Overcoming the hurdles to finding work


Job Center at Richland County Public Library’s Main Library, Third Level.
Photo credit:
Photo by Robin Foster

You may have some very unique challenges to overcome to find employment.  The resources at you local library may be just what you need to just start the process.  It just so happens that the Richland County Library – Main Branch is a vibrant resource.  I toured it last year and wrote an article:  New Job Center at Richland County Public Library can help you get a job.  The center has really grown.  There are several more computers for public use.  It is probably worth a trip back so I can update you about any new resources.

If you are feeling challenged with having to learn new technologies, your local library would be a good place to start for 

  • help with a resume
  • social networking to find employment
  • finding job leads

Since I am reviving this blog, you will be able to check here for resources and tips for using social media to find opportunities and develop an online presence that will get you noticed.  We have two more social networks to check out more seriously now, Google Plus, and Twitter.  Feel free to follow me on both to pick up tips on how I use these networks. You can find most of the major networks that I follow on the “About Me” page above.

If you have any questions, or would like help setting up a profile on LinkedIn, please contact me. I have been able to help several people find jobs through social networking.  The most important step that you can take is to set up a 100 % LinkedIn profile.  I would be happy to help. E-mail:  robin.savingstories@gmail.com



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Go where the people are, Part 1

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Now that you have the preliminaries out of the way,  you should feel confident about getting out and meeting people.  I would suggest you join a support group in your area where you can meet knew people and have a facilitator to mentor you and suggest places and people to contact.

Do not despair

Opportunities are more scarce in this economy, but do not despair.  This is the perfect time to re-invent yourself.  The part that will be tough will be when you realize that if you want to succeed, you will have to do somethings differently.   I am referring to the need to adapt to the way people communicate now.

I know it probably seems like someone changed the rules of the game and forget to tell everybody, but gone are the days of door-to-door salesmen, telemarketing, and postal mail campaigns.  People have moved over to online shopping, smartphones, likes, and tweets.

We communicate differently

Corporations who have no social media marketing plan and are still paying for expensive advertising are going to be left in the dust.  It will not be because opportunities have vanished, but because they have failed to go where the people are.

Every time my daughter or her friends are in the market for shoes, cell phones, clothes, etc.,  I observe them jump on the computer or smartphone and find the best quality items for the best prices.  They whip out the debit cards and wait for UPS, never setting foot in a store.  Times have changed.

If we want the doors of opportunity to open to us, we will need to some degree establish a presence online.  We may research companies, return to school, attend a company meeting, or look for future prospects.  The tasks are endless.

Have courage

So that sounds pretty intimidating does it not?  I was hesitant at first too.  That is way I am taking the time to break the deafening silence and help everyone I can to take this bold step.  Have courage, be yourself, and have fun.

Where should you start first?  Chances are you have tapped all the people you know in your immediate circle.  Now it is time to meet new people who are already successful at the thing you want to do.  You will find many.  You will follow them and learn to be pretty good too.

The one place that you can follow a good number of people without them being alarmed too much is on Twitter.  The next post will help you get started on Twitter and find folks to follow.  Take a deep breath, let this sink in, and check back.


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Beef Up Your Resume

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Before you submit your resume to LinkedIn or any other social media network, you will want to make sure it stands out above the others especially if it has gathered a little dust or is outdated.  A resume gets you in the door to your first interview.  Incorporating the following creative ideas and technology should make your resume shine from first glance:

  • Use resume software: Using resume software will ensure that font styles are clean and crisp and that your resume is formatted well.  Resume software templates provide graphics such as a sidebar that can be used for listing keywords describing your expertise or short quotes from clients or employers recommending you.
  • Find samples of current resumes:  Review samples of resumes in books or online so that you can be sure your resume stands in line with the best.  If you find an element that you want to include that is not available on a template, create it using Photoshop Elements.  The element can be saved as a .jpg and imported to your resume.
  • Add personal internet links: Add URLs to pertinent existing blogs, websites, or profiles on social networks to your resume.  This gives the person reviewing your resume a way to discover more about you. It is a great idea to create an online portfolio of your work and achievements.  Create an electronic copy of your resume that you can email or share online.
  • Create a blog: WordPress.com, a free popular blog site for professionals, can be synchronized with LinkedIn.  You can write about your industry and showcase your expertise which will demonstrate that you are comfortable using today’s technology.  Request that colleagues post comments on your articles.  Add the URL to your blog to your resume.
  • Create a Power Point Presentation: If you do not have Microsoft Office, download a compatible product for at  free OpenOffice.org and save your presentation as a .ppt file.  Download the latest presentation templates, and put together a presentation that shows off your knowledge of your industry. Upload it to SlideShare or Google Docs for free.    Link the presentation to your resume and you will impress any company who provides training or demonstrations to prospects, clients, and personnel.
  • Create a video resume: A video resume does not take the place of a traditional resume, but if you are savvy enough, you enhance your traditional resume and create another tool to market yourself.  Be careful, however, because if you do not make a good impression, you can do more harm than good.  Video resumes are becoming very popular.  The best resource to learn how to create a video resume and how to use it to promote yourself is Video Resume Tips: How to Create a Video Resume By Alison Doyle, About.com Guide.

