Search Results for: myth

Being a Hobbit in a Middle Earth Sized Job Market

The Hobbit Job SearchAs you’ve probably heard a million times, the fantasy epic, “The Hobbit” was released in theaters this weekend. It’s kind of a big deal right now. In its opening weekend, the movie broke box office records for December with more than $84 million in ticket sales. If you’ve been secluded in your hobbit hole and are unfamiliar with the tale or the classic book the movie is based on, here’s a brief overview:

Young mild-mannered Bilbo Baggins enjoys living a quiet life in his secluded village until he’s recruited by the wizard Gandalf to join him with a group of dwarfs on a wild adventure to get back their stolen gold from an evil dragon.

Little Bilbo is just trying to make sense of this huge world he’s been thrust into. Doesn’t that feel like you when searching for a job? You – being a lone job seeker in a giant world of organizations, committees, hiring managers, and competition you have no control over – can feel a lot like Bilbo setting out on his first adventure. But, you don’t have to feel that way. You can be the hero of your own job search if you take some simple cues from “The Hobbit.”

Seek to be Unique
At first, taking Bilbo on a dangerous adventure seemed like a bad choice. He had no traveling, combat, or leadership experience with no apparent skills that he could provide the group. The dwarfs were properly equipped and trained for almost anything and had been working together for many years. However, the wizard Gandalf saw something in Bilbo that the dwarfs didn’t. The hobbit was small, swift, and stealthy – the exact opposite of the loud, fully-armored dwarfs. This talent helps Bilbo save the dwarfs from certain doom on many occasions throughout the story.

As a job seeker, you may not be the most experienced or have the most connections, but you do have a talent or skill that is better than the others. Focus on what you do best and find the employers who are looking for those skills. Being a jack of all trades but a master of none isn’t as impressive as a master of one talent that is in demand.

Mentor Locator
You can’t do everything on your own. Bilbo never would have started if he didn’t get guidance and counsel from the wizard Gandalf. The wizard recruited and promoted Bilbo to the skeptic dwarfs and gave him the encouragement needed to finish the adventure.

That is why mentors are valuable resources who can help you focus your job search, open doors of opportunity, and even help develop your career after you find work. Start sharpening your networking skills like you would an Elven sword and build relationships that will lead to mentorship.

Outgrown the Comfort Zone
What separated Bilbo from the other Hobbits was his desire for adventure. He never would have left his shire if he didn’t get the nudge from Gandalf. So, the first step in your journey to employment should be to step out of your comfort zone. Take small steps that may not immediately land you your next job, but can help you develop skills and connections that will. Start with activities like volunteering, interning, or applying at a staffing agency.

Your job search may not be as dangerous as a trek across Middle Earth to fight a dragon, but sometimes finding a job may feel just as scary. A little Hobbit named Bilbo took a chance and had an adventure of a lifetime. Will you take the same chances in your job search?

Career Possibilities Without College Degrees

jobs without college degreeThere’s this little technology company, you’ve probably heard of it, called Microsoft. It only has 90,000 employees and a revenue of more than $70 billion in 2011. This wildly successful company was founded by Bill Gates, who was the richest man in the world during the early 2000s. There’s actually something very interesting about Bill Gates that many people don’t know.

He never graduated from college.

While he is an extreme example of success without a college degree, there are things you can do to achieve your career goals without attending a university. Here are some hints to help guide you when looking for a job without a degree.

Start at the Bottom and Give it Time
Sometimes slow and steady wins the race, especially if you’re just starting out and have very little experience. Consider industries that let you work into management positions without a college degree like real estate, aviation, sales, construction, or transportation.

The entry-level jobs in these industries may not be the highest paying jobs compared to jobs requiring a college degree, but if you demonstrate hard work ethics and grow in experience, you could move into higher paying jobs. It won’t be overnight, but it’s obtainable.

It’s All Who You Know
Employers are much more likely to promote hire someone they know and are familiar with compared to a stranger. That’s why it’s important to connect with people inside and outside your desired industry. If employers are familiar with your accomplishments and abilities, when possible, they will be willing to look past college degree requirements.

Make sure your resume and cover letter are in top shape. Include a phrase like,“did not obtain a bachelor’s degree” or something to that extent on your resume so it will get picked up by applicant tracking systems’ keyword searches. That way, you’ll have a better chance of talking to a decision maker.

To help get your foot in the door, call employers and ask to schedule an informative interviews to find out what skills and abilities are most needed in your desired industry. You will improve your interviewing skills, make strong connections, and develop a stronger career plan.

Expand Your Skills
To help develop your skills and experience, consider taking an apprenticeship, freelancing, volunteering, or working through a staffing agency. These are excellent ways to learn real skills and experience from highly skilled mentors to position you to move up in your career without a college degree.

Do some research to see if you need any specialized certification or skills to be qualified to work in your desired field. Those are great questions to ask during an informational interview or when being trained by someone. Some certifications might not be necessary to work, but can help you develop and grow your skills so you can market yourself better.

There are several different paths you can take to achieve your career goals. You just have to find the one that works best for you. Hopefully, you can use one of these suggestions above and find real success in your job search. If you want to learn about some great jobs that don’t require a college education, check out this list to help you get started. What are some of your success stories of finding a job without a degree?

