Oct 31, 2023 | Coaching | 0 comments

Locating Job Opportunities

Coaching | 0 comments

Bill Bagley, Writer for Small Business Showcase Magazine

Written by Bill Bagley

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Each year at commencement time on college campuses across this nation, hundreds of thousands of graduating seniors find themselves with a solid new base of knowledge, fond memories of a campus life that is rapidly ending, a significant chunk of debt, and NOT THE JOB THEY DESIRE.  On the flip side, there exists a smaller contingent of students, seemingly embracing the same background, academic preparation, and talent, who are looking at multiple job offers.

What is wrong here?

Certainly, a competitive job market and the swollen ranks of graduating students are factors that contribute in some small way to an undesirable situation.  But the real reason why most students fail to receive a job offer of their choosing is because they fail to have a positive impact on the recruiters with whom they interview.  It’s that simple.  Those people who have put it all together and present themselves in a professional manner, win the race.  They call their own shots to a certain degree.  Their biggest problem is deciding which of the outstanding job offers to accept.  This is the position in which you want to find yourself.

college graduates throwing their hats - Small Business Showcase Magazine

The competition out there at the best colleges in the nation is not that stiff.  Very few people offer the total package.  In fact, experts within the fields of motivation, career development, and business — and recruiters representing a variety of professions — feel that only a small percentage of each college recruiting class embraces the skills necessary to impress a prospective employer.  Most candidates searching for a job go into the recruiting process with only a basic understanding of themselves, little appreciation for the process of interviewing, and subsequently, a woeful lack of preparedness for sessions that can have a tremendous impact on them both in the present — and for the future.

How many of us would step in front of an audience and deliver a speech, sing a song, or act out a play without preparing first?  Or can you imagine taking part in an organized sporting event in front of hundreds of spectators without first having practiced the fundamentals?  Yet, literally thousands of college seniors each year, with a tremendous amount at stake, walk into an interview session with little more than the hope that they won’t make a major gaffe in front of the recruiter; people trying to survive as opposed to having an impact.

Someone once said that the most difficult thing in the world to accomplish is to get yourself and your ideas accepted by others.

We spend thousands of dollars and thousands of hours working towards a college degree so that we will be academically prepared for the world of work.  Yet, most of us do not spend one nickel or one hour preparing for the forum where we need to meet in order to sell ourselves to the marketplace.

Enough about the problem! In the next article we will explore how to prepare for success in the interview.

There exist two stages in the research portion of an interview.  Stage one deals with locating an opportunity.  Stage two is concerned with gathering information on a firm once the interview is scheduled.

STAGE ONE

Prior to doing anything in the way of interviewing it is necessary to locate an opportunity for which to interview.  There exist a number of ways in which someone can locate an opportunity.  Here are a few of the most popular:

  • College Placement Office
  • College Placement Bulletins
  • Networking
  • Websites
  • LinkedIn
  • Professional Search Firms
  • Professional Publications
  • Chamber of Commerce

We will spend a moment briefly exploring each one.

woman shaking hands, small business showcase magazine

COLLEGE PLACEMENT OFFICES AND BULLETINS

If you are currently a college student, then utilizing the services of your college placement office is the most obvious option.  As many of you know, college placement offices arrange for employers to visit during certain times of the year in order to facilitate the first stages of the formal interview process.  As well, placement offices provide a number of tools and programs to assist students and alumni with career development.  One of these tools would be a college placement bulletin which lists various current job opportunities.

For college students and alumni alike, a college placement office is a valuable resource and should be utilized early in the job search process.  Do not wait until you are a senior to become familiar with the location of, and services extended by the placement office.  At least by your sophomore year, you should introduce yourself to this important student services operation.

NETWORKING

Networking may be the most valuable and most effective means of locating job opportunities.  Networking is simply the process of tapping into friends, family, acquaintances, acquaintances of friends and family, and even those individuals who you may not currently know but who you should get to know.  The key here is in making contact with individuals who may be in a position that could be helpful to you.  Keep in mind that many employing organizations maintain an active networking system to assist with friends of the organization, as well as for those in the community who take the time and effort to make contact.

