Job hunters need help but often don’t know how to ask for it. Three people who enjoy helping others succeed tell stories about how to position yourself for help.
Atlanta’s Bill Nowicki, president of Nowicki Media LLC, is a nuclear plant engineer building a multimedia business. He was sitting at a church breakfast next to a woman when she mentioned that her son, in Canada with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, had been tossing his resume into the Internet’s black hole. Nowicki asked to qualify him via Skype. The two men spoke twice and the mother sent his curriculum vitae.
“His engineering degrees showed he had some problem-solving,” Nowicki mentions. “His hobby was working on model airplanes with 5- or 6-foot wingspans, which takes a lot of ability to start (analyze and complete). It gave me insight into the way he was wired.”
His degree involved project teams, an important fact obscured in his curriculum vitae. Nowicki also said this job hunter communicates well and wants to learn.
So Nowicki called friends in Canada and asked them to speak with the young engineer. Following advice to be himself, the recent grad interviewed by telephone and landed a good entry-level job.
What was the secret to success? It wasn’t just Nowicki’s enjoyment of helping others or the engineer’s skill set. A mother brought up her problem in a safe environment where people are likely to help. The young grad followed through.
Professional familiarity offers another safe environment for job seekers who need help. Andrea Berkman, founder and CEO of The Constant Professional LLC, a reputation management service in Bellmore, N.Y., finds herself helping people whose work and standout quality she knows. She’s a connector.
“People with that something else they can bring to the table, solving problems for their team or boss,” she says, “give me a reason to prefer them over someone else. They ask for help casually, through very soft networking, not at a mixer but a setting where we’ve built up rapport, such as after a meeting.”
She finds it easier to help them if they don’t limit themselves too greatly with specific details about their preferred job.
Berkman typically introduces the people to a company by email, focusing on their energy and problem-solving skill, and explains the importance of this introduction to the company, especially relating to the standout quality and her witnessing the skill. Again, the job hunter follows through.
Sometimes people help job seekers they don’t know. Richard Serge, owner of VIPatron in Lewisville, N.C., plans to consult with startups expanding in new locations. A support group at his church in Kernersville inspired him.
“I … invited local employers to speak to job seekers in the church basement, which is the size of a gymnasium,” he explains. “Our one meeting grew into an annual job fair at the church, with small skill-building seminars in adjacent classrooms. I chaired the committee for four years. We average 25 employers and last year had about 1,500 job seekers.”
Funding came through Kernersville’s chamber, which charges employers for their tables. People continue to get jobs through the fair.
What do these stories tell job hunters? You can find help in environments where you know people or don’t. Berkman encourages people to ask people they know for help. Serge advocates career fairs as a fine venue for delivering your elevator speech and giving your resume to someone who might be hiring. Nowicki’s experience suggests being alert to the person who extends a hand.
Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2014 Passage Media.