|Posted by Krista Mitchell on May 19, 2012 at 10:00 AM|
Is most of your experience in a field that has died or been seriously wounded as a casualty of the economy? Are you at a loss for how to proceed in your job search? All hope is not lost. With some research and re-strategizing, you can breathe new life into your job search. First, you should assess how realistic your view of the job market is and whether you have indeed conducted a comprehensive, exhaustive search for jobs in that field. If you find you are truly out of options in your field, then you need to take inventory of your transferable skills and do some research to determine alternative jobs requiring minimal training, given your level of related experience.
First, ensure that your historical job is no longer a viable option. Two resources you should consult are O*NET to research the industry market data and the Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You may also want to consult your state’s Department of Labor website for specific location data for your area. Consider not only the number of annual openings in your job, but also the number of unemployed workers seeking work in that same field in order to assess whether the market is too flooded for the competition for jobs to be reasonable.
If you find that your view of your job as a dead option has been unrealistic, assess your job search strategies to ensure you are making the most of available resources. A comprehensive job search utilizes a variety of methods, including a professional online presence, networking with other professionals in the industry, active involvement in professional groups or associations, participation in “job clubs” and career events such as job fairs, searching online for available positions, and targeting specific companies that may or may not have openings.
Many people have a skewed view of what an effective and successful job search looks like. To gain perspective, consider the following statistics. The job success rate for applying to advertised jobs and targeted companies is only 5-10%. By far, the most effective job search tools are:
1. Networking to learn about unadvertised jobs, which will have reduced competition. It is estimated that 60-80% of obtained jobs are through networking. For more information, see my article, "Are You Networking Effectively" and "Indispensable Networking Tool and Tracker".
2. An online presence that can be easily found by recruiters. The most prominent current recruiter tool for candidate searching is LinkedIn, used exclusively for candidate searches by 80% of recruiters.
Keep these numbers in mind when scheduling your job searching time.
If in fact, you conclude through research that you must find an alternative career, first take stock of your transferable skills. These are skills that you may have gained from work, volunteer experience, internships, hobbies, or education and training and that can be used in a variety of fields and industries. Some examples of transferable skills are managing people, training people, creating schedules, marketing, purchasing or inventory, and making presentations. A free online skills assessment is by The Employment Coach. Then, you need to think about jobs that are closely related to either your former position or your transferable skill set and which will require minimal additional training. The O*NET Skills Search can help you do this. Research the identified careers to decide whether you want to pursue them. is also a valuable tool for researching careers. In assessing alternate careers, you will need to consider average pay for your estimated level of entry into the field, education and training required to become marketable, the current labor market for jobs in your location, general hours and days of work schedule, and the job environment.
Expanding your options through minimal training could mean computer skills training available free or low-cost at many libraries, on-the-job training programs available through your local department of labor office such as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program, or through special populations programs such as Vocational Rehabilitation for people with disabilities or military veterans’ job placement programs. Some training is available in online tutorials searchable via the internet. Also consider short technical education diploma or certification programs lasting as little as three to six months and which may be funded through grants, loans, or special programs.
Giving up on your job search is not an option for most people, but discouragement and rejection can undeniably be paralyzing. Expanding your options may not be as difficult as you imagine. Use these tools enrich your job search, recover your ego, and determine whether you have developed an effective job search campaign or whether you need to identify other career options. Best wishes and happy job hunting. For more helpful websites, se my Links page.
“Never follow somebody else's path; it doesn't work the same way twice for anyone...the path follows you and rolls up behind you as you walk, forcing the next person to find their own way.” --J. Michael Straczynski
Categories: About Job Searching