The basics that worked when you applied to earlier jobs still hold when you're looking for your second professional job, but in an amped-up form. Here are some ways to make a winning statement about yourself.
Do your homework. Make sure you understand the particulars of the place you're applying to and be able to articulate how you'd mesh with them, says David Boynton, PhD, an assistant psychology professor at St. Michael's College who sits on the psychology department's search committee.
"Getting an interview isn't necessarily about your being good in a completely objective and contextless way," he says. "It really has to do with the kind of person a place is looking for."
Show your assets. Highlight your special attributes or training, advises Nicole Lipkin, PsyD, who is starting a niche practice in forensic treatment and assessment, cancer-related counseling and business consulting.
"People won't notice you if you don't stand out in some way," she says. Lipkin, who also has an MBA, says her business training taught her that it's just as important to advertise the unique characteristics of your independent practice as it is for other kinds of businesses to market the special features of their products. Likewise in job interviews, says Nardozzi, state clearly to potential employers any special expertise, training or experiences that might make you stand out.
Accentuate the positive. Focus on why you want the job and what you'd offer it; avoid the negative when discussing why you're leaving your last job, says Georgia State University Assistant Psychology Professor Lindsey Cohen, PhD. Relatedly, cite mainly professional reasons for wanting a job, and mention personal reasons secondarily, he advises.
Negotiate. One advantage when you search for your second job is that you already have a Plan B to fall back on--your current job. "Consequently, you can be more selective and assertive in negotiation," says Denis L. Zavodny, PhD, director of clinical services at Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, an adolescent and family treatment facility in Hosford, Fla. Besides salary, consider negotiating for a flex schedule or expense-paid travel to conferences, he suggests.