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Posts Tagged ‘career planning’

Jumping Ship?

January 8, 2010 1 comment

flickr.com: malabooboo According to yesterday’s results from a CareerBuilder survey, almost 20% of workers plan to leave their current position in 2010.

Other findings from the survey:

Pay – Fifty-seven percent of workers did not receive a raise last year, up sharply from 35 percent in 2008. Of those that did receive raises, 28 percent were given an increase of 3 percent or less. Seventy-one percent of workers did not receive a bonus.

To help make ends meet in 2009, 8 percent of workers took on a second job. Nearly one-in-five (19 percent) plan to find a second job in 2010 to supplement their main paycheck.

Career Advancement – Twenty-eight percent of workers are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the career advancement opportunities provided by their current employers. Ninety percent of workers did not receive a promotion in 2009, while nearly a quarter (23 percent) felt that they were overlooked.

Switching Industries – Twenty percent of workers said they plan to switch careers/fields in the next two years. The top reasons for switching careers include wanting to pursue a more interesting line of work (67 percent), higher pay (54 percent), more career advancement (41 percent) and increased stability (36 percent).

To learn new skills, 12 percent said they would head back to school to make themselves more marketable in the new year.

Work/Life Balance – Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of workers said they are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their work/life balance. This is up from 18 percent who said the same last year.

Training/Learning – Twenty-six percent of workers are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with training and learning opportunities provided by their current employers.

Leadership Ratings – Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of workers rate their corporate leaders as poor or very poor. Workers cited an inability to address employee morale (35 percent), not enough transparency (30 percent) and major changes are made without warning (28 percent) as their main concerns with senior leadership.

I find this to be very interesting.

It already seems that some companies are starting to hire again after a dismal 2009, so it makes sense that underpaid, overworked employees would look to greener pastures.  Especially since some jobs probably aren’t coming back.  That’s not necessarily new news, and there are obvious risks involved, but I find the Leadership Ratings percentages to be very telling.  Are that many people dealing with poor managers?

This all begs the question, what can employers do to retain talented workers, after having to make tough decisions, as many did last year?  In this economy, where we will be forced to do more with less, how can managers keep employees engaged and motivated?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Essential Interview Preparation

December 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Most people, when prepping for an interview, do a good job brushing up on the specific skill-set they will use on the job, whether it be sales techniques, writing code, etc., along with reviewing their previous work history.

That is the easy part. Then comes the nervous worry about how to answer those age-old, awful, and awkward interview questions that everyone hates (interviewers included!).

I recently came across this great article, originally printed in 1983(!), that lists 25 of these questions along with a brief explanation of why they are asked and how they should be answered.

26 years later, there is no doubt that a few of these will pop up somewhere in the interview process.

Taking some time during your interview prep to formulate a solid response to these questions will ease the worry and go a long way to building up that all-important confidence necessary to knock it out of the park.

Enjoy: The 25 Most Difficult Questions

P.S. Check out our online bookmarks for additional interview tips.

Categories: Job Search Tags: ,

Essential Resume Tips

December 3, 2009 1 comment

Writing a resume is often a daunting task. While a great resume won’t necessarily get the job, a poor one stops you dead in your tracks. Understand the process from a hiring manager’s point of view, put in some work upfront, set yourself apart from the herd and take that first step toward the offer letter.

General Guidelines

1. Keep in mind that a hiring manager will spend less than 20 seconds scanning your resume.

2. The ONLY thing a resume will get you, is a phone call from a recruiter, HR, or, at best, the hiring manager. Don’t expect any more, and be prepared to sell yourself over the phone when the call comes.

3. Don’t think in terms of “This is what I’ve done.” Write from the perspective of “This is how I will bring value to your company.”

Skip the Objective

Objectives on a resume are worthless. Your objective is to get the job. That’s why you sent your resume. Anything written here is fluff, and fluff is a killer. Leave out anything that doesn’t immediately speak to your ability to provide value in that specific role.

Provide a Bullet-Point Summary

Place this at the top of the first page, centered, underneath your contact information. Remember, you have less than 20 seconds to get the reader to see your value, and you are competing against a stack of hundreds of other resumes. Use this section to highlight your career. Great achievements, quantifiable results, awards, etc. Keep it short, no more than a third of the page. Make sure the bullet-points speak to the position you are applying for. You will go into more detail in the next section.

