Tag Archives: work

Does Being Unemployed Make You Unemployable?

unemployment_web“If I’m unemployed, is it making me less employable for the jobs I’m applying for?” It’s the question facing millions of people who struggle to find work in a weak job market.

One of the long-lasting impacts of the Great Recession is how many job seekers are continuing to have trouble starting over in a new job. For the long-term unemployed (those out of work for more than six months), a Princeton University study found that only 11 percent found steady employment. So, does being unemployed make you less likely to get a job?

It Can, But It Doesn’t Have To

When an employer is looking over a resume, they want to see not only what type of work history you have, but also what you are currently doing to improve yourself professionally. While out of work, it’s tempting to focus on applying for as many jobs as possible and getting your information to your network of friends and family to help you get an interview. But your efforts can’t stop there.

If you’re unemployed, take this time to improve your current skills or learn a new one. A recent Harris Poll survey of the unemployed found that 64 percent are not planning to go back to school to make themselves more marketable to employers. Career Technical Education locations in your community often have classes you can take to keep you up-to-date in your field, but can also provide you with the opportunity to learn a different skill or trade.

When employers are struggling to find qualified workers in the industrial, health care, and IT fields, this may be the perfect time for you to learn a new skill set. Most programs can be completed in two years or less, and tuition is much more affordable than a traditional four year degree from a university.

Keep Working

Going back to school is great way to fill in the gap in your resume, but if that isn’t an option, consider taking a part-time job to add to your resume. This will demonstrate your work ethic and show employer you’re ready for an opportunity to continue your career. And if part-time work isn’t an option, consider volunteering in a way that uses your skills.

Whether your background is in administrative work, human resources, accounting, or another field, you have something to offer to a non-profit or charity. Most of these organizations are often under-staffed and depend on volunteers with expertise in different areas to come in and do some work for them for free.

When a potential employer looks through the stack of resumes and sees that you’ve spent time serving others in the community using your skills and expertise, you will stand out and have a leg up on the competition.

Some Employers May Not Hire You

In a few places, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against job seekers based on their employment status. But for the most part, there is no legal protection from your unemployment having an impact on the hiring process, and that means you may run into this problem.

So what can you do? If you think an employer won’t hire you because you’ve been out of work, it’s a tough situation to deal with. But when you turn your focus from the gap in your work history on your resume, to the people you know, your job search could be revitalized.

Connect with People and Stay Positive

Build your network of contacts. Reach out to family and friends to introduce you to people who could have an impact on your job hunt. Help a potential employer get to know you as great candidate and not another resume in the stack sitting on their desk.

If you’ve done all you can to improve yourself since becoming unemployed, it’s likely you won’t stay out of work for long. The Harris Poll survey of the unemployed also found that 91 percent of the unemployed are hopeful they will find a job they really want in the next six months. Hard work during this time in your life will set you up for success in your future career and make this an experience you look back on with pride as you overcame obstacles that wanted to keep you down.

How do you make sure you’re still employable if you’re unemployed? Share with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

5 Great Apps To Help You Prepare For An Interview

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“There’s an app for that!” is an iconic Apple Inc. slogan, one of several companies capitalizing off of the trend of desktops being replaced by mobile devices. According to a five year report by “Flurry,” a leading producer of app analytics, consumers now spend two hours and 42 minutes a day on their phone, with 80% of that being used for apps and only 20% for internet search.

This increase in phone usage means the need for apps continually increases as well. From documenting every second of your life to maximizing your next selfie, there truly is an app for everything. Among those millions of apps are actually some very useful tools for job seekers. So which of them can help you land that next job? Below you’ll find five apps that are sure to make an impact on your interview preparation.

Glassdoor
Knowing your audience is very important in many facets of life, and it can definitely be a winning factor in an interview. Glassdoor calls themselves the world’s most transparent career community. It is a largely crowd sourced online resource that connects you with company information, employee reviews, salary information, and job descriptions. This knowledge can be helpful in giving you a deeper understanding of the companies that you are applying with.

Interview Prep Questions
Once you get in the door of an employer, it’s not always smooth sailing. Some hiring managers will ask you tough questions that could rock your boat if you aren’t prepared. This quick-flip app displays questions similar to flash cards and lets you get familiar with frequently asked questions so you can give solid, confident answers.

MonsterInterviews
A simple app by career search company Monster. This app has multiple tools to help you prepare with sample interview questions, company research tools, and last minute tips to keep you calm and collected on the interview big day. Another unique function it provides is a post-interview calendar option. With this you can set reminders for follow up calls and save important notes that you can reference if you get called in for a second interview.

Google Maps
Although not directly related to the actual interview, knowing where to go for your interview can relieve one more stressor and help keep you focused on the task at hand. I speak from experience – getting lost and calling the employer for directions doesn’t help put your best foot forward.

How-to-tie-a-tie
An integral part of getting your next job is dressing the part. And, anyone who wears ties in their day-to-day lives will tell you the knot in your tie is very important in how you present yourself. So if you aren’t familiar with tying a tie, this app can definitely help top off your appearance with a top-notch knot.

