Job Searching And Job Websites


Times have changed significantly when it comes to looking for a job with the introduction and permanence of technology. Yet, I would argue that technology alone isn’t responsible for making the job search more confused than ever. If you take the increasingly variety of jobs and the many job titles that exist out there for essentially the same work, it can be overwhelming for some.

Get a few people together who are looking for work and you’ll find no doubt among those assembled at least one person who knows exactly what they’re looking for. They’ve got that title down; a Waitress for example. Of the others, you may have some looking for 2 or more specific jobs; an AZ Truck Driver or a Courier. These two are related and have transferable skills but remain two distinctly different jobs. Then there are those who are looking for employment but who have yet to come to a specific job. These people might name as many as 4 or 5 possible jobs, or worse yet, say they are looking for…”anything.”

Now, for those who know exactly what they are after, search engines on the internet work well. Enter the job title you’re after and the city you wish to search in and you’ll get results for that title in your city and perhaps the surrounding 25 km or so area nearby. It’s quick and easy.

Now for the others; those without that single title to guide them, it becomes a little more challenging and frustrating. Sometimes you can opt to enter the name of the city you want to work in and leave the job title or keyword section blank of course. This will upon searching, produce results for all the jobs in that area. Now many of those you’ll not be qualified to do or even remotely interested in either. The one advantage however is that you’ll get advised of jobs that might interest you, but for which you might have missed had you put in a single job title or keyword.

Take the Waitress. In addition to searching for waitress, other titles that might crop up are Server, Food and Beverage Server, Hostess, Host, Attendant. Back in the 80’s the terms Waitperson and Waitron were floated but these never really caught on.  So maybe the clever job seeker starts searching for food service instead; attempting to capture all the possible job titles. This can have unintended consequences too; returning delivery drivers for fast food outlets, catering positions and even the job providing beverages on local golf courses scooting around in a modified golf cart. Yeah that might not be what you had in mind. Then again…

That’s where we’ve evolved to at the moment though with job searching. You not only need to have computer basics down to job search and then apply online, you have to have the patience and tenacity to job search using your mind to play detective and get into what the employer might have thought when they came up with the title of the job.

Some organizations these days actually have bizarre and attention-grabbing titles for their staff, even though the work itself is identical to that performed in other organizations. There is a real job out there now for, “Minister of Talent” which as it turns out is the head of Human Resources. Or how about, “Senior Magician of Intellect”. Would you guess this job is Vice-President of Innovation  and Design?

Not only are these creative and somewhat playful titles confusing for those not in the know, but when the time comes for those holding them to job search in the future, what will their resumes look like when they put these titles down themselves? Whimsical, fun perhaps, but perhaps not best suited if you apply to traditional organizations with, “work inside the box” thinking.

I can tell you that as an Employment Counsellor, I often track down jobs for the unemployed people I work with who while job searching themselves, miss such jobs. How is then that I can find what they cannot? Some job seekers believe that Employment Counsellors, Job Coaches, Career Advisors etc. all seem to have access to these hidden job sites where the jobs are found. In truth, we all have access to the same internet and the same job sites. The difference must therefore be in how we search which in turn lands what we find.

Sometimes I’ll intentionally leave a title field blank. The return is a buckshot of all the jobs in an area. Sometimes I’ll narrow the search not only by city but narrow down the geographic surrounding area to include the city only, not the neighbouring 10 km’s or more. Searching by type of job – contract, part-time, full-time etc. or by seniority level is good too. After all, why frustrate an entry-level job seeker with senior-level positions or vice versa?

Now you can approach a Head-Hunter or Recruiter these days and let them match you up with employment. This can be beneficial or not depending on the person’s connections. Many people are in this game with no more qualifications than the job-seekers themselves. Tough market conditions always bring out some people scrambling to do what they aren’t entirely qualified for.

Job searching is easier if you have a good idea what you’re after and you’ve got the technological skills to navigate job search websites. Good luck out there in your job search.

