Finding that perfect job is, well, overwhelming. From interviews to job offers, there is a lot of work that goes into finding a job. If you’re seriously looking for a job, then you’ll probably find that the job search is basically a full-time job in its own right. But even finding a job that you think sounds great, offers you the right compensation, and comes with incredible benefits may not end up being the dream job you’ve been looking for.
When you apply for a new job, potential employers are going to look at your resume and they may notice a few career gaps. These gaps occur when you go through a period of unemployment. While this happens to almost everyone, it’s what you do with those gaps that matters.
Employers are going to ask you about career gaps and how you spent your time. You want to project that you working towards improving yourself during those times you were out of work. Did you spend your time learning? Traveling? Volunteering? Moping around? Turning these career gaps into a positive experience will not only help you personally, but will increase your chances of landing your next job. Below, you’ll find 10 ways to turn your career gaps into something positive:
Take a Class
More than likely, your field of work is constantly changing; using this gap period to enhance your knowledge or learn new things can give you a competitive advantage when it comes to finding your next job.
Whether you decide to help out at a local animal shelter or tutor kids, being able to place volunteer experiences on your resume is a real differentiator. Potential employers will see this and recognize you as having empathy and a strong work ethic.
Join a Professional Organization
Go beyond being a “member” of a professional organization. Be engaged in activities and take initiative to be a leader. Not only with this help you branch out and expand your network, it will give you valuable skills for your future job.
Mentioned above, your career gap can be a great time to meet new people and expand your professional network. By doing this, you can make great connections that could end up helping you both personally and professionally.
Become an Intern
No matter where you are at in your career, an internship can be a great experience. This could be your chance to learn a new skill, humble yourself, or just ensure that you are building your resume experiences.
Do you have a lot of experience in your field? Take this opportunity to teach others about what you do. Maybe you just want to share one of your hobbies with others- no matter what, a teaching experience can help you become a better communicator, establish yourself as a leader, and allow you to meet new people.
Start a Business
Have you always dreamed of owning your own business? Do you have an original idea or innovation? This gap period could be exactly what you need to start your business. Take a chance and see what happens. Just make sure you think everything through first.
If you don’t want to start a business, but need to keep working, then you should consider freelancing or consulting. As an expert in your field, businesses may be looking for your expertise. Start small and build your way up. Be sure to use your professional network to get a few accounts.
If you have money saved up, you can use this time to travel to a new place. Doing this may not seem like it has much impact on your career, but when you travel somewhere new you are stepping outside of your comfort zone, being independent, and being detail-oriented.
Relax and Refresh
Sometimes, these resume gaps are the perfect opportunities to relax and refresh. Maybe you feel a little burnt out and you need to recover. Take this time to do that. Rediscover why you love your field of work and get your passion back.
Remember, career gaps don’t have to be a negative thing on your resume. In fact, you can make career gaps into a positive and rewarding situation. Instead of moping around because you don’t have a job, you can do something to better yourself, your community, and your career.
What have you done to fill in your career gaps? Leave your stories and advice in the comments section below!
Image Credit: freedigitalphotos.net
Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked about using social media to find a job. We’ve talked about building a personal brand, sharing content on Twitter, and keeping it professional on LinkedIn, but there’s one more network you need to know about. Using Facebook to find a job may seem like a strange concept, but it works. You just need to know how to go about using the site to your advantage.
Using social media sites like LinkedIn can open up a whole world of possibilities, even if you aren’t actively seeking a job. But with sites like Twitter, you can access even more resources in real time. And engagement is even simpler.
When you start using twitter, it’s best to think of it as a micro blogging site. Every tweet you send is like a tiny glimpse into who you are. Using Twitter to find a job takes your search to the next level. Not only are you able to find companies and possible job opportunities, but people are able to get a glimpse of who you are and why they may want to work with you. Here are a few things you need to do to make using Twitter to find a job most effective for you:
Last week, we talked about how social media is a great way to search for a new job. This week, we’re focusing on LinkedIn and the benefits of the site in your job search.
Of all the social media sites out there, LinkedIn is regarded as the most professional, which means you need to keep it professional when it comes to creating a profile and seeking job opportunities. There are several ways to put yourself at an advantage when it comes to using LinkedIn to find a job. Below, you’ll find some helpful tips that can go a long way during your job search process.
In today’s world, it seems almost impossible to not be on at least one social media network. You probably have some friends on Facebook. Maybe you have a couple of followers on Twitter. You may even have connections on LinkedIn, but did you know that you can use social media to find a job? You have unlimited resources at your fingertips every time you login to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Using social media to find a job is all about knowing how to connect and put yourself out there.
In our last post, we talked about the importance of asking questions in an interview and gave you some examples of questions you should be asking. Something else that is as equally important to know is what questions not to ask in an interview. When you ask the wrong questions during an interview, you can come off as aggressive and forceful, which can cause the interviewer dismissing you as a candidate.
