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Create Your Own Career Fireworks!

Richland Library's support and networking group for job seekers, Career...Encore!, recently learned how to ignite and create a more effective job search strategy. First, they were shown how to research companies/organizations that interested them. Then, they were encouraged to find unique ways to introduce themselves to the decision makers. Now that is taking control! Create your own fireworks and get noticed. Here's how:

By researching the company you will learn:

  • More about the position you've applied for, the organization, and the company culture.
  • Uncover custom-made opportunites that a conventional search can miss.
  • Be better able to show how your skills match up to the organization and the industry.
  • Be able to decide whether or not you will thrive within the company’s work environment.
  • Before starting to research possible workplace opportunities, you must first be clear about your own needs. It is important to understand the type of environment that you are looking for. Consider your work tendencies. For example:

    Know Yourself

  • What would a typical day look like?
  • What would management value most in workers?
  • Would collaboration or individual accomplishment be the focus?
  • Become a detective

    Conducting research on companies or organizations that interest you requires investigative skills. You will want to gather as much information about the company’s workplace as possible in order to make intelligent decisions and implement strategic marketing plans.

    Use your network to find current or past employees. Ask current or past employees what working there is like. Gather lots of impressions to get a more accurate view of the company.

    Explore the company’s online presence. Does it match the experiences shared by your network or are you receiving mixed messages?

    Match your mission with the overall company’s values and mission. It is great to have a rapport with individuals at a company; however, remember people come and go, but the company’s overall operation stays.

    Questions to answer

    1. How old is the company?
    2. How large is the company?
    3. What are its products and/or services?
    4. Who are its customers?
    5. Who are its major competitors?
    6. What is its reputation/industry standing?
    7. Where is the company’s headquarters?
    8. Have there been recent employee layoffs?
    9. What are the backgrounds of the managers?
    10. What training programs are offered?

    Once you've conducted your research, you are ready to access & impress the decision makers by using the side door approach:

  • Get introduced by an acquaintance in a social setting
  • Get introduced by an acquaintance at the work place
  • Spontaneous letter or email
  • Spontaneous call or walk in
  • Volunteer, internship or temp work
  • Show employers samples of your work
  • Get to know them as a customer
  • Four Keys Mandatory to Open the Doors

    In their book “The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job,” MacDougall & Sanders-Park describe four keys that make the side door approach effective, and you must use all of them or the side door will not open!!

    They are:

    1. Get noticed for the right reason – Be creative. Stand out from the crowd by offering a hard-to find quality, attitude, or skill that the employer wants!
    2. Get noticed by the right personDemonstrate your hard-to-find quality, attitude, or skill in front of the person with the power to hire, or someone that person trusts who could be a credible reference for you.
    3. Don’t ask for a job or submit a résumé until after you’ve impressed the decision makerBe patient. If you do this too soon, your résumé will be added to the mix with everyone else’s. Wait until the employer says something that makes it sound like hiring you is the employer’s idea.
    4. Be politely persistentThis demonstrates that you want to work for their company, not just get a job. Using side doors takes time, but polite persistence is a hard-to-find quality valued in many jobs.

    MORE RESOURCES:

    • Annual Reports
      A Free Service that allows users to review an annual report in an easy and convenient manner. Boasting the most complete and up-to-date listings of annual reports on the internet, which provides instant access to annual reports in their actual format in one single location.
    • Vault On-Line Company
      Search current job openings, research a company, school or industry, get the inside scoop on what it’s really like, and find the career advice you need to launch your career.
    • Yahoo Finance!
      Popular investment site among investors, user friendly, and good source of company information.
    • American Business Journal
      The Business Journals' sites features local business and industry news from 41 different markets around the nation including Columbia South Carolina. You can search for public as well as private company news in the local market.
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