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Jewish World Review March 15, 2001 / 20 Adar, 5761

Getting Hired By Marvin Walberg

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Consumer Reports

Sell your strengths, then talk work schedules -- DEAR MR. WALBERG: I was informed recently that my employer is going to relocate, leaving me in a rather tough situation. I was hired as a full-time customer service representative several years ago but became a part-timer, working 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., after my daughter was born. It was the company's suggestion and I greatly appreciated it.

Now, the prospect of job searching frightens me. I am not sure how to word my cover letters. Should I leave out the flexible time period that works best for me and my family, or should I be up front and honest when contacting potential employers? -S.M., New Jersey.

DEAR S.M.: I've said it dozens of times in this column: Always tell the truth when communicating with potential employers. The question is, how much of the truth should you tell?

Job searching is selling, and when you are selling a product or service, you make your "pitch," staying truthful and honest all the way, then you shut up and wait for a response.

You can talk yourself out of a sale, or reduce the amount of your sale, by talking too much - by saying more than needs to be said.

In your situation, conduct your search and make your sale. Turn the employer's "interest" in you as a job candidate into a "need" for the business.

Once the "need" is established and you get an offer, begin the discussion of flexible hours just as you would discuss the starting salary or other benefits.

But you must first establish the "need," your worth to the company, or you won't have the strength you'll need to negotiate what you need. Here are the steps you should take:

- Present yourself as a job candidate honestly and truthfully, but don't set limits. This is the time to sell yourself, not set boundaries or make personal requests.

- Establish the "need," your worth to the employer. Make your pitch, then wait for acceptance.

- Continue selling your strengths until the need is cemented and the offer is yours.

- Now you can discuss your needs and negotiate a mutually beneficial relationship for you and your new employer.

Marvin Walberg is a job search consultant and the author of ''About Getting Hired: the Job Search.'' Comment by clicking here.


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