Align Yourself With Your Dream Job

WHAT MAKES YOU A GREAT CANDIDATE?

“What makes you the best candidate for this job?”
“Why should we hire you?”
“Why do you think you are a good fit for this role?”

In one form or another, any one of these questions will be asked during an interview.
Do you know how to answer? Do you have an answer? Let’s face it, interviewing can be uncomfortable, even nerve-wracking for some.

When an interviewer asks you one of these questions, they are assessing how confident you are in your abilities, how well you understand the job and whether you are a good fit for the position.

So, let’s examine what makes you a great candidate and what might get in your way. Here is a little hint – it’s not what you think!

RESEARCH

Before an interview, spend some time researching the company by going through their website and reading any articles you can find about them online. This knowledge will provide you with context and the ability to ask intelligent and pertinent questions during the interview.

It is a good idea to create a list matching your work skills with the “preferred” qualifications written in the job posting, preparing you to talk about how your key skills make you the perfect person for the job. Respond to questions by describing how your skills “add value” to their business, always making it about them and not about you.

Remember that you are not the only one in this equation to use online resources for research purposes. The person interviewing you will most likely check you out on social media, so make sure that you remove anything you don’t want a potential employer to know about you.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

You get only one chance to make a first impression! Your appearance is important, and yes, the little things do count. Candidates have failed in interviews for things like dirty fingernails when applying for a front-line position. Well-groomed hair, clothing, shoes etc., matter when you sit down with someone for an interview.

Be aware that first impressions are not limited to the person who is interviewing you. From the time you enter the office door, you should treat all staff members you meet as if they are the company’s owner. Many interviewers will ask people who interacted with you for their impressions of you after the fact, and this can make or break your chances of getting the job.

Don’t underestimate the importance of being on time. Do not be late! Prepare to be at an interview with time to spare so that you arrive in an organized and calm fashion.

DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF

After your interview, sending a well thought out thank you letter can push you to the top when it comes to them assessing the best candidate for the job. Including relevant details in the thank you note shows that you understand the opportunities and the challenges of the position, and reinforces that you are ready, willing and able to deliver the results they want.

BE HONEST

Keep it real and don’t over exaggerate anything about yourself. Being honest about your hobbies, interests, and life in general, is as important as being honest about your work experience. Nothing will devalue a person’s credibility in an interview more than getting caught in a lie. The person interviewing you will feel that if you are willing to lie about something trivial, you will probably lie about your skills, achievements, and experience as well.

TO SUM IT UP

Believe that you can do the work and deliver exceptional results.
Believe that you will fit in and be a perfect addition to the team.
Believe that your skills and experience will make you stand out.
And finally, believe that if hired, you will do everything in your power to live up to your new employer’s expectations and prove that you are the “Greatest Candidate” for the job!

HOW TO SET YOUR 2021 CAREER GOALS

WHAT ARE CAREER GOALS?

Career goals are targets you set for yourself to guide your future career. They can be long-term or short-term goals that will motivate you to move toward a promotion, a better paying job or even a complete change in direction.

To be successful in your work and life in general, developing a strategic plan to guide you through setting achievable career goals is essential.

ALIGN YOUR GOALS WITH THE FIVE ‘S. M. A. R. T’ CRITERIA

Be Specific – If you want to earn more money, write down how you plan to do it. It could be by advancing your education, learning new skills or even just becoming more productive.

Make sure your goals are Measurable. Figure out a way to measure your outcomes. Set a timeframe to accomplish a target within.

Your goals should be realistic and Attainable, making the process so much easier. Why put extra pressure on yourself to achieve the impossible?

Set goals that are Relevant to who you are and what you are good at. If you are a public accountant and set your goals to be an entertainer, this career path may not match your skills and lead to frustration and failure.

Time-Based goals will keep you on track. By breaking down your career goals into manageable parts, you will have a clear direction on how you can achieve them. Set a specific start and end date for each one.

