Over the years the internet has changed the way business does business. More and more, companies have increased their web presence and, in doing so, cut back on personnel and in personal contact. At job fairs, the phrase "you need to go on-line and fill out an application" or "e-mail your resume" is heard over and over again. Go to Target or K-Mart to fill out an application, and you are directed to a machine. But what business has failed to realize is there are many people out there who are reluctant to use this tool, the main reasons being the how's (as in how do I use this) and why's (if I'm looking for a job dealing with people, why do I have to deal with a machine). Let's look at a few ways to improve and to use this tool effectively.
Time and time again, candidates hurt their chances in this new era of impersonal contact by using an inappropriate e-mail address. Now, "onehotbiscuit at whatevermail" might be true, but, if you really sit there and think about it, would you hire you if that was the e-mail you saw? What kind of professional image does that display? What about a person's judgment?
This is how companies that are interested in you will get their first impression. Is it a favorable one? With the plethora of free e-mail services out there, you can have one for family and friends and one for business. Just make sure that whichever one you choose for business will let you get your name and if you have to use numbers, don't use your birthday, anniversary, year graduated, or phone number (cause when you change phones, sometimes there is a porting fee to keep your number, the number should make sense, like an area or zip code). Don't us this e-mail for personal matters and it should not become inundated with spam. If it does, you know that company does not respect you as a client and you should feel free to use another company.
Getting To Know You
There are terrific ways to find out how your vast array of skills can play in today's workforce. But sometimes, finding out what those skills are can be a challenge in and of itself. Taking a free career assessment is an effective and efficient way to find out what you like to do and in what fields you can look for the right opportunity. One very good site to try is projectcareer.com. The questions are focused and the results are very through. It will break down your best results; discuss the industry, list sample job titles, interesting facts, and employment outlook. The report is comprehensive and even provides links for further career information. Or you could go to a search engine and take one or two. This way you can compare the results and see which one fits you best.
Not All Job Sites Are Created Equal
So now it's the time to post your resume. You go to Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com and follow the directions. And then you wait. And wait. And wait. They are the best ones for me, right? The biggest is always the best, right? Maybe. But what if you're looking for something different, like working on a cruise ship or a government job? Or what about working for a non-profit, where all your different skills could come into play, instead on a few specific ones. You could have a background in the military, where are opportunities listed for you?
Research pays off big time in this endeavor, as you can go to any search engine and look for specific job sites for your career goals. To help you along the path, here is a list of 12 worthwhile sites that you can try:
- idealist.org (non-profit careers)
- gettinghired.com (career opportunities for people with disabilities)
- ecoemploy.com (environmental careers)
- funjobs.com (just what the name implies)
- diversityinc.com (companies looking to hire a diversified staff)
- greentogray.com (military to civilian opportunities)
- helmitstohardhats.com (same as above)
- backstagejobs.com (performing arts careers)
- showbizjobs.com (same as above)
- dice.com (technology career positions)
- jobsinhealthcare.com (you got this, right)
- usajobs.gov (federal government jobs)
The point is, there are hundreds of thousands of web sites out there. The biggest isn't always the best for your career growth and development. Try to find one that fits your career path. And avoid the sites that keep pressuring you for premium service. They are more interested in your money than your career.
Networking is a job seekers best friend. The people you know, both personally and professionally, provide valuable contacts that can help provide advice, job leads, and help alleviate the feelings of isolation that you can experience. So it's time to find the business cards you've accumulated, take out the Rolodex, find your phone book, and reach out. You'll find people ready, willing and able to help, once they know you're available.
Another way to network is to join professional associations relative to your professional goals. You can join local organizations in your community. This will get you out of the house, with a sense of purpose. And you need a way to reach out to your friends' friends.
While Facebook and Twitter are fun, these are social sites. And the information, photos and video's posted on these and other sites don't exactly scream "hire me." And as a point of fact, postings of your weekend escapades or what you did when you called out sick can ruin your professional reputation, affect your chances of promotion, and in some cases, can lead to termination as your supervisors will question your judgment. Just remember what a photo of Michael Phelps did for his marketability and reputation. If 14 gold medals and 7 world records don't cut someone any slack, how much can you expect?
One of the best sites for business networking is www.linkedin.com. Not only can you post your resume and other career accomplishments, the recommendation feature is a powerful tool. Past and present supervisors, colleagues, and peers can extol your value and virtues. True, they may not be specific to the opportunity you are targeting, but they have a genuineness, a believability about them. They are more personal, and since they are part of your network, a company doing a background search, sees the type of people you know and associate with. And like the "seven degrees of Kevin Bacon" game, you can find out who knows who, which can help get your foot in the door. It won't get you the job, but it could get you a chance to interview, and then the rest is up to you.
A Research Tool
Since most companies have a web presence, researching the companies that you want to work for is now easy. You can find the company history, products, services, personnel, stock prices, what's been written about them by whom, and who there competitors are. Armed with this information, you can better state your qualifications and what you bring to the table. Doing research shows more than just interest, it shows you care about making an informed decision.
The internet is a tool whose value increases when it is used effectively. Creating a presence on the web takes careful planning. And the positive results that can come of it are worth it, both personally and professionally. Information is available anytime, at your fingertips, to help you make the right choices. Make sure you choose wisely.
Are you looking for a new career opportunity and want to learn how to present your skills more effectively? If so, I recommend my book "Pieces Of The Puzzle - A Job Hunters Guide for the 21st Century." which is currently available at https://www.createspace.com/3710544