The Best and Worst Ways to Find a Job

Oct 06

The Best and Worst Ways to Find a Job

The art of searching for a job has evolved over the years. You don’t need twenty five years’ experience in the employment and staffing industry to figure that out. Gone are the days when you grab a cup of coffee, open the morning newspaper, turn to the help wanted section and find a position that is a perfect match for your background.

Here are the top five methods used to look for a job. Keep in mind; I didn’t say they were the most effective, just the most popular.

5. Classified ads: Ouch! It is still a popular method, but hardly yields the most results. In fact, it is my belief this this is one of the very worst ways to search for a job. There are numerous reasons for this. Since print advertising is so expensive, it is usually the last place a company turns to post job openings. They’ll typically try anything before picking up the phone to call the classified section of the local newspaper. Once an employer is desperate enough to run the ad in the paper, they have to brace themselves for the onslaught of applicants. Remember, I said it was popular, but not necessarily effective. Who is going to sift through all those responses? Besides, by the time the ad goes to press, it is likely that other candidates are already under consideration for the position, it just hasn’t been filled yet. That means the competition it fierce by this point. That doesn’t make for your best odds of being selected.

4. Internet Job Search: Now this is an interesting animal. It is very similar to the old fashioned help wanted ads in the classifieds. The employer will get TONS of responses. They frequently use ATS (applicant tracking software) that spots the keywords on your resume. If they don’t match the buzzwords for the open position, you receive an automatic rejection – with or without a letter. If your resume has the right keywords in it, you become one of the MANY candidates in competition for the position. While past studies have indicated that searching for a job online increased the length of unemployment, a recent paper by UC Santa Barbara’s Peter Kuhn and UC Denver’s Hani Mansour, it seems that looking for jobs online now reduces a person’s length of unemployment by 25 percent. Of course, the online resources used are varied and not limited to the big job boards. Part of this benefit may be due to the fact that unemployed workers searching for a job online increased from 24 to 74% since 2004 according to a Washington Post Wonkblog posting by Brad Plumer.

 

3. Employment services: Now I’m a bit partial here. Having been in the industry for so long, recruiters are great! However, using one is no magic bullet. It must be understood that recruiters are not in the business of finding jobs for people, they find people for jobs. Even though you should be listed with a minimum of three recruiters throughout your entire career, you should not expect them to find you a job by pulling one out of the desk drawer like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Recruiters should be an integral part of your life-long career advancement strategy.  They will call when you least expect it.

 

2. Networking: You have heard the old saying that it isn’t what you know; it’s who you know that counts. That’s half right. Of course, being knowledgeable in a particular field is very important, too. But you can never underestimate you network. You don’t have one? Rubbish! You would have to live under a rock to not have a network. What about your family, friends, co-workers, and people you go to church with or people who attend PTA with you? What about your neighbors, or the people you run into at the grocery or hardware store. This doesn’t even take into consideration that you should begin establishing a professional network through transition groups that meet in your area or on LinkedIn.

Drum roll please…

1. Contacting employers directly: You mean pick up the phone and knock on doors? YES! Where this method may be a quite challenging for larger companies due to all the gate keepers in place, they also get the most attention from job seekers because they are well known. This means your competition is greater. For this strategy, identify small to medium sized companies that would use your skill sets. They are far more receptive to having a conversation with you. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration , small firms are responsible for 64 percent of new jobs over the past 15 years.

 

Thanks to a 2009 article by Bottom Line Secrets , here’s a quick list of ways to find work along with the odds of getting a job using them from Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute .

Method                                                       Odds of Success

  • Mailing out résumés/submitting                              7%
    or posting résumés online
  • Responding to ads in professional                         7%
    or trade journals
  • Responding to ads on Internet                               10%
    Jobs sites
  • Responding to ads in the                             between 5% and 24%,
    local newspapers                                            depending on your
    salary requirements
  • Working with a private employment             between 5% and 28%,
    agency or search firm                                        depending on your
    salary requirements
  • Networking for leads                                                33%
  • Knocking on doors unannounced                            47%
    at employers of interest
  • Calling companies of interest that                            69%
    are listed in the local Yellow Pages
  • Partnering with other job hunters                             70%
  • Taking inventory of yourself,                                    86%
    then targeting the employers where
    you ought to be working

 

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the methods listed above. Visit Bottom Line Secrets  for the details. I encourage you to use as many methods in this list as possible, but allocate more time to the ones that produce the best results.

