What You Learned Trick-or-Treating Can Help Your Job Search!

October 31st, 2013 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »


Happy Halloween, everyone! Around the Ashley Ellis offices, we really get into the holiday spirit. Every Halloween season we rack our brains for creative new costume ideas, chow down on bowls of sweets, and just have a blast. And whenever we think about the hordes of trick or treaters heading off into the night on the quest to procure their body weight in processed sugar, we find ourselves wondering if we shouldn’t follow in their footsteps. Maybe not about the whole shaking down your neighbors for chocolate and gobs of high fructose corn syrupy snacks thing but about the way they approach Halloween. There are definitely job search lessons to be learned from trick or treaters.

Have a route mapped out – As a kid, you knew not to waste your time on certain notorious houses. Anyone handing out dental floss or chalky candies were skipped on principle alone. You plotted out your trek around the neighborhood with the intent of snagging the good stuff: king sized candy bars or your own favorite snack (personally, I beelined my way to any house with a stockpile of Mr. Goodbar). Why should your job search be any different?

Don’t waste your time applying to every position that crosses your path. If you do, you might reach a position with a company you would have loved long after someone else grabbed it. Tailor your search to your specific tastes and go for broke trying to get them.

Come dressed to impress – The kid with the coolest costume always got the best candy. There’s probably empirical evidence to prove it but you don’t need it. You probably remember firsthand. If your costume was the best, you would have some neighbor spouting about how cool or cute or awesome it was and then you’d get the choicest piece of sugary goodness.

Though no one is going to reward you if you have the most creative costume for your interview, you definitely won’t get any brownie points if you’re dressed like a schlub. If you didn’t put the time and effort into arranging good interview attire, you shouldn’t be too surprised if you don’t end up getting that sweet job.

Don’t get greedy – No one likes the kid who gluttonously grabs for any piece of candy within arm’s length. Everyone gives that kid the evil eye and a bad reputation will start to follow him or her around like a specter. There may be a temporary pay off with an impressive haul but the wellspring will dry up pretty quick for future Halloweens.

When looking for a position, sometimes it can behoove you to take a lower salary than you’re accustomed to for a position you’d love. Often, there are other perks that can more than make up for a small dip in wages. Additionally, never try to negotiate for salary during the first interview. It makes you seem like the type of money hungry person who would strong arm managers when their bargaining chips are at their highest point. Be tactful and polite; more often than not, you can often get a good mix of perks.

Network with your peers – While you’re on the hunt for candy, sometimes you’ll run into a friend who has a good bead on mind-blowing candy that you didn’t even know about. With this new information in hand, you definitely would make it a point to reroute your search and head for the house with the giant gummy alligators of legend.

Networking during your job search can provide the same bounty to you. Always keep in touch with friends and family to find out about unadvertised openings. Make connections at industry events or online forums to increase your network and shed a light on new positions. Regardless of how you do it, you should be talking to anyone you come across to get a good grasp on overlooked positions.

Be on your best behavior – If your neighbor was the sort to chase trick or treaters away from his porch with a blast from his garden house or invoked the Castle Law when anyone stepped on a single blade of his obsessively manicured grass, you might have been tempted at some point to get a little bit of Halloween pay back.

Though letting loose a barrage of fetid eggs at the curmudgeon’s house or encasing his prized bonsai tree with a layer of tightly wound toilet paper may seem like a good way to vent, but the consequences were often not worth it. Parental wrath, a juvenile rap sheet, and a month without Super Nintendo were clear enough of a message.

In the adult world, the t.p. and rotten egg equivalent often pops up all over social networks. After bad experiences at a previous job or a horrible interview, you may be tempted to unleash a maelstrom of complaints for the whole web to see but you need to keep the righteous anger of your typing fingers at bay. Future employers can easily find your online trash talking and I can almost guarantee that no one will be impressed.

Say thank you – It’s the least you can do. Someone just gave you candy! Free candy! Free candy with no strings attached! That’s pretty awesome of them.

When you interact with anyone, always say thank you. Manners, especially in the job search, can pay off big time.

by James Walsh