*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a careers story that you’d like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
In 2008, I was making $36,000 a year and wanted a pay raise and a promotion. Unfortunately, in order to get a pay raise with my current company, I had to pass a retail test. After the first failed attempt, I asked and looked for study materials. I wanted anything that could help me pass the test. There were none, and that test was the absolute deciding factor for the promotion. Since I hate giving up, I took the test one more time. I failed. Instead of taking the test a third time, I decided it was in my best interest to find another job.
The first thing I did was update my resume. I added my current employer and job title and made sure the rest of the information was accurate. I changed the formatting from an object oriented to a skills and education based resume. I also made sure my resume was scannable in five seconds. I put my name, email address, side bar headers, job titles and companies in bold. I wanted the recruiter to immediately know who I was, where I worked, and what positions I had held at a glance.
Just because I was looking for another job didn’t mean that I slacked off at my current job. In fact, I worked harder. I took assignments not only at my home store, but also at other stores where I covered assistant manager vacations and illnesses. I even offered to work a store’s backroom for a week prior to their inventory.
I scanned the online jobs ads twice a week for two months. After two months of watching and waiting, I spotted a job with soft drink distributor as an account manager. The pay was $40,000 a year plus bonuses. The job required 100% local travel, the ability to sell drinks to outlets, a college degree, and the ability to get along with a diverse group of people. I met those requires. I applied. It took me about an hour and a half to fill out the on-line application, fill out another miscellaneous form, and agree to a background and credit check.
Email And Phone Call
Two weeks after I filled out the application, I received an email stating that the company would like to set up a phone interview. I agreed to a date and time and made sure I was in a location with good cell coverage and a WIFI connection. I was polite. I explained my experience and answered all the woman’s questions in a professional and courteous manner. The call ended with the promise of a follow-up call which I received a few days later.
The new job and interview location was two hours from where I lived, I drove out the day before the interview. I wanted to make sure I was well rested and fed. I also wanted to make sure I was at the interview on time.
I arrived 10 minutes early dressed in black slacks and a professional blouse. While I waited, I observed the environment. There were several employees dressed casually. Some were wearing jeans. When the interview door opened, I spotted the person ahead of me wearing a thread-bare short sleeved dress shirt and too-big pants. As far as appearance, I was ahead of the game.
During the interview, I made sure to look alert and pay attention. If there was a statement I didn’t understand, I asked for clarification. When it was my turn to speak, I told him about myself, my past work experience and reiterated what the interviewer said in different words to make sure I completely understood the information.
Got The Job
Two days later I received another phone call stating that the drink distributor was emailing me a job offer. The email arrived while I was on the phone. I printed off the letter, signed it, and faxed it back the same day. I had successfully changed jobs and increased my yearly pay $4,000.