But there are many more ways.
I had a great experience recently and thought I’d share it with you. As I was leaving work and walking to the city garage, a customer of mine screeched his car to a halt and ran up to me to tell me he was offered a job. He had been out of work for eight months, so naturally he was happy and incredibly relieved.
What made this a WOW moment was the outpouring of gratitude he expressed about how I and others in our urban career center had made this dark moment in his life bearable, not only for the career advice and the moral support he received, but the overall excellent customer service afforded him by the whole organization.
So this got me to thinking about what all of us do for our job seekers, whether we’re general career advisors, expert résumé writers, unemployment insurance specialist, job coaches, training providers, college career advisors, disability program navigators, authors of career search books, Veterans reps, young adult advisors, senior training providers, and business services reps. Have I left anyone out? If I have, I apologize.
What we do doesn’t: save lives—although this is debatable—keep people safe from crime or fire, represent the victim of crime, teach quantum physics, save the environment, keep our cars on the road, transport people all over the world, manage an office, lead soldiers into battle….
So, I want to remind you that we serve a purpose greater than you might imagine. A lot is riding on our customers’ job search, so we’re there to make sure they do it right.
- We help them to understand that it’s not enough to want any job; they must choose a job that will make them want to go to work every day.
- We give them focus, for without focus they’d be lost.
- We help them to learn how to market themselves through their written and verbal communication skills, thereby creating an effective job-search campaign.
- We stress the importance of connecting with people on a regular basis, as well as at networking events. They resist networking, but we encourage them to get beyond their comfort zone.
- We prepare them to meet the decision makers and hopefully get the job. If they don’t get the job, we try to lift them up, never dashing their hopes. We tell them to get back on the proverbial horse.
- We represent them to employers when they can’t represent themselves.
- We encourage them to enter training to better prepare them for the labor market.
- We give them someone to talk to in a very low point in their life. And maybe that’s all they need.
- We give a kick in the ass when necessary, not letting them blame others for their mistakes. We make them take responsibility for their job search because, after all, they own it.
- We celebrate their successes, whether it’s landing a job or getting their first interview. The job search is a process, and we play a role in the process. They’re the ones who sit in the candidate chair, not us.
I don’t know if I’ll see my former customer again; I hope I never do. And I say this in a good way. Because another thing we do is send them on their way with the knowledge of how to conduct the job search the right way. So they’ll never have to return.
I’d like to know the ways you help job seekers find work.
Photo: Flickr, Margie Ireland