Resource: Featured Articles
Bridging the Communication Gap Between You and Your Gen Y Colleagues
Friday, May 10, 2013
The recession did an interesting thing to the job market. The way the cycle should work is more or less out with the old; in with the new. But effects of the recession caused things to go backwards, out with the old, the new, and anything in between.
New grads weren't able to get the jobs they were expecting after college, veterans in the prime of their careers were being let go, and those on the brink of retirement were forced to put their plans on hold.
Now that the economy is starting to pick up it offers promise that the worst is over. One thing that's for sure is that the job market landscape has changed and isn't going back to the way it once was. The only thing jobs seekers can do to give themselves a fair chance is to adapt and evolve to what it is now.
With people from all ends of the generation spectrum scrambling to get and keep a good paying job, groups are getting more and more mixed. The beauty about this is that each generation has something valuable to offer the employer but the downside is that not everyone on this same team is on the same page.
Gen X and Gen Y workers undoubtedly have different styles of communicating. In the workplace, there is a significant rift between the old school and new school ways have a hard time of meeting in the middle. The kinds of workplaces that Gen Xer's are used to were more formal, the suit and tie kind of offices. Nowadays, more workplaces are adopting the easy-going spirit of the new generation. When people who are used to different things, asking them to collaborate on professionally can either be a hit or a miss.
To help clear up any blurry lines, managers should set rules for how business is done around there. Communication expectation should be the same across all levels so that a Gen Y's text-like email doesn't set off a Gen X colleague and the formalities in a Gen X email doesn't make the Gen Yer reading it unnecessarily flustered.
Another thing that makes it difficult for the generations to mesh well is that they have different work ethics and motivations. Gen Xers are used to busting their butts in order to provide for their families while Gen Yers are just at the tip of the iceberg in their careers.
The solution for each generation to come together harmoniously has to come from each side. Typically, neither party thinks they are at fault but the fact is that neither is really to blame. It's merely a result of the circumstance.
Instead of sticking with your own ways to fight the imposition of another's, try to embrace the good aspects from other generations and find the common ground that you may have known you shared. All it could take is just a simple "hello" in the break room.
The 3 Ways LinkedIn Makes Your Job Search Easier
Thursday, April 11, 2013
The national unemployment rate is going down serving as a good sign that the economy is hanging on steadily to its recovery. Of course, where the job market is concerned, there's usually a catch that comes with any good news.
Despite the unemployment rate dropping down to 7.7 percent back in February, that still means that there are 12 million people in the United States who are still looking for work. If you happen to be one of them, LinkedIn could be your secret weapon.
LinkedIn is the largest and most used professional networking websites by job seekers, employers and working professionals. Its extra features such as filtering job searches by salary remains accessible only to Premium users, but its free ones prove to be just as useful.
LinkedIn has also made improvements in its LinkedIn Jobs services that are worth checking out. Here are three ways in which you can benefit from these improvements:
"Discover Jobs in Your Network"
The best way to find employment opportunities these days is by getting someone to refer you. This could be a friend, a neighbor, a family member, and so on. LinkedIn's "discover jobs in your network" feature allows you to take a peek at open job positions at places where you have connections. LinkedIn also notifies you if one of your connections is linked to someone who posted the job and a reminder to ask them to introduce you to the hiring manager.
"Jobs You May Be Interested In"
This is a new area in the LinkedIn Jobs landing page that rotates new job openings that their network believe may be a good match for you based on your LinkedIn profile. While not every suggestion may be a perfect match, they do provide you with options that you may not have stumbled upon yourself. As a job seeker, you should refine your LinkedIn profile to a T so that the suggestions are that much more accurate.
The Look & Feel
LinkedIn's gave its design a touch up that lets you search, review, job, and keep a list of saved searches all in one place. Even though they've always allowed users to search for jobs, they can do so much more with their search that goes beyond finding a job, rather an employment opportunity with potential to advance their careers. LinkedIn's new features, however, are meant to be used as tools so limiting yourself to just one resource will limit the span of your search efforts. If you only have a few connections, your search will lack the effectiveness it needs to be of any real use to you.
Quick Tips For Long-Term Career Success
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Career success is something that doesn't happen overnight. It's a process that comes from many trials and errors and many lessons learned the hard way. Advice and tips for career help can be found just about anywhere you might think to look for it, but that doesn't mean all of it is helpful.
While we all have our own career paths, there are some fundamental points that make every career more sustainable. Compiled below is a list of some of the lessons that anyone in any career can learn from and use to become more successful:
Being someone who others consider trustworthy is a great advantage for your career. Your reputation as a reliable and credible person will compel your supervisors and colleagues to include you more in new projects. The more responsibility people feel that they can trust you with, the more your contribution will be valued.
Emit a positive vibe.
Feelings are undoubtedly contagious, like laughter, fear, happiness, etc. When you carry positiveness around the workplace, people will start to catch on and follow suit. It can often be easy to let the the little bumps in the workday get you down. Instead of getting discouraged, be the one who doesn't see any bumps in the road rather just another goal to tackle.
Take the lead.
You may not feel like it's your place to step but it's exactly
your place to do so. In a busy work environment, companies want to see each employee rise to their highest potential. Taking charge in your shows that you care about your career and the company as a whole. Companies can hire robots to take orders, but the great thing about hiring real people is that they possess their own will.
Be somebody you would want as a friend.
