By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS
There is an adage that says, “There is no substitute for preparation.”  As we enter the beginning of August, on the cusp of the fall hiring season, I want to share with you some cool resources that you can use to help prepare for the fall hiring season.  When you have that overwhelmed feeling, wouldn’t having a multitude of resources to help you create your search roadmap take the edge off your anxiety?

Below I have created this “cool resources” tool bag that I believe you will find helpful. Using this mix of resources can move you closer to success in attaining your goal.

1. Books – Whether it is reading about how to Brag, by Peggy Klaus, Never Eat Alone, a book that teaches the ins and outs of networking by Keith Ferrazzi with Tahl Raz,  The Twitter Job Search Guide by Susan Britton Whitcomb, Deb Dibb and Chandlee Bryan, or The Essential Phone Interview Handbook by Paul J. Bailo, having these resources can give you the nudge in the right direction of some very important facets of a career campaign. Check out last month’s blog posting that discusses some of these books in depth.

2. Social Media – It is here to stay. Embrace it! Start to play with it and you will feel less intimidated by it. Social Media is very important for establishing your brand as well as actually using it in active career search. Watch out for our 3e seminars on LInkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook coming this fall.  We will be conducting several, hands-on seminars to teach you how to work with Social Media in job search.

3. Job Boards – Job Boards are a source for passive postings. As I have said before, to have a complete career campaign, you need to include applications to passive job postings.  Find a mixture of general and niche sites for your field and use them to add this component to your campaign.  Also, look at sites like ExecuNet which is a more unique site where you can peruse job postings, meet like minded career professionals, gain a plethora of valuable insight and information about career search and network both online and offline.

4. Networking – You know that I cannot say enough about how important your network is.  Keep enlarging it and nurturing it.  It is a valuable way to actively get your name and your brand out there. And, being out there is where you meet people that can possibly connect you to the companies you want to connect with. This includes keeping in touch with your alumni network from your college, masters and doctoral programs. Use them as a resource.

5. Public Library – Due to the downturn in the economy, many libraries have devoted special sections to job search with computers for research.  They bring in speakers that discuss different aspects of how to do an effective job search and they are usually free. Next time you are out and about, check out your local library to see what is going on.

6. Organizations – There are numerous organizations out there providing support to those people who are unemployed. There are job clubs, religious groups, and national organizations that are trying to provide information and assistance during these challenging times. Sit down and think about what groups might apply in your case and then do what my kids tell me to do all of the time, “Google it, Mom.”

7. Volunteer at a Non-Profit– Yes, volunteer a little bit of your time. This gets you out of the house and into the world of infinite possibilities.  You may learn a new skill. You will meet new people. You will be giving of yourself and feel gratified for doing it.  Your mood will change and so may your outlook.

8. Job Fairs – Seek out the Job Fairs in your area.  Do your research. Often you can find a listing of what companies will be attending and what jobs are open. Attend them with lots of resumes in hand, dressed professionally, with a smile and your Value Proposition down pat. You will have 30 seconds to tell it to the person taking your resume so be prepared and role-play, doing it in a rapid-fire manner.

9. Recruiters – Reach out to recruiters as another facet of your career campaign. Use The Directory of Executive & Professional Recruiters from Kennedy Information, which is the Bible of books providing listings of recruiters indexed by geographic region, industry and function. If you are looking for a recruiter in Connecticut that deals with Human Resources, you will find it here.  This is an expensive book and may often be found in the resource section of your public library. It can also be found online, if you are not in a position to pay for the service, look to your library in the reference section.

10. Career Coach – I saved the best for last!  If you are struggling in search or, if you are just starting your search, a career coach can be a valuable part of your career campaign. Just like using a trainer at the gym, a career coach is there prescribing the exercises and cheering you on your road to success.  Your career coach can help you establish your brand by working with you to create your Value Proposition, tweak your resume, teach you how to research companies and prepare and practice for the interview process. A good coach will explore with you, guide you, take you to task sometimes, and lift you up when you think all is lost. Coaches have their fingers on the pulse of the job market and when that final interview happens and you are determined to be the “one,” your coach can help you with the negotiation process so that you do not leave money on the table. Lastly, your coach can support you through your first review to help with any adjustment issues.

So here you have it.   Ten cool resources to catapult your career search. Pull them out of your tool bag and use them to help you when you feel lost or want to get back on track. Or, if you are just starting out, you now have a myriad of tools to give you a great start.  As always, please leave me a comment and let me know if this posting helped you. If you are struggling in search, please contact me at [email protected] or 203-323-9977.

Every Success –