The following is an approximate transcript.
HEATHER: Hello and thank you for joining Episode 16 of Talent Connection, a podcast about connecting job seekers and employers, produced by Cachinko. My name is Heather Huhman, and I am the founder & president of Come Recommended, as well as the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Cachinko. I’m joined by my co-host, Tony Morrison.
TONY: Thank you Heather. Good morning. My name is Tony Morrison and I am the vice president of Cachinko. Cachinko is an online professional networking tool for jobseekers. We offer a couple of recruiting technology platforms for professional recruiters and employers, and we have another platform in development that enables jobseekers to search for their ideal job and connect securely and privately with employers regarding open positions.
HEATHER: Today’s episode is “How to Find Your Ideal Job.” Tony, let’s get started. How can candidates determine the “right” job for them?
TONY: Great question, Heather. All too often job seekers feel pressured to find their next job and forget to ask themselves, or maybe they simply stop asking, some very important questions. Ideally, job seekers start their job search by asking a series of questions about what is the right job for them. How much money must I make? Where do I want to live? In what industry do I want to work? For what size and kind of company will I work? What sort of work will interest me, challenge me, and provide opportunities for growth? Ultimately, we should answer the question, what job will I find personally and professionally rewarding?
Once you can answer these questions and envision yourself working at a certain company in a position that matches your skills and qualifications, it becomes easier to search for your job and to interview. You are no longer trying to present yourself to match what you think is the employers’ ideal candidate. Instead, because you have researched the company and position, and you know it is something you want, you can be true to yourself and transparent with the employer because you are genuinely passionate about your career and your potential to do great things with that company.
I know that seems awfully idealistic, but why settle for a job in which you will be unhappy doing something that is not meaningful to you. Confucius said, and many people have paraphrased this quote, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
So ask yourself the questions that I suggested, answer them honestly and apply this little bit of self-discovery to your job research as well as to your interview prep. This exercise will energize your job search and just might land you your ideal job.
HEATHER: Where should job seekers look for openings in their field?
TONY: Success improves when you use multiple job search approaches. Start with identifying companies that interest you, network through your friends to find key contacts at these companies, reconnect with your college or university, and talk to recruiters in your space.
Let me take a minute to elaborate on each of these recommendations.
Target employers. The most productive means of getting the job you want is to contact employers directly. So target companies that interest you, get familiar with their career sites, and talk directly with employers. Don’t hesitate to call about job openings and to inquire about the application and hiring process to make sure you follow their steps and do not slip through the cracks.
Network. When you find opportunities that interest you, tap into your network to find people in your industry and profession, with connections at companies that interest you. You can learn more about the company and the position from people in your network and get referred for the position.
Contact alumni networks and career placement services. Take advantage of career counseling and placement services at your school or alma mater. Learn about opportunities at companies that advertise positions at your school. Tap into the alumni network for your school, and get connected with old friends who can introduce you to someone inside companies that interest you.
Talk with recruiters. Find top-rated recruiters in your industry with positions in your field. Talk with them about your motivation to pursue a new job and your career aspirations. Transparency is key. The more they know about what you need, and what you want, the more successful they will be matching you to opportunities that will interest you.
Job boards. You can find many jobs that might interest you posted on various job boards. There are literally thousands of job boards though. There are just too many to visit all of them. Your best bet is to search on the internet search engines and job aggregators. Your success rate finding jobs that interest you depends greatly on your search skills, and the effectiveness of the search tools on the job boards and job aggregators that you use.
HEATHER: What other tools or tactics do you suggest for job seekers?
TONY: In past episodes of Talent Connection, I have discussed the tools and tactics available to job seekers to create and manage their online presence, build a solid career network, and to search for jobs. These same tools to create an online presence such as social networks and contributing to blogs on professional association forums provide the best form of exposure to available opportunities.
