Posts Tagged ‘Job hunting’

6 Tips for Starting a Consulting Practice (or Launching a Job Search!)

September 28, 2012

“Take my advice, I’m not using it” has always been one of my favorite lines.  Why?  Because it describes in a comical way how I started my consulting practice as a Career Coach and Training Consultant over 20 years ago.  I didn’t have a business plan, didn’t have a website for many years, have never had an office outside of my home, didn’t have fancy marketing materials or even a cell phone!  But what I did have was a passion for helping people find jobs and performing better in their careers. I had a belief that because I knew what I loved doing and was good at, there would be a market for what I was offering…….and it turns out, I was right.

My experience should give hope to anyone thinking about taking the entrepreneurial plunge.  Who would have thought that starting an independent consulting practice and starting a job search would require many of the same considerations?  So based on my 20+ years of surprisingly successful experience as a Career and Training Consultant, here is some advice to aspiring consultants and job hunters alike!

  1. Follow your bliss – What have you’ve always longed to do?  To me, there is no more important question to answer when considering becoming a consultant or job hunter:  Is there a way to do work that I am passionate about, find meaningful and will support me and my family?  A new job or consulting opportunity that is a perfect match for your passions and expertise may well be out there.  So figure out what your passions are, what you’re good at and what you have to offer the marketplace.  Most people tend to undervalue their talents, skills, and experience, so it may take an outsider to help you identify your most marketable skills and expertise and that could be a wise investment before starting either endeavor.
  2. Test the marketplace – Can you really get paid for your expertise and passions?  Where is the need in the marketplace for what you uniquely offer? Find out byinvestigating the marketplace and researching organizations that may need or are looking for your skills and expertise.  Find out what’s going on right under your nose – in your neighborhood, local businesses, community, and non-profit organizations.  Just this week, one of my job search clients walked into a company a mile from his house to apply for a job in person (yes, people still do this and should!), left his resume with the receptionist and got a call back from the hiring manager that afternoon!  I encourage my clients and aspiring consultants to read local newspapers, business journals, organization websites, and talk to professional and personal contacts about current company needs, initiatives, and problems that might require their unique talents and skills.  I encourage them to meet decision makers through information interviewing or through a referral.  This is crucial in determining if there is indeed a need and market for what you are offering.
  3. Watch your expenses and keep your overhead low – Many of my colleagues have made the mistake of signing expensive lease agreements for office space that their practice simply couldn’t support.  Many of my job search clients do the same: setting up elaborate home offices, or buying new computers and phones – spending money they need to live on while looking for a new job. Make a coffee shop your office!  My best guess would be about 75% of coffee shop regulars are consultants or job hunters who are meeting with potential clients, having interviews, writing resumes and cover letters. I should know, I’m one of them!
  4. Network, network, network – Do you have to network?  The unequivocal answer is Yes – that’s if you want to be successful!  99.5% of my consulting business has come from networking and 80% of all jobs come through networking.  Networking who you know, and who knows you, is the most effective way to find a job or consulting gig.
  5. Develop marketing materials – A consulting brochure, a website, or resumes and cover letters,  need to sell your expertise, skills, and your “value proposition” to potential customers and hiring managers in a high impact way.  Engaging the services of a professional web designer and resume writer can be extremely beneficial.  In fact, I just bartered my career coaching services with a web designer and I now have an attractive new website that cost me nothing more than sharing my expertise.
  6. Blow your own horn – Whether you are selling your consulting services to potential customers or selling yourself to potential employers, you must have well prepared “verbal commercials” that promote who you are and what you have to offer. In coaching hundreds of clients looking for new careers, I have learned that this is one of the hardest things for people to do.  And you can and must learn to promote your “brand” as a job hunter or consultant, because your competition is doing it loud and strong!

Starting a consulting practice requires confidence, determination, and self-motivation – and so does an effective job search.  But the satisfaction and rewards are worth the effort!  I encourage aspiring consultants to contact the Center for Women and the SC Women’s Business Center for help getting started on the right track.

Jan Moorman is President of Jan Moorman & Associates, a Career Coaching and Training Consulting Firm located in Charleston, SC. She can be reached at www.janmoormanandassociates.com or 843-410-3526.

