Tag Archive | "job hunting tips"

Want to Make a Career Change? Ways to Invest in Your Job Search

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The quest for the dream job remains elusive for many Americans.  Only 14 percent feel they have the perfect job, while more than half want to change careers, according to a 2013 survey reported by the University of Phoenix.  The average baby boomer born between 1957 and 1964 held 11.3 jobs between ages 18 and 46, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has discovered, with men changing jobs slightly more frequently than women.  Considering psychological scales rank changing careers as more stressful than mortgage foreclosure, it might be worthwhile for the sake of your health, as well as your finances, to invest in optimizing your job search and improving your odds of securing a stable career position.


Hunt for the Right Quarry


Before you start your job hunt, it’s a good idea to know what you’re hunting for.  Career switching is foreshadowed in college, when 80 percent of students change majors at least once, the National Center for Education Statistics reports.  Many students fail to take advantage of career guidance opportunities available to them in high school and college.  But if you’ve already graduated, it’s not too late, as similar resources are also available to adults seeking career guidance.


One tool to get you pointed in the right direction is a vocational test to match your personality, aptitude and skills to a suitable career path. John Bolles, author of the classic job-hunting guide, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” provides links to a number of vocational tests on his website.  Some basic tools are free to use, while premium tools, such as John Holland’s $9.95 Self-Directed Search test, provide a more in-depth assessment of your career potential.


Use Technology to Connect with Employers


Employment service Manpower has found hiring managers prefer LinkedIn to other online job tools by a two to one margin.  To get the most leverage out of your LinkedIn profile, consider linking it to your own domain where you can showcase your professional credentials.  Describe your skills, cite your experience, display certifications, quote testimonials, post articles illustrating your expertise or embed videos telling employers what you can do for them.  Potential employers often search by keyword or skillset, so having your LinkedIn account constantly updated is a must, according to CashNetUSA.


Look Your Best for Online Interviews


Manpower also found 18 percent of job seekers surveyed have been interviewed on Skype or other video chat platforms over the last year.  Given the somewhat high probability you may be interviewed online, it’s worthwhile to invest in a high-quality camera to look your best.  For less than $40, you can get a Web cam with clear sound quality, such as the Logitech C270.  Or, for about $160, you can get a pro cam.


Be Prepared


You never know when you’re going to run into a potential employer at a networking event, social gathering or even the grocery store!  Be prepared by carrying business cards with you.  Print-on-demand services such as Vistaprint can provide you with 250 cards for as little as $15.


Job Hunting Success in 2011: Throw Convention to the Wind!

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The New Year is traditionally one of the best times to seek and gain employment.  Given the current state of our economy, however, this year’s job hunters will likely face more competition than ever before as tens of thousands of unemployed and underemployed job candidates vie for what will almost certainly be fewer opportunities than in banner years past.

Want to distinguish yourself from other candidates and land that job?  Then, take to heart the unconventional problem-solving approach applied by comedian and entertainer Emo Philips who said, “When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.  Then, I realized God doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness.”  Undoubtedly funny, Philips’ comment should provide a revelation to unsuccessful job seekers employing traditional methods in attempting to uncover opportunities.

Consider the case of the fifty-something financial executive who found himself unexpectedly unemployed.  Unable to secure employment via the customary channels of responding to employment advertisements/postings, contacting recruiters, and networking, this individual, in desperation, decided to throw caution as well as pride to the wind.  He fashioned a wooden sandwich sign announcing his availability and summarizing his qualifications.  Then, he proceeded to pound the pavements of lower Manhattan wearing his creation.  His inventiveness and audacity caught the attention of a prospective employer, who following the typical interview process retained the services of this job candidate.

Or, ponder the path to employment that proved fruitful for an unemployed advertising sales executive.  Eschewing preparation of a typical resume, this job seeker determined to not simply describe but demonstrate his salesmanship through his job seeking materials.  Procuring ordinary, unprinted pizza boxes, he displayed his qualifications and accomplishments in a circular pattern surrounding a replica of a baseball in the lower portion of the box.  Atop the box, he had printed in large, bold letters the following:  “If you are seeking a sales executive who knows how to deliver a pitch, look inside.”  The results generated by this most unusual resume format were both immediate and highly effective.  He interviewed with virtually every firm or agency to which he had sent this package and received several lucrative job offers.

The lesson to be learned from the stories above is that sometimes unconventionality, far from being a roadblock, opens avenues to employment opportunities.  This should not be surprising, for even in more conventional job searches, candidates seek to distinguish themselves from competitors via their resumes and cover letters.  The difference in the cases detailed was one of degree.  The old adage “desperate times call for desperate measures” motivated the candidates described to take more extreme measures in gaining the attention of prospective employers and both succeeded in doing so.

Whether any particular job seeker needs to take such extreme measures in his employment search depends upon an analysis of each candidate’s peculiar circumstances.  All candidates, however, can benefit from presenting themselves in ways that highlight their unique contributions and qualifications and thereby, capture the attention and interest of prospective employers in an increasingly crowded and noisy job market. 

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