Just like you, recruiters and employers will turn to their networks to search for candidates and referrals to fill a position quickly. Their sources for candidates and referrals include their own career networks, job boards, and professional forums where their current and past employees in that position have a presence, or where other competing candidates have profiles.
Get out there and get connected! Be seen and heard. Use local networking events and online social networking tools to mingle in person and virtually to promote your professional brand.
HEATHER: What should candidates do if their efforts seem to be turning up empty?
TONY: First, make sure that what you are asking is realistic. Your answers to all of the questions I suggested earlier should be reasonable for your education, experience and the industry. If you need a second opinion then talk with someone you trust to give you good advice from your career network. Second, try an objective skills assessment test to verify skills for your target job, or cement in your mind the right career choice(s) for you. There are many free skills sites available these days. Some are very detailed and others are simple. One that I remember offhand is Selectsmart.com. I remember it because it was featured on CNN Money a while ago. Be sure to answer the questions honestly and these tools are supposed to return a list of preferred professions for which you are well suited. Third, if you are in a declining industry or niche profession with little turnover, perhaps stretching your legs a little to find a new career in an industry with more opportunities is a good strategy.
Networking is not the only way to get a job, and for some people, it may not be the best way to get a job. Entry-level job seekers for instance, may not even have a career network to tap. In cases such as this, it is important to try other approaches.
Create or update profiles on one or more respectable job boards, social network and career networking sites. Broaden your search a little, but not too much, to find other industries or companies, where your skills are needed.
You could try to find opportunities to volunteer for a position, like an internship position, to demonstrate your skills in a specific project. Most companies do not offer volunteer positions though.
However, staffing agency and temp agencies can place you with a company and help you to get noticed. The recessionary environment of the past few years has catalyzed the growth of the staffing industry. We have seen the meteoric rise of the contingency workforce. More companies are turning to staffing firms to meet their project-based personnel needs. Displaced workers have been called up for part-time, contract-to-hire, and project-based work. Don’t wait for too much time to go by before getting involved with a staffing firm. Short-term work at local companies will prevent gaps in your resume, expose you to new companies, you will meet new people with whom you can network, and could possibly open doors for you.
HEATHER: How does networking come into play when searching for a specific type of job?
TONY: Networking is the added advantage you need to uncover tough to find opportunities and nail the job interview. The more narrowly focused your chosen profession is, the more urgent networking is to the success of your job search. Only if you connect to someone inside a company will you learn about opportunities that are not advertised and possibly be referred for a position. You should stay focused on your goal to learn about the company, available positions whether or not they are advertised on the job boards, and make connections with people in a position to get you an interview or hire you. When you know exactly what kind of a job you want and the companies that interest you, every connection you make potentially is a key contact. Conducting informational interviews to learn from contacts you make in your networking efforts can give you insight about the specific job and the company’s objectives.
HEATHER: What are the best ways to land a job you find an opening for?
TONY: Once you have found a company with an opening that is right for you, the real work begins! Research the company, the product or service, and the position description. Seek to understand some of the challenges the company or the industry face. Look deep into your own extended network of friends and associates to find other individuals in your industry or field with connections to the company or inside the company. Learn from them in informational interviews, and maybe even win a referral from one of these contacts.
Prepare – prepare – prepare. You cannot possibly know every question that you might be asked, but many interview questions are similar enough that you can practice an answer in advance of your interview. You should prepare for behavioral interview questions like this. Behavioral interview questions are designed to elicit a particular response from you. The best way to respond is with an honest recount of a past personal or professional experience and how you managed the situation. Think about the questions they might ask you for your role and be able to tell a brief but compelling story that describes how you handled a particular related situation.
Make sure you can meet each of the job requirements. Think about the job description carefully as a list of objections. Your goal in the interview is to be able to eliminate systematically all objections to you landing that job.
HEATHER: Thanks so much, Tony. That’s all the time we have for today. You’ve been listening to Talent Connection, a podcast about connecting job seekers and employers, produced by Cachinko. For details about the next episode, please visit blog.cachinko.com.