Plugging into the American Job Market
This chapter is designed to assist the trailing spouse, a person who follows a marriage partner who is relocating to a new city - in this case, the metropolitan areas of the United States. While your spouse's employer may provide relocation assistance that includes job search services for you, you'll also want to do your own research and familiarize yourself with the employment market of the city you're moving to. You'll also want to develop new contacts and learn about ways to use your expertise. This section will familiarize you with local job search ideas as well as online resources. As many experience when they relocate here, it's a welcoming nation with limitless opportunities.
Relocation Transition Assistance Programs
Due to the complexities of the relocation process, many companies today are ensuring the success of the employee's longevity at the new position by providing Relocation Transition Assistance - a service that supports employees and their spouses/partners and families through a career-related move to a new location. Many companies realize that they must support the entire family in order to ensure the relocation is a success.
According to the transition expert firm, IMPACT Group (impactgrouphr.com), relocation transition assistance programs are the only programs that provide support services before, during and after the move. The process addresses both the emotional and practical needs of the family regarding dual-career issues and helps acclimate the family to the new location by providing both coaching and resources about the area.
Each employee is assigned a coach who will work with the employee/family throughout the transition. Each coach will identify the needs of the employee, family members and the career-seeking spouse. By identifying these needs upfront, the coach can provide research and information to the family ahead of time - helping with the adjustment process.
During the move, the coach is "on call" - ready to provide information on the job market, city demographics or anything the relocating family may need.
After the move, the coach works closely with the dual-career spouse by preparing his/her resume, researching labor market information, helping with networking and interviewing. In addition, the coach will provide any information on living in the United States, such as childcare options, school information, clubs and extracurricular activities, utility information, neighborhood demographics and eldercare information.
Whatever the need, the coach is a lifeline support to the family, ensuring that they feel settled and excited about their relocation. If this program sounds of interest to you, the Impact Group suggests you speak with your HR department and determine if such a program is available to you.
Relocation Transition Assistance Support Benefits:
* Career coach available to support the dual career spouse/partner in finding employment in the new location.
* Career coach provides career and skills assessment to identify strengths and skill set.
* Customized job and labor market research personalized and customized for the individual job seeker.
* Secure Web site to access information on the job market and helpful Webcasts.
* Resume critique and development created for the job seeker by a Certified Professional Resume Writer.
* Support to help your dual career spouse/partner find a job quickly.
* Transition support available before, during and after your move to help you and your family get adjusted to your new home faster.
* Personalized research just for you on your new community.
* Personal Web site to access information on your new home town anytime, anywhere.
Information courtesy of IMPACT Group www.impactgrouphr.com.
National Job Growth
Job growth within certain industries varies according to region, however there are a few consistent trends that define the American job market as a whole. As of August 2008, there has been rapid growth in agricultural, construction and mining equipment manufacturing, support activities for mining, professional and business services, accommodation and food services, educational and health services and construction.
Within professional and business services, computer systems design has grown more than 2.5 times as fast as total employment, followed by employment services, architectural and engineering services, health care and social assistance and educational services.
Job Search Tips
Job leads can come from many sources, including talking to people, checking out personnel services, answering newspaper ads, searching the Internet and inquiring about local professional associations and hotlines in specific industries.
Networking - Virtually and In Person
The ability to network is considered as important in finding a job as combing through classified ads. To network, job seekers should contact everyone they know in their professional life. Job seekers should be prepared to explain quickly about their skills and recent experience. Commonly referred to as the "15-second elevator speech," being prepared with this speech can make a big difference. To learn more, visit 15secondpitch.com, where you can discover ways to focus your thinking on what is most important.
Another useful online tool that has become essential to networkers and job seekers is to join LinkedIn (linkedin.com), an online network of more than 25 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries. By staying linked in with your professional network, you're always connected to people who may know of open positions or know of a contact at a company you might be interested in approaching. It's about being more effective in your daily work and opening doors to opportunities using the professional relationships you already have.
Professionals also can find contacts by attending seminars, conferences, community meetings, volunteer groups, hobby clubs and professional association activities.
Contact professional organizations in fields of interest through the telephone directory or the Encyclopedia of Associations, which is found in most libraries. Many activities are listed in local and community newspapers. Job hunters also may contact people who work in a specific field to inquire about professional associations in the city they are relocating to.
