The Desk

August 21, 2018

Back in the Day

Filed under: Diversity,Hiring,Recruiting — Yvonne LaRose @ 5:36 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,
There's a mixture of generations working as one entity today

Previous roles are changed as life cycles evolve.

Today is Gerry Crispin’s birthday. He’s over 55 which is one of the thresholds for deeming a person as old, or ready to retire, or antiquated, or no longer useful. In other words, a target for age discrimination, whether passive or overt. Yet those who are 40 and older, even as old as in their late 80s, are still active in the work marketplace via many forms of employment and engagement. There is still a need for their knowledge, skills, and talent. Those attributes, those assets, provide a great deal of value to whatever enterprise chooses to include them in their mixture of talent.

I used this day to post a (as usual) teasing birthday wish to Gerry that read: “Have people started asking you about what you did back in the day? I just know you have a great response for that.”

For those of you who are curious about how “back in the day” is defined, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English says it means “a long time ago, when you were much younger.”

Actually (never short on words or responses), Gerry did have a great public response, while also laughing at himself. It was:

lol. When the dinosaurs roamed the earth, recruiting was different but, as a candidate, you could physically apply to more companies then on a given day (Saturday before noon) with envelopes, paper resumes and stamps than you can in an entire week online. We could do a test…if there were any newspaper classifieds left but there isn’t so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

He raises some good discussion points. Undaunted, I had a response to his observations.

In the days of classified ads, all people were paid a minimum, livable wage. Thus, they were able to afford the cost of paper, copies, envelopes, stamps, transportation costs. But then, mailboxes were on every other street corner or the postal worker picked up the outgoing letters while delivering the new.

In those days, also, there wasn’t as much research required (or at least invested in) finding a job.

Now, in this digital age, there is less volume in terms of sent resumes because there’s more need for research. The challenges of making online applications can be time consuming if the employer doesn’t have a good webmaster.

Additionally, people are so busy working two, and up to five, jobs (as well as gigs) that they simply don’t have the time to do as many applications as back in the ’60s.

Then there are the discouragement and disillusion factors.

Gen Xers and Millennials (and even some who are older) have no qualms about expressing their belief that gray hair is an indication of being old, retired, and no longer active in the workforce. They will politely inquire about what it was like “back in the day” while forgetting that there are many who have gray hair and hold very responsible positions in businesses, while sitting on boards of directors, practicing from the bench (Associate Justice Kennedy), and being very involved in their consulting and training professions.

These gray- and white-haired stoics are not out in the pasture. An elite number have managed to stay afloat in the relevant and needed arena and are proving their worth in gold. And there are those who have been worn down to the rim and taken out of the game, many times not by choice.

Applying for work “back in the day” was more reasonable in many ways. No longer is it possible to simply take the “Help Wanted” sign out of the window and hand it to the owner while saying, “I’d like to apply for the job,” and get considered (even hired) on the spot. Job search was supposed to get better because of technological advances and the reach of cyber presence which also reduced the cost associated with conducting a search and vying for the gold ring along with that younger group.

There’s a vast amount of value in these vintage competitors. The training and preparation during their early days of school was different, more sound. There wasn’t a mass flocking to garner a degree, or even an advanced degree. There was substance being taught and concepts demonstrated in classroom discussion. There was actual experience gained through internships and volunteer work that didn’t detract from earning a meaningful living wage. Wage earning and work experience happened through various channels. For most, that experience and education was recognized and rewarded. But that was back in the day.

References:

Resources:

March 28, 2018

There’s Going to Be a Little Pinch

Places Where You Can Ask

Places Where You Can Ask


There are different venues to reach the destination for a job search or seeking an opportunity It’s about finding the opening to get inside the door and reap the rewards of having made that milestone.

As we move along one path or another, there will be times when we need to ask for something. There are four aspects to this. The first is knowing how to ask. The other is the willingness to accept the answer you don’t want to hear. The third is having the fortitude to say “no” – in a tactful but understandable way. And the last is having sufficient emotional intelligence (also referred to as EQ) to realize “no” does not mean resorting to some type of negative behavior. Oh, and there’s a fifth aspect to this picture which should actually be first. It’s knowing who to ask or getting leads to where the answer can be found.

Who to Ask

Who you ask for a reference or for a lead is dependent on several factors. The most significant is whether you admire some talent they have as well as whether you believe they respect you and the talents you have to offer. If they have neither, it isn’t worth your while to seek their assistance in getting an introduction or even a recommendation. The unspoken assumption here is that the person knows who you are. If they’re merely a stranger, one will question the validity and value of their recommendation.

A person has increased significance as a reference when they have some type of expertise, knowledge of the industry or profession. It’s a plus if they hold a respectable position in their industry or have a good reputation. What they say in regard to advice is positively received and rarely is flawed. They are thorough and ask good questions in order to reach solid conclusions. Likewise, they know good sources to get the right, most up to date answers.

