Written by Julia Churan
When you haven’t had to look for a job in many years, you might feel
overwhelmed in a whole new world of HR technology. The solutions you used to job search 10 years ago or even 5 are likely obsolete. Terms have changed, the interview format is likely over the phone or video, and you suddenly feel overwhelmed in what seems like an impersonal way of finding a job. The reality is “making it personal” may be what helps you navigate or bypass the Applicant Tracking Systems and land the interview.
10 Lessons to Get to YES!
Kevin has spent the last six plus years in workforce development and employment services. He’s experienced the process change first-hand and shared a guide to “Kickstart Your Job Search.“
Lesson 1: Recognize That Job Loss Is Traumatic
Feelings of anger, confusion and hurt are normal when you lose your job, no matter what the circumstances. The rollercoaster of feelings will eventually ease but they may also come in waves; so be patient.
Lesson 2: Understand How Companies Think
Companies exist for the purpose of turning a profit. This includes decisions of restructuring and downsizing. Companies make no guarantees and you can’t assume any job will be the one you retire from now.
Think of yourself as a contractor regardless of your status and always consider what your next step might be.
Lesson 3: Control Your Own Career Path
No matter what company you take a job with, this will likely not be your last job so keep your skills sharp. Learn new skills and take advantage of any training opportunities and tuition reimbursement to learn new skills.
Lesson 4: Take Care of Yourself
Job search should not be your 24/7 focus. Find a balance and take care of yourself with hobbies, exercise, helping others or enjoy family and friends. You might not have the time very soon so learn a new skill or do something you’ve always wanted to. Learn to cook, take a home repair course or join a hiking group. These sort of activities will get you out meeting new people and help you be refreshed when you are searching for that new position.
Lesson 5: Decide What You Really Want
This might be the ideal time to consider a fresh start or career change. These resources can help you with some soul searching and provide some direction for the next chapter of your career:
- Book: “What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard Bolles – The book provides current statistics on the U.S. job market, self-directed exercises to help you understand your “Why,” and tips to finding someone who will pay you for that purpose.
- Book & Assessment: “Strengths Finder 2.0” This book and tool helps identify your top strengths (not skills). It will help align your skills to give you more success in life.
- Assessment: Carl Young Personality Type – you can take this through Arizona@Work. This helps you define your values.
- Assessment: DISC Assessment – this tool is available online through Career Connectors and Top Talent at no cost to attending seekers. It helps you define your career trajectory and may help build your resume.
- Assessment and Resource Website: ONetOnline.org – They offer an assessment “My Next Move” that takes about 15 minutes and gives you a range of occupations based on the results. It also allows you to type in your last occupation and get links to other related occupations that might suit you better or be something to watch for.
- Website: CareerOneStop.org – this site should help you decide if the roles you are seeking are growing occupations. You will find valuable information like the median wage to know if your desired salary is in line and other stats about the role. The site is provided by the U.S. Department of Labor so the data may be a bit delayed, but still useful.
- Publication: Phoenix Business Journal – there is a subscription fee for this weekly publication and daily website but it provides current information about local businesses and industries. They also publish an annual special “Book of Lists” that gives you a great start in listing top companies and key data in most industries.
- Website: Best CompaniesAZ – This organization recognizes companies who rank as desirable places in the Valley to work based on employee satisfaction and company culture. They are profiled on the website and recognized at recruiting events throughout the year.
- Other Online Resources: Search for specific companies on Google, Yelp, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn to see what others are saying about your target companies and current news to stay aware of the organization.
Lesson 6: Try Everything
We live in a time when resources are easily accessible. Many are at little or no cost for seekers. Take advantage of the variety of services and don’t take an attitude that “It isn’t for me.” You just never know where that next contact might come from. Consider:
- Employment Academy
- Goodwill of Central & Northenr
- Maricopa County Library
- Phoenix Public Library
- Fresh Start Women’s Foundation
Lesson 7: Find All the Jobs
The days of classified ads and Monster.com are gone. There are job boards everywhere. Some are specialized, some are localized and most are free. Many take out a lot of the search work by allowing you to upload your resume and they will notify you of matches. They will quickly pollute your email box with recommendations or prospects so be prepared. Consider a special email box for your search. Take a look at some or all of these online job boards:
Google has rolled out a new feature. If you type “jobs” into the search box you will get listings of jobs in your area without going directly to a specific company’s site. You can refine the search to “jobs in Tempe AZ” or “jobs at USAA” or “engineering jobs near me.” You will still need to apply though the employer, but it is an easy way to search quickly.
Remember, the majority of online applications will not be seen by
a live person unless your resume/profile matches with the recruiter’s criteria in the Applicant Tracking System. You cannot rely on mass applying. You must leverage your network and make yourself standout.
Sign up for the ARIZONA@WORK Job Blast Newsletters. Text AZATWORK to 22828 to get a listing of 5000 of the most recent local jobs.
Employers will raise questions if you aren’t visible on social media so you need to have profiles and begin building a circle of connections. You don’t have to be on every platform but be sure you are active on LinkedIn and then pick another one or two. Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram will give you a good start. This can help employers get to know you, the person, a little better. They will see if you are well-rounded. It can help them decide if you are a good fit for their organization. If community service is important in their company, they may look to see if you volunteer or have interests in that activity.
