Posts tagged #Jobs

Are You Working At A Dead-End Job?

Americans spend more than half of their waking hours at work, yet according to recent data, more than 70% of workers are professionally disengaged. Being “checked out” or unhappy at work can lead to poor performance and low productivity and the feelings can also spillover to your personal life. While legitimate factors such as the economy, expectations of doing more with less or working harder for lower pay and little recognition may be to blame, there could be other variables at play.

A major unrecognized factor to workplace discontentment is that professionals may in fact be at a dead-end job and it's time to do something about it. But before taking the leap into finding new work, it’s important to identify possible warning signs of a dead-end position, including:

  • A raise is not in imminent;
  • A promotion is unlikely;
  • Offering suggestions for improving processes or procedures are not well received or implemented;
  • There is little or no encouragement to take on more responsibility;
  • The workload keeps increasing without more compensation and upward mobility does not seem within reach.

If a job meets several of the above criteria, it’s time to find the next professional move—but that doesn’t necessarily mean jumping ship to a new employer. Consider the following:

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Posted on July 30, 2013 .

Why Temping Is Good For Your Career

With the U.S. economic recovery still facing headwinds, insecurity still hangs over many business owners as they worry about how the ongoing fiscal uncertainty will impact their bottom lines. For this reason, a growing number of employers have shied away from adding full-time workers to their payroll and instead favor hiring temporary or freelance workers to fulfill a short-term need or to work on pending projects. Recent data shows an estimated 17 million Americans are currently employed on a temporary or contract basis, making up 12% of all employed people in the U.S.

Many Americans favor full-time employment because of the benefit packages and the steady workflow, but if approached correctly temporary or freelancing work can be a valuable asset to a career. Here's why:

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Posted on July 17, 2013 .

Classic Mistake #2: Hiding Behind Your Online Profile

It’s clear how dependent we’ve become on social media, or SoMe (a mnemonic I’ve recently come to learn). We rely on SoMe for everything from job searches to career development and branding, to connecting with like-minded people, to finding friends and even to finding love. Some take SoMe to a level that replaces in-person, face-to-face human interaction or, to go even further, we often use it to avoid feeling rejected by peers, potential mates and potential employers. There is something about cyberspace as a buffer between us and the other person that makes us feel safe, but it’s also working toward our detriment. In the land of the unemployed, SoMe serves as a way to be satisfied that we’re doing SOMETHING to help ourselves and when a response to our applications never materialize into employment we can say “at least I tried.” While it’s commendable that you are doing something rather than sitting around doing nothing at all, your online dependency is hurting you if you’re not doing anything in addition. The question is, how do we create a hybrid approach that combines the best of the SoMe world with the old school approach that has worked for generations?

First, let me reintroduce you to the telephone. Somehow we have decided that texting, email and SoMe direct messaging is the only way to communicate. While it allows us to stay connected more regularly in a less intrusive way (as we can tap someone while not interrupting if they’re busy at that moment), online methods gives the recipient a license to get back to you when they get back to you. Picking up the phone has many benefits starting with its display of your confidence and tenacity.

Next, if you are spending day-after-day sitting in front of your computer then it’s time to step away from the terminal and get outside in the 3D world. Use SoMe to connect with people to set up in-person meetings. Even if that person doesn’t have a job to offer you, they could be a great resource or may know someone looking to hire someone just like you. This is where networking and being an Occupreneur is not only valuable, but essentially vital to your success.

Finally, don’t be afraid to go to new places alone. Most people feel funny about sitting in a coffee shop or bar, or going to a social event such as a fundraiser without a wingman. What’s amazing is that once you get used to and more comfortable with being in places by yourself, you suddenly don’t feel alone because the chances of meeting new people becomes so much greater than if you were sitting somewhere with a friend. When you’re with a friend it can make you seem less approachable. And you never know who you will meet or who that person may know. That said, always make sure you feel safe when going it alone.

And one final word; don’t get discouraged. It’s so easy to when we feel like nothing is happening or moving in the direction we want or need it to. That doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. Keep pushing through by talking to and meeting new people, while following up with those who you’ve already been in contact with. One of the best pieces of advice my father gave me was that if you throw enough stuff against the wall eventually something will stick. But please be deliberate with what you ‘throw’ because throwing everything all over the place will work against you!

Posted on June 19, 2013 .