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Your Objective

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Marketable skills

At this point you should be able to formulate a clear description of the marketable skill or combination of skills that will be of service to your industry.  If you are not clear, go back and review the objectives of the companies you cited.  Record your description on the Track2Success Worksheet:  Career Resources 101: Formulating Your Objective.

One-line statement

It is important that you develop a one-line statement to describe how the skills you have (or will learn) will service a potential employer or client’s interest.  This is not just a sales pitch.  As you work through these exercises, you will begin to envision your success.  While you are in transition and beyond, this objective brands you in the eyes of those around you and those you will meet.

Identify shortfalls

From the job descriptions and requirements you recorded, list the areas where you feel you need to obtain further training or education and describe how and when you will meet those criteria.


With a clear description of your marketable skills, a working knowledge of a functioning industry, and successful personnel to match, you are ready to identify the means by which you will accomplish securing your objective.  Remember a lot has changed. Some of the same principles which have ensured success in the past have no longer work.  People are changing fields 3 to 5 times during their lifetimes.  Opportunities are found today outside the comfort zone and outside the box.

As you formulate your objective, but do not loose sight of the fact that the changes you are experiencing are positioning you to be in closer proximity to people waiting for your help and waiting to help you. Change is a call to greatness!

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Developing a plan

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Anyone who has been looking for opportunities to generate income lately probably has already noticed that it takes a lot more effort and time to find an opportunity than it did a few years ago.  People with great personality and expertise in a chosen field are spending months and even years trying to land a job or grow a struggling business.

Over-saturated markets, outsourcing, and advancements in technologies have changed the marketplace leaving workers and entrepreneurs off track.  The owner of the “mom and pop” store and the dislocated worker knows “something is rotten in the state of Denmark (Hamlet Act 1, scene 4, 87-91),”  but they are at a loss as to what as gone awry.

As early as 1991, the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS), funded by the U.S. Department of Labor issued a report entitled SCANS and the New Vocationalism,  on the “competencies, skills, and personal qualities needed to succeed in the high performance workplace.”  The report listed the challenges that needed to be addressed by schools, parents, and businesses so that students would develop the following competencies needed to effectively transition from school to the future workplace:

  • Resources-Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources.
  • Interpersonal-Works with others on teams, teaches others, serves clients, exercises leadership, negotiates, and works with diversity.
  • Information-Acquires, organizes, interprets, evaluates, and communicates information.
  • Systems-Understands complex interrelationships and can distinguish trends, predict impacts, as well as monitor and correct performance.
  • Technology-Works with a variety of technologies and can choose appropriate tool for task.

A few of the paradigm shifts brought out in the report were projected to have ensured that prospective job seekers could meet current employer expectations in addition to developing strong entrepreneurs are as follows:

  1. Teach students to explore employer expectations.
  2. Teachers should retreat from being the sole source of information in the classroom and delegate more responsibility to students for their own learning.
  3. Early career education, starting with the individualized career plan in grade 9, and establish a tech prep path that arranges the study of mathematics, science, communications, technology, and specific technical skills in a step-by-step progression of coordinated curricula.
  4. Develop in students the academic, occupational, and employable competencies at both secondary and postsecondary levels that enable employment.

Career Resource 101 will help those looking to build upon their most unique talents and marketable services and at the same time use today’s technologies to connect with people and organizations with they have a common interest.  As they collaborate together, they will learn about current industries and find income opportunities.

Master the following skills that will bring ultimate success:

  • Develop and execute a plan for success.
  • Integrate the creativity in your search that will help you stand out above your competition.
  • Utilize current technologies to establish and grow a network.

You will need to be sure that what you have to offer is marketable.  Whether you are seeking employment or looking to start a business, your skills or service must satisfy a current need.  It may be more profitable to adapt to industry standards or choose a different field.

Download and complete the Career Resource 101 Worksheet, “Identify Marketable Skills.”  This exercise is the first step in developing a plan.

Go to next lesson:  Your objective

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