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Job Hunting, Uncategorized

Today’s Job Search -OR- We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

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I started a new workshop about a month ago. I call it, “Today’s Job Search: -OR- We’re Not in Kansas Anymore!” (SEE my presentation below.) It was a culmination of information I gleaned from discussions with long-term unemployed persons, online research and personal observation of the labor market.

The reason I developed this new workshop is that in my observations, the chief comment I have heard from job seekers at my desk is that today’s job search is not what they’re used to—almost like I could somehow pull a magic wand out of my desk drawer and make things as they used to be. The sad part is that although the jobseeker is recognizing that there is a difference in today’s labor market, they’re still in many cases hunting for jobs using yesterday’s rules.

So I worked on a little Recruiting Primer for the 21st Century:

WHAT’S OUT

* Newspaper Ads

* Job Boards at the local Unemployment Office

* Mail resumes and cover letters

* Walking into a targeted business and walking out with a job

* Seniority was important

* Long, elegant, highly detailed resumes

* Occasional networking

* Blanketing local employers with a resume and cover letter addressed “To whom it may concern”

WHAT’S IN

* Jobs are online now

* Applying for jobs via email and online applications

* Labor market is no longer about seniority but skills and competencies

* Streamlined resumes that list relevant accomplishments

* Social media as a job searching tool

* Building and maintaining a wide network of contacts for various industry areas and skill sets

* Researching prospective employers and applying to companies where your skills and interests match their needs.

We all have similar stories: my first job after college involved me walking into a business, asking for an application, and walking out less than an hour later having secured a job. Sixteen years later, after having  received my first notice of layoff, I realized I needed to create a resume for myself. I also needed to put together a list of perspective employers in the county and arrange for informational interviews with every one of those employers. My introduction was my newly-crafted 60-second commercial. The rules had changed.

Prior to this time I had never had a resume—I have never needed one. My roommate had one in college. She was so proud of it—it was professionally printed and set in a leather portfolio, on cream colored  parchment. It was four pages long! What on earth could a freshman have to put into four pages??

That was the way it was then. She had included everything from her extra-curricular activities on the cheerleading squad to the fact that she had three dogs and eight brothers and sisters. It was practically a life history. That’s how resumes were.

When I started working for the state employment office a few years back, the rules were drastically different. The rule was no more than one page. I never quite bought into that one; I had needed to use a resume twice in three years and I never had anything less than two pages. It never stopped me!

Now the pendulum seems to be swinging back somewhat, and vindicating what I had said all along—if you have something to say in two pages, say it in two pages. Just get the employer’s attention from the start. If you can’t do that, it doesn’t matter how many pages you have.

Today’s job search is a lot more about marketing yourself and your skills than it used to be. I have never been a salesman in my life and now I would have to sell myself to the employer to get my next job. It involves standing out from the crowd: making and using connections, matching your skills and qualifications with job requirements, using the latest technology to reach out to employers.

No wonder they say finding a fulltime job IS a fulltime job. No, Toto. we’re not in Kansas anymore.

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About kimberlyjmyers

I am a workforce development professional in Washington State. I have ten years experience working with dislocated workers, vocationally impaired, and people with disabilities on many levels and backgrounds from offenders to non-English speaking refugees from around the world. The One thing the clients I have worked with all had in common: there was some barrier to employment, and I work diligently every day to identify, address and remove those barriers.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Today’s Job Search -OR- We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

  1. Nice job, Kimberly!

    Posted by Lisa | October 6, 2011, 9:46 pm

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