Tag Archives: job search tips

Maximize your job search

I’ve talked before about how many people dread looking for work. We all know that the minute we are unemployed we cling to the hope that something will drop in our lap through a friend, former co-worker, family or ANYBODY! Why? Because trying to find a job is not fun and takes time.

How are you going use that time effectively and maximize your job search?

1. Out of the gate, don’t sleep in late. That is a recipe for laziness and a sure-fire way for you to contract the procrastination bug.

2. Set up a work station that has all the essentials at arms reach. Get your computer primed and ready for action. Buy file folders or even a binder to keep track of who you are contacting. Oh, and a good old fashion phone book can help too.

3. Resume must be up-to-date and if you lack cover letter writing skills then find out how to make that letter work for you. Adapting your resume and letter for each position doesn’t need to be painful if you start with good base knowledge.

4. Pick up that phone but also pound the pavement. Time is of the essence! The longer you spend with a fear of making calls or visiting employers in person is time wasted. There are tools and techniques worth exploring is you want to learn how to approach employers better.

5. Is your wardrobe ready? Know what to wear from job search through to job interview. You don’t want to be scrambling to find something to wear every time you step out the door or when that call comes to set up a meeting.

If any of these things are challenging then the first step you need to take is to find out who or what can help. There are plenty of resources available so email me, contact your local employment centre, or other community resources. Time is ticking and we need your skills back out there!

iStock_000000697819_ExtraSmall

Not liking your job? Look for work while you are employed

If you are unsatisfied with your job and thinking about moving on it is best to look for work while you are employed. Why? Mainly because you are not in a desperate position wondering where your next pay cheque is going to come from or experiencing other personal pressures associated with unemployment.

Here’s what you can do to get the ball rolling:

1. Whether you are wanting to stay in the same industry or make a complete change to something else, start to get a sense of what is happening.  Pay attention to news blips, coffee-room chatter, association newsletters or simply ask someone who would know about what changes or opportunities are coming down the pipe.  Be proactive in understanding the labour market and what’s influencing the decision makers.

2. Take stock of what your job entails and write down your job description more thoroughly. You are going to need to update your resume because it’s those important details that bring your transferable skills to the attention of a new employer and/or make it easier to determine alternative occupations.

3. If you haven’t been job searching in quite awhile then now is the time enlist the help of a career/job search professional to get your documents reviewed but also tweak your interview skills. The investment is worth it just to get your confidence up and self promotional pieces in order.

4. Use your network. Connect with friends, family, past employers, colleagues and instructors to let them know of your intentions. This is only useful if you can specifically give them an answer as to what you are looking for in a job. If you don’t know what that looks like then my advice stands the same as above get help from a career consultant.

5. If you have some ideas about occupations but are unsure what their job duties might be then I suggest you check out Canada’s National Occupational Classification. As some of you may know, this is a comprehensive list of occupations and is updated from time to time to reflect the changes as some job titles become obsolete and others emerge. If you have trouble navigating this site it does have a tutorial or just drop me an email and I will walk you through it. What I also like is the ability to see under an occupation other, what I call “spin-off’s,” from that job. These are similar job titles but with slightly different descriptions and requirements. If you want to make a lateral move maybe one of these occupations will do the trick.

6.Get your references in order so that you can hit the bricks running when the time comes. Of course, you don’t want to always show that you have one foot out the door but usually there is a least one person you can trust professionally or personally that understands your need to move on. Even if you start a list of potential references to be approached when the time comes at least you are not scrambling later.

7. Besides looking outside of your work environment consider speaking with someone about your desire to take on more challenge; if that is what is making you consider alternatives to your present situation. Often employers are interested in keeping good talent in-house so sometimes it’s a matter of broaching the topic of wanting more and giving reasons to consider you as a candidate for higher positions within the company.

Consider these tips but for any other thoughts or questions feel free to post a comment or send a private email and I will respond.

Tips for Job Seekers with Disabilities

Anyone who has ever looked for work knows how challenging it can be. If you are a person with a disability you know about those challenges and may have experienced a few more. I’m offering a few tips to help you overcome some of those challenges related to job search.

Librarian in WheelchairSelf awareness is one of the first things to consider. You have a role to play in educating people around you. Think about the questions that may be asked and those that may not have been considered. Try to help employers move past any preconceived notions and stereotypes. If speaking about your disability is uncomfortable for you then go through it with someone beforehand that you trust or a person who has expertise in supporting persons with disabilities.  Your attitude and how you speak about your capabilities, skills and interests matters.

Take charge, talk openly and positively. Give examples of how YOU have adapted or made things easier for others. You can’t rely on employers to accommodate everything so by privately or publicly addressing some challenges you are demonstrating value. For instance: I have a chronic pain muscle condition. I once had a job that required me to go to various employment centres to facilitate workshops and I was responsible for getting my classroom materials to each location. Even if I was lucky enough to find parking semi close to the doors I would still need to lift a box. What I did was purchase a small collapsible metal luggage carrier that allowed me to strap the box to the carrier and wheel it in. The most I had to do was lift it from the front seat floor of my car to the pavement even if that meant taking some materials out first and reloading to minimize strain. I could have turned down the job the moment they told me about transporting materials. I could have told them my story and expected them to place the materials on location but I found another way. I took charge because not every challenge related to a disability needs to be disclosed and every problem has a solution.

Disclosure can be tricky. This is where personal choice must be respected. If you are working with an employment agency you will likely be more forthcoming. Whether through a referral, in person or on paper consider the following: Is my disability visible? Do I need accommodations for the interview or job? How do most people react and how do I deal with those reactions?  Remember: There is a fine line between disclosure and bowling someone over with details that are not pertinent, keep it simple. Plan and use examples. Don’t wast anyone’s time with trying to hide something that is obvious; you don’t want to lose your credibility as an applicant.

Facing your fears about job searching, hints for accommodation, goal setting and resources are pieces yet to be explored. Hopefully these tips were helpful and have you thinking about how you can prepare.

If you want more information and tips on job search for persons with disabilities, please contact me or continue to read this blog for more career advice!