Health Check-Up: Just Do It


Going in to see the Dr. and getting yourself a physical is just like any other idea: some will be all for it, some entirely opposed and some will dither on it, intellectually knowing it’s a good idea but perhaps not taking action personally. Whether  you’re employed or seeking to become employed, getting that medical check-up is sound advice.

When you rely on a medical professional to check out your physical health you put yourself in the hands of an expert who is going to give you a clear diagnosis, point out a problem you were unaware of, or they might stress you take something seriously you haven’t been. In any of these three scenarios, you win.

I offer myself as an example this time around, rather than speaking of others I as oft do in my writings. Back in January of 2016, I weighed in at 225; the most I’d ever weighed. I decided to lose weight with the start of the new year, and I started to take seriously what went in my mouth and getting some exercise; nothing too strenuous as I knew my stamina for such things was weak. The weight started coming off and I was thrilled. I upped my intake of water to the point I was craving it; the colder the better. The weight kept coming off.

What I hadn’t changed was the sugar intake. To put them all in one sentence would make you think I should have known better, but I didn’t. I would indulge in soft drinks on the weekend the way some people down beers. I loved my licorice and jujubes, wine gums and chocolate; I just ate less of them.

As the weight dropped off, co-workers and some extended family members commented. In the beginning it was complimentary. However, the comments changed from complimentary to concerned. In August of 2016 I finally made an appointment to meet with my doctor. My weight was at 175 and I was proud. The doctor was certainly proud of me too! I remember him saying that only 1% of all the people who set out to lose weight actually take it off and keep it off so I had a lot to be proud of. I was there feeling great really, feeling fine and only in there to get the all clear so I could tell well-meaning people to stop worrying about my health and please stop talking to me as if I was dying.

Good thing I went to see the doctor though. After some blood work, I got a call which said come on in, the doctor wants a conversation. Turned out I had Diabetes type 2; the kind where you can manage it with diet and checking your blood sugar levels. I took the diagnosis like a slap in the face, but I took it seriously. I’d never smoked, drank alcohol – not even a sip – never taken drugs other than headache medication, so it didn’t seem fair. Ah well, no matter; I had diabetes.

I made a decision on the spot to drop all the juices, pops, candies and white bread etc. cold turkey. I saw a Dietician, took the 4 Metformin pills daily I was prescribed, and I decided that since my diabetes came out of nowhere, it would not be managed as everyone said I would have to do, but rather my goal was to eradicate it. Foolish? Naïve? Maybe, but if in attempting to eradicate it I only managed it, so be it. But if I did get rid of it, then why not go for this result?

I really believe that this mindset worked for me personally. No cheating, no gradual change in diet – I was all in. After all, the alternative to doing nothing and carrying on eating the things I loved at that point was eventual amputation of toes, feet, ankles, lower limbs, thighs. Hmmm…. pretty easy decision.

So it came about in the spring of this year that my Diabetes Clinic Nutritionist and doctor called my sugar levels amazing and unheard of. I had become the poster boy for beating it. Well, I still to this day check the sugar levels but the pills I no longer have been told to take. My diet I’ve happily changed to include foods I’m not crazy about but happily cook and eat. Yes, the ones mom and dad told me to eat as a kid like broccoli and cauliflower, kale and spinach. I’ve come to love the grain breads with flax, eat oats every single morning instead of white toast with jams and sugar cereals.

The result is a healthier me and that has made me increasingly consistent at work. My attendance which has always been excellent continues to be so, whereas without that visit to the doctor, who knows? I certainly would never have known about the diabetes diagnosis until perhaps it was too late to do much about it.

And yesterday? Yesterday I went for my second colonoscopy. Got the all clear for another 5 years too. Told people around the office I was going for it too. Why not? Maybe if one other person goes and has theirs as a result that would be a good thing.

