The Career Coach took questions online last week. What follows are excerpts:
Q.:I am a paralegal in a large law firm downtown. Last month, I electronically submitted my résumé to another law firm in response to one of their openings. I can check this law firm’s job listings online, and yesterday I noticed that the position I applied for in June was still available, with a new July listing date. Should I re-send my résumé in response to the updated listing, or just assume that their lack of contact means lack of interest?
Joyce E.A. Russell: Great question and one that others have also asked. I would definitely reach back out to them, either by resubmitting your résumé or by calling them directly to let them know that you are very interested in the job and highlight how your skills and experiences fit their needs. I would not just assume that they are not interested in you. Maybe you can reexamine the listing to make sure that your résumé or cover letter specifically addresses the areas they have mentioned in their job listing. For example, if they mentioned they needed someone with strong analytical skills, you should directly (point for point) mention how you have those specific skills. It is possible that your cover letter or résumé was too generic and was not tailored to their particular needs. Best of luck!
Q.:A couple months ago, I was promoted into a senior-level position at my organization where I now head up a couple projects. The corporate “type” for leadership at my company is extroverted, while I am decisively introverted (variations on the comment “she should come out of her shell more” have appeared regularly on my overall very positive performance reviews since I was hired). I’ve been with this company for most of a decade and my hire and promotions have all been when introverts were making the employment decisions. My recent promotion was no exception, and my now-boss said at the time that he was clearly aware I’m an introvert, but he recognizes that there are many ways to get things done. The boss who promoted me into this position is now going elsewhere in the company, and I’m concerned about working for a new executive, who has not yet been chosen, although I’m familiar with some of the finalists. I think I’m starting to settle into the position and have some decent accomplishments I can point to and no big negatives, but do you have any suggestions for starting off on a good foot with a new supervisor who is likely expecting me to fit the standard “type” for my role?
Russell: I would definitely make sure that when your new boss is hired that you spend some time with him/her to let them know about your work style and to learn about theirs. Spend some time asking questions of him/her to learn what his/her goals are for your job (that is, how will he/she know if you are successful) so that you know what the expectations are. But ask questions and listen to mainly learn what his/her style of work and leadership is. This will tell you a lot about how you might need to work with him/her.
Since you mention being an introvert, there are some great books out there that can provide some valuable tips for introverts working in an extroverted world (“The Introverted Leader;” “Quiet;” “The Introvert Advantage”). You might find them really helpful as you work surrounded by more extroverted folks.
Q.:I have a stable job that I don’t hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business. How do you suggest I begin down the entrepreneur path while still working full time? I’d like to start small and expand if it takes off. What are some of the early steps I should take to get something off the ground?
Russell: I would definitely network with groups that provide entrepreneurial assistance. For example, at the Smith School of Business, we have the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides a lot of help and guidance for our students and alumni interested in starting their own businesses. I would definitely try to reach out to groups like this (to start attending events for entrepreneurs so that you can network). I would also read about the tips for successful entrepreneurs and attend any workshops or classes that could offer ideas for starting your own business. This is such a popular topic that there are definitely plenty of books and classes on it. But, most importantly, develop a plan or schedule for yourself outlining what you will do and by when. For example, you might stipulate that you will use the next three months to scope out your idea, the following three months to learn all about starting a business and attending workshops, the next few months to network with others in your possible field. Without a plan, it will be hard to dedicate time to starting your business. Talking to people who have started businesses is also a really good idea since they can serve as a sounding board for things to think about and who else to talk with.