Job Search Ideas

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Networking 101

What the rest of the country is just beginning to experience has been a way of life for us living in Michigan. Signs of a weakening economy are so ever present that we’re sometimes past the point of noticing. We’ve been driving—or with the increased price of gas, maybe biking—past evidence of a shrinking economy for nigh onto many months.
Which led me to think that it just might be time for some good news in the form of my Person of the Week, alias Theo. Theo’s got one more year of school left, his 5th year, and he admittedly started looking for internships very late this year. What he’s got going for him, however, is a hefty load of sheer persistence and a dash of flexibility (full time/part time/unpaid with part time paid elsewhere—you name it). That plus the ability to network with about everyone he knows.
So, what does that networking look like? In this case, it takes place at the local gym where Theo is well known and well liked. In between bench presses or during water breaks he approaches senior sweaty buffs with a simple question about internship options within their work place or possible referrals. And he’s getting a number of sympathetic and supportive responses, as most of these people would love to have a hard working guy such as Theo around. Nothing is clinched yet but it’s looking pretty optimistic.
What Theo does naturally may seem more of a stretch to others. But networking is a skill which anyone can master. Here are two easy ways to get started:
• First, take a fresh look at your environment. Who do you come into contact with as you work, worship or play? Theo isn’t doing anything different by heading to the gym; he just mined that normal, everyday routine for possibilities.
• Think about what you have to offer an employer and include some of those skills in your conversations, making use of lead in’s when talking about yourself such as the following: adept at, experienced with, comfortable with, trained in, or skilled at.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 06/04 at 02:44 PM
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Thursday, March 30, 2006

It’s spring. Do you know where your job search is?

Serious spring fever hasn’t hit yet but it’s pretty close. With temps hovering around 65 and birds singing, the last thing most students want to do today is sit in a library. Even worse, contemplate The Job Hunt, synonomous for many seniors with an identity shift from life long student to professional. Too much to deal with at one time. So head-burying may seem like a better option, fueled by internal phrases like “I’ll find something when I graduate. It shoudn’t be too hard. Something will work out.” Anything other than face the frightening fact that in a few weeks you will no longer be a student.

So if the Big seems to much to handle, how about taking a few baby steps? Consider completing one of the following in the next week.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 03/30 at 01:27 PM
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Treasure hunting at your local job fair

Tis the season. Yes, even news paper columnists are commenting premature retail Christmas ornaments lining store isles.

But the season I’m thinking of is the annual round of college job fairs. Here at Calvin we run ours cooperatively with a consortium of colleges and universities, drawing a sizable crowd of employers.

So you may be thinking…what’s the deal with the treasure hunt subject line?

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 10/13 at 08:16 AM
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Streeeetched ouuuuutttt—Looking over the long haul

I met yesterday with a grad who had accumulated about 2 years of experience, fortunately in his desired field. He was, admittedly, one of the fortunate ones whose internship had resulted in a full time professional position. But after two years, the glamor had worn off.

The grad was out on the streets conducting his very first job search. During our meeting, he made a comment ruing the fact that he knew nothing about the process because his first job had literally landed in his lap.

I’ve told stories like this to other job seekers who have been looking for months. Something to the effect that they are in some senses fortunate to be put into a spot where they’re learning essential skills about the job search process. After pondering that unusual perspective on their situation, the most common question had to do with hanging here. Essentially, how do you hang in there over a long period of time?

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 08/10 at 10:36 PM
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Persistence Pays

There’s nothing to develop character like a tough job search. Not necessarily fun but worthwhile on multiple levels.

Take persistence, for instance. A noble quality but look what a person usually goes through to develop it. Tough times spent sloughing through difficult circumstances.

Actually, an article written last year (before my personal blogging era so did not keep the reference) listed persistence as the number one quality which led to eventual success. Makes sense. But it’s sometimes easy to overlook the obvious, especially when you’re in the middle of stuff yourself.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 08/10 at 09:37 AM
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