It’s no secret that the labor market is broken, but instead of complaining about it, we need to take action and find a solution! Last night I had the opportunity take action and give back in a very special way. I want to share my keys to job seeking with you.
For the last 60 years, The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has supported local job seekers through The Job Forum. Every Wednesday evening a Panel of experts from Bay Area businesses volunteer their time to provide ideas, advice, counsel and encouragement to the job seekers (and career changers). Each attendee’s goals are discussed, one at a time, in a group forum.
I shared my 3 keys to job seeking. Think Creative, Persistent, and Direct.
1. Creative: It’s vital for a candidate to think outside the box to get noticed. Just simply submitting a resume and a cover letter (which is rarely read FYI) is not a enough to stand out in a stack of 300+ resumes. You got to be different, unique, creative!
A candidate last night mentioned that they were frustrated with the fact that they applied to all these jobs but weren’t hearing anything back. We brainstormed. She could submit her resume in person and say with a smile say, “Hello, I’d like to work together!” Or search LinkedIn for mutual connections and send a message with resume along the lines of,” “Hi, I’m Avril and I want to work at your company. Here is my resume. Can you please pass it along to a hiring manager, or recruiter?” Keep in mind that most companies have a referral bonus, so that person you reached out to might be able to cash in on you as a candidate!
2. Persistent: It is simply not enough to submit a resume and wait to hear back. Employers want to hire a person with drive, passion, and a will-not-quit attitude and that you can’t find that in a resume. Therefore you need to show them who you are and how bad you want it. Another candidate last night told stories of how he had recently started following up on his applications with a phone call, and or Linkedin message. He wouldn’t stop until he got a response. While yes that seems a bit crazy, as an employer I want someone that will go the extra mile. I want someone that will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Status quo (i.e. submitting a resume with everyone else) is NOT enough to capture someone’s attention.
3. Direct: Now, more than ever it is extremely important to know what you want and go after it. We had a girl last night that mentioned she wanted to work at a startup. A startup?! Ok, but doing what? We’ll she wasn’t sure, but she knew she was interested in a small, creative company. While the startup dream is nice, it’s not enough. If you don’t know exactly what you want to do, how will an employer? We suggested she focus on a particular industry and department within a company (i.e. healthcare and sales). The idea is to tell people exactly what you are great at it, so they can see how you will make their organization thrive. No more wishy-washy crap. Follow your passion and others will see your potential.
The Job Forum is a unique resource in a desperate time. These are individuals with diverse backgrounds that aren’t complaining but rather uncovering a useful way to find a solution. If we really want to fix the labor market, we need more Job Forums. We need more individuals that are willing to take action and give back. This group of volunteers and job seekers showed me that there is hope, we just need to be willing to work together to find it.
And jobseekers, remember to be creative, persistent, and direct!