SHORT-TERM GOALS
  • Improve your networking and presentation skills.
  • Learn to use new online communication tools and platforms.
  • Become an expert at hosting virtual conference calls – stand out from the pack.
  • Attend webinars presented by experts in your field to learn, learn, learn.
  • Sharpen your skills through any of the online platforms that offer courses.
  • How about establishing your own personal brand?
  • Improve your time management skills, which will be vital when it comes to monitoring your short-term goals

LONG-TERM GOALS
  • Career Development. Find out if your company offers career development programs to employees.
  • Secure a management position. Here are some essential qualities you will need to prove to your employer:
    • A deep understanding of your industry.
    • Being prepared to listen to others who may know more than you in a specific area.
    • Humility to acknowledge your mistakes and to share your successes with your team.
    • Being adaptable to changes.
    • Delegating well, and not micro-managing.
    • Working harder than everyone else and being an excellent communicator.
  • Change your Job. Do not settle for a life of mediocrity. If you are not making the career progress you aspire to, and you need to earn more, set your goals to move to a more challenging career in a different company.

Our team at ALIGN will help you develop your long-term goals and guide you to toward success. Our recruiters have established relationships with nationwide clients in numerous industries and will be happy to suggest appropriate opportunities that align with your long-term goals.

HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS
  1. WRITE THEM DOWN – Putting your goals down on paper may seem old-school, but it is the best way to motivate yourself to work harder and achieve your targets each day.
  2. SHARE YOUR GOALS AND PLANS – Challenge yourself by sharing your career plans with important people in your life; perhaps even your employer.
  3. VISUALIZE – If you want the promotion, visualize yourself getting it. This is something that psychologists recommend to succeed in anything you do. See yourself crossing the finish line.
  4. SET DEADLINES – Deadlines will keep you accountable and on your toes. Every time you accomplish one of your dreams, reward yourself – you deserve it!

At ALIGN, we know how challenging career goal setting can be. We also know that following the tips we have shared in this blog will help you find your way and may even nudge you in the right direction.

“Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail” – Matt Armand

RELOCATION EXPENSES: WHO PAYS?

So, you have covered all your bases as suggested in our previous two blogs and are ready to move forward with your relocation. Now comes the big question: Who pays for the move? Are you expected to foot the entire bill, or is it fair to expect your employer to pay for most of it?

Companies’ policies vary greatly when it comes to relocation packages: some are very generous while others offer little to nothing. And it has nothing to do with the size of the company as both large and small companies have been known to offer very generous packages.

Most companies offer a relocation package in the form of a sign-on bonus or a bonus spread out over three or four payments. And that bonus may have contingencies like needing to remain on the job for a year before the complete amount is paid out. Determine what your needs are going to be and ask what type of relocation policy your future employer has.

Most relocation packages will likely cover the following:

Visiting Your New City
An all-expense paid trip for you and your family to scout out your new city. If your spouse is leaving a job to relocate with you, you can request that he/she also get some help with finding a new job through a recruitment agency.

Housing Expenses/Allowance (Temporary)
When arriving in a new town, it is doubtful you will know exactly where you want to live. It can take two to three months for you and your family to figure that out. Ask about temporary housing that your new employer may provide. The peace of mind knowing your rental costs will be covered for this period will be immeasurable.

For some, selling a current home may be crucial to the actual move. Ask about referrals to real estate agents and/or property management companies that can assist in this complex process.

Travel Expenses
You may have to make business trips to your new office before your final move. If so, it is fair to expect the company to pay for your travel costs. Also, when you make the big move with your family, the company may pay for their travel expenses, too. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Professional workers disassembling rack in office. Moving service

Moving Costs
It is common for deals to include the cost of disassembling your furniture, packing your belongings, shipping and reassembling your furniture in your new environment. If you are taking your car, the package could cover the costs of shipping it and renting a car until yours arrives.

Receiving the Funds

  • Receiving a lump sum upfront will allow you to organize and pay for your move as you need. However, expect that some companies will spread out the total amount over time. If you have not completed your research into the costs correctly, you may run out of money with no recourse to receive more.
  • Being reimbursed for your expenses by submitting your receipts may be more beneficial. This arrangement will only be doable if you have the funds to carry the costs until you receive the reimbursement. Be aware that the company may cap the final amount and anything over and above that will be considered your own expense.

