APICS 2009 Preview Webinar Series, Session 2: Job Search Strategies for Supply Chain Professionals




I am planning to attend this year’s Association for Operations Management (better known as APICS), conference in Toronto. To better understand the presenters who are going to be at the conference, I attended a webinar from APICS previewing what some speakers will present. I want to share with our readers the insight that was given to the audience of this particular webcast in terms of professional development.

Gary W. Capone of Palladian International, LLC was the speaker for the webcast about job search strategies for supply chain professionals (though professionals in almost any industry or field can benefit from his advice). He provided great strategies for job seekers in today’s market and talked about the most effective ways of networking. His main focus was to make job seekers understand that networking is more than just picking up the phone and talking to a contact from your list of professionals. He defined networking as equivalent to doing research, noting that seventy percent of individuals land jobs by building relationships and gathering information about the organizations’ cultures and core drivers.

In the webcast, Capone gave a brief glimpse of what he plans to present at the APICS conference, sharing the agenda for the conference with the webcast attendees. The highlights of the agenda are:

  • how job seekers find jobs (including the different methods being used by jobs seekers)

  • job boards (Monster, jobboom, etc.)

  • job aggregators (Web sites that bring all the specific jobs from all the different job boards into one place, such as indeed.com, simply hired, etc.)

  • the power of networking (the focus of the webcast)

  • job search management tools (tools used to manage the job search and opportunities)

  • research tools (different research tools facilitating the job seeker)


Mr. Capone presented some facts (taken from the United States Department of Labor) about the state of the job market: unemployment is at 9.4 percent and there are 15 million individuals unemployed. Along with these figures, there was mention of 800,000 individuals who are frustrated to the point that they have stopped searching for jobs. There is a decrease in the number of jobs due to the economy, but still 140 million individuals have gotten jobs in the past few months. This is not necessarily evident, due to the seasonal increase in demand in specific industries. In my opinion, Mr. Capone hit the nail right on the head by putting the facts in front of the audience in terms of what’s happening and what really needs to happen with respect to people who are looking for jobs in these economic times.

As the culture for hiring has changed, many job seekers need to understand that hiring managers and executives are not just looking for best fit for the organization. In reality, hiring managers are looking for individuals who can deliver bottom line results instantly and contribute to the organization’s growth/ profitability, in both the short- and long-term. During the webcast, Mr. Capone brought up the myth of the hidden job market and how job seekers need to get over this myth–all jobs are posted through some kind of channel, because each organization is looking for the best people for that particular job.

Each month at least 1.8 million new jobs get posted through various Web sites, and to filter through that enormous amount of data is the biggest challenge for the job seeker. Mr. Capone identified several concepts in the webcast—the most relevant one, in my opinion, is about setting up a strategy of filtering through all the jobs posted on the job boards to identify the particular industry you’re interested in and which kind of job you will be passionate about doing. The next step is to document all jobs that you have applied for, and then follow-up on each application or opportunity created through the filtration process.

Mr. Capone discussed the networking methods in detail. In his opinion, most mistakes made during the job search process start with the applicant’s failing to network, being unable to call attention to accomplishments, waiting for potential opportunities (not being proactive in searching for the best opportunity), and—the major one, in Capone’s view—not being able to ask for assistance from people in the job seeker’s network or using sources who can identify gaps in the resume or interview approach. It seems to me that all of these factors play a role when not dealt with it effectively.

Mr. Capone also talked in detail about the networking issue. Most individuals don’t understand the concept of networking. He outlined that networking is more than just asking someone for a job, and that it’s not a single-step activity. In reality, networking is relationship-building with your contacts; the best place to network with professionals is Linked In. There are more than 40 million users on LinkedIn, and most of them are either managers or executives with hiring decision authority. With the help of LinkedIn, job seekers can pose a question as a way of making contacts within his/her network about a company’s culture or about a position’s particular challenges with respect to the job seeker’s interests. By presenting these facts, Capone’s thoughts on how the applicants were approaching the job market got me excited about attending his particular topic of discussion at the conference, and to understand in more detail the concept of networking, as we can apply these strategies to our growth of sales channels and contacts with industry professionals.

There will be more details about this particular topic presented at the 2009 APICS International Conference and Expo in the category of "educational sessions" for Professional Advancement. There will be a variety of speakers at the conference. I plan to attend and report back my findings after the conference, so stay tuned.
 
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