In Identify Your Accomplishments, the focus was on how to gather your successes and transform them into compelling stories using the CARD model. In Communicate Your Skills, the focus was on telling those stories on paper and in person.
To review, the CARD model is as follows:
- Challenge – the situation, problem, or requirement at hand.
- Action – the specific actions you took to resolve the challenge.
- Result – the benefit created in as specific and measurable terms as possible.
- Details – add clarifying details to provide context, consider these questions: how many, how much, how long, and how often.
Now in the third and final part of this series, the focus is on helping you fine-tune your employer research and identifying potential leads based on your job targets. The most effective job search involves research and preparation. Rather than scatter your resume to the wind, it’s best to be targeted in your search.
How Do I Identify and Research Employers Who Are Right for Me?
When you’re looking to buy a new house, you have a specific set of criteria that you’re looking for, and you use that information to narrow your search. For example, you might need a house with three bedrooms, so those with only two wouldn’t be in consideration. Or having a finished basement would be nice, but not a deal breaker.
Researching employers is a lot like house-hunting, and you can use the same approach to filter your job search, identifying companies that fit most, if not all, of your needs. Here are some example criteria to consider when choosing potential employers to target in your search:
- Benefits packages
- Growth potential
- Private or public
- Profit or nonprofit
- Casual or formal office environment
- Telecommuting options
Through research, create as long a list as possible of potential employers that fit your criteria. This will be a working list that will change as you continue to learn more about these employers during your search. Finding the right “fit” is important for you as well as for the employer.
How Do I Maximize Opportunities Through Strategic Connections?
Employers often look for help recruiting through referrals. By asking current employees for recommendations or talking to peers in the industry, they avoid relying on the stack of resumes on their desk. It’s more efficient and less risky for an employer to narrow the field to those candidates with an established relationship or reputation
So, it’s your job to get to know people in the industry—and possibly the company—where you want to be employed. If your network is small, don’t get discouraged! Meet people through industry associations or affinity groups, your college classmates or alumni, or other interest groups. Network intentionally, and stay in contact by checking in periodically. Jobs often pop up unexpectedly and need to be filled quickly. You’ll be top of mind if you stay connected to the right people.
How Do I Network and Develop Business Relationships?
The idea of networking might sound intimidating, but it’s really just meeting people in your field and sharing stories and information. It’s like talking with friends about a movie you saw or a band you like, only with people in your industry discussing topics or events related to their career interests.
Try to genuinely engage the people you meet on a personal level. This helps you begin real relationships, which may lead to job opportunities in the future.
If someone is telling a story, ask questions to show you’re eager to learn. Read industry blogs or magazines to stay on top of current trends in your field so you have a topic to discuss. If you’re telling a story, open the conversation up to anyone listening so they can ask questions, too.
Remember, you are developing relationships that will build your professional community and possibly help in your job hunt. Every person you meet has the potential to introduce you to someone else, possibly more connected to the position you’re interested in. Ask them for names and referrals. Get yourself out there!
Now, you’re ready. You know how to talk about your skills as compelling stories. You know how to effectively communicate those stories, from resume to networking and interviewing. And you know how to identify the right employers and how to maximize your opportunities by developing industry relationships. The world is your oyster, as they say. Time to find your pearl.
The Capella University Career Center counselors, resources, and tools help students and alumni manage their careers at every stage and move toward the careers they want.