Keep Busy Between Jobs With resume gaps now the norm, workers should pay attention to how they use spent time between jobs.
The reason is simple: <ul><li>Employers want to know how job candidates spent their time when they were out of work. Learning? Traveling? Moping? </li></ul>
Unless you project the image of a can-do job seeker, you're likely to have a tough time bouncing back from periods of unemployment. "What they are looking for is that you were productive with your time," says Jenna Gausman, a career counselor with Kerwin and Associates, a California-based career counseling and consulting firm.
<ul><li>Career counselor Linsey Levine of CareerCounsel in New York concurs. She emphasizes the importance of demonstrating continued involvement with career-oriented activities. "It's not only critically important to the employer, but it's important to the candidate as well," she says. "It takes away feelings of depression, discouragement and hopelessness." </li></ul>
To project an active, engaged attitude during a job search, consider these tips for being productive when you're out of work:
Volunteer Your Services Volunteering provides "a double benefit," Levine says. In addition to giving back to a cause or organization, you get to work with people who see you in action. "It becomes a great new networking environment," she says. Be a Leader Join a professional organization , Gausman urges, but don't just attend meetings. Instead, take your involvement to the next level by serving on a board or organizing events . "Through that, people often end up finding jobs," she says.
Take a Class Employers are often wary about job candidates with outdated skills, especially in technical fields. If you take a class, or even begin pursuing an advanced degree, you have a ready-made way of countering that perception as you demonstrate your engagement in the field. Find an Internship Those early in their careers may want to consider an internship, even if they have previously held a full-time job. The same goes for workers considering a career transition. Gausman says she worked with one client in her mid-40s who got an internship , which helped her with a career transition.
Networking : An Important Part of your Job Search Networking is known as the #1 way to get a new job, because most available jobs go unadvertised .
N etworking - What it is: <ul><li>Networking is about reaching out to and informing the people around you of your availability for job opportunities. </li></ul>
What Networking Is NOT: <ul><li>Networking is not about having people hand you a job, it is about collecting information and letting others know you are looking for that job opportunity. </li></ul>
<ul><li>A lot of employers would much rather talk to someone who is recommended because it saves time and money. </li></ul><ul><li>Receiving a strong referral from someone they trust saves the employers a lot of effort in advertising the position and sorting through resumes . </li></ul>
3 Points: <ul><li>Point #1: Getting Over the Fear First practice with people </li></ul><ul><li>you know well, who may </li></ul><ul><li>have information or leads </li></ul><ul><li>that can assist you in your </li></ul><ul><li>job search. </li></ul><ul><li>These people can be: </li></ul><ul><li>former school instructors or mentors </li></ul><ul><li>your sports coach, or </li></ul><ul><li>someone from church or a community group. </li></ul>
<ul><li>This process isn't about "selling" yourself. It is about knowing what your strengths are and having the confidence to modestly express your strengths and </li></ul><ul><li>qualifications to </li></ul><ul><li>others around you. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Then, when you are somewhat comfortable with the networking process, move onto cold calling those connections that may be able to better help you gather information on your chosen industry and get that desirable job. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Volunteer in an industry you are interested in or join a local organization. This is a great way to get out in the community and meet people that can be an integral part of your networking process. </li></ul>
Point # 2 <ul><li>Point #2 : Be organized / Have the right tools </li></ul><ul><li>A dependable and professional voice mail message on a phone where you can be reached at all times. </li></ul><ul><li>A professional email address that you access at least every 24 hours. (ie. FirstNameLastName@yahoo.com) </li></ul><ul><li>A planner specifically to record the networking contacts you have made or plan to make. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Take a good look at your address book and email contacts. Make a list of people to call such as your friends, family, colleagues, former supervisors, and social contacts. Every one is an important contact in your networking circle. </li></ul>
<ul><li>As you reach out to your existing contacts you should be gaining leads of new contacts to follow-up on. Keep organized, and write these leads down in your networking address book. </li></ul>
Point # 3 <ul><li>Point #3 : Making the First Call Recognize that time is of the essence. Develop a short message about your career experience and professional opportunities you may be interested in. "Use empowering words such as successful, accomplished, driven, implemented, skilled, experienced, leader and team-oriented." (Source: smithjames.com) </li></ul>
Things to Remember: <ul><li>The purpose of this phone call is to use your short message to introduce yourself in a professional manner and to announce your availability in the job market. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember to smile (he/she will be able to hear the smile), be polite and friendly. </li></ul><ul><li>If this is a cold call, explain how you got their name and why you are calling. </li></ul>
<ul><li>If he/she is busy, try to schedule another time to call. </li></ul><ul><li>If you find that he/she is resistant to your call, maintain your friendly demeanor and thank the contact for his/her time. </li></ul><ul><li>If the contact is open to talking to you, thank them again and deliver your short message about your background and interests. </li></ul><ul><li>If you receive a positive response and he/she tells you about an opening, offer to send a resume </li></ul>
<ul><li>End the call by sincerely thanking him/her for his/her time and make reference to the person who suggested that you call. </li></ul><ul><li>Record the information from your call in your planner. Contact all referrals gained from this call. Be sure to leave clear personal or voice mail messages. </li></ul>
Point # 4 <ul><li>Point #4 : Follow Up on Calls Always follow-up on your contacts with a nice letter thanking him/her. For a sample letter visit "What Are Your Next Steps" at Smith James Group, Inc. </li></ul>
Contacts <ul><li>Contacts: </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to family, friends, former co-workers, bosses, and your neighbors </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to the other parents at your child's sports or music events </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to the sales people visiting your office </li></ul><ul><li>Visit with other members of your social clubs or religious groups </li></ul><ul><li>Attend professional or trade association meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Strike up a conversation with someone else in a waiting room (ie. doctors office, DMV, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Use online resources: career-related web forums and online discussion groups (ie. jobster.com) </li></ul>