Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some of the Worst Career Advice Ever

I just read a post from Jason Alba on one of my favorite career resources - his JibberJobber blog.  Jason was recapping a speech he heard a few years ago from a so called career professional who was espousing all kinds of bad career advice. 

The link to Jason's site is below, so please check it out.  As you read that list of truly bad advice, please keep these tips in mind.  Not all the career advice you hear will be obviously wrong, as it is in this list, some of it will be more subtle.   With some advice you get from so called professionals, your gut instincts will immediately tell you - this is bogus.

The key to spotting bad career advice is to research the source of the advice:
- Ask others what they think and who they trust
- Read recommendations for the career professional maybe on a LinkedIn profile
- Read their tweets.  What kind of advice do they offer?
- Look closely at what qualifies them to be a career professional.  Be careful of the certifications.  They are everywhere!

Bad career advice blog post!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bad Hires Can Harm More than the Bottom Line

Making a bad hiring decision can really harm a company bottom line when you think about the costs associated with training, recruiting and maybe even lost customers.

Bad hires can also help you lose two other important things:
1. Employee morale
2. Your good name or professional reputation

Three basic tips to help you avoid bad hires:
1. Bring other people in on the hiring decision
2. Go with your gut instincts
3. Use interview questions that focus on past actual behavior

Read the full article here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Most Popular Post Military Jobs just posted the 10 most popular post military jobs.  If you know a Veteran who is looking for a job opportunity here are the top 5 post military jobs listed at  Visit Payscale for the entire list and pertinent salary information.

1. Program manager, aviation ($91,300) – Members of all service branches have the opportunity to work in aviation. If you managed aircraft maintenance or aircraft construction in the military, you can do it for a private aircraft company, too.
2. IT program manager ($81,100) – Combat, logistics, intelligence and communications all rely on state-of-the-art technology.
3. Business process/management consultant ($78,900) – Anyone who knows how to manage and move people at the scale that the military does has a lot to offer the private business world.
4. Government program manager ($70,600) – Look for companies seeking government contracts.
5. Intelligence analyst ($69,200) – With years of practice sorting through large volumes of information about enemy activity, a veteran can find work at the CIA, Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Graduating and Have No Experience? No Problem

Are you graduating from a vocational training program and have little or no experience in the field? If your related work experience is weak you should be thinking hard about other relevant experience to sell in the job interview.

Keep in mind that employers are not as interested in where you developed the job skills you have, as much as which job skills you actually have. As a graduate from a vocational training or career education program, employers are also interested in your knowledge, abilities, work ethic and attitude.

You can showcase these behaviors in the job interview whether you learned them in school or in a personal life experience.

For example:
Let's say you have completed a hospitality or culinary career program, which included some hands on training, but you have not worked in a restaurant. You might be able to talk about your experience catering events for your church, community organization or for family events.

Before your job interview, make a list of the top competencies that employers in your field want from new employees. You can get this information two ways:
1. From the career placement office staff at school
2. Use O*Net Online to find culinary professions

Once you have the list, think about a personal experience you have had that could demonstrate each of these competencies and remember that experiences do not have to be paid!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

4 Steps to Marketing Transferable Skills in a Job Interview

I wrote this article for a few years ago and had reason to revisit it today.  I wanted to share these four tips, but I also thought that we all could learn from the comments left by readers.

4 Tips to Market Transferable Skill in a Job Interview

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 Benefits of Career Training Programs

Career colleges offering career training and vocational training specialize in hands-on job training programs to prepare job hunters to hit the ground running in a new career. Career programs help students quickly build on current job skills or acquire new job skills.

Here are some of the skills employers want from graduates coming from career training programs.

1.Projects and practical, hands-on classes
Career training focuses on teaching the skills necessary to hit the ground running in the job market. Career Placement services in career training programs know what hands-on experience employers want and are able to show vocational students how to sell these skills to employers.

