Tag Archives: training

10 ways we help job seekers find employment

Career Help

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

Pay it Forward are not just words. Two people put them into action

You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.   ~  John Wooden

The term “pay it forward” is unfathomable to some jobseekers. They way they see it is they’re the ones who are out of work and; therefore, they should be the ones receiving help, not others. This way of thinking is what holds them back from networking or reaching out to do a good deed, which in turn hurts their chances of finding a job.

The majority of jobseekers I run into understand the beauty of paying it forward. They embrace helping others, knowing that help will come their way. Whether it’s offering a free service, giving sound advice, providing a contact name, forwarding a résumé, or giving moral support; paying it forward is all good.

I bring this popular term up in a career networking workshop. To simplify the concept, I tell my attendees that the act of helping others creates good Karma. Further I tell them they should not expect the person you help to immediately repay the favor, because another person will step forward to help you. In fact, you may never receive reciprocation from the person you assisted.

A customer of mine named John Yurka demonstrated the pay it forward mentality in the truest sense; he took photos of five jobseekers for free. He met with them this past Tuesday in a park and spent a good part of his morning making sure the photos he took were to the recipients’ satisfaction.

The photos were astonishing, in my humble opinion. And the jobseekers must have felt the same way, because all of them uploaded their likenesses to LinkedIn. One of the people wrote to me with excitement, commending the work John had done. (An example of John’s work is on the left.)

Another champion of the unemployed, Ken Masson, has helped jobseekers in the past by founding a television show called The New England Job Show. This show comprises of volunteers who help jobseekers find work. Initially the purpose of the show was to film jobseekers’ personal commercials, but soon it branched out to interviewing job search experts, hosting a blog of job-search experts, offering training, and more.

Many of the volunteers from the show eventually find work after starting there, which means that replacements have to be found. When NEJS volunteers find work it’s always great news, but it causes a lot of work for Jackie Simmonds, the current COO of the show. Ken will be dedicating more of his time to the show, because this is what he does; he pays it forward.

There are no hard statistics on how successful paying it forward is. Smart jobseekers simply understand that it makes common sense. It makes common sense because as you’re helping someone, another person is in the process of helping you. I’m convinced that the jobseekers who believe in paying it forward will receive the help they need. How do I know? I just do.

What to do about the Current field on your LinkedIn profile, if you’re not working? Show your volunteer experience.

Your Current field on LinkedIn is one of the first thing employers and visitors see. It’s in your Snap Shot below your Update field. So there are two general rules; 1) don’t list the company for which you used to work and 2) don’t hide your Current field if you can help it.

By keeping your past employment in this field, you are being dishonest and hurting your chances of getting a job (employers will think you’re working, or they will see you as a fraud when they find out the truth.) I’ve seen LinkedIn users practices this art of deception and, to me,  it’s a turn-off, so imagine how an employer would feel if he/she were to be duped into thinking you were currently employed.

But hiding it will eliminate some very valuable real estate that could be used to help your job search significantly. You’re not currently working, so you’re wondering what to do with this valuable real estate. The answer is simple. If you’re volunteering, display your volunteer work.

The bottom line is that employers want to see that you’re keeping busy. They want to see that you’re developing new skills or knowledge. You don’t want to come across as spending hours upon hours on the Internet sending your résumé into (shall we use a cliché?) the black hole. This is why your volunteer experience is important to show on your LinkedIn profile.

Here is an example of how a jobseeker uses his volunteer experience to fill his Current field:

Community Volunteer, Networker and Administrative Assistant (position) Program Development industry (industry) August 2008 – Present (2 years 7 months)

  • Engineer at Hampstead Community Access Television: bringing 28-year-old cable TV station up to date. Member of Hampstead Cable Television Advisory Board.
  • Founder of PMI New Hampshire Chapter’s networking group – netPM.
  • Facilitator/advisor to Acton Networkers, NHnetWORKS, Nutfield Networking, Nashua After Hours Networking and Dynamic Networking groups.
  • Participant in project/program/product management webinars on a weekly basis.

Doesn’t this look more impressive than hiding the Current field, or worse yet, falsifying your current situation?

But I don’t volunteer, you may say. To which I would say, “Get out there and volunteer. Volunteer for a good cause; to obtain more skills; network; feel useful; and to pad your résumé. The Current field is also a great place to show that you’re in training and what courses you’re taking.

There are plenty of organizations and businesses that will take your services free of charge, just as long as you don’t require hand-holding. But this entry is not about volunteering; it’s about making your LinkedIn profile as complete as possible. If volunteering rubs you the wrong way because you won’t get paid, then consider making the sacrifice for your Current Field.