How to Take Full Advantage of Your Staffing Agency

benefits of staffingWhen you’re between jobs, it can feel like you’re walking in an endless desert. It’s like you’ve been there forever and you can’t do anything else but walk aimlessly. The truth is, your job search doesn’t have to be that way.  Many job seekers and workers have discovered the benefits of working for a staffing agency.

Access to temporary work full-time jobs aren’t the only things staffing agencies have to offer. More than just providing work, they can help you develop a stronger job search outside of employment experience. Here are some lesser-known benefits of staffing agencies that you can take advantage of.

Résumé Review
One of the biggest perks of working with a staffing agency is your direct access to résumé experts. Your recruiter sees a large number of résumés every day, so they are often times well versed in the dos and don’ts of effective writing. This perk is often overlooked because workers are under the impression that since they are already working, their résumé doesn’t need work.

All résumés need to be constantly updated. Who better than your recruiter to help you best outline and describe your temporary work experience in a manner that’s appealing to employers?  If you’re interested in tightening or critiquing your résumé, talk to your recruiter. It’s free to schedule a time aside for you to go over the ins and outs of résumé writing. If your agency can’t, they can refer you to someone who can.

Resource Libraries
It’s important for staffing agencies to have employee satisfaction, retention, morale, and motivation. That’s why many agencies have meetings and lectures focused on helping you plan, succeed, and grow in your career. These gatherings let you discuss and learn about job related issues from experts and peers, which help build a better working relationship between the recruiter and you.

Most staffing agencies have resources full of useful information on interviewing, workplace etiquette, cover letter writing, and networking. When you develop stronger job skills, you’ll be better enabled to achieve your career goals, and your staffing firm will have a more qualified worker to place for its clients.

Software Training
Sometimes you have to take several placement tests before you can schedule an interview with a recruiter. Depending on what field and pay rate you want to be in, or where you want to go in your career, you might be tested on more than just basic use of word processors. Some clerical positions require more than a basic knowledge of Microsoft Office, and with the program frequently changing and updating, it can be difficult to keep up with it on your own.

If you want to enhance your office software skills, most agencies allow you to come in during your days off to train yourself. Recruiters will be impressed seeing you take the initiative to educate yourself and improve your skills. Employers like to see candidates get closer to their career goals by improving skills from programs offered by staffing firms.

While there may be some misconceptions about staffing agencies, there are several opportunities for you to learn and grow as a job seeker. What are some ways you’ve taken advantage of programs offered by staffing firms?

Find the Confidence to Speak up in a Meeting

Speakup_Jan2012_webThe famous author Mark Twain once said, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.” For many, it’s this mentality that keeps talented workers from expressing their ideas and experiences during meetings at work. No matter what your reason for staying quiet in a meeting, it’s important for you to have your voice heard. 

Not only is your employer losing a valuable insight or idea, but you are also slowing your career path and putting your eligibility for leadership in question. Even if you don’t have experience working in meetings, here are some ways to find the inner courage to speak up at meetings and make your presence known.

Rhyme and Reason

There may not be an “I” in the word “team,” but each individual in the meeting is there for a reason. You have been invited to a meeting because of some talent, skill, or knowledge you possess. Before you start thinking of excuses in your head of why you shouldn’t speak up, remember that you are supposed to be there, and the chairperson wouldn’t have included you if your abilities weren’t necessary. If you aren’t sure, ask your manager or the meeting organizer why you are being involved. This will help you get a better understanding so you can develop a strategy before attending. 

Prepare to be an Expert

Unless your meeting is impromptu or short-notice, you’ll have time to prepare. You’ll be much more likely to participate if you have a strong understanding of the material being discussed or the topic at hand. Take 10 minutes out of your day to research what is being discussed, write down any ideas or solutions you come up with, and any information that supports your points. If you’re unsure about the material you came up with, present the information to your manager to see if you are on the right track. Even if what you have doesn’t address the point of the meeting, your manager will be impressed by your initiative and drive.

This Little Light of Mine

If you hide yourself in the farthest, darkest place in the meeting room, you’ll be more likely to stay quiet. If possible, sit in the front of the meeting area where you’ll get the most people looking in your direction. If meeting at a table or circular room, try sitting next to the chairperson or organizer for the group. The more you’re in front of the action, the more likely you’ll be involved with the action. If you don’t think that will be enough, tell a manager or meeting leader to keep you in mind and ask you questions throughout the meeting to better your chances of having your opinions heard.

Don’t Abandon Ship

You’re prepped, you’re in the spotlight, and now you have to remember one important tip: stand your ground. Don’t back down at the first sign of challenge. Many individuals who usually dominate meetings have an “iron sharpens iron” mentality, and they could challenge your idea to make it better. It’s not a personal attack on you. If you have your research ready, you should be able to explain your point clearly and easily. Someone could bring up a point that you didn’t expect, but don’t get nervous. Explore those counterpoints and ask questions. Even though you might have to go back to the drawing board, your peers and managers will note the initiative you took, positioning you for leadership roles as you gain more experience and keep bringing ideas to the table.

Meetings don’t have to be scary if you don’t let them intimidate you. Use your best judgment and if you honestly feel like you can’t contribute or it’s a waste of time, it’s ok to consider walking away. But if you want to make a good impression and have your hard work and ideas help your employer move forward, you can now position yourself to let your voice be heard. What have you done to prepare yourself to speak up during an important meeting?