It’s that time of year again where people make resolutions that they intend to adhere to for the rest of the year. “Lose weight, exercise, be a better person, take up a hobby or reconnect with family/friends” are a few of the more common ones.
Here are a couple of ways to get back on track and start on a solid footing.
1) Review your resume – If you have been sending out your resume to anything that remotely resembled what you are looking for, but didn’t receive any calls, it’s time for a resume revamp. Firstly, your resume should be an ever-changing document, as one size does not fit all ESPECIALLY when you are applying for different jobs. The resume you used to apply at Burger King should not be the same one you send for the IT help desk position.
It is more efficient if you focus your job search within one field. You can use the same resume as a template, but even then, you MUST fine tune it to match the job you are applying for. Show the employer where your skills and experience match what they are looking for. If you are applying in different sectors for different roles then you should have a separate resume for each sector or role. Don’t cut corners here, as the easiest way to get your resume into the circular “G” file is to send it for a job that it doesn’t match.
2) Review your interview skills – If you seem to be able to get interviews but always come second, there is something turning off the employers from what they see on paper (your resume) to when the meet you and speak with you in person. A good remedy for this is to take advantage of Interview Workshops offered by many of the community organizations like JVS. They can help you identify potential areas of concern like body language, tone of voice, quality of answers and follow-up. Most of these services are free so why not see if these programs can make you an employer’s first choice? Also, check out our past blogs on this topic, and rethink how and what you say in interviews.
3) Training for new skills – This is probably the toughest area to decide on what to do. Most people are limited by financial resources, time constraints, family obligations and so on. If you are eligible for training through a government assistance program (provincial, federal, Student Scholarships and even municipal) then that will ease some of the burden, but not everyone is eligible for the specific skills training they need.
Here’s how I look at this situation. The only person that will decide of the training you take is valuable, necessary or makes a difference is the EMPLOYER. The opinions of a salesperson at a private college, a job developer like myself, a friend, or even your parents do not matter. The employer is the one who is going to hire you and they will be the ones to decide if your new skills are what they are looking for.
Points to remember:
- Not all training is created equal. Taking a program through a Community College will have more of an impact than cheaping out and taking the same program off a matchbook from Chris’s Private College, Tattoo Parlour and Burger Emporium. Visit at least 3 people in the field or role you want to be in and ask what education or skills are needed, where they got their education and what institutions they recognize as legitimate. Don’t waste your time, money and energy on training that won’t get you ahead and is not recognized in the real world.
- Take training that will add to your skills and not start you from scratch. With the Second Careers program, many people took advantage of the funding to get trained in a different career. I have heard of successes and challenges from different people who enrolled in the program. If I was to enroll in such a program I would look for skills that would enhance what I already had. Why start totally from scratch as that would make me “new” to the industry?
Here’s an example of what a successful client of mine did – he had 10 years experience as a Tool & Die Operator. His company went bankrupt and he was out of work. After trying to find a job for several months he decided to apply for Second Careers. The training he applied for was Industrial Design. Coupling that with his experience as a Tool & Die Operator made him a much stronger candidate then he was before the training. He did get a job with his new skills.
My point is to be applying for jobs from a position of strength. Why get into a totally different field only to be at the bottom of the ladder again? Enhance the great skills you do have with the proper training (with input from the employers) and you will become a stronger candidate. Starting off at the bottom of the food chain again means less money too.
- Keep in mind that employers do offer professional development/tuition assistance programs to their employees. Let’s say you have identified the company that you want to work at but the job you want needs further training. Being unemployed,you don’t have money or the ability to take time off for school – bills have to be paid. Why not apply for a job you are suitable for and then take the training through the company – on their dime?? Many companies have tuition assistance programs that are fairly generous for their staff. They are interested in growing talent from within so these programs are a great way to get your training and to get paid at the same time.
4) Increase your Social Media presence – Utilize LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and so on to gather information, connect with employers and get the inside scoop on potential job opportunities. The availability of information, ease of connecting with people is staggering. Just remember to mind your manners. Being unprofessional online can harm your reputation very quickly. People don’t owe you anything and if they choose not to respond then move on. You will meet some fantastic people out there that are willing to give advice, lend a hand or even just listen. Sometimes that is all you need to get you over the hurdle that is in front of you.
I challenge you to do the following:
- Invite one person a day from the field you are looking to work in, to connect on LinkedIn.
- Join one new LinkedIn Group a week, and PARTICIPATE. Start a discussion so they can see you.
- Pass on a job opportunity that you have seen to someone in your network.
- Be open, to try different tactics and new approaches to your job search.
Best of luck,