How To Build Your Career Space
Step 1 - Be specific and focused.
Looking for a job? Great. Don't know what kind of job you want? Not so great.
One of the biggest mistakes made by job seekers is a lack of focus. You can't expect to land your dream job if you are not sure what your dream job is, right? I know, it sounds simple, but often, job seekers come to me distraught with a lack of progress.
Here are some common job seeker complaints:
"I sent my resume to 100 companies and I haven't heard back from anyone."
"I've interviewed at five companies in the last week and nothing seemed to stick."
"I'm looking at all the job sites but I'm not finding anything I'm interested in. Help!"
If you find yourself saying or thinking any of the above while on your job search, you are not alone. So many people in the job market start out confused - they don't know what they want, they lack clear goals, and they aren't sure where they belong.
Unfortunately, you've got to know where you want to go before you can get there. You will be hard-pressed to convince someone to hire you if you don't believe you belong with his or her organization in the first place.
What is the solution? Narrowing your focus.
Yes, I know. Narrowing your focus may be easier said than done. However, getting clear on what kind of job you want, what industry you want to work in, and where you want to end up five years from now is essential to landing a job you will love.
So, how should narrow your focus? Research, research, research (and a little soul-searching helps a lot, too). Before you can decide where and in what capacity you want to work, you have to get familiar with all the different opportunities out there.
Do you love managing people and interacting with the public but dislike working in a corporate environment? You might love managing a hotel or a restaurant. Do you have a passion for the arts but don't consider yourself a creative artist? You may love working in a marketing capacity for a museum or an independent radio station.
The possibilities are endless. Literally. Figure out what they are, and then narrow your focus in your job search based on your aptitude, interest, goals, desires, and dreams.
Step 2 - Know your audience. Speak to that audience.
Now that you have narrowed your focus, put yourself in the employer or recruiters' frame of mind: what are they looking for? How do you fill their need? A good key to help you figure this out is to check job postings in your desired field. Look for common ground in the job postings and then speak to these items in your resume, with your endorsements (more on this in step 3), your choice of photos and video (optional). Help the potential viewer of your career space to know immediately what you do and whom you do it for- it is OK to turn some people off! Typically these are the types of jobs/careers that you do not want anyway, so why attempt to put a square peg into a round hole?
Step 3 - Get endorsements.
Five Tips for Resume Endorsements
- Choose the endorser carefully.
The rule of thumb is to choose a professional who will convince the hiring manager of your value.
Asking yourself the question "Which individual's opinion could influence the hiring manager?" can be a great starting point. In the case of a pharmaceutical sales representative, for example, physician (perfect client), sales manager (supervisor), or peer (team member) quotes could be helpful.
The endorser's credibility, position, relationship with endorsee, availability for verification, and reputation are important factors that merit due consideration.
- Potential resources.
Reference letters, performance reviews, emails, and customer files are a gold mine of potential resume material, especially employer remarks. While written documents are a great source, don't dismiss their verbal counterparts; both can be equally as valuable.
If research doesn't help, consider holding discussions with professors, team members, supervisors, clients, or vendors. Exciting information could surface during these brainstorming sessions.
- Seek permission.
Think of the endorser as a job reference. Asking for permission is not only courteous, it rewards the opportunity to reconnect and network.
- Know what to use.
Research job postings in your field of interest or talk to potential employers. The key is to determine the needs of the position or employer and use remarks that strategically address those requirements. Consider the following examples:
Customer service representative:
"I was very impressed by the excellent customer service provided by Ms. Representative... it is due to her service that I haven't hesitated to transfer funds from other banks to your branch... her service truly defines the term 'going the extra mile'. I strongly recommend her." -- P.C., Customer
Business major (student):
"I had the opportunity to review Mr. Student's work when he wrote a strategic marketing plan... he conducted extensive research on a $6 billion industry... as a professional who has co-authored over 50 books, I am very capable of judging promising talent... Mr. Student is truly at the top of his field." -- R.M., Ph.D., Professor of Management
Pharmaceutical sales representative:
"Ms. Sales is fun to watch, mixing her expertise in sales with her ability to interact one-on-one with all individuals... interpersonal skills are one of her strongest attributes." -- L.M., MD & CEO
- Limit the number of endorsements that you use.
Although the number of quotes are kept to a minimum (one or two), one needs to be cautious if their inclusion pushes the resume beyond two or three pages or if it makes your career space too verbose, and thus hard to read.
Endorsements cannot make up for a poorly crafted resume, but a little creativity can transform an ordinary resume into a career document with a compelling message: hire me.
Step 4 - Go through the 6-step process on MyOnlineCareerSpace.
The simple, easy-to-use process will take you through the steps necessary to produce your online career space. The process generally takes 20-30 minutes to do well, however you can always save your work and come back to it later… and in fact, this is generally encouraged so that you can ensure the information you have up there is exactly what you want. Perhaps you want to get feedback from friends and family about what is in your profile. We say that is a great idea!
Step 5 - When appropriate, create multiple MyOnlineCareerSpaces.
To speak to the employer or recruiter requirements you may need to build different sites. This is encouraged so that you can speak more effectively to the needs and wants of various job postings. If you are a sales and marketing candidate, for example, and would like a career in either or both, you could have up to 3 different online MyOnlineCareerSpace (just make sure to name them differently to avoid confusion). You could have one that speaks about your sales expertise, one that speaks to your marketing prowess and a third that is a hybrid between them both.
Step 6 - Get the word out!
Use your personal website everywhere --- from your email signature, to your cover letters, from business cards to letterhead. This will keep your information close-at-hand for those who may be able to give you a heads-up about a possible position for you. The easier you make it for them, the better it is for you.