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Career Search Strategies

  • jobNot Every Job Is Worth Having

    We all know that the interview process is primarily about the employer assessing whether or not they want to hire you. The truth is, you are supposed to be doing the same. There are, of course, questions you should be asking in the interview to get information on everything from the job to your potential supervisors and the company’s direction as a whole. But there are some things that you can simply observe before the job interview even starts that may clue you in as to whether you should turn and run. Now, before you get huffy, I know that everyone’s pocketbook status is different. So yours may be a case of “I would run if I could afford to, however …”. But trust me when I tell you that there are some employment situations that will be worse for you than a few late notices. While the final decision would be up to you, here are some things you can pay attention to that may help you go into a job situation more aware.

    So, you have arrived at the employer’s office (15 minutes early, I hope). You have been greeted by the receptionist and now you are sitting in the waiting area. Don’t zone out completely. This a good opportunity to observe the surroundings. If you have already prepped for the interview (and as my sister would say, YA BETTAH HAD!!!), then you can take that time to put up your antenna to get a sense of your environment. Is the reception area continuously experiencing traffic by people complaining about their boss, their job, or just gossiping? It is amazing how few people who do these things try to disguise it or even pay attention that others you have no business hearing it can hear them. Take a listen to get an idea of what you are potential future coworkers are like.

    It is now time to call you back for the interview. Perhaps they are walking you through an area where most of your future coworkers are housed. Watch their body language. Look at their faces. Do they look motivated? Do they look satisfied? Do they look happy? If the pervasive look is one of despair and wanting to escape, put this into your decision matrix.

    What about the physical space? Is the job in a shoddy or unkempt building? Is the furniture falling apart? If you prefer a serene environment, then what about plants and artwork while performing your job?

    Happy workspaces do in fact exist. True, no job or employer is perfect. But to toil away for 8 to 10 hours every – – – single – – – day in a place that drains you? Well, you could be back on the market in 6 months just to maintain your sanity.
    But again, everybody’s pocket and past due notice stack is different. You gotta “do you”, right?

  • job huntAcceptance of the Job Isn’t the End of the Process

    If you are a fan of the NBA, then you know that when it comes to your favorite player, he can be speedy, strong, and have dribble/drive skills beyond belief. But if he cannot “finish” the play, he will never be considered one of the best. When it comes to the job hunt, accepting the job offer is not the last of it. Or at least it should not be. Remember, along with the short term position, you have a long-term career to manage. The following are some things you can do to tie up all the loose ends once you have been offered the position and the job hunt ends.

    Get the Offer in Writing

    The hiring manager has called you and offered you the position. That is great! The job hunt is over! But don’t start doing the happy dance just yet. If the salary and benefits are to your liking, go ahead and verbally accept, but request that a copy be sent to you in writing. You want to go here is to avoid any misunderstanding should your application have to cycle through other individuals and departments for the details. If you are told that you are being offered $80,000 annually, you do not want to find out on the back end that somehow this was changed to $72,000 and have no documentation to refute that. Be sure all benefits and perks are mentioned within the document. Ensure that you can access a copy of this when going through your onboarding process. This is just good business, people.

    Change LinkedIn Profile

    A “current” LinkedIn profile is a good profile. When the timing is right after your job hunt, log in and add the new position to your profile. Don’t forget to change the previous position to past tense verbiage and provide an ending date. Follow the new company via your profile as well. While I recommend that the alerts on profile changes usually be turned off, you may wish to inform the world of your new position. If so, then turn on alerts before entering the new position and it will automatically update your timeline. What??? You do not have a LinkedIn page yet? Then click here so I can help you join the 21st century, will you please?

    Inform Colleagues of your New Position

    If you have been conducting your job hunt the right way, you have your colleagues also keeping an ear to the ground for positions that may be of interest to you. Once you have accepted a new position, take the time to let all of your colleagues and networking contacts know that you have done so. This not only prompts them to stop expending effort for you, it provides you with the opportunity to thank them for their assistance. The “thank you” is a powerful gesture. While you should be doing so all the time, small gestures such as this help to maintain your relationships. Remember, one’s network is still the #1 avenue for finding new employment, even in our highly technological age.

    Reach Out to Strong Interests to Inform of Acceptance

    Hey, let’s not forget those hot irons you had in the fire. While most people will simply break off communication with other potential employers after landing a position, what you should do is reach out to those hiring managers to inform them that you have accepted another position. Why? You may have to reach out to these hiring authorities again in the future, be it with these companies or the next. Again, little gestures carry more weight than most people think. With these individuals considering bringing on professionals, you will save them time by letting them know you have taken your hat out of the ring. This will make their job easier, and perhaps even open up long-term lines of communication that adds to your trusted network. (HINT: it is always, always about the long game!)

    Research new Position, Prepare Questions to Hit Ground Running

    Ok, you have think your network, advised by the potential employers, now it is time to prep for your new role. Do as much homework as you can on the new job that you have been offered. The more you know going in the door, the more impressed they will be. Have your questions prepared in advance if you can. First impressions have always been important. (That is why you got your new resume from a certified resume writer, right?)

