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Five Career Search Tips to Help You Find Your Target Job Opportunities

Would you like to know how to find a job in your targeted industry? What would a career consultant advise about job hunting in today’s challenging economic climate? I had the privilege of attending a presentation given by Career Consultant, Stephanie LaPlace on September 17, 2013. Stephanie works for Lee Hecht Harrison, the global leader in career transition consulting and was gracious enough to volunteer 30 minutes of her time to talk to college students and staff members on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno as part of a 30 Minute Success series offered by the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association (NNHRA). Prior to joining Lee Hecht Harrison, LaPlace had worked for ten years as a recruiter and had served as a Vice President at Adecco, one of the world’s largest staffing companies.

Here are five key tips from Stephanie’s presentation:

  1. Conduct a personal assessment to identify your strengths and gifts. What kinds of tasks do you receive compliments on after accomplishing? Once you have identified those talents, match them with market demands. Then, research the potential industries you would like to work in, and start targeting your ideal geographic locations. Do you want to work in the same town in which you graduated college or high school? Are you open to relocating? How about international work? Use this information to create a written job search plan that targets your desired industry as well as market leaders within those growing industries.
  2. Set up an internship in your targeted industry. First make a list of companies or organizations where you seek to volunteer or intern. Research those companies to find out if they take interns. Some companies may even offer paid internships. If you are unsure whether you want to commit several months of time to an internship, you can set “shadow” dates to schedule time with someone who does a job you would like to pursue. By the end of the day, you can better identify if you are interested, or even passionate about, that type of work.
  3. Spruce up your resume. Most resumes just list past job duties, but if you want your resume to stand out, highlight accomplishments and measureable results. Be sure to tailor your resume with keywords from the posted job description, especially if you will be posting the resume online. Also, many companies use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool, so if you don’t have a LinkedIn account, create one, and form your digital resume. LinkedIn is a social network that is similar to Facebook but is geared towards highlighting workers’ professional achievements.
  4. Expand your network. Only 25% of jobs are advertised online. That means that 75% of jobs are placed through connections. When a hiring manager has a job opening, he or she may ask current employees for referrals, but in many cases these jobs are secret and will be filled through networking outside of the organization. If you are in the market for a job, ask your friends for contacts within your targeted companies and set up informational meetings with hiring managers so that you can talk to them about their industry and company needs without coming out and asking for a job. Those hiring managers may talk about hidden jobs and actually hire you. It also helps to join professional associations in which your target companies participate.
  5. Polish your interviewing skills. Before an interview, be sure to research the company’s website and familiarize yourself with the industry. Prepare answers to common interview questions with real accomplishments that relate to what hiring managers seek in terms of skill sets and expertise. Highlight your skills and accomplishments and how your talents fit with the employer’s needs. If you feel bold enough, ask for the job and what the hire date is. Finally, send ‘thank you’ emails that reiterate your abilities and how you can address their needs.

Most of all, you are in business for yourself. Think of your career path as “ME, Inc.” In other words, you create job security for yourself; no company will do that for you. Eighty percent of employees just maintain the status quo. Twenty percent comprise an elite class of employees who not only develop their personal brands, but also actively seek out connections to people who can help them reach their career goals. Keep in mind, not all variables are perfect, so it is important for you to love your work in utilizing your talents and create criteria for ideal work settings, bosses, and teammates. Prepare good questions for the interviewers to answer so you can determine if the opportunity fits most of your criteria.

Now that you’re armed with a new arsenal of career hunting skills, go get ‘em!


Gina Akao is the owner of Writing and Editing Today and offers consulting services to authors and small business owners who need websites, blogs, and social media management. Would you like a copy of my notes from Stephanie LaPlace’s presentation? Please go to and fill out the contact form to request a free copy of my executive minutes.

Can My College Help Me Find a Career?

Hi everyone,

It’s commencement time! Many students are graduating high school and college and are looking forward to finding their dream jobs. Luckily, most colleges offer some kind of career services department to assist students in this endeavor.

If you’re a recent grad, don’t wait until too long after graduation to update your resume and apply for jobs. The market is tough out there. Help is only a step away if you’re on a college campus.

The University of Nevada, Reno, for instance, has a Career Studio, where students can drop in (no appointment necessary) to get instant resume and cover letter critiques. Drop-in hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm in the Thompson Building (students can check the website for summer hours).

I interviewed Internship & Employer Relations Coordinator, Robyn Maitoza, Ph.D. “The Studio’s grand opening and ribbon cutting will be in September 2013,” and the Studio (now open, but located in Thompson) will be moving to the soon-to-be-built Student Achievement Center, which will replace Getchell Library. Students will be able to connect with mentors via social media, as well as in person.

Students will be able to sign in on iPads. UNR’s Career Studio is hiring 10 career mentors who will work directly with students who drop in. In addition, students may use computers in the Career Studio to update resumes and cover letters. The Career Studio, in contrast to the former career services department, will be a hub for career services and will conduct workshops, on-site interviews, and panels to help students find employers and vice versa.

The only downside I see to the new studio format is that students will not be able to take the full Myers-Briggs personality test or Strong’s Interest Inventory, which require a small fee to administer. Personally, I have found going over assessment results with a professional career counselor extremely beneficial. But, not all students will have the patience to spend hours on career tests. Instead, the Career Studio’s current assessments available are free and take less time to complete and review.

Additionally, the Career Studio will be installing a new system to collect data on how many students utilize the different services. Students will be able to search a database with job postings and employers will be able to log in and post jobs. The Studio will also provide opportunities for students to shadow alums in their target careers and to sign up for internships.

For more information about the Career Studio, please visit If you’re not a UNR student, peruse your college’s website to find out what kind of career services it offers.

If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to receive your “Top Ten Career Tips” for free.

Happy career hunting!


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