What's your dream job?
While the Skills Gap — or as I call it, people without jobs and jobs without people — causes frustration for many employers, it represents unprecedented opportunities for people looking to enter the workforce and secure a dream job. I always recommend to people looking for work that they should make a list to help keep track of job search efforts. Preparing a list will help organize priorities and keep a focus on the goal: securing a job. Here are some practical insider tips from the front line:
- Network wherever you can. Many jobs are not advertised, and the only way you find them is to talk to relatives, friends, peers, teachers and even complete strangers. Let everyone know that you are looking for a job. Ask for and, most importantly, listen to advice and seek introductions to people in your field of interest.
- Be on topic. Create a custom version of your resume for each job or industry that interests you. Your resume is usually an employer’s first contact with you. Make sure it highlights your skills that relate to the job the employer is seeking to fill.
- Become an expert. Read industry magazines, online news and blogs to keep up with developments in your field of interest. Knowing the latest trends will help set you apart from other candidates in an interview.
- Practice makes perfect. Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Know your skills and be ready to illustrate how they relate to the job in question. Practice with a family member or a friend to get comfortable with your responses.
- Follow up — always. Keep in regular contact with potential employers, recruitment agents and mentors. Follow up on all leads as soon as possible. It will make you look professional, and if you don’t, you might miss out on a chance.
Remember, it only takes one employer to say "you're hired" and you’ve got your foot on the career ladder.
A practical career guide, "Job U" focuses on America’s education system and skills development. Ideal for high school and college graduates, this business book is a practical career resource that will show recent grads how they can equip themselves with the skills most valued in today’s job market. To learn more about the book, read my Q&A with BookPal here.
Nicholas Wyman is a speaker and expert on applying real-world solutions to securing skilled employment. He is CEO of the Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation, which develops mentoring programs and places people in apprenticeship and training programs globally. He has an MBA and has studied at Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of "Job U: How to Find Wealth and Success by Developing the Skills Companies Actually Need."