Not everything can be solved with your digital companion, but when job hunting you can never have too much support. Regardless of how you prepare, be sure to research and prepare for the tough questions. Most importantly, be sure to stand tall, stay confident, and present yourself like you are their next most valuable employee. If you know of other apps that are complementary to the interview preparation be sure, to let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Poor Leadership Top Workplace Stress

StressPollResults_May2014_webApril was stress awareness month, so we checked in with our readers on the top workplace stress triggers in our monthly poll. Topping the list with 21% of the results was “lack of/poor leadership,” followed by 15% responding that “long hours/increasing workloads” are the biggest trigger of stress. Tied for the third spot with 10% of the votes were “inadequate pay/benefits” and “poor working environment/company culture.”

Here is how the remaining responses ranked:

  • Concerns about job security: 9%
  • Poor work-life balance: 9%
  • Work is uninteresting/not your chosen career: 7%
  • Poor relationships with co-workers: 7%
  • Inadequate job training: 5%
  • Lack of opportunities for advancement: 4%
  • Other: 3%

Top Causes of Stress for Leaders and Managers
Leadership challenges plague both employees and those charged with leading a company. Express Employment Professionals also asked the same questions about workplace stress to the readers of Refresh Leadership, a blog for managers and leaders, and “lack of/poor leadership” topped their list with 17% of the votes. “Long hours/increasing workloads” came in second place with 15% of the votes, ranking the same spot on the list as top causes of stress for the Movin’ On Up readers.

If you’ve thought being the boss would solve all your stress at work, this may crush your hopes of an easier life when you move up the corporate ladder. However, it can be comforting to know that you’re not alone in facing challenges with leadership. A search for leadership books on Amazon returns over 20,000 results, a testament to the true struggle leading a team and working with others can be. As a point of reference, there were only 10,000 weight-loss books on Amazon, even with the constant diet fads.

Leadership is often about communication, and your manager may be better served in helping you if you find an effective and efficient way to share your challenges and successes. It may not solve all your workplace worry, but it could be the start of less stress.

Ways to Cope
Check out these related blog posts with suggestions on managing workplace stress and improving relationships at work:

What have you found to be the most efficient way to manage workplace stress? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Reinvent Your Online Identity

online _identity_May2014Whether you’re looking for a job and want to expand your network or just wanting to freshen up your social media presence, it’s important to frequently revamp your online identity. A revamp doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your social media presence, but it’s a good way to put your best foot forward. Here are some ways you can get started on revamping your online identity today.

First Impression

Some people say first impressions last a lifetime. If that’s the case, your profile needs to be the best representation of yourself it can possibly be. Do you have pictures or posts that aren’t great representations of you? Do yourself a favor and delete things off your page that could potentially hinder or cause a hiring manager to change their mind about you. Also, be mindful that if you’ve applied for jobs, hiring managers are probably already checking out your online identity.

A new survey by CareerBuilder, nearly two in five companies use social networking sites to research job candidates and according to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, “Employers are using all the tools available to them to assure they make the correct hiring decision,” and that includes social media.

Stay Active

Do you actively search for job opportunities through social media networks? If not, becoming active through social media groups is a great way to start. You can learn about companies and gain knowledge of different industries just by being part of a group on LinkedIn. You never know if a LinkedIn connection you made through a group can be helpful in getting a job in the future. A recent Jobvite survey shows that more people get hired from online referrals and company career pages than from job boards. So it’s important to stay active online, never stop networking, and keep everything professional.

Keep it Current

Is the information on your profile accurate and up-to-date? Sometimes we get busy and forget to update our information – especially after a move or change in job. Be sure to take a good look at your social media profiles and make sure all your information is current. Not only does your information need to be consistently updated, but it’s also important to keep an up-to-date profile picture.

It’s never too late to reinvent your online identity. You can start today by using these quick tips we’ve shared. Have you recently updated your social media profiles and got a job as a result? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Know When To Go – Job Change

Know when to go_May2014Everyone has moments when they wonder if it’s time to make a change and find a new job. But, if you find yourself constantly thinking of leaving your job and wishing you worked somewhere else, you probably need to do a little soul-searching. It may be time to try something new, or you may just have unrealistic expectations of your job.

Making a job change can be a great career move, but it’s not something you should take lightly. In order to know when to go, you need to take an honest look at your situation. Understanding your reasons for leaving will not only help you make a wise decision, but also ensure your future success wherever you work.

How’s Your Attitude?
There is no such thing as a stress-free job. Even the most passionate professionals can find themselves frustrated and stressed out. So don’t make a quick decision to change jobs when you’re emotional. Take the time to uncover if you are just stressed or have burned out. Also, see if making a conscious effort to have a positive attitude for a few weeks changes your perspective.

Are You Running Away From Someone?
Toxic coworkers or managers can ruin any job. However, there will always be difficult people in the workplace you don’t get along with. If you want to change jobs to get away from someone, consider if you’re dealing with a true toxic relationship or if it’s just a matter of personality difference. And, to be fair, you should also reflect on if you’ve played a part in creating the negative relationship and if there is a way you can turn things around.

Have You Maximized Your Current Job?
A lack of career development opportunities is a legitimate reason for leaving a job. However, it’s easy to mistakenly assume you’ve outgrown your current job and employer. Think through all your job responsibilities – have you mastered them all? If so, are there other skills you could learn in your department or in other departments? Sometimes lateral moves at your current workplace can offer the challenge and development you’re looking for, without the uncertainty and hassle associated with a new employer. This is also the time to decide if you want to be a job-hopper or a job-shopper.

Before you make the transition into job-hunting mode, take the time to consider why you want to change jobs. If you decide to leave, then you’ll already know some of the key things you’re looking for in a new job. And, if you decide to stay, you’ll know how to improve and be happy in your current job.

How do you know when to go? What do you look at when you’re considering changing jobs? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

How to Find Your Breakthrough

breakthrough_April2014Have you ever dreamed of having a great job, owning a company, or being a millionaire someday? Although we all want the best that life has to offer, our dreams won’t become a reality without hard work and unwavering determination, it doesn’t happen randomly or by accident. So, here are a few tips to help you along the way to your breakthrough.

We All Have to Start Somewhere

Steve Jobs is a perfect example of how hard work pays off, and his life story reminds us that we all have to start somewhere. After graduating high school, Jobs enrolled in college but dropped out right after his first semester. Throughout his life, Jobs struggled in school. But, he didn’t let that stop him from founding one of the world’s most innovative companies, Apple. Steve Jobs believed that every obstacle you encounter in life will prepare you for the future, and every aspect of the struggles we face will somehow help out down the road. His mindset was one of determination and grit. “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards,” Jobs said. “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Know What You’re Good At

Before you get your foot in the door at a company and start trekking down your career path, you’ve got to know where you want to go and what you’re good at. So, how do you make your dreams of having a great job become reality? You’ve got to be intentional about your job choices. If you want to do website design, search for entry level jobs in an IT role. Whatever field you’re interested in, look for jobs where you can learn skills in that specific trade. Try to get the most out of each job by looking through a learning opportunity lens. Remember to know where you’re going and have an end goal in mind.

Don’t Give Up

At the end of the day most people are looking for that big break that will make them successful in their career, job search, and life, but most times it’s the first step that leads to the breakthrough. All you’ve got to do is work to reprogram your brain to become more positive, in order to gain a competitive edge at work and in the job search process. Don’t look at a job as a dead end, focus on what you can gain and experience to take away. Even negative or stressful situations can teach you. Take this lesson and apply it to any area of your life where you need a break-through or positive change. Don’t just wait for situations to change, begin today by taking empowered actions to bring the breakthrough you’ve needed.

Hard Work Pays Off

Zig Ziglar once said, “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” This means we have to work to gain experience and the knowledge over the course of a career. And, even when you arrive at that dream job and achieve success, you have to continue to work hard. Honestly, big breaks don’t just happen; people make them happen through, hard work, determination, networking, courage, and passion.

How have you made changes and seen a breakthrough in your job search or at work? Let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Cashing Your Paycheck Could Be Costing You

Cashing Paycheck_April2014Everyone loves pay day. It’s a great feeling to see your hours of hard work result in a paycheck. But, there’s a chance you’re not pocketing as much of your earned money as you could be. It all boils down to your bank account, or, to be more specific, your lack of a bank account.

The Cost of Cash
US News reported, “According to the FDIC, 28.3% of U.S. households either don’t have bank accounts or rely on alternative channels for financial services, such as check-cashing.” Whether by choice or not, many people and households depend on major retailers, check-cashing stores, or the check-issuing banks to cash their paychecks to access their money. And, as US News pointed out, this service comes at a price, ranging from a flat-fee to a percentage of the check amount.

Specifically, that price, according to NBC News, which highlighted a new study from Tufts University, is about $200 billion a year. To narrow it down, that means “someone without a bank account pays an average of $3.66 more a month than someone with a bank account,” and is “four times more likely to pay fees to access their own money.”

Go Electronic
The best way to avoid losing your hard-earned money is to use any electronic funds transfer (EFT) options your workplace offers. Most employers, offer some form of EFT, whether direct deposit or paycard, because it saves them the time and cost associated with paper checks. And, EFT can save you money too. NBC News reported that “getting paid electronically is often significantly cheaper than receiving a paper check” when there are fees for cashing a check without an account.

With so many people living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to save money for emergencies or retirement, it’s more important than ever to manage where your money is going. Find out if your banking method is costing you money, and if EFT could put a few dollars back in your pocket. You shouldn’t have to pay to get access to your money.

What have you found to be most effective for accessing your paycheck? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

written by: Ashlie Turley