By Debbie Lousberg
Not only is Hot Weather upon us, so is a Hot Job Market! Now’s the time to dust off that resume, brush up your job search skills, and get out there to find the job of your dreams. Whether you are looking for a summer job, changing careers, or re-entering the workforce, here are some helpful reminders:
First, take stock. This is an often overlooked, yet very important step. Simply put, what is it you really want to do? What have you imagined yourself doing for a living? What kinds of work related tasks do you enjoy doing so much, that you don’t even notice time passing and where can you do more of that type of work? Think about your values and priorities. What kind of job best fits what you want out of life? Yes, absolutely, money matters, but so does being happy and satisfied with your work, which is more likely when you match who you are with what you do. Make the time to sit down with paper and pen and ask yourself these questions. Jot down your answers and any insights or memories that come to mind regarding the kind of work you really want to pursue.
Next, think about your knowledge, skills, and abilities. What exactly do you bring to the table? Here’s where your formal education and special training acquired over the years comes into the picture. Evaluate the skills you’ve built – the technical or “hard” skills, such as data entry, welding, or proficiency with a particular software program; the non-technical or “soft” skills, like communication, building rapport, or being a team player; and your transferable skills – those which are useful in different types of work situations such as being detail-oriented or having effective management skills. Transferable skills are especially important when you are first entering or re-entering the workforce or changing careers. Review the types of things you’ve done, and enjoyed doing, that could be beneficial in any type of job. If you’ve been a stay-at-home parent for awhile, your household and time management skills are very transferable. If you’re looking for your first job out of school, volunteer work experience and class leadership skills will be very useful. Now think about your natural strengths and talents – your abilities to easily handle different types of tasks and assignments. These are the things you are innately good at, and usually like to do best, which will set you apart from other candidates.
Time to prepare your resume - this information you’ve gathered about yourself should be reflected accurately and professionally in this document. Look at samples online or in books at the library and create the one that best represents you and the position you are seeking. Remember, the sole purpose of a resume is to get an interview, so make sure it is easy to read, and presents your most attractive, beneficial work experience and attributes clearly and concisely. Don’t forget the importance of a cover letter. Here you can express a little more of your personality and spark interest so that a reader will want to continue on to the next page - your resume!
This brings us to your actual job search, for which you should develop a detailed, organized strategy. Once you’ve pinpointed the type of job and company you are seeking, determine how many cover letters and resumes you will send, how many follow-up calls you’ll make, how many job fairs you’ll attend, and how many recruiters or staffing agencies you’ll contact on a weekly basis. These things are all part of the “published” job market. Be sure to tap into the power of the “unpublished” job market, too, where networking is the key. Don’t think you have a network? Think again and start talking to your friends and family. Tell them exactly what you’re looking for and then always ask, “Who else do you know that I can talk to?” Before you know it, you will have quite a network of resources, one leading to another and opening doors for you along the way.
Last, but by no means least, take care of yourself during this transition. Be committed to setting weekly goals and accomplishing at least one per day. Expect to feel ups and occasional downs and maintain resiliency – be positive, flexible, focused, and proactive. Keep practicing your interviewing skills and fine tune your “1-minute commercial”, which you’ll use while networking. Eat and sleep well and stay fit with exercise. Be realistic with your budget and spend within your means. Reach out for support from friends, family, and network contacts. And, here and there, take a day off from your search to rejuvenate.
Don’t let this hot weather get to you – tap into the hot job market instead and find the job you’ve dreamed of. With a well-thought-out and organized plan, you’ll soon be doing work you love and creating your exciting future!Debbie Lousberg, Career Coach and Trainer, motivates and energizes individuals and employees through one-on-one coaching, workshops and seminars, helping them find fulfillment and meaning in their work lives. For more information, please visit her website at www.LousbergUnlimited.com.