Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Little Fun With Google...

Rules: Google the phrase "[your first name] needs" and see what comes up. Post the first 5 and tag five folks to join the fun:

1 - Marcia needs a home (Got one!)

2 - Marcia needs Facebook (Still haven't decided!)

3 - Marcia needs your help again (Always)

4 - Marcia needs the loans to buy a large shipment of product... (

5 - Marcia needs to make room reservations for next year...(YES!)

I was tagged by The Career Encouragement Blog and so I am tagging the following friends to take a break and do something fun:

Roxanne Ravanel @ Savvy Job Seeker

Jackie Cameron @ Consult Cameron

Marianna Paulson @ Change of Heart

Evelyn @ Lyrical Purpose


Dee @ Leave the Bar

Friday, February 20, 2009

Job Outlook 2009: Special Report

This report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers shares important information for new grads in the Class of 2009!

Job Outlook 2009: Special Report

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Online Job Searches Soar As Economy Sinks

Along with a rising unemployment rate, one other number is creeping up as well. That number, not surprisingly, is the number of people who are heading to online job boards to look for jobs, post resumes and create professional profiles.

Two things to keep in mind:

1. Online job search cannot be your entire job search strategy. Some degree of "Tech and Touch" is necessary. In other words, get up from behind the computer sometime. Read - Your Online Past Could Kill Your Job Search

2. If searching online, please keep in mind that a negative online persona can impact your job search. As you go online so does the recruiter. Read - Job Hunting? Dust off Your Online Persona

Here is an excerpt of an article from Information Week:

A report from ComScore showed the job search category was the fastest-growing content site category in 2008, with 51% growth. Nearly 19 million people visited job search sites last year, and ComScore spotted an atypical trend: Job search activity increased over the holidays.
The biggest increases came from the following job boards:
1.'s with 9.1 million visitors - 78% increase over 2007.
2. Yahoo HotJobs drew 5.6 million visitors - 2.5 times the traffic in 2007.
3. drew 5.1 million visitors - reflecting an 88% increase
4. Simply Hired drew 3.1 million visitors - more than 2.5 times the 2007 traffic.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Who Will Get Hired in the Class of 2009?

Simple. It is those new grads who are willing to think out of the box, be creative and execute an effective job search strategy.

There has been a huge contraction this year in the number of on-campus interview schedules where recruiters meet new grads for early career programs. No surprises there with unemployment rate of 7.6%. Christine Bolzan in an article for says "most companies just aren't spending time and money to woo first-time job-seekers this year." Why should they have to with a flood of new grads competing for fewer and fewer jobs?

Bolzan states that the average job search time for a new grad is typically 6 months. However, the Class of 2009 can expect to add another 3 months to the search this year.

If you are in the Class of 2009, this information is not meant to scare you, but to help you execute a more effective job search strategy.

Here are two BIG to do that:

1. Look where the jobs are. Believe it or not, the following industries are expanding and there are and will be early career opportunities for new grads. Think Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech and Telecommunication. Think "Green Collar Jobs" as the US explores energy independence.

2. Think beyond your college major. New grads make the big mistake of holding on to college majors. Learn more about making the transition from choosing a major to choosing a career. For example, Political Science majors don't just work in Politics and not all Psychology majors are Psychologists.

Visit your college career center to get help with your career choices and job search strategies this spring.

Photo from

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Skills Employers Want and New Grads Lack

Employers say that aside from your college major, there are other skills and abilities that help job seekers stand out from the crowd during the job search. This year more than ever, in the toughest economy in years, competition among new grads will be greater than ever.

Employers say they want new hires who will fit in with co-workers, fit into the workplace, and are able to get the job done.

JobWeb says, "Unfortunately—and ironically—the very qualities employers look for are the qualities they find lacking in many new graduates. Employers say new grads lack face-to-face communication skills, especially writing skills. They say many students tend to lack presentation skills, teamwork skills, and overall interpersonal (gets along well with others) skills."

In the same article, employers also noted that new grads tend to lack a good work ethic. Some say students have trouble with basic job skills such as time management and are unable to multitask to meet deadlines. Some new hires do not have realistic expectations for their new positions: they are not loyal to the organization and they “have a high sense of urgency and want to climb the ladder overnight.” Other employers say new hires lack professionalism: they lack maturity and knowledge of business etiquette, including how to dress appropriately.

