5 Effective Networking Strategies for Your Job Search

I’m sure you’ve heard it by now – the BEST way to find a job in today’s market is through networking.   The “hidden job market” is becoming the easiest and fastest way to employment.  Due to the volume of resumes that a company receives for an open position, they are now looking for the way to find people who have the qualities and the references in a timely manner. What better way than to go through people you know and trust!  Here are 5 networking strategies to use for your job search:

1. Family/friends – be sure to tell the people who know you best that you are looking for a job, and what type; they know, or know of someone who knows, that can get you in touch with the hirer and can speed your search

2. Social media sites – LinkedIn is the premier site for professional online networking; it allows you to post your “resume” online, to connect with people you know or people who are in organizations you want to be in, to research companies, to join groups for education and networking, and to show your expertise by answering questions.  I heard a recruiter recently say that he would not look at anyone who did not have a LinkedIn profile!  There are other sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Connections, etc. to join.

3. Associations and Groups – join groups in your industry – or the one you want to be in to find people who are currently doing what you want. When you do, start volunteering to show your skills and get you noticed.  Some associations have mentoring programs or career pathing to help their members transition. and most have job boards.  Find networking groups as well as they are great places to let people know you are looking for a job.

4. Alumni associations – go back to your college or university alumni center to get connected with other alumni who are in your field.  Alumni usually want to give back (they also know people)

5.  Business cards – pull out all of your old business cards to see who you can contact to inform them of your job search; look at people you’ve met in your preferred industry for connections or to set up informational interviews for information gathering and resources

If networking is not part of your job-search strategy, you are missing opportunities to get you hired.  Go back and revise your plan to make these 5 effective networking strategies part of your job search plan.  What other strategies have you tried?

Focusing Only on the Money Won’t Get You a Job

I see it over and over again – job seekers feeling confused and frustrated that they can’t find a job because they are only focusing on the money they will make.  While pay and benefits are important, they are not the only factors to consider when searching for a job.  You have to think about the sacrifices you will have to make, not to mention the workload and stress, that come along with high-paying jobs.  If your values and lifestyle do not mesh or you are not willing to do the work that is necessary then you will need to re-focus on finding a position that will fit and the look to see how you can set goals for how you will get there.

I once talked to a young man who is 29 years old and had worked his way up to the manager of a major, large retail chain.  He was preparing to interview for a district manager position and I have no doubt that he got the position.  In realizing his success, this young man was very focused on his career path and had taken the steps necessary to get where he was.   He reported that he had set career goals for himself at a very young age, 18, when he started working for the company and wanted to progress every two years; he would move into the “next step” and learn all he could so he was prepared for the next position.  While income was important to this young man, he felt that the learning and self-development opportunities were invaluable and motivating, as well as the ability to develop his employees to also move into management positions.

I think a good lesson can be learned from this story.   If you focus on your reasons for wanting to pursue your career path, aligning with your values, and setting clear goals for yourself can get you to the right job opportunity that can make you happy.  It will give you the purpose and the passion to work hard.  In time, the money will come!

Rebuilding Trust (in yourself) After a Job Loss

Losing your job can be devastating to one’s psyche and esteem.  Thinking about the next career path can be confusing and bring up a host of fears and insecurities and lead to job search procrastination.  “Who will hire me?” or “What job am I fit for?” are questions I often hear when I coach clients.  It seems that the loss of a job leads to the loss of one’s identity which can deflate – or almost paralyze -the job search strategies that need to be done to get hired again.

In order to get “back in the game”, it is important to rebuild trust in yourself and in your abilities so you can get hired again.  According to Bridges (2003) and Nakaska (2010), it is important for a person to rebuild their own trust in their abilities and in developing their own career plans “as they themselves, rather than any single job, will be the one constant in their careers.”   It is important to keep in your mindset all of your skills and abilities that you have to offer to potential employees; this means having them written down and placed where you can see them on a daily basis.  Keeping your professional development in mind will be the key to your weathering these changes and resulting stress that change brings.  Paying more attention to what is occurring in your industry and in the world of work will help you bring more knowledge and skills to an employer and can position you as a top candidate for hire.  Taking charge of your career will help to increase and enhance your skills and knowledge, give you a clearer direction for where you want your career to go and enable you to make better choices.  These activities will also help to rebuild your internal trust so you feel more confident and less fearful to seek out the positions you desire.  Not only will you rebuild trust in yourself but you will be managing your career as opposed to allowing an employer to do so.

