Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Seven Job Searching Tips

These tips are not listed in any ranked order. I’m not saying that the first tip is any better than any of the others. It’s simply a case of something had to be first. With that said let’s dive right into these ideas intended to help you with your job search.

Staffing Agencies
There are a great many reasons to get connected with a staffing agency. I’m going to list four of the most common reasons.

1.    It’s a great place to get experience
2.    It allows you the opportunity to see if you like working at an organization
3.    Employers prefer to hire people who are already working, even if the job is a temporary or part time position.
4.    It helps you expand your network.

There is so much free education available on the internet that there is no reason to not learn the things you’ve always wanted to learn. For those few of you who have nothing you want to learn, there are always the things you need to learn for your career or perhaps there are some gaps in your everyday life skills. Instruction to help with that can also be found online.

Below is the path to follow to find a variety of FREE online training.

Below is just a small taste of what’s out there.

On the left side of the home page is a gray box containing links. The first link is Employ Florida Marketplace. Click on that link and log in to Employ Florida.

Under Services for Individuals, click on the third link down. It’s titled Education and Training. Move the mouse across to the menu and down to the link for Online Learning Resources.

Scroll through this page and explore the different opportunities available.

When you’re exploring the open courseware of the colleges and universities, keep in mind that even though you aren’t going to get college credit for any of the courses offered, you may be able to use the knowledge you gain to test out of some classes at your local college. Paying for a CLEP test is much less expensive than paying for a class and it will take less time to complete.

If you want to explore what CLEP Exams are available you can go to and start learning what CLEPs are available. Or visit the school you’re thinking of attending and ask them about how you can CLEP out of some classes.

Networking Organizations
Seventy to eighty percent of jobs are found through networking. While networking does include social media, it’s not exclusive to social media. We are still a society where face-to-face, real time, in person networking is important.

There are a great many organizations designed specifically for networking. Do your research and find one that is suited to your needs. Of course, that means that the first thing you need to figure out is what you are looking for in such an organization.

Are you job searching? If so, what type of employment are you seeking? Or are you planning on starting your own business? What kind of business? The answers to those and other questions will determine the organization best suited for you.

Some networking groups can be found by exploring

While LinkedIn is a form of social media, its purpose is to serve as a networking resource for professionals. It can be used for business-to-business networking, business-to-customer networking and many people use it for job searching. While the majority of its users have college degrees this resource has tools to offer almost any job seeker. You can find out what’s going on at that company you’ve always wanted to work for and maybe even connect with someone working there. Those are the kind of connections that lead to jobs.

Community Organizations (volunteer)
Volunteering is a good way to expand your network. You meet people that, if you’re unemployed, you’re not likely to have the chance to meet elsewhere. These are the people with job leads.

Remember, no one wants to hire a stranger. People want to hire people they know, like and trust. As a volunteer you’ll meet other volunteers, some of them will be fairly high up the corporate ladder. These are individuals that not only hear about jobs that other companies have, they are also in a position to recommend candidates for jobs within their own organizations.

Volunteering also helps you keep your workplace skills sharp and who knows you might even learn some new skills that will help with your next position.

Build Your Network
Some people don’t think they need an active network until they’re out of work and start job hunting. That is not the time when you want to have to build your network from the ground up. If you are currently employed, now is the time to grow your network and not let it die. If you are unemployed and you don’t already have a network you’re behind schedule, get busy building your network. Once you find that next job make sure to keep your network active. Networking will help you move into that next position and then it’s your turn to help others in your network. It may be that no one in your network needs to find a job at the moment but we all know how quickly that can change. Stay in touch with the members of your network. It can be something as simple as knowing that one your network members is an avid bird watcher and you come across an article on a rare bird that was recently spotted. Send them a short note and include the link to the article.

Find a Mentor
Personally, I have many mentors, some I see in person; others aren’t even aware of my existence. Here’s a short list of some people who have mentored me without even knowing me. Here is a short list of some of my mentors.

Randy Gage
Ali Brown
Wayne Dyer
Stephen Covey
Marcia Bench
Donald Trump

While a precise definition of Mentor is elusive, in our society it has come to mean an adviser who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with others. It’s not generally a one-time event. With a Mentor you build an ongoing relationship.

Find people whom you admire, people who are successful and read about them. Learn how they think, find out what it is they do that’s different from what most people do and then emulate them.

It’s also helpful to have someone that you can meet with in person to talk over your plans and iron out challenges you’re facing. It may be that instead of a single individual you join a Mastermind Group.

If you can’t find a Mastermind Group to join in your area perhaps you should think about starting one.

As a short review here are the seven elements I’ve gone over here.

1.    Staffing Agencies
2.    Training/Education
3.    Networking Organizations
4.    LinkedIn
5.    Community Organizations (volunteer)
6.    Build Your Network
7.    Find a Mentor

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

9 Top Reasons to Volunteer When You Are Looking for a Job! With Proof!

I know!  You’ve heard it before.  Hear me out why volunteering while you are looking for work is sooooo important!

