A few years ago I was faced with the need for some additional work on our company’s website. The work required someone with specific skills in website design and development. I had heard of a website, eLance.com, which had a “registry” consisting of computer and programming knowledgeable people of varying skill levels looking for their next project or position. These individuals had posted in online directories their training, skills and experience with actual projects. These directories were pushed out to everyone like me looking for someone with the kind of experience I needed to complete a particular project. That was great for me and for the skilled person whose profile led me to select them for my project. Later, that got me to thinking, what about skilled people, trades professionals, looking for work. We’ll look at this more later. First, what is the usual (and traditional) way the next job is found?
As the existing project you are on is winding down or you find yourself facing lay-off what do you do? Many begin by asking their foreman if they know of any contractors needing help or any companies that are hiring people with their skill sets. They will pick up the phone and call others for whom they have worked for or with in the past to see if they have an opening or know of one somewhere else. Finally, if that doesn’t work they review different job posting sites such as Indeed.com and Ziprecruiter.com. Of course, don’t forget the niche sites such as getelectricianjobs.com, hvacindustryjobs.com, utilityindustryjobs.com, lineman-jobs.org among others.
Keeping in mind that the effort to find the next job should be carried out as though it were itself a job, all of the methods described above are very good. Networking with previous employers and others in the same field as you can sometimes lead to the next engagement. Digging deep into the job boards and reviewing the job postings at prospective employer’s websites can lead to employment. All of this has to be done thoroughly as though you were a private detective hunting the elusive culprit and it takes time, lots of time and persistence. During the process you should be open to signs that you may have to make some adjustments to your expectations and requirements if you are going to find position.
In talking with prospective employers or others that are getting hired onto active projects you may learn that pay scales are less than what you have had in the past. You may find that the only positions are some distance away. At this point you will need to decide if you are going to hold off on doing anything until a job comes along that matches your expectations. Hitting the road temporarily or for a permanent relocation to get into a good opportunity may not be an option for family, financial or other reasons. Taking a cut in pay because there is no other opportunity should be seen as a better bet. The myth that taking a lower paying job reduces your ability to get into a better paid position later is just that, a myth. Better to stay employed making it apparent that your skills and work ethic are valuable enough to keep you in the workforce than going into a lengthy period of unemployment causing employers to question why you can’t find work. As a recruiter I learned long ago that the person who stayed employed had the easiest time moving into the next opportunity. If there is no other game in town, take the pay cut and keep working. Yet, perhaps there is a better way. No, there is no substitute for persistence and hard effort but there is now a new tool out there.
The unfortunate reality is that many times the steps described above are not enough. All the methods typically used and discussed here have one thing in common; the jobseeker is either taking a passive approach by looking for jobs through ads or word-of-mouth (networking) or they are approaching individual employers and the majority of the time not able to talk with a hiring manager. Remember my experience in going out and finding the skilled personnel I needed for my project? What if there were a directory, a registry of people skilled in various utility construction-type fields; electrical, powerline, underground, line clearance, HVAC, etc.? What if this directory were available to and seen by hiring managers at many if not all companies looking for help. Now there is a registry of personnel that is in front of the contractors looking for project personnel or needing to fill their next position. I believe we will be seeing more of these pop up in the not-to-distant future. With it you can get the information about your skills, experience and training before managers that are responsible for hiring. The first one these of which I am aware is Staffingutility.com which allows you to be proactive in reaching out to many employers at once, continuously and free. The site even allows you specify if you are available for work or show on a calendar when you will be looking. You can post your picture if you desire and your resume. Most importantly it puts you in the mind of the hiring authorities that may have your next job ready somewhere down the line. If you use this tool, it is more likely your next job will find you!