Tag Archives: job seekers

Persistence in the Job Search

Persistence_In_Job_Search_webimageWhether you’ve been searching for a job for just a few days or more than a year, it’s easy to become discouraged. The continual hunt for new openings, tweaking your resume over and over, rewriting your cover letter for the hundredth-time, and going through the roller coaster of emotions is enough to make anyone want to give up. But giving up isn’t how you land a job.

Unfortunately, millions of other Americans have stopped being persistent and have fallen into defeat. This current phenomenon is the focus of a recent Express Employment Professionals white paper. The Great Shift highlights the recent decline in America’s labor force participation rate, which describes the percentage of working-age adults that are either actively searching for a job or currently working. Today, the rate stands at 63.4%, a level not seen since the 1970s. As the white paper points out, that rate means “among the estimated 89.9 million Americans not in the labor force as of July 2013, at least 6.6 million still want a job.”

Those are some pretty bleak numbers. To get the full picture of the situation and learn why it’s happening, you can check out Express white paper.

It would be easy to let these facts dissuade you from continuing your hunt. However there is something that sets you apart from those millions of Americans, and that one thing is you. While you may not be able to give yourself a job, you do have the ability to NOT give up. Staying hopeful and remaining persistent is the name of the game, and there are some practical ways to keep yourself from losing momentum.

Set Goals
Searching for a job is practically a full-time job in its own rite, so treat it like one. Set daily and weekly goals for yourself, such as spending a certain amount of time each day looking through online job boards or applying for a specific number of positions per week. This will keep you moving forward and give you achievable short-term targets to hit along the way.

Review Your Skills
If you haven’t already, take an inventory of your skills. Consider both your hard skills, like education and work experiences, and your soft skills, such as time management and flexibility. Are there skills listed in the jobs you’ve been applying for that you lack? Do you have the top three hard skills employers want to see in a job candidate? If there are areas you need to work on, make a plan to grow those specific skills as you continue the hunt.

Check Your Expectations
No one wants to be in a job they’re over-qualified for, but turning down a job when you’re out of work just because it doesn’t meet your expectations isn’t the best move. In the argument between underemployed and unemployed, underemployed wins out. So don’t derail your job search by saying “no thank you” to a legitimate job and then buying into the idea that there is nothing out there. You can always take the job and still keep looking.

Don’t let yourself become another worker who’s given up and called it quits. Being persistent will pay off in the end. Share your ideas for staying positive and persistent during a job search in the comments section below.

Millenials and the Job Search

MillenialsJobSearch_Sept2013_webOut of all the generations in the workplace, the Millennial generation seems to be the most talked about and researched today. Those born between 1980 and the late 1990s have shocked and awed the professional world, earning themselves a variety of titles, including “the most innovative generation” and  “the most entitled generation.” But, love ‘em or hate ‘em, Millennials are changing the workplace and causing business leaders to question just about everything. What do they want in a job? How do they approach the job? How do millennial employees want to be managed?

Turnover and Retention
Last month, Beyond.com, a career network for advancing professionals, and Millennial Branding, a research and consulting firm, provided new data that could help answer these questions. Their national survey, “The Cost of Millennial Retention,” specifically looked at Millennials, also known as Gen Y, turnover and retention from the employer’s view. Here are a few conclusions about Millennials, based on their findings:

•    Millennial workers are on the move – 30% of companies surveyed reported losing 15% or more of their Millennial employees in the past year.

•    They aren’t afraid to change jobs if they aren’t getting what they want – companies are implementing programs to entice Millennials to stay, including workplace flexibility (48%), mentoring (40%), and internal hiring (37%).

•    Millennials will do what’s best for their career – the top reasons for Gen Y employees to leave their jobs were that they had received a better job offer, their career goals didn’t match with their employer, and the company didn’t offer career growth opportunities.

•    Millennial professionals use a variety of tools for their job search – recruiters connect with Millennial candidates on job boards and corporate websites (62%), as well as LinkedIn (9%).

Share Your Thoughts
These stats provide some good insight into how Millennials approach their career, which affects everything from their job hunt to what they need to stay with an employer. With these findings in mind, share your opinion on how Millennial workers want to be managed in our monthly poll.
If you’re a Millennial, do you think these statistics accurately portray you? How do you think any job seeker, no matter their age, could use this information to help them in their job search? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

3 Times When a Functional Resume is Your Best Bet

Let’s face it, if everyone could get a foot in the door and personally introduce themselves to the employer they want to work for, then everyone would have the job of their dreams. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. So what can we rely on to incite interest from hiring managers and get ahead of the competition?

