At one point or another, I am pretty sure all of us have experienced the "edge of the seat," "nail-biting suspense" of being on the "chopping block." Fearful of getting that dreadful "pink-slip," self evaluation often comes at a time when, let's face it...it's a little too late. Whether on the giving or receiving end, by choice or unexpected economic crisis, we all know the feeling too well. But the question remains...As a candidate, how do you remain or become the asset, versus the liability? By Redefining You, that's how!
With that being said, I am a member of several other networking sites, (often keeping me up until the wee hours of the night...I'm sure many of you can relate..) of which one in particular that I am a member of stands out to me the most. I don't feel it necessary to name the site since it's actually a really great networking avenue.
On one of my many "late-nights" playing networking catch-up, I happened to come across a discussion topic about the "job-hunt" and how it was going. Being the tigress on the prowl for new and fresh meat, I decided to peek in and see what was up. Who knows, I might pull a new candidate..Boy was I in for a major surprise! The group the topic was posted in, mentioned that it was a place to share leads and get advice, and discuss...key word being discuss-the "job-hunt." When I tell you it was nothing of the sort I mean just that. Granted, at the beginning of the discussion there were some genuinely shared experiences, and my heart just went out to those who were in need of help. But as I continued to read further, there was one poster who just demonstrated a serious "vendetta" against recruiters as a whole. I was floored at some of the statements and accusations against us, as well as the generational slander. If you know me, then you already have an idea of how I am. But for those of you that don't have the slightest clue as to who I am or what I am about...Let's put it this way, I had to let my professional self remain in control. I am known to "take one for the team!" I did respond to the post, and did my best professionally, to introduce an entirely neutral perspective while at the same time showing concern for her situation. I must have either struck a nerve or something, because as the saying goes, "all h*** broke loose up in that forum!" This individual completely went out into left field as soon as she recognized I was one of the "infamous" recruiters in her category! She mentioned how she was never called back, never found a job, and couldn't find anything that she was "well-qualified" for. She was posting advice to other seekers that was just utterly negative. As frustrated an upset at her that I was and wanted to be, I could kind of relate. I too have had experiences that were less than stellar when facing the "job market." I feel the anger and frustration that she and so many of face daily. I could go on and on and on, but the point is clearly that in order to remain an asset versus a liability, there are many things that we ALL should be doing. This is meant professionally and friendly. As a recruiter, I believe I can speak for the vast majority, if not all of us by saying we are here to help candidates regardless of our services being free to you or not. If I offend you, then maybe this hit a little too close to home....(Truth be said, with a little extra "umph," you'd be surprised where you might end up!)
1. Leave the "survival-mode" mentality at the door! I personally know how hard it can be to have to worry about whether or not you're going to be able to pay the rent, put food on the table, or if the power is going to get turned off...Trust me, I do! But also look at it from an employers' perspective. On average, it can cost an a potential employer lots of $$$$ just to put you on payroll, add you to insurance, train you in man hours, etc..do you think that if you come into a company with "survival job" mentality, you aren't going to be the first one out the door? Professionally, I wouldn't take a second look at someone with that mentality or approach; much less try to attempt at placing them. It just doesn't set right with the morals and ethics I have built my firm's foundation on. I would hope that you wouldn't want to be viewed in that manner either?!?!If what you are looking for is a "survival job," you can't possibly expect to stand for anything, or last long term, in a position viewed as a potential CAREER, with the negative mindset of a "survival job!" If you aren't getting a call back or a second interview, have you evaluated yourself? Ask yourself several questions:
Do I match the current position I am applying to?
How did I "command" the interview? Did I follow-up? Did I send a "Thank-you?"
Was I appropriately dressed, neatly groomed? Am I under-qualified? Am I within my "skill-set?"
Do I match what is on paper? How's my background going to pan out?
Did I come prepared?
What makes me the PERFECT fit/asset? What am I bringing to the table that noone else is?
Is my EXPERIENCE & DEMEANOR what this client is looking for? (9x out of 10, it has absolutely nothing to do with age!) Although, there are times when I have interviewed a candidate, and their age doesn't match the background! Have you thought that maybe that same attitude and frustration shows during interviews? It's not always what you say, but how you say it. Body language tells a whole lot during an interview. Your personal viewpoints should never be brought into an interview. Believe it or not, forum posts alone can become issues. These days, it is extremely easy to reference many comments and discussions back to their rightful owner without much legwork. These are all things that could possibly prevent you from getting hired, and are sure to get you fired.
There are many a factors that will determine compatibility in matching a candidate and a client. It is our responsibility to make sure that the shoes fit on both sides. In my firm, my staff are taught to approach it with the same scenario you would when seeking a long term commitment. Nurture and guidance are extremely important. The idea is to build a career for you and decrease turnover and cost for the client.
