Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Will Your Career Be Hot in 2024?

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

The year 2024 seems a long time away. But if you are planning your career, the moves you make now can affect how successful you’ll be then.

That’s where employment projections can help. This week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), part of the U.S. Department of Labor, released new employment projections on the labor market through 2024. These employment projections can help you decide on a career and an education/training path for your future livelihood and success.

“Four out of the top five fastest-growing occupations are related to healthcare,” said BLS Commissioner Dr. Erica L. Groshen.

The following video highlights key employment projections. To catch all the details, be sure to watch it at full screen (click frame image, lower right, as video starts), then hit Esc when the video is over.

Visit the BLS for the full employment projections news release, complete with interesting charts and tables. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday Networking for the Unemployed

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Unemployed during the holiday season? As family and friends give you greetings and gifts, they may also offer you something else: unsolicited job search advice. Loved ones, of course, are trying to help you. But many don’t know how to job hunt effectively, don’t know what type of work suits you best, and don’t understand how tired you may be of looking for work.
Holiday Networking May Lead You to a Job [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Holiday networking may lead you to a job.

If you have been job searching for any length of time, you may not be in the mood to talk about the online job application grind, unresponsive employers, and lack of good opportunities. So you nod your head, say thanks, and change the subject.

There’s one exception to this scene, however. If you are meeting new people or people you haven’t seen in a while, consider networking. Now if you are introverted or shy, the thought of networking is bad enough, let alone trying to network during a holiday event.

But anywhere new people are together, it can be awkward to keep the conversation going. So when you meet someone new and the talk inevitably goes to careers, give your elevator speech about what you do and what you’re looking for. Then ask the other person if he or she knows of any opportunities or knows of someone who could lead you to job openings. It’s as simple as that.

The person may not know anyone, but then again he or she may. So it’s worth a few minutes of conversation, because you never know where a good job lead will come from. A little holiday networking just may connect you to the right job.

Image courtesy of njaj at

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Reason Your Job Search Is Failing

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Is your job search going nowhere? Do you apply for jobs all day long and get no response? This situation can cause you to second-guess yourself and blame your work history, your skills, your resume, your cover letter, your age, your gender…the list goes on.
The Reason Your Job Search Is Failing [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Job search knowledge will help you get hired fast.

The good news is, it’s not you, it’s your job hunting knowledge and know-how.

That’s right. A lack of job search skills is the main reason for job search failure, according to researchers Songqi Liu (Pennsylvania State University), Jason L. Huang (Wayne State University), and Mo Wang (University of Florida). Their study analyzed data from more than 9,500 job seekers in about 50 job search programs. 
Job hunters who learned how to job search were 2.67 times more likely to find work than those who did not. 

The job search skills taught in these programs included identifying leads and presenting yourself well in resumes and job interviews. The odds of getting hired increased even more if the job search training included motivational facets, such as being proactive (5.88 times higher) and setting goals (4.67 times).

So if want to avoid a prolonged job hunt, it’s important to learn how to job search effectively. You have many options for learning how to job search, including the following:

  • Read through my past blog posts. Effective job search techniques are one of my favorite topics. 
  • Take a job search workshop at your local American Job Center
  • Visit your alma mater. Colleges and other educational institutions have career centers that offer job search guidance to alumni. 
  • Go to a nearby public library for job search books and perhaps job search assistance. 
By investing a little time in discovering the proven techniques for a successful job search, you'll be doing yourself a big favor.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Sunday, November 1, 2015

3 Critical Mistakes After a Layoff

3 Critical Mistakes After a Layoff [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Avoid 3 critical mistakes after a layoff.

Getting laid off from a job may bring shock, stress, worry, confusion, anger, and many other emotions. But don’t let these feelings get in the way being proactive on important issues after a job loss. When people are laid off, they often neglect the following three key actions:
  • They don’t apply for unemployment insurance with their state. One study I read said that half the people eligible for unemployment insurance after a layoff don’t claim it. While I’m sure some individuals think they don't qualify, others may not want to deal with the red tape or the required job search reporting. Perhaps others feel it’s a handout. But your past employer paid into the unemployment insurance system, and it’s designed to help you survive financially until you find a new job. I recommend that you apply for unemployment insurance with your state immediately after a layoff. If your unemployment drags on, your finances will start to drain, creating even more stress for you.
  • They wait too long to start looking for a job. Laid-off workers sometimes feel they need a break from working. But the effects of waiting before starting a job hunt are many: skills atrophy, self-image and motivation diminish, energy wanes, networks fade away, and employer interest vanishes. So take a breath, and then launch into an active job search without delay.
  • They sit at the computer all day. Applying for jobs online may feel like an accomplishment. But hitting submit on an online application usually results in absolutely nothing. So it’s important to network, to seek people who can refer you to employers, to research new and growing employers, to get involved in trade associations, to call on employers who need your skills, and to keep up your skills. In other words, don't sit at the computer applying for job after job online, which is a very passive way to search for work.

If you take action after your layoff and avoid the three common mistakes, you’ll soon be on the road to reemployment.

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Job Search Enemy Number One

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Job Search Enemy Number One [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Look in the mirror to see your
number one job search enemy.
A job search has many enemies. You can probably name them quickly: potential employers who don’t respond, substandard job openings, onerous online job application systems, job application black holes, competition from other job seekers, and more.

But there are other, more formidable enemies of a successful job search. These foes include the following:
  • Procrastination
  • Lack of focus and direction
  • Laziness
  • Lack of confidence
  • Fear
  • Disorganization
  • Not knowing where to start
These adversaries are even bigger hurdles than the ones I list earlier because they come from you. If you are not aware of your own job search weaknesses or have difficulty admitting, facing, and dealing with them, your job search will be stuck in neutral. So, the number one enemy of a successful job search, unfortunately, is you.

You can, however, change this situation for the better. If your job search seems stuck, ask yourself questions like these:
  • Do I put off job searching?
  • Do I work on my job search every day?
  • Do I have a job search schedule listing how much time I will spend applying for jobs, researching employers, improving my resume, practicing interview answers, networking, and following up?
  • Do I know the type of work I’m good at and want?
  • Do I apply for every job I can, even if it doesn’t fit my background and skills?
  • Do I jump around on job search tasks, such as revising my resume or building a LinkedIn profile, but never finish anything?
  • Do I keep track of where I send resumes, have interviews, and what my next steps are?
  • Do I maintain a positive attitude toward my job hunt?
  • Do I show enthusiasm and confidence in all employer interactions?
  • Am I afraid of networking, calling employers, interviewing, asking questions, following up, and seeking help with my job search?
  • Do I feel too young, too old, too inexperienced, or too experienced to get the job I want?
  • Do I feel self-conscious about how I come across in interviews or when talking on the phone?
  • Do I talk to family and friends about my job search and seek their encouragement and support?
  • Have I forgotten to follow up and send materials and references as promised to potential employers?
Your answers to these questions will reveal whether you are sabotaging your own job search. If you are, it's time to admit your job search nemeses and begin to deal with them.

