Questions and Answers with Career Expert Debra Feldman
Please note: On a somewhat infrequent basis, Quintessential Careers asks noted career experts five questions related to their expertise and publishes the interview in the current issue of QuintZine, our career e-newsletter. Those interviews are archived here for your convenience.
Debra Feldman is founder of JobWhiz, creator of the JOBWHIZQUIZ, and specialist in cyber-savvy strategic job-search consultations.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||Just how helpful is the Internet for job-seekers?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| It is outrageously helpful!!! There is no better way to get publicly accessible information as easily or as inexpensively. The Web contains vast amounts of data that can provide leads, spur ideas, enhance knowledge and maintain or start communication. Networking is the key to finding a new job, and the Internet plays an essential role in this endeavor.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||Do you have a sense of what percentage of job-seekers secure jobs solely through the Internet?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||I have heard less than 5 percent.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||About what percentage of a job-seeker’s time should be spent on Internet job-hunting, compared with conventional techniques?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||If you mean submitting a resume on line and actively making job applications, no more than 20 percent and probably less. If you mean using the Internet for research about contacts and companies, then it’s a whole different situation. The Web has made a huge world of formerly obscure or inaccessible info widely available for free.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||Do you feel that job-seekers are becoming overly dependent on the Internet?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Yes, maybe the job-seekers are, but not those who are actually successfully finding new positions. Use the Internet as a means to get more insight and info, not as the final answer!
There are some who get a false sense of accomplishment by simply uploading or posting their resume or profile. Until that information intrigues a reader and motivates that individual to take an action designed to move the candidate towards a job goal, one is just marking time by using the Internet. It is a valuable part of the search, and most recruiters will not look at a candidate who isn’t on the Web. Having your resume displayed on certain sites is critical to making sure that you are perceived as credible and knowledgeable.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||Let’s say you have a client with very limited time or who needs to find a job in a hurry. What would be the 5-10 “MUST VISIT” Web sites you would suggest your client visit to get the most out of the Internet portion of his/her job search? And are there incredibly helpful job sites out there that are not widely known?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||
I would recommend starting with these portal sites and then narrowing the focus to specific industries, geographical niches, trade or professional associations, and special interests. For executives, for recent grads, for internships/volunteers, and for some specialty fields, I have a few favorites. I would tell everyone to get onto a few major general sites and several ones specific to their circumstances for the sake of exposure to any recruiters who might be trolling. However, the likelihood of an offer is better if one pursues his or her own search and does not just answer posted ads.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What do you feel is the most exciting or hopeful trend in job-hunting?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||I see using the Internet as opening up opportunities and making listings more widely available. I think that the ‘Net provides wonderful information and insights as well as job leads that job hunters can use to begin planning how and where they will look for their next job. The biggest bonus of the Web is having a vast range of inside information and published data readily available and accessible — usually for free. The Internet also means that there is no excuse to walk into an interview unprepared.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the one job-hunting secret you share with clients but that may not be widely known?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||The secret to a successful job-search campaign is target marketing. If you can be a marketing whiz, then you can get yourself the job you want by correct positioning, clever promotion, and savvy selling propositions.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What do you feel is the most disturbing trend in job-hunting today?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||It disturbs me that people almost all have the same reaction to having to look for a new job. Quick, spruce up the old resume. This reaction just leads to an updated version of a document that may not adequately represent all that a person can offer a potential employer. It would be far better if each person spent the first phase of the job search figuring out just what he or she wants to do and uniquely has to offer. Then the next step would be to determine what types of businesses might best utilize such talents, and using that industry’s jargon, prepare a resume reflecting this match of skills and abilities to potential employer’s needs. The best way to get an interview — and only the interview itself can lead to something bigger, a job offer — is to tailor a resume for each specific company where you know that you can make a difference. This technique will separate you from the other candidates. Yes, you will give up more generalized opportunities, but who likes to buy generic brands over the name brand, given the same price?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||In what ways do you believe technology will continue to change job-seeking and the career development field?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Warp-speed transfer of information means the possibility of faster reaction to communication and the wider dissemination of information more efficiently, at less cost and faster. It has complicated matters since one is never sure if e-mail or post or fax is most likely to be read. With the challenge of information deluging our staff, certain conventions on how to communicate and via which media choice would help matters.
Let’s face one big and simple fact, whether a job is posted in a newspaper or on the Internet job site, company Web site, or trade newsletter, among online resources, they all come down to the same thing — a listed opening. We all accept that more than 85 percent of job seekers find their jobs through networking and contacts. The new technology will make accessing one’s contacts easier and faster, reducing delays in turnarounds and eliminating some sources of potential data loss.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||The consensus among economists is that the economy is in a downturn — perhaps even heading for a recession. How are you preparing your clients for tougher times?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||I encourage everyone I work with to increase their job-search skills — from the teen entering the labor market as a nanny to the CEO-level who finally accepts that writing and sending e-mail is a necessity — even if it does entail typing on a keyboard for oneself. Job search is something almost everyone can expect to need to do successfully more than once in a lifetime; therefore, learning about how to manage one’s career is a necessity for everyone, not just those considered highly ambitious. Today, an employer and employee most likely will someday part ways, and the employee will need to be able to exercise job-search skills to make the necessary changes in his or her career to keep moving forward.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||A career counselor recently expressed concern that information about careers and skills found in books of occupational codes and in literature accompanying assessment-type instruments is very outdated. She observed that many technical, highly skilled, 21st-century careers are just not listed in the resources career counselors use. She posed the question, “How are you preparing your clients for jobs in the New Economy?”|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||I stress that the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on business communications, necessitating that everyone master basic e-mail techniques in order to stay in the loop.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the biggest mistake job-seekers make that your advice could correct or prevent?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||See the Ten Stupid Things Job Seekers Do, by Michael A. Goodman, author of The Potato Chip Difference. [Editor’s note: See our review of The Potato Chip Difference.] My two cents on job-hunting mistakes is that individuals rush to get a resume and cover letter “all set.” I strongly urge that the best chance for success and getting an interview is to contact selected opportunities with a customized approach — letter, phone, personal referral, e-mail, fax — that demonstrates what you can do for the employer. Then follow up, be genuine, and if you follow these techniques, a great offer will follow your hard, determined, and very focused efforts.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the biggest myth about job-hunting?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||That it isn’t stimulating and fun and the best project you will ever manage!!|
Debra Feldman brings over 20+ years as a management consultant to job search strategy design and implementation. Her background includes both undergraduate and master’s degree training at Columbia University and subcontracting to major consulting firms as a project director. Ms. Feldman uses her expert strategic planning and analytical skills to create a personally tailored, step-by-step roadmap to guide a successful job hunt campaign taking full advantage of Internet resources to research opportunities, identify suitable matches to employer postings and increase knowledge of specific industry leaders and trends.
Ms. Feldman’s approach to job search uses problem-solving and technical skills to generate leads, take quick, appropriate action on opportunities, and to maintain a network of professional contacts to aid career advancement. Having assisted many private clients over the years to successfully and effectively address their need for change, this JobWhiz is quite at ease dealing with the effects of transition and turning change into a positive and growing experience.
Ms. Feldman can be reached via email at: Debra@JobWhiz.net.
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