workshop 2002, updated August 2007
Where do you want to go today? Someplace warmer/colder/wetter?
A company that is more cutting edge? A place where you can get some
respect? Somewhere to make more money? Anywhere because I lost my
job? Regardless of the motivation, many of us have thought about
changing jobs or changing careers. However, unless we start working
on that thought we’ll never make it happen. Not doing anything is
getting further behind. Waiting until a change is really needed
could be way too late.
The bad news: the “internet age” of “electronic communication” is
dynamically affecting the job changing process. New skills are
required to compete for jobs today. Younger competitors in the job
market have grown up with sharp computer skills.
The good news: We can learn to use electronic tools. We have
experience to sell. We know what employers really need.
Here are some ideas on how to get started using today’s
||Sharpen internet skills and learn
to do effective web searches. It takes lots of practice with
web-search tools to find a specific company or job among
billions of web pages. Thousands of jobs are being posted on
line and many thousands more are only hinted at in company news
releases. Many companies which never advertise, might be good
fits for your experience. Think of it like this “That
company doesn’t know it yet, but they need me…..” If you find
yourself lacking in Internet skills, start spending some time on
line. Recreation counts for practice and exercise!
||Practice preparing and
transmitting electronic documents. Cover letters and resumes are
often requested and submitted via email. Crisp correspondence,
timely email messages and accurate attachments all advertise
your ability to be an effective professional. Team with a friend
and start sending each other practice documents. BTW – if
your internet service can’t handle attachments or blocks the
wrong messages, you need to change services now!
||Evaluate your job skills at one of
the on-line career learning web sites. Create an exhaustive list
of skills, abilities and ways that you add value. There are some
ideas in this article:
www.mltweb.com/prof/prodev.htm Check out the information
www.businessweek.com/careers/index.htm or at the ISM Career
||Scan as many job postings as you
can. Glean ideas from each advertisement even if you are not
interested in the specific job. The sought after skills and
keywords are important. Mirror the advertisements in your resume
and you are more like to be found. Company resource specialists
will often search through e-resumes electronically looking for
key words and phrases. Fill your resume with key buzzwords and
accomplishments not passive adjectives. Consider the difference
between “prepared blanket orders for supplies” and “implemented
e-commerce ordering process”. Other buzzwords like “advanced
Power Point and Excel” “public presentations” “C.P.M.” ,
“contract claims”, “supply chain management” should also come to
mind. Check out current literature and magazine articles for the
||Get help and advice to prepare an
electronic-age resume. A clean concise and well thought out
e-resume makes more difference today than a professionally
prepared document on expensive parchment. Look at some of the
on-line resources and samples.
||Subscribe to an on-line e-mail
service about jobs and careers. There are several free ones.
How do you find free newsletters? [take note of the first
bullet above] Give up? Try this Google search:
||Put your name and experience in
front of the world. Contribute articles, post messages and make
comments to magazines, newsletters, and web sites. Consider that
every time your name appears on the internet is a new
opportunity for a “headhunter” or potential employer to find
||Stay current with the profession.
Communication skills, e-commerce experience, cross functional
work groups and a big-picture knowledge of current business
issues matter more today than 20 years of buying experience.
||Post your resume and start getting
feedback. ISM members can post resumed online at the ISM Career
Center Members-Only site.
A few final metaphors:
- If you are really serious about making a change, start
making it happen, while you still have time.
- You are steering your own ship, so pick a good course.
- The real question isn’t “Where do want to go today?” it
should be “Where are you going today?”