Another way of evaluating who to ask is how much they know of your work ethic and the caliber of your work or the caliber of the content you provide. That content may be input in conversations during meetings, in various exchanges, diligence in making certain of the facts and understanding of the subject matter before speaking (or writing), and attention to details.

Can they vouch for your character? Are you one way today and another the next? People with equivocal records tend to not be very reliable. That’s a two-way street.

How to Ask

Asking for a reference takes some tact. Few relish the thought of being put in the center of the bull’s eye so an outright “I need a reference for a job and I’d like for you to be one,” is not going to go over very well. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why LinkedIn no longer creates additions to the “Skills & Endorsements” and “Recommendations” sections of one’s profile.

The Endorsements did not require solicitation. If someone was aware of you and respected some aspect of your work, all they needed to do was click a link that added their name to the collection of endorsers.

The need for a recommendation can arise for any number of reasons, in addition to finding employment. Perhaps a recommendation is needed for admission to a school or some type of fraternal organization. A direct approach is appropriate for these types of needs. Still, it’s important that the person is familiar with you, your work, and your style.

In these situations, it is all right to let them know that (1) you’re seeking admission to a program (or consideration for an opportunity with one) and (2) you need a recommendation from someone who can speak to the value you can add to the program. The next part is where sensitivity is required.

As I said before, it isn’t wise to put the person into an uncomfortable position. Here, however, it is appropriate (now that the opportunity is revealed and your motivation for pursuing it is disclosed) that you ask if they would be willing to be a reference for you. Frame it in terms of the fact that you’ve known one another in a professional capacity and you believe their endorsement would add value (it’s appropriate to briefly outline why). If not, Ask if they can suggest someone who may be able to serve as a reference.

Sometimes the reference is needed for an application. The endorsement needs to be verified by the organization hosting the event. Once the commitment is made, the evaluator needs to be made aware that their email address, and sometimes a phone number, will need to be disclosed. Find out what contact information they prefer to have used. Be certain they realize this information is for verifying the recommendation.

Accepting the Answer

“No,” is a difficult word to say. There are times when it’s appropriate to do so. Therefore, rather than give a false impression that the answer is a genuine “Yes,” it’s far better to learn how to say “No” in a clear and unequivocal way so that later, there will be no misunderstandings and confusion. Learning how to say “No” applies to not only the one petitioned for a reference (or permission) but also for the one who does not want to accept a generosity or gift.

Sometimes the response can be couched in an explanation; sometimes the reasoning will remain private. No matter which, it’s important to be willing to hear “No” and abide by it. Retaliation is not an appropriate response. Lashing out also shows lack of maturity.

While working for a boutique executive placement firm, we had an uncomfortable situation arise. The applicant gladly gave a list of references. Some were represented as extremely good, reliable friends. The time for reference checks arrived and people were called to do that step of the screening. Unfortunately, one of the references gave less than a milquetoast reference. To say that left everyone in an uncomfortable state is understatement. Some type of explanation for the rejection needed to be formulated and then contact the applicant to tell them their candidacy was being dropped.

Was there a misrepresentation on the applicant’s part? No. But on face value and from the standpoint of a potential employer who didn’t do enough screening, there was a misrepresentation. Saying “No” can make a huge difference in whether someone’s quest for gaining a foothold is successful or not.

Be Brave

Asking for a reference can be a daunting experience for some. It’s necessary to muster up the courage to ask. On the other side of the coin, it’s necessary to muster up the fortitude to either say “Yes” or “No.”

Sometimes the evaluator is an extremely busy person. They encounter many people in a day. Keeping a mental record of what experience they’ve had with a person can be difficult, especially when the pressures of business are upon them. They may ask that a rough draft of the letter of recommendation be created so that they can edit it. This will also help them know what things to highlight for that particular venue. Not every situation is looking for the same qualities. The standout moments in the relationship – expert advice, superior knowledge of a particular subject, quick and accurate research, ability to explain complex concepts in an understandable way – are some examples of what is needed.

Life Goes On

It may be a disappointment to hear “No” when a request for a reference is rejected. That isn’t the only person in Life’s track of relationships where someone can offer an evaluation. Consider that it’s typical to request at least three references whenever someone is applying for a situation. So there was one who said “No.” That doesn’t mean everyone on the list of co-workers, acquaintances, colleagues, and associates will have the same answer. It also doesn’t mean that the door is forever sealed shut. Move on to whoever may be the next best.

The advantage of asking is learning the answer. It may be music to one’s ears, “Yes.” On the other hand, there may be a little pinch. The good thing about that pinch is that it doesn’t last forever.