Some people refuse to network because they perceive it as doing something outside the normal system.  Many feel uncomfortable with the idea that they may be leveraging off someone else.  Please do not see networking as something that is less than proper and appropriate.  You are not taking advantage of others by networking through them, you are only taking advantage of those things that others are able and willing to offer you.

Networking is a tremendous way in which to find outstanding opportunities. It is a “feel good” thing for all involved.

WEBSITES

Most organizations have very professional websites that boast ‘Opportunities Within.’  You need to check out websites of any organization you have an interest in pursuing.

The Skillet Restaurant in South Bend, IN - Small Business Showcase Magazine

PROFESSIONAL SEARCH FIRMS

Professional search firms can be a valuable source for locating an interview opportunity.  You may view this advice with some skepticism depending upon what you have heard about search firms.  A certain amount of negative thought exists about these operations, but as with everything there are a number of very professional ones and some very questionable ones. Our suggestion is that prior to using a professional search firm/agency, ask for references and then call the references to see how they were treated.  Also, you can tell a lot about the organization from the initial face-to-face meeting you have with their representative(s).

You may hear agents from search firms referred to as “headhunters” or “flesh peddlers.”  Don’t let this disturb you.  For the most part, these are friendly references to the vocation.  Remember this, regardless of how you refer to them, never enter into the following with a search firm:

      • an exclusive agreement where you are only allowed to use that search firm to locate an opportunity
      • an agreement where you pay them money for their services

Truly reputable firms understand that you are on an open market and that other forms of job hunting will be used by a candidate.  They will work harder to locate an opportunity for you if they know other search firms are serving you as well.  In the same light, reputable operations are paid a fee by the employer to find candidates.  You should never as a candidate pay a fee to a search agency.

PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS

Just as there are help wanted connections on LinkedIn, job openings can be in a number of professional publications.  Professional publications are those periodicals that are related directly to an industry or profession.  If you are interested in a career, or at least an entry-level job in marketing, finance, accounting, engineering, production, sales, human resources (and the list goes on) you can generally find a publication related directly to that field.  Again, the college placement office and college and public libraries can help you target the appropriate publication(s).

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Your local chamber of commerce is a storehouse of information which can be invaluable in your search for interview opportunities.  Most C of C’s offer published data on the major businesses in their respective area.  Usually there is a small cost for this information.  Although the advertisement of job openings is not the thrust of a chamber of commerce, the material you purchase from them will allow you to begin focusing on what industries are available to you, the size of the operations, contacts within, growth, etc.  This is a solid springboard into your networking process.

In the December Issue of Small Business Showcase, look for “Stage 2” Researching Organizations of Interest to finish this series of articles by Bill Bagley.

Bill Bagley, CEO & Personal Advisor

Bagley Consulting

Bill has more than 40 years of experience leading HR & Recruiting, HR Compliance, Career Development, and Partner Coaching efforts for business professionals throughout the United States. For 20 years he served as Regional HR & Recruiting Leader for Deloitte…retiring as a Firm Director. During his tenure, Deloitte was named, six times, to Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America. He recruited, trained, and mentored thousands of individuals during this time, and played a key role in designing and delivering a nationally-recognized leadership program aimed at preparing Senior Managers for admission to Deloitte’s Partner ranks.

He currently consults with the leaders of various businesses on ‘Human Capital Issues,’ ‘Leadership Topics,’ ‘Succession Planning,’ ‘Vision & Strategy,’ and ‘Business Development Initiatives.’

Bill began his professional business career with Coopers & Lybrand and following his 20-year tenure at Deloitte was HR and Recruiting Director for Barnes Dennig & Company for 8 years and a Business Advisor for VonLehman & Company for 4 years. He currently is back in private practice with his son, Scott Bagley, as CEO and Personal Advisor for Bagley Consulting.

 

Bill Bagley, Writer for Small Business Showcase Magazine

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