Your Resume: Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

I am often asked to review clients’ resumes and provide feedback. While I try to accommodate these requests, I do first disclaim that I'm not an expert in resume writing and suggest that anyone seeking those services should hire a professional resume writer. However, what I can do is provide you with some general tips to improve yours right now:

  1. Look at job postings online and design your bullet points based on the requirements. If you're seeking a particular job or industry, it’s important to read as many postings online as you can and use the content to your benefit. The purpose here is to gain clarity on employers' needs by identifying the main points of the job descriptions. Then make sure the bullets on your resume answers those needs but make sure you use your own words (no one likes a plagiarizer) and always be truthful. It’s more than ok to be creative and show how your skills (both hard skills and soft skills) can contribute to an organization, however, it’s another to flat out lie.
  2. Use your resume as a self-promotion tool. If you don't promote yourself, no one will. This is where many people miss the mark. This doesn't mean be cocky or arrogant, but I’ve seen it time and time again, highly successful people diminish how valuable they are and how much they are capable of. And by the way, myself included. I recently had a conversation with a headhunter (not for a job… I met him at a friend’s house). He asked me about my professional background, looking for my resume, it seemed. After going through the play-by-play he commented on how impressed he was by how much I’ve done in my career. But if you asked me to sum up what I had told him I might have taken a different route, diminishing my extensive experience. Get the point?
  3. Your resume is for self-promotion, but ultimately it's just a formality. It will not land you any job. Only you will, in person. While you must have a top-notch resume, its purpose is to tell only part of the story. With the job market still tight at best, it's more important than ever for job seekers to take a creative approach to landing their next gig. Finding a job through a blind online submission is possible but it is almost as likely these days as winning the daily numbers lottery. In today's market I cannot stress enough how important it is to get in front of the interviewer either through networking, cold-calling, knocking on doors or through a LinkedIn introduction.


Posted on May 23, 2013 .

No Job? Got College Debt?

It's easy for college grads to get caught up in the massive nation-wide problem of no jobs and high student loan debt. Deemed a national crisis, this situation has left many feeling hopeless and even paralyzed because finding a solid job that will pay enough to live while repaying exorbitant debt can feel like climbing a steep mountain. The best you can do at this point is to avoid surfing websites that repeatedly cover this topic and start doing what you can to chip away toward eventual freedom. Constantly listening to or reading how bad things are will only make you feel worse. So, here are three things you can start doing right now that will empower you and even build skills that could be useful to you in your career.

  1. Be scrappy and focus on what you can control over rather than what you can’t. This might mean working more than one odd job or spending your free time networking and meeting with people who might lead you to a career opportunity. If you think you don’t have a viable network, begin with alumni from your college, older siblings' or your parents’ friends. You will be surprised by how quickly you can build a network, which will become one of your greatest assets.
  2. Come to terms with what you are willing to give to get what you want. Chances are you're currently living at home with your parents and are not in a financial position to move out. Rather than complaining, think of this time as a means to an end and use it to work as hard as you can at any job, even if flipping burgers or washing dishes. Save as much as you can while still paying off your loan. Time flies when you’re having fun so find joy in this process. Remember, the good news is that you are taking control of your life and from this experience you will walk away with gratification that you’ve paid off your loan, with money in the bank so you can live on your own, and with skills (even if only soft skills) that you can take with you to your next job.
  3. Do whatever it takes! Take an internship or unpaid job opportunity along side working the odd job or jobs you have now. An internship is a great way to get a foot in the door, even if unpaid. Yes, I know, you’ve spent the last four years working hard in school and you feel that you should be paid for your time. And you should. But It’s important to get experience, so rather than get caught up in the vicious cycle of needing experience to get a job but needing a job to get experience, offering your time for free will allow you an opportunity to show how valuable you are to the organization. Even if that company doesn’t hire you, you will have experience on your resume for other opportunities.
Posted on May 16, 2013 .

On The Latest Jobs Report

Regardless of the latest jobs numbers, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking that it's still difficult to land a new job. The truth is now is a prime time to make a change if you are smart about it. There are plenty of opportunities out there. All you need is the right mindset. Here are three things to consider:

  1. You could be your own worst enemy. One of the biggest hurdles in making a career change is fear. We all have fear. The question is will you let yours keep you stagnant? In terms of a career change, fear is often based on what you hear from others or a feeling that you don’t have the skills or the experience to have the career you want. This is usually nonsense. You have skills, experience (including life experience) and something valuable to offer. Focus on what you have, rather than what you lack, and the fear will slowly begin to dissipate.
  2. Re-think the word ‘job’ and replace it with the word ‘mission’ or ‘purpose.’ Instead of focusing on the hours you will work or how much money you will make, consider what you can bring to a new challenge and how you will contribute to an organization.
  3. A new opportunity might be right outside your front door. Open the door to your office or step outside your cubical. Employees often get so fed up with their current company that they fail to explore other opportunities internally. Many large and midsize organizations have openings in various disciplines. This is a great place to start looking for a career change since your experience and track record can be an asset.

And one final note: most professionals fail to recognize their true strengths. There is so much emphasis placed on hard skills and very little on soft skills. Soft skills, such as people skills or the ability to work under extreme pressure is as valuable, or even more so, than hard skills (or that which you learn though school or formal training). When looking for new opportunities, be sure to highlight your soft skills as they are some of your best assets.

Posted on May 2, 2013 .