For job seekers, the past several years have been a challenging time to navigate the job market. However, a recent shift in the employment landscape may leave candidates with the upper hand in terms of selecting an assignment, contract or full-time position.
This has created an advantageous situation for those still seeking their ideal position. However, landing that position will require a proactive role in the job search – one that maximizes opportunities and positions candidates as the best person for the job.
Jennifer Waldrip, Kforce Vice President of West Operations, believes that the first step should be planning the pursuit, including identifying companies with which candidates would like to work as well as a suitable contact from each organization.
“From there, candidates should connect with a specialized recruiter to review their contacts and determine which organizations the firm is best positioned to present them to and which the candidate should pursue on their own,” said Waldrip.
For those organizations the candidate will pursue on their own, Waldrip does not recommend using email as the primary mode of communication. In fact, she believes that the best way to connect with a contact or hiring manager is by phone. During this conversation, candidates should position themselves as strong contenders for the job and then ask to set up an interview time. This, she believes, is much more effective than emailing a resume that may or may not be read.
“In addition, one of the best ways to take control of the job search is to track the progress of each contact and desired place to work and follow up on the next steps until it is determined that there is no opportunity with each contact,” said Waldrip.
Doing so will ensure that you remain on the employer’s radar until the position is filled.
Taking Proactive Steps
While between positions, candidates should also take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to them. This includes participating in networking events, continuing education classes and even accepting contract or temporary work that can serve to build experience and perhaps open doors for a full-time position.
“During this time, additional training is helpful to fill the gaps in employment and add to the job seeker’s skills,” said Waldrip. “Consulting work or even volunteer work or personal projects that build the candidates' marketable skills are also extremely helpful.”
For example, developing business management skills that transfer into other industries is a smart move – one Katrina Volbrecht, BS, HCA, a human resources generalist with Presence Health, sees happening more frequently in her field as “clinical areas are incorporating business managers.”
As such, candidates need “to continually refine skill sets and look for ways to transfer skills into different industries,” she said.
Connecting with a professional staffing firm before the need for employment arises is also a strong practice. That is because gainful employment often makes candidates more marketable to employers and connecting with a specialized recruiter can provide job seekers with professional connections that they might not make on their own.
“Whether you are looking for a position or not, working with a recruiter is like having career insurance,” said Waldrip. “After all, you wouldn’t wait to get insurance on your home after the fire starts. So why would you wait until you are unemployed to connect with a recruiter?”
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