2. Time Management
Career training programs can be an intense commitment of time to complete even a certificate course. Completion of a career management program shows good work ethic, motivation and commitment.

3. Flexibility
Some career training and vocational training programs offer on-line and on-site classes at different times to suit students who have to work around family commitments.  Employers are impressed with vocational training graduates who show that they mastered the flexibility necessary to juggle life and finish a program.

4. Determination & Motivation
Completing a vocational program shows the employer a student's level of determination and motivation to succeed.  This is a characteristic that employers will value and look for in new candidates.

5. Buzz words
Because career training programs are shorter than a bachelor's degree, graduates complete their career training program, knowing the most current specific industry “buzz” words and phrases. Graduates of career training programs who use these industry "buzz" words in a resume to demonstrate knowledge, will attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers who are using these "buzz" words to screen resumes to find the right candidate.

More resources for career planning graduates:
Top 10 FAQs from Vocational Students about Resumes
How to Choose a Vocational Training Program

Friday, October 14, 2011

200 Good Questions Jobseekers May Ask

Workforce Management has published a list of questions that job seekers can ask an interviewer or hiring manager in a job interview. The questions are categorized based on questions for:

-Headhunters and Recruiters
-HR professionals
-Hiring Managers
-High level probing questions
-Getting feedback
-Closing the deal

Additionally there is a group of questions that the writer suggests that super stars can ask in the job interview. Read the entire list of 200 questions job seekers may ask here.  You will have to register to get the list but it is free!!

Most Popular Interview Articles:

Secret Weapon to Manage Job Interview Body Language

Soft Skills That Could Land You the Job

Do You Make These Mistakes in a Panel Interview?



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Attention College Students! Tis the Season to Apply for Holiday Jobs

With 9.1% unemployment rate, we are in a tough job market for sure. It may be harder this year for college students to find holiday jobs especially since there are laid off workers also job seeking. With slumping retail sales, there are definitely less part-time jobs to go around. Additionally, a tightening credit market means that some students who are self funding their education, have more bills to pay.

The job market this past summer was also tough for college students looking for part time jobs and internships. The News-Record published some job search tips from BullsEyeResumes to help students get hired this past summer. I thought it would be a good time to modify these tips slightly for use this holiday season.

* Dress for success. Put away the baggy pants and novelty T-shirts. Dress neatly, and check your attire ahead of time to avoid a wardrobe malfunction. Neither torn nor tight clothing will impress the hiring manager.

* Get to your interview early. The best way to not get hired is to show up late for the job interview. Remember that first impressions count.

* Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet at the work site, not just the interviewer. These people will be your colleagues if you get the job.

* Speak up, speak clearly and look the interviewer in the eye. This is a conversation, so have your own questions ready: What are the hours? When would I start? What’s the training like? What do you like best about working here?

* Bring a written list of names and contact information for personal references when you complete your job application.

* Bring an updated copy of your resume. (College Sample Resumes)

When you do land a job this holiday season, be sure to make a good impression. You may want to return to the same company next year. You might want to read this article before you start your holiday job - Internship Behavior you May Live to Regret!

Teenagers Singing the Summer Job Blues

Monday, October 10, 2011

Working the Recruiters' Last Nerve

This is not what you want to do if you are aiming for success in the job search. 

Sure, you are trying hard to find a job in a tough market and in some cases you are probably desperate for work.  The last thing you want to do however, is annoy the recruiter or HR professional who is really on your side.

This article in the Wall Street Journal gives some good tips on how to connect with recruiters in your industry niche, without getting gimmicky.  My favorite tip in the article?  Do not launch into a sales pitch about yourself, the minute you meet with a recruiter or headhunter.  You may actually be talking yourself out of a job. 

Another key to working with recruiters is to maintain contact with them while you are employed. You could actually become a source of business leads for them.  They will remember you when you have to call on them later.  Don't forget that networking principle - Givers Gain!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Are Today's Grads Unprofessional?