Take one small step to overcome your job search hurdles. For example, why not apply for your ideal job or contact employers of interest right now? Maybe you can set aside time every day to do nothing but job hunting. Or perhaps you can get better organized with a calendar, folders, and reminders. Maybe you can practice making phone calls to employers and answering interview questions. Perhaps you need to reach out to a friend who will encourage you. Also consider visiting your local American Job Center for free job search workshops, career coaching, job clubs, and much more.

After you beat your number one job search enemy, you’ll be ready to look in the mirror and face any other job search challenge.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Go-Go-Go for Goals in Your Job Search

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Setting goals is a useful task in life. I find that most of my accomplishments have come from setting goals, and of course, from following through. Setting goals is especially useful in the job search, because goals give you a path to pursue in a direction you choose. Without goals in your job hunt,
Go for Goals in Your Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Want success sooner? Go ahead and set
 goals for your job search
you may
  • Find it hard to get started.
  • Find it difficult to keep going.
  • Take the wrong career direction.
  • Not take the right steps to get hired.
  • Take a long time to find work.
  • Lose job search motivation.
  • End up with a job you don’t want.

Job search goals help you focus on what you need to do to get the right job as quickly as possible. So I recommend you set goals for your job hunt. List what you want to achieve and how you will do it.

For more details on creating job search goals, see my Shy Job Seeker post on Introverts Excel at 10 Steps of Job Search Planning. The suggestions in that post will work for introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between.

Based on my experience, I believe the most important part of setting goals in the job search is getting started. The first two letters of the word goal are g-o, which of course spells go! 

So go and get started on your job hunt goals. It will put you one step closer to landing a job that’s right for you.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hate Your Job? Don’t Complain—Act

Hate Your Job? Don't Complain--Act [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Do you complain about your job?
It may be time to take action!

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

I know several people who hate their jobs. They complain loudly and frequently about their problems with any number of job-related issues, including the boss, their co-workers, their work hours, the commute, the customers, the expectations, and the workload. These individuals make comments like these: “I’ve got to get a new job,” “I need to quit my job,” “I can’t take it any longer.”

I can empathize with individuals who don’t like their jobs. I’ve been there, and it’s not fun. Hating your job can ruin your sleep, your health, your relationships, and your free time. Hating your job hangs over you like a heavy weight and feels like it’s wrecking your life.

Among the people I know who hate their jobs are those who spend more time complaining than taking action. Yes, looking for a job is hard. It’s difficult to get started. It’s time-consuming. It’s full of rejection and unknowns. It may take a long time.


Imagine if every time, instead of complaining, these individuals pulled out their resume and started updating it. Suppose every time they wailed about what a boss or co-worker did today, they researched possible new employers. And what would happen if every time they fretted about customers, they instead reached out to a contact in their network who might be able to connect them to a job opening? In short order, they might be starting a new job instead of complaining about their current one. 

So if you are unhappy in your job, complain about it a lot, and want to make a change, stop putting energy into whining. Instead, take a step toward a new job. And then another step. And another one after that. Put your energy into a positive new direction. It's a great way to move forward and find a better job sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

5 Steps for Coping with Job Search Rejection

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Job seekers are often unprepared for rejection during the job search. For example, many job hunters get very upset when organizations don’t respond to their resumes and phone calls. Job seekers become dejected when potential employers suddenly stop communicating with them. They are surprised when employers who seemed interested during job interviews don't extend job offers.

Well, rejection is part of the job search process. So rather than get disappointed, distraught, 
5 Steps for Coping with Job Search Rejection [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Is that your resume in the employer's shredder? 
Here's how to cope with job search rejection.
depressed, or angry, you are better off accepting it and putting your efforts toward the next opportunity.

Two Types of Job Search Rejection

During the job search, you face two main types of rejection. The first kind is direct rejection, when a potential employer says, “We’ve hired someone else,” “You didn’t match our needs,” or something similarly deflating. In the past, employers would send letters to this effect to rejected applicants. Today, employers rarely send letters or emails notifying you of your status. Outright rejection from employers is less common today than it was in the past. I recall applying for jobs and receiving letters in response that said, “Thank you for your resume. Unfortunately your qualifications do not meet our current needs. We will keep your information on file for possible future consideration.” Of course I never heard from the companies again.

The second rejection type is what I call passive rejection, and it’s the kind of rejection most job seekers encounter in today’s job hunt. Passive rejection is when you apply for jobs and hear nothing back. You may have completed a lengthy and even intrusive online job application, uploaded your resume, taken time-consuming online hiring tests, submitted references and other information, and then heard nothing. Passive rejection also occurs when you actually interact with a potential employer somehow—perhaps by email, by phone, by Skype, or in a job interview--and then never hear from the employer again. This behavior by employers seems rude to most job hunters.

With passive rejection, employers either don’t have the resources or don’t feel it’s worth the resources to tell a candidate where he or she stands. I’ve sat in the employer’s chair, and I know many applicants aren’t qualified for the jobs they are seeking or submit weak cover letters and resumes. So, do employers take the time to respond to such applicants? Perhaps some employers fear the potential liability of giving specific feedback. Other employers may want to avoid job seekers’ pleas or ire. So you may be waiting and waiting and waiting for a follow-up call on a job when in fact the employer has already decided you’re not the one to hire. Perhaps you have left a voicemail with the employer to check on the hiring decision status, and the employer never calls back. Regardless, you’ve been rejected passively by the employer, often long before you realize it.

Rejection, of course, is part of life. You know this if you’ve been involved in selling a house, asking someone for a date, proposing a seemingly great idea, making a business sale, applying for college, or trying out for a team. Rejection can sting, and job search rejection can really hurt. If you are introverted or shy, rejection can make you crawl deeper into your shell. But there are ways to cope.