Having a likable personality will make people want to be around you more. Simple considerations for those around us often go overlooked so it's especially appreciated when you exercise it. Support your co-workers and help when help is needed. Lend an ear if they seem stressed and need to let off some steam or offer to help them with an assignment to lessen their workload. Often times, the very gesture of wanting to help in any way is enough.
Ask and speak up.
Don't be afraid to speak your mind. Your input is invaluable because it allows people to understand you better through your thinking process. You want to demonstrate that you have the skills to do the job well and are putting in the effort in areas that need improvement.
When boiled down, career success has a pretty basic formula of one part mind and one part body. When you're convinced that you can do something, your natural instinct is to see it through, to prove it to yourself. This kind of motivation when put in action serves as the fuel needed to go the distance in your career. Long-term success requires long-term thinking. If you can see the big picture now, it's only a matter of time before you get there.
Characteristics Over Qualifications
Thursday, January 17, 2013
There's a growing trend among employers can actually work in favor of a lot of job seekers. Applicants, perhaps you even, have been noticing that they're being asked unexpected questions that seem strange in an interview. Questions like, "What is your favorite movie?" or "Where is your favorite place to vacation?"
Hiring managers realize that new hires can be trained in some skills while on the job, personalities come as is. People tend to get along better when they have common interests. For example, if you're the outdoorsy type the hiring manager may like that you are the outgoing type even if you might lack a preferred certification.
One qualified applicant will generally have similar qualifications as the next qualified person. To make it easier on themselves when it comes to making the final decision, hiring managers will consider who will mesh the best with the rest of the group based on the answers to these atypical interview questions.
Some applicants may be irritated by this idea of not getting chosen simply because the hiring manager liked someone else more despite meeting all the required qualifications. Even though you didn't get the job, they're actually doing you a favor. Your work performance will fare better when you are more comfortable with your workers and company culture. A cooperative atmosphere is key in driving more creativity and productivity.
Another underlying benefit of this strategy is that it offers hope to every candidate in any job interview. You might see a job opening at a company that you're very interested in but don't have all the necessary qualifications for, therefore deciding against applying. By writing a cover letter that exhibits your personality well you can get your foot in the door to an interview. From that point, you have just as much of a chance of landing the job as the most qualified candidate.
This way of hiring isn't fool-proof, however. It may encourage the formation of an homogenized staff. If a company's main focus when hiring new employees is on how alike they are to the current ones, they lose out on valuable contribution from different ways of thinking. It seems counteractive for a company to lean towards creating a uniform culture when America prides itself on being a melting pot of different cultures.
Ultimately, hiring managers know that the success of the company in part depends on their better judgment. A high turn around in one position stunts company productivity and negatively affects how others view the hiring manager's competence. Hiring has become more like dating because managers are trying to create the perfect marriage between new hire and company and just like in any committed relationship, both parties need to be happy in order for it to work.
The 4 Areas You Need In Order to Master Networking
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Think about some of the best places you've been to and things that you did. How many of them were because of a friend's recommendation? We value opinions from trusted sources and will more than likely share the same sentiments about something even if we have yet to form a first-hand opinion.
This same kind of power can be seen in the job search process. Hiring managers prefer to hire people through a network because they want candidates who have been brought to them by a connection. When you meet a hiring manager through one of their connections, they will be more open to you because you've made your way into their circle.
Personal networking is by far the most effective way of getting a job as opposed to keeping your efforts entirely online. The internet is a great tool for helping you but shouldn't be your primary means of networking.
The reasons that networking is so effective are numerous. Aside from its benefits of being able to meet more people, and essentially the right ones for your career, it also serves as a screening process. Networking directs people in the right career direction rather everyone scrambling about trying to find out who they should be talking to.
What often happens throughout your experience is that hiring mangagers will come across someone they think has what it takes to fill the position, decide to hire them, and worry about all the technical stuff later. What's most important to any hiring manager is that the person will fit in and thrive. Anyone can maninpulate words on paper to seem perfect for the job, but you can't pull tricks in person that a hiring manager hasn't seen.
Start with these 4 resources in open the doors to your networks...
Building this gold mine network is easier than it used to be. Knowing where to look and who to turn is key to making your efforts worth while though. Your friends and social media sites are a good place to start, but unless you branch out from there you won't reach the right people. Try to get creative with your approach in networking as it will produce different kinds of results, many of them desirable. Once you figure out where you want to end up, the fun is in strategizing the ways that you'll get there.
- Staffing companies: There are companies out there with the mission to get you employed. Although these jobs are usually temporary, it's a great way to get your foot in the door at any company. Companies like hiring short-term employees because they don't have to worry about committing to keeping an employee after his term is over if they don't see him fit. Companies like to make smart investments and being able to "try before you buy" helps them do that.
- Friends: Your friends probably work in a variety of different fields and will be able to expose you to cirlces of people you would not have otherwise connected with. Whether your friend is just the first link in a chain that will ultimately connect you to the person you want to reach out to or they simply work in the same building as that person, your friend is that one step closer that you have to getting there.
- Social media: This is one of the easiest ways to connect with people because its another way to access them directly without being too invasive. The thing to remember about linking
up with people over the internet is that you still need to abide by the same etiquette rules as you would in-person. For example, messaging people whom you've never met before is only allowable when that person is a hiring manager. Otherwise, if you're reaching out to people who you notice just work there you might creep some people out.
- Internal advancement: Most companies actually prefer to promote from within because they've already established a long-term relationship with the employee. Even with the right qualifications, an outsider may be passed over for someone who's been with the company longer and has demonstrated an ability to learn and grow.
The Top 10 Career Tips of 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
This year began much like many others before it: full of promise. Each new year brings about a sense of renewal and an outlook for change. For job seekers, 2012 meant finally getting the job they've been looking long and hard for.
As 2013 inches closer, job seekers are gearing up for another new beginning. There was no shortage of career advice throughout this year, and as you probably know, some of it was more useful than others. Trial and error is just another aspect of the job search. It takes trying out different approaches before finding the one that suits you best.
When you think back to the career advice you followed, were there some that worked for you more than others? Were there some that didn't help you at all? Moving forward can be difficult without looking back at where you've been so it's important to weed out what worked and what didn't.
While everyone's plan for their job search is different, here are some of the 2012 job tips that stood out from the rest:
1) Use your alma mater to your advantage. Your college network is a great resource to tap into. Career assistance is becoming increasingly more available to graduates and alumni which provides a familiar starting point to work from.
2) Volunteer work can lead to paid work. Anything that gets you out of the house and on-board with any organization or cause is something that can open doors. Opportunities are presented in the outside world which is why getting out and being proactive is better than doing nothing even if you're not monetarily compensated. Volunteering can be used to your advantage when you apply for a job later and have something that fills in gaps on your resume.
3) These three websites can help you land a government job. To learn about which positions federal agencies need filled, visit USAjobs.gov. The other two sites that will help you are Making the Difference
, and The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government
. Both sites are sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service and describe working in ths public service sector as well as how to apply for jobs.
4) Find a younger mentor. This may seem counterintuitive but older workers and job seekers and actually learn a lot from younger generations in the workforce. Most know the latest trends in developing technology and leveraging their knowledge can keep you relevant and in-the-know.
5) Take a mathematic approach. Paul Bernard, a New York City career coach, suggests using a 10-20-70 rule. Using this formula, you would spend 10 percent of your time job hunting, 20 percent talking with recruiters, and 70 percent networking online and in-person. This formula is designed to focus your efforts and attention to building relationships with industry professionals that will ultimately make the most of your search.
6) Incorporate your social media handles in your emails. Including links to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles shows that you're reachable beyond the basic phone and email. The networks that you're connected to also says a lot about you. You want people to see that you're plugged in and encourage them to connect with you.
7) Be versatile among generations. Generation labels can often limit you though they are mainly a way to categorize different levels of employees and their experience. Be able to adapt to any type of working environment by staying current with industry changes and leaders. You add value to yourself as an employee by being comfortable in any zone.
8) Consider business incubators and accelerators. For entrepreneurs trying to launch their businesses, business incubators and accelerators are great tools to help get things going. Incubators are programs that are meant to reduce start-up costs over the first one to five years. Accelerators focus more on launching tech companies with the help of a cash bonus for three to six months.
9) Take care of your heart. This advice may be more unconventional but nonetheless as important as any other piece of career advice. According to a study done by Duke University, people between the ages of 51 and 75 who were unemployed had a higher chance of getting a heart attack than others. Be sure not to neglect your overall well-being and health while working hard on the job hunt.
10) Cool off when feeling burnt out. Taking perodic breaks or slowing down is important for maintaining steady productivity. There needs to be a balance of working hard and playing hard. Allowing yourself some much-deserved time off from everyday stresses helps prevent having a total meltdown.
What were some career tips that you found most useful in your 2012 job search?
Dealing With Imperfections On Your Resume
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Is there such thing as a perfect resume? Probably not. Unfortunately there are such things as flawed resumes. Common resume flaws include major gaps in between job or even being fired for a reason you would rather keep confidential despite having to explain yourself.
These imperfections can add pressure to an already stressful situation. You're probably wondering how you'll manage to not show how nervous you are and get through the interview confidently. Keeping in mind that perfect resumes don't exist, you can still shine an appealing light on your resume.
It all begins with being able to accept the situation for what it is. Your resume might have some things that you can't avoid explaining so you'll have to do your best from there. Being honest about it is especially important. You're not required to go into full detail on the matter but rather provide the interviewer context for these instances. Simply address the issue gracefully then move on.
For that, a positive attitude will go a long way. Pretending that your mistakes aren't there or trying to cover them up will dig you a deeper hole. Looking on the bright side of things will do more to impress the interviewer. Employers look for candidates who can improve on a less than ideal circumstance, a demonstration of true problem-solving abilities. Mistakes are to be learned not ran from.
With the right approach you need have the right delivery. How you talk about these flaws makes a major difference in how the interviewer will perceive them. You'll have to come up with wording that minimizes the severity of the matter. Smooth out the bumps by saying things like you were "let go" rather than "fired" or "terminated." Write your explanation out and replace words that don't reflect you in the best light. Rewrite and practice, rewrite and practice.
These kinds of past work experiences can leave some feeling still feeling resentful about them. Explaining what happened shouldn't lead to having to explain yourself. Leave the hard feelings outside of the interview as they will only make a bad impression. Show that you came out of the situation as the bigger, rather than bitter, person.
Finding a job would be so much easier if we could just walk into an interview with pristine resume that alone spoke volumes for your abilities. If that were reality, the nation's job situation would be a much different story. But with limited job openings
and competition at its stiffest, the odds of going from fired to hired isn't favorable. Despite the challenges, the right attitude and approach can still give any resume a fair chance at being the chosen one.
