Using career resources effectively makes job search easier
No matter what stage of your career you find yourself, career resources can make job search easier. From job search engines to tips on how to find a job and resume examples, there are some basic tools each job seeker should consider using. Even if you aren’t actively looking to change careers or move into a new job, knowing where to look for information when you want it will be important.
Establish what you do well
Spending time on the internet or in bookstores looking at resume samples isn’t a great use of your time if you have experience creating a resume that got you a great job. Likewise, doing a career list or taking a career test once you have a solid career path that you want to follow would also not be useful. Identify what areas of your career or a potential future job search would be your weakness. Perhaps you need to find overall job interview tips to stay current with your industry. Maybe understanding how networking to find a job is helpful for your field of expertise could put you ahead of the competition in your current company or in the future.
Don’t try and read everything at once
Career resources are great to have and they come in all shapes and sizes. Being able to determine what types of help you need immediately and what types you could work on over time will be important in maximizing your time. Surfing the web for job opportunities when you really aren’t serious about trying to find a position will only cause you a migraine and lots of frustration. Make a list of what you want to learn, understand, and find and then prioritize the list based on your current situation.
Narrow the list down
Once you have the list, look at what is really relevant to your career choices. Thinking about getting a lot of computer skills may not be necessary if you are going to be in elementary education for the next 10 years. Restrict the list to activities and information you will really need in the next 5 years based on what you know about your field or the one(s) you think you may want to transition to.
Keep some things always current
Anyone who is currently employed or looking for a position should have a resume that is updated every thirty days. Even if you only review it and then change some wording based on new activities, you will keep your own skills top of mind. Knowing your own skills inside and out is an important lifelong skill. Having ways to communicate those skills and experiences will help you to continue your career or build a bridge to a career change.
- Five ways to evaluate employment agencies
Before you head out to ask employment agencies to help you find a job, there are some things to consider. The reality is that you will have to do the lion’s share of the work in finding a job. No employment agencies are set up to do all the work for any job seeker. Finding a new job is a job and as long as you understand that, employment agencies could be good places to find resources for support and information. The key is identifying what you want, what you need, and what providers could best serve your needs based on those goals.
Not all employment agencies have the same mission
The first point of evaluation should be based on your work experience, stage of work transition, and gender. There are certain employment agencies that will be more poised than others to offer you assistance. For example, female workers who are entering the workforce after raising a family may be better served by an organization like Fresh Start. Identify if there are resources and groups that are focused on supporting certain populations – these organizations may have networks and materials that could give you a competitive edge.
Secondly, workers searching for specific job training should consider organizations that provide internships, externships, or apprenticeship programs. Going to a general provider may give you websites or phone numbers to call, but the better approach is to find an organization that is channeled into support for the field or industry you want to pursue. Finding local companies or groups that have specific training will also increase your ability to network with prospective employers once you finish the training.
Legitimate employment agencies have references and resources
Once you have identified some employment agencies that you feel will assist you effectively, the next step is to screen how they will manage you as talent for the workforce. Some organizations may take your application, resume, and information and do nothing with it. Others may send you information about companies and jobs that are not aligned with your goals. Asking questions about the organization’s process of working with clients is an important part of your evaluation.
You are valuable and their resources should be too
Each employment agency should have materials and resources to support building your career search skills. If you find that the information is too basic or not pertinent to your industry, it may be time to find another agency to assist you. Be critical of what you already knew and what value they can provide you about current trends such as panel or video interviewing.
The last consideration is whether the organization has consistent updates in the jobs they post, employers they network with, and resources (like career fairs) they provide. It is your job to make sure you are receiving the latest and greatest access to prospective employers, so be flexible enough to switch employment agencies if the first one you find doesn’t end up working for you.
- Part-time jobs in your area could lead to your next career
Whether you are currently employed full-time or not may definitely affect your ability to take advantage of part-time jobs in your area. Don’t read into this too literally. Sure, there are part-time jobs that would require you to have a schedule that could conflict with your current full time job. Consider the different ways you could define part-time and different places you could find a job. For people who are currently working in a part-time job and want to eventually find a career, being strategic about what you are doing now will be crucial to success in securing a full-time job that will meet your goals.
If you are currently in a job – part-time or full-time – that isn’t giving you skills that you need for the career you want, you need to find a place to get the skills. This doesn’t mean you have to work 100 hours a week in multiple jobs. Be strategic. For example, if you need to improve technical skills, check out what community college, training schools, or organizations offer classes or workshops. You may be able to gain the skills on the weekend or at night outside of regular work hours.
If you are going to need a significant amount of education or training to make a move from your current job, establish a plan with a reasonable timeline. Don’t forget the softer skills that could help you secure the career opportunity you want. Communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills may be more valuable to you in transitioning than the harder skills.
Find part-time jobs that can make an impact
Volunteering could be a great option that acts as a part-time job. Even though you won’t necessarily get paid, the compensation in experience could be worth a lot. Search for organizations that need people with your area of expertise or the area you are trying to build skills in. Even in technical or management skill areas, volunteering somewhere could add the time and experience leverage you need to move into your next full-time career opportunity.
Read part-time job postings carefully
Be careful not to just jump into the first part-time job you find that requires some skills you have. Create a list of skills based on your objective and try to find an organization that will meet as many of those as possible. You don’t want to get into a position that only meets one area you need to develop and then find you need multiple jobs to ever make a move into the career you want.
Careers aren’t built overnight
Patience is a virtue and planning is the key. If you have an opportunity to start in a part-time job at a company you want to work at full-time, that is great. Develop a top ten list of companies you may want to work for and be patient in searching for jobs through their website. Even if you can’t find a job at one of those exact companies, consider working for the competitor or someone in the industry. Learning about the general environment can help you position yourself with an edge to move from part-time jobs into the career you want to have.
