Find a New Career with expert assistance
Anyone who is trying to find a new career will be able to use this site to be successful. Even though the first step is to make sure you are building a resume that will accurately represent your skills and separate you from the competition, there are other important considerations. Planning and preparation for the job hunting process will eliminate stress and result in a productive use of your time while changing jobs.
Finding the RIGHT Job
Before you search for a resume writer or resume samples, think about what type of job you’re trying to get. If you are using a career list or career finder to give you direction, be honest in your answers. Making a career change to sales may seem like a profitable move, but if you hate rejection and don’t like being aggressive that type of position won’t be a fit.
Take time to identify your transferable skills, what you like and don’t like about current and past jobs, and what your goals are for the next five years. Putting this information down on paper and then conducting a job search will be much easier. It’s also important to define whether you are looking for a job in your current geography or elsewhere. Being able to find jobs in your area may be more important than finding a job that you love.
Your resume is just the first step
Part of the process to find a new career is building a network that can support you in the transition. Conducting a local job search may be easier if you join organizations that have meetings or events where you can meet prospective employers. Even if you are doing an online job search, try looking for groups through social media that aggregate positions in your specialty or allow companies to post their open positions.
Interviewing is an art form
As you look at job postings, be sure to identify the skills that you could be asked about in a job interview. Understanding how to prepare for an interview, including the job interview questions you should ask at the end, can be the difference between getting to the next stage of the process. Regardless of the industry you want to find a job opportunity in, interviewing separates the average candidate from the one who is confident in their abilities and can provide value to the employer.
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- Networking isn’t just an online activity
Professionals who have learned how to maximize their career through industry affiliations and networking will always be able to find job opportunities. Choosing an organization to affiliate with can be an overwhelming task depending on many variables. Some of these include the amount of time you can devote to participation in the group, format they use to meet, and overall objectives you have for being involved. Beyond joining a group, there are networking events that should also be considered as options.
Determine whether your industry has a specialized national organization that has a local chapter. Groups like American Marketing Association have national scope and regional or local affiliates that allow for in person interaction with colleagues. How much time do you want to devote to involvement in the organization? If you are transitioning into a new industry, you may want to use participation in a networking group to build skills to use in your next position and/or to meet potential employers.
Think about what skills you can use through your participation that are relevant to your next career opportunity. Offering to coordinate programs, solicit donations, schedule speakers, or lead a certain area (Treasurer, Committee Chair) could be a win-win for you and the organization. The overall goal should be to join an organization that can add value to your career development and that you can change your level of activity to create the best work-life balance throughout your life.
Networking events can expand your career options
Networking events provide job seekers with advantages in job transition because of the wide range of ways to build a network. Professional affiliation groups have events that could be open to the public and help you expand your network. Just showing up is not an effective way to maximize these opportunities, so plan ahead to get the most out of your time.
Look at the agenda for the event
Most professional groups will have a mix of ‘general business’ activities along with an industry speaker and networking time. The first time attending a group’s event, you may want to select one that has more time for networking to evaluate whether the people involved in the group would be aligned to your job transition goals. Depending on your industry, there may be more than one local organization that will fit the goal of networking, so try more than one group’s events if possible to find the one that is best for the level and type of position you are seeking.
Be prepared, but not aggressive
Networking events are great places to meet people who could be involved in companies you may want to pursue, but the events aren’t the time to share your resume. If you want to bring general resumes to carry in a portfolio, that is fine but don’t hand them out unless the event specifically calls for that or you are asked for one from a person you meet. Get business cards from people when possible and then once you have attended an event, remember to email anyone you met within 48 hours and thank them for their time. If appropriate, you could attach your resume to the email, if the conversation you had with them opened that door.
- Making your resume online effective at a career fair
Career fairs are great places to meet a prospective employer. Job seekers need to be aware of many things to effectively navigate through these events and secure a career opportunity. Dressing professionally and showing up with plenty of time to meet all of the relevant employers is important. Transitioning your resume online into a live interaction doesn’t need to be an intimidating task.
At a career fair, you will hand a resume over to each employer. Once you have initiated a conversation with a hiring manager, and they ask you about your qualifications, the ball goes into your court to ask the employer questions. There are a few questions that you should avoid asking.
What jobs are you hiring for? Is there an opportunity to advance from this job? You should have an idea of what jobs they are offering by preparing ahead of the event. Go to the event website, interview process, planning for the next position you could have in the company is premature.
Inappropriate questions could get your resume online be deleted
Planning ahead with appropriate questions will make you seem professional and prepared. There are just some questions that are off limits for a career fair. What types of benefits does your company offer? This could be discovered on the company website or from someone after an initial interview. Is the pay negotiable? Career fairs aren’t appropriate places to start discussions about compensation.
Awkward moments should be avoided
Why is the position open? It doesn’t matter why the job is open. If you are asking this to figure out about the boss, company culture, difficulty of responsibilities, then phrase the question differently and ask it in a formal face-to-face interview.
Pressuring the recruiter isn’t going to win you points
How soon will you contact me for an interview? This won’t create a sense of urgency for the hiring manager. Focus on giving them evidence of your skills and experience and you will have earned an interview. The career fair is the place to put your selling shoes on so the person searches for your resume online. Attending a career fair event with effective questions that allow you to learn about the various ways you could provide value to the employer will put you miles ahead of the competition.
- A holiday and an interview are similar; prepare or fail
Holiday time equals family, friends, planning and celebrating. An interview may not seem that similar, but what other time in your professional life involves intricate planning and execution to make a positive impression on people who know you and people who are complete strangers? Companies are using career fairs this time of the year to find candidates that can do both – are you ready to take on the challenge? There is a very competitive environment career fairs can have. There are some easy ways candidates can be strategic and successful in executing a stand up interview in this environment.
