I don’t know if it’s just because it’s spring and everything is brighter, but I get the feeling that there’s truly a feeling of optimism emerging among job seekers. Honestly, I don’t think that we’re going to see a huge boom, but I’m beginning to see signs of hope. As usual, I’m going to try to give some practical and helpful advice to give you some strategies on how to take advantage of this optimism.
1) Test the waters with informational interviews:
Informational interviews are going to be a great way to get a good perspective on what’s going on in the marketplace. Don’t be surprised if you get varying opinions in different industries. Key thing to remember, when you’re on an informational interview, don’t specifically ask for a job. Your goal is to gain insight and information about the company or industry. Ask questions; learn; be a sponge...then apply that knowledge appropriately. Remember, ALWAYS THANK the person with a thank you note.
2) Get up to speed on Social Networking:
In case you haven’t read my more recent posts, I’m a big advocate of getting on Linkedin and consequently Facebook and Twitter. If you haven’t done so already, quit delaying, set up an account, and get comfortable with social networking. It’s not a matter of just being on these sites; you’ve got to make yourself visible. Get your profile up to speed, upload your resume, join at least 5 groups, and participate in discussions. Don’t forget to link up to people so you can grow and expand your network.
3) Be Strategic:
One of the most common mistakes I see job seekers make is that they’re not strategic enough. I could write several articles on this topic, but for now, I’m going to limit it to a specific thought. As you’re applying to jobs, networking, and getting up to speed on the social networking sites, be strategic. By this, I mean plan out your strategy and map out your goals. Who are you going to talk to this week? What companies do you need to get informational interviews with? Where are you finding your most helpful information? I find that job seekers have better results when they have a specific plan in mind. Eliminate the things that aren’t working in your job search and concentrate on the things that are working.
4) People want to hear good news:
I think we’ve been bombarded long enough with bad news regarding the job market. I tend to believe that when people want to hear good news, they make good things happen. Stay positive about your search and give people good news. Give employers a reason to want to talk to you. We’re hearing news about jobs being created and companies starting to make money. Take advantage of that good news and feeling of optimism by getting your resume out to people, networking, and accentuating the positive.
5) Research new industries:
Take this opportunity now to think seriously about emerging careers and industries. We’re hearing quite a bit about the green industry these days. If a career change is in order, see if you can carve out a niche for yourself in an emerging industry. A few years ago we had never heard of cybercrime. At this point, I don’t think I need to define what it is. There are jobs in information technology that didn’t exist 10 years ago. In light of “Healthcare Reform” (I’ll keep my opinions to myself), once it’s all figured out, I imagine that there will be new jobs created to ensure accountability and regulation conformity. Someone somewhere is going to need to know what the heck this all means and inform the rest of us. So, to wrap up without going down a controversial path…research new industries and find out how traditional industries are changing. Look for opportunities in those markets and something is bound to become available. Just be ready with an updated resume when it does.