    I know there is a lot to account for and plenty to do to prep for your new position. But taking care of these seemingly minor items can do a lot for positioning you for expedited movement in the future. If you are managing your career correctly, you are always working the long game. That new job you accepted could abruptly end in six months. You want to be ready just in case.

    Now go WOW them!

     

  • thinking-womanYou’ve got the document, so refine your job search strategy!

    So, you’ve received a brand new and highly effective resume from The Resume Clinic. It is well balanced, easy to read, search friendly and efficiently written. Now that you have this wonderful tool in hand, what are your next steps in landing a great job? This is the first part of a series on what to do (resume and otherwise) to make your job search strategy work to position you for long-term success.

    Stash Electronic Copies of your Resume

    It’s 2015, people. You really don’t need to be walking around with hard copies of your resume as part of your job search strategy. More likely than not you will need an electronic version before you ever need that hard copy. Be sure you have copies of that resume stashed in several places for easy access. First, ensure that you have the primary version set to “read only” so that you do not mistakenly make any changes to the document. Next, tuck a copy of the resume in your cloud storage. It would help if this was accessible through an app on your phone. but the smartphone’s browser will do in a pinch. Also, get yourself a thumb drive. The smaller the better. Physically, that is, not from his storage standpoint. Something nice and stylish that will fit on your key ring would be nice, wouldn’t it? And don’t forget to leave a copy in your web-based email account.

    Clean Up Your Social Media Space

    Man, if you only knew the number of people who lost great opportunities because of idiotic Facebook or Twitter posts, you and go to your account immediately and clean them up. Employers have admitted to checking applicants Facebook pages before even reading their resumes. And by the way, those privacy settings can be gotten around. Don’t let an idiotic pic of you and a bong (or worse) keep you from launching your career. Go through all of your social media accounts as part of your job search strategy and get those types of things out of there. Are you a huge political commenter? Just remember that the person reading that resume may not have the same views as you do. In fact, they may be the only one in the office with a view that is not like yours. But just because your resume ran across this person, you can miss out on a great job. Keep the social media profiles professional. In fact, you should be using these to brand yourself as an industry professional. Comment on things having to do with your chosen profession or forward relevant articles of interest with your comments on what you read. Use this vital space to cement your qualifications in the minds of your readers and potential employers.

    Coming later, part 2 of this job search strategy series.

  • operations managerMany professionals prefer the benefits of working for larger corporations. There are the benefits packages, ample training, and perceived job security that make this option all too attractive. But with many people overlook is the benefits of working for smaller, growing companies. According to the National Small Business Association, small businesses make up 99.9% of the 26.8 million businesses in the United States. So if you are only looking for a large company opportunities, you can be leaving a lot on the table.

    From a professional standpoint, the small company opportunities allow you to gain a broad range of skill sets because of the need for its employees to wear many hats. In larger organizations, everyone tends to be more specialized and compartmentalized. With numerous cards in their machinery, large enterprises love to take the plug and play approach with employees. The more focused your job, the more easier you are to replace. You’re smaller businesses tend to expose you to more, making you more valuable in the marketplace. It also better prepares you for running your own enterprise someday.

    With smaller businesses, you are also able to ride the crest of success to larger financial gains. If you are fortunate enough to get in on the ground floor of a great business, you can find yourself wealthy very quickly. Just ask any Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon employee who had stock options from the start. When you come into a large business that is already established. Your salary and benefits pretty much represent the range of where you will be for some time. Promotion opportunities tend to be less available, and of course, the political environment will play a role.

    As I mentioned earlier, the illusion of job security with a larger company it’s just that. An illusion. Larger companies will not think twice before jettisoning entire departments and divisions, dumping hundreds or thousands into the available work pool in an effort to streamline personnel costs and increase the bottom line for shareholders and senior management. The best part about  small company opportunities is that it is much easier to keep your ear to the ground as to what is happening with the company. You will usually see trouble coming.

    Of course, your financial and family situation dictates which option is better for you in the long term. For example, and older professional may value the benefits package more so than the potential for explosive income growth or promotion. Younger professionals can afford the luxury of taking a position with a startup entity that may not offer benefits, but an excellent opportunity to get into something on the ground floor to experience the huge upside. One’s personality and tolerance for risk should also should dictate the type of position pursued. But either way, keep your head on a swivel and ear to the ground for rumblings of what is going on with your employer and your industry.

  • job search support“Here is the basic rule for winning success. Let’s mark it in the mind and remember it. The rule is: Success depends on the support of other people. The only hurdle between you and what you want to be is the support of other people.” (David Joseph Schwartz)

    There is usually a lot of stress in the air when going through a job search. You have to find a certified resume writer you can trust, call creditors to warn them of potential missed payments due to unemployment, and perhaps even have some difficult conversations with family members until the things are back on track. If not careful, going through this process can prove to be taxing mentally and even cause you to spiral into depression. As with any difficult period or task, one usually finds it easier to manage if there is some sort of support system that exists. Something to prop you up through the bad times and provide a bridge to success. Here are some tips to structuring a support system that can not only aid with the search, but relieve some of the stress associated with it.