3 Interview Mistakes Hiring Managers Want You to Stop Making
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Did you know that only 18 percent of hiring managers say that senior-level job seekers have the needed skills for the jobs they want? That's what a recent survey found out and it's mainly due to job seekers not being able to effectively communicate.
This is one of the major mistakes job seekers are making these days but it's one of many. Here are a few of the others:
Job seekers are more than eager to start highlighting the skills they think hiring managers want to hear. The typical "problem-solving" and "strong team player" abilities. There terms have been thrown around so much in the job market space that hiring managers are no longer impressed. You have to dig deeper for answers that will hit harder. Things like "strategic perspective" and "global outlook" are traits that many forget to mention in the interview.
- Focusing on the wrong skills
Hiring managers are aware that candidates applying for the same position will tend to mention their skills and experience that pertain specifically to the job. Along with that, however, they would also like interviewees to indicate other attributes that make them stand out from the rest such as "global competence." This points out to the interviewer that you have a developed understanding of how business is done in different cultures. Be creative when talking about yourself and mention things that you're especially proud of.
- Talking about your experience
It's understandable for older workers to want and expect a higher pay than those who are not as seasoned. This can be a tricky situation when it comes up in an interview. More than half of hiring managers surveyed by Adecco said that this was the biggest mistake the interviewee made. The best approach is to be honest about your expectations. Voice your understanding that they may not be able to match your previous salary but that you also think it's a fair rate. If you're applying for a position that pays less that what you were making before and you really want the job, reassure them that it is not a problem for you.
- Not being flexible during salary negotiations
How to Tell When Your Job Search Needs Help
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Searching for a job is tough for everyone. You put yourself out there hoping to be given a shot while expecting rejection in the back of your mind. A job search is more or less knowing how to work the system. You try one approach and when that fails to deliver the results you want, you redesign your strategy.
If you're job search hasn't been working for you, it might be time to give it a tune-up. Not sure where to start? These are some of the signs that can point out the areas need a second look:
1) No interviews
Not getting any calls for interviews means that the problem stems from the root--your resume. Effective cover letters and resumes grab the attention of the hiring manager which will put you in that group of those to interview. There could be a number of reasons why the hiring manager isn't interested from applying for a position you're not right for to having an outdated resume. Even though you might want to spread out the application net as wide as you can, the best way to make the most of your effort is to apply to specific jobs that your resume is perfectly matched for.
2) No second interviews
It's probably most discouraging to get interview after interview and not see things go any further. Resumes and cover letters that get you in the door are a good sign. But it if seems like the door is as far as you get, your interview skills may be lacking. Your interview skills, like your resumes and cover letters, should cater to each company and its culture. If you show up to a start-up company in a suit and tie, they will get the impression that you may not fit in. Always do your homework on a company beforehand so you'll be prepared for how to present yourself in the interview.
3) Unsure of the right jobs
When you apply for jobs thinking you might have a shot but not sure if you're entirely suitable for it, chances are you aren't. During or after an interview, the hiring manager may tell you why they want to go for another candidate but won't tell you the kind you should be. Only you can tell youself what kinds of jobs you should pursue. If you can't convince yourself you're right for the position, then there's no way anyone else will be able to believe that you are.
4) Prolongued unemployment
The longer you've been out of work, the harder it will be for you to find work. When your job search seems to be taking longer than you expected, it's time to take a look at everything: your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills. Ask someone you know for help, practice interviewing with them and ask for their feedback. Making changes in these areas can give your job search a much needed reboot.
5) Looking only in one place
You should be searching in every source for job openings, not just Craigslist. This means taking a look at LinkedIn, specialty job boards, and in-person. It's not enough these days to only limiting yourself to whatever you can find online or at a certain site. Ask around with your friends, family, and even acquaintances if they might know of a prospect. When you search for something hard enough, you'll be able to find it.
6) Resorting to gimmicks
When it seems like nothing you've tried works, resorting to gimmicks to make you stand out are a step backwards. This kind of gesture screams desperation to the hiring manager. It shows that you're not competent enough to interest them on merit alone. Things like sending gifts or incessant calling will make the manager uncomfortable. These tactics are way too aggressive and are completely unnecessary. If you're feeling like all hope is lost, take a break and regroup. When you're ready to start the search again you can do it with a clear head.
Steps Toward Making a Successful Career Change
Friday, November 09, 2012
That feeling you get when your life starts to settle down can be very comforting. Things start to fall into place and that provides a sense of security and stability. But after a while that feeling doesn't go up from there and you wonder why.
When things are good we don't dare change them. But things don't always have to be bad in order to make changes. Just like anything else that becomes stagnant, you can easily lose interest in your own life, more specifically, your career.
Change can be somewhat scary because of the uncertainty invovled. But in any case that things can go wrong, they can also go right. People make decisions all the time that change their lives in one aspect or another. As we grow we change, and so do our minds. It's not uncommon for situations such as a restaurant manager working on the business end all their life realizing that they would rather be a chef on the line.
For whatever reason you decide it's time to make a change in your life, there are ways to go about it to make the transition easier. The first step is not so much a step as it is a process. Before making any moves, you need to evaluate your life and goals. Most importantly, think about whether making the change will make sense to you financially.
Often, a change in job duties requires acquiring additional skill sets. To make things easier, consider how the skill sets you already have will benefit you in this new position. Will you have to start from scratch? If so, you might want to think about a position more closely related to your current field which can save you time and money.
