By: Lynda McNutt Foster
Here are some scenarios that we commonly hear from our clients:
My daughter just graduated from college. What’s the best path for her to take to get a good job?
My son has been living with us for about a year now and can’t seem to get a job. Would you mind taking a look at his resume to let him how he can improve it?
My son has a job, but it’s not what he went to college for. He’s had some interviews but doesn’t seem to be able to be offered any the jobs he would really want.
I have a job opening and can’t find anyone qualified to fill it. I received more than 50 applications and none of them have the skills necessary to do the job.
The growth of our company is going to be limited this year because we can’t find workers with the skills we need to fill the positions we have. The types of jobs we have just aren’t appealing to young people anymore. The jobs pay well. We have many workers in the positions we want to fill that make 50, 60, even 80 thousand dollars a year, but young people just don’t want to do the type of physical labor our jobs require.
Yes, there’s a gap in the marketplace between the jobs that are available and the skills that the job seekers have. Sometimes, though, there is also a willing job seeker and an employer that needs that person and neither know a path to get to one another. That is a common scenario as well that our clients are currently dealing with. For this article, I thought we could start with the job seeker side of the equation.
Here are some tips that might be helpful that you can pass along to anyone desiring to secure some job offers in the coming months. The better prepared, competent and confident job seekers are the more our clients will be able to employ them.
Focus on the facts: In April 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 5,788,000 job openings. The industries with the most job openings are high-skill sectors like information and finance. Millennials are currently 32% of the workforce and in 15 years it is estimated that number will hit 75%. Employers are poised to hire more new college graduates this year than last year. In our region of Southwest Virginia recruiters like Coy Renick are reporting they about 75 more jobs than they have people that can fill them. This is all positive and encouraging news for job seekers.
Where to look: The fields that are estimated to grow the most are Advertising Account Executive, Civil Engineer, Computer Systems Analyst, Data Scientist, Financial Planner, Market Research Analyst, Physical Therapist, Social Media Manager, Software Engineer, and Statistician. If you didn’t graduate with a degree in one of these fields you can still enter into them by taking jobs that support those types of jobs and learning what you need to on the job. In today’s job marketplace, it’s about constantly upgrading your skills and abilities to match what companies need to grow and expand their businesses. Be flexible. Be creative in the way you present your talents and abilities to employers. If you speak multiple languages that can easily convert to proving that you understand different cultures and can quickly adapt to new environments and learn the language of any corporate culture. Say you graduated with a degree in public relations. That training can easily convert to knowing how to attract new customers, ask great questions, build strong relationships, and manage social media.
It’s not just about what you went to school for. It’s about how to sell yourself to employers in a way that fits what they need.
Own and know the process: Parents or spouses can’t want you to find a job more than you want to. Finding a job takes work. Hard work. Networking with people you don’t know already, searching social media sites for hints that a company is hiring, submitting resumes and applications, staying positive through rejection, gaining and practicing great interviewing skills, following up with potential employers, or building a new network that will net a potential freelance position. According to research, 53 million Americans are freelancers and that number is only set to rise. It’s possible that what you are looking for as far as work-life balance is something you will have to work hard to obtain and not something a job you are qualified to get is able to give to you right now.
It could take some time to find that perfect job. Depending on factors like depth of experience and perceived salary requirements, your network (or lack thereof), geographical demand for your skills, time of year and yes, even age discrimination (on both sides of that graph) can play heavily into the time curve in starting to apply for and landing a job. One firm estimates it could take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. It takes many companies to decide to hire someone, post the job, interview candidates, make an offer and then make the hire.
Due to our rapid growth, our firm, Cortex Leadership Consulting, is currently in the market for a new executive coach and know that although we have started our search now, the new hire will probably start with us in August or even September at the earliest.
When searching for a new job, it’s important to be connecting with companies that are currently hiring, but even more importantly so you can be ahead of a hiring curve for an organization, to be networking with companies that may experience growth in the next couple of years. Connecting with executives with that company will allow you to be first in line when they do start hiring.
Tighten up your resume: One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain who said, “If I had more time I would have written a shorter letter.” It takes more time and effort to condense your thoughts than it does to pack a document full of unnecessary or irrelevant information to the reader.
Here are the best tips I could find on creating a winning resume. In that article, you will find things like enhance your contact information, make the page “pop”, ditch the objective statement and lead with a summary, guide the reader’s eye, use the right keywords, and weave your talents into your work experience.
Build and practice your interview skills: If you are wanting a company to hire you then you are going to need to be good at matching your value with their needs. Learning how to position your talents effectively with the position and company or organization you want to work for is a skill you need to learn, develop and build if you want to get more job offers. Many people tell me things like, “I am not good at selling myself.” The keyword you want to double click on if you are one of those people is “selling”. Few people like to “sell” anything much less themselves. When you describe the process that way it’s not too hard find the cause of why people don’t build this needed skill.
Getting really good at matching your value with what people need will serve you in many situations. Yes, people good at selling tend to be good at this skill. Any effective executive is also good at this skill as well. Many times, in your career, you will need to help bring others to understand and agree with the vision or idea you have.
The first step in getting good at this is accepting that you will need to in order to be successful throughout your career. This skill of being able to “sell” yourself is highly important when you are up for a promotion at your current position as well. The second step is reading some articles that can help you build the skill and eventually master it. Start with some of these articles or books. How to Sell Yourself, How to Sell Yourself in a Job Interview, Sell Yourself: 14 Steps to Creating a Powerful Personal Brand.
You’re going to need to practice. There’s no way around it. You want to be poised and confident in a job interview. To be confident, you will need to have practiced what you will say when answering questions that are common in today’s job interview process.
Here are some good job interview questions we recommend our clients ask to potential hires along with links to other resources regarding this topic.
Following up after the interview: Employers want to know you want the job. They want to hire people who want to work for them. If they’ve asked you for something follow up as soon as is humanly possible to do so. Don’t make them wait or wonder if you are going to supply what they need to potentially hire you.
Checking in with someone you interviewed with can let the person know you would like to work for them and are still interested. Sending uncreative “check in” notes, more than every few weeks or so is not recommended. If the interviewer does not mention when they will get back with you, during the interview, that is something you want to ask at the end of the interview so you know how long the hiring process might take with them.
Always send a “thank you” note, preferably the old fashioned kind through snail mail, quickly after the interview.
Here’s a quick checklist that Coy created for us that you can use during the job seeking process.
THIS WEEK’S FEATURED EXPERT: Our featured guest on Good Day Virginia will be Coy Renick tomorrow morning, June 13, 2016 at 7:40am on WFXR Fox 21/27. Coy sold his recruiting and employment firm recently to Arevo Group where he now works as the Director of Business Development. The topic we’ll be discussing is how to best prepare for a job interview. To contact Coy’s company here is the contact information:
Workforce Unlimited Contact Information: