Monthly Archives: January 2018

Why You Need a Career Development Plan

Going into the job search blind is a bad idea. Lack of preparation will result in an unfocused job search. You don’t want to spend hours searching job websites and applying for everything in sight that meets your payment requirements.

Instead, consider creating a career development plan. A career development plan is a document wherein you list your goals (both short- and long-term) as they relate to your current and future jobs. You then connect those goals with the accomplishments and milestones required to reach them.

Adapt this plan to your job search. The first goal on your plan should be to find a job. What do you need to accomplish that goal? How many resumes do you need to submit each day? Should you take classes at a nearby tech school or online?

Job searching is much easier once you have an idea of what you want and the types of jobs and milestones required to get there. And once you do find employment, the plan allows you to track your progress towards your ultimate career goals.

Still not convinced writing a career development plan is worth the effort? Here’s why it is.

It allows you to celebrate small victories

If you write a goal down, you become accountable to that goal. “I hope I send in five resumes today” becomes “I have to send in five resumes today to meet my goal.” And when you do meet that goal, you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Checking things off a list always feels good, right? That’s because you have proof that you moved the needle that much closer toward achieving your goals.

You’ll know what you want

We all need to work to make money—that’s the main goal. However, ideally, you’ll eventually find a job you enjoy. Figuring out where you want your career to go allows you to be more passionate about your job search. Instead of being depressed about your life circumstances and unsure of how you got here, you’ll be able to look directly to your career development plan to see what needs to be done to reach your goals.

You’ll identify what you’re doing wrong

If all your goals are reasonable and you’re still not meeting them, it means something needs to change. Unless you’re dealing with a sick relative or other recent personal issue, odds are you’re approaching your job search or career the wrong way. Perhaps you’re spending too much time surfing online when you should be applying to jobs, or maybe you keep putting off joining a professional group or other organization that allows you to network. If you’re employed, it could be something small like taking lunch breaks that are too long or being too afraid to speak up in meetings. Whatever the reason, having a career development plan allows you to know when you’re off track. After that, it’s easier to identify the problem areas and fix them.

Do you have a career development plan? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!




Do You Suffer from the Winter Blues?

There may be more at play

In the United States, many of us are currently experiencing one of the coldest winters on record. With cloudy days becoming the norm and sunny scenes still weeks away, it’s understandable if you’re feeling low.

However, if your bad feelings are starting to heavily impact your job search, it might be possible that something more serious is going on. Maybe you’ve started to snap at your friends, or keep sleeping through your alarm clock. You never really feel awake—not even a third cup of coffee helps. You might be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Look no further than the infographic below (provided by for the major SAD signs. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, get in touch with your doctor to discuss ways to combat the disorder.

Poll: What Career Goals Will You Accomplish in 2018?

It’s January of 2018, which means an opportunity for a whole year of professional accomplishments. Deciding what goals you want to achieve now and creating a plan to get there will ensure you meet them.

Whether you choose to focus on getting a promotion or more interviews, we want to hear about your goals!

Let us know by voting in our poll!

How to Turn a Job Fair into a Job Offer

Not sure how to prepare for a job fair? We’ve got you covered.

Ours is a digital world, full of instant tweets and live Facebook updates. So it’s not surprising that many people have started to doubt the usefulness of the traditional, decidedly non-digital job fair.

Why go through the trouble of meeting a recruiter in person when you can simply email them a resume with a link to your LinkedIn profile?

Because meeting recruiters in person provides a chance to make a real, personal connection. To show them that you’re more than digital words on a digital page.

Job fairs come in all shapes and sizes, so odds are you’ll be able to find one in your industry. Some post their information online. Many college-sponsored job fairs are open to everyone, so even if you aren’t a student, there’s still an opportunity to be seen. Check out The United States Job Fair Directory for job fairs in your area.

Make the most of your job fair experience with these three tips for navigating it.

1. Prepare

A job fair is basically one huge chain of interviews. And just like any traditional interview, preparation starts before you even get to the event. Begin by discovering what companies will be there and which jobs they are currently hiring for. Browse their websites and prepare a few insightful questions.

Tailor your resume for the companies you’re interested in. That doesn’t mean adding fluff or lying—it just means framing your experiences in a way that is relevant to the job.

Get in touch with whoever is facilitating the job fair. Ask them what companies are going to be there (if that information isn’t already available online), and who is going to be representing the companies you’re interested in. Then look that person up online see what information you can discover.

Be sure to ready yourself for any question you might be asked by having a quick “elevator speech” prepared; something short and sweet that tells them why you’re worth hiring.