The answer is – a resume. This document has been known to make or break your chances at landing that job you desire. It’s often your first impression and the emissary that chronicles your work history and skills. But there is more than just one style of resume. The key to finding the right one is to figure out what compliments your work history and skill set. If you want to really flex the skills you have acquired then a functional resume is the right format for you. Below are three reasons to choose function over form.

  1. When You’re New to the Job Market
    College grads typically have little to no experience in the field of their studies. A functional resume allows you to show off what you know, what you’ve learned, and show that you have the know-how to get the job done. Remember to tailor the skills on your resume for each employer. Different aspects of your diversity or knowledge may be beneficial to some and not to others.
  2. When You Have Gaps in Your Work History
    Sometimes gaps in our work history are out of our control, and without an explanation they may give the wrong impression of your work ethic, or the appearance of a “job hopper.” Many companies may see the value in your experience but may not want to invest time and money to train you only to have you leave months later. A functional resume takes the focus off of when and where, and places it on the value you received from your time there.
  3. When You Don’t Have Relevant Work Experience
    Not all past experience will relate to the job you want. If you’re looking at beginning an advertising career, your accounting experience is probably not going to sell your creative side. A functional resume allows you to focus on the soft and hard skills that are more related to the position you want.

A functional resume may not be for everyone. If you don’t know what is best for you, look at your work history and put yourself in employers’ shoes. If your skills are valuable to the position but your years of unrelated employment aren’t, a functional resume is the way to go. Have any tips on how the functional format helped you land a job? Tell us in the comments section below.

What’s Missing From Your Résumé?

Resume_1 Do you ever wonder what goes through someone’s mind when they read your résumé? Are elements missing? Could your work history information be explained better? Employers are good at evaluating résumés because they’ve seen so many and have done it for a long time. To help you design a résumé that gets a second look, here are five standout tips.

1. Include a brief summary. Who are you and why should an employer be interested? Highlight your skills and abilities at the beginning of your résumé. The key is to tell the employer why the company should hire you – or what you can bring to the team. Share information like years of experience you have and highlight two or three of your skills. Be specific and keep your résumé summary to about two sentences. Use this as a quick way to grab an employer’s attention and encourage further reading.  

2. Don’t be overly wordy. Using more words on your résumé will not necessarily make you look more impressive to a potential employer. They don’t have a lot of time to devote to reading a lengthy document – instead they’re scanning for what stands out. Since you won’t have a lot of time to impress them, be sure to catch their attention quickly. Be clear, concise, and get to the point.

3. Be honest. In other words, don’t say you have five years of experience in something if you don’t. It’s always in your best interest to be truthful because an employer will find out. Employers are being more and more cautious about hiring. They’re not only checking your references, but they’re also searching for information online. Make sure you’re honest and upfront. 

4. Identify your results. Employers are more interested in your impact than your job duties, so include quantifiable information on your résumé to identify your accomplishments. Don’t just tell an employer what your responsibilities have been, but also identify how you’ve made a difference. For instance, if you’ve previously helped raise funds for something, tell how much money you received. If you created a system for streamlining your company’s printing process, tell how much time and money you saved the company. Also, if you’ve managed individuals, specify exactly how many.

5. Brag a little. If you’ve won an award or received a certificate for a job well done, make sure you share it on your résumé. Now is your chance to let others know why you’re amazing and the right person for the job. Create a short section at the end of your résumé and title it “Accomplishments.” Then, list out a few of your greatest achievements.

Creating a résumé isn’t a difficult process, but it does take a little strategizing and time. Block off some time on your calendar to focus on yours, and use these tips and others from our Résumé Boot Camp to ensure that yours isn’t missing something it needs.

Top Blog Posts and Polls from 2010

1223590_notebook_wih_spiral_and_red_cover Whether it’s been information on building a résumé, tips on interviewing, advice on job hopping or anything in between, we had you covered in 2010. We’ve provided you with the resources to help you with your career needs. So, here’s a quick recap of our top five most read Movin’ On Up blog posts and polls during the past year.