Getting yourself to the doctor even when things seem all good is a great idea. If you’re out of work, look at now as the perfect time to take care of this so you have one more thing to sell to that potential employer; your good health!

Discriminated Against For Being Older?


My job as an Employment Counsellor brings me into contact with a wide spectrum of people. Whenever I sit down with someone I invariably get around to asking them why they are unemployed; what they see as their barriers standing between them and working. One of the most common things I hear is, “My age might be a problem.”

The question of how old is too old comes up a lot. I’ve met some very active people in their 60’s who can outwork people half their age. By contrast I’ve seen some people in their early 40’s who move and behave like their 80.

I want to admit right upfront that there is a limited amount you can do to change the beliefs, attitude and yes prejudices of an interviewer or company that has determined what they regard as too old to hire. Having said that however, there is a lot you have 100% control over when it comes to the issue of age. It should come as no surprise that some of you reading this post will take my admission that there’s a limited amount you can do as justification for doing nothing. Others will gravitate to the positives; the proactive suggestions which can lead an interviewer or organization to reconsider their original position and extend an offer of employment to an older applicant.

First of all let’s look at what employers are concerned about with respect to aging workers. These may or may not apply to you, but as broad generalizations, some employers concerns with older workers are that they are:

  • set in their ways, resistant to learning new methods
  • education is dated, ongoing professional development poor
  • physical limitations, slowing down; a drain on health benefits
  • out of touch with technological advancements
  • close to retirement; a weak return as an investment

You may have others you could add to the list above. Please don’t get defensive as we’re just establishing some of the real opinions out there in the real world; whether they apply to you or me personally isn’t at issue. These are broad generalizations that are the realities one might be up against.

Okay, so now what? How does one go about countering the stereotypes of the ‘older’ generation of workers? A good place to start is with an honest look in the mirror. Not seeing what you want to see, but seeing yourself from another’s perspective; that of an employer. From the employer’s point of view, they’re looking for applicants that can join their organization and in as short a time as possible, start contributing.

Companies spend a lot of time building up their reputation. A small company just starting out needs to make money as soon as possible to stay afloat. They have no room to carry workers who don’t make immediate contributions to the bottom line. Larger organizations have already gone through growing pains and made adjustments to how they produce and deliver their services and goods. They need people to come in, assimilate into their workforce and not question how and why they do the things they do; just do the job you’re hired to do. Presuming you know better than the people who are in leadership roles and the existing workforce isn’t a way to stay employed long, unless of course you’re specifically recruited to bring about change.

Where it really starts of course is with you personally. Before you even apply for jobs, some changes might be well-advised. Your wardrobe might be dated; maybe you’re too formally dressed in that shirt, tie and suit jacket when the employees are dressed more casually. Look at your posture too. Are you walking stooped over, your shoulders slouched forward or shuffling your feet instead of walking upright with the energy and focus you had 15 years ago? In other words, if you don’t want to be judged as old, don’t come across as old.

Older workers have big upsides and you might need to remind yourself of this. You’ve got more than just work experience my friend, you’ve got life experience. You might just be the stabilizing force on a team of younger workers; the one who is more level-headed; not too high, not too low. You’re possibly in a place to mentor others while at the same time open to learning from those your junior. Be receptive to learning new ideas, embrace innovation and fight that stereotype of being an old dog who can’t learn new tricks.

A really good suggestion is an easy one; smile. Well, easier said than done for some, but a frowning, bitter face that scowls out at the world and comes across as negative isn’t attractive. Don’t project that the world owes you an income. View this new employer as your ally, your partner, not your enemy.

If you take a few courses and add these to your résumé you’ll be more attractive to employers too. Far too many people of all ages stop learning once they are working and have expired licences and certificates they didn’t bother renewing. Oh and because much of the general population is older, you might point out to an employer that their customer base might just appreciate being served by people who look like them; in other words, you’ll attract business.

