Readers’ Forum: Give me a lower-level job

Sometimes it’s worth Taking a Salary Cut to Change Careers. At least, this reader thinks it is… and wants to know how to do it.

How do I let a potential employer know that I will take a lower-level job than my experience would otherwise indicate in order to learn a new subject area in my profession? (In my case, a new area of law). I don’t want to sound desperate, but I would be perfectly willing to come in at the level of a 1-to-3-year associate position and pay my dues, despite my 10 years of experience, to move from a dying area of law to a more vital, long-term one. Please help!

Is a law firm gonna hire a seasoned lawyer to the junior ranks? Is this a no-brainer? How should this reader approach her next employer?


How to Say It: Pest, or manager’s dream?

In the September 8, 2009 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter we’re discussing follow-up phone calls to managers. You know — that call you’re supposed to make after you submit a resume and application form.

In the newsletter, a reader worries that such calls can turn the job hunter into a pest. What manager wants to be bothered with that?

I explain that you should make the call, but make it without sending a resume and without filling out any applications. Make the call first. Then I challenge you to figure out what you’re going to say on that call. (Want to know more? You would, if you subscribed to the newsletter. Sign up now (it’s free), and you’ll be ahead of the game next week.)

To plan what you should say to a manager, put yourself in the manager’s shoes. If you were a manager, what would you want to hear from a caller who wants to work for you? As the job hunter, What does it mean to talk shop to that manager? Think. Are you gonna be a pest, or the manager’s dream?

Upon introducing yourself (on the phone) to a manager who knows nothing about you and who has never seen your resume, what could you say to make the manager want to hire you?


Attitude in a “crappy job market”

I don’t believe in the idea of a job market (that’s another discussion), but the very idea that we deal with a “market” when we search for a job leads some to get depressed and dispirited. If it really is a market, then it can be crappy and if it’s crappy we have no control which leads to a sense of helplessness. And for some, the world ends.

Reader Karen Seekins shared this with me the other day. I think it’s a potent antidote to the pain a lot of people feel about their job prospects. Read it, copy it, take it home, put it on the wall, live with it and let it remind you that you are the captain of your life.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.

Charles R. Swindoll

Life doesn’t suck. But sometimes our perspective does, and it’s up to each of us to turn around and look at things the way we need to.