If schooling proves not to be the right way to go, find other opportunities that will give you more experience. Things like volunteer work or internships (yes, internships) can give you a leg up in getting your new start. Experience doesn't necessarily make up for the skills you would have gained in the classroom but it's definitely the next best thing.
In the restaurant manager turned chef example, enough experience of working in the kitchen might qualify him for the position. Contrary to popular belief, internships are not only for students. The reason they are typically filled by students is that the employer can compensate them with college credit instead of money. There are paid internships, however, you just have to look harder to find them.
Don't be afraid to seek help. Consulting a second, third, or fourth opinion from people who have made their own career changes will offer a lot of insight for your own plan. You may grapple with some doubts which may be frustrating or discouraging. If this change is truly something you want, just keep in mind the old adage, "change is good."
3 Ways Job Seekers Can Overcome Age Discrimination
Monday, October 22, 2012
Age is no doubt the hardest discriminating factor to mask. Even though employers are prohibited to discriminate against candidates based on their ages, the sad truth is that it's hard to tell whether or not they are.
Older job workers from the the Baby Boom generation have it toughest, according to research conducted by Beyond.com and Millenial Branding. The study showed that Boomers spend the most time look for work compared to Gen X or Gen Y job seekers.
More specifically, 25 percent of Boomers have been looking for more than a year whereas 17 percent of Gen X and 10 percent of Gen Y have been out of work for the same amount of time. On top of that, 65 percent of Boomers believe that they've been denied opportunities due to their ages.
One problem is that companies may want new blood or those more relevant with the current generation. Older workers tend to cost more for companies in terms of benefits and salaries. That being the case, employers may take on younger candidates still new in their careers who are more flexible with their compensation.
Despite these adverse circumstances, Boomers and other job seekers who feel that their ages work against them can take measures like these to counter age discrimination:
1) Keep all signs of age off your resume.
Since chronocling your employement experience is required on your resume, the time frames listed can give the hiring manager an idea of how long you've been working, thus your age range. To avoid this, remove work experience that you had before the current decade. Of course, you should also omit any graduation dates. On your LinkedIn profile, don't include any photos of yourself that may make you appear older.
2) Update your skills and resume wording.
Keeping your resume current goes for every and any job seeker. Updating your resume is like updating your status on a social media profile. Show employers that you are a creature of adaptation; that you can change with your environment rather than succumb to extinction. Learn the latest technological skills, such as new programming language or design applications, to help you stay just as relevant as younger seekers.
3) Become an expert at networking.
Older job seekers have a more expansive network than those of younger generations. This is a major advantage that they have over the competition. Boomers will know whom and where to look to when applying for jobs. LinkedIn is very useful tool for job-seeking professionals, and the study found that more boomers are doing their searches online in comparison to younger generations. Landing a job is often a result of who you know, therefore, you want to form relationships with all past, present,a nd potential colleauges.
Tapping into all your resoures no doubts gives you a higher chance of landing an interview and subsequentially, a job. It's important that older job seekers know that where they have disadvantages in some areas when it comes to younger competition, they still have advantages in others.
Job Searching for Middle-Age Job Seekers
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
The job market is tough for everyone.
From college grads to seasoned professionals, a weak economy doesn't discrimate against who feels its effects. The fact is, every demographic has their own set of disadvantages. For the middle-aged, these factors can seemingly be the beginning of the end.
There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. Fortunately, the highest numbers for unemployment rates
are among the youngest groups and are lowest among those within the 35-54 age range.
The problem is that middle-aged workers tend to have the hardest time getting jobs that closely match in description and compensation from their last job. The market simply has more supply than demand can afford.
If you're in your 40's or 50's, though, this does not have to be cause for despair. Before you throw in the towel and start filling out applications, there is hope if you've still got some fight left in you. We all have a natural ability to overcome challenges that come our way and are out of our control: we adapt.
Adapting and evolving doesn't happen overnight, it's a culmination of taking small steps that get us closer to making big moves. An obvious first step would be to catch your resume up with the job market 2.0. Cut out the fat which, in this case, refers to jobs held prior to the current decade. At least any that you had before the one that defined your career or you held the longest. Fill gaps with relevant activities where time was spent whether they were paid and unpaid.
Since it's illegal for potential employers to inquire about your age anyway, don't feel compelled to reveal it flat out. Go ahead and stretch the truth a bit. Perhaps your freshman kids in college are now freshman in high school. You get the idea. Remember to be consistent in your story. Also be careful to eliminate any phrases from your resume that will date you, for instance, "Proficient in Outlook 98."
Just like you don't want your age stamped on your forehead, interviewers don't want theirs either. Try not to think in terms of younger or older. View any potential as a peer and stay clear of saying things to place yourself on or above their generation. Be the Switzerland of job candidates and remain neutral if you want to play it safe.
Feeling tempted to color your hair? Stop and step away from the dye. Detecting unnatural hair color is easy. Women should stick to colors that complement their skin tones and men should avoid it all together. Even if you want to shave a few years off, the slight differnce in your appearance isn't worth the risk of it backfiring on you.
Brush up on your tech talk. Competing in a digital job market requires being current on the lastest innovations. Be aware of traps that can will tip off to the interviewer that you're trying your hardest to blend in with younger job seekers.
Keep your mindset around the years 2010 until now. Anything before that is on its way to being obselete if it isn't already. If all else fails, just remember rule #1 for moving up in most places in life: fake it 'til you make it.
