Developing a Realistic yet Confident Strategy
For many recent graduates, the search for a J-O-B is the biggest test they’ll take. So Urban Views Weekly asked the experts at the BOSS Group, a staffing agency with a location in Richmond to share strategies. With twenty years experience matching talent to employers, they know what works.
Finding a job is not for the faint of heart. It requires tenacity, persistence, and a great deal of positive energy. Experts will tell you that to get the best results from an employment search, you have to commit to finding a job as if it WERE your job. The more time and concentrated effort, the greater and faster the payoff.
Start with a Little Self-Analysis
Take some time to assess yourself. Look at your academic history, your interests, volunteer activities, talents, hobbies, values, preferred lifestyle, ambitions, etc. Then determine which occupations best match these criteria. Clear occupational goals and objectives will keep your search focused and on track. Then look at the skills and credentials you have that will support a particular occupation. Do you have a solid match?
Make Your Preparations
Create a personal data sheet with all your employment-related information that you can refer to when filling out an employment application. Get up to speed on any competency tests you may be required to pass for a position. Prepare your resume, print your business cards, launch your Web site, make copies of your samples, design your portfolio, draft a cover letter template, draw up a list of references, identify associations and networking events, and organize a support group of friends, colleagues (past and present), alumni, and relatives to help you conduct your search.
Now you have everything in place. Start looking!
Where to Learn About Job Openings
Personal Contacts—Job leads from family members, friends, career centers, professional colleagues, etc. are an exceptionally good way to find a job. Remember, one of the most popular ways employers have of filling a position is to hire someone who was recommended by a trusted friend or associate.
Networking—Networking is not just having casual conversations, but purposefully building your circle of contacts who can help with your job search. Search out all possible ways to meet the right people— Internet communities, associations, industry events, trade shows, business clubs, volunteer organizations, conferences and social gatherings are just a few.
The Internet—There are numerous online resources for job seekers today, and it can be difficult to know where to start. A focused plan of attack can help you get started and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. Starting with a list of companies you are interested in and searching their websites can be an excellent way to find a position, because most employers are more likely to post an opening on their own site first. Many employers also post openings on larger job board sites such as Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com.
Professional Associations—Many professions have associations that offer employment information on their websites, including job listings and career resources. These associations may also publish professional journals or trade magazines that carry job ads.
Employment or Placement Agencies—These agencies can often get results, although they are also in business to make money. Typically, the hiring company pays a fee for placement. As most recruiters operate on a commission basis, they share your goal of securing the best position at the best salary.
Temporary Agencies—Many people have worked themselves into excellent jobs by starting out at a company as a temp employee. For many employers, it is a safer option to hire someone “from the inside.” As a temp, you are a “known commodity” now, and have proven your worth. If you’re already there, you have a much greater shot.
Taking the Bull by the Horns
The best way to find a job is to decide what it is you want and go for it. Sound too simplistic? It’s not. Here are a few tips that can make a real difference in your search:
• A well rounded approach, using a combination of resources is best.
• Don’t look exclusively at places that have a vacancy. Go to the places that interest you.
• Don’t rely on your emailed resume alone. Follow with a mailed copy and inquire about making a follow-up appointment. Your goal is to get noticed and make a human connection.
• Explore direct employer contacts. Begin by drawing up a list of potential employers, and then plan a strategy for how you will approach them. You can fill out an application, send a resume and query letter, call the employer directly, or make arrangements for an informational interview. Scope out networking events where you anticipate this company to be present. Work your social network and Internet communities for possible internal contacts.
• Practice your interview skills. As job hunting is not an everyday task for most people, even the most self-assured candidate can get a little rusty. Start your job search by making appointments with companies that you aren’t as excited to work for. After the interview is over, jot down any questions that were particularly difficult for you or moments during the interview when you felt yourself falter. Awareness and practice will make you an adept and poised interviewee in no time at all.
Keep Your Chin Up
Try to look at the job search as an opportunity to discover what you truly want to do and to further refine your options. The statistical odds of your getting a job can be daunting. It is not a reflection of you as a person. And remember, the job market is constantly changing. Sometimes jobs are scarce; sometimes they are plentiful . . . and an employer who isn’t hiring today, may be hiring tomorrow.
by The BOSS Group
Kara Atkins is a Creative Talent Recruiter for the BOSS Group in Richmond. Reach Kara at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 915.7531.