Finally, make a schedule and plan your day. Allocate time for both your dream company and your second or even third choices. They might surprise you!

2. Be Professional

Would you wear jeans and a t-shirt to a professional interview? Hopefully not. The same rules apply to a job fair. Dress for the job you want. Business casual at the least (usually dress shirt and slacks for men, skirt and blouse for women), preferably business professional (suits for both men and women). This is applicable regardless of industry—even if you’re not looking for a professional position, dressing to the nines will make you stand out as a serious candidate.

Introduce yourself with a firm handshake and conduct yourself with a good, enthusiastic attitude. Take notes after each interview to avoid forgetting even the smallest detail.

Keep your visits at each booth short and avoid letting the conversation become a monologue. Treat everyone professionally, including other job seekers. You never know where that next connection might come from, and odds are everyone has insight to share.

3.  Follow Up

After you get home, review your notes. Decide which organizations made an impression on you and which ones didn’t. Then organize your huge stack of business cards and start the follow-up process. Be polite and succinct with your emails, and consider sending out a few hand-written thank you notes as well.

In addition, don’t forget to apply for any interesting positions online. Just handing over your resume doesn’t mean you’re being considered for the position. When you do apply, remember what was important from the recruiter’s viewpoint, and reference your conversation.

What has been your job fair experience? Let us know in the comments section below!

Poll Results: What’s Keeping You from a Promotion?

Save Money at WorkLast month we conducted a Movin’ On Up poll asking readers why they think they haven’t received a promotion.

What Employees Say

Just under 28% said it was because of favoritism, while 12% said there just weren’t any positons to promote to.

“Other” took up 13% of the vote, with users submitting answers including “haven’t asked for one,” and “I’m a temporary employee.” Some cited “age discrimination” or “it’s a boy’s club” being the problem.

Twelve percent believed their boss was jealous of them, while 11% noted their companies can’t currently afford promotions. Eight percent blamed coworkers for sabotaging them, while 5% said they simply hadn’t been at the company very long. Four percent don’t think they are experienced enough for a promotion.

But what about the other side? What are managers thinking when they pass on promoting an employee? Is favoritism really that big of a factor?

What Employers Say

In a 2016 CareerBuilder Survey, employers were asked a series of questions regarding what makes an employee less likely to get a promotion.

Responses ranged from physical (44% were against provocative attire, while 43% couldn’t stand a shabby appearance), to behavioral (62% were against a negative or pessimistic attitude or regularly showing up to work late, while 49% took offense at regularly leaving work early or taking too many sick days). Thirty-nine percent didn’t like employees spending office time on personal social media accounts, while 27% were triggered by initiating non-work related conversations with coworkers.

In the end, there was a huge list of reasons why employers were unlikely to promote employees. And those are just the reasons that have nothing to do with performance.

What We Say

What does this mean for employees? You may not ever know why your employer isn’t promoting you. Maybe they really do favor others. Maybe it’s your goatee. It could even be something silly like the way you laugh. Or it could really be performance-related.

If you truly feel you’re ready for a promotion and your work ethic is outstanding, you only have one option—asking your manager for a promotion. If it doesn’t go through, ask why. And if you think their reasoning is flawed, or it isn’t something you can or are willing to change, be ready to move on.

How have you dealt with not receiving a promotion? Let us know in the comments section below!


Getting Back Into the Job Search After a Gap

New year, new you.

Maybe you’ve been staying at home taking care of the kids for the past decade. Perhaps you dropped out of the workforce to care for your ailing parents. Whatever the reason, you’ve been out of the workforce for an extended amount of time, and now you’re ready to jump back in.

But how do you fill that gap on your resume? Although the details will differ depending on the industry you’re trying to rejoin, there are a few things to always keep in mind.

1. Acknowledge the Gap
Companies want to hear you tell them why you’re right for the position. They don’t want to hear your reasons for being out of the workforce—as far as the job search is concerned, those are irrelevant excuses. The first step to getting back into the workforce is accepting that you were out of it, and employers are going to notice that. Don’t try to beat around the bush or fill the gap with fluff.

Having a blank space on your resume is not a negative. It’s an opportunity to do something more.

2. Revamp Your Accomplishments
Turn your excuses into accomplishments. Show off who you are as an individual. Why did you get out of the workforce in the first place? What goal were you trying to accomplish? You have achieved that goal, so don’t be afraid to mention it. Tell prospective employers that you have realized that dream (whether it be raising your children, caring for your parents or other relatives, or traveling the world), and now you’re ready to bring all that passion to a new challenge.