Resources:

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February 13, 2018

Oh, the World of Job Search

Filed under: Job Search — Yvonne LaRose @ 10:24 PM
Tags: , ,

Places Where You Can Ask

Places Where You Can Ask

During the past six months, we’ve gone on an exploration of the world of applying for jobs. We looked at using a temp agency and how to get in the door. We also considered the use of job search communities and whether or not to pay the application fee. Many revelations began to surface. So much so that I began curating my findings about what each site offers and its characteristics.

Now that some of the job lead and job search communities have been identified, it’s time to start sorting through the messages that say, “[employer site] is interested in you.” Some are actual job leads, some are simply directing you to one of the virtual job posting sites. Some will have leads but those leads are not for positions you’re qualified to do work. For example, there are a number of leads for medical practitioner positions. When I say “medical practitioner,” I mean a licensed medical doctor who practices in a particular specialty. These types of leads are typically from EveryJobForMe. How they determined that I am a licensed physician is a mystery. As they announce the position, they say, “We wanted to let you know that we have just posted an open position within the last day for a job in your area. Based on your profile and previous searches on our site, it appears that you may be a great fit! Please review this opportunity by clicking on the URL below.” Rather than have you leave and never come back, they share this insight, “If you feel that this isn’t the job for you, search through millions of job listings on the EveryJobForMe site by clicking on the following link.”

Some other leads are for “sales associate.” Those are understandable. The site is simply phishing for job seekers and sending leads on the most popular and most generic of opportunities. What’s needed in that case is to simply go to the site and give it instructions to fine tune the job alerts that are sent.

Many of the leads are for opportunities that are more than 25 miles away. Again, the filter needs to be fine tuned so that it’s sending alerts for the proper radius.

Are these types of leads a waste of time? Well, in a way they are. On the other hand, they bring awareness of opportunities that you hadn’t even considered. That being true, they’re useful for helping to see not-yet-considered options.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep sharing what I’ve learned about these sites.

Sponsored Links:

January 4, 2018

Job Search and Job Application Fees

August 25, 2017

Making the Right Choice

Making the Right Choice

It was May 23, 2017, the day I embarked on applying for temporary jobs and researching temporary agencies. It was also the day I started applying for online work. Finally, it was the day I was greeted by an onslaught of mail from various sources holding out information about open positions or interviews ready for me to attend. (Many of those messages are still in several of my email Inboxes.)

Not to be outdone and with the recollection about some very disappointing experiences with another virtual gigs site from a year before, I decided to explore some of those notices. Alerts for the type of work that would be suitable for me and my talents were created. A new onslaught of notifications began to arrive. I finally picked through a few of them, read the description, and decided on one or two that seemed to be a good match.

On the very first one where I was about to submit my resume, I was greeted by a notice that an application fee would be required in order for my resume and application to be accepted. (No guarantee they would be reviewed, just accepted.) Just a minute. Somewhere in the recesses of my legal memory lay a recollection of research that said an agency cannot charge a fee for making an application for work. There was something curious about that particular website. I withdrew my resume and application. I also forgot to take note of which site had that requirement. What I do remember is the only thing they offered was a menu of new openings as well as a submission portal. There were no additional services offered.

The experience made me remember a site that no longer exists and was known as “Sologig” which was an outgrowth of “Hot Gigs”, that became CareerBuilder, and (like Dr. Who) has experienced several re-generations. The freelancing side of its operations is completely different these days. Circa 2006 and ’07, a freelancer seeking work would pay a subscription or membership fee in order to be found for work.

This protocol was very similar to the one eventually used by Remote.com. To justify charging a fee to be hired, the cost was considered a subscription to a community that offered additional services and enhancements. Additionally (you’re going to like this news), the subscription fee was tax deductible as a job search expense. (Please don’t ask me how that type of fee will be treated under the newly-inked tax bill. It’s too soon to have analyzed and comprehended the 10,000-page document.) However, in January 2006, Sologig advised in its newsletter:

Your Sologig membership is tax deductible

The tax season is upon us and, as with other business expenses, your Sologig.com membership fees are tax deductible. The IRS has many valuable resources available to independent contractors. You can find more information about filing, deductions as well as other tips to save you time and money. Read the Sologig News article on filing your taxes as an independent contractor. (The archived link takes the reader to this article.)

So that may be the key to determining whether the job search site is a scam. Is the fee for registering to be found by potential employers as well as apply for work include special services such as training, resume services, skills testing and certification, and so on? Then perhaps this is a legitimate fee-for-services site.

But if you’re paying for the privilege of submitting your application and resume to the company’s website ATS (applicant tracking system) where the only human eyes that will eventually see them are pretty far down the road, you’d best move on to a more robust site with more than artificial intelligence examining what’s been submitted with no fee for your diligence and effort.

