Thursday, December 3, 2015

You Get to Choose Where You Work

What Color is Your Parachute? is a job-hunting book.  Each chapter leads you through exercises to help you understand more about yourself.  This will give you the ability to find your dream job. My last blog post discusses the exercises that What Color is Your Parachute? leads you through and the 7 questions they help you answer to understand yourself better.  This book is a great resource for those out of work, those looking to switch careers, and those just beginning to look for work (like me!).  My suggestion is to purchase this book and work through these exercises.

Step 1:  You Need to Find Out What Careers or Jobs Your Flower Points To 
After you've done all the exercises discussed in Chapter 7, there should be a clear path to take regarding the job hunt.  However, it may not be clear for some.  This is when you will begin with the first step.  Take your top 3 of your favorite knowledges and then your top 5 favorite transferable skills.  Show this page to about five friends and family members asking them what career this page suggests to them.  Write everything down that your friends and family suggest.  This will help to find jobs that match your favorite knowledges and skills.

Step 2:  You Need to Try On Careers Before You Decide Which Ones to Pursue
Do you have a LinkedIn?  Because you're going to need it for this step!  In Step 1 you were able to find job titles for the list of skills and knowledges.  Log in to your LinkedIn account and start searching for people with these job titles within your area.  Ask to meet with them for 19 minutes. Listen to them, ask them for names of others in the field.  Get a feel for the career before you completely commit.

Ask a few questions like these:

  • How did you get into this work?
  • What do you like the most about it?
  • What do you like the least about it?
  • Where else could I find people who do this kind of work?
  • Do you have any ideas as to who else I could talk to who might know what other careers use the same skills and knowledge?

Step 3:  You Need to Find Out What Kinds of Organizations Have Such Jobs
Think about the kinds of places where one might get hired with this set of skills and knowledges.
Don't think about places you'd like to work.  This is too broad.  The example in the book is about teachers.  Teachers looking for work have options beyond just schools.  They have opportunities in corporate training, workshop sponsors, private research firms, educational consultants, professional and trade societies, state and local councils on higher education, etc.

Step 4:  You Need to Find Names of Particular Places That Interest You
Throughout the book they suggest looking to companies with less than 100 employees.  After you've completed Step 2, you may have a few leads from those who you have interviewed.  You could also use the Yellow Pages and search engines.  Vacancies should not concern you.  Look for companies that interest you and intrigue you.

Step 5:  You Need to Learn as Much as You Can About a Place Before Formally Approaching Them
Before you formally approach a company, educate yourself.  You must do your homework first.
You need to show them that you have something they need.  Find out what they need.

Things you need to know:

  • What kind of work they do there
  • Their working style
  • Corporate culture
  • The goals they're trying to achieve
  • Obstacles or challenges they're facing

The final piece of advice in this chapter is to send Thank You notes.  Don't forget this!
Something as simple as "I wanted to thank you for talking with me yesterday.  It was very helpful to me.  I much appreciated your taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this.  Best wishes to you." will work!  Sign it, and send it.  Most importantly, make sure you have their name spelled right.

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