Career Options

Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Career Change

Are you ready to make the big leap?

You don’t like your job. You’ve known for a while, but hey; it pays the bills! Plus, it’s not like you hate it—you just wish you were doing something else. It’s simply not the right fit.

One day something changes. Maybe you’re placed on a special project where you don’t feel qualified. Perhaps your friend tells you about their new job and everything clicks. It’s even possible you were inspired by something on TV. Whatever the reason, you want to make a career change.

But is it really possible? You have a steady job right now. Is that worth giving up in pursuit of your dreams?

Here at Express Employment Professionals, we see people like this every day. Talented individuals unsure if a career change is right for them. Ask yourself the following questions to get a better idea of whether starting a new path is the best choice.

What Do I Not Like About My Current Position?

Before you quit your job to head out into the job search jungle, figure out why you’re unhappy with your current position in the first place. Is it the company culture? Your job duties? Your boss? It’s possible that your problems with the job could be solved by changing departments within the same company, or discussing the issue with your boss.

You’ll also want to make sure that the problems you have with your current job aren’t going to pop up again in your new job. Learn the type of company culture you enjoy, and what kind of boss you can learn from.

What’s Your Long-Term Goal?

Never quit a job because you’re unhappy in the short-term. First, figure out what it is you ultimately want to do in the future. It’s never too late to start working toward a new dream—however, you need to know the steps required to get there.

While you keep working at your current job, plan for the future. If you want to switch into a new industry, research the industry online and discover what common career paths look like. Take online or after-hours classes if you can. Really get a feel for the job you want and what a career path in that job looks like. The goal here is to make sure the job switch sticks—you don’t want to hop from job to job.

What’s the Downside?

Even if you’re sure you want to begin a new career path, you need to recognize it might be difficult. You’ll need to make new professional contacts, learn a new set of skills, and understand an environment that might be completely different from what you’ve experienced before.

Make a list of pro’s and con’s. How will the new position affect your family? Is there going to be a longer commute? Being realistic about the challenges of changing careers can ensure you run into fewer surprise landmines down the road.

Contact Express

Once you’ve answered these questions and are sure a career change is right for you, contact Express Employment Professionals. Our recruiters will listen to what you liked and disliked about your past position, and use that information to help you find the right job for you.

Staffing companies offer both full-time and part-time positions. This means you could even find a great temp job in your chosen industry before you quit your current job. Think of it as a sneak peek of what a career in that field could look like.

Have you ever experienced a career change? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

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!

 

 

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!

In-Demand Jobs: Who’s Hiring?

What jobs are available, and how much do they pay?

Job searching is tough. If you’re unhappy with your current position, finding the time to look for a new one can seem impossible. And if you’re unemployed, juggling your daily responsibilities and finances with seemingly endless job applications can be even more difficult. Even clearing space to determine what the job market looks like can be a challenge.

To help out job seekers like you, Express Employment Professionals made the handy graphic below to give you an idea of who out there is hiring.

Want to boost your job search reach? We’re here to help. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staffing provider in the U.S. and Canada. We employed a record 510,000 people in 2016. Feel free to contact your local Express office or create an express account to apply for jobs online.

In Demand Jobs

 

Should You Quit Your Full-Time Job?

Is the gig economy right for you?

Close-up of business people hands shakingWhen you’re working full-time in a position that isn’t your favorite, it can be tempting to take on a short-term contract job that pays more than what you’re currently making. The same thing applies to those who are fed up with the gig economy and want to try out full-time stability. But each type of work comes with its own set of challenges. The perfect choice for you depends on your personality and current economic situation.

In this blog, we’ll cover some of the key pros and cons of gig work (aka contract work). Tune in next month to see what we have to say about full-time work!

Contract Labor

Pros

1.       Flexibility

Contract work doesn’t lock you into a company long-term. It provides the freedom to try a company and a career on a trial basis. Maybe you find out customer service isn’t your thing, or maybe a family-owned company is too small for you. Instead of being trapped in a full-time job, you’re free to try something else as soon as your contract ends.

2.       Less Cultural Pressure

When you’re in it for the long haul, you need to forge relationships and ingrain yourself in the company culture in order to be successful. Otherwise you’ll be seen as a loner, and will most likely not progress.

Although being a contract worker does not give you the right to be apathetic or rude to co-workers, it does allow for a bit of freedom from the hustle and bustle of the office. You can limit your socialization to contacts needed to perform your job, since you won’t be there forever.

