Over the last two weeks, I’ve met with seven individuals who either were looking for job search advice or tips on climbing the corporate ladder. Since these are both important topics, let’s start with some job search advice and then I’ll tackle climbing the corporate ladder next week.
When it comes to the job market, Memphis is similar to cities across America; the majority of your professional opportunities will come through personal referral networks. You’ll find some six figure salaried jobs with larger corporations and entry level openings listed online; but for the most part, finding the right opportunity will be a product of who knows you and who has seen you in action, leading by example and delivering results.
Go through the protocol of applying online, attending networking events, and working with placement companies like Vaco; but don’t leave your job search in someone else’s hands. Take control of your destiny by being proactive and volunteering. Volunteering is the quickest and easiest way to build your sphere of influence and showcase your ability to make a difference.
Start by researching nonprofits you’d enjoy working with (VolunteerOdyssey.com or VolunteerMemphis.org are helpful resources); and then reach out to the Executive Director or Volunteer Director, offering to help. Tell them that you’re in the middle of a job search and that you currently have some free time and want to make a difference. Share your skillsets and find a short-term project (not long-term) where you can deliver results. Your only request is that the nonprofit provide you with a thank you email to the board or something similar you can use as a testimonial to open new doors of opportunity.
Throughout the process of volunteering, you’ll meet new people and increase your sphere of influence. Successfully completing your project will showcase your ability to lead and deliver results. The thank you email then becomes your ticket to reach out to members of the board and further build your reputation or to take on another project and continue to build your team of ambassadors who will sing your praises in the community. Just like every team competes to recruit an all-star player, every organization is looking for someone who can lead by example and make an impact. So, get out and volunteer! Show that you can make a difference and the right job will find you!