Are you an attractive ‘Product’ to Employers?
For most unemployed people, finding and securing that elusive job is not as simple as walking through the office door dressed in your best suit or ensemble and smiling sweetly at the receptionist. Sure, some people can do that, however, they are generally not like most of us who have to work at getting the things we want.
After reading my last post, you should have some insight into the psyche of most employers.
Finding a job is like ‘fishing’! You need to use all the information you can find to work out the best ‘fishing’ spots, work out the methods you will use to ‘fish’, and discover the best ‘bait’ to use. Most importantly, don’t be discouraged if you don’t find the perfect job quickly. You may need to fill the gaps with temporary work or even un-paid work to get the experience you need. Don’t under-estimate the power of formal qualifications, even short courses, that you can study while you are job searching.
So, a few Golden Rules are:
1. See yourself as a ‘product’ or ‘package of skills and knowledge’ that you are presenting to an employer to purchase. To compile your ‘skill-set’, list the jobs you have had in the past and any other life experiences. Add in any courses or training that you have undertaken. Beside each of these, list the skills and knowledge that you used in these roles. Identify the most common ones. These will become your key skill-set.
2. Identify the skills and knowledge that are quite unique to you; things that your ‘job competitors’ might not have. The best ones to focus on are those that are short in the industries that you are targeting. These become your ‘unique skills and knowledge’.
Emphasise these skills and this knowledge in every past job on your resume, and everywhere else that you promote yourself (e.g. Linked in, social media). This is your ‘bait’ that will make you noticed and ‘tease’ employers into considering you for a job.
3. Uncover deficiencies in knowledge and skills in the job market, within individual organisations or industries that interest you, and see if your skill-set can fulfil those deficiencies. This is finding the best ‘fishing spots’; so look broadly, ask your friends to help you with ideas, and be creative with where you look.
4. Finally, you need to ‘get noticed’. This is where you dangle your ‘bait’ to seek the attention of employers. There are lots of methods to achieve this, so be creative. Of course, applying for advertised positions is one method. You might find yourself competing with hundreds of other applicants; however, you might be lucky. Don’t rely on it!
Following are a few ideas to bait your future employer:
5. Never be ‘unemployed’. Instead, be ‘self-employed’. It is always best to present yourself as someone who people want; not as someone who nobody wants. To become self-employed, offer your services to the world in a field of your choosing. It doesn’t matter if you never gain a customer, but it will give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and will make you feel better about yourself (you need a positive attitude to secure a job). It presents you as a proactive individual who will become a dynamic employee when employed. In most countries, you don’t need to register a business or company if you trade under your own name.
6. Build a ‘presence and persona’ for yourself and your new business. Design a website to promote your business. Promote your business as offering the skills and knowledge that you identified earlier as your skill-set; highlighting the ones that are quite unique to you. Use a free and easy to use web site, such as www.wix.com. Keep it simple, but include a blog site where you can comment about issues in the industries that you are targeting. You don’t need to drive traffic to your site. However, always include the web address whenever you promote yourself for jobs.
7. Create a Facebook page (or other social media site(s)) for your small business and duplicate the posts you put on your web site. You can pay to boost your page and posts, however, spend your money wisely as it will probably not lead to a job. Instead it will boast your profile. Having large numbers of page likes and post likes may increase your persona, but I have no reliable data to back such a suggestion.
8. Linked In. If employers in your country use this social media platform or something similar, it is a fantastic way to build a presence in the industry you target, and to draw attention to potential employers. It can also provide good connections that may open doors to organisations for you. The key is to join relevant 'Discussion Groups' and initiate or contribute to discussion. Be careful what you say. There are many people who comment on Linked In who I would avoid employing as they present themselves as being negative, or overly provocative, or self-promoting, or lacking in respect for the industry, or simply as having poor communications skills. Always carefully proofread your comments, checking for grammar, spelling and clear expression.
9. Take on work, even trivial or casual roles, in organisations and industries in which you seek your future career. Learn all you can from the organisations and the people within them. Identify the skills and knowledge that they are lacking, and then develop additional ‘expertise’ in those fields. Focus your Linked In comments, and your general promotion of yourself, on those concepts. Become recognised as being knowledgeable or an expert in something.
10. Whenever you can, go to industry seminars, conferences, meetings, workshops and discussion groups. Joining Industry associations can be expensive and not always the best use of your money. Nevertheless, you can still gain useful information from Industry associations from their web sites, asking for advice from their staff, and getting onto mail lists for their newsletters and other communication.
These are just a few ideas. Test others that might be more appropriate to your industry. Keep working at it and be patient. Some people take months to get re-established. Some take years. Don’t give up and don’t get despondent. Embrace the Johnnie Walker (Scotch Whisky) slogan: “Keep Walking”!