Wearing Many Hats: Job Search Tips from a Walden PhD Student, Recruiter and Outplacement Coach

Sue Way is a Walden doctoral student in Industrial/Organizational Psychology – I connected with Sue through the Walden University LinkedIn group and met an energetic individual who wears many hats!  She works for a large outplacement firm as a career consultant, has her own private coaching practice called enCompassLifeCoaching, has an IT recruiting background, and in her spare time, pursues a Black Belt in Karate.  I asked Sue if she would share her tips for navigating today’s challenging job market for our blog – and here they are…

Sue advises that a job search should begin with a self-assessment of your strengths to effectively market your qualifications to potential employers.  Sue likes StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, a book which offers an online assessment to rank order your top 5 strengths.  This assessment was instrumental in Sue’s decision to pursue her degree at Walden.  Sue is a “maximizer” –  someone fascinated by individuals’ strengths – so organizational psychology is a natural fit for her. 

Once you know your strengths, you’re ready to put together your tools to showcase your accomplishments – your resume and your 30-second elevator speech.  Your resume needs to get the reader’s attention in a mere 10 seconds – Sue favors a chronological resume to make it easier on the recruiter to screen for your key qualifications.  Focus on your accomplishments/results in your resume rather than the specific duties of your previous jobs.  Sue advises that employers are most interested in how you use your strengths to accomplish 4 key results: making money, saving money, reducing risk and improving quality. 

In starting your job search, treat it as project management.  Random job searches no longer work in today’s competitive market.  Target the companies and positions that are best for you – do your research to determine the right fit.  Know your deliverables – your strengths, your marketing tools, and your end results.  Meanwhile, map out what you need to do each week – how many contacts to make, how many follow up calls to do, how many informational interviews to conduct, etc. 

Always remember to take care of yourself well during a job search – eat and sleep well, exercise, do whatever gives you energy to stay motivated.  If you lack the necessary qualifications for your job targets, volunteer for a non-profit to close the gaps. Remember to network with a complete LinkedIn profile as well as face-to-face networking through professional association meetings and informational interviews. 

In summary, by focusing on effectively communicating your strengths and results, developing key marketing materials and strategies, proactively networking, and managing your search like a project, you’ll maximize your efforts and come out on top!

The Career Services Center is happy to assist you in your job search efforts so please take advantage of our individual advising services.  If you would like to connect with Sue Way, she may be reached via the Walden University LinkedIn group.  We thank Sue for sharing excellent advice and wish her the best of luck in her career pursuits and finishing her doctoral program!

Written by Lisa Cook, Career Services Director