The Job Coaches: Take steps to retool skills, rethink options

September 30, 2011

Dr. Dorothy P. MooreBy Dorothy Perrin Moore

A new beginning requires re-examining one’s skill set. To assist, academic institutions are offering programs that address the needs of workers in transition.

Among the types of offerings are certification programs, part-time career re-engineering and more. The objective, perhaps best stated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is to enable people to “reconnect, renew, refuel, relaunch, re-enter, retool, reinvent, rekindle, reinvigorate, redefine, re-create, rethink, re-establish and re-equip.”

How can this approach assist the woman in transition who has no definite job prospect? First, she should focus on a personal profile based on an inventory of her talents. This will enable her to examine the full spectrum of job and career options she is capable of filling. It requires thorough research on prospective firms in fields of her competency. Then, she must use this knowledge to build more flexible approaches for new career options.

The position you are seeking may only exist because you show an employer how your set of skills can contribute to the firm’s bottom line. Developing a new profile and self-image can lead to creating a job niche. For example, assume you are a recent journalism graduate or laid off reporter, but the newspaper business has reduced columns and coverage due to a fall in subscriptions and advertising. How do you take your set of writing skills, which the majority of people in the labor market do not have, and turn it in to a creative position?

If you present yourself as a reporter primarily, you have not renewed, refueled or relaunched. You may be presenting the image that narrows your job opportunities. In short, you are showing employers your skill set in a closed box. The real skill you have is the ability to write, to articulate, to communicate, to market, to state things clearly, to improve the numerous essential documents all firms generate. Market it.

Suppose your background is in fabric design, but due to the large number of textile companies that have left the Carolinas, there appears no way for you to get your foot in the doors that remain. How can you use your creativity to launch your job search in new directions? Looking at the field more broadly is one beginning. Closely examine the spectrum of jobs that are being advertised. Visualize where additional openings might occur. Then determine what business skills might best fill out your resume for these potential openings. You might want to add some courses in marketing and advertising from your local college or technical school to expand your job search opportunities and also to develop new networks, friends or associates who may recommend you to an employer.

There are other avenues. If you are still in school, you are probably already aware of the vast array of services offered by the institution’s career service center. Graduates, and sometimes those unable to complete a degree, may not be aware that these services also are available to them. In many cases, institutions wave fees for the services in the interest of building goodwill (and possibly attaining future contributions). Many extend the services to members of the community as well.

If you elect retooling by taking a new program of study, it will be important to determine as nearly as possible what your future set of skills will be and how they will relate to the job market. Watch out for quick fixes that have no new jobs attached or require a substantial investment on your part. Stay focused on the return on investment for your time, effort and dollars.

Most of all, remember that you are the framer of your image and skill set. The steps you take in retooling are important.

Do the homework. Effort and perseverance count. Make at least three new contracts every day. Stay healthy, avoid hibernation and keep up your exercise and fitness program.

Dorothy Perrin Moore, Ph.D., is professor emerita of business and entrepreneurship at The Citadel.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment. A donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, September 18, 2009.

The Job Coaches :: Organize listing resources to search for the right job

November 5, 2010

By Jane Perdue, Principal/CEO with The Braithewaite Group.

Q: Where’s the best place to look for a job?

A: Knowing where to look for a job used to be straightforward: You read the help-wanted ads in the local newspaper, especially on Sunday. Now, like the number of cable channels, the options have exploded for finding open jobs. While the sheer volume of places to look for a job can be overwhelming, using simple steps can help you organize and focus your search.

–Use your network. Fifty percent of all jobs are found through networking. Tell friends, colleagues and relatives that you need a job. Ask them to share job information at their company with you. Tap into social media networking sites such as Linked-In, Plaxo or Digg. With its exploding growth, Twitter is another source. Go to search.twitter.com and enter jobs, career, hiring or job angels in the search box.

–Check major job boards for general positions. If your area of expertise applies to many industries, skills such as administrative support, supervision, etc., use Monster.com, CareerDirect.com , Indeed.com or CareerBuilder.com.

–Tap into local job boards and services. Charleston offers a number of online job-hunting resources: charlestonjobmarket.com, SCIway.net, Charlestonjobs.com, charles.sc.jobs.com, postandcourier.com and lowcountrytoday.com. Be sure to check out the services offered by The Trident One Stop Career Center in North Charleston.

