Career / Work Search Watch

 

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Manufacturing executive Rudolf Knoepel wrote some years ago, “…plans are, bluntly speaking, strictly for the birds; once you have a written plan you may as well throw it out because most of the time it is going to be absolutely wrong.  The great importance of planning lies in the fact that it is a continuous learning and decision-making process.  As such, it is invaluable….”  And of course, we have the freedom to choose–“to live is to choose”, said Swiss physician and counselor Paul Tournier.

This section of articles, tips and exercises will help you understand and develop career planning skills, skills that you will need to use to find work and stay employable in the 21st century that is increasingly flat, hot and crowded with people who all need work to generate income.  Included are charts and worksheets that will help you create ‘career security’ now that everyone recognizes job security is an oxymoron–it does not exist.

“…plans are, bluntly speaking, strictly for the birds; once you have a written plan you may as well throw it out because most of the time it is going to be absolutely wrong.  The great importance of planning lies in the fact that it is a continuous learning and decision-making process.  As such, it is invaluable….”

While you are free to work through these articles in any order, they are arranged in a recommended sequence.

-Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor

 

By the way, the Christian person also has the promise of spiritual guidance and grace in Jesus Christ and hope for this life and the next, secured by the resurrection of Jesus witnessed by 100’s and proclaimed by people throughout twenty-one centuries.  He calls us to…

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

and to…

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps.”  (Proverbs 16:3, 9)

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Interviewing

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Interviewing

Effective Interviewing: Good Research & Questions-based Communication

Effective communication during interviews is a two-way street: you the job seeker want to know if the position fits you and the employer wants to learn and be persuaded that you match his/her needs.  So, preparation and practice prior to the conversations that lead to a offer are essential and crucial to your success in finding good opportunities.

This section, along with guides in other resource sections, will provide you with ideas and means to help you know what you are seeking, how to learn the employer’s needs, make a decision about whether or not a position fits to continue in the selection process or not, and make a decision about an employer’s offer of work, whether full-time, part-time, temporary or contract.
-Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor
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Career Sustainability

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Career Sustainability

Sustaining one’s career requires effort, including learning and applying planning skills, keeping one’s professional skills and knowledge current, doing an annual ‘career checkup’, and making networking a lifestyle.  But there are no guarantees and many things we have no control over.  ‘Sustaining’ is ultimately only possible when one is in a relationship with the One Who Sustains even when things are not going so well.

No one can predict the future, but there are some trends that can be seen from studying economic growth and projections, technological developments, demographics and sociological research.

This section is devoted to bringing ideas and visions of what the future of employment, education, training, and career planning could be for you to consider as you contemplate and envision your “preferred career future”.

 

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Self-Employment

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Self-Employment

For some individuals or groups of people, creating their own income by being self-employed may be a better option than seeking an employer, even if you’re thinking-of-yourself-as-self-employed.  Being an entrepreneur–even part-time–does require careful planning and persistence just like work search.  For some individuals this option, in the long run, may be a better choice.

Startup Business & Marketing Guru John Jantsch suggests you ask yourself these 10 questions, writing out your answers–Yes, No, Maybe–and explain why:

  1. Can you create a product or service that fills a need you have?
  2. Is there already a proven market for the product or service you want to provide?
  3. Are there healthy competitors doing what you want to do, and if so, who are they?
  4. Can you find a way to stand out from others doing what you want to do?  How would you do so?
  5. Can you leverage the Internet to generate low-cost leads?  Don’t know–research to find out.
  6. Can you make 200-300% profit on what you want to do?  That is, get paid 2-3 times your costs?
  7. Can you sell a package rather than time?  You can, but what does/do the packages contain?
  8. Is there a similar business you can go to work for?  If yes, this is research and training; if no, find training.
  9. Can you start small and grow?  You need to–how might you do so?
  10. Can you see what your picture perfect day in your business would look like in 3-5 years?  Envision it.

Here’s a place to begin exploring.

