Take advantage of Rochester’s job-hunting resources
By Preston Hollister
This article is in response to Randy Chapman’s Oct. 12 column about a job creation conference.
In August of 2010 I made the pilgrimage to Richard Bolles’ California home for a five-day workshop titled “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” Dick is a generous, creative and unique individual who is considered a father to the field of careers. His book “What Color Is Your Parachute?” is a longstanding bestseller. Highly recommended reading.
The many editions have been enhanced and updated, but the underlying principles remain the same. The most successful job searches start with knowing yourself:
• Your transferable skills from past life and job situations.
• What your ideal workday would look like.
• What you would do if money was no object (winning the proverbial lottery).
• What you hate about current or past jobs that you should avoid.
• What sort of values do you have that cannot be compromised?
• What sort of organizations do you respect and are drawn to?
So, getting back to finding a job in Rochester — what sort of resources are there to help you on this journey?
I will start with the resource I know best — WorkLife, the support group for job seekers and career changers meeting Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. at Oasis Church, 1815 38th Street NW in Rochester (www.oasischurchroch.org). The format is informal — a circle of chairs, a featured guest most weeks who can be a business owner or entrepreneur, a job resource expert from the Workforce Center, an elected official, someone who can tell their own interesting career changing story, etc.
The second portion of the meeting allows us to go around the circle, talking about what has been happening in their searches, with the rest of the group tossing out ideas and encouragement. The weekly e-letter is brief but features notes about those who have “graduated” with new jobs. There is a lot of laughter, and often the group leads to one-on-one coffees where more is discussed. Since Worklife started, it was been a highlight of my week. To my knowledge, there is nothing ongoing like this in the community (ongoing since February 2009).
The other community resource that is excellent and underutilized is the Workforce Center. Housing Minnesota Job Service and Workforce Development, the center offers free classes on creative job searching, resume writing, etc. There are computer kiosks to connect to the Internet. Job counselors can speak to you by appointment. The Workforce Center is in a brick building at the south end of the parking lot next to Home Federal on Civic Center Drive. Go up a few steps, take the first left inside and, if she’s available, ask Mary the receptionist to help.
Internet search engines should not be neglected in your search process. One of my favorites is indeed.com, which allows you to set up keyword searches, with a certain mile radius, and sends you emails with new jobs on a regular basis. Indeed is a consolidator of other job sites like Monster and Careerbuilder. The other one that is very useful for Minnesota jobs is Minnesotaworks.net. It is run by the state — offering no-charge services to employers and job hunters. You can set up similar searches, but also post up to five of your resumes so employers can find you by keyword search.
Temporary staffing agencies can be a great way to try out a job or organization. Talk to the folks at Manpower, Kelly Services, and Express. There are professional staffing jobs as well as the more clerical or light industrial. Xyllo and Taj are two examples of agencies specializing in IT opportunities.
Read the Post-Bulletin and other local focused media carefully — not just the tip of the iceberg job ads; look for news about companies expanding or personally of interest to you. If you are unemployed you have no excuse not to be making use of this enormously informative resource.
I am a huge Rochester Public Library fan. The reference librarians are always helpful and have lots of job search information to point you to. They have a button on the left side of their home page www.rochesterpubliclibrary.org for job resources.
Getting the right job or making the right career move takes energy and commitment. Keep that part of life in balance with family, wellness through exercise and diet, etc. Personally, my faith has been tested by periods of job loss sometimes feeling like the valley in Psalm 23.
Knowing yourself, knowing what you want, networking, diligence in finding the right fit, being willing to knock on a door to research a company, having a targeted resume and cover letter are all critical, practicing interviewing with a set of questions, and not neglecting the biggest single job engine in southeastern Minnesota — Mayo — are all part of the process.
I love my job. It wasn’t always that way. The journey is worth it!
Preston Hollister is a Minnesota School of Business Career Services Coordinator, as well as founder and chief connecting officer of WorkLife Job Search and Career Change. He can be reached at email@example.com.