Coping with Job Search Rejection in 5 Steps

Here are five steps for coping with job search rejection.
  1. Expect it. Rejection catches job seekers off guard. Just as you prepare for your job search by doing your resume, you must also prepare for and expect rejection during the job hunt process.
  2. Accept it and don’t take rejection personally. When I’ve been turned down for a job, I shrug it off. Perhaps the employer found someone with the stronger skills, experience, education, or training. Maybe the company hired someone it knew or decided to make an internal promotion. Maybe the organization felt I was overqualified. I probably will never know why I didn’t get the job, but I conclude that it wasn’t the right opportunity for me after all. But I also know the right opportunity will come. So I have refused to internalize the rejection or take it personally. The more I shrug it off, the less future rejection affects me in the job search and the more quickly and easily I can move on.
  3. Keep going. You must always keep going despite rejection in your job hunt. Otherwise this formidable foe will deplete your energy and enthusiasm. Vow to always stay positive and persistent in your job hunt. The next opportunity may be the right one.
  4. Conduct an active job search. Two proven ways to get hired more quickly are to reach out to employers before they advertise jobs and to network with people who can help you get hired. In the first instance, be on the lookout for employers who are growing and who may be hiring people with your skills. If you can contact them before they need to advertise, which they don’t like to do, you are the sole person in the hiring line and will face less rejection than if you are part of an applicant tsunami. In the second case, employers like to hire people who are referred to them and people they know. If you can get a reference or an inside contact at a hiring company, your chances of getting a job improve. So just don’t sit at the computer and apply for jobs. Get active, and your job search rejection will lessen.
  5. Examine your approach. When you get rejected for a job, whether directly or passively, take a few minutes to honestly assess your approach. Did you apply for the job because it was advertised, without truly examining whether you had the right skills for it? Did you use the same resume you use for every job, without trying to tailor it to the opening? Did you answer online application questions without much thought? How did you come across in phone calls or job interviews? If you find any areas for improvement, be sure to address them.
Job search rejection is part of the job hunt process. But don’t let it take over. Reject the rejection, and keep moving toward the right job.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to Realistically Know Your Career Prospects Before Making Job Choice, Change, or Move

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

  • Do you wonder how much you could earn in your job if you move to a bigger (or smaller) city? 
  • Are you concerned whether your education level is adequate for your desired occupation? 
  • Are you considering more education for a specific job and wonder whether it will pay off? 
  • Do you have a certain type of work in mind but worry whether you will find enough opportunity in your region?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, or if you have similar questions in mind, then I suggest you use the free Employability Checkup created by the U.S. Department of Labor. By answering just a few questions online, you will receive a snapshot of your chances of finding a certain job requiring a
Get Employability Checkup [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Get a quick and easy Employability Checkup before making a career move.
specific education level in a certain location at a wage you specify. With the Employability Checkup, you give input on several factors, including these:
  • Geographical location
  • Education level
  • Pay level
  • Occupation
  • Industry
The Employability Checkup then generates your Employability Profile, full of interesting facts and figures about your choices to help you decide whether they are realistic. Your Employability Profile includes the following information:
  • Employment trends in the specific occupation and industry
  • Local and state unemployment rates
  • Typical education requirements for the occupation
  • How the wages you chose compare to typical wages for the occupation and location you specified
You can run the Employability Checkup as many times as you like to change your variables, so it's a good way to try lots of "what ifs." 

For example, I was curious to learn what the prospects are for editors in the advertising/public relations field in Colorado Springs, Colorado. From my Employability Profile, I learned the occupation is declining in Colorado (but not as greatly as elsewhere in the U.S.), and the local unemployment rate is higher than the national rate. On the plus side, my desired wage was within the range paid in Colorado Springs, and I had the right education level. So would I be able to find a decent-paying editor job there? The data said maybe (I had three minuses and three pluses), but I would want to investigate current job openings, possible employers, business news, cost of living, and quality of life in Colorado Springs before loading up a moving van.

Employability Profile page gives links to more detailed information for further research, such as occupation information, industry trends, education and training requirements, and wages.

The Employability Checkup is quick and easy to use. It requires no usernames, passwords, or logins, so that makes it simple and safe. So before you make a career move—whether to a new occupation, a new location, or a new credential—take the Employability Checkup.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

It's Not Hard to Improve Your Soft Skills for Work--Follow These 5 Steps

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Employers hire you to do a job. They look at your work experience, work history, work skills, education, and training. If you are a car mechanic, for example, employers make sure you can do tune ups. If you are an accountant, employers look at your skills and experience in handling financial records. These job-specific skills are sometimes called “hard skills.”

It's Not Hard to Improve Your Soft Skills for Work [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
In addition to such hard skills, employers look at the “soft skills” of potential employees. Soft skills are difficult to define because they encompass a wide range of traits, behaviors, and attitudes. For example, communicating well and taking initiative are soft skills. So are showing up every day on time, being honest, being organized, being enthusiastic, learning, leading, working well in a team and with customers, responding well to criticism, accepting assignments without complaint, dressing and grooming appropriately, being flexible, and more. Phew! All these soft skills are essential to doing any job well. Soft skills are not extras you bring to a job. They are all part of being a professional.

So when you want to excel in your career or get a new job, it’s important to monitor, improve, and use your soft skills. How? Here are five steps.

(1) The first step is to become more aware of your soft skills. I think this point is key, because it’s easy to fall into a habit of acting, reacting, and responding to people and situations in the same, sometimes automatic, way. For example, if someone interrupts me while I'm working, my first reaction is to feel slightly annoyed. Does that come across in how I respond to the interrupter? I think at times it does. But if I know I react this way, I can practice looking up slowly and smiling when someone interrupts me. I think this better reaction falls under good soft skills because it is part of good communication and a good attitude.

(2 and 3) The second and third steps for soft skills improvement are to decide which soft skills you want to improve and become committed to improving them. For example, suppose you always run late. How can you improve the soft skill of being punctual? It’s not as difficult as you may think, as long as you are willing. Commit to setting alarms and reminders, to becoming more aware of time, and to giving yourself enough time to get somewhere. You must want to address and eradicate whatever situation or mindset makes you late.

(4) The fourth step is to find a way to improve your soft skills. My suggestions for improving soft skills range from simple ones, such as practicing the skill, to more-involved approaches, such as finding a mentor who can help you learn the skill; volunteering to be part of a team; or taking classes on communication, professionalism, and leadership.

