Employment Specialist

So Kyle and I got new callings: We’re the Ward Employment Specialists. This means that if there’s anybody in the ward who is unemployed, looking for a career change, or looking to find a better job in their field we are supposed to help them look in the right places.

When we were asked, all I could think was “You do realize that neither Kyle nor I have ever held a real, full-time job before, right?” I was feeling kind of unsure about how to attack our new callings. Today we went to a training meeting held by the Employment Resource Center at Deseret Industries. It was three hours long, and it was excellent. I actually feel like I now have the resources to help somebody who is looking for a job.

Some of the highlights:
The church’s mission is to help members help themselves. As Employment Specialists, we give people the tools and strategies to find the job they want, but they have to put in the time and effort to get the job. The person that does the work is the one who learns–it’s not our jobs to learn for the people we’re helping.

When most people are looking for jobs, they spend most of the time looking at listings online or in the paper. The most effective way to get a job is to contact companies and make networking contacts (by telling people you’re looking for a job, finding people in your area that work in your industry, etc.).

90% of employers (according to LDSjobs.org) don’t post jobs online because they can’t handle the inundation of (often unqualified) resumes. They find employees through networking, word of mouth, and checking jobs websites with active, quality profiles that match the skill sets they are looking for. The teacher told the story of a company that was hiring for a $165,000 a year sales position. The employer went on LDSjobs.org, found three people with the skills he wanted, e-mailed the three of them, and hired one. Nobody else ever knew the job was available, but one guy got a great job because he was putting himself out there looking for it.

One way to present your LDS mission to employers on jobs websites and resumes: I spent two years (eighteen months) teaching 80 lessons a month (or however many you taught on average) to individuals on family communication, family finances, reading, and health for a non-government organization. (Read: I taught investigators about forever families and charity, tithing, reading the scriptures, and the word of wisdom for my church.) Being able to phrase your mission like this shows that you can present yourself in a professional fashion, and if your job needs it (for example in education or government work), you can demonstrate that you know and understand the importance of separation between church and state.

When you’re looking at skills that you have to offer employers, focus on skills you like to do, or you will get stuck with a job you hate.

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