Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2012

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/91258

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Page 21 of 79

Upfront Point of View > > Join or start a job search club. Other job seekers can be invaluable sources of encouragement, support, and job leads. Tap into this resource by joining or starting a job club. To find a job club in your area, check out your local public library, college and university career cen- ters, professional networking sites, or the classifieds or career section of your local newspaper. Just being around other job seekers can be energizing and moti- vating, and it can help keep you on track during your job search. Network, network, network. Whether you realize it or not, you are already networking every day and every- where you go. Networking is nothing more than getting to know people. You're networking when you strike up a conversation with the person next to you in line, intro- duce yourself to other parents at your child's school, meet a friend of a friend, catch up with a former coworker, or stop to chat with your neighbor. Everyone you meet can potentially help you move your job search forward. Te vast majority of job openings are never advertised; they are filled by word of mouth. Tat's why network- ing is the best way to find a job. Adopting a networking lifestyle—a lifestyle of connecting and helping others in good times and bad—will help you find the right job, make valuable connections in your chosen field, and stay focused and motivated during your job search. Unfortunately, many job seekers are hesitant to network because they are afraid of being seen as pushy or self-serving. But networking is not about using other people or aggressively pro- moting yourself. It's about building relation- ships. As you look for a new job, these relationships can provide much needed feedback, advice, and sup- port. Networking is most ef- fective when you have spe- cific employer targets and career goals. It's hard to get leads with a generic "Let me know if you hear of anything" request. You may think that you'll have better job luck if you leave yourself open to all the possibilities, but the reality is this open- ness creates a black hole that sucks all of the networking po- tential out of the connection. 20 ',9(56,7< :20$1 )DOO Asking for specific information, leads, or an inter- view is much more focused and makes it easier for the networking source to help you. If you're having trouble focusing your job search, you can initially turn to fam- ily members and close friends for help, but avoid con- tacting more distant people in your network until you have set clear goals. Advance your skills. In order to stay on the cutting edge while you seek your next career opportunity, get training to fill in any skill gaps. Computer software ap- plications change rapidly, and if you don't stay "in the know," your skill set will become obsolete. Te changes may be minor, but they carry major implications if you are unaware. When I became unemployed, I was amazed to find out how much certain applications had changed, and I was clueless about how to navigate my way around the newer versions. I quickly corrected that by signing up for some online courses in the com- fort of my home and very soon I was up to speed. Your state of unemployment is a perfect time to sharpen your existing skills and gain new ones. Tis will help to increase your marketability and present you with new career choices. Te competitiveness of the job market has set the stage for "only the strong survive." Take courses at an accredited college or insti- tution of higher learning to ensure that you are award- ed a certificate of completion. Revise your résumé to show your updated skill. Be prepared to make your case. Make no mistake: Corporate America is still a male-dominated arena. As women, even though we are talented and may possess the same skill sets and competencies as our male coun- terparts, we are often passed over for certain jobs. Tere- fore, it is incumbent upon us to sharpen our presentation skills. If need be, hire a professional to help you retool your resume or coach you on your interviewing tech- nique. Show prospective employers what you bring to the table. Be confident and bold. Ladies, we can get back in the game; there is still light at the end of the tunnel. So brush off those traces of discouragement, tap into your inner strength, and arm yourself with the skills you need for your next career move. I had to do the same and I was successful. Remember that it isn't important where you start, but where you end. You can hop back on the corporate ladder again and climb high! DW Sandra Bailey is a public speaker, life coach, and the author of Called to Worship: A Lifestyle of Praise and Overcoming Job Loss: A Spiritual Guide. ZZZ GLYHUVLW\ZRPDQ FRP

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