Before launching my coaching business in 2008, I had recruited for over 10 years, hiring thousands of people in various roles and industries. One of the most overlooked aspects of a successful job search is research – knowing about the job, company and industry a candidate is targeting. I was always more impressed by the candidates who knew trending and nuanced information. Accordingly, my recommended resources focus on research.
A great resource for information about your target job or industry can be found within the professional associations that cover it. Weddles provides an online list of associations by keyword. The more comprehensive list of professional associations is The Encyclopedia of Associations, a hard copy reference set in the library. But the Weddles version is a good short cut to get started.
Guidestar covers non-profits and is used mainly by donors to see if a non-profit lines up with their funding criteria. But it’s a great research tool for summary information on non-profits and particularly salary information. Many non-profits listed on the site post their IRS filings (this is also publicly available even if it’s not on Guidestar, but Guidestar is a one-stop shop). On Form 990, a non-profit discloses its operating expenses and the top 5 salaried employees. If you’re an experienced job seeker and considering a non-profit, you want to know that it’s big enough to need and value what you do (and be able to pay for it).
Professional associations offer membership directories, professional development and networking events, and newsletters with trending topics. Many associations also post job opportunities. Ideally, you want to join one specific to your role (e.g., accounting, sales) or industry (e.g., financial services, media). Financial Women’s Association and NY Women In Communications are two organizations I belong to that focus on a specific area (finance and communications respectively). You may also want to join a general association for professionals across various roles and industries. Step Up is an organization I belong to that is national and has members across industries and roles, from entry- to executive-level, traditional employees and entrepreneurs.
One Person/ Multiple Careers: The Original Guide to the Slash Career by Marci Alboher This book by former journalist and now VP at Encore.org, a non-profit focusing on helping experienced private sector professionals transition into non-profit careers, features strategies and tips for juggling multiple careers but also inspiring real-life examples. Alboher writes about the famous and accomplished, such as Sanjay Gupta whose slash career is neurosurgeon/ CNN correspondent, but also regular people who have managed slash careers, such as Carrie Lane, art consultant/Pilates instructor or Oscar Smith, police officer/personal trainer. I strongly recommend this book for people who want to think creatively about their career options and pursue multiple interests.
Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career by Herminia Ibarra. Ibarra is currently on the Organizational Behavior faculty of INSEAD and was previously at Harvard Business School. But this breezy read is not a text book. Ibarra shares career transition strategies and case studies of people who have successfully transitioned and provides an inspiring message that transitions are not made of “Aha!” moments but rather ongoing experiments into what works specifically for you.
Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career expert with SixFigureStart®. She is a former recruiter in management consulting, financial services, media, technology, and pharma/ biotech.