Source - InsideHigherEd. The entire article is a great read, but I have summarized it here!
A new study from York College of Pennsylvania attempts to shed light on the issue of whether or not today's new grads are unprofessional. As this small liberal arts college works through a re-brand the newly established Center for Professional Excellence is hoping to address some of the survey results.

Overall, 88% of the more than 500 human resources professionals and business leaders responding, defined professionalism roughly as follows:

"as being related to a person rather than the position. The traits or behaviors mentioned most by the respondents as being characteristic of professional employees were personal interaction skills, including courtesy and respect; the ability to communicate, which includes listening skills; a work ethic which includes being motivated and working on a task until it is complete; and appearance.”

The same survey defined unprofessionalism roughly as follows:

"The traits or behaviors most associated by the respondents with “unprofessionalism” included appearance, which includes attire, tattoos, and piercings; poor communication skills including poor grammar; poor work ethic; and poor attitude.”

The survey results showed that more than 37% of the respondents reported that “less than half of the recent graduates they have hired exhibit professionalism in their first year." Slightly more than 51 % of recent hires exhibited “professionalism.”

Among the traits or behaviors employers said they value most, here are the ones they believe are most deficient in the recent graduates they hired:

- accepts personal responsibility for decision and actions
- is able to act independently
- has a clear sense of direction and purpose

Not everyone surveyed believed the “professionalism” of their recent graduate hires has significantly declined in recent years. About a third, indicated that this lack of professionalism has declined significantly in recent years due to:
- an increased sense of entitlement
- new cultural values
- changed work ethic

Professor David Polk, whose research group at York conducted the study offered several insights as to whether or not these behaviors are totally a result of inter-generational differences or should be taken more seriously.

Polk offers that getting professors to buy in and serve as role models could be challenging since professors might see their role as "conveying knowledge and making sure our students comprehend it. I’m not sure how many would respond that it is also their job to help a student develop good behavior. There’s this moral authority that some professors get uncomfortable with. For this to work successfully, when a professor calls out a student’s behavior, the administration should be there to back them up immediately and say, ‘Your behavior is wrong.’ ”

The school's goal is to use the newly created Center for Professional Excellence to cultivate the “professionalism” employers want in the workplace. It will host seminars throughout the year where employers share expectations of employees and workplace issues. Polk said he would like students to be required to attend a certain number of these seminars throughout their college careers.

If you work with new grads - what say you? Do you agree? Comment at the end of the article here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Survey says Employers Value Emotional Intelligence over IQ

A recent Career Builder survey of 2600 employers showed 61% of employers are more likely to promote workers with high emotional intelligence (EI) over candidates with high IQ.  Why would they do that?  In this recessionary environment where workers are stressed and overwhelmed, companies might be more attracted to those workers who can bring a certain kind of calm to the workplace.

Rosemary Haefner, VP of Human Resources at Career Builder says it this way, "The competitive job market allows employers to look more closely at the intangible qualities that pay dividends down the road – like skilled communicators and perceptive team players...In a recovering economy, employers want people who can effectively make decisions in stressful situations and can empathize with the needs of their colleagues and clients to deliver the best results."

When Managers and HR Directors were asked about what behaviors they look at to evaluate a worker's Emotional Intelligence, the top responses were:
-They admit and learn from their mistakes
-They can keep emotions in check and have thoughtful discussions about tough issues
-They listen as much or more than they talk
-They take criticism well
-They show grace under pressure

Additional Resources:
3 Ways to Demonstrate Emotional Intelligence in the Job Interview 
Seventy-One Percent of Employers Say They Value Emotional Intelligence over IQ

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Set up a Career ReEntry Advisory Board

Going back into the workplace after an absence can be difficult.

Depending on how long you have been out of the workplace, you may need some help navigating the landscape and not a project you want to embark on by yourself.

To get all the support you can, why not set up a career reentry advisory board to help you.