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2010

1. After the Interview’s Over: Advice Most People Ignore and Why It Hurts Them – Following up after an interview is a big part of the job search process, but many choose to skip this vital step. Follow these easy steps to work your way to a second interview.

2. The Silent Clues – How to Make Your Nonverbal Signals Send the Right Message – What do your nonverbal cues say about you? Make sure you send the right messages at work or during your next job interview.

3. 5 Steps to a Brilliant Reference List – Along with a standout résumé, you also need a top-notch reference list to accompany it. Employers want to see who you know and what those past supervisors think about you. These reference list tips can help you outshine the competition.

4. Hold the Phone: The Line Between Personal and Business – Today it seems like everyone in the workplace has a cell phone. Companies may or may not have policies on cell phone usage during business hours, but there is etiquette you should follow to make sure your phone isn’t a distraction.
 
5. 5 Common Words You Don’t Want On Your Résumé – Competition in the job market is tough. To help keep you ahead of the pack, make sure your résumé catches an employer’s attention. Check out these words you should avoid on your résumé.
 
Top 5 Blog Polls of 2010

1. How Bad Are Awful Co-Workers? – You know about bad bosses, but what about bad co-workers? From gossiping to not doing their work, just how bad are they?
 
2. What Kind of Résumé Do You Need? – Do you need a functional, chronological, or combination résumé? Take this quiz to find out what style works best for your needs.

3. Are You Looking for a Second Job for the Holidays? – To find out what people think about the economy, we asked who was looking for a second job for the holiday season. Based on the results, 49% of respondents said they were looking for a second job to earn more income. See the final results.
 
4. The Networking Wars: Does Online or In Person Work Best? – When it comes to getting a job, sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. Networking is an important tool in the job search process, but is in person or online networking more effective?

5. Text Messages Crossing the Line? – Texting is a quick and easy way to communicate, and it’s changing the way we do business. But, it can also cause some problems in the workplace. See the results of how many people said they received an inappropriate message from a co-worker.
 
These are just a few examples of the job advice we’ve provided in 2010 – and the best thing is this advice can help you as you move into 2011! Apply these tips to shine as you advance in your career and your job search. Best wishes for a happy and bright new year!

Hold the Phone: The Line Between Personal and Business

EntryLevelLifeButton_A Today it seems impossible to find someone who doesn’t have a cell phone of some kind. It’s also becoming impossible to find someone who’s not on their phone all the time. Your company may or may not have policies that forbid cell phones at work, so be sure you know the rules. If your company does allow you to have cell phones at work, there are some important things you need to be aware of. In a recent survey conducted by Express on smart phones versus workplace etiquette, 59% of voters said that most people are irresponsible with their smart phone use while at work. Phones can be an easy distraction, but follow these tips to help stay focused on the tasks at hand during your work day, and make sure your phone doesn’t become a distraction.

Keep it quiet. When you get to work, turn your cell phone to silent or vibrate mode. This will prevent your ringtone – however great you think it might be – from blaring across your workplace, alerting everyone that you’ve got an incoming call.

Limit your personal phone calls. If there is a reason you have to accept or make a personal phone call at work, keep it short and sweet. Don’t make too many personal calls at work because that will take time away from doing your job and might create a negative situation between you and your manager.

Excuse yourself. If you work in close proximity with your co-workers, like a cubicle, and do get a personal phone call, quietly step out to take it. Go to a quiet spot where you can possibly shut a door to keep your conversation private. Having a phone conversation could distract your co-workers and not everyone in your workplace wants or needs to hear your conversation.

Keep it tucked away. It’s not necessary to take your phone with you everywhere you go throughout your work day. Unless you are expecting an emergency phone call from someone, it is better to leave your phone in a secure place, like your desk, keys, or locker.  If someone does call and you’re away, they can leave you a message and you can call them back at a later, more convenient time. By leaving your phone behind during a meeting, it won’t be a distraction to you or others if someone calls you.

Create texting ground rules, too. Different generations have different expectations, so be mindful of others’ communication preferences. Be mindful that when you’re engaged in face-to-face conversations with co-workers, it’s important to give them your full attention. Make it a rule to not text at the same time you’re speaking with them.

