Make sure you’re fishing in the right pond
This month’s article focuses on helping those individuals who don’t have a lot of experience being a job seeker. Maybe you are getting ready to graduate, looking for an internship, returning to the workforce after an extended absence or newly transplanted to a new geography. This one is for you!
I’ve been fishing for most of my life – my grandpa used to take me to the lake or the Green River when I was very young – now I’m married to an avid fly fisherman, so I’ve rediscovered this mysterious and wonderful sport (it is a sport, right?). I will never be an expert – mostly because it’s a hobby, not a profession. Here is what I do know: 1) You can’t catch sailfish in Colorado; 2) you have to fish with something the creatures want to eat; 3) if they aren’t hungry, they won’t bite on your line. Now let’s apply this logic to a job search:
1. Do the companies you want to work for hire in the geography where you want to work? Let’s take a look at Colorado. If you are in the automotive industry there isn’t a lot of opportunity here for you. If you are in the software industry, there are plenty of positions in virtually every discipline and in companies of every size. Additionally, some industries are shrinking and will not expand again. For instance print media and print publications are shrinking. Journalists, reporters and newspaper editors are not in demand – and where there are positions, there are plenty of experienced professionals to satisfy the openings.
2. Is position you are looking for in demand? The easiest way to gauge demand is to do a search on www.indeed.com for keywords that relate to your desired role. I’d suggest doing a national search and then choosing a couple of locations. Compare the national numbers to your geographic search to see if there is a demand in your location for what you do. Also, look at the age of the positions. Are there positions that have been open for a long time? That will give you some insight as well.
3. Is your education at an appropriate level for the position you desire? You may want to be a clinical researcher or a teacher – but the majority of positions require an advanced degree, so if you are currently sporting an undergrad then the probability of you competing successfully in these positions is lower.
4. Is hiring in your profession seasonal? Do you want to work in the sky industry? Hiring happens in the fall. Landscape architects – hiring happens in the spring. Consider the time of the year when you are launching your search. Graduating college in December might be a good alternative – you won’t be competing with the May graduates – that might help reduce your competition.
5. Are you active in professional associations that can help you meet others in your field? You should make a plan to hang out where people who are in a position to hire you hang out. Be invested in your chosen profession – make time to get involved, be active and keep learning about new developments. This will pay off for you now – and the next time you need to launch a search.
Fish in the right pond, with the right bait and when they are hungry. To Your Success!
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