Get it in Writing
Make sure the terms of your relocation package are in writing—in the body of the written job offer—and signed by both parties. This will assure everyone is on the same page, and there are no misunderstandings.

Many companies are willing to negotiate a package that will address your specific needs. Remember they want to move you because they believe in your talent and your skills. However, be aware that they are not obligated to pay for your moving costs. You will have more success if you can justify how this package will also benefit the company. The financial support will give you peace of mind and allow you to be more productive in your new job right off the bat.

Consider this your advantage!

RELOCATION PREPARATION!

Moving, under any circumstances is stressful. But when the move involves relocating to another city for a new job, well, the pressure can be overwhelming! Add to the mix your family and pets and your stress level is apt to cause outright anxiety!

In our previous blog, we discussed the challenges of and solutions to relocating for a job. As a follow-up, we wanted to examine the things you need to have in place to make your move as seamless as possible. With proper preparation, adjusting to a new location, and new situations becomes more manageable for you and your family.

GOOD CREDIT

Did you know that your credit score can impact your ability to make this move? If your credit rating is “not-so-great,” you may not have access to the necessary financial services to support your relocation. You may have issues renting a home, a vehicle, setting up your utilities, among other things. For this reason, you should always be prepared and ensure that your credit rating is high enough to support your needs when making the big move.

To mitigate any potential issues that may arise, we recommend you have liquid funds available for costs such as first and last month’s rent and a security deposit. Think ahead to avoid possible difficulties.

GET 100% BUY-IN FROM YOUR FAMILY

Moving and uprooting your family is a huge decision, and you never know how it’s going to turn out. However, you must be empathetic and supportive when discussing the concerns and fears your spouse and children may have about leaving what they know and moving to the “unknown.” Consider the social and financial impact the move may have on their lives and ensure that you have a 100% buy-in from your spouse before starting the process. Your family is your “team,” and it needs all the players to function together effectively to make your relocation successful.

RESEARCH SCHOOLS AND RELIGIOUS FACILITIES

To make the transition to your new environment as smooth as possible, we suggest you conduct an Internet search of schools and places of worship ahead of time. Once you have narrowed down your list, you should get in touch with people you may know there to get their opinions and recommendations. Real estate agents are also a good source of information if you have no contacts in the area. Registering your children at a reputable school is crucial. If possible, arrange a Zoom meeting with the school’s principal and possibly some teachers.

Actual registration should take place once you have arrived in the city and your children are comfortable with the school environment. However, preparing them ahead of time is essential. The same applies to a place of worship you wish to join.

GATHER THREE MOVING QUOTES

When deciding which mover to use, you need to do your homework. Imagine if once you have moved, you realize that you had used the most expensive mover in town? As such, you should get no less than three quotes from different moving companies.

Ask for a home visit to make sure that they have a full understanding of what items you are moving, and it won’t hurt to ask if they can offer you any discounts or promotions. Be sure to get a timeline from them so that you can fit the physical move into your already busy schedule.

STATE LICENSING

Licensed professionals who need new documentation and/or licensing, sometimes move to a new city and are unable to work for some time as individual states can be extremely slow at processing paperwork. If you are a licensed professional and are moving to a new state, it is advisable to investigate their licensing requirements and start the process way ahead of your move. Avoid any unwanted “surprises!”

At ALIGN, we understand that every relocation is different and unique. We are committed to helping our candidates navigate these sometimes-unchartered waters. Together we can make the relocation process as simple and enjoyable as possible.

Keep an eye out for our next blog where we will discuss how to negotiate a relocation package with your employer.

Expanding Your Search – Relocation

So, you decided to expand your job search during these trying times and are considering positions that would require relocation: either to another city or even to another state. Before starting the process on your own—but especially if you have engaged a recruiter for assistance—ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you serious, or just fearful you won’t find something close to home?
  • Will you actually relocate when the time comes?
  • Are you just spinning your fantasy wheels?

