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.
- Posting your resume online is only the first step
Posting a current resume online that dynamically describes your skills and experience is only the first step toward securing a career opportunity. The internet has made applying for positions easier in some ways and more complex in others. There are a lot of ways to contact potential employers, but knowing how and when separates the superior candidate from the one that never gets an interview.
Find employers that are in the ‘hiring phase’
You may not find a position fitting your interest area, but you can find key information like a contact name, departments looking for candidates and a phone number. Use job search engines with listings for companies of all size include: Career Builder, Yahoo Hot Jobs, Monster, and Indeed. Other options include searching on your career services website for the NACE listings if you graduated from an affiliated institution.
National Association of Collegiate Employers uses a database to post positions in various locations across the country. If you have never used your institution’s career services department, it is VERY important to post your resume on their website. Companies that recruit there will search on their own through the resume database with keywords to find potential candidates too. If you haven’t posted yours, you can’t be found.
Target them with your resume online
Create a “Top 20 List” for companies that you want to contact to potentially work for. These may be some of the ones in the ‘hiring phase’ along with organizations you have heard about from peers, relatives, career services, professors, presentations in organizations and professional affiliations. Contact the companies on the list after getting information on the ‘best person’ to reach.
Make your resume online personal
If you don’t have a personal contact, you can also do some private investigation work to get it. Go to the company website and use their directory or department listing to help with direction on who would be in a managerial position to contact. Call the company and ask for the department you are interested in. Ask who the manager of the department is and what email address they can be reached at to forward information. If you get company information from a personal contact, ask if you can mention them when you email or call the person at the company. Having an ‘in’ and knowing someone is always a great advantage.
You are in the driver’s seat for the process
The process of sending multiple resumes online takes time and commitment. Keep notes on when you send them, to whom, and when and how you followed up. Staying organized and positive will increase your chances in being the candidate that makes it to the phone screen interview. Then you can share your skills and experience in work, organizational involvement and volunteering to show you are qualified and enthusiastic.
- Career fairs can provide help finding a career
Job seekers have great opportunities to attend local career fairs with employers looking for talent during the fall months. Preparing for an event should be a process, not a last minute rush or ‘wing it’ situation. Taking the time up front to get ready will help you leverage each part of these events. If you need help finding a career, career fairs may have the answers you need to make a decision. Here are some quick tips to help you make the preparation for career fairs less stressful.
Research what companies will be attending and what positions they are hiring for. This information may be on the career fair sponsor’s webpage and you can cross-reference with the individual company’s website for more details on the job opportunities. Create tailored resumes for the companies that you want to be sure to meet with. Be sure to also have some generically based resumes for companies that are last minute additions to the fair.
Figure out what else will be going on at the event. Career skills workshops can provide needed advice to navigate through the interview process. There are many venues and topics depending on what information you want to learn more about. Depending on who is sponsoring the career fair, there could be people on site giving additional help finding a career with testing to determine your skills.
When selecting workshops at career fairs be strategic
What organization is sponsoring the event?
- Placement organizations, career services departments, and educational institutions may have focused topics that can be adapted to many industries and jobs because their audience is broad.
Is the content relevant to my industry?
- Workshops on creating a blog for networking during a job transition could be relevant in journalism or arts related industries but not as much in a financial-based position.
What are the credentials of the presenter?
- Check if the presenter is someone who has recently recruited for companies and knows what their hiring management colleagues are currently looking for in resumes and interviews.
Does the sponsor have more than one workshop topic?
- Look for places offering a number of topics so you can learn about different aspects of the interview process.
Are there multiple times the same workshop is offered?
- Last minute things could happen to prevent you from attending, so having alternate times is a benefit. Having multiple times to learn about a certain topic can also allow you to brush up on skills before interviews.
Last, but not least, prepare some questions to ask each employer that are relevant to the industry or the company itself. Walking into a room and asking ‘what are you hiring for’ is too general and shows that you haven’t prepared. Have a few questions ready to ask the companies that are there last minute too.
- How to change careers without being a job hopper
Employees who are considering options to change careers should identify steps in the process before jumping into it. If your resume looks like you are moving around too much, you don’t want to make a leap without careful consideration and planning. The first tip is probably the most evident, but also the one most skipped by workers who want to shortcut their way to successful career search. The reality is that changing careers takes time and having a commitment to use these tips can make the process less painful.
Start by writing down the things you like about your current job and industry. Identify the job responsibilities you have currently or have had in the past that you would like to have in your career transition. This includes creating a list of the job activities you do now or in the past that you do not want to do in your next position.
It’s important to understand the job responsibilities that you may not have a choice about doing, but may be able to do differently in your next opportunity. List ways you would like to contribute to your new organization – mentoring, training, hiring, volunteering for philanthropic projects, etc. Deciding to change careers without inventorying your reasons and objectives for the change can result in taking a job that leads to frustration or a dead end.
Create a resume that looks forward, not backward
Read job descriptions and cross reference the skills and experience that you have. Provide an impactful objective or professional summary that speaks to the experience you have that is relevant to the job. Develop bullet points using keywords from the job description that show your knowledge of the industry and the position’s requirements.
Be proud of your accomplishments
Include awards and honors from past work and organizations to show leadership and ways you will produce results in that next job. Be aware of the academic, training, technical, and language skills that separate you from the competition. Your resume is the first time your future employer can see what you are bringing to the organization that is of value.
Take time and be patient
Take your lists and get ready to move into the next stage of a successful career shift. Making a career transition is a process. Because your resume is your introduction to a prospective employer, the content needs to be relevant and impactful. Integrating details about your experience that show how you can be a positive member of the team is crucial.
- Top strategies to find a job at career fairs
Developing a strategy for attending a career fair can help you feel confident before, during, and after the event. Whether the fair is being held in a large venue like an arena or in a more intimate setting like a single ballroom in a hotel, there are top strategies to maximize impact to prospective employers and help you find a job.
Planning leads to finding a job
Career fairs are great places to network and find potential employers. Preparation is the key to making sure the limited amount of time you have to present yourself will lead to interviews. Find out which employers will be attending and print out targeted resumes for the ones that you want to meet. You can go to the companies’ websites to see what positions they may be hiring for and then tailor the content in your resume to highlight the key skills you have that fit the position.
Research the companies’ and competitors ahead of time. Knowing something about the company and the market they compete in will help show the recruiting manager that you have prepared for a discussion with them. Prioritize which companies you want to visit. Depending on the number of people attending the fair, you may be waiting in lines to meet with recruiters. Having a prioritized list will allow you to fit in some companies that were not on the list ahead of time and still have time to meet with the companies on your list.
Execute the basics and beat the competition
Purchase resume paper and an interview appropriate suit in advance. With a limited amount of time to make an impact on an employer, it is important to be dressed professionally. Suits are the standard attire for interviewing. Dress for the interview. Career fairs are one to five minute interviews, so it is appropriate to wear a suit as you would for a formal interview.
Understand your strengths and find a job to fit
Prepare a list of skills you have to provide employers. The list should be a reference for you to evaluate if a job would be a possible fit – use it when checking what positions will be recruited for at the career fair. Be ready to answer questions about everything on your resume. With a limited amount of time to meet with candidates, it’s important to be prepared for any of the topics that could come up from content on your resume to maximize your conversations with recruiters.
Communicate fast to move ahead in the process
Create an introduction that tells the employer what is in it for them to keep talking to you. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘one minute sell’. Give a brief reason why you are interested in the company and what skills you have that are relevant along with a couple of results you have achieved in positions previously using those skills.
- 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.