Here is how employers rank the importance of skills/qualities from new grads.

1.Communication skills
2.Strong work ethic
3.Teamwork skills (works well with others)
5.Analytical skills
6.Computer skills
8.Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
9.Problem-solving skills
10.Technical skills

To succeed at work, these are job skills you must master. Where do you rank?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Higher Education Jobs are Not Recession Proof

Many career experts will advise that jobs in higher education are typically considered recession proof. This is clearly not the case with the current recession since higher education institutions are seeing their endowments shrink through losses on Wall Street. Schools like Cornell University where 14% of the operating budget comes from endowments are looking at all options to cut their budgets.

Bloomberg News reports that, "The global financial crisis has battered higher education endowments, squeezing budgets and forcing schools to consider job cuts and bond sales to raise cash."

Here are some examples:

- Yale University's endowment lost 25% of it's value in 2008.

- Princeton University is expecting a 25% loss in their endowment and plans to sell $750M of debt.

- Cornell University lost 27% of their endowment in just the last 6 months of 2008.

- Columbia University lost 15% in the second half of 2008.

- Harvard University reported losses of $8 billion, representing a 22% loss in their endowment. University Business is reporting that Harvard will offer buyouts to 1600 non faculty workers in an effort to cut cost. This represents about 10% of their workforce.

Source - Bloomberg News, University Business

Monday, February 9, 2009

Class of 2009 Woes: Applying For Jobs During an Economic Slump

Courtesy of WISER -

The class of 2009 is nearly halfway finished with their last year at college and seniors everywhere are beginning to consider their plans for the future (if not battling the debilitating condition that is senioritis). Some students have already begun their job searches with unadulterated excitement; others have tried to force the idea of real jobs and real responsibilities out of their minds. Whether you are one of the ambitious or one of the fearful, one thing is for certain: job prospects are not as favorable as they used to be.

According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers plan to hire 1.3% more graduates next year than in 2008. Two months ago, the same survey projected a 6.1% increase in hiring. According to Cari Tuna of the Wall Street Journal, this sharp decrease in projections is “in response to the slowing economy and financial-sector turmoil.” With such financial firms as Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. in bankruptcy protection, beefing up employment will most likely take a back seat to more pressing concerns.

A sharp diminishment in employee hiring is not the only obstacle facing the class of 2009. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1, 585,000 students will receive bachelor’s degrees this year, up 41,000 from 2008, inevitably raising the stakes in terms of job competition. Salary projections also appear dismal, as career counselors predict that salaries for entry-level positions will either “hold level or decline” in 2009.

All of these inauspicious projections for the class of 2009 are further complicated by the characteristics of what Ron Alsop, author of “The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millenial Generation is Shaking up the Workplace,” refers to as the “millennial generation.” According to Alsop, those born between 1980 and 2001 “were coddled by their parents and nurtured with a strong sense of entitlement.” Many employers worry that this generation’s outlook will lead to “high-maintenance rookies” in the workplace.

According to a survey by, more than 85% of hiring managers and human-resource executives believe that “millenials have a stronger sense of entitlement than older workers.” While these postulations may seem offensive to an individual in the millennial demographic, experts generally agree that these characteristics were bred by doting parents. Natalie Griffith, manager of human-resource programs at Eaton Corporation, says “It’s not necessarily arrogance; it’s simply their mindset.”

If you are one of the “millenials” of the class of 2009, don’t become too discouraged by these generational perceptions. After all, according to Alsop, “the grumbling baby-boomer managers are the same indulgent parents who produced the millennial generation.” In respect to the economic slump and decreased career prospects, there is some good news: while finance, retail, construction and manufacturing fields are experiencing lower rates of hiring, other areas such as public service, health care, education, technology and accounting have maintained their demand for new employees.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

6 Tips to Career Reentry in a Down Economy

No one seems capable of predicting what final unemployment numbers will be or when this global recession will end. We do know that almost 600 000 more American jobs were lost in January 2009, adding more workers to the unemployment lines. More job seekers are competing for work in a job market where there are currently not enough available jobs for everyone. As the New York Times reports, "losing more than a half million jobs in each of the last three months, the country is trapped in a vortex of plunging consumer demand, rising joblessness and a deepening crisis in the banking system."