Read publications from these associations and contact their job hotlines and Web sites. Attend meetings and exchange business cards. Later, contact the people from the meeting and inquire about job openings.
Today, many resources are online and include the following that are worth checking.
* Academic360.com: Jobs in Higher Education - guide for the academic job hunter (academic360.com)
* America's Career InfoNet - wage and salary information, career resources and job bank for employers and job seekers (acinet.org)
* America's Job Bank - national employment site serving employers and job seekers. Provides links to all state employment sites (jobbankinfo.org)
* CareerBuilder (www.careerbuilder.com) - Combines the employment ads from daily newspapers in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta and Houston.
* Careers in Government (www.careersingovernment.com) - Offers state, county and municipal government job postings. Post resumes online and receive e-mail notification when an opening matches
* Careerjet -- employment search engine for jobs across the United States (careerjet.com)
* CareerMag.com (www.careermag.com) - Search by job title and city
* Careers.wsj.com - online version of the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly (http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-career-jobs.html)
* EmploymentGuide.com (www.employmentguide.com) - Offers searchable job listings, free resume posting and e-mail notification of new openings.
* FedWorld Federal Job Search - employment opportunities with the United States Government (http://usajobs.opm.gov)
* Hoover's Online (www.hoovers.com) - Provides great resources to research
* Job Hunt - online job search resources and services (http://www.job-hunt.org/)
* JobStar Salary Surveys - online salary and cost of living surveys both general and by profession (http://jobstar.org/tools/salary/sal-surv.php)
* JobWeb -- links jobs, job seekers and job search information. Target audience is recent college graduates (http://www.jobweb.org/)
* Monster.com - eomprehensive international online job search and recruitment site. Resume posting and relocation material available.
* Occupational Outlook Handbook - job outlook information for hundreds of occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov/oco)
* Public Service Employees Network -- job searching and interviewing tips with links to job listings for public sector jobs in major cities.
* Riley Guide - an index to employment opportunities and job resources on the Internet (rileyguide.com)
* Salaries and Wages - U. S. Office of Personnel Management Pay scale for Federal jobs in 30 cities and rural areas (opm.gov/oca/08tables/index.asp)
* Salary Calculator - this relocation tool compares the cost of living in hundreds of U.S. and international cities (homefair.com/real-estate/salary-calculator.asp)
* Salary.com -- detailed salary information for a wide range of jobs sorted by occupation and region, and additional career advice, news and resources (salary.com)
* TrueCareers - National employment service for employers and job seekers (truecareers.com)
* USA Jobs - Employment opportunities with the federal government (usajobs.opm.gov/)
Other avenues for job hunting include the Web pages of large and mid-size companies, and local librarians are very helpful in assisting job seekers to find directories that list companies in specific fields. University alumni magazines and directories often list current companies and titles of their graduates.
Many personnel and/or staffing services in the U.S. offer full-time or temporary placement. Client companies pay the fee for most full-time personnel services. There are a few personnel services where the applicant pays the fee, so it is important to determine who is responsible for any fees before registering with a personnel service.
Temporary jobs are plentiful in the United States, and many types of positions are available since most industries use temporary employees. Many temporary services specialize in specific types of jobs. Search online for companies in your neighborhood and call the companies to find out what types of services they provide and if they have particular employment specialties. Numerous temporary jobs turn into full-time positions. In fact, many companies prefer to hire through the temp-to-hire process. It gives both the applicant and the company a "try-out" period before the temporary employee converts to the company's full-time payroll.
The value of having a strong resume cannot be overstated because resumes are an important aspect of getting an interview. For this reason, an applicant should target his or her resume and cover letter to a specific industry or business.
The resume should be clean, concise and accurate, emphasizing the best qualities and most recent experience of the job seeker. Resumes should be no longer than two pages, but a one-page resume is better. People will take an average of 20 seconds to scan a resume to determine if they will read further. In large companies, human resource personnel who know little about a particular type of work often prescreen resumes.
The resume should encourage the reader to take a closer look at the individual's qualifications and lead to an interview. Good books on resumes are available at libraries and bookstores and can help the job seeker make their resume sparkle. Many copy facilities employ desktop publishing professionals who have experience in writing resumes.
10 Tips for a Door Opening Resume
What should be included in your resume to interest a potential employer and get you an interview? Your resume is a personal marketing tool. It should communicate what you can do to add immediate value to the employer. Following are 10 tips to create a "door-opening" resume.
