Are you a job seeker that is getting back into the work force? Or, maybe you lost your previous job and are still searching for the next position. Either way, your chances of landing your next great position are dramatically improved if you can undergo an honest assessment of your skill set, identify any gaps that might need shoring up, and then proactively engage new employers. In this blog, I’ll outline four easy steps for better engaging with employers:
Network – as much as possible!
Thanks Captain Obvious! I know this is cliche but it’s so true! Networking may be the single the best way to expand your radar for potential employers. Join a professional group – by interests, profession or geographic area. Find out when they have events and make them fit into your calendar! Beef up your LinkedIn profile or other similar professional social media sites, and then connect with others on social media. However, be careful not to be too needy; try to form meaningful partnerships with these people. Show that you have honest interest in a particular field. If your peers hear of a job opening, they are more likely to refer you if you have given them reason to remember you and shown that you are genuinely interested in a new position.
Find employers that fit your skill set – and follow them!
Here’s another step that may seem trivial to mention, but I am going to say it regardless because sometimes the simplest solution stares us right in the face and we still don’t see it. Narrow your employer audience. If your past work experience is in financial services, for example, then it is probably not the best use of your time to go to career events or networking opportunities that focus on manufacturing or healthcare.
Seek out employers in which you have interest, or that are in the industry that you wish to pursue. Maybe such companies will be at a trade show or networking event and you will be able to speak face-to-face with someone from that organization. Go one step further and ask members of your network to refer your personalized emails/letters & resumes to their personal contacts at those organizations (after doing some research on the company!) to express why you would be a good fit for a certain position, or just a good fit for their company culture, in general. Explicitly demonstrate your interest in companies by subscribing to their recruiting-related newsletters and/or following their organization’s pages on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Depending on the organization/industry, don’t forget to watch for company updates on newer social networks such as Google+ or Pinterest, too.
Take classes – update your education
I am sure your parents stressed the importance of education to you as you were growing up. Guess what…they were right! That doesn’t mean you have to run and tell them they were right, but it’s a good career move to keep continuing your education in some format. If it’s been years since you have changed jobs, you will find out the job market has changed over time. The process of applying for jobs is not the same as it once was. Many employers now use web-based applicant tracking systems, so it will be necessary to update your approach, and potentially your resume, to mesh with this online format. Take classes on updating your resume and online career profile. Check online or with local colleges for lists of educational opportunities. If you are working with a recruiter, he/she may recommend specific resources for you to use.
Seek out the professionals that are already in your life
Again, this is not rocket science – check with those people in your life that may know of interesting job prospects. Think of your family, friends, neighbors or community members that you know through other civic groups. Also, check with previous co-workers or managers… they may have moved on to different companies or careers. Keeping in touch with these people and partnering with them can be a win-win situation. Cultivate long-term relationships so that when they hear of a job opening, your name will come to mind. This has never been easier than it is now with sites like LinkedIn.
Good luck in your job search and remember, have fun and stay true to yourself! Job fit is vital in our ever-changing job market!