Timing, timing, timing
Look at the time for the event. If the career fair starts before 9am and ends at 6pm, the highest traffic times will be early, lunchtime, and late. Try to attend during ‘off hours’ to get the most time with recruiters. Plan ahead and prioritize which companies you want to meet. This is especially important if your time is limited. Even if you have all day to attend, prioritizing will allow you to go see other companies if one has a long line of people.
Prepare for follow up with everyone you meet. Ask the recruiters when they are planning to schedule interviews or if you can schedule right then. If they will be doing follow up, take notes of when you should plan to hear from them. Remember to get a business card from anyone you speak with to send a follow up email also.
How much is “too much” at a career fair?
Career fairs are great places to meet prospective employers and learn about opportunities in your current field or in an industry you would like to transition to. Be cautious on how you prepare for career fairs and how that quick introduction to the company is perceived.
Keep it simple and direct
Candidates should take a last look in the mirror before heading to a career fair and see if there is anything that would distract the interviewer from the conversation. This includes jewelry, bright colored ties, shirts, or blouses, or too high heels or non-conservative suit colors.
A focused resume makes a positive impact
Keeping your work and experience history in bullet point format will make more of an impact. Even tenured workers need to be sensitive to presenting a resume that has too much information. Remember that the resume is a visual to give the recruiter a snapshot on what skills and background you have that can be used by their organization.
- Resume building is a necessity for the holiday season
Finding resources for resume building during the holiday season can be an exhausting process. The internet provides a great way to find multiple locations and sources of information. For candidates making a career transition in November and December, there are several places to get information that can make the job search process easier.
Local resources can help with resume building
Search weekly to find workshops provided at no cost from credible locations such as One Stop Centers, Goodwill Career Centers, college career services centers, and Workforce Connections. Maximize your time by attending workshops with multiple topics at one time. These are sources that cities provide for their residents. Ignoring the resources that you can use for free is silly.
Check out the different workshops these locations provide to you. Vary the topics you focus on based on what steps have been the most challenging in the career search process. If you are confident in the content of your resume, look for resources that will expand your ideas and options for getting your resume into the hands of potential employers.
Resume building should be tailored
Resume screening is the first step of any recruitment process. The economy has increased the number of people posting for positions, and depending on the number of resumes received and the company’s policy on length of time needed for positions to be ‘posted’, this phase could be a few days or a couple of months. Finding resources specific to your industry is crucial to your success in the search process. Use professional networks and associations to attend events that are focused on career development. You can’t expect a general source to know what employers in your specific field want to see.
Understand how your resume translates into the interview
Interview processes have become more elaborate and extensive than ever. Job seekers who are transitioning from one industry or field to another should understand the possible paths interviews can take to minimize personal frustration and exhaustion with the process. Phone interviews are typically the next step after a resume screening, so a larger number of candidates can be evaluated in a shorter period of time.
Does resume building get you to the hiring manager?
Passing the phone interview is great, but it’s important to know that face-to-face interviews follow many different formats. There are one-on-one, team, or panel interviews – all of which involve one candidate and varied numbers of managers within the organization. Another format is the group interview, where more than one candidate is interviewed at a time and then rotated through several interviews with different people sequentially. Even though you used resume building to get into the queue for interviews, you need to practice interview skills to eventually get the job offer.
- Top tips to make your interview land a job offer
Preparing in advance for an interview will make the difference between candidates. Plan ahead by doing simple things in advance – purchase an interview suit, portfolio with pad of paper, and resume paper. Look on job search websites such as Career Builder and Jobing.com to find local career fairs or virtual career fairs. Create a ‘top 10 list’ of companies you want to work for – see if they are going to be at public career fairs like those sponsored by Career Builder or Jobing.com.
The most important thing to remember about a Career Fair is that you only have about a minute or two to explain why the recruiter should keep talking to you. Research who will be at the fair and what they are hiring for. If there’s a job description with a title, tailor your resume to give them with the title and company name also.
Have a brief explanation of ‘Why I came up to your table’ ready – something like “Hello, I am Joe Smith. Here is a copy of my current resume, and as you can see I have experience in Marketing. I know that you are recruiting for positions here in the Chicago area. I have worked in the past using my X skills. I would like to know what top skills you feel are important for qualified candidates.”
A phone interview is meant to screen you out
Several companies conduct phone interviews as the first step when they recruit for internships and full-time positions. The best candidates have practiced with friends or family in advance of a phone interview. The reality is that a phone interview will most likely be your first introduction to a company unless they are coming directly to career services or a career fair.
Be in the right place at the right time
Doing a phone interview in a potentially loud place could be disastrous – plan ahead to schedule with the interviewer at a time when you can be in a traffic free spot. Figure out if you have any habits to break over the phone – do you say ‘um’ or ‘like’? Do you talk too softly? Are you using intonation to make the interviewer want to keep talking to you? Practice common questions and your answers – phone interviews are open book tests! Have some notes about your accomplishments and skills in front of you to use as a reference.
Expect the expected and act accordingly
Prepare questions to ask the interviewer and write them down ahead of time. EVERY recruiter will end the interview by asking ‘What questions do you have for me?’ – having no questions or winging it shows a lack of preparation. And finally, but most importantly, ask for the next interview! Ending an interview with “that’s all of the questions I had” doesn’t require any further action on the part of the recruiter. Your objective is to get the offer – by asking for the next interview you show your passion for the position and assertiveness about wanting to work at the company.