Tips for getting a gig

February 25, 2010

I’m sure you know by now that it is rough out there for those seeking employment. But the Essence, April 2009 issue gives tools that can help. Here are four things you’ll need:

  1. A razor-sharp résumé: Author, chief visionary and CEO of Afia Planning and Development Corp., Anita Davis-Defoe says a woman needs at least two résumés: a chronological one that displays career progression and a functional one that shows your many skillls. Also, make sure to quantify what you’ve done. Essence gives this example: If you were the number one sales leader, shaved 20 percent off the bottom line or spearheaded the company’s new cost-saving green initiative, put it in writing. Additionally, update your résumé every six months, particularly if you have done new projects or important assignments.
  2. Strategically aligned skills.  As many companies rework their missions, be sure your skills are in alignment. Dee Marshall, a career and business coach and owner of Raise the Bar, LLC, says that most skills are transferable– you just have to learn to sell them.  For instance, if you’re discussing your last role at a job interview, identify how you improved that company and how the company you’re interviewing with can take advantage of your abilities to help them meet their goals.
  3. An A-team. To thrive in your career, you need both a mentor and sponsor. A mentor is someone who advises you on your career path, and a sponsor lets you know about good opportunities for you. A tip from Katherine Giscombe, Ph.D and vice-president of Women of Color Research at Catalyst: “We advise African-American women to build a corporate image of themselves, which could include, for example, talking about their community activities that demonstrate leadership skills.”
  4. A personal plan. It doesn’t have to be really long, but it should be detailed. Ella L.J. Edmonson Bell, Ph.D. and associate professor says, “the key to having one is to understand what your needs are, where you want to be, and what experience and skill set you need to get you that vision.”

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Happy job hunting! Feel free to add any tips you have below!

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