–Visit the career placement department at your alma mater. Many colleges and universities offer free job assistance to students and recent graduates, so give them a call.

–Check out specialized job boards. If you know specifically what job you want, target Web sites that focus on that industry. CoolWorks.com, mediabistro.com, artsusa.org, salesgravy.com and accountingjobstoday.com are just a few examples. Internetinc.com offers a list of the top 100 niche job sites.

–Watch the classifieds. Not all jobs are posted, but the local newspaper remains a viable source of open jobs. If you are targeting a particular industry, trade journals and magazines are other sources.

–Target specific companies. If you have a clear idea of the company you want to work for, frequent its Web site to look for job openings.

–Use online job boards that specialize in freelance work. If you’re tired of the 9-to-5 routine, check out sites that specialize in freelance opportunities: guru.com, elance.com, sologig.com, sparkplugging.com or workathomesuccess.com.

–Executive positions. If you are looking for a job with a six-figure salary and have funds to invest, TheLadders.com and ExecuNet.com are resources that require a membership fee to see their job listings. Using a recruiter who specializes in your area of expertise is another alternative.

So the best place to find a job means understanding the kind of job you want, then organizing job listing resources to match your needs. That can simplify what otherwise can be a complex process.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, August 21, 2009.

Dealing with discouragement in the job-search process

September 9, 2010

By Barbara Poole, a master-certified coach and president of Success Builders Inc.

Q: I’m so discouraged. I’ve been looking for a job for months, but I can’t seem to get past first base with the employers I’m submitting applications to. Help!

A: Being in the job search process these days can definitely feel more like a marathon than a sprint. It’s an employer’s market right now and they can afford to be choosy and take their time filling positions. With an ample supply of applicants who have vast experience and are willing to take a cut in both salary and job level in order to land a position, it can be very discouraging to feel like you a swimming in a vast sea of competitors. Couple this with the very real economic pressures posed by being between jobs, and the impact on self-esteem that comes with transition, and you have all the ingredients for an emotionally challenging period of time – this, when you most feel the pressure to be upbeat and on top of your game.

While it is important to consider how you might redirect your job search, it is just as critical to deal with the psychological impact of a prolonged quest for employment. In fact, taking steps to ensure your own well-being may just be the most important element of your strategy right now, since you want to appear capable and confident for employers. Try these approaches to keeping your energy and your spirits up during this period of time:

1. Don’t take what happens in your job search personally. It can be very discouraging to be on the receiving end of what feels like an endless string of “no’s”, or worse yet, the lack of any kind of response to your applications. This is not about you; it’s largely about the circumstances of the job market right now. It’s important to remember that the search process is in many ways like the numbers game of sales. Rejection is just a part of the process, so don’t allow yourself to get too attached to any one opportunity. Give the application your best shot and then move on.

2. Build in rewards for yourself for the right activity as opposed to outcome. This is about identifying what you CAN control and letting go of what you can’t. In a tough market, it’s important to submit a sufficient number of applications and well-crafted resumes to harness the power of volume in your search. That’s the part you have control over. So acknowledge yourself for generating that activity and build in affordable little rewards for yourself like a bouquet of flowers from the market or the occasional Starbuck’s.

3. Take a time-out to do something playful and light. It’s difficult to make a full time enterprise of something that feels discouraging. Another way to reward yourself for generating sufficient job-search activity is to take a day off from the process now and then. Leave it all behind and go to the beach for the day, or take a bike ride to the park.

4. Step up your self-care. None of us runs well on empty, and it’s easy to feel depleted in the midst of a prolonged job search. It is really important during this period f time to eat well, get plenty of rest, and get good exercise and fresh air to protect your immune system and keep yourself in top form.

5. Lean into friends and loved ones.
There is nothing like the boost that community provides to lift your spirits when you’re feeling sad or frustrated. This is the time to lean into others for support, for a shoulder, or for a good belly laugh. Chances are you know someone else who shares your circumstances, so use this time as an opportunity to connect and be reminded that you are not alone.

Despite how discouraged you might feel, remember that slow and steady wins the race. Stay focused on what you can control, take very good care of yourself, and know that somewhere out there is a job with your name on it. In due time, you will find your way to it, and the frustrations of the job search process will be nothing more than a distant memory.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, October 9, 2009.


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