Be aware of what you are posting, however, and the viewers that may see it.
You must have a LinkedIn profile and begin to establish a robust
professional network, if you don’t already have. There are many tips on past blog posts to help you fine tune your LinkedIn profile and build connections. See them here. You can also get assistance at any Career Connectors event by a LinkedIn expert.
Consider posting on your social sites that you are a seeker. If these people are in your network, they will be eager to help if you are specific in what you are looking for. Do something like: “I am currently exploring new opportunities in Marketing in the Gilbert/Chandler area. I am focusing on startup technology companies with leadership opportunities in social media and brand marketing.” This won’t leave your friends guessing on opportunities.
Spend time each day building and interacting with your social network, but remember, this type of networking doesn’t equal face-to-face networking.
You should consider your desired companies and positions and make yourself available at events where you can make connections with someone at your target companies or in your target position. This could include attending:
- Local Hiring Events and Job Fairs
- Career Connectors
- AZHire Me Job Fair
Always be prepared with an “Elevator Speech” or a specific introduction plan that tells who you are and what you are looking for.
A great resource for a wide variety of events around the Valley is NetworkingPhoenix.com. They publish an active calender of events to help fill up your a calendar.
The Hidden Job Market
These are high volumes of jobs that never make it to job boards and
posting sites. Many of these are with smaller businesses that choose
not to post opportunities or hire solely on referrals. Some may not
even have an HR department. These may be jobs that you will never learn about unless you are leveraging many networking avenues. This is where getting the word out gets you consideration. It might be from social media or networking events like Career Connectors. It can be through clubs or Bunco nights or church groups. It can be wise to become a member or volunteer for trade associations or Chamber of Commerce meetings. Facebook events may be another great way to find people with common interests like jogging, wine, Dungeons & Dragons, or atheletic boosters. Through these communities you will have fun, build commaradarie and meet new friends who also have wide networks.
Lesson 8: Volunteer
Volunteering is good for your soul. It makes you feel good, feel valued, and it gets you up in the morning, engaging with others. You will have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day and hopefully meet some new people in the process. You can look into your local school, church or non-profit associations. HandsOn Greater Phoenix and VolunteerMatch are great services to help you find something that meets your interests. And, don’t forget, Career Connectors is always looking for people to help with events and job seeker services. Find out more about these opportunities.
Lesson 9: Expect Rejection
No…not hiring…funding pulled…going another direction…over-qualified…under-qualified…on hold.
You will hear these and many other excuses. You will also not hear anything sometimes. You must be prepared for it! From the mouth of Rocky Balboa, “Life is not all rainbows and sunshine!” You can’t give up!
Lesson 10: Success Breeds Success
Justin Oviatt, Sr. Branch Manager
Liberty Mutual managers came to talk about opportunities they currently have in the Phoenix area. Their new East Valley offices make them the largest employer in the City of Chandler with over 50,000 employees across 5 continents. They are the 4th largest Property and Casualty Insurance company in the U.S. with $126 billion in assets. They foster a culture of inclusion and empowerment for their staff.
The hiring team shared specific details of openings in Inside Sales, Field Sales, Claims Management and Bodily Injury. They also have opportunities in Consumer, Business, Investments, Legal and IT units.
Liberty Mutual offers new employees a strong benefits package including a pension and 401K. Benefits are effective the day of employment.
Ron Mack – Community Awareness Partner
Mission – Through the goodwill of others, we create the pathway to a better future for all by helping those who desire self-sufficiency.
The Goodwill Career Centers offer free career coaching, assistance with resumes, mock interviewing, employment support and digital skills training. They specialize in providing on-going support for the professional job seeker. Goodwill delivers community awareness of local employment events through onsite career centers and through the recent launch of mycareeradvisor.com (live chat available). The services are free of charge and available to all.
Landi Carfi, VP of Corporate Training, Brighton College
Landi shared the exciting news and details about Career Connectors partnership with Brighton College to bring affordable education and career services to participants. This will help bridge the talent gap or transition in your career search. The Academy offers a wide variety of accredited online educational programs along with many professional development classes. The focus is on quality and affordability.
A few of the best accredited online certificate programs that are being offered to Career Connectors at a reduced price are: Information Technology Certification Programs, Business Management Associate Degree Online, Paralegal Certificate, Medical Assistant School, Legal Nurse Consultant Certification and Online Professional Development Classes. Many others are also available. Career Connectors members will receive a 30% discount on the programs and certifications and payment plans are available. For more information go to the Career Connectors Academy website.
Jessica Pierce, CEO and Founder of Career Connectors, closed the event encouraging attendees to visit the many resources available at no charge to seekers at Career Connectors events: LinkedIn and resume assistance, professional photos, DISC assessments, career and financial coaching. These and all Career Connectors services would not be possible without the generous time of Staff, Volunteers, Sponsors and Partners. Also, a huge thank you to the Central Christian Church for hosting the Gilbert event. Attendees were encouraged to network and take advantage of the many services.
The next two events are:
- Sept 5 – Instant Likability by Dave Sherman at Grand Canyon University
- Sept 12 – Resume Mythbusters: Certified Resume Writer Panel at Highlands Church in North Scottsdale
Details are available on the Events Page.