You’re also already seen as a bit of an outsider, which allows you to set yourself up as an observer. Introverted or just not into socializing? Contract work can help you gain valuable skills without the need to build a “work family.”

3.       Gain a Wide Skillset

Becoming a member of the gig economy means setting your own career goals. Decide what you want to learn on your schedule. Think of it as a continuing education—each job is like a class, where you are free to learn new and interesting skills from a wide variety of disciplines. One day you might be learning an in-demand website building program, the next how to excel in Microsoft Excel.

Cons

1.       Can Be Difficult to Set a Career Path

When you’re constantly doing contract work, there’s no prototype career path to follow. You won’t get quality of living raises or promotions. The burden is on you to figure out what your ultimate goal is, and work different jobs towards that goal.

Not setting an end goal puts you at risk of floundering from job to job, staying stagnant in your skillset. If you keep taking the same type of job and aren’t being challenged anymore, it may be time to make a change.

2.       You Might Feel Like the “Other”

As a contract worker, you may sometimes feel left out of office situations or events. This can be great if you like your space, but awkward if you’re a more social person. Usually it’s nothing personal—there may be various laws or regulations that prevent the company from letting you come on certain business trips, for example.

Other times your co-workers may not take the time to get to know you purely because they know you won’t be there very long. Again, it isn’t anything personal—you just might not be there long enough for them to get close to you.

3.       Lack of Stability

In order to have a dependable source of income, you need to be extremely vigilant when it comes to contract work. Since you don’t know in advance where your next job is coming from, you should get in touch with your contacts or recruiter about six weeks before a job ends. Otherwise there may be periods of unemployment between jobs. Meaning contract work might not be the best choice for those with families to support.

Contract work also necessitates finding your own insurance and retirement account, as those will not be offered by companies. You will also miss out on other potential company perks such as profit-sharing or paid childcare. And if you’re ever let go, there won’t necessarily (depending on the contract) be unemployment to fall back on.

So, who is gig work best for? Someone who wants to explore what’s out there without being tied down. Someone who isn’t always looking for their next raise or a chance to climb through the ranks of a company. Or even someone in the military whose spouse could move at a moment’s notice. Basically, someone who wants the flexibility to do what they want or try jobs on a trial basis at the cost of job stability.

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

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

On a planet full of tweets and status updates, how do you meet people face-to-face?

MOV_POLL-ICONWhether it’s a night on the town with friends or meeting with a monthly professional group, networking has always been part of the employment scene. When it comes to pretty much any job, “who you know” really does matter. Which makes sense, given that an employer is more likely to trust a new hire that they know personally or was referred rather than an impressive resume from an unknown applicant.

How do you keep it real in a digital world? Let us know by voting in our poll! 

Celebrating Accountants

Accounting Day_SMG_USNoSeal_FBIf you’re looking for an accounting job, you’re in luck! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting and auditing positions are expected to grow for the next seven years. With over 1.3 million accounting and auditing jobs in the workforce and another 142,400 projected jobs to open up by 2024, this is one career field to get excited about.

Not only is the job outlook on the up-and-up, a nationally recognized holiday has been established to celebrate this great career field. On May 22, make sure to give a shout out to those who spend countless hours poring over financial ledgers, creating invoices, and keeping the company’s books balanced!

If the growth in the industry isn’t enough to boost your confidence in the accounting career field, the median annual salary for an accountant is more than $67,000. That’s more than 50% higher than the annual median wage of all other workers combined. Now that’s something to celebrate! Forbes recently released the top sought after undergraduate and graduate degrees for getting hired, and you guessed it, accounting is in the top three on both lists. Within the 169 employers surveyed, 59.7% said they would hire graduates with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and 23.6% with a master’s degree in accounting.

Accountants are needed not only in the corporate world but in personal affairs as well. Are you uncertain you have what it takes to be a great accountant? Here are some character traits and skill sets you should strive to master to become indispensable to any company.

  • Attention to Detail
  • Client oriented
  • Collaborator
  • Communication Skills
  • Creativity
  • Excellent Organizational Skills
  • Flexibility
  • Time Management
  • Trustworthiness

Want to take your accounting career to the next level? Become a member of a professional organization. Not only does this show employers you are investing in yourself, but you’ll truly benefit from the continuing education opportunities typically associated with professional organizations. Networking is another reason to join. Making connections with peers and mentors within your field can provide lasting relationships that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your career.

Are you in the accounting field? Let us know your success stories or how your job search is going in the comments section below.