Bottom line here? If you want to face the issue of being too old to work, don’t fit that stereotype yourself. Change what’s in your power to control.

What Does, “I Want To Be Better” Mean?


Many of us strive to be better; be it as a spouse or partner, leader, student, athlete, writer, employee or otherwise. We might have our sights set on eating better; perhaps living better generally. The word, ‘better’ though, while one we might toss about with widespread agreement from those within earshot as a laudable goal, doesn’t necessarily assure a widespread shared understanding. What I mean is, your definition of, ‘better’ might not be the same as those who hear your words.

Now I’m an Oxford Dictionary fan when it comes to definitions, so in turning there I find this definition when used as an adjective:

Better: More appropriate, advantageous, or well advised. More desirable, satisfactory, or effective.

Okay, so how does this square with how you define the word, ‘better’? Now you may be wondering at the benefit of reading a post devoted to the term, ‘better’ and coming to understand or revisit what it means to be better. Your time may be well spent though as sometimes the wisest thing to do is look at the simplest of things.

You want to be better at your job let’s suppose. Maybe you even go so far as to announce at your team meeting that you’ve set this as your personal goal. If you’re bold enough or in a position of influence or leadership, you might even propose that the team strive to be better as a unit. You know, one of those, “As good as we are we can and must be better” kind of speeches. I’ve given these myself in the past. Where I failed however, was not so much in communicating that we must be better, but rather coming to a shared understanding of what ‘better’ meant.

Looking back at that definition above, here again are the words defining ‘better’:

  • more appropriate
  • more advantageous
  • more well advised
  • more desirable
  • more satisfactory
  • more effective

Alright, so pick what resonates or fits best with what  you’re after. If having a team that is more well advised is going to make the team and every member of it more effective and bring about more desirable results, maybe this is what you mean by using the term, ‘better’.

Using this as a starting place, the question then becomes how does the team become better advised? To be better advised works from a premise that some learning is required to stay abreast of what may be best practices. As we know, there are many examples of where people and companies worked hard to become leaders in their fields of expertise and then sat on their laurels, ceased to engage in continuous learning and over time, lost their place as front runners and industry leaders. Younger, hungrier people and organizations usurped them from their places because they explored, risked, embraced turbulence and entertained innovation.

What has this got to do specifically with you though? Well, on the simplest of terms, are you striving to be better? As an person in your organization or as a team member or representative of the company, are you aiming to perform at the same level of competence and give the same level of customer service, or do you see room for improving upon what you now deliver?

If you’re goal is improve and become better, I suppose you need to find in what way(s) or in what area(s) you see room for improvement. Note that it’s likely the very area(s) in which you find ways you could be better may also present challenges for you. In other words, you may know what you need to do to become better but it will require work; hard work perhaps, to get there. Hard work as you likely know, stops most people from even starting – especially if they don’t see immediate returns on the investment to become better.

It is for this very reason that a person contemplating a return to school knows that getting a degree would be highly beneficial and they’d be better able to compete for a job they want, but the work involved stops some before they start. “I don’t know, it’s three years…and I don’t know if I want to spend the time.”

To become better however, a person has to begin with an acknowledgement that better is possible. It may be that things are fair for the time being, but to be better involves the necessity of change. Some kind of new opportunity; an exposure to something new, be it an idea, technology, a philosophy or method of service delivery perhaps; but change in some way comes about.

So do you want to be better and if so, in what areas of your personal or professional life? Are you after a better job, a better income, a better lifestyle or becoming a better co-worker maybe? What you wish to become better at is entirely up to you.

The cost of stagnating and ceasing to become better could mean at its worst, the end of your job, a relationship, your marriage, your career or business. Many businesses fail because they failed to market themselves better and didn’t connect with the buyers in the marketplace.

If you’re an individual wanting to be better, assess your skills, experience and what you’ll need in the future vs. what you have now. Starting sooner than later is good advice.

How would you like to be better?