If you are an older worker getting back into the job market, here are 6 tips for career reentry.

1. Get your resume ready. You cannot execute a successful job search strategy without it - not in today's market. This is the time to revamp your resume. You have time available and a lot of the resume writing work you can do yourself to save money. Use these sample resumes to get started.

2. Tell everyone you know that you have been laid off. People can offer tremendous support and you will benefit from people "looking out" for you.

3. Network with people you don't know. Visit your local library, scour the internet and find groups to join, meet-ups and job clubs. You will be expanding your circle and hearing about new opportunities.

4. Be willing to cast a wider net, in terms of work you are willing to do. Think about transferable job skills and what other jobs you could do.

5. Stay positive. This is super important. Someone I know who was laid off recently and had visited the unemployment office, talked about how positive people were to each other. I also wrote last week about the possible upsides of being laid off as shared by three mid career professionals who had lost their jobs. You need to know that there is life after layoff.

6. Brush up on your interview skills. If you have been with the same company for years and haven't done a job interview recently, check out all the interview FAQs and career FAQs on all our career blogs.

Photo - Courtesy of New York Times

Friday, February 6, 2009

Patrick Swayze Going Back to Work

In today's economy we spend a lot of time, as well we should, focused on people who are out of the workplace because of a layoff. We should keep in mind though that there are many other reasons why people are forced to be away from work.

A long term illness is one such reason. Going back to work after an illness can be very, very difficult not only for the individual and their families but also for companies. Issues with work hours, health insurance and reasonable accomodations all have to be resolved.

Check out this story from Us Weekly magazine's celebrity news blog:

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Top 4 Public Career Blunders for Jan 2009

January 2009 will certainly go down as one of the most significant months in our country's relatively brief history. As someone who shares insights about career and workplace issues it is hard for me not to use that prism to summarize what was January 2009.

Not only did we see professionals publicly recognized for, what we would all agree is career excellence, regardless of our politics, but we also saw others make career blunders and missteps.

Here are my Top 4 Public Career Blunders for January 2009:

1. Milorad "Rod" R. Blagojevich – code name “Blago”, was impeached and removed from office as the Governor of Illinois on January 29, 2009. This, after he was caught on tape in “private” conversations allegedly selling the Chicago Senate seat vacated by now President Obama. This 52 year-old Baby Boomer, quick on his feet, is clearly already pitching his new career in broadcasting. His visit to Letterman shows he is quite a natural. I have a feeling he is going to tell us eventually that what we heard on those tapes was really him running his lines for a script he's been working on. I can see it now – Blago does Broadway!

Career Lesson – Always be preparing for your next career opportunity BUT remember – personal ethics do matter!

2. Bernie Madoff’s career came crashing down as the previously admired Wall Street icon, gets turned in by his sons, for running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. The number of lives destroyed and the people forced to extend careers due to lost savings, will probably never be fully known.

Career Lesson – Careers built on lies, don’t last! Again, personal ethics do matter!

3. Timothy Geitner's pending promotion was almost halted due to his failure to pay $44K in personal taxes. I don't know about you, but I didn’t buy the “personal oversight” excuse. Having said that, how many of us would want our careers derailed because of what we owe to the IRS or Macy's for that matter? Geitner at the Treasury Department kind of makes me think about the fox guarding the hen house.

Career Lesson – Live like you would be embarrassed if your mother found out what you did. Ethics do matter even when you think no one is watching!

4. In the dead of night, for "personal reasons", Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg ended, what many called a lukewarm bid, for the job of Senator from New York. Kennedy was applying for the job vacated by Senator Hillary Clinton, who has now been promoted to US Secretary of State. Kennedy’s first big interview on Meet the Press, left many openly expressing concerns about her mastery of those pesky interview "soft skills" we HR folks love to talk about. Not sure what her next career move will be. I am guessing it will be something out of the public spotlight.

Career Lesson – Be willing to take chances and pursue what you want with energy and vigor!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tight Job Market Making People Cheat on Employment Tests

Employers have been complaining for years about the increase in the number of people who are lying on their resumes and in the employment process. Read this latest at about the increase in the number of people cheating on employment tests.