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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 http://writingandeditingtoday.com/contact/ and fill out the contact form to request a free copy of my executive minutes.
Attending college is a big decision. Here are five good tips for starting your college research early:
- Get a practical sense for what it’s like to be on campus. I always advise prospective students to visit a college before applying. Find the most convenient parking lots and investigate how much it costs to park in certain parking garages. Will you be walking to classes? Find a good campus map and walk around to estimate how long it would take to travel from class to class. Also, know where the shuttle stops are, in case you’ll be carrying a lot of heavy textbooks. Many colleges offer campus tours that reveal great information and details.
- If you already know the subject you’ll be majoring in, call that department and find out if you can schedule an informational interview with a prospective professor in your major. Studies show that students decide what major to declare based on positive experiences with their favorite professors on campus. If a professor is willing to meet with you even before you put in your application, that’s a sign that he/she will be responsive when you actually become a student.
- Contact the Admissions and Records and Financial Aid offices to ask questions early. Many colleges offer in-state and out-of-state residency tuition rates. In most cases, to establish in-state residency, you must start the process a year in advance before attending school. Be sure to check your college’s website for residency rules because some states have more stringent requirements than others. Establishing residency might mean registering your driver’s license, registering to vote, and signing a lease for an apartment in that particular state. Make sure you have paperwork documenting when you began the process of declaring residency—your wallet will thank you later!
- Mark important deadlines on your calendar or track them with a to-do list. Often the deadlines for scholarship applications fall months before the semester actually starts. Do some digging and find out which scholarships are available and note their requirements. Many scholarships require a written essay and letters of recommendation. Start selecting your recommenders early and give them plenty of notice.
- Find out if your college has a career services office. Most, but not all, colleges offer assistance with resumes, networking, and your career decision process. Be sure to visit your career services office to glean important information on how best to market your hard-earned skills before you have your diploma in hand. Also, even if you are busy studying during college, it is important to network and gain valuable contacts for your job hunt later. Start up a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is like a professional version of Facebook and allows you to collect recommendations from colleagues, employers, and fellow employees. You’ll be glad for them later!
Do you have a college visit story to share? Please feel free to comment below.
Happy college hunting,