A few months back a group of us (over 20) volunteered to help with the Women’s Build for Habitat for Humanity.  We got pink hard hats which we blinged out, got to work in the VERY hot sun and with the help of a lot of power tools, we helped build a house for someone in need.  It was sweaty hard work and we even had to use a Portapotty!  Yuck!  It was one of the best experiences in my life!
We were just part of a larger group and as we worked and talked with the other volunteers I realized that there were a lot of people there who were all connected in the community.  I was sweating (and grunting) next to bank managers, retail sales people, executive directors, business owners and a wide variety of other positions.  As we continued to build we started talking about what we did and why we were here volunteering.
I made a lot of contacts that day with a face-to-face shared experience.  I have called on a few of them since then when I needed some help for other things and some have contacted me as well.  What an opportunity!
You can get the same results! 
Cathy was looking for a job as a Business Analyst.  She had applied for a job at a company but needed a certification.  While working on her certification, she started volunteering at the company.
She was able to do job leads and help increase the income of the business!  She also helped them respond to several proposals.  The intent was to show them what she could do.  “The idea was that they could see the skill sets I was bringing to the table. It assisted me in getting hired,” said Cathy.  Cathy says the experience helped her in multiple ways.  (See below)
According to a recent study, skills and dedicated volunteer work makes a job candidate more appealing to human resources executives.  According to a summary of this report in the Huffington Post, Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power, “about 81% of hiring managers felt that volunteer work makes graduates more attractive job candidates.  However, only 46% of the surveyed college students felt that volunteering would help them secure future jobs.”
In a press release, Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency promoting service and volunteering stated “Many of us in the volunteer sector have long felt volunteering gives a boost to those looking for work, but we’ve never had solid research to back it up.”  She also stated, “These reports provide strong evidence that volunteering is beneficial for jobseekers.  Volunteering can provide the skills, contacts and leadership qualities that make you stand out in a competitive market.”
And that’s not the only study around!  According to a study “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment: Does Volunteering Increase Odds of Finding a Job for the Out of Work?” Someone who volunteers is 27% more likely to land a job through volunteering than a non-volunteer.
According to a press release in June, 2013 by CNCS, “the report’s finding of a 27 percent increase in odds of employment was statistically significant. The association between volunteering and employment remained consistent across each year of the study period and varying unemployment rates, suggesting that volunteering may provide an advantage regardless of economic conditions. Importantly, the relationship was strongest among individuals without a high school diploma (51 percent increase in odds) and individuals who live in rural areas (55 percent increase in odds).  
“This research suggests that people with limited skills or social connections – particularly those without a high school education – may see an extra benefit to volunteering as a way to open doors and level the playing field,” said Dr. Christopher Spera, director of evaluation and research at CNCS.  
Here are the 10 Top Reasons to Volunteer When You Are Looking for a Job!
Volunteering makes you feel better and boosts your spirits!  We all know that job searching can be very tough.  It’s almost like a constant rejection.  This is bound to affect our self-esteem and everyone should know that this will eventually reflect on how we present ourselves to others and most especially to potential employers.  Volunteering can take your mind off your own troubles.  It will also give you confidence that you ARE capable and worth hiring.  By volunteering you will stay upbeat and positive because you are getting out there and doing something!  The networking opportunities are an added bonus.
You can add volunteer work on your résumé as a job.  Do you have a gap in your résumé because it has been more than 6 months since your last job?  By volunteering, you get to list it as a job and it will show an employer that you are still using your skills and staying honed for work!
You can learn new skills that could be valuable to an employer.  Not only are you keeping your skills up to date by volunteering, but you are also learning new skills that you can now list on your résumé and bring to the table when you interview!  Did you take a lead on a project?  Supervise a team of volunteers?  Coordinate efforts?  What a great opportunity to not only learn but show off your leadership skills!
Employers want to see that you are doing something while you are job searching.  They appreciate the fact that you are out there and giving back to the community.  Volunteering also shows that you’re still engaged in the workforce while learning new skills.
You increase your networking capabilities.  When you volunteer, you meet many people in a lot of different positions.  You now have new contacts, who have their own contacts, who have their own contacts…  Well, you get the jist of it.  You have increased your networking ability exponentially!
You improve your LinkedIn profile.  By putting your volunteer work on your LinkedIn profile, it shows you are well rounded and have more appeal.  It also allows you to “link” with anyone affiliated with the place where you volunteered and any affiliates!  Think of the networking capacity there!  You can contact potential employers.  Besides, think of how many employers volunteer themselves?  You get to meet them on neutral turf and get to know them.  They might not be hiring but I would bet they will know someone who is!
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience.  When talking with people who recently completed school for a new career they usually lament that no one will hire them because they have no experience.  Volunteering is a great way to get experience and show a potential employer that not only do you talk the talk you can walk the walk.
You’re the first to know if a position opens up!  There might not be any openings when you start volunteering, but we all know that the only thing constant is change.  If and when a position becomes available, you will have the inside track of knowing before any “outsiders”.
Get your foot in the door!  If you volunteer at a place where you want a job, you will be a known quantity.  Let’s face it- when you go to an interview, they really only want to know 3 things.
1.   Are you qualified to do the job?
2.   Will you stay if we hire you?
3.   Will I like working with you?
If you perform your volunteer job like it was a paying job you will demonstrate what it would be like to work with you.  You would be demonstrating your outstanding abilities such as leadership, work ethic  and professionalism.  By volunteering, you have already answered those 3 crucial questions!  You’ve already passed the test!
Well?  What do you think?  Have you volunteered and gotten a job or connection that was helpful?