So, take inventory of your skills, target small to medium size companies, hire a professional to rewrite your resume, clean up your online profile, put your networking shoes on and get out your door knocker.

 

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You Won’t Give Me a Job If I Am Unemployed

Sep 19

You Won’t Give Me a Job If I Am Unemployed

Are you kidding me? You won’t give me a job unless I already have one! Classified ads for jobs in online postings and newspapers are frequently stating that unemployed candidates will not be considered. Others are requiring that in order to apply for a job, you must be currently employed. There is something fundamentally wrong with this.

To add insult to injury, some of our elected representatives think that workers collecting unemployment are lazy and do not believe that unemployment benefits should be extended. Do you actually think you can help me find a job by eliminating my unemployment benefits? Talk about being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Many states are taking up legislation to address classified advertisements including this kind of language. Even the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is holding hearings to determine how to address the problem. If the unemployed need not apply, how will the unemployed ever get a job?

Fortunately, the number of employers and recruiting firms using this language are in the minority. But wait, the advertising is only the surface issue.

Even if employers stop advertising that the unemployed need not apply, does that mean that it will cease to be used as a qualifying mechanism? Dates of employment are commonly found on resumes and job applications. So what’s to keep employers from giving preferential treatment to currently employed workers? Nothing! Legislating this issue is akin to plugging a hole in a dam with your finger.

Let’s act on the suggestion of a fairly intelligent man. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” Interpreted to apply to this issue, the suggestion would be to discontinue looking at the problem from the perspective of an unemployed person and begin to look at it as a professional who is employed. How? Employ yourself.

Although starting your own your own company could be a good idea, it isn’t necessary. Simply keeping yourself involved in activities that support your career objective is the key. In simplest terms, the word, employ, means “to make use of”. So make use of your knowledge and experience, whether someone is paying you to do it or not. Forward motion in your career is essential. Your career doesn’t end when someone stops paying you to do what you love.

The effective solution to the problem lies within the resourcefulness of the job seeker. Consider a few points that may help you with this challenge in your work history. Fill unemployed time frames on your resume with activities that support your career objective.

Travel. Career related activities can be incorporated into your travels. A visit to the Chambers of Commerce and researching employment opportunities can not only open up possibilities for new job, it can also be used to gather information about your chosen profession in places other than your hometown. This information can be shared with others in your career field. Become a resource.

Community Service or volunteer work. When selecting an organization with which to volunteer, find one that can makes use of your skills. It doesn’t matter if you are in marketing, IT, project management, etc., organizations that operate with volunteers need people fulfilling the same responsibilities as any other business.

Internships. Often times, companies will actually allow individuals to expand their knowledge of their chosen profession through internships. Some are paid, others are not. Students do it all the time. Either way it is worth consideration.

Schooling and Additional Education. In order to remain marketable in a rapidly changing world, is imperative to be in step with innovations within your profession. Attend lectures, enroll in classes, or get an additional certification. These types of activities add to the value you bring to your next employer.

Establish your own company or consulting firm. Whether it is temporary or for the long haul, this is a great way to demonstrate employment. Make it a legal entity. My preference for a startup is a Limited Liability Company (LLC). It is relatively easy, inexpensive and provides protections not afforded to a sole-proprietorship or partnership while avoiding many of the complexities of a corporation.

Essentially, you must find a means to demonstrate that you are currently active in your career. This will not only satisfy a job posting that states you must be employed to apply, it will also keep your skills sharp and your marketability at its peak.

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The Economy Is Forcing Me To Quit My Job

Sep 09

The Economy Is Forcing Me To Quit My Job

While perusing questions that are on the mind of job seekers I came across one that I felt might be beneficial to share with you.

 

The question:

“My current employer is having severe financial difficulties stemming from the economy and strife in family owned business and I fear he will not be able to sustain the company much longer. I have been with them for 15 years. How do I explain this to a potential future employer without sounding negative or divulging confidential information.”