  1. Use this worksheet as a starting point for thinking about the feasibility of becoming an entrepreneur.
  2. Talk with others (research and brainstorming) as you complete this worksheet to consider the challenges, obstacles and possibilities, including discussions with your EaRN Coach and others in your area’s small business development community.
  3. Consider finding a franchise brokering or vetting organization, such as FranNet, to talk with them about the franchise option–buying a successful concept already tested and supported by a franchisor.
startupbusinesstenquestionsworksheet

Also, EaRN host organizations also often have resource people who are entrepreneurs who can help you consider the challenges you may face.  And don’t forget the S.W.O.T. Analysis and Worksheet elsewhere in the website which can be useful in exploring this option.

Often folks considering self-employment think they have to do everything by themselves: not so.  Most communities in the US and Canada have resources and resource people to help one launch a new business.

Customers pay us directly for products and/or services.  Each individual’s employer implicitly makes a hiring decision every day, as at-will employment law is the standard in the US and Canada, and most free enterprise economies.  As a self-employed person, every customer’s relationship with you is dependent on their finding your product or service meeting their need sufficient enough that they find it of value, that is, they pay you for it directly.

When you get out of bed each morning and put your feet on the floor, start your day with the “exercise” or mantra, “Think Of Yourself As Self Employed”, and chant, TOY-A-SE!  And tell someone weekly, even daily, that this is your “career sustainability motto”.  Godspeed.

Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor

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Web Resources

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Web Resources

The Internet is a gold mine of information, but “all that glitters is not gold.”  The accuracy and veracity of websites is important, so those listed here have been vetted and used.  You can trust their content for credibility.  For those we have particularly found useful to individuals in career or job transition we have created documents to help you use them effectively.

Please let us know if you find any difficulties in using those listed here, and if you know of websites you think we should consider for inclusion, drop us a note with a link.  (Thanks!)

A conversation about these web-based resources with your EaRN Coach will very likely help you make the fullest use of the sites.

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Resumes

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Developing Your Resume to What? Match Employers’ Needs!

Some experts define re·su·me or ré·su·mé (rĕz’ʊ-mā’, rĕz’ʊ-mā’) as a noun, “a brief account of one’s professional or work experience and qualifications, often submitted with an employment application”; “a summary”.  Yet it is so much more than that: an interview agenda, a qualifications brief, a marketing brochure selling a reader on the idea that your are the solution to their work assignment and task completion needs.
This category on how a resume can be used and developed will both help you compose and redraft resumes, but also understand how they are used and unfortunately misused in finding work and staying employable.  Having a resume that is current, and easily updated, will be imperative for those who adhere to the principle of TOYASE–think-of-yourself-as-self-employed–a mindset that is one of the catchphrases for this new century in a world that is “flat, hot, and crowded”.
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Cover Letters

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Cover Letters

Effective Written Communication: Soft Skills Demonstrated

Written communication is a key skill in most work, increasingly so in an age of information. Cover letters (and email messages) often are ignored by readers when sent with a resume, and frequently one hears of people who accepted verbal job offers that were not what the new employee thought they were.

Here are some articles with suggestions on making such communications effective, preventing misunderstandings and frustration in applying, following up and accepting a new work assignment.

While you are free to work through these articles in any order, they are arranged in a recommended sequence.

A discussion about these tips with your EaRN Coach will very likely help you make fullest use of the ideas.  They provide a framework for your applying for positions, work search planning, follow-up, and other activities to find your next work assignment and keep yourself employable.

-Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor

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Applications

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The Tricky Business of Job Applications

Job applications have gone digital, at least for many businesses, though some of the small organizations in your community may still be using paper.  This section of articles and documents will help you develop an approach to dealing with application forms, whether you’re completing one online or filling out a paper version.  One key: keep in mind that completing an application is a test of your ability to follow instructions, yet also a challenge to the request for your personal information.

