Mike Familetti's top advice for people who are looking for a new job in the new year does not involve spell-checking a résumé or combing online job boards.
The Omaha volunteer job coach sounds more like a spy when he says that the most important thing job seekers should do is first “infiltrate” an organization, then look for the “warm handoff.”
Translation: Network to get to know people and opportunities within a company, then find someone who can make introductions and get a résumé directly to the person in charge of hiring.
Familetti, who learned his job-searching skills the hard way after rising out of unemployment and underemployment, agrees with job experts' advice and survey findings that most positions are found through networking and combing what some call a “hidden job market,” not by sending in a résumé cold to a help-wanted ad.
If 2014 is the year you've resolved to find a job, or upgrade to a better job, take a look at advice from Familetti and other career advisers, and consider what the data say about how many people will leave their jobs this year.
The year to quit
Employment levels are rising in Nebraska and Iowa, and unemployment rates are falling. Nationwide, while the number of layoffs has dropped, growing numbers of people are voluntarily quitting their jobs. It's a sign workers are more willing to leave a job because they see opportunity elsewhere, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The “quit rate” — the number who quit as a percent of total employment — was at 1.7 this year, up from about 1.3 during the recession but not as high as before the recession.
A large majority of employees polled plan to pursue new job opportunities in 2014, according to Right Management, a division of ManpowerGroup. Eighty-three percent of nearly 900 workers who participated in the poll said they intend to actively seek a new position in the new year. That number is about the same as it's been since 2010 but is a big increase over the 60 percent who planned to seek a new job in 2009.
Don't quit just yet
Looking for a job can feel like a full-time job, but even if you can live off your savings, it's better not to quit before you find your next opportunity.
“It's easier to find a job when you have a job,” said Chris Carlson-Dennell, managing director for Aureus Group staffing agency in Omaha.
Unemployed people should consider temp work or take a lower-paying job while they wait for a better opportunity to open up, she said. “You're out meeting new people every day and you're keeping your skills up.”
For professionals, she recommended contacting a recruiter before you need one. Waiting until you're unemployed is like not seeing a doctor until you have a heart attack, she said. The recruiter can help you keep your skills current and coach you on salary expectations.
Prepare your résumé and clean up your online presence before you start looking, Carlson-Dennell's firm advises. Résumés should be clear and concise and contain only information related to your career goal. Start with a statement about your objective and what you offer the employer.
Realize that the first reader of your résumé might not be a person. Most Fortune 500 companies, their human resources departments overwhelmed by the volume of applicants, are using résumé-reading software to comb for certain “keywords,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Experts advise studying the job listing carefully for keywords and qualifications to mimic in your résumé.
Then, Google yourself, and rethink what you are making public on your social networking sites. More employers are searching online for background information about potential candidates.
For professional job seekers, create or update a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn itself has tips and advice on how to make the most of your profile and news feed in a job search, as well as sample scripts for how to contact people in your network to ask for help or offer it in return.
Leverage your network
From professional careers to minimum wage jobs, experts agreed networking is essential. Familetti said that's how he has found his last two jobs, with West Corp. and now in IT purchasing for First National Bank. He called on close friends and neighbors to see if they knew of any opportunities, and through connections such as other parents involved in his friend's children's soccer team, found himself with a “warm handoff” of his résumé to the right hiring manager.
“I never went through the official HR process,” he said.
To share what he learned, Familetti founded the Omaha Career Networking Support Group, which he considers a ministry he was called to perform. The faith-based group meets Tuesday nights at Christ Community Church, 404 S. 108th Ave., to hear speakers, share job leads and support one another in times of unemployment.
Familetti said people innately want to help, and most will be happy to meet you for coffee or schedule a phone call to tell you more about their company and what positions are coming open.
Carlson-Dennell, who's been a speaker at the support group, agreed networking is crucial to access what she called the “hidden job market.”
“A lot of times our clients don't advertise,” she said, including firms hiring for information technology, finance and executive positions.
Don't be shy or vague when networking, she said — come right out and “help people help you” by being clear about what you are looking for.
“It's not a time to be humble,” she said. “Be the CEO of your own career and be proactive about who you meet and who you network with.”
Experts are there to help, whether you pay for a professional recruiter or coach, or take advantage of a free service like Goodwill's Ready program, which is open to everyone who is unemployed or underemployed regardless of income. The program has employment specialists who will help you identify opportunities and interests, review your résumé and practice interviewing techniques. Free job skills workshops and computer classes are also available, with certification in Microsoft Office programs.
Program participation has grown since it started in 2009, with 311 participants getting one-on-one assistance in 2013 and 1,142 attending a career readiness workshop.
“You might be in a field that you kind of like, but maybe there's another job you might flourish in more,” said Holly Schwietz, who oversees the program for Goodwill.
Being unemployed or stuck in a low-paying or uninteresting job can be depressing, so support helps, experts said.
Job seekers can find support in a professional group related to their field, or by attending Chamber of Commerce workshops, said Carlson-Dennell. That's also a good place to find job leads.
Familetti's group has helped almost 150 people find a new job in the last five years, and many have come back to report on their progress, encouraging the others, he said.
“Too many people are on this journey and think they're alone,” he said.
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Looking for a new job in 2014?
Locally, industries in the five-county Omaha area are expected to add 50,509 jobs between 2010 and 2020, a growth of 12 percent, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor.
The fastest-growing areas will be professional and business services, educational and health care services, and specialty trade contractors. Declining areas of employment include postal service jobs, computer and electronics manufacturing, and livestock and crop production.
There will be a total of 162,000 job openings here during the decade, including new jobs and replacement hires.
Some of the fastest-growing jobs nationally also happen to pay well. CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. made this list of a dozen jobs that grew 7 percent or more from 2010 to 2013, are projected to increase in 2014, and pay $22 per hour or more.
Many of these in-demand, skilled positions are in areas where companies are already experiencing a shortage of qualified labor,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.
Up 11 percent from 2010 to 1,042,402 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $45.06
Market research analysts-marketing specialists:
Up 14 percent from 2010 to 438,095 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $29.10
Training and development specialists:
Up 8 percent from 2010 to 231,898 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $27.14
Up 7 percent from 2010 to 257,159 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $37.34
Up 7 percent from 2010 to 207,132 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $37.93
Up 11 percent from 2013 to 136,921 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $27.84
Up 10 percent from 2010 to 127,892 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $35.08
Up 10 percent from 2010 to 119,676 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $37.39
Meeting, convention and event planners:
Up 14 percent from 2010 to 87,082 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $22.56
Interpreters and translators:
Up 14 percent from 2010 to 69,887 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $22.39
Up 21 percent from 2010 to 40,733 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $63.67
Information security analysts:
Up 8 percent from 2010 to 75,995 jobs
Median hourly earnings: $41.62