(BPT) - Finding employment can be a full-time job these days, and while there is good news that the jobless rate has dropped 8 percent in the last year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in August stayed relatively flat. This can make it a challenge for those looking for long-term jobs and careers.
Before your confidence begins to wane, it can help to remember that the skills applied to a search for employment can strengthen performance on the job. "With a thoughtful and determined approach to finding employment, you can not only help yourself stand out from the crowd but you’ll also hone skills that will help you succeed on the job," says Gizelle Ortiz-Velazquez, director of Career Services at Brown Mackie College - Miami.
Persistence is key
Rarely does anyone secure a position on the first attempt. "Looking for a job takes determination, patience and persistence. Candidates must look at job opportunities every day and use multiple resources, such as networking, online job boards, professional organizations and social media sites," Ortiz-Velazquez says. Your persistence will apply to success on the job as well.
"In life, we don’t always get the results we want the first time we try to solve a problem. We have to try again, look at the problem in a different way and look for the answer in different places," Ortiz-Velazquez continues. "Just like using multiple resources for a job search, employees must learn to use multiple resources to solve problems on the job."
Clear, focused communication is a must
When interviewing, effective oral and written communication skills are a must. "Different companies recruit and interview in different ways. The process often varies from company to company, and can include phone screening, Internet screening, email communications and face-to-face interaction," says Ortiz-Velazquez. The successful candidate must be prepared for all of them.
She advises candidates to speak or write clearly and stay focused on the topic. At every step in the process, prospective employers evaluate each candidate's ability to communicate. Once employed, effective communication skills can prove invaluable.
"On the job, different employees prefer different forms of communication," Ortiz-Velazquez says. "It is important to communicate effectively and convey necessary information well whether communicating face to face, over the phone or in writing."
There is no substitute for professionalism
Whether an employee or a prospect, it is important to remember that the way people conduct themselves outside of the workplace is a personal reflection on them.
"During a job search, most candidates take great care to ensure that they are dressing, communicating and representing themselves professionally," Ortiz-Velazquez says. "On the job, however, employees sometimes get comfortable in the work environment and become less professional over time. This can lead to a less than professional reputation and hinder future opportunities."
Social media websites present a forum to be considered with an eye toward professionalism. Ortiz-Velazquez advises job candidates and employees alike to remove personal information and never post questionable images or negative information about a coworker, boss or the company.
"We've all heard the story about the employee that called in sick and then later the same day posted a smiling photo of himself while sitting at a sporting event," Ortiz-Velazquez says.
Those out there looking for employment can take heart in the skills they apply to the search. Those same strengths can help them succeed when they accept a position. And once employed, Ortiz-Velazquez reminds everyone to "remember that every day on the job is an interview and screening process for an employee's future."