A conversation about these tips with your EaRN / Work Search Roundtable Coach will very likely help you make the fullest use of the ideas contained in them.  They provide a framework for your networking, planning and activities to find your next work assignment and keep yourself employable.  Hopefully, with networking, you will find that completing such an application is a minor task, and one that is more like completing an employee information form–that is, you’re already selected and the employer just needs to get the information to establish an employee record for you.

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Work Search Roundtables

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Work Search Roundtables

These sessions are open to the public and provide ongoing networking, support, group problem solving, and coaching for individuals during periods of work search and career transition. When you attend you can expect hot coffee, bagels, muffins or ‘celebratory donuts’ when someone’s landed a new job–and a warm welcome.

These sessions are the longest, continuously meeting job clubs in West Michigan–over 10,000 have attended sessions since 1998.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Verbal Resume / Elevator Pitch
  • Personal Branding
  • True, Relational Networking
  • Reactive Job Search Tips
  • Proactive Search Strategies
  • Resume Building & Cover Letter Tactics
  • Interviewing Preparation
  • LinkedIn Usage Recommendations
  • Online Work Search Resources
  • Remaining Positive and Persistent

Conference Room/Fellowship Hall, Westminster Presbyterian Church

47 Jefferson St. SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503

(across from old GR Public Museum)

Meets Every Monday, 9:00 to 11:00 a. m.

2018 dates: Jan 2 (Tuesday), 8, 15, 22, 29; Feb 5, 12, 19, 26; 5, 12, 19, 26; Apr 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14, 21, 29 (Tuesday); Jun 4, 11, 18, 25; Jul 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Aug 6, 13, 20, 27; Sep 10, 17, 24; Oct 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Nov 5, 12, 19, 26; Dec 3, 10, 17.

Contact Ken Soper

ksoper@earn-network.org
(616) 813-4998 cell

linkedinwww-icon-64 email

WPC map

Parish Center, St. Robert of Newminster Catholic Church

6477 Ada Dr SE
Ada, Michigan 49301

(East of Spaulding Road 1.5 miles)

Meets Every Other Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

2018 dates: January 3, 17, 31; February 14, 28; March 14, 28; April 11, 25; May 9, 23; June 6, 20; July 3 (Tuesday), 18; August 1, 15, 29; September 12, 26; October 10, 24; November 7, 20 (Tuesday); December 5, 19.

Contact Bill Weitzel
bill@weitzellmsw.com
(616) 446-1873 cell

linkedinwww-icon-64 email

St Robert map

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Networking

 

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Networking = A Lifestyle, Not Just A Job-Hunting Activity!

Networking is in everyone’s conversation these days, but it’s been around for centuries.  Networking’s essence is that one builds relationships with people with whom one has some ‘affinity’.  Graduates of the same high school are an affinity group.  People who work in the same career field are an affinity group.  Those who share an interest in radio-controlled models are an affinity group.

Finding an organization, or founding one, is an activity many people do in North America and around the world.  Alexis de Tocqueville said in Democracy in America (writing in 1831!), “Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite. Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; … if it is a question of bringing to light a truth or developing a sentiment with the support of a great example, they associate”,…and they do so today: To help find work, stay employable, and thus become  active and valuable contributors to their communities and ‘affinity’ groups.

Nick Corcodilos writes that “True networking is when you spend time with people who do the work you want to do, talking shop. Good networking involves working with other active professionals, … rubbing elbows and enjoying talk and activities related to the work you want to do. People think we network to get our next job. That’s absolutely wrong. We network to get smarter, to make new friends, to build our value and our credibility in our professional community, to help others, and to enjoy our work outside of the job. Job opportunities arise out of networking; they are not the reason to do it.”  (Ask The Headhunter newsletter: “Too late to network?” March 18, 2008.)

While you are free to work through these articles in any order, they are arranged in a recommended sequence.  You may also find this YouTube posted one-hour seminar I did in 2009 on networking helpful to watch as you work through and use the print resources here: