Monthly Archives: July 2017

Poll: Will You Retire?

Group of Senior Retirement Friends Happiness Concept

From financial reasons to loving your job, we want to hear about it!

In the past, retirement was pretty much a given. That’s why you spend your younger years working so hard—so that there would eventually be some sort of payoff. But now, things are changing. As noted by Bloomberg, about 20% of Americans over the age of 65 are still working. Twelve percent don’t ever plan on retiring.

Maybe you want to help your children buy their first house. Or perhaps your work is incredibly fulfilling. Maybe you just don’t have any savings to fall back on. Regardless of the reason, we want to hear about it!

Do you plan on retiring? If not, why not? Let us know by taking part in our poll!

Choose all answers that apply.

 

What to Do When You Really Are Overqualified

Your interview felt perfect. You knew all the answers and your resume was shining with experience. But you didn’t get the job. They said you were “overqualified.” It wasn’t an excuse. They meant it. You really and truly were overqualified.

Think you may be overqualified for the jobs you’re applying for? Here are our top tips to help you ace your next interview regardless.

Make Sure You Want It

Before doing anything else, you need to figure out whether you actually want this job or not. There are two main reasons companies turn away overqualified applicants. The first is lack of funds. They don’t have enough money set aside to pay what your experience is worth. The second is that you could be a flight risk. A late career change may be seen as a risky hire. They don’t want your time at the company to be a short detour from your main career path.

So before even applying to a position you’re overqualified for, decide why you want the job. Is it because you’re ready for a career change? If so, make sure you realize it could mean a pay cut. What matters is where you are in your life now. What you want now. Not your past salary or education. And be prepared stay at this job for at least a few years. If this is what you want, you need to commit.

Leverage Your Network

Now that you know you truly want this, it’s time to let your network know. If your potential interviewers are skeptical of whether you actually want the job or not, it’s time to bring in backup. They are more likely to trust a mutual acquaintance over a faceless applicant.

Your network can also help you find job opportunities. You might have a contact out there with a friend who would love to hire someone overqualified, but just doesn’t have the budget. You’re a perfect fit, but your contact won’t ever know it if you don’t tell them!

Tailor Your Resume

A resume is usually a chance to go all out. It’s a chance to shine, to list all of your accomplishments for the world to see. But when you’re overqualified, perhaps not all of those accomplishments are related to the position you’re applying for. It can be difficult for human resources to sift through a packed resume to find which accomplishments match up to the position.

A resume tells a story. It paints a picture of you as a potential employee. But if there are too many brush strokes, the end result might be a painting that’s too fancy for the room in which it’s being placed. Consider your words carefully, and customize your resume for the position. Focus on skills first, then accomplishments.

This is where staffing agencies can help. Recruiters are your advocates and personal brand ambassadors. Their insider knowledge allows them to highlight and promote your most marketable skills. As noted by Bettye Taylor, a recruiter from a local Express office, “a recruiter can sell the transferable skills where they will be noticed, versus those skills being glossed over when submitting a resume to a website.”

And retooling your resume can show real results. “Many times I’ve had candidates reconstruct their resume from a chronological one to a functional one, highlighting those top three to five transferable skills and functions, and then list accomplishments and achievements under those,” she says. “You won’t believe what a difference that makes.”

Be Honest

When it comes to the actual interview, be honest. Address the elephant in the room. Let the interviewer know why you’re interested in the position. If it’s because of a career change, let them know why you’re making that change. Tell them that you’re really in this for the long haul.

And be positive! Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by thinking they’ll just tell you you’re overqualified. Interviewers want to see that you’re an actual human being they would enjoy working with. So be real!

Have you ever been rejected due to being “overqualified?” Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Sizzling Hot Resume Tips

Tidy up resume_blogTake a break from the heat and update your resume.

If you’re not enjoying the sand and surf, why not take a few minutes to see if there are any changes you should make to your resume? A good cleaning every now and then (we recommend constant resume upkeep) is good for even the most storied of resumes. A look at our top resume advice couldn’t hurt either. So then, what can you do to spruce it up?

1.       Check Your Spelling and Grammar

When a job is especially competitive, employers simply don’t have the time to give each and every resume an in-depth analysis. As a result, they’re looking for reasons to throw out some resumes and narrow the talent pool. If your potential employer is a stickler for spelling or grammar and you make a small mistake, it could cost you the job.

