Like a lot of folks, I started on a path that should have led me to a different career than the one I ended up with. I'd initially targeted HR and much of my education was focused in that are (fortunately, I had several majors). So it was with great interest that I watched the launch of this latest Microsoft partnership with Monster.com to connect Microsoft's Office tools to Monster's back end and, by so doing, better link those looking for a job with those looking to find a specific skill set.
Certainly this is an important service to provide during a time when pink, as in pink slips, seems to be becoming the national color. Still, this got me thinking that the Web could possibly do what internal HR organizations, after the EEOC (which barred most testing), could not, and provide tools to actually help people find the jobs that they would deem more satisfying than those they just left, as opposed to simply carrying on what may have been an early mistake in career and job choices. Let's talk about what Monster and Microsoft is and what it could be.
Monster and Microsoft: Better Resumes and Higher Offer Rates
There are three problems typically associated with finding a job. One is locating the opening, two is getting the attention of the company, and three is winning the selection process. The joint Monster/Microsoft site helps significantly with number one, helps with number two, and provides some advice about number three. The Microsoft Job Seeker site, powered by Monster (nice plug), is broken down into four parts.
The first part is the most important and the most likely to be bypassed; they may want to lay the site out a little differently. This is the part where you set your strategy. It provides reading material that can help you think as much about what you want to do as it does about building a package that should result in an offer.
The second part focuses on the search itself and you can look for keywords or specific titles. I searched for work-at-home astronaut and not a single job posting came up, clearly showcasing how tight the market continues to be. Kidding aside, you can look for up to 20 occupations and use a variety of keywords and titles to broaden or narrow your search. The third section is building a resume. There are a huge number of templates that can allow your experiences to stand out. I recommend having a third party review it because there is nothing like a stupid typo to knock you off the interview list.
The fourth part is listing the resume on Monster.com and effectively getting it in front of a lot of hiring managers. If you have a good strategy and developed a good resume, and if there are positions open that will take you, the end result should be a larger number of interviews than you would have achieved without the tool. But I think this thing could do much more than this.
Matching Jobs to Personalities: Career Center 2.0?
We probably all know a lot of folks who, regardless of what they make, really hate the job they have. The advanced tools that were created to correct this in the 60s and 70s were largely outlawed, at least in the U.S., because of discrimination concerns. Since they were largely funded by businesses, the inability of those businesses to use the tools pretty much killed the effort. However, as a Web tool not connected directly to any hiring body, the tools could be used on a site like this one to help people think about what they like to do, where their qualifications would be most appreciated, and to help them identify jobs that they would enjoy for their entire, and likely longer and healthier, working lives. One of my favorite tests was the Jung typology test, created by Myers Briggs. (The "test" link is to the test itself; it is kind of fun to take and see what your personality strengths are.) If you found that you weren't in a job that ideally suited you, it could provide tools that got you to the training and related financing to get the background you'd need for this better position. It could also hook you up with others who already had the position so you could network, ask important questions, and create relationships that would last far beyond the job location and hiring process.
Another partnership that would likely help is with LinkedIn, a social networking site focused on business. That is my hope -- that a site like this will eventually evolve to its potential of helping people find positions that fulfill and excite them, where work is something they look forward to, and where someone never has to face the intimidating job market alone ever again.