Did You Realize 2017 Is 50% Done?


For some of us, time crawls by at a snail’s pace while for others it goes so fast people will say, “Where did the time go?”

For all of us however, no matter where you live on this globe, 2017 is pretty much 50% over already; it now being mid-July. Okay technically July 10 is not the mid-point of the calendar year, but it is close enough to dead middle that a small bit of reflection on how things are progressing is a good idea.

If you’re the type who makes resolutions with the flip of the calendar on January 1st each year, I suppose it’s only logical to ask yourself how you’re faring. Yes, you might be right on track with your goals, monitoring them daily or weekly, and if you’re doing so and succeeding then congratulations are in order! On the other hand, if you’d made a few resolutions; private or public, and you’ve let them drop by the wayside, you’re likely not enjoying thinking about the change you envisioned and planned with good intentions to undertake didn’t actually materialize. Was the goal too lofty? The intentions good but no real plan put in place?

There are of course the typical resolutions one makes; lose weight, eat healthier, save more money, get out and meet people, find a good job, return to school etc. Each of these are commendable to be sure and for those who set these goals and reach them a pat on the back isn’t out-of-order. However, it can be discouraging to realize that those goals are still not being reached and you’re floundering. That you set those goals in the first place was good of course; presumably you set the goal(s) because you wanted whatever it or they were.

So setting the goal wasn’t a bad idea. I suppose then that rather than beating yourself up over having, “failed again”, the thing to really do is come to a realization. If the goal is important enough, it’s never a bad time to start anew. In other words, don’t throw out the goal in July because you’ve not made any progress in the first half of the year.

Some of the things you may have wanted to do are still obtainable. Take the person who vowed they would start their Christmas shopping earlier in 2017 so they weren’t scrambling in mid-December. If that someone is you, this is your gentle reminder to be on the lookout for Christmas gifts now. It will be easier on your finances perhaps to start now, spreading out purchases, and you can perhaps get deals now on things harder to think of later. Perhaps visiting a pottery studio you pass on a driving trip to pick up a unique handcrafted item?

If your goals included finding a decent job in 2017, how is that coming along? While March is typically the number one hiring time of the year, August/September is right up there at number two and is fast approaching. So yes maybe you can still prepare for this second wave by getting yourself ready now. Dust off that old resume and update it. Go through your closet and drawers and give what you’ll never wear again to charity so you know where your work clothing is sparse and needs replacing.

Take advantage of the good weather to get yourself out in the community in which you live and interact with people. Set up a face-to-face with some people you’ve connected to, line up your references, sign up for that first aid training because your certification has expired. Look up some interview questions and answers for your chosen profession on the internet. Get a hold of a job posting or job description if you can for a position you’d be interested in and see how your skills, experience and education align with the employers’ needs.

With the year half over, the good news is the year has 50% left before we don the New Years Eve hats and blow on the noisemakers again. That’s good news because half a year is plenty time to make some progress if you’ve got yourself stuck in neutral. In other words, taking stock of what you didn’t get done on December 31st is a poor practice because there’s not time to do anything at that point. Here in July however, well, you can take a few steps forward.

If by the way you’re employed already, was there something you thought would be a good idea back in 2016 that had to do with your current job? Be a better team player? Take less sick days? Work with a little more organization and have a tidier desk? Maybe it was staying on top of your emails? Goals need not be lofty and in fact, sometimes a series of small goals which you reach can help build momentum for the really big challenges.

Maybe pulling out your performance evaluation will remind you of what you set out as your goals at work for 2017. If you’re accountable for hitting your targets, don’t ignore what you’ll eventually have to face.

Here’s a last thought as well on goals you may have set for yourself. If the goals are too extreme or no longer relevant, modify or drop them altogether. Setting a goal or two that’s relevant to you will have more meaning and increase the chances for success.