1. The resume should focus on a specific type of position and clearly state your unique selling position. Your resume must immediately explain why you are uniquely qualified for the position you seek. Typically, this is accomplished through a summary or profile section at the beginning of your resume. Don't expect employers to try to determine the best fit for you in their organization - they are too busy hiring your competition.
2. Your most relevant qualifications for the job should come first. Since resumes are typically reviewed in 30 seconds or less, determine your strongest, most relevant sales points (qualifications), and put them at the beginning of your resume to hook your reader. Generally, mid-career professionals should lead off with their professional experience while new graduates may lead off with educational credentials if that is their strongest qualification for a position.
3. The resume should communicate the skill set most relevant to the targeted position. Typically your skill-set will include general skills such as problem solving; technical skills such as a software application; leadership skills such as project management; and personal qualities such as a strong customer orientation. Use the vocabulary common for your profession to show your competencies. By reading want ads and researching potential employers, you can identify the key words and skills most in demand.
4. The resume should show accomplishments - how you used your skills to add value to your previous employers. Demonstrate your understanding of the bigger picture by citing results or a solution you developed. Use numbers, dollars and percentages to illustrate the value you added to the previous employer's business. For example: "Designed a telephone call billing system that resulted in savings of $150,000 per month in previously unbilled calls."
5. Your resume should be a quick read. Use bulleted statements that begin with action verbs in the body of your resume and avoid blocks of text. Remember that your resume will be scanned quickly, and you must provide information bytes that can be readily understood by the reader. Whenever possible, use the simplest words that most accurately describe your accomplishments. Is there plenty of white space?
6. An appropriate format is important. Surveys by the Employment Management Association and various resume writers have repeatedly shown that the chronological format is the most credible with employers. Most potential employers want to know what you contributed (skills and accomplishments) and with which employer you did the work. The chronological format describes your employment history in reverse chronological order with your most recent position first. If you are seeking a position closely related to your most recent position, this format will work to build your credibility.
If your work history is not closely related to your targeted position, you may find greater success with a functional format that includes your skills and accomplishments first and lists a reverse-chronology work history last.
7. Be prepared to draft several versions of your resume. While most people will need a standard conventional paper resume, it is also important for most job seekers to have an email friendly resume. This version of your resume can have the same content as your conventional resume but is formatted in plain ASCII text to copy and paste into email messages or as an attachment. Although HTML or web page resumes can be useful as demonstration projects for some web professionals, most recruiters are not yet ready to use this format. Instead, the trend is to have job seekers complete profiles, which standardizes resume information for easy retrieval and matching with customer specifications. Some corporations also require a scannable version which they "scan" into a database for key word searches.
8. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Carefully and repeatedly review your resume to correct all spelling errors, grammatical weaknesses and inconsistencies. Proofread your resume several times over the course of different days. Ask a friend with a strong attention to detail to proof your resume for you. Realize that spell checkers do not catch correctly spelled but inappropriate words, such as "manger" instead of "manager."
9. Have a second set of eyes review your resume. Solicit feedback on your resume from those who review resumes similar to yours. Remember, however, that advice is cheap. Evaluate the suggestions according to your own job search goals.
10. Print your resume on white paper. Typing, dot matrix printing, poor photocopying, and smeared ink jet printing all create less than the most professional appearance. Throughout your job search your resume will be faxed, scanned, and photocopied many times. Plain white paper (linen is acceptable) will fax, scan and copy the cleanest and will be the easiest to match with mailing envelopes.
Information courtesy of IMPACT Group www. www.impactgrouphr.com.
When job seeking and communicating via e-mail, consider these tips:
* Use proper etiquette ("netiquette"); always think before sending a message.
* Never write messages that are inappropriate for public viewing.
* Completely refrain from sending abusive, harassing or bigoted messages.
* Electronic job search correspondence requires the same level of professionalism as traditional methods. Avoid being too casual when online.
* Keep the length of e-mail messages reasonable.
* Always use correct grammar and spelling.
* Do not send messages in "ALL CAPS," which can be interpreted as yelling at an individual.
* Keep in mind that cyberspace is a busy place. Popular services can be difficult to access during peak hours. Instead, try to access such services late at night or early in the morning.
* Since the Internet is not under the control of one person or organization, services and addresses can change at any time. Duplication is not uncommon.