- Four things your resignation letter must say
Leaving a company usually creates a wide range of emotions. Of course you are excited about the new career opportunity you are moving to, but you may also be worried if you are making the right choice to leave. Because industries and companies are becoming more tightly knit communities, it’s very important to leave a job on the right foot. Preparing a resignation letter that is thoughtful and professional is a smart way to keep any future doors open.
Time makes the resignation less shocking
Your boss may have known you were looking for another position, but when you get a new job and have to tell them you are leaving, the reality will set in fast. He may ask you if there is anything he can do to make you reconsider your decision. Be prepared with your resignation letter in writing when you meet with your boss. Having the terms of your resignation in writing will make the transition easier for you and them.
The first part of your resignation letter should address when your last day will be. It is customary to give two weeks’ notice, but if you need to leave sooner, this part should address what you will be completing in terms of any outstanding projects or objectives prior to leaving. If you can give more than two weeks’ notice, that is probably going to be helpful to your manager. Remember that they will need to determine who is going to take over your workload until they can hire someone new.
Give appropriate, not too much, information
The resignation letter is not the place to start venting about co-workers or your boss. The second section in your letter should address in general why you are leaving. Something simple about your goal to move into a position with more people management, more project management, or less administrative responsibility could be examples. Don’t get into details and don’t use this area to make your employer feel like they were horrible to work for.
Ask and ye shall receive
The third area to address in your resignation letter is any outstanding vacation time or compensation that you would expect to receive before your last day or shortly thereafter. For example, if you are giving two weeks’ notice, but expect to take your two weeks’ vacation then instead of working, the resignation letter is the place to identify when your last actual day of work will be. Assuming that your boss will know information like that off the top of their head is unrealistic.
Just say thank you
Finally, your resignation letter is a place to formally show appreciation to your boss and co-workers. Even if you are leaving because of a negative workplace situation, it is appropriate for you to put language in the letter that says ‘I have appreciated the opportunity to be a part of X department.’ Keeping a positive tone to the letter will show that you are leaving to improve your own career and not to create any intentional bad feelings between you and anyone else in the current organization.
- Can a video resume help finding a career?
Technology continues to advance career search and morph the ways that job seekers present themselves to prospective employers. People who need help finding a career may believe that using every form of technology will increase the odds of employers hiring them. This may or may not be true, and there are a number of variables that you should consider before investing the time and money in the newest trends to get an employer’s attention.
Does the format really help finding a career?
It may seem old school to evaluate what type of resume will best represent your skills, but if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Consider your industry and what would seem reasonable. If you are applying to a large Fortune 500 company in consumer products, do you really be
lieve that a video resume is going to get the same level (or higher level) of attention that a classic, RTF/.docx/TXT file uploaded will? Job hunters trying to move into the higher tech fields or arts/entertainment fields will have a better shot of having a video resume actually get watched by a hiring manager.
Evaluate is who you think the audience will be for screening the resumes. Many companies use spider-like technology to weed out prospective candidates with computer based screening programs. Here’s where a video resume is completely useless. Even if a human being is viewing the resumes for initial screening, depending on the level of the perso
n’s responsibilities and other roles within the company, they may not have – or take – the time to click and listen to your video resume. Doing a quick scan of a written document is much faster and easier for the average person in a hiring role.
Your tech skills may not help finding a career…
Yes, tech skills can be very important in the workplace. Gen X’ers and Baby Boome
rs may need to learn new tech skills in order to make them more ‘employer friendly’. Using those skills at work may not involve the same level of expertise you need to create an effective video resume. For example, if the type of job you want to get doesn’t use Photoshop or Moviemaker at all, will a video resume show the boss that you have work ready skills, or just that you like to be creative? It may not be a bad thing to share your creative side, but waiting until you are hired may be a better choice depending on the job you are trying to get.
Just cause it’s new, doesn’t mean it’s better
There are some amazing uses of Twitter® for different people’s interests.
When it comes to job search, Twitter® is not going to replace LinkedIn® anytime soon. Imagine that you are the hiring manager and a candidate has decided to ‘tweet’ you with a link to their resume. You have never met this person before – will you really click on the link? Like it or not, older people still hold the majority of hiring roles in companies and Twitter® is not perceived as the most professional form of communication in the workplace.
Try it, you might like it
A video resume may be very effective if you are using it for the right reasons. Sharing it with a professional network, uploading it to your LinkedIn® profile, or adding it to Facebook® may be a great way to channel employers who want to ‘see it before they buy it
’. Younger hiring managers will consider newer job search techniques a bonus, so going this direction may be a benefit if you know your audience is a Gen Y’er. Do some research before you invest the time and money to determine if a video resume really can help finding a career.
- Five ways to evaluate employment agencies (helpyourcareer.org)
- Check out what your company is giving you
When you were first hired, you probably sat down with someone in HR or your manager and learned about all of the benefits of the job. Some of these are the basics, but what about the extras that you heard about once and never really checked out fully. In this economy, some of the benefits could make a dramatic difference. Maybe your company has discounts on car or hotel rentals for employees.
Is there a company store with products from different divisions that you can purchase at a discount. What options are available through Employee Assistance Programs – counseling, legal assistance, etc. – maybe you don’t need them now, but do you know how to access them when you do?
Are there partner organizations that provide discounts on things like appliances, moving equipment, landscaping? Take time to know how your company is supporting you outside the workplace and you may find some surprises to save you money.