THR Partners, Executive Search Firm specializing in the HVAC, Appliance, and Commercial Restaurant Equipment Industries
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There is no such thing as a perfect job candidate. Many job seekers have gaps in employment on their resume. Gaps of employment will be considered a red flag unless you provide an explanation.
There are several possible explanations including:
- Volunteering your time: It is important to stress the fact that you were doing something positive or productive during gaps of employment. Volunteering is an example of your core values and can also enhance your skills and network.
- Caring for a family member: Many individuals leave a full-time position to care for a family member. It is important however to stress that your care is no longer needed.
- Conducting an active job search: Explain that you didn’t want to conduct a job search, while employed by your current company as a matter of ethics. You wanted to spend most of your time focused on your job search.
- Enhancing education or skills: If you registered for additional training or education, this gap of employment will be viewed as a positive because you have enhanced your resume.
- Traveling: Taking time off to travel can be an advantage if you have gained understanding of other cultures. Often this type of career break to travel makes you currently more focused on your career.
To explain away gaps of employment stress and focus on the positive actions you took while you were unemployed. This changes a possible problem area into a positive.
You may have heard the term SMART when it comes to goal setting. The letters in SMARTstand for the following:
- Specific Motivational or Measurable
- Time specific
Conducting a SMART job search is a powerful way of motivating yourself and progressing your search. Using this strategy helps you create a written plan that includes extremely clear objectives.
What is a Specific Job Search?
To conduct a specific job search answer the five “W” questions:
- What? What do I want to achieve by my job search
- Why? Specific reasons for my job targets and search efforts
- Who? Who are the individuals I need to contact
- Where? Geographic Location
- When? Specific date to accept a job offer
What is a Motivational or Measurable job search? Develop specific criteria for measuring your progress toward finding your new opportunity. If you can’t measure your activity, it is not possible to know whether you’re making progress toward it. Measuring your progress helps you stay on track, reach targeted dates and experience the exhilaration of achievement that encourages you to continue efforts required to keep your search on track.
When you measure your progress and celebrate achievements throughout the search process it also helps motivate you to continue and overcome obstacles and objections.
The job market is competitive and you will have other qualified individuals applying for the same opportunities. It is for that reason that it is critical that you conduct research so you have comprehensive knowledge about your prospective employer. This allows you to differentiate yourself from your competition and make a great lasting impression on this potential employer.
Researching a company is not merely conducting a quick Google search or reading the Home Page of a website. When you gather information, you will then understand how to position yourself to show this potential employer how you will benefit their company. The research will help you convince a potential employer that you are the person they should hire.
The obvious place to begin is a company website. Review the entire site and pay special attention to the press and media sections. You gain great insight by reading what others are saying about the prospective company.
Most companies have a strong social media presence, so you should research LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and industry specific websites for the company. Hoovers.com is a company research center that provides additional comprehensive research.
BEST WAY TO UTILIZE RESEARCH
Learning about a company is a great foundation for tailoring your interview examples. You can highlight things that you see in the company that are commonalities with, you as well as areas where your expertise would be useful.
SMALL COMPANIES WITHI LITTLE OR NO WEB PRESENCE
If you can’t find information when you’re conducting research online, you can say something like “I’m very interested in working for your company and excited to learn more about you.” Most hiring authorities will share why they enjoy working at the company and in the process will often reveal their priorities.
IS RESEARCH REALLY WORTH MY TIME?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes! The job market is competitive. You will be compared to other candidates with similar or even stronger credentials. You also want to interview with companies that align with your personality, core values and career goals.
Lastly, you will be the most prepared candidate interviewing which provides you with an incredible competitive edge. Employers react positively to candidates who have conducted research and display a high level of interest and confidence.
Most individuals identify with what they do for a living. When you are faced with turmoil in your career it can also have a negative impact on your level of self-esteem. If you master these strategies, you will retain your confidence and self-esteem throughout your entire career! Your accomplishments and the impact you had on past employers will help you consistently advance in your career.
STRATEGY #1 – EMBRACE CHANGE
The only certainty in the job market is change. Being perceived as someone who embraces change enhances your value to your employer.
STRATEGY #2 – RETAIN AND BUILD YOUR NETWORK
Your network must be one of your priorities throughout your entire career. More than 55% of individuals, who make a career change, do so as a result of referrals from their network. It is important to build lifetime contacts in your professional network which can be enhanced by using social media.
STRATEGY #3 – STAY INFORMED
It is important for you to stay informed about your industry. This includes products, competition, as well as economic conditions. You need to recognize trends and be aware of what is going on around you. This will help you remain knowledgeable and become a valued employee to a prospective employer.
STRATEGY #4 – HANDLE ADVERSITY
You will face adversity throughout your career. If you learn to deal with adversity, you will stand out from other job seekers. This can be a learning experience to help you implement new skills that could help advance your career. Don’t worry or become frustrated over things, people or situations you can’t control. Always remember you have 100% control over how you choose to react.
STRATEGY #5 – UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF TIMING
Timing is everything when it comes to maintaining or advancing your career. You need to be open to new opportunities. Remember, keeping yourself marketable is the only job security you can obtain. You want to advance or make future career changes on your terms versus that of your employers.
STRATEGY #6 – BUILD YOUR PROFESSIONAL NETWORK
It is important to have a professional network and a mentor. A mentor is someone who can help advise you, and has nothing to gain by their advice but understands your long-term goals. They can help you navigate company politics and show you how to position yourself to enjoy the greatest career growth.
Your professional network can open doors and provide referrals throughout your career. Social media has made networking relatively easy. The contacts you make should be developed throughout your entire career. These should be lifetime relationships.
By implementing these strategies, you will proactively protect yourself and your career. You will also position yourself properly for any future opportunities as they present themselves. These strategies help you maintain marketability and are the primary areas you will stress during job interviews.
WHO CAN HELP YOU REVIVE YOUR SEARCH?
- You – If you’re willing to make changes to the way you are conducting your search.
- The Fifteen Step Process in our Career Portal – Start with #1 and completed all activities listed under each step.
- Professional Network and Professional Associations – Provide them with information and help and they will be more inclined to assist you. Keep them informed of your job search progress. Members of professional associations are well networked and can open doors or possibly hire you.
- Personal Network – Your family, friends and associates would love to help you if they knew exactly what they could do for you. Approach them in a very upbeat, positive way.
- Revise your resume if you’re not scheduling interviews. If you need help revising your resume, consider using a professional to help you. Your resume is either a ticket to an interview or it could be sabotaging your search efforts. Click here to learn more about our Resume Services: www.thrpartnerscareercenter.com/improve.php
- Job Clubs – Individuals who are in charge of these job clubs are well connected. The individuals who attend often turn down offers that may represent your dream job.
- Job Fairs – Employers who attend job fairs have job opportunities they are trying to fill.
- Alumni Associations or Career Centers in your Educational Institution – Often these organizations are contacted by hiring authorities wanting to hire graduates.
- Social Media – Update your social media profiles utilized by your target market.
- Recommendations and Testimonials – Hiring authorities do react to the recommendation of others.
- Read Trade Publications – Articles in trade publications are filled with job leads.
Follow this advice and you will add velocity to your job search and begin to enjoy results!