Who could you ask to be on your career re-entry advisory board?
- Prior supervisor
- Previous or current mentor
- Career coach
- Recruiter
- Spouse

Some things the board can assist you with?
  • identifying your values, interests, skills and abilities
  • setting your goals
  • be a sounding board for disappointments along the way
  • sharing job leads
  • checking in regularly on your progress

Monday, January 31, 2011

My old boss keeps calling me..

The JobDoc at answers questions from readers about the world of work. 

I wanted to share one of the questions I read recently.  A former employee asked, "How long do I help my former boss?"  I thought I would share the response because it is actually a question I am hearing more and more from dislocated workers. 

It turns out that four months after leaving a job, this former employee was still being contacted by her old boss or his secretary with questions about day to day operations.  Not only was the former employee a little upset that she was still being called months after leaving, she was feeling a little bit harassed when her former boss called her on a Saturday evening asking for a report.   The bottom line question - How long should I wait before I can tell my former boss not to call me anymore?

The abbreviated version of the JobDoc's answer was that a former manager should no longer have expectations that former employees need to help them find things, or support their efforts. However, a former employee may find that being supportive of the company's efforts could earn them long term rewards, such as a professional reference or a potential re-hire opportunity later. 

JobDoc also gave advice on how to transition from a company so that there is no reason for these kinds of follow up calls.

Of course we don't want to burn our bridges, but former bosses need to be mindful as well when employees have moved on.

You can read the full response here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

10 Most Asked LinkedIn Questions

If you are not yet connecting with fellow professionals on LinkedIn, it is time that you start.  My colleague, Jackie Cameron, owner of Cameron Consulting, developed this list of the top 10 most asked questions about LinkedIn. 

Jackie answers the following 10 questions and gives really practical advice on how to use LinkedIn to stay connected.  If you have any of these questions yourself Jackie's answers can help you take that next step.

1. Why bother?
2. How do you decide who to connect with?
3. What if you get an invitation to connect and you don’t want to?
4. How can I get introduced to someone I really want to connect with?
5. What’s the point of an update?
6. Why would I give a recommendation?
7. What should I include in my profile?
8. Do I really need a picture?
9. Why would I bother putting up a book list?
10. How much time will it take?

Whether you decide to connect with folks on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking site, keep in mind that the online footprint you develop will become a part of your professional persona.  Stay positive online.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Job Search Strategy with O*NET Online

Pundits and politicians salivate every month about what the unemployment numbers mean for American workers. If you’re like me, you probably think the media spends more time debating instead of offering real solutions.

I guess that is where we come in and so today, like I have done before, I happily endorse a great online resource called O*NET, sponsored by the Department of Labor. This free online resource has three great features that must be a part of any jobseeker’s job search strategy.

The three features are:

How to identify growing industries – If you or someone you know was laid off from a declining occupation and those jobs aren’t coming back, how can you find growing industries?

The Bright Outlook - Thinking about retraining and can’t think of which careers will be growing over the next decade? The Bright Outlook feature can help you here.

Related Occupations – Trying to find a related career that might use most of the skills you already have? This feature helps you reduce the time to switch.

Read the complete article - How to Use ONET Online as Part of a Competitive Job Search Strategy

Checkout O*NET here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's up with salaries?

Since 2006, The Payscale Index has been reviewing wage trends for full-time, private-sector employees in 20 metro areas, 15 industries and three sizes of companies.  Some highlights of the Q4 reports include:

- Wages at small companies with less than 99 employees declined a full percentage point when comparing 4th quarter of 2009 to the same period in 2010.

-Quarter 4 of 2010 saw the lowest wages for construction workers in over 3 years.

Overall the index shows that wages in 2010 were flat. 

With the economy as it is, even though companies have billions sitting on the sidelines, many workers might be looking at another year with no increase in salary.  If no pay raise is in store for you this year, but you still want to show career progress think about these 3 suggestions I made a while back.  No Pay Raise? What Else Could You Ask For?