Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
Today’s job search check list is a bit different than yesterday’s and that awareness came to me when I thought to ask my mother how she got her first job out of college in 1949. She said, ‘simple’. She had a degree in political science from a noted university but because her name was ‘Marilyn’ and not, say “Michael’, her choices were quite limited. In fact, no matter what her degree had been the key question that an interviewer would pose was, “How fast do you type?”
So in 1949 she arrived in NYC as a job seeker. She had her pick of newspapers back then but choose the NY Times as it was known as having the most comprehensive classified section of job listings. She went to the ‘Help Wanted’ section and saw very short ads. For instance, ‘Help Needed at an Advertising Agency. Call Murray Hill 5-1027″. She called the number and asked for an interview, met with the interviewer, say at 2 pm, was asked a few questions (mind you, no resume required) and was hired by 4 pm to start work the next day!! So her job search checklist looked like this:
1. Get newspaper
2. Find job listing
3. Call to make interview appt.
4. Interview and get job
5. Start tomorrow
Now let’s fast forward to today’s job search situation. Here is the checklist:
1. Focus in on your strengths, capabilities, goals, career and educational background
2. Produce resume
3. Create LinkedIn profile
4. If you don’t have a job, create a business card and try to get some affiliation or consulting work to put on it. If you are a recent graduate, put your new credential on it and the field you are entering. For instance, John Smith, MBA, Global Finance.
5. Join Professional Associations and volunteer and participate to get known, grow your network, do some informational interviewing, take workshops and continually grow your skills
6. Leverage your network by preparing a ‘Friends and Family Letter’ asking everyone you know to assist you in your job search, knowing that about 80% of jobs are gotten through connections
7. Contact references and prepare letters of recommendation and let folks know what you’d like them to emphasize about you and your capabilities and employment performance.
8. Practice interviewing.
9. Prepare your clothing and grooming choices carefully.
10. Research each and every company or organization to which you are applying.
11. Keep current on things affecting your profession and the trends in your industry.
12. Leverage your alumni groups and former employer groups.
13. Structure specific time periods, on a weekly basis, to focus on your job search.
14. Find a job buddy to hold you accountable to your job search tasks.
15. Seek out headhunters and recruiters in your field. Stay in touch with the leading ones.
16. Find out the best online job sites for your field. Stay current.
17. Join a local employment support group or seek out a career coach to support you in your efforts.
18. Do volunteer work to show you are proactive, community minded and always building and using your skills.
19. Always dress and behave professionally.
20. Work on a new degree or a fresh certification.
21. Take a webinar or workshop on new skills in social media for the job search.
22. Make sure your Facebook, Twitter or any other online ‘faces’ are clean, appropriate and professional. Google yourself to see.
23. Find opportunities to play leadership roles in your community and or your industry.
24. Stay positive and confident!!
25. If you find out you were a finalist for a job but just not #1, circle back periodically to see if they need contract work or have new open positions.
26. If time passes and the bills look like they’ll be unpaid, get temp or contract work to stay busy, involved and solvent!
27. If time continues to pass, consider (if your life allows it) expanding your job search geographically. Research to find other areas of the country where you’d have better prospects and find recruiters that specialize in that area.
Yes, time has passed and the job search process has gotten a LOT more complex. And I’m hoping this listing will give you some new ideas and new job search strategies that you might not have considered.
And you can always contact me, Joan Tabb, at Great in 8 Coaching for a complimentary session. We can explore how you can bring the BEST of you to work!!