 

Mental Health And The Relationship With Social Assistance


Working alongside those in receipt of social assistance, I am always in close proximity with people who go about their days with varying degrees of mental health.  Some mask problems well, some openly share with whoever is in earshot, and some are actively engaged getting the help they need to get on with life.

What strikes me often is not only the high number of people who are struggling with their mental health, but that many still see themselves as alone. Sometimes I’m surrounded by 20 people for a few weeks at a time and a person will be entirely unaware that there are 7 other people in that single group who have disclosed to me that they have the same condition such as anxiety or depression.

If we all had visible labels stating our issues, it would be quite revealing; not always good or always bad, but quite startling to see what you’re dealing with is shared with someone else. There are so many people who seem to be in good mental health; they smile, go about their tasks alone and seem okay. However, they’ve really just made a choice to deal with their mental health issue in the best way for them that they know of. Others of course will tell anyone and everyone which is how they personally go about their day.

Now don’t think please that mental health problems like anxiety and depression are linked to those on social assistance exclusively. There are many in receipt of social assistance who don’t have anxiety and depression or any other mental health diagnosis. For most, receiving financial assistance isn’t a badge of honour but rather an embarrassment; something to hide at social gatherings etc. While a hit to self-esteem and confidence, certainly not clinical depression or anxiety.

Having said this, I see that the longer a person remains on social assistance, the more likely they will experience mental health challenges. Many people report they put off applying for social assistance help for as long as possible. Why? They say that to do so was an admission that they’d hit rock bottom. Going to apply and handing over all the necessary documents like ID, rental leases, bank statements etc. was a real eye-opener and a moment of shame. Quite often they say, “I never thought I’d end up here. I’m glad it’s available mind, but it’s embarrassing. I can’t wait to get off.”

It’s well-known that mental illness isn’t exclusively reserved for the poor. There are many people with mental health concerns who seemingly have it all. Professional athletes, heads of organizations, community leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers – maybe you and maybe me for all you know. I don’t mean short-term moments of sadness and regret. I mean full-blown depression and anxiety.

In Canada I’m glad to say that mental health awareness programs are flourishing and a growing publicly acceptance. Gone in large part are the days where families hid the mental health concerns one of their members had; where if you told people you were struggling with your mental health you were seen as weak, needed to be in an institution and a high risk; certainly not capable of being productive. Thank goodness.

No, these days if and when you share that you’re experiencing anxiety or depression most educated people will offer support. Getting help with daily living is a sign of strength not weakness, and the most enlightened know that people with mental health challenges can be highly productive in a working society. Sometimes medication or therapy helps, sometimes it’s a small change in the workplace environment or an accommodation to the workload for a time.

I do know from first-hand experience that there appears to be an association between being in receipt of assistance for a prolonged period and emerging mental health issues for many. That’s understandable I think; too much idle time, experiencing rejection too often from employers, too much isolation from others socially, removed from being productive in a workplace,  Thoughts such as, “What’s wrong with me?”, “Where did things go wrong?”, “When is it going to turn around?” and “I never imagined in a million years I’d be in this situation. This isn’t me!” surface with growing regularity.

The thing is, those of us in good mental health need be mindful to be kind and supportive to those experiencing mental health challenges.; and because it’s invisible, it’s important to bring kindness to everyone we interact with. Not only could we  find we are not immune to experiencing these ourselves, but there’s a human cost to be paid. Good people can feel devalued, potential can be overlooked, opportunities to gain an appreciative and highly-skilled employee might go missed.

Give someone in receipt of social assistance and dealing as best they can with a mental health challenge a job and you’ll see a huge change. Self-esteem picks up, confidence rises, their investment in being successful and their gratitude for the hope you’ve given them will shine. Employment isn’t the only answer of course but it’s definitely going to improve someone’s self-perception and outlook.

If you’re an employer, you can help by curbing prejudices against social assistance recipients, supporting those with mental health issues, and treating those that apply with respect and care by at the very least acknowledging your applicants. Hiring and supporting social assistance recipients with mental health issues is a good business decision too. .

