The answer to that question is, “it depends.” It depends on what level of position you’re looking for, where exactly in South Florida–and how hard you’re willing to work to get it.
Finding a job is no easy task with an unemployment rate in Florida of over 10%. However, for skilled professionals, it is actually easier. So, what is the answer you say? The answer is the following:
1. You need to identify your soft skills and your hard skills. Soft skills are your ability to handle and resolve conflict, your ability lead a team of people and have them respect you–not despise you… Soft skills are also verbal communication skills such as being able to communicate with tact and diplomacy–a skill that not everyone possesses. The Hard skills are your technical skills such as proficiency in MS Office applications or using a particular type of machinery. Technical skills are also specific skills such as a project manager who is also telecom engineer, or a Registered Nurse who possesses specific expertise such as working on an I.V. team.
The reason you must identify your soft and your hard skills is that all-too-often, resumes show far too much on the technical side. All good stuff, but even if you’re in a highly technical field, such as IT, you still must demonstrate your soft, “people skills.” These days, companies can’t afford to hire someone who doesn’t play well with others in the sand box… So, you have to illustrate your soft skills in your resume–and promote those skills very well.
2. In South Florida, the environment is…well…casual. Hey, it’s Sunny Florida! However, when looking for a job–don’t consider it casual, Sunny Florida. If you’re walking into an establishment, such as a retail store to inquire about openings, your rule of thumb should be to dress like you were applying for a job at least two levels above you. You’ll never go wrong. Now, if you’re walking onto a construction site…use your head on that one. You don’t want to show up in a black power suit, in 95 degree heat, stomping around rubble… not good. You have to show that you also fit the culture and the type of business the employer is in. Ladies, lose the open-toe clunky sandals that allow people to hear you before they see you… Gentleman, now is the time for a haircut. If your hair is long–pull it back. Your personal brand image has to shout: “I’m competent and will be an asset if you hire me.” Not, “I like my own ‘personal’ style, and I’ll drive HR crazy in violating the dress code if I come to work here…”
3. Instead of looking at the big job boards–get out the Yellow Pages. Yes, you heard me–the Yellow Pages. I know we’re in a digital, nano-second world these days, but the good ‘ole phone book is actually must faster. Identify your core industries that you’re seeking employment in. Then, look under those headings to identify businesses you want to call on. Then, go to Google and type in the business names to view their Web sites. Look for Careers or the Employment page to see if they have any openings. If not, don’t worry. Call the company and ask who the manager is in charge of “XYZ” department or the division you are interested in. Once you get the name–send them a letter and a copy of your resume. If you are a subject-matter expert in the industry–then say so. Highlight a few things you’ve seen happening in the business–and how you fit in with that. Are you someone who saved a previous employer a ton of money by avoiding some pitfalls in the industry? Are you someone who opened up some new markets within the industry? Think about your soft skills…Are you someone who negotiated a great deal that landed your a great, new account for your previous employer?
–Know your Soft Skills and your Hard Skills
–Make sure your Soft Skills stand out on your resume far more than technical
(If you don’t know how to do this–you need a professional to help you. Call me.)
–If Hard Skills, such as a specific technical skill is what will open doors for you–then put those skills in the first 1/3 of your resume. Don’t put those skills as the last section of your resume…
–Don’t assume that South Florida is casual for everyone… you’re a job seeker–you’re not on vacation, so dress appropriately.
–Get out the Yellow Pages to do some searches to find potential employers you may want to work for.
–Research by looking at the Web sites and go to vault.com to see what kind of inside info you can find. Also, look at the local Chamber of Commerce site under company name. You may get a name by searching in the member directory.
–Send a letter and your resume to a decision-maker–and send it on good quality paper and in a larger envelope so it doesn’t bend.
So, there you have it. What are you waiting for? Get Going!
See you next week…
Natalie Ivey, MBA, is a Senior Professional in Human Resources and has more than two decades of leadership and HR Management experience. For additional career help, go to www.rpchr.com and click on Career Consulting.