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Some employers list this information by department or region.
3. Look at corporate press releases or a listing of top executives on the company Web site to determine who is the head of the division that interests you. (For public companies this information can be found on hoovers.com.) When you call the main switchboard, ask to be connected to that person’s office. When an assistant answers, politely ask if she or he would kindly tell you who is responsible for recruiting for positions in the line of business you’re pursuing. For example, if the position you’re seeking is account manager in the consumer-products division, ask who handles that recruitment responsibility. You do not have to identify yourself as a job seeker unless asked.
4. Ask a current employee to find out for you the name of the human-resources person you should connect with.
Persistence pays. Once you have a name, make this follow-up phone call a week after submitting your résumé. If the ad or posting stipulates “No phone calls, please,” follow up using another communication method, such as e-mail. However, keep in mind that such rules are typically designed to ward off people who would ordinarily call up just to ask, “Have you received my résumé”—a question no human-resources professional has the time or desire to address.
When you’re ready to pick up the phone, keep in mind that you have a dual purpose: to confirm that your résumé has been received and to further your candidacy by making a strong connection and impression. For example, “Hi, Ms. Goldman. My name is Haley Revez. Last week I submitted my résumé for the position of technical analyst. I’m following up with you now because I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications.” Before sharing additional information, pause briefly to allow her to acknowledge receipt of your résumé. If you have exceptional experience that makes you a standout candidate for this position, mention it here. In such a case, you’d say, “Hi, Ms. Goldman. My name is Haley Revez. I submitted my résumé last week for the position of technical analyst. You may have noticed my previous experience at Microsoft. Would you consider setting up an interview with me?” If she hasn’t previously looked at the résumés submitted, or if yours was somehow overlooked, this additional information will likely cause her to pay attention.
If she says she doesn’t recall seeing it or hasn’t had a chance to check on what’s been submitted, you may offer to send another copy. “I’m sure you’ve received many résumés for this posting. If it would be helpful to you, I’d be happy to e-mail another copy directly to your attention, especially since I meet and exceed all of the criteria outlined and I’d be ideal for the role.”
If your initial statement prompts the response that your résumé has been received, you can say, “Great, I’m glad to know you received it so quickly. I was happy to hear that position was open, since I was an analyst in Chicago for six years and know a lot about your company. I also wanted to let you know I managed the XYZ project, which was delivered on time and under budget for the company.” You may then ask what the next steps are in the hiring process and when a decision to fill the position is likely to be made. The goal is to not end the call until you have some sense of the time frame and the next steps. Is there someone else you should follow up with? Can you set up an interview now that you’re on the phone? When might someone call you for an interview? Try to get a definite response as to what should happen next.
Resist the urge to leave a voice-mail message with your initial question. It is doubtful that your call will be returned. Keep trying until you get a live person on the line, which might mean varying the times of day at which you place your calls. Early morning, lunchtime, and end of work are the best times to try reaching key contacts in their offices.
Where do I go from here? The response you receive from this contact should determine if and when you get a callback, or when you should call again. If they seem irritated, you can apologize and back off. “I recognize that you’re busy and that you’ve no doubt received many résumés for the position. What would be an appropriate way to follow up?” Be grateful and try your best to connect with that person, but don’t persist by sharing details about your interest. Ask if there’s a better time for you to call or if your inquiry should be directed to someone else. If, however, the contact person seems neutral or the least bit interested, keep on course until your message has been delivered. In the end, contact has been made, your interest has been reiterated, additional information has been supplied, and a request for a decision on next steps has been made.
If you have not heard anything after three weeks, follow up again, either with a call or an e-mail. Restate your desire for an interview. You don’t want to spoil your chances by contacting the potential employer too often, but you don’t want to be forgotten or overlooked either. There is a fine line between positive persistence and annoying pestering, but by combining common sense with these suggested procedures, you will greatly increase your chances for going from résumé submission to interview.
Better luck next time. Let’s say you did everything you were supposed to, from submitting your résumé to checking up on it at each stage, only to hear that you were not chosen for an interview. If it’s a company you want to have a future opportunity with, and you want to learn where you went wrong or what you can do differently next time, ask. “I’m sorry to hear that news, but thank you for taking the time to consider me. In your professional opinion, is there anything I could do differently to better my chances with your company in the future?” Or you could say, “Was there anything pertaining to my experience or specific skills or knowledge that I could improve upon in order to increase my chances of employment at your company, since I’m eager to join your team?” Anything you can do to find out ways to improve your résumé and experience will help you in future job searches.
Additionally, if you didn’t get to interview for this specific opening, ask if you can have a 15-minute information interview, which will allow you to find out more about the company and its hiring needs, as well as what makes a successful candidate. It will also allow you to tell your interviewer about your skills, experience, and achievements. This may cause her to recommend you for a future position. The goal is to stay in touch and follow up, since the person they hire might not work out or they might have a need for another employee before you know it.
Copyright © 2006 by Women For Hire, LLC, and Robyn Freedman Spizman Literary Works, LLC. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from Take This Book to Work by Johnson, Tory Copyright © 2006 by Johnson, Tory. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Tory Johnson and Robyn Freedman Spizman are the coauthors of Women For Hire's Get-Ahead Guide to Career Success. Johnson is the founder and CEO of Women For Hire, the nation's only producer of high-caliber career expos connecting professional women with leading employers. Johnson is also the Workplace Contributor for ABC News' Good Morning America. She lives in New York City. Spizman is the author of The Giftionary and Make It Memorable, and a consumer advocate and well-known television and radio personality who lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Tory Johnson is coauthor, with Robyn Freedman Spizman, of Take This Book to Work and Women For Hire's Get-Ahead Guide to Career Success. Johnson is the founder and CEO of Women For Hire, the nation's only producer of high-caliber career expos connecting professional women with leading employers. Johnson is also the Workplace Contributor for ABC News's Good Morning America. She lives in New York City.
Robyn Freedman Spizman is the author of numerous books and articles on children's learning. The mother of two, she appears on television weekly on NBC-affiliate WXIA's "Noonday."
She co-writes "Good Behavior," a regular parenting column in the Atlanta Journal&Constitution. Her books include Make It Memorable: An A-Z Guide to Making Any Event, Gift or Occasion...Dazzling!
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