If you are finding it difficult to locate any open positions at all in your targeted area, it may be that you have picked too small a target. Job searchers today are particularly challenged because there are many job areas that have greatly diminished due to changes in the market and economy. If you are targeting such an area, it’s time to widen your target.
How can you tell if you are pursuing areas that are no longer flourishing?
- Follow industry news, LinkedIn and other Internet groups
- Look at reports about whether the field is expanding or contracting
- Focus on which job areas within the field show demand and which do not
How can you locate job areas and companies that are growing?
- Read local business journal and newspaper to learn about industries that are strong in your region
- Check the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Guide to Careers and Industries
- If you’re focused on big name employers, broaden your target by looking at small businesses and start-ups
How can you take existing skills and past successes and find new job areas that use them?
- List your skills at a non-job-specific level. Focus on the skills, not the titles you held.
- Use several large job boards to do keyword searches on those skills. This will direct you towards jobs which use those skills and those who are hiring.
- In addition to the skills you already have, look at what other skills those jobs require. If those jobs are of interest, use some skills you already have, and require some you do not have, consider additional training.
- Talk to others that were in your old job and/or field who have successfully transitioned their career to get tips and suggestions for your own transition.
How can you tell if your new target is broad enough?
- Search job boards using some of the job titles you’ve come up with and see if there are openings
- Visit professional groups and seek discussions to confirm the field and job type are active and healthy
- Network with others doing the job and get their take on it
If your target is broad enough, the next troubleshooting step towards generating job leads is networking. Focusing on posted jobs, like those found on job boards, is not an effective way to uncover the hidden job market and generate leads. Instead, your focus should be on developing a wide, strong network and using social media and other means to connect and to discover opportunities. Next on Troubleshooting Tuesday: How to use networking to generate more job leads.
The idea behind Troubleshooting Tuesday is that many job searches stall out at one particular point. Fixing the sticking point will keep the job search moving along and bring you closer to success. Here is an overview of the main places job searches stall.