(5) Finally, when you are job hunting or want to advance at work, you need to show the employer that you possess soft skills. Studies have shown that employers would rather hire for soft skills and teach hard skills than the other way around. When you are on the job, it’s easy to show soft skills in how you behave, react, and respond to your work, to frustrations, to challenges, to unexpected situations, to your boss, to customers, and to co-workers all day long. People who ignore their soft skills at work will learn a hard lesson by getting fired. Workers who are grumpy, disorganized, rude, late, dishonest, lazy, gossipy, careless, or sloppy can lose their jobs because they lack needed soft skills.

When you are trying to get hired, you need to convey and display your soft skills as much as possible, so employers will choose you over other similarly skilled workers. So be on time for job interviews, provide requested information promptly and completely, avoid errors in your job search correspondence, be friendly and enthusiastic, communicate well, dress appropriately, and follow up. Be sure to give examples of how you took initiative and solved problems.

So start focusing on your soft skills. It’s not that hard! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

10 Ways to Survive a Job Loss Financially

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

10 Ways to Survive a Job Loss Financially [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
You can survive a job loss financially with careful budgeting.
When you lose your job, you lose a paycheck. This situation is scary, especially if you have little or no savings and no other wage earner in your family. So when you become unemployed, start focusing on your job search. At the same time, use the following 10 ideas for financial survival. 

Some of these suggestions may sound harsh and almost impossible to implement, but it is critical that you take action to hold your finances together.
  1. Create a budget to track all your expenses and income. If you have a family, sit down together to discuss what everyone will do to stay within the budget. Learn all you can about budgeting and other good personal finance habits.
  2. If you receive severance from your former employer, be sure to manage it carefully. Make your severance last as long as possible.
  3. File for unemployment insurance with your state. In addition, if you are in a dire position, ask about other government assistance, such as expedited or emergency food stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program--SNAP). Find a local American Job Center (which may be called by a different name in your area) to get started with unemployment insurance and government assistance referrals; all services are free, courtesy of Uncle Sam.
  4. Weigh your health insurance options. If you cannot be insured through a parent (if you are under age 26) or a spouse/partner, look into obtaining health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace at or through your state’s insurance exchange if offered instead. You may be eligible to receive a tax subsidy based on your income to immediately lower monthly health insurance premiums. If your income is very low, you may be directed to Medicaid. If your family income is too high for a subsidy or for Medicaid, COBRA is an option. Through COBRA (which stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), you continue to pay premiums for the health insurance formerly provided through your past employer. 
  5. Avoid dipping into your retirement accounts. Hands off! Your retirement accounts are for your retirement. Any withdrawals you make may be penalized, although exceptions exist for certain financial hardships. But, if you pull out money now, how will you ever make it up for your retirement years? 
  6. Don’t be rash with your cash. Just spend less. You can do it! Stay away from restaurants, big stores, malls, online shopping, movie theaters, concerts, casinos, and anywhere money seems to evaporate. Get inexpensive haircuts. Make gifts instead of buying them. Shop at low-cost grocery stores. These changes will add up.
  7. Cut your bills as much as you can. Examine all your monthly bills to see what you can eliminate. Look into bundling, trimming, or cutting services and fees; eliminating unneeded insurance coverage; raising car and home insurance deductibles; and selecting cheaper phone, Internet, and TV options. Cancel your health club membership and start walking. 
  8. Avoid and manage debt. Call your lender about your mortgage to learn if you can arrange lower house payments while you are unemployed. Avoid piling up credit card debt because it may take years to pay off at high credit card interest rates. Use cash instead of credit cards to spend less.
  9. Raise income in multiple ways. Work part time, get a temp job, do odd jobs, take on seasonal work, or find freelance or consulting work. Sell items you don’t use or need. Perhaps you can rent a room or your garage.
  10. Become frugal. A thrifty lifestyle can benefit your wallet and other areas of your life. Cook at home, use the public library, enjoy free parks and events, take public transportation, buy used clothes, and repair clothes.
Economizing after a job loss is never fun and takes discipline and commitment. But it is often necessary to survive until you get rehired. In addition, you may develop personal finance skills, gain savings habits, and learn financial lessons that will benefit you for the rest of your life. 

Your ultimate goal should be to never again let your life be upended by a financial emergency. Aim to always have a healthy savings cushion, a budget, little or no debt, and a good grasp of your financial situation. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Don't Take a Vacation from Career Planning

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Map Out Your Career Route and Destination for Success [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Map your career route and
destination for success.
It’s the time of year to take vacations. Even if you like to wing it on vacations, you probably do some planning. For example, at a minimum, you need to decide where you are going and how you will get there. More detailed planning includes where you will stop along the way and what you will do when you get there. Many tools, such as online trip sites, guidebooks, and travel agents, can help you with vacation planning. I find vacation planning, although time consuming and tedious, to be worth the effort. It helps me make the most of my trip and catch must-see sites. Plus, I like activity-filled vacations, so planning is key.

I’ve read that people spend more time on vacation planning than financial planning. Based on all the career unhappiness I see and hear about, my guess is that people spend even less time planning their careers than they do planning their vacations or their finances. If this description sounds like you, I suggest you spend time planning your career for greater work satisfaction and success.

Just like vacation planning, with career planning you want to decide your route and your destination. Through a variety of tools, such as career assessments, career coaching, career books, career websites, and self-examination, you can get started with career planning. Also talk to people in careers of interest and explore the education and training you need for possible career paths. In particular, read my recent post on Planting Seeds for Your Career Growth and Satisfaction for helpful resources and ways to get started. Then act and modify your plan as you go. Career planning is a lifelong process, and it will take you far.

Enjoy your vacation this summer!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

12 Ways to Make Your Layoff Pay Off

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog
12 Ways to Make Your Layoff Pay Off [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Don't become a couch potato
during your layoff.

A layoff is never fun, but many people say their layoff ended up being a good thing. Sometimes the layoff released them from a job they were ready to leave or no longer liked. Some people find better jobs in terms of pay, opportunity, or enjoyment. I have been laid off and took the perspective that it was good to have change in my life.

