Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
I’ve got to share with you updates from a current job seeking client, let’s call her Valerie. She writes that after an informational meeting at a company she’s very interested in, the individual she met with called to say she was impressed with Valerie’s background and credentials but sadly, her company doesn’t have any positions open that would be a good fit for her. However, she asked if she had permission to forward her resume to a colleague who is an executive recruiter who might know of appropriate openings. Naturally, my client said, yes. Following that, Valerie emailed me, surprised and happy that this recommendation was being made.
So let’s look at this. The individual Valerie met with was impressed with her and thought to recommend her to the recruiter she knew.
Job Seekers: This is way people sometimes end up getting hired!
As a job seeker you want to do everything you can to create a RIPPLE EFFECT. You meet one person, then they refer you to two others. Then they refer you to others, and your ripple effect grows, you reach more people.
But instead of making it an unintentional part of your job search, I strongly suggest you bring intentionality to the idea of creating a RIPPLE EFFECT. The more qualified people who know about you and your skills, the better chances you’ll find that person who can hire you! Make your availability known and and your materials circulated far and wide..to the right people.
I always say: READINESS + OPPORTUNITY = SUCCESS
Clearly, as a job seeker you know (or should know) that you need to build effective, compelling job tools; a resume, a linked in profile, letter of recommendation. And you need to become ready for meetings by crafting your clear capabilities and proof points of achievements that support your claims. You need to research your field and identify companies and organizations you’d like to work in. You also need to prepare intelligent questions that show your knowledge of the company, their competitors, the industry they are in, the challenges and opportunities they face. You need to earn the right to ask intelligent questions but first ‘selling’ yourself by showing that you have the basic qualifications they are looking for.
Let’s make your ripple effect happen! Here are some ways to expedite it…
1.At the end of every job seeking discussion, whether it is an actual interview, an informational interview, a meeting with a former colleague or manager, a professor in your field, anyone who might be connected with anyone who might know of a job in your field, you ask the following question at the end of the meeting:
IS THERE ANYONE YOU KNOW WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN KNOWING ABOUT ME AS A JOB CANDIDATE? IF SO, FEEL FREE TO INTRODUCE US OR FORWARD MY RESUME TO THEM.
Then, pause and let them think about that. Listen carefully as they might mention people for you to contact directly, they might offer to put a word in about you and you should be ready to offer ways to make the connection easy and fast. Offer to send them your resume directly. Ask if they will do an email intro, a Linkedin intro or ask if there’s another way you can help make that ripple effect move quickly!
2. Make a list of all your friends and family who might possibly know someone in your field. Develop what I call a ‘Friends and Family Letter’ in which you ask for their help in your job search process. Let them know what kind of position you are looking for, suggest some names of organizations on your target list, include any geographical or other parameters and attach your resume and linkedin profile. Make it easy for them to help you! Make it easy for them to help the ripple effect go far and wide.
Yes, readers, please see your job search as creating a ripple effect in helping you to find the right people, leading to the right career opportunities.
Wishing you success in your job search,
Dear Coach Joan,
Am I the only one who really wants to find meaningful work that is not a part of the consumer, capitalistic, dog eat dog world? I graduated from college with a degree in sociology and I’m very interested in helping people. I have no idea how to get a ‘real job’ and have been working the same construction job I did in high school. How do I get a ‘real job’ but not feel like I’m a part of the corporate world which is frankly hurting our planet and just making more and more money to fuel materialism? I also want to stay in Sonoma County where I grew up.
Ian the Idealist
Congratulations on completing your college degree!! It shows that you set your goal and worked toward completion. Good job! No w the transition time, launching from college life to career launch. And sadly, they really don’t teach the process of exactly how to make that transition. Most colleges have career centers but students often say they are not helpful or they don’t know how to really use those resources. But that said, I think you have more going for you than you realize. Many people don’t know what they value and just look to get a job, presumably based on their skills and interest, and land in whatever is available and highest paying.
That is not you, Ian.
You have a strong sense of purpose. You want to make the world a better place. You want to contribute in a way that helps people directly. Bravo!
That means you are a perfect candidate for the non-profit world.
Music to your ears: In the non-profit world you will find your tribe of people who are also committed to helping to improving things!!
It is vital to work among people with whom you share values. You clearly value using your time and energy to make the world a better place. Non-profits are your career sector!!
There are for profit and non profit organizations. Non-profits are set up with a specific mission that often entails being of help in some way in our society. That is in contrast to a for-profit business oriented company whose mission is first and foremost to make a profit, by selling services or products.
That is NOT what you are interested in.
Now, how do you find out what opportunities you should explore? First of all, being in Sonoma County, California, recognize that you are in the county that has the largest number of non-profits per population than any other county in California. There are many do-gooder organizations for you to explore!
The first thing to do is to get a sense of the range of non profits in your local area. You can Google to find a list of non profit organizations in Sonoma County. You will see that they are focused on topics ranging from healthcare to helping the environment, to supporting education, helping animals and more. Go down the list and look for the category or categories where you are most interested in making a contribution.
Next, look to have informational interviews with people who work at the various non profit agencies.
Makes sure to put together a resume that highlights your education, work experiences, volunteer work, key academic courses and include an Objective of working in the non profit sector.
Write a cover letter that explains your interest in the non profit arena, your attraction to their mission in particular and the skills and passion you are bringing to your career with them.
You can also Google to find ‘careers in non profit’ to explore the various roles that people play. Once you identify some non profits that are appealing to you, see if you can make the time to do some volunteer work there. It gives you the chance to get to know various organizations and people and sometimes people get hired into an organization after they prove themselves as fine volunteers and a position opens up that matches their skills. By then they are a known entity and have proven their commitment through the volunteer work.
Onward in your idealism and finding work in a local non profit.