What else were you doing while you were out of the workforce? If you volunteered in any capacity, include it. Even volunteering at your child’s school is something worth noting. If you were in the PTA, put that down, too. Any side projects you worked on are fair game as well.

3. Have a Plan
How do you want to portray yourself to employers? Once you’ve decided, use your resume to accomplish it. If you want a job in childcare, use your experience with your own children to show you can do the job. Taking care of your kids is a job after all.

Think of your gap as a job. What did you do? How many years did you do it for? What were your responsibilities? Apply that methodology to all your accomplishments and your resume will start to take shape.

Set a timeframe for finding a job and plan the milestones required to get there. What skills does your desired job require? What do you need to do to develop those skills? How long will that take? You need to treat your job search like a job. That means setting goals and following through on those goals.

4. Be Willing to Learn
Passion and drive alone aren’t going to get you the job. It’s a competitive job market, so you’ll need to play catch up. Enroll in online classes or check out your nearest CareerTech. You can even enroll in a community college if you have the time. Regardless of method, you need to do something to increase your skillset, and show that you’ve already been doing what it takes to succeed.

A great way to build experience and learn at the same time is volunteering at your local library. Volunteering gives you something to put on your resume, while the numerous books, programs, and meetings available at the library provide opportunities to learn.

5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Above all else, don’t try to equate your accomplishments to those of others. Everyone’s path is different. Just because your friend Sally could be a company vice president and mother of two doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. Your cousin Tom starting a million-dollar tech startup has nothing to do with your own life.

A prolonged job search can be frustrating, especially after a gap. You’ll be tempted to compare yourself to everyone else and where they are on their career path. Don’t! You don’t know their story, and, to be frank, their story has little to do with yours. Focus on yourself and your own goals. What do you want? What makes you happy?

How have you dealt with resume gaps in your career? Let us know in the comments below!

What’s the Best Job Search Website: Part 1

The pros and cons of the most popular job search sites

Our Assessment

Indeed. Monster. CareerBuilder. They are considered the titans of the job search scene. If you’re applying online, chances are you’ve visited some of these sites. If you haven’t, you’ve been doing your job search game a huge disservice.

Each site has its own intricacies and “culture.” Meaning each site is different in its own unique way.

Still not quite sure what we mean? Here are the differences between the major job search websites so that you can choose the right one for you.

Indeed, along with Monster, is one of the most frequently used job search websites. This is partly because it is both a job search engine (in that it lists jobs the website finds on its own) and a job board (meaning that companies can post their jobs to the site).

The great thing about Indeed is it provides job information for every industry under the sun, and even lists jobs you might not think of that use your skill set. It is the most varied of the job search platforms, and you can find everything from contract, volunteer, and internship work to full-time and professional positions. However, because of its popularity, job listings you find are sometimes unrelated to what you want and may clutter your search results.

Indeed also has a company review function, although the number of reviews varies depending on the company. Keep in mind that when it is used, it’s more likely to be used by those dissatisfied with the company, so you may get a more biased assessment.

There are also many “sponsored” job listings, where companies pay Indeed to feature their content. This, combined with the bare bones look of the site, can be frustrating after a few hours of job searching. On the bright side, the site has plenty of subsections and categories to narrow your search. There’s also a salary predictor so you can get some idea of what others are getting paid in your industry and similar positions.

Monster, one of the older job search engines on our list, was created in 1994. But that doesn’t make it any less useful. All those years of experience have paid off. Monster offers an incredible amount of filtering options, and customer service that responds in a quick and efficient manner.  The website design is clean and pleasing to the eye, and sponsored posts are bolded or highlighted, making it less obvious this is a pay-to-play game.

Monster is also frequently a company’s go-to job search site because of the pricing options. A company pays a flat rate for a job posting of either 30 or 60 days. Discounts are available for multiple job postings. Monster also features more industrial and commercial jobs than Indeed.

CareerBuilder focuses on job searchers that have college degrees. As implied by the name, the site caters to those that have already been in the workforce for some amount of time and want to continue building their career, not those fresh to the workforce.
Many employers choose CareerBuilder because they want less, more qualified applicants. This means you won’t see as many entry-level job listings on the site.

CareerBuilder is purely a job board, not a job search engine. This means that companies can post jobs directly to the site, but the site won’t pull submitted job listings from elsewhere online. This once again ties into the more selective nature of the platform.

CareerBuilder also has something called “My Career Path.” This is a salary aggregator that can tell you the average, high, and low salary ranges for your position at both the national and state level.

Any other job search websites you want to hear about? Let us know in the comments and we’ll feature them in Part 2!