If you have decided that you should keep your eyes open to potential new opportunities, know which companies in your industry you would like to work for. Which companies are financially stable, what is the culture like, which ones are in the growth markets that interest you and line up with your experience? Keep your eyes open for openings with those companies. If the company is using a recruiting firm its Help Wanted advertisement, if there is one, probably will not include the company name so you'll need to look for key phrases as well, such as "a leading compounder of custom resins", or "a growing molder of disposable medical devices".
Most of the positions you'd like to know about are not posted on job boards. Maintaining a good professional network has always been a good idea, and it still is. Websites such as LinkedIn facilitate staying in touch with former colleagues and getting connected to peers within your industry. Join a few groups and participate in the discussions. Keep your resume with a recruiting firm that specializes in your industry, and update it annually. A good recruiter will never guarantee you a job, or even an interview, but they will guarantee that your target employers know about you.
If you are approached about an opportunity, do your homework. BE PREPARED! Your research on the company will reflect in the questions you ask, and that will convey your genuine interest in the position better than anything else. When you interview, be sincere, honest, confident, and positive. Questions about future growth opportunities within the company are fair game as well; most employers want to hire people with "runway", an industry term for having the education and skills required to advance further in the company than the immediate position.
About the author: Paul Sturgeon is business manager with KLA Industries (www.klaindustries.com) based in Cincinnati, OH, an executive search firm specializing in plastics and polymer technology. If you have a topic you'd like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for his blog, e-mail Paul at [email protected].