Make sure any bullets under your current position use the present tense, and any past positions use past tense. After all, you aren’t still in charge of anything at a past position, right? Do use action words, but don’t use them as multiple bullets under one position. Repetition of the same words over and over can make it seem as if there wasn’t any variety in your responsibilities.

2.       Stick with the Basics

Although a lovingly crafted resume with fancy formatting and a recent headshot might look great, that isn’t what most employers are looking for. They want to know about your experience, not your design skills (unless you’re applying for a design position, of course). You don’t want your formatting to distract from your accomplishments.

In addition, the majority of resumes you send out online will be analyzed by computers first and people second. A heavily formatted resume is difficult for computers to read. So make it straightforward and legible, for both your human recruiter and your robot analyzer. And when a computer autofills an application based on your uploaded resume, make sure to review the result. If it looks strange on your screen, it will look strange on a potential employer’s screen as well.

3.       Tailor Your Resume for the Job

Your resume should change depending on where you are in your career and what job you are applying for. If you’re just now joining the workforce , it’s understandable that you won’t have as much to put on your resume. However, never leave a resume section blank. Add any information regarding the organizations you’ve been in, as well as any community involvement and awards you’ve received. Your education should go toward the top.

However, once you’ve been in the workplace for a while, your education (while still important) is secondary to your professional accomplishments. In general, start out with your name and mission statement, and follow up with your positions. Under each position, bullet what your responsibilities were. Next, put in any community involvement and awards. Leave education for last, followed by technical skills.

Make a master resume document including everything you’ve ever done, and copy/paste from it as required by each position. If it’s a writing position, you’ll want to include any writing experience. However, if it’s a programming position, your freelance writing stint might not be quite as important.

4.       Join LinkedIn

Regardless of whether your desired position requires a college degree or not, we recommend getting a LinkedIn account. Your LinkedIn profile is a recruiting resource that is always available. Even if you aren’t actively pushing your resume, having an updated LinkedIn profile ensures potential employers can find you. It also gives them something professional to find when they run an online search on you.

Have any resume tips of your own to share? Let us know in the comments below!

4 Quick Tips for More Effective Employee Communication

Business People Sitting in an Office Building Having a MeetingMost companies dedicate a significant amount of research, planning, and money to communicating with their customers. If a message isn’t crafted just right or the proper channels aren’t used to reach a target audience, there’s a good chance a lot of hard work and effort will go to waste.

The same holds true when communicating to your internal audience. When it comes to conveying important messages to your employees, the extra effort spent ensuring you hit the mark the first time, every time, is the key to keeping your workforce informed and on the same page.

Here are four quick tips for more efficient internal communication with your employees.

Know your audience
In the modern workplace, it’s possible there are as many as five different generations working side by side, each with their preferred ways of communicating. So, it’s important to consider the various communication tactics will ensure your message is retained.

For example, traditionalists, or those born before 1942, tend to have great respect for hierarchy, and would likely be more receptive of communication that comes through an established channel that goes from the top down. Whereas, younger generations, like millennials (born between 1980 – 1996) and Generation Z (born after 1996) often eschew more formal structures and would prefer a less structured and more open path of information.

Even types of jobs can dictate how an employee would best receive communication. The IT department may prefer one type of communication and the marketing department another. The key point is that it’s important to know your audience first, then tailor fit a communication plan that gives the best chance of your message being correctly received by employees.

Set a standard
From email to phone calls to text messages to in-person meetings, your employees are bombarded by a wide range of information throughout the day. That’s why consistency is key when it comes to effective communication. Setting standards for how certain types of messages will be disseminated through the workforce not only helps establish a recognized portal for communication, it also helps eliminate misinformation that comes through “the grapevine.”

Setting up an internal company blog or message board is one method to centralize official internal communication. If you set the standard that important messages will be posted in one, easy to access location, your employees won’t have to worry about whether or not information they received from other sources is accurate.

If you do have a central hub for internal communication, it’s important to stay active. Without the expectation of consistency and access to current content, your employees won’t see it as a useful source and will fall back to less effective means for seeking out company news and information.