So how can you make a layoff pay off for your future? You should, of course, focus on your job search and career after a layoff. But you also can use your layoff to make other changes and improvements in your life. The key to using a layoff well is to make good use of your free time. Here are 12 ideas for employing your time wisely to make your layoff pay off, both professionally and personally.
  1. Take time to breathe. After working full time, you may feel as if you need a break before launching into your job search. So take a break, but make it short. You don’t want to get too comfortable or lazy. You don’t want your job skills to atrophy. Many people who stay out of the workforce too long find it more difficult to get hired. A job search may take longer than you think it will. When you do get back to work, make it a habit to relax every day and avoid burnout.
  2. Don’t be embarrassed. Be sure to tell everyone you know about your job status. You never know where your next opportunity will come from. Layoffs are common and nothing to be embarrassed about. Plus, from now on, you will be able to relate to others who have been laid off with greater understanding, support, and compassion.
  3. Develop good personal finance habits. Be careful not to increase your debt during a layoff. Budget any severance pay you may receive from your former employer. Apply for unemployment compensation with your state. Meet with your family and review your budget. Look for ways to save money and raise cash. Take on part-time or freelance work until you can find a new job. When you do get a new job, keep up your budgeting and saving habits.
  4. Think about what you really want to do. Now is the time to consider whether you want to stay in the same field and the same type of job. Consider what you are good at and enjoy, what skills you possess, and what type of organizations and workplaces might suit you best. Take free career assessments from the U.S. Department of Labor online at and Research jobs, salaries, prospects, and much more at and, two useful career research sites also from the U.S. Department of Labor.
  5. Conduct an active job search. Engage in an active job hunt, which means that you go beyond applying for job after job online. Learn about active job searching from this blog and other resources. Active job hunts include contacting employers directly and networking to learn about unadvertised openings. Make an active job search the focus of your layoff to get hired sooner rather than later. 
  6. Practice interview skills. Job interviews get you hired. So learn common interview questions and how to respond to them. Rehearse explaining your skills and how they will help employers prosper. Be sure to thank and follow up with potential employers.
  7. Develop new job skills. What skills will help you get and keep a new job? For example, do you need to brush up on computer skills or learn social media? Learn about the skills required for jobs that interest you at Then find ways to learn those skills through self-study, online workshops, and classes at your library or at a local adult education or community college program. Many classes may be free or low cost. Also inquire at your local Career One-Stop/American Job Center whether you are eligible for free training as a laid-off worker. See my previous post on 35 Ways to Learn and Hone a New Skill for ideas on skill development.
  8. Pursue accomplishments for your resume. What would make your resume more impressive? Perhaps you can add something new to your resume, such as starting a blog or volunteering at a nonprofit organization. These activities will also help you develop new skills and contacts and keep your resume current.
  9. Join professional groups and organizations. Your career field may have professional groups that will help you meet new people, network for opportunities, stay current, and offer opportunities for professional development. Also look for relevant LinkedIn groups to learn and share information. Be sure to add professional groups to your resume if they are applicable to the jobs you are seeking. Keep up connections you make throughout your career.
  10. Reconnect with family and friends. In our busy lives, it’s easy to put people on the back burner. Make an effort to reach out to and reconnect with your family and friends. You may learn of new job opportunities and get emotional support during this period of change and transition. From now on, avoid losing touch with those most important to you.
  11. Get involved in projects you've put off. Everyone has unfinished projects or new ones to take on. Although your job search should be your main focus, you will still have lots of free time. Use it to finally finish those old projects or start projects you’ve always wanted to do. You will gain a sense of accomplishment. Most important of all, please don’t become a couch potato!
  12. Get healthy and active. It’s easier to get healthier if you have time to exercise and make good meals. So plan to use your layoff to enhance your health and develop healthy habits.
If you keep these suggestions in mind, your layoff will pay off with a brighter future and better life. What suggestions do you have to make the most of a layoff?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Planting Seeds for Your Career Growth and Satisfaction

Over the past month, I’ve planned my garden and planted tomatoes and seeds for various vegetables. It’s an annual ritual that has varying success. Some years, for example, the tomatoes are bountiful and luscious. Other years, the tomatoes are fewer and smaller. It’s often hard to know exactly what makes the crop better or worse from year to year. When it’s a bad crop, I ask myself lots of questions. Did I do something wrong, such as planting seeds too shallow or too late? Or was the weak yield beyond my control, such as from too much rain, too much heat, or too many bugs?

Plant Seeds for Career Growth and Satisfaction [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Plant the seeds and
watch your career grow!
Planning and planting a garden got me thinking how careers are like gardens. Most people don’t tend dutifully to their careers, and their career “garden” can end up growing successfully anyway. Or a career may turn into a weedy hodgepodge that never truly satisfies. You can plan your career like you plan a garden, yet your career may not bear the fruit you’d hoped. It may go in a different direction and give results you didn’t anticipate--sometimes great, sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes mixed.

Several years ago, I attended a National Career Development Association (NCDA) conference, and the speaker asked the attendees how many had decided to become career counselors when they were 18 years old? Just a few people raised their hands. And these people were career counselors and career coaches!

The speaker was Dr. John Krumboltz, Professor of Education and Psychology at Stanford University. His Happenstance Learning Theory states that the goal of career counseling is to help clients take action—and not to make a single career decision. Krumboltz said that by taking action, clients will generate events and not merely talk about their fears or shortcomings. Krumboltz, in fact, does not believe careers should be planned in advance. Interestingly, Dr. Krumboltz was once employed as a gardener. 

Yet it seems to me that career “gardening” can be helpful, even if its results are unpredictable. With some direction, you avoid jumping at the first opportunity that comes your way, which is often not a good opportunity. Without any career forethought, you may end up dissatisfied, disappointed, and regretful. I know people in just such situations, and they find it difficult to change or determine their career course after 20 or 30 years of doing the same thing or doing many brain-deadening or unsatisfying things. This predicament is sad to me, because these people seem capable of so much more in their work life. Of course career change is always a possibility, and my tips here can help you at any stage of your work life if you decide to plot a new career garden.

If you find it challenging to take the long view to plan your career, consider figuring out the next step. Ask yourself questions like these to get started:
  • What am I good at?
  • What do I like to do?
  • What jobs interest me and why?
  • What don’t I want to do?
  • What’s important to me in a job?
  • What do I want to avoid in a job?
  • What work environments do I like and not like?
  • What type of education and training do my jobs of interest require?
  • What skills do I possess already for these jobs?
  • Which employers hire people for these jobs?
  • What is the demand and outlook for these jobs?
  • What would I like to accomplish in my career?
  • Do I know anyone doing this type of work?
  • What professional associations, trade publications, and web sites will help me understand this field and this job?
Now that’s a lot of questions, and you may not be able to answer them all right off. But take your time, write it down, stay positive, and see what you conclude. At the very least you may have a better sense of your career direction and growth than you did previously. Your responses may put you on a path to taking good career action for your future.

