My Generation X Confession
When I made my most recent career change, I was also studying in an intense masters program. I managed to make a smooth transition and continue to get bigger and better consulting projects all while coaching and going to grad school. Being 37 and 38 in grad school surrounded by people who were usually at least 10 years younger than me was no easy task. I come from a different time where there was no Google or LinkedIn. You used to have to go to the library to get information and read the newspaper to search for jobs!
And while I have successfully digitally immigrated into the 21st century, I do use traditional job boards to seek contract and consulting work. I’ve been taking good notes to serve my clients in their own endeavors. Sometimes you feel like you are losing your mind. Can’t these people speak English? When I was writing job descriptions for companies I wanted to attract real people so I tried to avoid jargon overload.
I’ve made up this little formula for job seekers and changers as to how to divide your time up when looking for a new or next career move. You can’t possibly spend 8 hours a day job searching. You will crack up. Save yourself.
Is job searching driving you crazy? Get my NEW 26-page resource: 6 Steps to Job Search Success: A Job Seeker’s Guide! Click here for more information!
A 21st Century Job Search Survival Guide
1. Search Criteria: Before you start aimlessly searching, make a list of key words that might elicit the best results. These can be job titles or even job duties. For help with key words and terms, take this quick job skills assessment through O*Net, the nations top aggregator of occupational information. This will help you look for the right positions that suit your skills.
2. Where to search? I’ve done a lot of research on this and you can find blogs and articles that all say different things. This is from my personal experience actually interacting with these sites in the past month:
- For corporate and professional jobs in large companies: LinkedIn and Indeed are going to be your best bet. Some people think Indeed is more for non-profit type work, but there are many of the same jobs on LinkedIn as Indeed.
- For non-profit, part time, small business, and education jobs, still check out Indeed but also Idealist and Simply Hired. These are good for mom’s looking for part time work or for people who prefer smaller companies and business. Some of the large companies also post on here, but it is still a great resource.
- For flexible and telecommuting jobs – both full and part time, I highly recommend flexjobs.com. Now, the catch is here that it’s $50 a year to join but I have actually gotten some great freelance work from it that paid for itself. This is ideal for work at home options for people with any level of experience.
3. Time management for searching: Searching takes TIME, and once you find an actual job that you like here is what I’ve learned. Once you actually find a job, it takes approximately 1 hour or more to execute and send!
- 20-30 minutes to tweak your resume to speak to the position. Highlight things that are relevant and switch out anything that doesn’t solve the client’s problem or mention a skill set that is valuable and transferrable
- 20-30 minutes to write a good cover letter. Get a second pair of eyes on it too!
- Add in an extra 15-20 minutes to fill out additional pre-applications that a company site may ask for.
4. Prepare your “Resume-light” verbal ask: You are not only going to be searching for jobs, you are going to be talking to people. Prepare 3-4 sentences that say what you do and what kinds of situations you are looking for. Some call this an elevator pitch – but I like to think of it as a snippet of your resume that has more key words for people rather than sales speeches.
Example: I’m a skilled coach, consultant and trainer with over 15 years of business and education experience. I’m looking for contract or flexible opportunities in the areas of training, leadership development, change management, talent management, or executive coaching.
5. Network Baby! I make at least 2 contacts a day via email, phone, or LinkedIn with friends and acquaintances to let them know I am looking and what I am looking for. I’ve seen the most traction, actual interviews and calls from recruiters through this method. You have to tell people that you are available for work and that you are looking. Relying on the searches alone is a recipe for disaster.
6. Don’t Rule Out Twitter! Recruiters may be hashtagging your next career move as we speak! Simple go to the search bar and check what’s trending. I was able to find a few really great organizations that spoke to me just be searching #consultingjobs.
NOTE: Stop resisting social media. It will get you nowhere. It’s just not 1998 anymore and it’s never going to be the way it was. The more you embrace technology you will find it’s just the unknown that you fear, not the actual task of learning how it works. It’s just how people are communicating. Don’t suffer. It’d not hard to learn and its for your own benefit.
7. Manage your expectations. Don’t expect much from applying online. If nothing it’s an exercise in helping you learn and understand what is out there and how to position yourself. More often than not, it is your personal and business connections that will get you to where you want to be. It’s not to say that you should eliminate searching, but keep it real!