By Arvin Goldberg
Special for the AJT
When it comes down to it, there are only two types of job seekers in this world: those who are reactive and those who are proactive. The type you are quite often depends on a wide range of circumstances.
People who take action when they are forced into it fall into the reactive camp. The total surprise of a job loss is a stark example of being put in a position to react. In many cases, surprises can be avoided if you are attuned to the warning signs and signals that frequent the workplace. Many people avoid the signs hoping they are just rumors, and maybe there is no substance behind them. There are plenty of times when rumors are just simply that. Doing your own homework will help you get a sense of fact vs. fiction. Avoid the trap of being labeled a rumor monger when you search for facts. Also, this is not to say a reactive position is bad. But by its very nature, a reactive position will put you on the defensive.
Individuals who are proactive are on the offensive. If you are not challenged, if prospects for growth are limited or if downsizing has become a yearly occurrence, it may be time to look elsewhere.
Whatever the reason may be, you are making the career decision rather than your employer. Keep in mind this method comes with its very own pitfalls, or as the saying goes, “you may be better off with the devil you know as opposed to the one you don’t.”
If you are in the job market, focusing on what is important to you is crucial. Is it pay, challenge, passion or what you do best?
Searching for a job is a fulltime job. If you are employed, this can be challenging. But with careful planning, it is doable. If you are not employed, treat your job search as a fulltime position. Have a plan for the day that is all inclusive. Prepare a to-do list, but take time for lunch, a walk outside, exercise, etc.
The skills needed for a job search today and the available tools are quite different than just 10 years ago. Whether we like it or not, the search component of your employment process has moved well into the digital age. If you are just getting out of school, you probably have a strong comfort level with using technology. If you are an experienced worker, perhaps not. In either case you’ll need to understand the playing field for successful navigation. The expectation of an instant reply when applying online for a job is simply unrealistic. The advent of email and texting, and the speed in which they occur, have created that expectation. The reality is that the speed of return communication today, as far as a job search is concerned, isn’t much different now than it was 50 years ago.
If you are not familiar with LinkedIn or job boards, getting up to speed now is a must. JF&CS provides a no-cost web-based tool called Gateway to Careers. It is designed to assist individuals preform a self-analysis, create a plan, set goals and search for employment. It is a self-guided tool that provides structured planning and thinking.
There is plenty of good news out there. Unemployment continues its decline, and although some people offer a myriad of opinions on the substance behind the numbers, directionally it is going down. Essentially it means two things: Job creation and employers are hiring at greater levels that in the previous few years and as the economy improves and more jobs are created, people who are employed are more likely to seek other opportunities in terms of challenge, growth and income. When that occurs, vacated positions open up.
If you are in the job market, create your own plan and then work the plan. The best recommendation is to stay positive and be persistent.