Career Practitioners Need More Time: Working With A Large Caseload Of Job Seekers

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In today's tough economy, it is understandable that the number of job seekers has grown substantially over the last year. This increase in clients has meant a shift in how career practitioners work with them. The time available to work one-on-one has suddenly disappeared and has fundamentally changed how we will help people make the transition back to the labour market. Providing structure and ongoing feedback for job seekers once they leave our office is more critical now then ever.

So how do we provide structure? The key is making sure that job seekers understand the job search rules. More specifically, it's important that they know about the hiring cycle, the job search forcesand the job search process. These by themselves will provide the necessary structure to helping them find work.

Even more important is the fact that looking for work in not like a full-time job, but more like self-employment and therefore needs to be approached differently.The flip side of providing structure is the ability to provide input throughout the client's job search. This can prove a bit trickier due to the fact that there is often little to no time afforded to chatting with clients because of the size of your caseload. Getting feedback and opportunities to suggest different approaches to the search, however, is critical.

One way of doing this is to have your clients email a weekly or bi-weekly report of their activity. You can easily spend five minutes reviewing each client's email, then respond with support or tips for overcoming a challenge they maybe experiencing. This, admittedly, takes time €" but it requires nowhere near the amount of time as face-to-face or over the phone activities.

With the increase of job seekers €" and the lack of time to work with them individually €" comes the unfortunate reality of also helping people make the transition back to the labour market. Providing structure for individuals at the very beginning of the process is thus critical if you want your clients to experience some success. After all, the majority of their time will not be with you.

Additionally, being able to provide feedback throughout the job search is just as critical. How you do that will depend on your ability to connect with your clients. Utilizing existing technologies €" email or text messaging, for example €" may help.

Either way, large caseloads are most likely going to be an ongoing reality for career practitioners. As the number of job opportunities start to shrink, the need for help will increase. Providing alternative ways to helping job seekers find work is paramount. Gone are the days of being able to spend face-to-face time with our clients to help them work through the job search process. Now, it's all about trying to find efficient ways to assist them in the transition back to the labour market.
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