The Wrongs Ways to Ask For Job Hunting Help
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Moving up or salvaging in your career can't be done alone. You need to be able to network and network well. Networking involves being able to master certain professional and social skills. There is actually a technique to it.
Imagine getting asked for help but the approach made it difficult for you to do so. There are many people out there who do and don't realize it. To not sabotage your own career advancement, you need to avoid being a part of that group of people.
Here are some tips to keep you from asking for help in ways that would actually harm your career:
1) "Hi, how are you? I am looking for a job..."
This is no kind of a proper introduction. Phrases like this turn on a big flashing light pointing out that you are an amateur, not only asking for help, but clearly in desperate need of it. When meeting a new professional contact, your approach needs to be casual. People will want to help others who they are comfortable around. Start by making conversation like you would when trying to make a new friend. Find out their interests and about who they are and work your way up from there. When you follow-up you will have already established the foundation for a bond. This will make it easier to solicit help in your job search.
2) Firing off mass emails.
People think that sending out a slew of emails to people asking for job searching help is the most efficient and successful way of getting responses. Wrong! Doing this will prove to have the exact opposite results. Precision is the key. Recipients of these emails will regard them as spam and simply ignore them. By not specifically address each email, people will not take your request seriously because they'll know they were just one of many recipients. Take the time to personalize each email and it will also help you narrow down to people who are more likely to help you.
3) Asking for a hand-off.
Requesting that someone pass along your resume is a big no-no. It's asking the other person to your networking for you. Asking for favors from people you are only acquainted with is a stretch and unlikely to get you any results. Instead, try to find out how companies handle their referrals. Employees whose referrals lead to a new hire often get compensated for it. This is a good way to reach out to people by mentioning the incentive. If don't seem interested, don't push it. You can always try asking someone else.
Beat the Heat In and Out of the Office
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
As the temperatures go up outside it can be tempting to want to dress down. This can easily become a problem in the workplace but can be just as easily be avoided in becoming one.
We all know that dress code standards are different in every setting, even different workplaces. Nonetheless, that standard should always be much higher than your everyday ones.
What you decide is appropriate to wear to work reflects on your judgment. There are plenty of universal dress code no-no's in the workplace and making one could hurt your professional image.
Besides, unless you're working outside, the temperature inside will usually comfortable enough to cover up. Better to play it safe than sorry so to help you avoid a chat with your boss about your choice of attire, here are some warm weather wardrobe tips:
1) Flip flops.
Open-toed shoes or dressy sandals will often be permitted in the workplace. What usually isn't permitted are the kinds of flip-flops you would wear to the pool or the beach. They simply don't belong there.
2) Sleeveless tops.
Sleeveless is acceptable to a certain extent. Sleeveless should be avoided when too much skin is visible. The general rule of thumb is that the strap be at least 2 inches wide. Unless it's a dressy shirt that meets that requirement, it would be best to try to meet in the middle with a short-sleeved shirt.
This is probably the easiest ways to turn a good outfit day into a bad work one. Unless you work in a place that allows it, shorts are pretty much taboo. While there are shorts that go to the knee, it isn't a matter of lenght or skin showing. The issue, rather, is style. In places where the norm is a dress shirt and tie, it's best to keep them paired with full-length slacks.
Sheer clothing is a bad idea for obvious reasons. It's revealing and not suitable for an office. Sheer clothes are perfectly fine when layered with other garments to cancel out the ability to see through it. You should steer clear of sheer and anything else you would have to make sure wasn't revealing anything throughout the day.
If all else fails, just copy the boss's style! Might not be as fun, but at least you'll have job that lets you buy the kinds of clothes you want to wear outside of the office.
Make Your Networking Efforts Pay Off
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The digital world has made great influences on the real world including job searching. Social media has transformed the way business is done and how we connect with people anywhere and everywhere.
A successful job search is usually achieved with a go-getter attitude. With a job market undergoing major transformations due to changes in industry demand. The workforce is shifting and it's always in your favor to have others on your side to help you navigate it.
Making professional connections is vital to advancing your career. Networking is an integral part of how job seekers and hiring managers connect and make employment opportunities happen.
Find out who you can make the most of your social networks and the advantages they will bring to your job search:
1) Connect first, apply later.
Figure out where you want to take your career and a plan of action for getting there. The point of networking is to gain recognition in a particular field or industry. If you start applying to places before making connections within that arena, hiring managers could pass you up for someone that was referred to them by another connection. Plus, you'll also gain some valuable insight from people currently working in it.
2) Investigate potential connections.
It might be tempting to jump in head first into the social networking pool, but remember that these are supposed to be professional contacts, not a popularity contest. Before sending out emails or sending out add requests to everyone related to your desired industry, do some research into who these people are. You want each of your connections to be intentional.
3) Help them help you.
Your chances for getting the help you're looking for will be slim if there is even the slightest hassle for the person you are trying to connect with. When asking favors of people you don't know, chances of them doing it are higher when it's simplified. Make specific requests and tell them exactly what you are hoping they can help you with. Let them see the job description and a short background into your experience and skills.
4) Make yourself accessible.
This is pretty straightforward. Keeping the lines of communication open both ways allows people to get back to you easier. If the person you're asking help from doesn't have the answer but knows someone who does, they can forward you to that person without having to jump through hoops. You'll also have the best chances for not missing out on employment and networking opportunities.
5) Don't overdo it.
You'll want to ease into sending out inquiries so as not to overwhelm the network. Make sure that what you send one person is meant only for them. Sending out mass emails doesn't equate to networking.
