Savvy Secrets for Job Hunters

We talked to Chippewa Valley experts about what it takes to land the job you want.

V1 Staff

Staci Heidtke  |  Associate director of Career Services, UW-Eau Claire

What common mistakes do job-seekers make when assessing the local job market?

Many job-seekers look at job postings and underestimate their ability to do a job. Perhaps it is because the position is in an industry they lack experience in or the position is not exactly in the area they were educated in. Those job-seekers should focus on the transferable skills they could bring to the position. Many employers are happy to teach a specific skill if the employee is a hard worker, easy to work with, a strong communicator and has grit.

Job-seekers don’t always market their skills and abilities as well as they could. They should have a 30-second pitch to offer employers, including experience and education that makes them a good fit for a position.

List past work history on a résumé, even if it seems to be unrelated to the job you are applying for. This allows the employer to understand your transferable skills when making hiring decisions.
 
Nationwide, younger workers face a much higher unemployment rate than older workers. What can and should younger workers be doing to increase their chances of finding employment?

Not enough job-seekers access the hidden job market. Many jobs are filled by word-of-mouth and on the recommendation of a trusted colleague or employee. I encourage people to get out and visit employers, and talk to hiring managers about their ideal employee. Gaining that insight helps the job-seeker to understand the daily responsibilities for a position, or how that position contributes to the success of an organization. Conduct an informational interview or shadow someone working for an employer you find interesting or in a profession you are interested in. When doing this, ask your contacts for names of other people you should meet. This is a chance to expand your network and learn more about the local job market – especially to learn about current or future openings.

Renee Melton  |  Client service manager, eBay Enterprise Wisconsin for Adecco

What common mistakes do job-seekers make when assessing the local job market?

They don’t see the potential in the opportunities. Not every job is going to start out as your dream job. You have to sometimes be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up. If you can find a company who cares about its employees and it’s future, that will invest in you as a person, and that offers you the opportunity to work really hard towards your ultimate goal then you should go for it and stop limiting yourself because of an ideal in your head. Its easy to say that pay doesn’t matter, because for most people they need that paycheck at the end of the week, but it’s also important to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Nationwide, younger workers face a much higher unemployment rate than older workers. What can and should younger workers be doing to increase their chances of finding employment?

It goes back to what I said about seeing the potential in opportunities. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a number of recent grads, and I always worry when I get the sense that they feel like a diploma equals dream job. That’s likely not the case. And I get it. It’s frustrating. You invest all this time and money into getting a degree and then you may have to still start at the bottom. No one goes into a degree program thinking they’re going to walk out the door into something entry level. But the reality is, they may have to just to get a foot in the door and make ends meet in the meantime.

Additionally, our culture has developed into one that relies heavily on electronic communication and it sets the expectation that you can want everything right now, and get it. When it comes to building a career, those things don’t apply. Getting a job isn’t advancing to the next level in a video game, it’s not deciding on a whim that you want the newest gadget, ordering it off eBay and getting it the next day. Building a career takes grit, it takes work, and it takes people skills – regardless of the field you’re in. Younger workers can learn a ton from the more experienced worker when it comes to building relationships and communicating with people.

How would you describe the health of the current job market?

It’s flourishing right now in the Chippewa Valley. Almost every employment sector is hiring. It’s a very good time to be a job seeker.

How diversified is our region’s job market?

I think there is a lot of diversity in the jobs available. Everyone from health care, to customer service, to manufacturing is hiring. These are entry-level jobs all the way up to skilled trades and senior leadership levels.

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