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Thinking of Testing the Job Market Waters? 12 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Taking the Plunge

Are you feeling under-appreciated at work, underpaid or simply dissatisfied? Perhaps you’re thinking about seeing what else is out there. Before you submit a resume, apply for a job or talk to your favorite recruiter, take stock of your abilities and accomplishments. Be prepared to sell yourself by asking and answering these twelve questions before you start looking around for a new opportunity.

  1. Did you help to increase sales, productivity or efficiency?
  2. Did you save your company money?
  3. Did you institute a new system or procedure?
  4. Did you identify a problem in your company that had been overlooked?
  5. Were you ever promoted?
  6. Did you train anyone?
  7. Did you suggest any new programs for your company that were put into effect?
  8. Did you help to establish any new goals or objectives for your company?
  9. Did you change, in any way, the nature of your job?
  10. Did you ever undertake an assignment or project that wasn’t part of your job just because you were intrigued with the problem?
  11. Did you ever do anything simply to make your own job easier?
  12. What would you say would be the most important qualities of the “ideal candidate” for the position you seek?

Even if you are a loyal employee, it never hurts to keep your resume up to date or to keep a running log of your accomplishments. The electric utilities market offers plenty of opportunity. Why not be ready if it knocks?

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Soap Box Time

I like my job. I enjoy talking to people and helping connect great people with great companies that are looking to hire. They say, if you like what you do then work isn’t really that hard. But, I can tell you, just because you like what you do, it doesn’t make it a cakewalk.

When I talk to hiring managers at companies looking for new talent, we start by going over the position—the responsibilities, the location, etc., then the qualifications—the must haves, the “nice to haves”… But when it comes to the question of “What does XYZ Company have to offer?” … < crickets >… I understand the job market is still recovering to some degree, but people still care about where they work, particularly the really talented people. These people aren’t typically sitting around with nothing to do, and they’ll have to have a pretty compelling reason to leave their current employer. Even if they are currently “between jobs,” the talented folks I work with know they are valuable assets and want to know they’ll be treated as such by any new employer.

The same is true of my conversations with talent. We talk about the type of jobs they are looking for, companies they find interesting, locations, career path, etc., but when it comes to the question of “How do you stand out among your competition?” … < more crickets >.

It’s marketing, right? What makes your brand the one we should choose? There’s almost always a choice—this job or that that job—this candidate or that one—so companies and candidates both need to figure out how to get their name to the top of the list. There are a lot of things companies can offer that go well beyond the standard “competitive benefits package.” What’s the culture like? Are there team-building events? Do you offer career development opportunities? (For more info on what candidates are looking for, click here.)

For those individuals who are looking for a new job, what special skills do you have? In what ways are you an out-of-the-box thinker? What are you doing to make you even more valuable to a potential employer?

As a recruiter, I specialize in making connections between powerful talent and the hiring managers at power companies, and as I said, I really like to do this. What I like even more is when these connections result in a talented individual filling a vital role at a great company that recognizes and rewards the contribution of that individual. Happy hiring manager + happy new employee = happy me!