Op-ed: Consultants will help shoppers handle their human capital

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The role of a financial advisor can encompass areas that many people may not expect.

The truth is that a financial advisor is not just someone who helps with investments. Very often the job is to assist with all aspects of a client's financial life.

Consultants use their expertise to create a personalized financial plan that will help achieve the client's goals. The same consultant can also use their skills to work with a client to manage their human capital to generate income and build wealth.

This is a key because human capital is essentially the future earning power that a person has left in their career. I believe it is my responsibility to help clients maximize their human capital and to plan it to optimize the transition to financial capital.

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Of course, a stable income is a necessary part of building wealth. When a customer suffers a job loss, the impact on their financial life can be dramatic. The coronavirus pandemic hit many of my customers particularly hard. Because of our established trust, many clients have confided in me, hoping that my expertise can help them evaluate their job options and guide them to a solution.

While I am not taking a job as a career coach, I offer clients tips to help them find their way in the changing job market. My job is to help clients set up their finances to make their dreams come true and – due to the pandemic – also answer questions about job losses.

Prior to the pandemic, various studies concluded that 85% of jobs were filled through networking. Covid-19 has all but ruled out personal networking opportunities, which is a significant barrier to finding employment.

Customers also struggle to break the hidden job market code. It's no secret that many positions are filled without ever being advertised. When recruiters start their candidate search within their existing network, the hidden job market proves that word of mouth can influence or interrupt your search.

My experience in the financial industry taught me that successful networking is not about meeting as many people as possible. Instead, it is better if you raise key contacts in order to meet well-connected people.

According to a survey by Jobvite Recruiter Nation, 47% of companies use social media to attract employees. Even networking events have gone online.

While personal networking is a thing of the past (at least for now), social media and virtual networking offer significant opportunities for job seekers – and I am sharing tips with my clients on how to familiarize themselves with creating a virtual version of themselves.

I try to give tips to my clients looking for jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. The use of social media and online events by potential employers means job seekers need to clean up their online presence and practice their video skills in order to expand their virtual network. If they do, it could increase their chances of reaching an open position.

I urge my customers to pay special attention to social media. Building a strong social media presence is the first step. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are popular platforms that can help my clients connect with people they know. However, it is in LinkedIn that the magic happens. LinkedIn is my favorite recommendation when I hear from someone looking for a job.

Even former President Barack Obama once joked during a television press conference that he would join LinkedIn to help him find a job after his term was up.

Hiring managers and employers use LinkedIn to find talent. According to a survey by Jobvite Recruiter Nation, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn as part of their candidate search.

It's best to start with people you know. When my clients contact me about losing their job, I encourage them not to be shy and reach out to their friends and family to let them know that you are looking for a job. Send a connection request on Facebook or LinkedIn and add a personal note.

Another piece of advice I give to my clients is to look for alumni networks that you may have forgotten and connect with former classmates and colleagues. It could help you unlock the hidden job market by getting you a referral for an open position.

Professional associations are another great resource for networking. By joining and connecting with people in a professional association, you can attend (virtual) events and meet others in your field. You can also get in touch with members who know about companies hiring and arrange an interview for you.

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Video skills are also very important these days. When it comes to improving these video skills, I urge clients to practice, practice, practice.

Why? Because now so many business meetings and events are taking place online.

Most of all, I recommend that customers familiarize themselves with video and test their technology. Correct clothing is also important – dress as you would for a face-to-face interview. If you don't have video experience, practice with a spouse or friend so that you are more relaxed during the virtual interview.

Just as financial investments take time to grow, job hunting won't happen overnight.

So much has changed this year. Employers and their HR departments are still adjusting to the pandemic and economic slowdown. Many companies also deal with changes to existing employees, which can lead to longer response times when applying for vacancies.

This means that the job search and hiring process itself can take a little longer than usual. That's why I've encouraged my clients to be patient but persistent.

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