Sunday, October 19, 2014

Your Job Search Begins While You're Still Employed

Ok I know that sounds like an odd statement. And, I bet some reading this have no plans anytime soon to begin a job search - not in this economy anyway. Yet, it is under these conditions that the 21st century job search is being transformed.

As I assist people with career transitions as well as provide support to close friends, it’s clear it’s a whole new ball game. It’s also clear that in some cases creative strategies need to be employed.

One job search component is evident - having a professional network in place, puts you miles ahead of those who don’t. For those I know who have gained employment (or gotten interviews), in many cases it’s been because someone referred them.

Additionally, interviews are gotten because they are extremely pro-active and persevering; they make phone calls, they keep following up, and they spend the time (hours) going through the painful, tedious process of plugging in their information on-line. My conclusion – a job search today takes a tremendous amount of character and confidence. The resounding comments, “ Looking for a job is a full time job and it’s tough.” Yep…it is.

And that brings me back to the title of this article. As your self-appointed career coach for the next few moments, please take to heart the following advice: Please don’t wait until you are laid off to start working on your employment prospects – build the foundation and nurture the infrastructure now!

Here’s a few tips to get you started:
1. Build and nurture a professional network of people who know you, trust you, and can honestly comment on the work you do.

2. Social Networking/Media is here to stay so use it. As I travel across the country conducting professional development seminars, there is a mix of attitudes about the social media presence in our lives. Some feel it’s turned into a down right invasion. No matter, accept the fact that it is here to stay and can serve you well, should you be in a job search. There are affinity groups, professional organizations, etc…that make it easier to connect, which will more effectively serve #1.

3. At minimum have a LinkedIn presence. My nephew in college already has one. If you choose no other, choose this as it is the original on-line professional connection source.

4. Please know some folks have found jobs via Twitter…so learn about it.

5. If you use Facebook, stay in the know about privacy settings and be discerning about what you put on your page. Believe it – recruiters comb the web for information. (See my post on "on line reputation.)

6. Digital resumes are helpful. What’s a digital resume you say? It’s a web site of sorts that can be used to present you in ways a flat one-dimensional resume cannot. Without giving away proprietary information, you can describe your work experience, projects, and successes.

7. Keep track of not only what you do, but also what you’ve accomplished. Figure out how to give numbers and percentages to what you do where possible.

8. Keep developing professionally – go to workshops and seminars even if your company doesn’t pay for them. Last week I heard a great story from a woman in my seminar that got promoted because she did that with her own time and money.

9. Develop an “enhanced professional presence.” You can volunteer to speak at an event, do a lunch and learn, comment or write for blogs, or contribute to news articles. I subscribe to HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Reporters are always looking for people to contribute who are involved in real ways (meaning outside the guru, consultant genre).

You’ll notice all of these tips are building a foundation and are practices of active career management. Those who are passive will be farther behind as they ramp up a job search.
The final tip?...make active career management a permanent practice in your professional life.

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness

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