Let’s break down the challenges and solutions to understand the nuances of this significant life decision.

1. ARE YOU HONESTLY WILLING TO RELOCATE?

The question, “Are you willing to relocate?” should emit a simple yes or no answer. However, it is never entirely as cut and dried as that. Being committed to relocating is essential for success. If you are “on the fence,” and spending time trying to convince yourself to move, you are at a clear disadvantage. Starting a new job with negative feelings will lower the chances of achieving success from the start.

You must be entirely agreeable to making a move and embrace all the experiences involved. Your and your family’s willingness to move is vitally important. Remember, they have as much of a stake in the move as you do.

Takeaway
Be sensitive to your and your family’s needs as well as the process because when all the pieces fall into place, the odds are perfect that you will find an excellent new company and new city.

2. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH STRESS?

If you typically struggle with work-related stress, you are probably not the best fit for a job-related relocation. The mere process can be wrought with difficulty and challenge. Having to make decisions that affect all aspects of your family’s life—housing, schools, leaving extended family—may be more pressure than you can handle.

Takeaway
You need to be able to handle pressure and multiple challenges positively and constructively. When a person is willing to relocate, it shows a passion and dedication to their job and that they are in it for the long haul.

3. DO YOU UNDERSTAND AND VALUE DIFFERENT CULTURES?

Having experience and knowledge of different cultures is an excellent benefit if you are going to relocate. A good understanding of a variety of cultures and backgrounds will help you adjust more easily and quickly to a new work environment.

Takeaway
You must maintain a positive attitude and adaptability to new cultures to adjust to the company itself and for establishing the chemistry with new coworkers.

4. HOW GOOD ARE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS?

A poor communicator is a lousy communicator, no matter where you are. It is critical for you to have the ability to connect verbally with a new team. Without good communication skills, sharing successes and problems will be daunting. This problem can extend to the family who has also relocated and may leave them feeling insecure and alone.

Takeaway
A person with good people skills will relocate successfully.

SUMMARY
Relocating for a job is more than just about work; it changes people’s lives. From the place you call home to what you do for a living, your social network, and future opportunities. There is no denying it is a HUGE step that requires careful planning and consideration to make it a success. Keep these facts in mind when considering relocation, remaining flexible to accommodate the best outcome for all! And, most important, find yourself a good recruiter to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible.

Beware the Counter Offer

After much reflection, you have decided that your current job is not right for you, and it is time to move on. With your updated resume in hand, you pursue some exciting new opportunities. Before you know it, you say “YES” to a new job that is both challenging and financially sound.

Whew! Time to take a deep breath, muster up courage and let your boss know you are resigning. To your relief, he takes the news well. To your surprise, however, he presents you with a very tempting counter offer.

Undoubtedly, he is trying to entice you to stay; he believes throwing more money your way will sway you. RED FLAG! Why is he offering you a raise now that you have decided to leave? Has he finally realized your worth, or does he just not want to lose you to the competition?

Ask yourself: Are you suddenly feeling valuable, and irreplaceable to your current employer? Why didn’t your boss give you a raise before realizing he was going to lose you?

Stop and think carefully before accepting the counter offer. Remember, it is from a company that you were happy to leave.

A Few Things to Think About 

When an employee is happy, a salary increase offered by another company is seldom the prime reason for moving on. Are a few extra dollars enough to put aside the issues that caused you to resign in the first place? If the money is your primary concern and you are happy with all other aspects of your job, then perhaps a few extra dollars is enough.

Still, suppose your problems are systemic: culture, the type of work and incompatibility. Things unlikely to change overnight. It should not take you resigning for things to change. A sudden counter offer as a response to you quitting could indicate poor management. If it is based on desperation rather than merit, nothing will change for you in the long run.

Beware of feeling a sense of personal obligation, either to the company or to a co-worker. The decision to leave a job should be about you and the long-term success of your career.