If you need help and guidance, and most people do, I recommend these web sites from the U.S. Department of Labor for free career assessment and research:
Also see these earlier Shy Job Seeker posts for career planning and guidance:

So plan and plant your career garden, tend to it well, and you will most likely end up with better results in the future, even if they aren’t what you planned.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Summer Is a Hot Time for Job Search Networking

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

The weather is warming up, and it’s time to heat up networking in your job hunt. Although some job hunters want to slow down their employment search efforts in the summer and take it easy, I don’t recommend it. Why? Summer, with all its events and activities, is a great time to meet and be with people. And people hire people. If you can sidestep some of the faceless tech
nology (such as endless online applications) in today’s job hunt, you may find yourself getting a job more quickly and easily. 
Heat Up Your Job Search Networking This Summer [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Heat up your job search networking this summer.

As introverts and shy individuals, we often find it difficult to approach people we don’t know, especially in the job search. But summer makes it easier, because gatherings are more frequent, often bigger, more informal, and often outdoors. Although you may avoid direct networking because it is intimidating, the summer often makes it more relaxed and approachable.

Take this example: At a baseball game or a wedding, the person sitting next to you casually starts a conversation about your town. She mentions that her company is expanding. You mention that you are looking for a new job. Perhaps you see a potential match and can ask your new acquaintance a little more about the potential opportunity. Before you know it, you may have a contact name and a new job lead. So easy!

To make your summer networking for a new job most effective, keep a few tips in mind:

  • Relax. Unlike traditional networking settings (conferences, for example), summer events are meant to be nothing but fun. Stay open to networking, but don’t make it the only thing on your agenda at an event. 
  • Keep business cards handy. Bring along business cards that you create just for job searching. The cards should list your name, contact information, and key skills. You don’t need to hand them out to everyone, just to people who seem interested in helping you with your job hunt or with whom you’d like to establish a professional relationship.
  • Take notes. Carry a pen to jot down the names and contact information of people you meet and with whom you want to follow up. Or be ready to record the information in your phone. 
  • Look in the mirror. Summer is a time for super-casual clothes. Just don’t look sloppy, however, because first impressions count, no matter where you are.
  • Be friendly and don’t push. Don’t try to turn every introduction into a networking episode. You may meet many people at an event, but most will not lead to job possibilities, become networking contacts, or even become friends. Smile, shake hands, trust your gut, and see where things go. 
  • Be open to helping others. Remember that networking is a two-way street. If you meet someone you can help professionally, be open to it.
  • Give it time. Most first meetings will not immediately lead to a job. Give a relationship time to build, perhaps by asking a person to meet you for coffee at another time to discuss your careers.
  • Follow up. If you do meet a person who offers to give you a job lead or introduce you to a hiring manager, be sure to follow up and thank the person.
So enjoy the summer. Let it heat up your job search networking.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Let’s Start a Mindful “Slow Job Search Movement”

Let's Start a Slow Job Search Movement [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Let's start a "slow job search movement," advocates
Susan Pines, author of the Shy Job Seeker Blog.
By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Many people would like to slow down. That’s why “slow movements” have caught on. I hear a great deal about “slow food,” which is a response to fast food and emphasizes locally raised food, sustainability, and eating for social connection.

“The slow movement advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life's pace,” according to Wikipedia.

Other slow movements include slow travel, slow gardening, slow fashion, slow parenting, slow science, slow goods, and slow aging. The movements focus on mindfulness, reflection, connection, appreciation, sustainability of natural resources, green choices, and quality over quantity.

Why a Slow Job Search Movement?

“Direction is so much more important than speed. Many are going nowhere fast,” states an unattributed quote I see often on Twitter.

So I began wondering about the slow movement in relation to job searching. A slow job search is considered undesirable because it connotes a long job search. A long job search can deplete your energy, enthusiasm, skills, self-image, motivation, self-confidence, employability, and bank account.

A slow job search movement is counterintuitive because no one wants a job search to drag on. Publishers of career materials focus on quick job searching, speedy resumes, fast cover letters, finding a job in half the time, and getting hired in 30 days or less. The public workforce development system encourages laid-off individuals receiving unemployment insurance to find jobs quickly to end unemployment checks.

Still, I think slow job search movement has merit because it would build on many points that are part of other slow movements. To me, a slow job search movement encourages a better, more personalized, and more thoughtful job search that results in the best job for you.

Traits of the Slow Job Search Movement

So what are the traits of my slow job search movement? Here are some possibilities:
  • Taking time to reflect on who you are and what you want to do. Many people have general or vague ideas of what jobs suit them or what they are interested in doing. Other people have no idea what career or job to pursue. In the slow job search movement, your first step is to take time to explore and reflect on your career direction, interests, and skills before applying for jobs. How can you best develop your talents and abilities? What is important to you? How do you want to spend your workday? What don't you want to do? What work do you want to do in your one precious life? 
  • Focusing on the right job opportunities. Instead of rushing ahead and applying for as many jobs as possible, the slow job search movement encourages you to seek only the right jobs. So although you will apply for fewer jobs, you should be able to find the right one easier and with less hassle because you will be targeting jobs that suit you and fit your skills, qualifications, and ideals. You are not wasting time and energy on job openings that are unlikely to pan out or do not match your talents, values, and goals. That's great news for introverts and shy individuals as well as for all job seekers, because you aren't twisting yourself into something you are not. The irony here is that the slow job search movement may help you get a job more quickly because you’re stripping away the usual job search busyness and franticness and staying focused. 
  • Mindful job searching. The slow job search movement asks you to think about what you are doing in your job hunt and to enjoy the journey. So instead of stressing out about your job search and frantically looking for work, you slow down and consider what you are learning about yourself, what direction you are heading, and how your work can best enhance your life and the world. You stay in calm control and keep a placid perspective. You decide how to make the best use of your time in the job hunt instead of dashing in a dozen directions. The job search process becomes, dare I say, enjoyable and part of your personal development.
  • Choosing jobs that are close to home, good for the world, and not all-consuming. The slow job search movement advocates making job choices that avoid long commutes that generate pollution and suck time, that include telecommuting, that are complicit in harming the earth and its population, and that exhaust your life energy and time so you have little to give to yourself, at home, to relationships, and to your community.
  • Networking to develop relationships, make friends, support others, and do good. Networking during the job search focuses on finding job opportunities through connection with others. In the slow job search movement, networking also becomes something to savor throughout life as a relationship builder and as a conduit for getting to know and support others and finding ways to do good while doing well in your field and occupation.
  • Developing a sustainable career. By a sustainable career, I mean a career that uses your talents and skills, holds great interest for you, does not create life-disrupting stress, fits your values, is safe, and does not lead to illness or injury. It is a career you can sustain throughout your life if you so desire or for as long as you want to pursue it.
In summary, here’s how I define the slow job search movement: “The slow job search movement focuses on careers and jobs that fit and cultivate your talents, skills, interests, and values; encourages you to reflect on and enjoy the job hunt journey; advocates for work that is good and positive for yourself, the earth, and others; allows for substantial time and energy outside of work; develops community and relationships; leads to personal development; and is sustainable throughout your lifetime."