    Get Family and Friends on the Same Page

    As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, having family members and friends that are not in alignment with your job search needs can be problematic. Sometimes they do not take your job search as seriously as you do. Not necessarily intentional, but it happens. Sometimes they just do not know any better. Well, it is up to you to turn those individuals into allies in the cause. Have conversations with all of your friends and family members. Let them know you not only need the space to conduct an effective job search, but that you can also use assistance from time to time. This can be in the form of transportation, housekeeping, babysitting, or just supportive conversation and positive reinforcement. Make sure they know about (and respect) your job search spaces and designated job search times.

    Meet with Other Job Seekers for Support

    Nothing makes a rough time easier quite like knowing there are others dealing with the same situation. Make arrangements to meet up with other individuals who are also conducting job searches. This is not only good for your morale, but you may also find out some excellent job search management tips from others that you have not considered before. Who knows, they may know about a position available that did not interested them, but may be of interest to you. These like-minded individuals can also help you remain accountable for using your time wisely, and vice versa. Did you know that meetup.com has 138 groups specifically for unemployed support? Find our if there is one in your city and join.

    Find a Mentor

    The best way to get from point A to point B is to find someone who is already at point B and ask them how they got there. Mentors are great for this. Connecting with a mentor not only keeps your eye on the final goal, you get access to excellent advice to little known strategies for achieving your objective. Mentors also have connections. A conversation could lead to a phone call to one of their colleagues that results in an interview. One never knows. But it is always good to have a relationship with someone who is successful in your field. Think about it as a road map on a car trip. If someone has already mapped the terrain and tell you where all of the potholes, traffic delays and dead ends are, why wouldn’t you adjust your trip accordingly?

    Good LinkedIn Groups to Join

    As of the first quarter of 2015, the LinkedIn platform had 364 million users across the globe. It is fast becoming the primary business networking platform on earth. You can find additional support for your job search by becoming a member of any number of LinkedIn groups. Ask questions and let others help you to build a strategy. Weather it is groups targeting the job search process, interviewing skills, or industry specific information and current events, LinkedIn professionals will be able to give you feedback that can only strengthen your search process. And don’t just lurk, participate and contribute! By the way, if you are not on LinkedIn yet, you need to rectify that immediately.

    A Session or Two with a Psychiatrist Can Never Hurt

    Stress from mounting bills, family pressures, and other factors can weigh on you mentally. Hopefully chatting with friends and family can help to relieve that tension. But if you cannot find psychological relief there, consider one or two sessions with a mental health professional. These individuals can help you sort out feelings and perceptions that may be affecting your health, or even affecting your search effectiveness. Depending upon your health insurance plan, this may be a covered visit. But even if it is not, talking to someone who can help you to sort things out is always money well spent.

  • How Industry Associations Can Bolster Your Career

    whodoitellaboutmyjobsearchTo establishing yourself as an expert in your field usually takes hours of study, time and patience. But to make the road easier to travel, you want to have access to as many resources as possible. Industry associations provide a wealth of benefits that can support you on your way to subject matter expert status.

    Networking Opportunities

    Industry associations serve as a hub for the best and the brightest within any particular craft. If there are movers and shakers within your shown profession, you can bet that they have a strong presence within these types of organizations. Joining an industry association gives you access to other professionals with which you can build supportive relationships. As a member of the same association, you have common ground with other professionals with which you can form strategic alliances that can help your career endeavors through information sharing or introductions to other bigger players within your profession.

    Continuing Education

    Most credible industry associations offer programs that help their members to strengthen their knowledge base within the profession, secure valuable career-advancing certifications and gain CEUs to keep them. One can usually access course recordings online (some free, some for a small fee) to listen to at your convenience.

    Resources

    A good industry association will provide its members with tools that help them improve the value of their professional “product”. Membership should provide members with advantages not enjoyed by non-members, or why else would they join? For example, resume writers have several organizations that provide everything from keyword research tools to job descriptions to help its members provide a higher quality product to their clients. Most associations also have message boards and chat rooms where professionals discuss their challenges and get input on resolving them. Good associations will also provide their members with excellent discounts programs on items, product and services as excellent incentives for membership.

    Branding

    When employers see that you are an active member of a credible organization, they feel better about you being one who takes their career seriously. This gives you a bit of a leg up on those unaffiliated with such organizations. Employers know it is possible that you bring to the table the three points mentioned above (a network, access to resources) and a strong knowledge base), which only helps their cause.

    Aligning yourself with a strong industry associations is always a good move. You will find that the bonds you form with fellow industry professionals can provide you with numerous benefits in the form of support, new business partnerships, industry intelligence, or perhaps just someone to listen that understands your plight.

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