WorkWise: Best job hunters are constantly learning

culp@workwise.netFebruary 10, 2013 

“In today's constantly evolving news business,” says Alan Krawitz of Alan J. Krawitz in Farmingdale, N.Y., “being technologically savvy is almost as important as being a good writer and reporter. Armed with this knowledge, I've made it my top priority to shoot/edit quality video, snap sharp photos and navigate the seas of social media like a modern-day Magellan.”

Krawitz, no longer a mere reporter, combs the New York metropolitan area for work as a multimedia journalist with photojournalism and social media in his tool kit. He represents the best of job hunters, those who, like entrepreneurs, strive to learn about an industry and adapt to its changes.

Not willing to let his industry go, Krawitz zoomed in on what it’s demanding – the ability “to do many jobs rolled into one,” he says – and obtained the skills through self-directed training, industry organizations and web sites. He knows how he’s marketing himself, “as a freelancer (who) can tackle any assignment from print to multimedia and even straight-up media relations if necessary.”

If you’re not as attuned to industry or occupational changes as Krawitz, or even if you’re not entrepreneurial, don’t stop looking for a place for yourself. Consult with recruiters for market intelligence. They know what their companies are buying.

Concurrently, identify and maximize special skills you may or may not know you have.

Former recruiter Richard Villasana, founder of Find Families in Mexico in San Diego helps state agencies with foster children in the United States locate and reconnect the children with family in Mexico. He maintains that most job seekers aware of their special skills don’t showcase them sufficiently in their job searches, and that many, discounting their current work, may not even know they have them. He recommends “asking a driving personality who’s incisive” to put you on a gentle witness stand.

“Special talents are hidden in stories,” he remarks. “People are looking for the niche employee.” By giving examples of how you spotted a problem and solved it, you’ll bring up details that might well point you to an entirely new, more desirable position. He advises moving that information to the top of your resume and reinforcing it in interviews.

Don’t overlook coaches as possible vehicles to critical information. Mary Lee Gannon, founder of Pittsburgh, Pa.’s, says that it’s extremely important to analyze your values. “Those just returning to what they were doing are the most frustrated,” she observes, perhaps because they weren’t happy doing that or in a similar environment in the first place. In many cases, she recommends companies with no more than 60 employees.

“Most of their CEOs can’t take a risk at hiring a 29-year-old to direct a department.” she points out, “because that person may not have the breadth of experience. Often it’s a two-step process. Get into the company with an (entrepreneurial) opportunity to do things you haven’t done or get better positioned to move forward. You might create a manual, which would better position you. Try something outside of the box.”

If you love your industry, do first what Krawitz did. Zero in on its direction. If you can’t do that on your own, find a person who can. Then, get the skills and training to meet the changes. Meanwhile, review your values. If you’ve been working in a large organization, consider a smaller one to build on the new professional identity you’ve pulled together and continue moving forward.

The nation is shifting toward entrepreneurism, but it still needs people to hold down the fort. After learning where an industry or occupation is heading, hunt for an entrepreneurial boss needing a professional anchor.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at © 2013 Passage Media.

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