For my portfolio class this week I was asked to apply Kaizen to the job search process - my instructor asked permission to share what I wrote with another section of the class that meets on Thursdays. I figure that this might be useful for somebody else as well, so why not place it on here?
place original prompt for this assignment here later
Kaizen in the Job Search Process
The concept behind Kaizen is to examine a currently working technology or process and improve upon it by altering method or tools used. It is used in major companies such as Toyota Automotive in an effort to constantly improve performance. This document is to examine how Kaizen can work when looking for a job.
What is currently missing in job search education in classes, at job fairs and online?
I feel that in general, there is not enough formal education introduced into the US education system in High School and through advanced education such as college and technical school. While there are career guidance counselors and certain classes in higher learning institutes which cover the career search process and provide aid to students.
More specifically, at a technical college, the career search process doesn’t begin until the degree program is nearing its completion. I personally disagree with that method, and I think the idea and resources should be made available to students when they begin at a technical college rather than at the end.
For example, at ITT Technical Institute, a Portfolio class is an end-of-degree course which encourages people to examine skill sets and produce a finished piece of work that will assist students in the career search process.
I am of the opinion that the concept of creating a porfolio should be introduced as early as the introductory classes and should be something that students keep in mind throughout an entire degree program, especially in a specialized field such as Computer Network Systems. It will encourage students to produce higher quality work and to design materials specifically so that they will be appropriate to be used in a portfolio, rather than working ‘backwards’ and attempting to sift through old assignments to find portfolio-grade material.
In terms of places like career fairs, I think that they are useful for some people, however many people (including myself) do not feel very comfortable with a ’shotgun’ method of selling your resume and portfolio to as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, competing literally face to face with hundreds, possibly thousands, of other job applicants.
I believe that job fairs should be changed into a networking event, possibly being folded into a larger convention. Certain industries favor a more informal approach, and in a more relaxed setting, applicants and interviewers both have an opportunity to speak to each other on more equal terms, rather than being made nervous by the competition. Job fairs, as they are right now, put a large amount of stress on both parties due to the time commitment and the amount of resources needed.
Moving from a physical job fair to an online job fair may be the solution. Examining the amount of information and the availability of the Internet (especially for people looking for a job in the Technology industry) may encourage people to attend. In addition to less physical resources being consumed (everybody saves on travel, stationary, etc.), there is also the added layer of privacy - not to be confused with anonymity. Being able to speak one on one with a company representative without having to deal with general noise from a job fair floor may be beneficial to both parties. In a text-based environment, this also encourages people to think about what they type and allows them more time to answer questions. With companies examining people on social networking sites with a measure of increased scrutiny, this may be what the job fair evolves into.
What makes a job seeker more successful?
The most important thing for a job seeker are the tools they use to find their job. They need to budget their time effectively while minimizing the amount of stress to prevent them from burning out and falling into a vicious cycle of depression and hopelessness. Keeping a clear mind when in the job search is important.
In addition to the ‘proper frame of mind’, a person who has the Internet at their disposal will have many more resources at hand than the traditional job seeker. Many companies prefer to post their listings online at major job searching sites such as Monster, Dice, Jobing.com, and even classified ads such as Craigslist. Maintaining an online presence is important, and understanding what works best for a given individual is probably the greatest asset.
As a corollary to being relaxed, a job seeker should be confident: both in their abilities they have listed on their resume; and self-confidence so that they can speak with authority and pride in an interview. A job seeker should not make themselves appear desperate - if they are so desperate for a job, then they should seek to find a temporary part-time position while they search for a career, even if that means they have to take pay beneath what they should be earning.
Are these definitive things that will make a person more successful in the job search? No. These are things that I personally believe a job seeker should have - confidence, a clear mind, and ready access to the Internet. Maybe other people have different views and priorities. A person has to make the decision to do what they feel most comfortable with when searching for a career, and to not lose hope. There is always somebody out there willing to give you your just desserts for the work that you do; it is only a matter of time before you find them.