Be timely and concise
Gossip and rumors spread like wildfire through a company. Without timely and concise communication, employees are left to build their own narrative, so it’s imperative to be the first source of information. The more time your employees have to make uninformed assumptions based on “the word on the street,” the harder it will be to sort fact from fiction later.

In addition to being timely, it’s also important to leave little room for interpretation—that is, make all communications as concise as possible. In most cases, less is more. If it’s a written message, optimize for readability by using bullets and subheads. If you’re delivering a verbal message, be sure to stop occasionally to check for understanding from your audience and be sure to call out key points.

Give employees a voice
Communication works best when it’s reciprocal. Fostering an open forum where employees are not only able, but feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback is the best way to build understanding. It’s important to gauge whether or not your communication techniques are successful and your workforce is extracting the right information. Providing an opportunity to voice their interpretation of a message will make you feel confident they understand the information, as well as help pinpoint the most effective techniques for getting your point across.

 

 

 

 

Should You Quit Your Contract Job?

Is a full-time job more your speed?

Gig work (also known as contract labor) can be great for those looking for flexibility. If you have a family to support and prefer stability, however, it might be time to look for something full-time. But first, do some research to figure out what type of labor is best for you. After all, the perfect choice depends on your own unique circumstances and financial situation.

In this blog, we’ll cover some of the key pros and cons of full-time work. And don’t forget to check out last month’s blog to see what we have to say about gig work.

Full-Time Labor

Pros

1.       Stability

When a person is working full-time, they don’t need to worry about where their next gig is coming from. As long as they do their job well and the company stays afloat, they’ll keep getting a regular paycheck.

As a full-time employee, one can expect their employer to be in charge of withholding income taxes and handling social security and Medicare deductions. Many full-time positions also come with additional benefits such as a 401 (k), profit sharing, or childcare reimbursements.

Contractors have to handle all of these responsibilities themselves. This takes both time and money. Although contractors are sometimes paid more to do the same work, it’s may not be sufficient to make up for these additional responsibilities.

2.       Existing Corporate Ladder

The gig economy does not provide a career path blueprint for workers to follow. In order to get anywhere professionally, contractors have to create their own career plan. Since contractors will never receive promotions, they need to create their own opportunities.

As a full-time employee, there will most likely be certain career thresholds in place. Employees can work with managers to set goals and expectations. They are also free to look at other positions in the company and work toward those positions.

3.       You’re Part of the Family

Being full-time means putting a personal stake in the future of the company. It is assumed employees will want to grow and learn with the company and that they are in it for the long-term. As a result, management will usually promote teamwork. Social nights, group projects, group lunches—activities designed to make each employee feel like part of something bigger than themselves.

Contractors do not always get this same treatment. They usually aren’t there permanently, and recognition programs cost money. Although it’s a financial decision rather than a personal one, it can still hurt to be seen as an outsider.

Cons

1.       Less Flexibility

Full-time employees are expected to work a certain schedule, regardless of how long it actually takes them to get their work done. This isn’t neccesarily a bad thing, but some positions come with plenty of down time in between tasks. An employee might even finish all of their work for the day in five hours. This can become frustrating and boring for some workers.

An employee isn’t his own boss with full-time work. Vacation, lunch breaks, sick leave—all of these are controlled by his or her employer. If a set routine isn’t for you, you might want to look into contract work.

2.       More Stress in the Short-Term

Full-time employees are expected to be a long-term asset to the company. To be good employees, they need to constantly up the ante, learn more, and apply it to their position. They also typically have more responsibilities than contractors.

Contractors, on the other hand, typically don’t have to deal with the hustle of full-time positions. They don’t need to worry about who likes them or where they are in their career path (at least as it applies to a single company). They are there to do one job, do it well, and move on. Their stress comes from finding the next gig and managing their life, not the rigors of office life.

Contractors know the terms of their position. They know when it will start, what they need to accomplish, and when it will end. Everything is clearly delineated (in the short-term at least—long-term is a different story). Not so for full-time employees. Goals may be set and worked toward, but the how of it is much more nebulous.

3.       You’re Part of the Family?

Here we are again. This one is both a pro and a con. Families aren’t always happy after all. Being a full-time employee necessitates bonding with managers and coworkers. Otherwise an employee can be seen as a loner.

