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Take Inventory Before You Search

By Lisa Cohn, PHR

Self-assessment is good. It can help improve your personal life, your work life and even your job search. Do you consider yourself a qualified, competitive candidate relative to the current job market demands, trends and needs? Be proactive by taking inventory of what qualities you have and what you might need to update.

Before you start looking at yourself, make sure you’re looking in the right place. Do you know which jobs are hot, and which industries are experiencing layoffs and closings? Do you have the necessary skills to be a competitive job candidate? Does it make more sense to consider a career change if you are on a sinking ship that is no longer a hot field? Be sure to do your research before committing to a specific path.

Once you know what kind of work you want to pursue, imagine that you are the employer. Think about who you would want to hire. Your goal is to become that candidate. Then the next step is to start looking at yourself objectively.

• Skills and Education: Are your skills current? Are you up to date with the latest computer programs? Do you have the most recent certifications for your field? Keep in mind that while it’s important to have schooling or a college degree, it’s also imperative to have a strong skillset and job knowledge to keep up.

• Social Media: Do you use social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube? Not only do employers appreciate these kinds of skills, but you can use them to help market yourself or make some new industry contacts while you’re looking for a job.

• Online Image: Remember that your online image matters. Are you still using an AOL email address ending with your date of birth? Consider a more professional approach by switching to Gmail, which is quick, easy and allows you to create a simple email address such as your first and last name.

• Personal Image: Do you appear current with the times at first glance? If you are wearing a shirt that you loved in 1980, maybe it’s time to switch it up with something more current. Employers will take notice of your appearance.

• Emotional Intelligence: How well do you get along with others? Are you able to easily network and build relationships? More and more employers are looking for candidates who fit the culture of their workplace in addition to having the necessary skills to do the job. (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/emerging-trends-job-search-20162017-hank-boyer

Whether or not you are currently working and happy, seeking a new career opportunity, or unemployed, it’s always important and necessary to keep up with the times. Take pride in showing your colleagues, managers, prospective employers, and/or new networking contacts that you are a qualified employee, or competitive job market candidate. You owe it to yourself to take personal responsibility to learn new skills and stay current with industry trends. Focus on yourself as a change agent, and become an active member of your organization, school, or community. And, remember that change is a gradual process that takes time, energy, and commitment!

Lisa Cohn, PHR is an Account Representative for the JCS Career Center.

Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go farther and get there faster.  Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition.  For information, call 410-466-9200 or visit ignitecareercenter.com

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