Use Keywords and Tailor Your Resume to the Job Description

Point of note here: Be honest. Period. Dishonesty is a waste of time for everyone. With that out of the way, it is absolutely essential to understand the job description and requirements, and show that your experience matches up. If this is too difficult, you are applying for the wrong position. Notice key words in the description and use them appropriately in your resume. This allows resume parsing technology to grab your resume from the stack when applying online.

**TIP** A good tip here is to keep a master, functional resume that lists your entire work history in great detail. When applying for a specific position, take the relevant parts from the master, and whittle it down to display results specific to the job.

Provide Quantifiable Results

A typical resume displays the job-seeker’s past responsibilities. A great resume displays the job-seeker’s past results. This is easy for sales professionals, slightly more difficult for others. However, results are always quantifiable and you need to be able to articulate yours.

End with Education

Unless you’ve just graduated from college and have no work experience, save this section for last. Hiring managers want to see relevant experience first and education is always secondary. Forget the GPA, too. Too much can be read into your GPA, good or bad, and it is a question you can answer in the interview.

Summary

The big picture here is that a great resume is a powerful sales tool and first foot in the door. Managers are overwhelmed by resumes. Many are bad, some are good, few are great. Results speak for themselves, and putting yours in an easy-to-read format will pay dividends.

Additional Tips

Use a cover letter as an extra sales tool. (Most people don’t bother to send a cover letter. Set yourself apart).

Keep the format clean and simple. Results should stand out, not fonts, templates, colored paper, pictures, etc.

Have someone proofread for you. Don’t let spelling or grammar mistakes overshadow solid experience.

Categories: Job Search Tags: ,

Using LinkedIn to Find Your Next Job

December 3, 2009 Leave a comment

First off, LinkedIn is just one tool that should be used in conjunction with other tools for a proactive job search. Like one of the arrows in your quiver.

That said, the folks at LinkedIn have created an excellent tool for marketing yourself to potential employers. Here are a few tips to get the most out of the service:

  1. Treat your profile like an online version of your resume – i.e., understand that while a great one won’t necessarily get you the job, a bad one can definitely hurt. HR, recruiters and hiring managers are all over LI, so definitely take the time to fill out your profile accordingly.

  2. Link to your blog/website/twitter/etc. The goal here is to create an online brand that allows you to effectively showcase your talents and knowledge across multiple outlets. This strictly refers to professional sites – keep the party pics on Facebook private.

  3. Get great recommendations. This is huge. Ask people in your network to say some kind words about you and offer to do the same in return (only if they deserve it, of course!). *Bonus Tip: Put those recommendations on a separate page on your resume – As a recruiter I can tell you that when I look through a stack of very similar resumes, the ones that come with recommendations definitely go to the top and get my first phone call.

  4. Join the right groups – Joining groups that are relevant to your experience & interests allows you to directly connect and interact with people in those groups, which leads to the next tip:

  5. Participate – Be an active participant in your groups by asking and answering questions and interacting with group members. This is where you get to show off your particular expertise and set yourself apart from the herd.

  6. Use the job search – This one is somewhat obvious but use the job search tool to find out who is hiring in your area and who you know that can connect you to the hiring manager. Then ask for an introduction. Don’t be overly salesy, but write a short paragraph about what you bring to the table, your contact info, and add a link to your profile. Boom! There’s your electronic cover letter & resume right in the hiring manager’s inbox.

  7. Connect to people with lots of contacts in the area that you are interested. People have different and passionate opinions about this but bottom line: the more people you connect with, the more people that can find you. You are searching for a job right?

  8. Applications If you have a blog, use the apps feature to link with your blog & highlight your expertise, right on your profile page

  9. Update your status to reflect your job search & qualifications – like the objective section on a resume. You can use Ping.fm for updating across multiple sites at once (twitter, facebook, etc.)

  10. Personalize – Feel free to add a little bit extra that you don’t put on your resume. Your interests, hobbies, etc. really don’t belong on a professional resume these days, but its okay to get somewhat creative with your profile. That said, please make it interesting & not annoying.

If you are just starting out, LinkedIn can definitely be overwhelming. That said, I strongly believe that logging on for just 5-10 minutes a day will quickly get you up to speed and that taking the above advice will give you a great tool for your proactive job search.

What about you, are you currently using LinkedIn as a resource? Had success? Frustrations?

Categories: Job Search Tags: ,