Consider an answer similar to:

“I have really had a great 15 years with my current employer. Unfortunately, they have fallen victim to the current economic climate. Those pressures are tremendous on any business and especially difficult on the close relationships in a family owned operation. While I wish them all the best, it is time to allow another company to benefit from everything I can bring to the table.”

Highlight your accomplishments:

Then begin to highlight your accomplishments which directly relate to the employer with which you are interviewing. Remember to speak in terms of how you can make an impact on your future employer and be ready to back it up with facts and figures about past performance.

 

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Challenges Finding a Job In Today’s Employment Market

May 10

Challenges Finding a Job In Today’s Employment Market

Glutton for Punishment

Challenge has always been a part my life. And one of the most challenging times in anyone’s life is during a job change. We don’t seem to welcome change like we should. But without out a doubt, the only constant is change, so soon or later, we need to make friends with it.

Funny thing … the events in our lives that carry the greatest value are usually those that have presented the greatest challenges. Why is that? I have a few theories. For beginners, challenges present us with an opportunity to discover what we’re made of. The catch is that while we may be impressed with what hides within us, we could be sorely disappointed as well. But one way or the other, knowing is better than not knowing. One of my mentors in my early adult life said that “Loving someone who loves you is easy. Loving those that hate you will prove your character.” That’s the way I look at challenges, small ones are pretty darned easy to deal with, it’s the tough ones that prove if you’re a “man or a mouse”. Forgive me ladies … you could just as easily read that “woman or a mouse”.

While it’s true that I have been in the employment and staffing industry for twenty-five years, (I started when I was ten), even that amount of experience doesn’t give you all the answers. I’ve weathered three recessions. In fact, I began my career as a recruiter in the one and was too green to realize what that was, much less what it meant. I started my own company in the second one. Now, just above the bounce in this one, I am beginning a new phase of my career. Do you see a pattern here? I must be a glutton for punishment. Or perhaps I stumbled into the …

Best Timing You Could Ask For

Say what? You heard me! Each move was at the best possible timing. Tell me what  you’ve always heard about investing in the stock market? Come on, speak up! Don’t? NO! Guess again. Right, buy low, sell high. Your optimum entry point is to buy a stock just after it bounces off its bottom and shows the beginning of an upward trend. Sound familiar? If a stock is bought just before it reaches its peak, there may be a little profit to be gained, but then it reverses direction.

uptrend 150x116 Challenges Finding a Job In Todays Employment Marketdowntrend 150x116 Challenges Finding a Job In Todays Employment Market

Now that isn’t a very difficult decision.

 

 

So how does this compare to the present job market? Let’s consider that for a moment. What would you prefer to put on your resume? Led ABC Company to record profits … or … assisted XYZ Company in closing 66% of its locations nationwide?

Top Companies Started in a Recession

According to Darren Dahl in an article appearing in AOL Small Business entitled Top Companies Started During a Recession, Here are some that you might be familiar with:

These companies were start-ups once upon a time. Humble beginnings with challenges. Begin looking for the up-and-comers. Find out who your boss would be in that organization, give them a call and strike up a conversation. That could lead to a job interview. Keep in mind that there aren’t many household names on the list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Companies. Check them out on CNN Money. (Hint: The site has the names of the CEOs, their locations and the industries listed.)

Look What Small Business Has to Offer

Jobs … yes, jobs. Back in October 2010 the SBA revised the definition of Small Business making 17,000 more of them eligible for SBA loans and other programs. Funding translates into growth. Growth translates into jobs. Check out the article by Courtney Rubin at Inc.com.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses:

•    Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
•    Employ half of all private sector employees.
•    Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
•    Generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.
•    Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP.
•    Hire 43 percent of high-tech workers ( scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and others).
•    Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
•    Made up 97.5 percent of all identified exporters and produced 31 percent of export value in FY 2008.
•    Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau and Intl.
Trade Admin.; Advocacy-funded research by Kathryn Kobe, 2007 (www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs299.pdf)
and CHI Research, 2003 (www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs225.pdf);U.S.
Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ride the Wave

Admittedly, swimming out to catch a wave can be a challenge. Good surfers know how to pick a wave. Good job seekers know how to pick a company that will give you a good ride. What a thrill when you catch the right wave!

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