Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Coaching for Careers

Especially toward the end, one of the things most looked forward to with graduation is the fact that for the most part, your evenings will be your evenings and your weekends will be your weekends. There's no longer a little voice in the back of your head reminding you of that assignment that's due, or that you could be studying for an upcoming midterm. I was definitely looking forward to this, but when it actually came I found it kind of odd and didn't really know what to do with myself. After all those years of having homework and events and meetings-- I felt like I needed to be doing something. I've told myself I will regret it if I start booking myself every evening of the week, but I wanted to find some sort of extracurricular activity to fill some of my newfound free time. I finally decided since I have extra time to give, I should think about volunteering, and found the Career Clinic and Career Network at the Vineyard Community Center. This sounded perfect because I had taken a preparatory course in writing and learning, and worked in the Ohio State Mansfield writing center as a consultant, so I had experience in resume and cover letter writing. Not to mention I've been on the job hunt myself for months, so I'm fairly well-acquainted with the conventional process, and have been exploring other means as well such as using social media. After speaking with the coordinator I realized that this was a great fit-- not only did they need career coaches for the clinic, but they also were having issues with awareness and were needing assistance with promotion. I came up with some ideas involving social media, and a couple involving events to raise awareness among the Vineyard community as well as the outside community.

This conversation and the early implementation stage has really brought to light for me the impact social media can have. Yes, I realized before how influential it can be, and how helpful it can be in promoting a business, event, campaign, or individual; what I didn't really see was how powerful it could be when being used to help people with something such as obtaining jobs. The unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, and so many people are needing assistance right now. Finding a job is difficult enough, and not having a solid resume and cover letter, or not knowing how to carry yourself in an interview only adds to the stress and decreases the likelihood of securing a position. The Career Clinic is a great resource and can really help people get their materials in order and become familiar with the application and interview process.

Not only is social media a great help to the clinic in trying to promote the services it offers, but it also can be an incredibly useful tool to job-seekers. Online presence increases exposure, and is one of the fastest ways to network with people. Also, LinkedIn allows you to display your resume online, network with people you know and people they know, and also allows employers to research you. Additionally, it can be used as a preparatory tool prior to an interview. You can use it to research the company you are applying to, the person you would be working directly for, or the hiring manager you will be meeting with. You can also use it to introduce yourself to the hiring manager when you are applying for a position so that your name resonates with the hiring manager more than other applicants. The job search on LinkedIn is a great place to look for open positions, and the results are taylored to your profile and network.

Though we're still in the early stages of implementing new marketing techniques for Vineyard Columbus Career Network and Career Clinic,  I'm interested to see the growth that takes place. The goal is to continuously increase awareness in order to boost attendance, and to improve the success rate of those who are using the Vineyard resources. These resources are available to anyone, and we hope to branch out deeper into the community as well as the church.

If you or someone you know is currently searching for a job, check out VCCN on:

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