Be cautious about smartphone apps. Smartphones are growing in popularity, and what they are capable of doing is quite impressive. With a smartphone, you have the ability to download applications for games such as Words with Friends – a scrabble game you can play with co-workers – or for social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. However “cool” these apps might be, they can cost your employer a lot of money in lost productivity if you’re more focused on your smartphone through the day than your job. Be responsible with your time while on the job and save your smartphone fun for your free time, such as lunch, breaks, or after work.  

It’s important to know about cell phone etiquette in the workplace. Always be aware of your personal phone usage and be sure that you’re getting your work completed first and foremost.

What’s the Worst that Can Happen? Saying No to Projects

EntryLevelLifeButton_C You agreed to lead staff meeting this morning. It’s your day to go on a lunch run for everyone. You have a conference call with a client right after lunch. You have three back-to-back meetings from 2:30 to 4 p.m. You agreed to help distribute the office mail. And, to top it all off, you’re working the weekend shift to help out a co-worker who’s sick. Just the thought of all you have to do is overwhelming. It’s not a bad thing to want to be a “super employee,” but when you try to take on everything by yourself, you quickly start to feel like you have too much to do and not enough time to get it all done.  If this sounds familiar, you could be overcommitted at work.

Juggling tasks and demands is a big part of any job in any workplace, and the art of time management is an important skill to have as an employee. But, when you get bombarded with projects, how many times do you agree to do something else when you’re already maxed for time? To effectively manage your workday, you have to learn the art of saying one little word: “no.” Although “no” can be a scary word to say, it’s much worse to over promise and under deliver. The art of saying “no” is all about how you approach it and how you say it. Here are some tips on how to make your “no” effective when you can’t say “yes” to everything.

Track your project workload. Always know what projects you’re working on, when they’re due, and how much time you’re spending on them. This keeps you aware of what projects you have already said yes to and whether or not you can take on anything else. If your boss wants to assign you four new projects with an immediate deadline by maintaining a project list you can show him whether or not that can be accomplished with your current workload. If it’s not, ask if you can work out a new project deadline so you can have the necessary time to make the project the best it can be, rather than doing something quickly and filled with errors.

Know your job priorities. What key tasks are you responsible for in your current job? In your job description, what goals were outlined for your career? Those goals and projects are usually your main focus. But, you will have times where you do need to help out a co-worker with some of their tasks or take on a special project that has nothing to do with your job. It’s never OK to use the excuse of “that’s not part of my job.” A team does have to give and take, but if special projects are taking over your work schedule and you’re not able to complete your core tasks, something needs to give. For instance, if a manager asks you to pick up their dry cleaning, it might be time to have a chat with your boss about what projects you can gracefully decline. If someone other than your manager asks you to take on a project, tell them, “thank you, but I will have to check with my manager before I know whether or not I can do this project.” If you don't know what the priorities are for your job, check out the Tough Conversations podcast series to learn how to approach your manager.  

Maintain your ethics. In the workplace, not everything you do is going to get you ahead of the game. Never under any circumstances should you do anything that compromises your integrity. For example, if a co-worker asks you to lie to your manager to cover up a mistake she made, that definitely justifies saying “no.” Sometimes saying “no” may make you the unpopular person, but it’s better than jeopardizing your values and losing your job. Don’t let individuals bully you into saying “yes” to something that’s against company policy or makes you feel uncomfortable. If someone asks you to do something questionable or illegal, tell them “no” and explain that you feel uncomfortable with that. If you continue to be asked to perform that task, contact your HR department.

Keep things relevant. Obviously if you don’t know how to do something, don’t just agree to take it on. If you find yourself in the situation of not knowing how to complete a project because you don’t have the skills, let your manager know your concerns. It’s better to decline the project rather than try to take it on and hurt your career in the process. Most managers and co-workers would be appreciative and understanding of what you can and cannot do. Instead, they should look at that as a learning process for you under the guidance of someone more experienced. In the event that this happens to you, explain that you would like to take on the project, but do not have the necessary skills to complete it. You could also let them know you’re interested in learning how to do that particular job, but you would feel comfortable with some training or supervision first. 

“No” doesn’t have to be a bad word, as long as you can logically show why that is the best answer in a situation. Just keep in mind that as you continue to grow and develop in your profession, you will be expected to take on more duties. As your schedule gets busier and your projects increase, be sure you’re in control of your projects and your workday so they don’t control you. Follow these basic tips to empower you to say “no” when necessary.