6) Have patience.
People have other obligations that can be time consuming so they may not be able to immediately respond to you. Give it some time, a few days to a week, and then follow up. It might also take some time to get any successful matches but establishing that connection will give you an advantage in being considered for positions not yet made public.
7) Don't burn your bridges.
Even though correspondence is digital, you want to extend the same manners and politeness as you would in a face-to-face meeting. People can feel taken advantage of easily over the internet if you don't take the time to acknowlege their help. Let your contacts know that you appreciate them, even if they weren't able to really help your search. A little consideration can make your career go a long way.
5 Ways to Refine Your Leadership Skills
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Not everyone can play the role of leader in the workplace, but we all can exhibit our own qualities of leadership in the roles we do have.
This doesn't mean having to always time everyone else and taking on a bossy attitude. There are plenty of ways to exude leadership confidence without coming across as overly aggressive.
While some people may be natural born leaders, leadership skills are still traits that can be learned, practiced, and improved.
Leaders are what drive the success of a company. Individuals who demonstrate initiative as a leader in their current positions will usually be given the opportunity to apply those skills in an actual leadership role.
Here are some ways you can show your own leadership abilities in the workplace:
1) Be known for your resourcefulness.
Instead of being someone who looks to the person in the office everyone else turns to for help and guidance, become your own guide. Imagine if that person were not there for you to rely on to solve a problem. Use your own resourcefulness to figure things out. This will boost your confidence and make you more willing to help others solve their issues. You want people to recognize you as someone they can turn to for help and guidance.
2) Be entrepreneurial.
Leaders are somewhat over achievers. They are always seeking out opportunitie and goals to pursue and go after it. Whether it be taking classes to develop an expertise in your field or attending meetings and conferences on your own accord, doing things that are not required of you but can benefit your career are clear signs of a leader. Leaders create their own paths to success.
3) Be a mentor to someone newer.
Newer employees want to get the hang of things even when they might still be learning the ropes. Every new hire is eager to shed that "new guy" title as soon as possible. Because of this, many will struggle in silence. If you notice someone like this in your office, offer your advice and help. This benefits both parties in that you can work on being an effective communicator and they will have someone they can turn to for help without hesitation.
4) Be a part of the team, not above it.
Leaders are not supposed to be dictators. A head without a body and vice versa cannot function properly, all parts are needed for each to work. People won't follow someone who is only looking out for himself. The best leaders are one who can provide direction and guidance that is in the best interest of every team member.
5) Be a motivator.
People enjoy working for those who build up their confidence and offer support. Leaders should always bring out the best in their colleagues. People will gravitate toward this positiviy and feel good about doing quality work. The type of leader that usually fails is one that "steps over the little people" to get to the top. You can only go so far when you run out of people to step over.
Using Resume Templates Wisely
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
You might hear people advising against using resume templates but the reality is people do. As long as templates are out there for people to use, they will.
The problem with using resume templates is that people often copy them and these templates could more than likely be outdated.
Templates are meant to give you a starting point and provide somewhat of an outline for what a resume format is supposed to look like.
Making a carbon copy will be obvious to the manager reading it and hurt any chance you had of making a good impression.
Resume templates can either help you if you know what you're doing and harm you if you don't. Here are some ways to avoid looking like a resume amateur.
1) Use it for inspiration.
Templates give you a traditional idea of how resumes are put together, but by no means are you supposed to follow it strictly. Each resume is supposed to reflect the individual's taste and style. If you like a different font or want to switch up the format that's completey up to you. There really is no right or wrong way to make a resume, there are just good and bad ones. Templates help guide you closer to the good side.
2) Use a resume builder.
There are lots of job boards that offer resume building application to help you start from scratch. This gives you a starting point of your own template. From that point, as your resume evolves you can make changes to it that you see fit because the only mold you're really following is your own. These will also create resumes in formats that are reader-friendly since some documents and PDF files don't always upload flawlessly.
3) Not all resumes are formatted alike.
Depending on your industry, your resume will have to look and feel like one that belongs in it. Resumes for a creative position will look different from one in a corporate setting. IT resumes, for example, are supposed to highlight the types of technology that the applicant is familiar with it. These resumes will, for the most part, will look like a typical resume, be brief, use key industry words and mostly bullet points.
Graphic designer resumes like this, however, will highlight more visual skills.
|Transfer station or qualification? Look closely|
Templates are good places to look for to get your own creative juices going and think about how you want to represent yourself on paper. Whether you go the traditional or unconventional route, your resume should never look like a resume template. The point of a resume is to stand out and that last thing you want is to have something that can be found a dime a dozen.
Career In a Rut? 7 Possible Reasons Why
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
After a while, many of us settle into a comfortable place at our jobs where things could be described as "not bad," but they aren't exceptionally good either.
For many, arriving here was a feat all its own but settling for being content can often leave more to be desired. People strive to have and be more than just "good." We all deserve greatness so why stop short?
If you're at a point in your career where greatness is within reach but you don't know how to get there, take a look at some of these factors that might be holding you back.
1) Your job description is enough for you.
Expectations are pretty much meaningless now. People nowadays are expected to exceed expectations. When employers think of the word "adequate," they equate that to "not good enough." Remember that employees merely capable of the bare minimum are easily replaceable. You want to prove that you can rise to challenges, and from there you'll be able to make a place for yourself in other areas.
2) Performance matters over attitude.
