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How to find more leads

What do you do if you don’t have an aptitude for the fastest-growing jobs?

Career coaches say all it takes is ingenuity to find jobs that spin off from “hot” careers and learn how to optimize your online presence so that you are easily found by recruiters and employers.

“When an industry is booming, it needs all lines of support — receptionists, marketers, accountants, operations staff, office managers and tech support, among others. Finding that angle is the art of positioning yourself,” said Sima Dahl, president of Chicago-based Parlay Communications Ltd., and provider of the free “hidden job market” leads site,

Dahl, who has been laid off three times and “escaped before the hatchet fell” two other times, recommends:

† Buy the updated LinkedIn package so you can optimize your profile with key words, making it easier for recruiters and others to find you when they use Boolean logic and applicant tracking systems (ATS) to search the Internet for prospects.

† Mention your job search and your progress on your Facebook page. Ask open questions such as, “I found a hot opportunity for a staff accountant’s job. Does anyone know anyone at the company?”

† “Look under the couch cushions” by using every available tool: Read the newspaper, do informational interviews with experts, volunteer at your professional association and balance the time you spend online and in person.

“Create an action plan, be it for the week or month, and honor it,” Dahl said. “Allow yourself a break each week. Keep yourself sane.”

Fred Hoch, president of the Illinois Technology Association, based in Chicago, says rigid jobs and rigid job descriptions no longer exist.

“Build relationships,” Hoch said. “Immerse yourself in what you’re interested in. You can find a ‘meet-up’ in any type of industry. It’s about building rapport with people you think would be good employers or colleagues.”

Vickie Austin, founder of Wheaton-based coaching service Choices Worldwide, notes interviewers have unwritten checklists. They are asking themselves: Are you a good team player? Do you have a strong work ethic? Is this someone I want to spend most of my day with?

“It’s important to show you are personable, likable and someone who’s not just going to clock your hours and leave,” Austin said.

Her other tips:

†Get involved in your local community.

†Read daily news headlines, and watch sports and reality shows on TV so you can have casual conversations and show you’re up-to-date.

†Bring a notebook and pen to luncheon interviews to jot down questions or to take notes. Come prepared with questions.

†Have a “posse” of people cheering you on and those who give honest feedback.

†Retain 20 percent of your capacity for yourself, even if you’re not looking for a job. Use that time to be active in professional associations, giving to others and to your industry.

“I call it money in the karma bank,” Austin said.

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