Finding Work in Hard Times & Competitive Environments

Finding employment can be a long and frustrating process. HarborOne U instructor Janet Letourneau offers tips to reinvigorate job seekers and find ways to look for new connections and opportunities.

Having been downsized a few times, I understand the challenges of unemployment!  Each time I sought work, I got better at landing a job; and growing my confidence level. I attribute this success to networking and building relationships. In fact, my corporate training and consulting practice grew through networking and referrals. That’s not to say that other methods don’t work; they do!   For example, I landed one position by cold-calling, however that’s rare and not the "routine” method I suggest.  Ninety percent of all the positions I’ve had were the result of networking!

As an adjunct faculty member, teaching marketing at three higher-ed institutions, I use the four marketing principles and apply them to students searching for internships, part-time jobs or a full-time career.  They immediately grasp the practical application of the concepts, while considering or preparing for their future careers.  These same principles help individuals at all levels design and understand their personal marketing plan and fine-tune their work search. What many candidates don’t realize is that they are the product  they are “selling” to land employment.   And if they don’t know the product (themselves) – their skills, talents, strengths, weaknesses, experiences, education, accomplishments, and where they want to place that product, promoting will be a grueling and frustrating experience.

At HarborOne U, where I facilitate “Finding work in Hard Times”, the promotion principle is the focus of the session.   I remind participants that it’s best to do homework before they begin their actual “promotion” phase.  People often ask, “Will you help me find a job/internship?”  My immediate response is, “Sure, what are you looking for?”  Frequently, the answer is, “I don’t know.”  I politely respond, “If you don’t know, I don’t know what to look or listen for to make introductions and help you expand your network.”  Before candidates begin promotion, they need to know themselves and what they want.   They have to research likely positions and companies that interest them most.  When candidates communicate these facts, it’s easier for professionals and anyone in their network to assist.

As we venture into the “promotion” part of the work search, a common brain block is not digging deep for all the resources readily available.  People often think they have exhausted every nook and cranny of their history, education, contacts and groups.  However, quite often, we find that in fact they have not!  The objective of the workshop that I am facilitating at HarborOne U next month is all about learning best methods to identify connections in order to create awareness about your search; and asking contacts for introductions and ideas.  The more we expand our network, the greater the probability a company will look at our resume and a potential interview occurs.  At times, candidates think they need to approach everyone they know and ask them for introductions in order to “ask for a job.”  It’s not about asking for the job, it’s about asking “Who do you know?” or “Do you have any ideas?”

Finding work really is a full-time job. I always suggest that anyone who is unemployed must work at least eight hours a day. And, in this economy, the truth is maybe even longer! That’s not to say candidates shouldn’t take time off.   In fact, a break is essential to recharge, stay fresh and energized!   Employers seek talent, energy and passion; and professional networkers seek the same in order to assist.

Although there are many key tips we review during my session at HarborOne U here are the top five that work for me:   

  1. “Excavate” your past; identify people and organizations you know.
  2. Make contacts and keep track of calls/results/follow up.
  3. Get out!  Face to face counts; attend events! Using just the Internet is not
    the answer.
  4. Send hand-written thank you notes.
  5. Use social media (especially LinkedIn).

No doubt about it, finding work in these difficult times can be tough. professionals seeking employment must take advantage of as many opportunities as possible by attending workshops, learning, and expanding their network along the way! To learn more about how you can apply “promotion” to your job search success join us at HarborOne U on August 8th at 8:30 a.m. for my “Finding Work in Hard Times session.  The more tricks and tips you learn the more likely you can turn your next career opportunity into reality! 


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