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Job Search Tips: HR Executive Kim Kenney-Rockwal ’90/G’00 Provides Some Useful Job Hunting Strategies

Posted December 2, 2008

Daily—that’s how often we’re reminded of our turbulent economy. If you’re one of the unfortunate people that have experienced change through a job loss, human resources executive Kim Kenney-Rockwal ’90/G’00 offers a few strategies to prepare you for your job search:

Leverage your Network
Take time to understand who in your network can help you. Begin by making a list of everyone you know. Don’t limit your network to just colleagues. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, networking is the most effective strategy for job seekers over the age of 40. With fewer job vacancies, it’s important to leverage your network, which can be helpful in many ways including making you aware of open positions, putting your resume into the hands of hiring managers and assisting in providing a solid reference. Don’t underestimate the influence a network can have on your job search.

Keep your confidence balanced
Let’s face it, no one likes rejection! Remember, this is part of the job search process. If you’ve been let go as part of a workforce reduction, additional rejection can hurt even more. Keep in mind that you’ve already been successful and you’re capable. Make a list of your achievements. In doing so, you’ll be able to articulate your successes in the résumé and in the interview process.

Stay open to possibilities
If most of your work experience is within one industry, it may be time to look beyond what you’re comfortable with. Employers are looking for skills that can be applied to many different situations. It’s more than likely that you’ve acquired transferable skills that employers are seeking. Avoid making your résumé too specific—focus on a wide array of skills. Use a cover letter to define specific skill areas. If you’re open to new challenges outside of your industry, you’ve now expanded your pool of job possibilities.

Evaluate mixed messages
As you hear about other companies that have been downsizing, consider including them in your targeted job search. Even though a company might be reducing its workforce in one department, other areas of the company may be expanding.

Take time to reflect
In between jobs is a good time for self-reflection. As you go through the job search process, ask yourself what you’ve learned about yourself that can help you when you obtain a new position.

Practice Patience
Now that recruiters have an overwhelming number of résumés to sort through, be patient if you don’t get a response right away. If more than a week has gone by and your résumé hasn’t been acknowledged by HR, follow up to ensure the department has received it. It’s okay to assert yourself and ask about your résumé, the status of the opening, or expected timeline of the interview process. It’s not okay to be calling every day! Exercising professional persistence can be effective in keeping your candidacy on their radar.

Multi-dimensional search
Include the Internet and social networking sites as part of your job search strategy. Before posting your résumé, find out what job boards fit with your job interests. There are so many sites to choose from and each represent different clients. For example, Dice.com is IT focused. If you’re not pursuing IT-related jobs, you may not want to use this site. Did you know that Yahoo Hot Jobs has an average of 1.2 million job listings this quarter and CareerBuilder has 1.5 million listings? Also, add social networking sites to your search to give you an advantage. Consider using LinkedIn to build your online network. This site enables you to search for jobs and you can use that online network to obtain an introduction to a prospective hiring manager in your target company. Tapping in to alumni networks using My Workster is a great tool as well.

Check out these sites:

• CareerBuilder – www.careerbuilder.com

• Yahoo Hot Jobs – www.hotjobs.yahoo.com

• Dice – www.dice.com

• Biospace.com – www.biospace.com

• All Retail Jobs – www.allretailjobs.com

• LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com

• My Workster - www.myworkster.com

In addition, Western New England College’s CareerCenter assists alumni with life-long career planning, occupational exploration, and job search strategies. The Center provides access to online job postings and enables alumni to post job openings.

Local resources should also be included in your job search strategy. One-stop career centers are a great resource for what’s happening in our market. Futureworks www.getajob.cc/ and Career Point http://www.careerpointma.org/ are also options.

Once you’ve submitted your résumé online, it’s perfectly acceptable to follow up with a hard copy. Sometimes on-line submissions aren’t format friendly and sending a clean copy keeps your résumé in front of HR.

With unemployment on the rise, companies can be more selective in the hiring process. Although knowledge and skills are part of the hiring equation, demonstrating that you can fit into the company culture and represent your future employer’s brand effectively is essential.

Kim Kenney-Rockwal is director of human resources at Health New England.

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