The Top 20 Growth Occupations

I saw this article on the net and thought it was worthy to pass on.   Some of you may be unsure about your future – perhaps you are looking for work or are unsatisfied with your current job and may be looking to either go back to school or change careers.  Maybe these predictions of the top 20 growth occupations between now and 2018 will help you to make the “leap” (and give you hope for the future):

  1. Biomedical engineers – 72% increase,  11,600 jobs
  2. Network systems and data communication analysts – 53% increase,  155,800 jobs
  3. Home health aides – 50% increase, 460,900 jobs
  4. Personal and home care aides – 46% increase,  375,800 jobs
  5. Financial examiners – 41% increase, 11,100 jobs
  6. Medical scientists (except epidemiologists) – 40% increase,  44,200 jobs
  7. Physician assistants – 39% increase, 29,200 jobs
  8. Skin care specialists – 38% increase, $14,700 jobs
  9. Biochemists and biophysicists – 37% increase, 8,700 jobs
  10. Athletic trainers – 37% increase, 6,00 jobs
  11. Physical therapist aides – 36% increase, 16,700 jobs
  12. Dental hygienists – 36% increase, 62,900 jobs
  13. Veterinary technologists and technicians – 36% increase, 28,500 jobs
  14. Dental asssitants – 36% increase, 105,600 jobs
  15. Computer software engineers, applications – 34% increase, 175,100 jobs
  16. Medical assistants – 34% increase, 163,900 jobs
  17. Physical therapy assistants – 33% increase, 21,200 jobs
  18. Veterinarians – 33% increase, 19,700 jobs
  19. Self-enrichment education teachers – 32% increase, 81,300 jobs
  20. Compliance officers (except agriculture, construction, health & safety, and transportation) – 31%, 80,800 increase

Is a Career Mentor Right for You?

If you are in a career transtion, you may be looking to change your career path or, perhaps, to just expand in an area that you have a great passion for but little experience.  If so, you may want to consider finding a career mentor to guide you and help lead you on that new path.  A mentor is a more experienced person who has knowledge and resources to help in one’s career or life.  Similar to a coach, a mentor will help you to set goals and then help you to achieve them, but the work and responsibility is on you.  A mentor will meet with you at designated times to see if you have worked on your goals and provide you with wisdom and knowledge to move your forward.  A mentor will also connect you with influential people and resources that are relevant to your goals.  A mentor basically works with you to show you  how they operate on the job and help you to get to their level.

A career mentor works the same way but in relation to your career transition.  They will help you learn “the ropes” but for the position you want to break into.  For example, say you have some experience in marketing but it is not enough to get you a marketing position.  You know that you would be a great fit and have the talent to connect with people to get them to buy a company’s products or services.  You have found several open positions but you don’t have the required experience to be considered.  Finding a career mentor – in this case, a marketing mentor – would help you to learn more, perhaps with hands-on experience, and then get connected to the people they know who can further your skills and, hopefully, lead you to a job.  A career mentor can expose you to a lot of possibilities because you will learn what they do and know.  If you position your relationship just right, you can become a valued asset to your mentor so they will want to hire you, or lead to you to someone they know who will.

Find a career mentor can be a little challenging, just as in finding any mentor.  You may want to start with family or friends to either see if they might mentor you or know someone who does. You can call previous employers or employers in your desired industry for mentoring possibilities.  The best way is through associations in the industry you are interested in; they often have mentoring programs or can get you in contact with people who would be willing to help.  I belong to the Orlando chapter of the American Society of  Training & Development and served as their lead mentor last year and saw the enrollees reach their career goals and succeed.    So, is a career mentor right for you?   If you have engaged in a mentoring program, would love to hear your experiences.