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Marilyn M. Machlowitz Headshot

Learn the New Rules of Job Hunting Now

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The good news on the jobs front means more people may need to brush up on the new rules of job hunting. As someone told me yesterday, she last looked for a job 18 years ago, and, since then, everything has changed.

A caveat: our practice concentrates on nonprofit institutions hiring for senior jobs. So if you're targeting the corporate sector -- or you're just starting out -- my "rules" and recommendations may not apply.

*Remember we are in the midst of a paradigm shift. Frequently, our clients consider candidates of divergent profiles. One may seem the "safe" choice -- steeped in the industry and the exact type of job. Another may seem to be the "high risk, high reward" choice. To put it another way, the question is will the first be able to deviate from the playbook and will the second even know there is a playbook?

What's the takeaway? Don't assume you're not a candidate or you're a longshot choice until you learn more about the hiring organization's strategic needs and goals.

*Information is everywhere. It is not hard to find out everything about a nonprofit's finances, fundraising, people and purpose via simple online searches.

What's the takeaway? Don't attend what you deem a "first interview" assuming you'll have time to show off your research in subsequent rounds. A corollary is: some individuals are still uncomfortable to learn you've put their names into a Google search so don't reveal all you've identified about your interviewer.

*Headhunters may email you first rather than call.

What's the takeaway? Check your spam filter. It is far more efficient for us to send detailed information, such as a multi-page job spec, than to play telephone tag.

*Organizations hiring on their own (without headhunters) may expect you to apply online.

What's the takeaway? Follow the instructions. Don't skip that step. But also find a way to get someone to slip your name to the hiring organization outside the online application process.

*Assume your first interviews will occur via Skype or phone.

What's the takeaway? If you don't have a Skype name, get one. If you've never done a Skype video call, set up a practice one with a friend. And, yes, these online or phone meetings may be suggested even if you are in the same city as your interviewer.

*You may be interviewed by more people than you imagine including prospective subordinates.

What's the takeaway? This last type can be awkward. A well-planned subordinate interview will have some ground rules such as that no one who is an internal candidate for the same job will attend. But don't assume that. Plan a short presentation. Expect some antagonistic questions. Be diplomatic rather than defensive. Bring along some questions of your own.

With all that, what hasn't changed?

*Recruiters still prefer the reverse chronological resume.

What does that mean? That's the kind that begins with your current(or most recent) job and works backward. We don't like to read through pages of accomplishments to find the actual jobs buried in the back.