Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Connect to Your Career Webinar

I recently watched a webinar from my alma mater, Bradley University, for a discussion on “Connect to Your Career”, in which members of the school’s career center gave advice.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been in college so I forgot about using local universities (or even your own university) as a resource for job hunting. Local schools will have connections to companies in the area and as an adult, you can take advantage of any job listings or counseling they may provide.

Below are my notes from the webinar, where they talked about Career Redirection, Job Searching, Networking, Resume Development, and Interviewing.

The need for career redirection can come from a lack of market success, dissatisfaction with the work, or entering the job market after time away. Regardless, you’ll need to figure out what type of work you want to do and who will pay you to do that work.

Figuring out what you want to do will require some self-exploration and that’s where meeting with career advisors or taking career assessments can be helpful. Also, it helps to review job listings and trends to see which industries have needs. One of these resources is the Occupational Outlook Handbook located here: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/

Within the handbook is the Occupation Finder: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/occupation-finder.htm

Another recommended resource is the Inside Jobs website: http://www.insidejobs.com/

Job searching can take several months and is often a full time job in itself. Your job search might be affected by possible barriers to entry such as level of schooling and geographic location.

Luckily, you can now use technology to aid in your job search as well as take classes to sharpen your skills or gain new ones. Not only should you use job search engines, but you should still visit job fairs as well.

Even if you’re not currently job searching, you should still keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and always be updating your resume with projects and new skills.

Another website they recommended was http://www.idealist.org where you can find jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in order to gain new skills you might not otherwise get.

As for job search engines, the most powerful way to use them is to create saved searches. You will have to create a free account, but this way you can run these searches against jobs in your field easily and quickly, and they often will send you emails with jobs that match with your interests.

The Bradley Career Center recommended the following job search enginges: http://www.indeed.com, us.jobs, (http://missouri.jobs/ or http://illinois.jobs/ for those near me), and http://www.glassdoor.com (where you can view salary information).

Who do you know? Networking is really powerful for landing jobs. You should network with family, friends, alumni, classmates, and people you have yet to meet. Meet people through professional networks and volunteering helps to build new relationships. Be sure to maintain those relationship as well.

There can be different styles of resumes, which is fine as long as the important information is conveyed. 

Employers review the content at the very top the most and review resumes for about 30 seconds. Therefore, make sure your most important attributes are at the top.

Employers are looking for communication skills, teamwork skills, problem solving skills, planning and organizational skills, and job-related knowledge. So you need to convey your experience with these skills on your resume.

Now with online job searching, the Objective section and “References available upon request” tag line are no longer necessary.

As far as formatting goes, just make sure you are consistent throughout the resume and avoid loud colors and graphics. You also may wish to submit your resume as a PDF to avoid any changes to formatting when the employer opens the document.

If you can, explain how have you contributed and the result Incorporate quantifiable information if it is possible. Example: Helped fundraising project earn $10,000.

In addition to a resume, create a LinkedIn account where you can extend what you have on your resume into the online world. This will help you maintain a professional online presence in order to develop your personal brand. You can access alumni from you own school on LinkedIn by going to www.linkedin.com/alumni

After you build your online presence, you can add connections as well as research companies and industries for possible job opportunities.

Use a professional photograph of yourself, add a headline with you career title, and include a keyword-rich summary of skills.

Building your resume will help you prepare for an interview since it forces you to review your skills. You should also learn about the company by checking out their website and researching news about them.

On the day of the interview, dress professionally. It’s OK to be overdressed but not underdressed. Arrive a few minutes early and come with questions prepared.

After the interview, write a thank you note and follow up as appropriate.