Tag Archives: career

Looking for New Job Opportunities? Advice to Improve Your Results

How are you looking for new job opportunities? Are you waiting for them to just appear or are you actively seeking them out? Searching for a career is a full-time job in itself, and it’s important to exhaust all your avenues for finding employment. To help you be more proactive with your efforts, here are some tips to improve your job search efforts today.

Attend networking events. If you know what industry you want to work in, try to get plugged into professional meetings in that field. This will give you an opportunity to network with others who work in that field and make valuable connections. Introduce yourself to them and don’t be afraid to tell them what your goals are. When you attend these meetings, always have your résumé and business cards on hand with you and pass them out. You want people to leave that meeting with a good impression of you.

Talk to people. You never know if somebody knows somebody who is looking for a new employee. Make it a point to get out there and just meet new people. When you’re at your local coffee shop, strike up a conversation with those around you. Ask others what they do for a living, and then tell them about yourself and what you want to do in life. Also, keep your friends and family updated about what’s going on with you. It never hurts to share your story with others.

Volunteer for organizations. Seek out volunteer opportunities that would provide you with experience related to what you want in a job. If you like marketing, volunteer to do some writing for a non-profit organization. If you want to do construction, contact Habitat for Humanity to see if they have any projects for you. These are great ways to build your skill set and be able to measure the impact of your results.

Get online. Check out company websites and others like Indeed.com to search for job openings. Submit your résumés online, along with a copy of your cover letter. Be sure your contact information is included. Apply for all the job openings you qualify for. The more you apply, the more your chances go up of hearing from an employer about a possible interview.

Also, set up social media networking accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, if you don’t already have one. This is another great way to make connections with others. You can include information on these profiles about your skills, experiences, and what type of jobs you’re looking for. Again, you never know who could see your online profile and want to meet you.

Instead of waiting for opportunity to knock on the door, it’s important for you to take some initiative and push that door open just a bit and introduce yourself to new possibilities. If you keep approaching the job hunt the same way you always have, you will get the same results. Try these tips to help find the job you want.

Finding Your Passion, Pursuing Your Dreams

The highly anticipated 2010 Winter Olympic Games are well under way. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this year’s games and have a few favorite athletes I’m following. It’s amazing to think about all the different sports that exist for people to compete in. Freestyle skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating, snow boarding, and ice dancing are just a few of the many sports the world’s best athletes will compete in during these games. I find myself wondering how these sports ever came to exist. Have you ever stopped to think about how these athletes discovered their talent and love for their sport?

With years of practice and dedication, these athletes have honed their skills. They’ve put in hours upon hours of practice to perfect their techniques. They’ve made sacrifices. They’ve changed the way they eat, sleep, and exercise to ensure their bodies are in top condition for competition. They’ve endured injuries and setbacks. They’ve experienced triumphs and defeats. But, in the long run it has all been worth it. Along the way they have become experts at their sport, well respected and admired for their skills and abilities.

These same ideas apply to you and your career. What things in life interest you? What do you have a passion for? What is your dream? Whatever it is, take a lesson from the Olympic athletes. Discover what you love to do and make it your goal to become the best at it. If there are classes you can take, mentors you can meet with, information you can read, or organizations you can join, make it a point to do it. To achieve your dreams, you will sometimes have to make sacrifices. Stay late to finish a project instead of heading out the door as soon as the work day ends. Save your money for a training seminar you’ve wanted to take instead of buying the latest video game. Change your habits to change your life. 

As with anything, we are always continuing to grow in our professions. You don’t just wake up one morning being the best. You have to work at it.  It takes time to develop those skills, trial and error, and hours, days, and years of gaining and applying knowledge. It takes focus to become the best at what you do, so figure out what that is and pursue it to the fullest. Like Apolo Anton Ohno, you too can blaze a course in your career. You can soar to new heights like Shaun “The Flying Tomato” White. Keep your eyes focused on the gold, and you’ll come out a winner. In the end, the dedication is worth everything.

Will 2010 Be the Return of the Job Hop?

Throughout much of 2009, the career world was marked by unrelentingly high unemployment rates, continued layoffs, and negative job reports. Employees everywhere were focused on keeping the job they had – no matter how good or bad, and making the best of whatever situation they found themselves in. At the end of December 2008, job value was so high that 71% of nearly 1,500 readers said they’d take a paycut to save their job.