 

Looking For Work?


Looking for a job or the next step in your career can be a stressful experience. While you may want a new position, you’re not at all looking forward to the résumé writing, online applications, rejections, flat-out being ignored altogether when you apply for a job you really want and then of course the interview process. The rejection and ups and downs of the job search thing is frustrating, nerve-wracking and for what? A low-paying job doing something you’ll dread, working for people who don’t care about you but only how much they can wring out of you before you quit or your fired?

It doesn’t have to be this way, nor should it. If this has been or is your experience, no wonder your desire to look for a new job is pretty weak. Let’s look at some ideas to keep motivated during this search.

First of all it’s a good idea – even if it seems completely obvious – to know why you want a new job. Are you burnt out in your current job, looking to put your recent education to use, looking for a part-time job to supplement your income or perhaps looking for a promotion? Knowing clearly why you want a new job is critical because in the moments when you feel frustrated and just want to chuck it in, you’ll want to remind yourself why you started looking in the first place.

A successful job search is planned out just like any meaningful project. Whether it’s building a house, running an ad campaign, raising funds for a charity or designing marketing materials, planning is critical. Too many people unfortunately start their job search randomly looking at employment websites. That shouldn’t be your first step.

After you’ve determined why you want a new job, assess what you’re starting with. Anyone starting a journey takes stock of their supplies and identifies both what they’ve got and what they’ll need to acquire. In the case of a job search, what are your assets? Examine your education, past and current experience including paid and volunteer work. Objectively take stock of your job-specific and transferable skills, your financial resources and the extent you’re willing to travel to work.

Now to decide what kind of work to actually pursue. Looking at that list of your assets, what jobs are you qualified for now? Do any of these jobs appeal to you? If so, great! If not, are you willing to invest time and money upgrading your education to acquire the academic qualifications you’ll need to compete for the kind of jobs you might really want? This could involve some research with local College or University Guidance Counsellors to help you out.

By the way, if you feel you’ve got time and youth on your side, don’t fret about finding the perfect job that checks off all your wants and desires. If you’re light on experience, there’s a lot of sense in doing a variety of jobs to help decide what brings you happiness; what you like and don’t like. A variety of jobs gives you perspective, might even appeal to an employer if you place yourself later as having broad first-hand experience. So if you can’t settle on THE job, relax and give yourself the green light to explore several jobs for say, the next 5 years.

Now what’s important to you? Are you after job satisfaction, money, a certain kind of environment to work in or a job that involves travel? What do you imagine is the kind of boss you’ll work best with? There are many factors that you should look at to find what’s important to you and if you need help doing this, get yourself connected with a local Employment Coach, Employment Counsellor or Career Specialist. These are the people who can best help you look at the factors that will ultimately bring you happiness in the work you do.

So with some job or career loosely or firmly in mind, turn to looking at the organizations that have these kind of positions. Taking the time to see how they differ from each other, what they rank and value, the atmosphere they create for those that work there is time well spent. You don’t want to find you love the job but loathe working in the atmosphere that surrounds it.

At this point you’ve got a career or job goal in mind that you’re skills and experience align with, and you’ve identified one or more companies that you’d like to be a part of. Now is the time to look at applying. Just because there are no current postings doesn’t mean there are no opportunities. Networking and initiating conversations with those who do what you want to do, work where you want to work and hire people like you is essential and often overlooked. Get known.

Once you’re connected, keep focused. Sure go ahead and ask about opportunities but do seek advice on what you could be doing in the here and now to strengthen your chances when a position is advertised. Positioning yourself to succeed shows them your keen and gives you momentum when otherwise you’d feel stalled.

Whether your 25, 45 or 60, take stock of what you’ve got, what you want and why you want it.

The steps above will take some time to transition through; varying for each person. Skip a step as unnecessary and you might be looking for some time.