So, I’ve just started the slow job search movement. Who’s with me? Please share it and spread it! #slowjobsearch   #slowjobsearchmovement

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

6 Ways to Spring-Clean Your Job Search

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Does anyone still do spring-cleaning? I find regular house cleaning to be challenging enough. I may wash a window and two, but that’s the extent of spring-cleaning for me.

Yet spring-cleaning may be useful for your job search by making it more effective. So here are six suggestions
6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Give your job search a
 on how to clear out the cobwebs in your job hunt:

  1. Refurbish your resume. Take a fresh look at your resume. Can you delete or shorten anything? Have you developed a new skill or gained work experience? Employers won’t spend a lot of time reviewing your resume, so clean it up and make your most important skills and experience shine.
  2. Spruce up your wardrobe and appearance. First impressions count in job interviews. I know you’ve heard that before. So if you’ve had a lazy winter, it’s time to get some exercise and perhaps improve your looks. Also study your interview clothes. Are they dated? Maybe a new item or two will give you a whole new look for impressing employers.
  3. Find fresh ways to dig up job openings. Do you use the same job sites without results? Consider reaching out to people who work in the fields that interest you. Perhaps they can give you some advice or job leads. Contact employers you’re interested in and present yourself and your skills. Avoid the same dusty job search.
  4. Blossom with a new skill. Employers want workers who can do the job, and the more relevant skills you have, the stronger you are as a candidate. So fill in your skill gaps with a class or a workshop.
  5. Clear your path. Take time to consider whether you are still heading in the right direction. Are you going after the right jobs, the right companies, and the right fields? Perhaps you need a slight shift in your job target.
  6. Reenergize with some fresh air. The days are getting longer and warmer, so get out and take a walk, a run, or a bike ride. You’ll feel much better when you get back to job hunting.
So put some spring into your job search. It’s the time of year to grow!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Are You Making a Good First Impression in Your Job Search?

Are You Making a Good First Impression in Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Focus on others to make a good
first impression while job searching.
By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Introverts and shy people have many strong points to use in the job search, as I have described in other posts. But our introverted natures may work against us when first impressions count. And nowhere do first impressions count more than in job searching, especially in job interviews.

In looking for employees, employers first and foremost want workers who can do the job. But the impression you make--good or bad--influences employers who also want employees who will communicate well, get along with others, serve customers congenially, smile, be friendly, and be excited about the job.

Because introverts and shy people are by nature more internally focused and get socially drained, we can inadvertently come across as unfriendly, uninterested in others, aloof, stuck up, crabby, eager to get away, and even somewhat hostile.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for creating a good impression during your job hunt. Although most of the following points sound pretty basic, introverts can sometimes forget to do them because we are not outwardly oriented and may get nervous, uncomfortable, and depleted during social interactions:
  • Smile. Smiling will ease any interaction. Practice smiling if necessary so it feels and looks natural.
  • Make and maintain eye contact. Be sure to look at people when they speak to you and vice versa. If you look away frequently or avoid eye contact, you may not seem interested or trustworthy.
  • Watch your body language and nervous habits. Be sure to sit up straight, lean in toward others, and listen attentively. Avoid bad body language—such as slumping in a chair, tapping your foot, checking the time, or gazing out a window—that indicates you would rather be somewhere else.
  • Greet everyone. Be sure to say hello and good-bye. Shake hands firmly with people you meet.
  • Be friendly. Don’t ignore people you come across during your job search, such as receptionists, security staff, door people, and other employees you encounter at an organization. A nod and a slight smile will go a long way if you aren’t introduced.
  • Show enthusiasm and energy. Make a point to walk energetically, speak with excitement, and let potential employers know you are interested in their openings. You can recharge later if needed.
  • Use small talk. Small talk lubricates conversation. Come up with a few phrases to use or questions to ask if small talk is awkward for you. Examples: “How are you today?” “Nice to meet you.” “How long have you worked here?” 
  • Say thank you. Be sure to thank anyone who gives time to you during your job search, including human resources staff, interviewers, managers, and other employees. 
Using the list above, assess how you may be coming across in your job hunt. Then make an effort to improve and turn the first impressions you make into a lasting job relationship. 

What tips can you share for making a good first impression during the job search?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

7 Easy Ways to Kill Job Interviews

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Do not yawn in job interviews (Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Do not yawn in job interviews.
Getting a job interview is a positive sign in your job search. It means an employer has looked over your resume or job application and is interested enough to call you in for an interview. Employers are busy people, and they usually won’t take the time to interview you if they don’t see promise in you as a potential employee.

In addition, employers don’t want to interview lots of people because of the time and effort it takes on their part. So if you get called for a job interview, make sure you don’t make mistakes that will unnecessarily end your chances for getting hired.

In a job interview, an employer is scrutinizing you to determine whether you are the person to hire. A job interview means you are perhaps just one step away from a job offer. If you successfully interview for the job, it may be yours.

Even if you are shy or introverted, it’s easy to steer clear of the following job interview errors by preparing yourself and also doing an attitude check. Here are seven easy ways to kill a job interview and what to do to avoid the problem.