This year, as the economy shows continued signs of recovery and the job market begins to turn around, low employee engagement is more than just an anecdote to stir up the boardroom. It’s a reality that employers should already be taking into consideration, because it means that as soon as jobs start to open up, turnover costs may begin to soar. 

In fact, our latest monthly poll showed that people are already thinking about greener pastures. We asked our readers if they’d consider job hopping for the right opportunity in 2010. A total of 817 people responded, with an overwhelming 82% saying yes, they’d job hop this year.

It’s true that you don’t have to job hop to improve your career, especially in normal circumstances. And, some people felt they were now actually better off career-wise than they were before the recession.

But, it’s also apparent that employment uncertainty from the past year or two has created the perfect storm for job hopping when the job market opens back up. Employers will increase recruiting seasoned professionals to build back diminished workforce numbers and add expertise, and employed professionals may move from a passive job search into an aggressive pattern, seeking to increase salary, gain responsibility, or simply have a change of pace. And all of this will only work to increase the competition in an already competitive job market.

So, keep your eye out on this trend in 2010, and share your thoughts about job hopping, the 2010 job market, and employee engagement with us in the comments section.

Who’s Hiring, Who Isn’t, and How to Get the Job

While some industries continue to see sharp declines in job losses, other industries have remained strong during the recession, and some have even started to bounce back.

According to a recent report released by Beyond.com, Inc., a network of online communities for niche careers, healthcare and information technology are two industries that continue to add jobs at a steady pace. Their third quarter Career Trend Report for 2009 also indicated that sales, sales management, manufacturing, and production industries experienced slight increases in job gains in the third quarter of 2009, while professional services including accounting, finance, engineering, and architecture are experiencing declines in job loss.

For those looking for employment opportunities or looking to change careers, it’s important to market yourself, tailor your résumé to reflect the industry and the job you’re applying for, and research the company before the interview. There are several ways to make sure your résumé is top of mind when decision makers are sifting through piles of applicants.

  1. Identify your transferable skills. It’s important that you look at your skills and evaluate how to translate them on your résumé to reflect the job you’re applying for.
  2. Market your transferable skills in your job search. Once you have identified your transferable skills, tailor your résumé for each specific job.
  3. Network in industry-specific arenas. A key element to finding a job is who you know. By integrating yourself with key players in the industry, you’ll increase your chances of landing an interview or even a job offer. 
  4. Research a potential employer. You don’t want to miss out on the job because you didn’t know anything about the company. Research will also help you when you’re preparing a tailored résumé.

Knowing what industries are hiring is important when looking for a job or making a career change. Once you have an idea of what areas are expanding, tailoring your résumé and making the right decisions on how you prepare can influence the hiring manager’s decision on whether or not you get the job.

Skills to Help Brand Your Online Identity

Webster’s dictionary defines identity as, “the state or fact of being a specific person or thing; individuality; or the state of being as described.” Think of the things related to your profession that you excel at. Are you a PR professional, a budding scientist, or a math guru? What is your career identity? Now, what is my online career identity?

 According to an article on CareerBuilder, four out of five hiring managers search for job applicants online in an attempt to learn more about that person. This same article also states that anyone, regardless of where you are in your working career, should have a strong online identity. How do you do this?

1. Identify How and Where You Want to Brand Yourself

With today’s social media, you have many avenues in which you can build your online identity. However, don’t try to build your brand on every site. Be specific, and look for those sites that relate to your industry and profession. If you’re an engineer, it won’t do you any good to be a member of Greatest Chef’s of the World.com. Also, if you’re on 100 different social media networking sites, it might send the wrong impression that you don’t understand social networking or that you have too much time on your hands. Keep things relevant to you and your abilities.

2. Create Personal Social Networking Accounts

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Myspace. This list can go on and on. These sites aren’t just for social purposes. They can help enhance your career. On these sites, you can list your interests, education, and employment information. They also allow you to make connections with others in your industry and communicate with each other. You can also update your status which is blasted out to all your connections, keeping them updated about what you’re doing.

These are great tools for sharing information about your industry, learning new skills, and building relationships. But, be careful and keep things professional even though these are social networking sites. One small mistake could ruin the positive image you’re trying to build. 

3. Blog

Somewhere online you can find blogs specifically related to your industry or that provide information that interests you. Today, many online business newsletters are in a blog format. Someone posts an announcement or article and you are able to make provide feedback. Take advantage of this and write comments back on those postings. Not only are you sharing your knowledge and building your credibility, but it also gets your name out there to others who are reading the blog. You’re identifying yourself and your expertise.

