“It’s the worst!” I have heard that statement from the mouths of many Employment Specialists when talking about Job Development. So, I started doing a little digging to find out just what makes a great job developer. The way I see it, once you know what skills you need, you can develop them and results will follow. I came across a 2011 study out of Chicago geared at identifying the competencies needed to be a successful job developer. They found 6 key traits and here they are:
1) TIME MANAGEMENT: Those Employment Specialists who had done their homework were more successful than their fly by the seat of their pants co-workers. Make a list of which employers you want to see, keep marketing material (brochures & business cards) with you at all times, have copies of consumers’ resumes on hand, and map out the geographic area of where you plan to develop so you’re not driving all over the county.
2) ADVOCACY: Changing your perspective can change your results. Those who had positive attitudes about the people they serve and job development performed better than those whose attitudes reflected a gloomier perspective. Just like we teach others about reframing experiences in a positive light we have to change the way we view our job. Successful Employment Specialists viewed job development as a way to educate employers, help consumers enhance their lives, and assist them on the road to recovery.
3) CREATING PARTNERSHIPS w/ the Job Seeker: This is a 2 prong item: 1st – get to know the job seeker and keep their preferences, skills, and interests in mind when seeking locations to develop. For example, the job seeker does not have a car and had previous jobs working with children; you can identify childcare facilities along the local bus route or within a 1 mile radius of the job seeker’s home and start building relationships with those employers. 2nd– Involve the job seeker in the job development process. Bring the job seeker along when you go out into the community as a way for the individual to get a sense of the work environment and neighborhood.
4) WORKING as a TEAM: Utilize your team members. Partner with them to brainstorm locations and strategies then spend time in the field job developing together. Play off each others’ strengths, save your co-worker if they get stuck, and provide each other with feedback as a way to improve your skills. Don’t forget to take advantage of team meetings and supervision to share resources and gain inspiration.
5) FACE TO FACE COMMUNICATION: Most of your job development is done in person so honing your communication skills is crucial. The study found employment specialists with strong communication skills were able to manage resistance from employers. Key communication skills include: obtain and provide information, do not interrupt employer, make eye contact, and demonstrate engaged body language.
6) NETWORKING: Build and maintain relationships at work and in your personal life with a variety of employers. Consider day to day errands and encounters, such as your morning coffee stop at the local Dunkin Donuts or your monthly lunch with your retail store manager cousin, as opportunities to job develop. And don’t forget about community networking events like the township Chamber of Commerce. The more people you know the more job leads you’ve got! Here’s a list of the Chambers in NJ by town to get you started.
Give ‘em a try and let me know if they work for you too!
Happy JOB DEVELOPING!!!