More truth lies in the opposite, actually. Having a bad attitude will slow you down and even take you backwards. Not having any sort of disposition can also have the same effect. In order to see progress in your career, show that you have a proactive interest in it. Employers tend to overlook complacent or indifferent employees for things like raises and interesting assignments.
3) You're focused on popularity.
It's common in the workplace for people to socialize since you want to not only get to know other people but have them get to know you, too. This becomes a problem when the chats interfere with work assignments or take up too much time. Professional maturity should never be sacrificed for the sake of appearances. You can always bond with your co-workers while maintaining your integrity.
4) You don't appreciate critical feedback.
You've heard the word before: "constructive criticism." It's an important tool for people to succeed in their careers. People that aren't aware of what they're doing wrong aren't able to address the issues and make improvements. This is where professional maturity also plays a critial factor. Those who demonstrate it best openly take critcisms from their bosses and peers and use that as fuel for doing better.
5) Multi-tasking with the wrong tasks.
Being engaged in activity that is unrelated to work is not only distracting but grounds for disciplinary actions. You're doing a disserve to yourself by negatively impacting your productivity and level of performance. There's a big difference between getting by and doing well but exhibiting this in your work is easy. If you have a hard time of keeping busy, make a long list of to-do's that will keep you busy throughout the week and add to it every day.
6) Mistake? What mistake?
Don't make the mistake of letting your handling of a minor mishap blow up. By badly managing a mistake you made you start losing credibility. Covering up or failing to acknowledge a mistake on your part badly reflects on your character. Instead, always attempt to fix things and be transparent in your actions.
7) Your work speaks for itself.
Your work is just half of it. Communication with your team is another crucial aspect of getting the credit your work deserves. Make sure that you don't get overlooked when your performance is owed recognition. If you've done something to be proud of, bring it to your bosses attention without bragging or gloating.
Informational Interviews: Learning From the Pros
Friday, April 06, 2012
Ever been in an interview and wish you could turn the tables? Well, you have that chance to in an informational interview.
An informational interview is exactly what it sounds like. In a job interview, the interviewer asks you questions to gather information which will help them determine whether you are the right candidate. In an informational interview, you get to ask the questions of the industry professional to gain insight that will become valuable in your job search.
Even though you get to ask the questions you must still treat it like a formal job interview. Informational interviews are your opportunity to learn about the field, find out about employment leads and broaden your network.
Since you're the one who wants to pick the other person's brain, you'll also have to be the one to set the interview up. You can initiate them through social networks, ads, job boards, company websites, or any other way you can find to reach out to an industry professional. Set an amount of time but don't expect them to be lengthy, even 15 minutes is typical.
Don't take for granted that the person is doing you a favor so make sure to polish your interview etiquette. You want to make the best impression because they could potentially help you in other ways within the industry besides offering you pointers.
A good place to start is with people you've worked with in the past. Even if you want to work in a completely new industry, the knowledge they've gained from their experiences are equally beneficial. Don't neglect friends and family who may also have expertise insight in their own industries.
Here are some additional ideas of starting places to find people to interview:
- Your school's alumni directory
- Professors and faculty
- Former colleagues
- Friends' parents
- Your parents' friends
- Professional and/or local organizations
- Industry-specific networking events, workshops and seminars
- Online and offline trade publications and newsletters
Remember, you'll still need to follow-up with a thank you letter to express your gratitude for their time and help. These professionals are extremely good additions to your network since they have substantial influence. The more of these you do, the more you'll know about the industry and have an upper hand. With any luck you might also gain a mentor.
How to Change Careers and Never Work Again
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Work. Home. Repeat.
You get a job, devote years of your life to it, and get
paid. That's usually all there is to it. Take into consideration how accurately
your job reflects who you are, if at
all, and if it fails to do so ask yourself what you'd rather be doing.
People who get jobs that are well-suited for their
personalities don't think of going to work as "work." Doing something they
enjoy adds purpose to their lives and getting paid is just a bonus, not a
Often times it takes people years, even decades, of working
in different industries and professions before they find the perfect job that
matches their own passions and interests. Once they do, it can feel like an
early retirement and less as one of life's obligations.
The first step starts with you. Those who feel it's time for
a career change need to weigh out the pros and cons of making that decision. This
is bigger than buying a car, but people actually spend more time deciding which
one to buy.
Careful time and attention must be paid to your goals and
desires. While people should be listening to their instincts telling them it's
better to be safe than sorry, sometimes happiness is worth taking those risks.
The thing to remember when looking for a new job is that
many companies are making it personal now. There's always been that notion of
it's not what you know but who you know and that definitely applies.
Another thing companies look for is how well you'll be able
to fit within the company culture. Usually the candidates that are hired aren't
always the most qualified but the ones that had the most chemistry with the
You want to put as little distinction between work and play.
Think about artist and athletes who don't just perform a function in their
industry, but are doing something they would be regardless of being paid professionally
Figure out what your favorite hobbies are, things that you'd
be willing to drop what you're doing right now and go do. Whether it's
shopping, working with cars or animals, there are places where you can do these
things for a living. Imagine spending your days working overtime voluntarily.
Just by rearranging your priorities and putting your own wants
out of life first can help you figure out how you envision living out the rest
of it. Some people are perfectly fine with going in to work and leaving it
behind once they exit the doors at the end of the day. Others might not even
have that luxury.
No matter where you are in life, if you're at the point
where you're asking yourself what it is, a career change might be in the cards
for you. Life is an ongoing learning experience, allow yourself to follow its