Social media is ever growing and it changes quickly. Sign up to receive publications from your industry to stay aware of what things are happening in your career field and learn how these types of communication can be applied. When it comes to your career, don’t forget that your number one asset is you. How do you want to be branded?  

Using Twitter to Help Your Job Search

In this day and time, there are many online social networking sites you can use to aid in your job search. And no matter which social media site you prefer, when used to it’s full potential, finding a job can be just a few connections, tweets, or friend requests away.

One particular social networking site that has gained popularity not only among individuals over the past year, but with employers as well, is Twitter. With job boards becoming overcrowded with job ads, employers have flocked to Twitter to list job openings. It’s not only more economical for businesses, but it also allows prospective employers to target social-media savvy job seekers.

If you’re looking for a competitive edge in the job market, try these tips in utilizing Twitter to help in your job search.

Create a professional profile. To get started, first create a professional profile on your Twitter account that lists your experience and expertise. Experts suggest putting a job pitch in your Twitter bio to help attract prospective employers. You can also link to a professional blog or profile on another networking site for more exposure, such as your personal LinkedIn account.

Post tweets. Before you connect with anyone, make sure you have something intriguing to say. Don’t tweet about what you ate for breakfast – instead, tweet about the industry you’re trying to land a job in, an idea that invites interest, or share a link to an intriguing article of substance. Once you have some substantial tweets on your account, you’re ready to connect with business leaders and other Twitter followers in your industry. 

Connect with recruiters and businesses. Once your Twitter account is created and you have tweets posted, start connecting with prospective employers and recruiters. This will help give you a heads up on potential job openings as well as an inside look into company chatter. And, don’t stop with hiring managers and recruiters. Connect with employees of companies you’re interested in. Also, connect with professionals from your industry and metro area so you are expanding your offline network to your online presence. This will give you even more networking opportunities and a leg up if a job does arise because you will know more people on the inside.

Educate yourself on Twitter applications. Twitter is not a difficult tool to learn, but there are several applications you can use to assist you in your job search. Check out these 15 Twitter applications that will help you get the most value out of your Twitter account and increase your chances of job search success.

The growing popularity of Twitter and the benefits offered are luring more than just social-media minded individuals. This site is attracting job seekers, employers looking for prospective employees, recruiters, and industry leaders. This social media site allows job seekers to meet in an informal setting and interact one-on-one with recruiters and hiring managers without an awkward feeling of trying to connect with professionals, like on other social media networking sites. So, try these tips when setting up your Twitter account to help in your job search.

For more job search, career, and workplace advice, follow Express on Twitter today.

Getting a Good Job Reference After You’ve Been Laid Off

No one wants to hear the dreaded words, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to let you go.” But, if you’ve been let go, these words don’t mean it’s the end of your career life. As difficult as it might be, you have to shake off the blues, get your résumé handy, and set out on a job search for a new start.

As you search for a new career, you’re going to need some references to help you out. How do you get good references after a layoff? Where do you look? Check out these categories to help you in your reference search.

  1. Previous managers – If you were laid off for a non-performance related work issue, you can go back to your previous manager for a reference. If the only reason they let you go was because of cutbacks, they should be willing to recommend you and your work.
  2. Former co-workers – Your co-workers work closely with you on a daily basis. They know what your work ethic, abilities, and attitude are like. Although they can’t provide you with an official recommendation on behalf of your previous company, they can provide you with a personal reference at their own will. Consider asking a former co-worker that you had a good relationship with.
  3. Business Acquaintances – In your career, you have more than likely come in contact with others in your industry through professional meetings and networking functions. Look to  those individuals who know you and have a relationship with you.
  4. Former customers – If you interacted with clients and customers in a previous job, you can ask them for a reference about your abilities and professionalism. They can recommend you on a specific project you did well for them and the positive impact you made on their business.
  5. Former professor or instructor – If you haven’t been in the working world for very long, you can refer back to a former professor to aid in your career search. They can tell prospective employers about your academic abilities, work ethic, previous internships, etc.
  6. Volunteer manager – Volunteering is a great way to build your résumé when you’re between jobs. Seek out those positions that relate to your skills and background, so you can showcase your abilities. The volunteer manager can recommend any good work that you do. Although you aren’t getting a salary for doing volunteer work, you are still doing valuable work.

If you’re currently seeking a new job, view this as an opportunity to have a fresh start and seek something you want to do and will enjoy. Take these six reference possibilities into consideration as you embark on your search. Just remember to get their permission before you list someone as a reference and always send a thank you note for offering their help.