It’s no secret that interviews can be stressful. You have to think about what you are going to wear, what questions to prepare for, and how you are going to explain any gaps in your resume. But, there is one more key thing you need to be thinking about: the interview questions you’re going to ask.
Typically, interviewers will ask you if you have any questions, and having interview questions prepared is going to give a much better impression. So, before you leave home, make sure you’ve asked yourself, “what questions should I ask in the interview?”
Shaking hands is simple, right? You just put your hand out, grab another one, squeeze, and then let go. But, what if you let go too soon? What if you hold on too long? What if you squeeze too hard? When you are preparing for your interview, there’s a good chance you aren’t practicing your hand shake. However, you should know a few common rules of shaking hands.
No matter how many times you have shaken hands, it’s important to know how to give a proper hand shake. After all, it is one of your first impressions, and those are crucial in the job seeking process.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when shaking hands during your interview:
- Wipe your hands off. There is a good chance that you are going to be nervous before your interview and that may mean having sweaty palms. Wipe your hands off on your pants or in a restroom before your interview.
- Initiate the shake. If the interviewer doesn’t automatically offer you their hand, you should offer yours. It shows that you take initiative and will result in a good first impression.
- Smile. Smiling and saying something like, “it’s nice to meet you” can take your interview handshake even further. It’s important to act like you are confident and not nervous.
- Make eye contact. You may be tempted to look at the handshake as it’s happening, but you need to establish eye contact with the person you are shaking hands with. Doing this helps reinforce that you are confident.
- Be firm. In the past, it was common to treat handshakes between men and women differently. But, in the 21st century, it’s important to treat everyone equally, and that means the same handshake for all.
- Avoid aggression. Gripping too hard, holding on too long, or shaking too long can make you seem overly aggressive. It’s ideal to only shake hands for two to three seconds. If you are nervous about holding on too long, take a cue from the interviewer. When you feel them let go, you need to let go.
- End with a handshake. When your interview is over, you may be ready to claw your way out of the room. But, before you leave, you should shake hands again, refer to the interviewer by name, and thank them. By doing this, you add a personal touch.
That may be a lot to remember right before your big interview. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to be rude or too aggressive. If you forget everything you just read, then follow the interviewer and mirror their actions.
As a courtesy to our candidates, Diverse Staffing has compiled some critical advice for candidates from some of the top professionals in the employment industry. Some thoughts as you consider your next career decision:
Headhunters Work for the Client
Headhunters work for the client, not for the candidate. Candidates should expect fair and honest treatment from headhunters, but not inside information on hiring organizations or about other candidates. “The headhunter is a broker, not a guide or coach.” (Moats-Kennedy, “What the Recruiter Won’t Tell You,” Healthcare Executive, Chicago).
Call Before You Need Us
The best time for individuals to contact a recruiter is when they don’t need one. Around 64% of executive level positions in the U.S. are filled through professional recruiters. The majority of corporate chiefs have dealt with headhunters at one time or another during their careers. Potential candidates (that is, every employed person) should remember this in their dealings with recruiters (Sheldon: review of Reynolds “Be Hunted,” Communication World, San Francisco).
The Bottom Line
Employees should also bear in mind the material bottom line when they go to work, and regard their current employer with a degree of instrumentality. At the end of the day, labor is just another economic factor input. A better deal may be out there (The Princeton Report, Princeton Search Group).
Know Who the Top Recruiters Are
Candidates should be aware of the top recruiters in their industry and should ensure that they have a profile that headhunters will notice. “With any new search assignment, recruiters often take a quick personal inventory and identify people who may be perfect for the job they have been hired to fill” (Ransom, “An Insider’s Look at Recruiters and Recruiting,” Physician Executive, Nov/Dec 2003.)
NOTE: Professional candidates can improve their profile proactively by making themselves available to the media, by writing articles in trade journals and through networking.
A Form of Representation
Executive recruiters provide candidates with a form of representation that can provide an advantage when seeking a new job (Neil, “Facing Up to Headhunters,” ABA Journal, Chicago, Aug. 2003). Employers may take prospective hires more seriously if they are represented by a third party. Since clients usually only engage headhunters when they need to fill a vacancy, candidates can be sure that they are being put forward for genuine openings and are not applying for jobs that have already been filled prior to being advertised.
Be Sure You’re a Contender
When seeking a position through a headhunter, candidates should ensure that they have the qualifications and experience specified. “Most search consultants would agree that unless you meet at least 80% of the job specifications, you aren’t a contender” (Tyler, “Hey, You! Look at Me!” Healthcare Financial Management, Nov. 2003).
NOTE: Clients expect recruitment firms to put forward only those candidates that closely match their specific requirements. Experienced headhunters are very adept at screening job seekers.
If this advice for candidates seems a little daunting to you, then contact Diverse Staffing at 317.803.2910 for help on finding your next job.