  1. Not dressing or looking the part. Take some time to dress up a little. You can’t be overdressed for a job interview in my opinion. Most employers are pretty traditional, so be conservative with hair, grooming, jewelry, and accessories.
  2. Acting uninterested, bored, or too casual in the interview. I’ve interviewed people who have acted as if they’d rather be in a dentist’s chair than at the job interview. Candidates have yawned, looked out the window, not made eye contact, checked their cell phones, and answered questions with one or two words during interviews. If you really want the job, be friendly, enthusiastic, and focused. And please ask some questions; it shows interest.
  3. Not responding well to questions. Answering job interview questions with examples of your skills and accomplishments is key to your job interview success. The employer wants proof you will perform the job’s duties well. So be sure to respond to every question in a way that convinces the employer you are the best person for the job.
  4. Not taking notes. I appreciate candidates who take notes in job interviews. It shows they are serious enough to want to remember everything about the job, the company, and their potential role.
  5. Not saying you want the job. Some candidates indicate they will take any job, which is not good. But I think a bigger problem is the candidate who does not seem to want the job at all. I have hired people because they came right out and said, “I really want this job” or “I’d really like to work here.” Such statements will make you stand out.
  6. Not thanking the interviewer. It’s so simple to say thank you at the end of the interview. And it’s mind-boggling when some candidates don’t. Also be sure to send a thank-you note. It’s one of those steps few job seekers take.
  7. Not following up. If you want the job, be sure to ask the interviewer what’s next in the process and then follow up in a couple of days. It’s probably best to make a phone call, but an email may work as well. Restate your interest in the job and ask if the employer has any additional questions.
Although you may not get hired after a job interview, don’t let it be for reasons you can control. Keep the preceding points in mind, and you may be a heartbeat away from a job offer.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Start Your Education and Training Research at New CareerOneStop Credentials Center

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Deciding what type of education or training to pursue is a huge decision. The choice you make can affect all parts of your life, both now and in the future, including
  • your career path 
  • your career prospects 
  • your career fit and satisfaction
  • your paycheck
  • your debt
  • your time
  • your relationships
  • your priorities
  • your overall happiness
CareerOneStop's Credential Center [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
You can find helpful links for education and training
 research at the CareerOneStop Credentials Center online.
The newly launched CareerOneStop Credentials Center site, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, is a place to start when facing the education/training puzzle.
The site “is for anyone interested in beginning or advancing their career through education or training. It offers tools, resources, tips, and information for a wide range of credentials seekers—from those who do not have a high-school degree to those who already have a graduate degree,” states the Credentials Center.

The Credentials Center organizes the key points in the education decision process, including how to decide which education or training to pursue and how much it will cost:
  • Training Options defines various credentials and gives links to search for programs in your field of interest and in your local area. The credentials include GED, adult basic education, short-term training, college, certifications, apprenticeships, internships, and professional development.
  • Afford Training lists points to consider for education expenses and then identifies possible ways to pay for the education or training, including financial aid and scholarships.
  • Find Your Path gives tips on which education options may be best for you, what jobs are in demand and what they pay, and how to make a training plan.
  • Toolkit provides online finders to search for local training, certification, apprenticeships, licenses, professional associations, and jobs. 
The Credentials Center links to other sites for detailed information. So be prepared to spend some time clicking links, reviewing other sites, and doing additional research. If you have already done research on your education or training options, this site is probably not for you because it’s pretty basic. For example, the information on internships is quite general and links only to federal internship options. If you are an older working who wants to change fields, you can get links on the site for research, but you still need face additional questions, such as “Is education worth it at my age?” “How can I get the training I need if I have a family to support and household bills to pay?” “Will I be able to keep up with and finish school given my other responsibilities?”

Still, the Credentials Center may lead you to resources and information you had not considered. In my opinion, the site is most useful for anyone just beginning to think about education or training. Perhaps the Credentials Center’s information will be expanded and enhanced over time.

The site’s headline says, “Start Your Journey to a Better Career.” From what I can tell, “start” is exactly what the Credentials Center helps you do.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

50 Other Ways to Find Job Openings

50 Other Ways to Find a Job [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Don't rely just on online job ads!
Here are 50 other ways to find job openings.

How do you find job openings? If you are searching job sites only—such as CareerBuilder, Indeed, and Monster—you are leaving many possibilities for jobs on the table. Online job applications are often a black hole. Although people do get hired by applying for jobs online, consider using additional options for the best job search success.

The key is to let everyone you know about your job hunt. Yes, that's networking. And it doesn't have to be scary. Just ask people you know questions about what they do, where they work, and if they know people and places that may be hiring people like you. Also ask whether they can refer you to someone in organizations that are hiring. Not only may you hear of available jobs, you may also learn of jobs not yet publicized. In addition, be sure to read as much as you can. You may learn of opportunities with growing companies and organizations. And although it is challenging, contacting employers directly—especially small employers--can be an effective way to get job interviews.

So here is my list of 50 other people, places, and things—in addition to online job sites—to contact, consult, talk with, reach out to, network with, refer to, and study when job hunting. Don’t overlook any possibility. Make note of the options below that are part of your life and make sense for you:
  1. Potential employers of interest 
  2. Family 
  3. Friends 
  4. Neighbors 
  5. People in your community 
  6. Alumni groups 
  7. Career services at your school or college 
  8. Social groups 
  9. Clubs 
  10. Hobbies 
  11. Sports teams and involvements 
  12. Associations 
  13. Professional groups 
  14. Conferences and conventions 
  15. Seminars and workshops 
  16. Colleagues 
  17. Past employers 
  18. Classmates 
  19. Teachers 
  20. Former co-workers 
  21. Customers and clients 
  22. People at your place of worship 
  23. People you know through your children, such as teachers, coaches, scouts, day-care providers, and other parents 
  24. People you know through your spouse or significant other, such as their co-workers 
  25. People with whom you do volunteer work and community service 
  26. People you meet in daily life, such as while traveling, at a coffee house, at the dog park 
  27. People who provide services to you, such as your dentist, barista, handyman, accountant, mechanic, veterinarian, insurance agent, and hair stylist 
  28. People you meet at social events, including parties, picnics, weddings, and sporting events 
  29. People you’ve helped in the past 
  30. Recruiters 
  31. Employment agencies 
  32. Job fairs 
  33. Hiring events 
  34. American Job Center (see
  35. Business journals and newsletters 
  36. Business websites and blogs 
  37. Specialty publications for your field and related industries 
  38. Specialty job sites for your field and related industries 
  39. Companies and organizations running numerous help-wanted ads 
  40. Newspapers 
  41. LinkedIn 
  42. Facebook 
  43. Twitter 
  44. Google+ 
  45. Instagram (and all other social media) 
  46. Informational interviews 
  47. Freelancing 
  48. Internships 
  49. Part-time jobs 
  50. Consulting work 
Caveat: As always, use good judgment when meeting and talking to people you don’t know and avoid "opportunities" that seem too good to be true; involve spending money for the opportunity; seem like they are scams; are coming from foreign countries; contain numerous misspellings; ask for a bank account number, credit card number, password, social security number, or other sensitive information; ask you to cash checks or send money somewhere; or will put you in a dicey or dangerous situation. Always meet people you don’t know in a business or public setting during the day. Trust your gut! And don't forget to follow up and thank people who help you in your job hunt.

Remember, anywhere there are people, there are jobs. In what other ways have you found jobs? Please share!