However, if the girl in the cubicle across the way hates them because they took her friend’s job, there isn’t really anything they can do about it. Same goes for finding out that the company culture is completely against their values.

Contract workers are more or less free from these office politics. If a contractor does run into a toxic work environment, they just have to wait it out until their next gig. A full-time employee, on the other hand, has to either suck it up or once again plunge into a complicated job search.

Is a full-time position for you? If you find the very idea of a set schedule hair-raising, you should probably look into gig work. But if you hate surprises and crave consistency, full-time work can provide that for you. You’ll become part of a community, with its own rules, regulations, people, and culture. It’s far less volatile than contract work, and you usually know what to expect in the long-term.

Have any opinions on full-time work? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Poll Results: How Do You Build Your Network Outside of Social Media

Group of people sitting on chairs in park, holding hands, high angle viewAlthough many take to the web to make connections, traditional networking is still incredibly important. Meeting someone in person leaves an impression that no amount of words on a screen can match.

But there are many ways to do that. Toward the end of May we asked Movin’ On Up readers how they build their networks outside of social media.

Results

Thirty-seven percent of respondents chose professional organizations as their networking hub of choice, while 23% selected community involvement. Seventeen percent go to their friends and family for job opportunities, while just 3% look to their religious organization. Twenty percent chose “Other,” with responses ranging from chamber meetings and conferences to hobbies and networking events.

What Now?

The perfect networking plan will vary depending on who you are. If you have your sights set on a professional position, join a professional organization or travel to conferences. If you’re looking for a good job in your area, you might want to ask your friends and family.

Every interaction you have with another human being is a networking opportunity. So always be prepared. Be the best possible version of yourself at all times, and steer clear of complaining or droning on about yourself. Be attentive, interesting, and memorable.

Anything else you want to tell us about how you network? Let us know in the comments below!

Just Say “No” to Working on Vacation

Sometimes you really need to unplug from the office.

Young woman using laptop on a beachRegardless of whether we like our jobs or not, they can be stressful. Ideally, going on vacation should refresh us and let us return recharged and ready to work. However, this doesn’t always happen. Your phone follows you everywhere, which means your boss and the rest of the workplace do, too.

So how are you supposed to handle all of this? By knowing how to tell your boss no without actually saying no. Sounds hard, right? We’ve got you covered.

1.       Communicate with Your Boss

If your boss has a tendency to interrupt your pool time, it might be time for a discussion. The number one thing to remember is that this is communication, NOT confrontation. As such, you need to be open to understanding you boss’s reasons for contacting you constantly. Perhaps they simply don’t trust anyone else to do your job effectively. Or maybe they just feel a need to control the situation.

Begin by politely telling them how these work interruptions are affecting you. Maybe it’s taking time away from the kids or putting a strain on your relationship with your significant other. Let your boss know that, in the end, uninterrupted vacation time is best for the both of you. You get the relaxation you need, and they get a freshly charged employee.

Once you’ve established why vacation interruptions are a problem for you, it’s time to assure your boss that all of your responsibilities will be covered in your absence.

2.       Work Ahead

In order to ease your boss’s worries (and make them less likely to contact you on vacation), work as far ahead as possible before you leave. If anything is due the week of or even the week after your vacation, it should be done before you leave. And even if you don’t work in a deadline sensitive environment, there are still duties you can take care of before you leave.

These include touching base with your contacts and letting them know you’ll be gone, going through any outstanding voicemails or emails, and cleaning your workstation. In addition, make sure to update your voicemail and email to reference your vacation. You should include not only the duration of your vacation, but also the name and contact information of your stand-in for use in emergencies.

3.       Create a Back-Up Plan

Reassure your boss by clearly laying out how all responsibilities will be covered in your absence. Provide a point person that will act as your stand-in while you are away. This person should be able to handle any deadlines that could be missed while you are gone.

When you talk to a stand-in, make sure they know where all of your files are located, as well as any other information that might be helpful while you are away. It’s similar to hiring a babysitter, except in this case, the baby is your job. And instead of telling them where the bottles and diapers are, you’re letting them know about files, contact information, and conference calls.

Ever had to tell your boss you wouldn’t be taking calls on vacation? Let us know how you did it in the comments below!