New technology poses new job-search etiquette questions

Dear Joan:
I am currently looking for a job in the marketing field and have noticed a growing number of ads that give an e-mail address or fax number to reply to. I have answered several ads this way and then have been contacted either by phone or in some cases, e-mail. I take even basic inquiries to mean that I have been "interviewed" for the position, and I am wondering what your opinion is on thank you letters and follow ups done via e-mail. Since almost all contact has been electronic, is this appropriate?

Answer:
As the world gets more electronic, e-mail and faxes have become fast and efficient ways to communicate, but when applying for a job, play it safe. When the instructions in the want ad tell you to e-mail or fax your resume, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ok to send a thank you the same way. If you like, fax or e-mail your thank you but also take the extra step and send a professional, formal letter on letterhead. If you have interviewed for a job, ask the interviewer if he or she would prefer that you follow up by phone or e-mail.

Dear Joan:
How do I solve the problem of having a red face when giving a presentation? How do I get more relaxed?

Answer:
Some nervous energy works to your advantage when you are making a presentation but too much gets in your way. Here are some tips:

·        When preparing your remarks, find out as much about your audience as possible, so you can forget about yourself and focus on their needs.

·        Before the event, go and look at the room you will be speaking in, to help you visualize yourself giving a successful speech. If possible, rehearse in the actual room in which you will be speaking.

·        Arrive early enough so you aren’t adding to your stress by rushing around. Check all the logistics such as the microphone, lights and seating arrangement.

·        As people enter the room, shake hands and chat with people, to make contact with individuals and personalize your audience.

·        While you are waiting, breathe with your abdomen. Rest your hand on your abdomen to make sure it is moving in and out, rather than your chest. Shallow chest breathing will make you light headed and more nervous.

·        As you are being introduced, grip the bottom of the chair and pull yourself down into the chair as hard as you can for the count of ten and then release. Repeat this until you feel your back and neck muscles relax.

·        While speaking, look people in the eyes, so you make a personal connection with people.

Dear Joan:
How do I handle a subordinate who answers questions with a minimum of information? Prior to my transferring to this position, she was the person everyone went to for answers. I come, with many years of experience and answers, sometimes more current than hers, and she becomes secretive and withdrawn when it comes to me. I have to supervise her and don’t want to alienate her.

Answer:
We all want to feel competent and skilled on our job and it makes us feel even better if people recognize our knowledge and come to us as the "expert." It makes us feel important. It feeds our self-esteem and it makes us proud of our contribution. I suspect that when you came on the scene, she lost that important role. Maybe she even wanted your job but lost out to you. Perhaps you tried to position yourself as the expert, and she perceives that you stole this important role from her.

The best way to resolve this situation is to do whatever you can to position her in the role of expert again. In meetings, defer to her when a question comes up that she can answer (even if you know the answer). Compliment her expertise in public. Ask her to take a coaching role with new employees because she has so much knowledge and experience. The best leaders don’t have to know all the answers but they take tremendous pride in coaching all their employees to find the answers. If your information is more current, take steps to make sure everyone is educated. If you take steps to make other people shine, your employees will realize that you are not only skilled at the technical components of the department, but smart enough to know that your success comes from growing others.

Dear Joan:
I am a recent college graduate seeking employment in the New York Metropolitan area. I have posted my resume/cover letter on four different job services. I basically would like to know if there is another step beyond this process. I haven’t really received the proper feedback from employers I have come in contact with. I am very impatient at this point.

Answer:
Posting your resume is only one step, the other steps require more networking face-to-face with past employers, friends and family, as well as digging for more leads. At this point, only a small percentage of open jobs are posted on the Internet or are listed with staffing services. Even though this number is growing, the bulk of the open positions are still filled through networking with people who know other people.

Make a list of all the friends, family, past employers and professors who can lead you to people they know. Rather than ask them if they are aware of a job, tell them about your skills and abilities and give them an idea of the kind of job you would like. Then ask them if they know anyone in that field or in that kind of company. Use their name as a door opener and repeat the process with everyone you meet and you will start getting interviews before you know it.


Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
 
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