2. NEVER PAY A RECRUITER OR FIRM TO FIND A JOB FOR YOU! I just don't recommend it. There are some that do it, although I personally and professionally can't see how you having to pay someone to find you a job should be necessary. If you have that kind of money to spend, put it somewhere you know you are guaranteed to see a return..SCHOOL!
3. In any given situation, I as a "Recruiter," don't recommend "spamming" employers. Ninety (90%) percent utilize databases to keep track of the influx of prospects, as with many major and minor firms. We can tell if you are applying for positions that TRULY match your identified skillset, as well as how many times you have applied. It doesn't look good when you are applying more than once. If you feel the need to keep your presence within eyesight, send a follow-up email asking if you are still being reviewed.
4. Networking is always a good tool! LinkedIn, HotJobs, Careerbuilder, and many more are wonderful places to start in your search. By having your resume posted or uploaded into these boards, you are making yourself available to many many people nationwide. Join numerous groups that are tailored to your background! Print a card in the format of a business card, that tells people who you are, how you can be reached, what your ideal position is, or what you do and would like to do. I can't tell you as a Staffing Specialist how much attention a prospect will command from me, by being professional. Think like an executive at all times. SELL YOURSELF! Don't be afraid to TOOT YOUR HORN in a manner that gets the attention of those you are trying to reach! But always be humbled!
5. Keep your resume current. Whether it be Chronologically formatted or not. I can't tell you how many times I have gone to call a prospective candidate, and the information was outdated or invalid... Stay true to your skills. I can't emphasize that enough. Mass submitting your resume to employers that don't even match your background is destined to have you put in either the trash can, or a file to be forgotten. While I understand completely the severity of being out of a job, or career for that matter, patience, professionalism, and positive thinking and sourcing are going to be your best friend.
6. For those of you who are fairly new to the market, or have been "off the scene" for a while, evolution is key. Easier said than done. A vast majority, if not all of you are going to have tremendous backgrounds, but yet, haven't evolved with time and technology. You have to keep up with the times and change right along with it. Not only that, with the right "recruiter" on your side, you can be marketed in a manner that would put you in a position, possibly, that wouldn't have been known or advertised if you had searched on your own.
7. As a recruiter, I will say this...Not all recruiters are "evil people." Look at it this way. We get on average, between 50-150 resumes in a work-week, depending on several factors. It is my job to remain connected, and "In The Know" per say. I make it my responsibility to take a talent that I feel might need that extra "umph" and put it in front of those that would probably never have known you existed otherwise, and make beautiful music. In the end, even though I make the connection and get you in the door, the ball will always remain in your court. What you do at that interview, or even after for that matter, is completely up to you!
8. FYI, there are some companies that will only hire via a Corporate or 3rd Party Recruiter. So, with that being said, you may not get very far without one. There are alot of positions that are not advertised or publicized for numerous reasons, so make sure you choose your words carefully and your connections wisely! Everything is researchable, discoverable, even you. Take the time to research, communicate, and evaluate the Recruiter before you choose to work with them. Make sure you have an understanding and a clear concept on both parties as to what should be accomplished. Hopefully, you will end up with what you set out for......A NEW CAREER!
9. Finally, the one I seem to hear the most...the "age factor!" Age shouldn't be a factor when brains, skills, professionalism, and more, are evident. Matter of fact, it shouldn't be a factor at all. I deal with people older than me, and I respect them, and I deal with people younger than me, and I respect them. The key? I respect them for their life experience, work experience, and knowledge. Anyone who feels intimidated by someone solely based on age, has a security issue within themselves...in my opinion. I am and want to be well respected for what I know and my work ethics, not my age. If you are 20 and you get the job done, match what the client or employer is looking for, or if you are 50 and the same thing. In the end...who is the best person for the position? Not everyone is the same. You can't base one individual's ethics and morals, or lack thereof on the next. The younger generation has it's issues, I will admit. But, so does the older. The sooner the barriers are broken, the better we can all get along! So, generalizing and categorizing; again in my opinion, is not the way to set yourself apart.
My best advice? Learn how to market yourself in a manner that you leave lasting impressions everywhere you go, and with everyone you meet. In the end, wisdom, knowledge, and expertise make more of a difference than age or Botox does. Best believe!
In any given scenario, a "Recruiter" can be a valuable asset to you as a job seeker. The object is to find a recruiter that clearly specializes in the target industry you are seeking opportunities in. Not only will you gain a firm understanding, but you have someone in your corner that understands and knows your "Niche." When working with an independent or a firm for that matter, keep the communication lines open...There are resources, as well as options available, you just have to identify which ones will work for you. Recruiter or not.......
I encourage you to find a happy medium. Someone who can reassure you, that all is not lost! My goal is to provide valuable resources and insight to those in this corner, because obviously, each is here for their own reasons. What you take from it, whether it be "constructive criticism," "negative assumptions," or a new technique at approach, then that is primarily within you.
Keep your heads up and I am here to help in any fashion!
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