Your Career, Your Choices

A weekly column for job-seekers By Fidelma Wallace, Sli Nua Careers

What can you offer?

‘There is no secret – each job search is different (Lori Conlan NIH )’

We are confronted with tough times. It is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to find work. We are constantly bombarded with news of redundancies, increasing taxes and unemployment figures. Even before we begin to search for employment, we are told that there are no jobs out there.

What can we do to combat this? We have two choices. We can continue to listen to negative feedback, or we can make the choice to proactively search for employment.

How do we do this? We need to look for employment opportunities in creative, imaginative ways.

Primarily, create an action plan. Primarily, who are you?

What can you offer? We often forget that we are a product and that we need to ‘sell ourselves’. Effective marketing techniques involve creating a brand, developing a target market and then effective follow-up after this target market is contacted.

Our target market is the environment in which we hope to work. Choose a number of companies and then follow up with phone-calls. Don’t write vague, non-specific letters to companies. Don’t say that “I am willing to work in any role you might have in mind for me.”

That is akin to asking the company to make a career decision for you. Instead, study that company and see where you might be able to bring value – and target that area. They’ll respect someone who writes to say “I believe I can help you greatly with your Asian markets, due to my knowledge of that region, and my command of three of its main languages

”This does not have to be done in an aggressive manner, it should be done assertively.

Newspapers are still popular places for job ads. Look regionally and not just at national publications.

Jobs even get advertised in the notice-board of your local supermarket – never forget that your future job can lie in the format of a hastily written note on a supermarket board. Do not be deceived by first impressions. Explore every opportunity.

Recruitment Agencies – impress, impress, impress. Recruitment Agents are decision-makers too. They mix and liaise with employers on a daily basis.

Approach that meeting as you would a job interview – dress well, be courteous, have your answers thought through and illustrate what value you can bring to an employer. Arriving at an agency sporting jeans and a casual attitude will not make a good impression.

Lots of jobs never get advertised – instead people ‘create’ their own position with a well-written letter carrying a carefully-constructed approach. Employers generally react positively to someone being clever and creative in their efforts to get a job.

Look to your network. The girl who plays beside you on the hockey team or your own hairdresser– do they know people in your industry? Let people know what you work at, and what you want to work at. In social or sporting situations, people have the guard down.

Do certain things for free, trusting that they will stand to you in the long run. If you want to be a journalist, build a portfolio based on unpaid contributions to your local newspaper or magazine. Train a local sports team if your chosen career is as a PE Teacher.

By working voluntarily in a sector of your choice can carry opportunities your way. Many individuals have built a long term career where they initially work in a voluntary capacity. Making a positive impact in a company can open up opportunities in the future.

Jobs are not as plentiful anymore so ensure that you think creatively when looking for employment. Be proactive by making use of your contacts. Look to your own skills and identify what you can offer.

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."- Milton Berle -

Sli Nua Careers (tel 094 95 42965, www.SliNuaCareers.com ) are based on Main Street, Headford, Co. Galway, and carry out CV Preparation, Interview Training, and Personal Branding. For your free e-book on interview & CV tips, email [email protected].

 

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