Likewise, if the counter offer includes promotion or more responsibility, think about how your colleagues will view you. You may not get the support you need from them to make your new position work if they believe it took you threatening to leave to get promoted. They could feel a sense of betrayal and question how invested you are in the team if you were prepared to go in the first place. They will question whether they can still trust and rely on you.

Never Accept a Counter Offer

The best advice we can give you is to NEVER accept a counter offer. No reasoning in the world will make your current job better by accepting a counter offer. Not only will you become a pariah, but resentment, distrust and ultimately, unhappiness will abound. To ease your mind, make a list of the things you are looking for in a new job; this will reassure you are on the right track:

  • Promotion Opportunity
  • Better Management
  • A Company Culture You Align with
  • Type of Work you Will be Doing
  • Mentoring and Training Offered
  • How the Job will Help Your Career

Remember, there was a good reason you looked for and accepted a new job. Keep in mind that the new company is making you a better offer because they think highly of your skills, attitude, and potential to add significant value to the team.

It may just be the right time to stick to your original plan and move on to new opportunities.

It’s Not All About The Money – The Offer Stage

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

Congratulations, you did it! You aced the interviews, and you are feeling great about it. You have been introduced to the team, been given the “tour,” and in the next few days, you will be receiving a job offer.

You are excited to see the financial package they will offer, after all, this is your “Dream Job”.

Stop, slow down and take a breath.

Now is the time to dig deep because being happy in a job is not only about the Money. There are many other factors to consider when you are negotiating a job offer with your future in mind.

Of course, money is important, and we will discuss that later.

Here are some guidelines to help you evaluate the job offer and assist you in making the best decision for yourself.

The Career “Job”

Because you will be spending 8+ hours a day on the job, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the actual work you will be doing excite you?
  • Does it fit your personality?
  • Will you be using the skills that you enjoy?
  • Do you believe in the company and feel passionate about contributing to it?
  • Do you understand the role you and how you will interact with your coworkers?
  • What about your quality of life? Will the job affect it negatively in any way? Think about your commute time, overtime expectations and how flexible they may be.
Management

We all know that working with a great leader can make even a tough job rewarding. On the flip side, a lousy leader can turn a dream job into a living nightmare.

Find out who your direct superior will be and ask yourself:

  • Can you work with this person? | #1 reason people leave their job is due to the leadership
  • she/she respectful to the team members?
  • What kind of reputation does he/she have in the industry?
  • Is his/her management style a fit for you?

Company Culture

Until you are working in the environment, it can be challenging to get a real sense of a company’s culture. But here is the trick: you can pick up hints that can give you an idea of how they operate by asking some of the right questions during the final interviews.

  • Do the company’s core values align with yours? After all, your integrity is essential.
  • Are issues that are important to you a priority to the company leaders?
  • What are the company’s policies about ongoing staff training, mobility, and promotions?
  • Do you see yourself as part of the team?
  • Do they encourage a work/life balance?
  • Can you see yourself working in that company culture?
Prospects

Nothing in today’s world is forever, and that applies to the job market, too. It is wise to evaluate how this job will position you in the future. Ask yourself:

  • Will this job allow you to sharpen your skills and make you even more marketable in the future?
  • Does working at this company add credibility to your resume?
  • Should you decide to change your career, will this job give you a “foot in the door?”
  • Does it offer access to training that will be useful to you and opportunities for networking?
Finally, let us talk about Money!

Ask yourself these questions:

  • If the job offer is lower than you expected, can you afford to pass it up and wait for something better?
  • What are the company’s health benefits?
  • Bonus Program
  • Continued Education reimbursement
  • Do they offer paid time off?
  • What is their policy regarding a 401(k) plan?
  • Is the offer fair, based on your experience and the market average?

When deciding to accept a job offer, finances are critical, but remember the adage: Money does not buy happiness, contrary to what we may think.

Summary

Hopefully, we have given you some food for thought that will help you to decide whether to accept a job offer or not. However, you need to prioritize the information provided according to what is personally relevant to you. Think about what is crucial for you and your happiness and where you are willing to make sacrifices if need be.