Resources:

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June 7, 2015

Repetition

There's no course on job search

There’s no course on job search

Not long ago I heard a complaint from one of the industry’s more vintage and distinguished recruiters. (I’ll paraphrase.)

“This business would be a lot more interesting if we could get past the how to write a resume and cover letter stuff. And it would be much better if we didn’t spend so much time on how to interview. Why do we have to go through this so much? It should be obvious!”

True enough, it should be obvious to those of us who’ve been around the block several times. But there are a lot of dynamics that are driving the actual need to have this “wisdom” regurgitated on a regular basis. Let’s look at a few of them today.

Babies

For some reason, people keep having babies. Then they send them off to school to learn all the basics – except for how to write a resume and cover letter, how to interview, how to go to work. Somehow, that information is supposed to get distilled before graduation from high school but it doesn’t. So we have these quasi-adults meandering around looking for meaning that’s associated with their existence and wondering where they belong. Some of them get recruited to things such as gangs, sports, lured into competing for a slot on America’s Got Talent or The Voice or any number of other things that bring some form of recognition and prestige. And some of them try to figure out how to get on Survivor or Big Brother. The thing of it is, no one told them they’ll still need to pass the interview to get accepted on the entertainment scene.

We need to keep doing the stories about how to write a resume as well as how to write a cover letter because there are millions added to the next generation on a daily basis. None of them know this and it essentially isn’t taught in school – not middle school, not high school, and sort of in college but that’s a bit late.

Technology

The way we do things in business is constantly evolving. At one time, you just walked into a business and asked whether or not they were hiring. If there was a possibiity of a situation, someone in charge would talk to the person and do some informal screening. Provided the conversation went well, there was a get hired on the spot moment with a start date that ranged from that instant to maybe a couple of days later so that appropriate clothing could be gathered.

Today, things don’t work on the same principle. We’ve stopped walking into the business and asking for work. We’ve, for the most part, even stopped scouring the classifieds for “Situations” because they’re now online at various websites and company Careers sections. Networking sites now offer information about open positions, with details about more specifics.

The rules of the game for submitting applications have also changed. Even with temporary staffing agencies, you now set up an interview time online. Going into the office is a necessity for the sake of completing some of the paperwork and taking the computer administered tests to assess where one’s strongest skills are. (Yes, the screening process is still intact.)

Actually, there’s a very subtle reason for continuing to have the applicant come into the office. Those who show up, and show up on time, have demonstrated an genuine interest in pursuing the opportunity. Those who do not show up, have an excuse about why they aren’t there, are running late, need to reschedule, have lowered their seed position and will need to make a very strong showing when they do get to the office for the in-person screening and interview. And getting into the office is yet another way to evaluate how well the applicant follows instructions.

Fashion

Because we’ve become more accepting of cultural differences, styles that are acceptable for interviewing are beginning to change. What used to be proper attire for Sabbath and not for the office has become appropriate for either venue. How many applicants as well as recruiters and human resource managers are aware of this fashion evolution is still to be determined. However, it is a certainty that finding some lawsuit that challenges failure to hire based on wearing traditional garb will be easy.

En Masse Education

It isn’t always the applicant who needs a verse or so of the hiring mantra. Recruiters could stand a refresher course in what is acceptable. Those who are new to the industry would do well to take time for getting refreshed on what is involved in sourcing, screening, and hiring the right person. Even the government is trying to work out that formula to everyone’s satisfaction. And there’s still the ‘know thy industry’ caveat.

There are a lot of factors that go into the formula for making a successful application for a job. With each advancement in technology, with each new birth each year, there will be more people who need to learn how to apply and more who need to know how to select the right one. Suffice it to say that for each employer or recruiter or manager, there are that many people who have their own idea of who a resume and cover letter should be formatted. It’s all subjective; it takes a lot of sifting in order to get to the standard and then to get to what’s right. And for those who have been at this for a while, it’s important to have refreshers. Today we briefly looked at three aspects of the job search and why these topics keep coming up as repetitious coaching subjects.

Sponsored Links:

May 18, 2014

Career Tip: Overcoming Recent Knowledge Objections

For whatever reason, you’ve been out of the formal employment situation for quite a while. You’ve also been out of school for more than two or three years. (Try approaching a decade or so.) All of those stellar accomplishments that happened while you were in the work world are becoming stale. One recruiter was tactless enough to tell you your skills aren’t sufficiently up to date to qualify for a temp assignment.

Have you been sitting in a dark room and doing absolutely nothing all this time or have you been active in all manner of activities that are being dismissed, even taken for granted? The only reason I would accept that excuse is if you were in a coma and on life support for an extended period of time. And even if that were true, your doctor probably prescribed occupational rehabilitative support so that you can get back into current practices. So you weren’t in a coma but maybe you were undergoing some type of traumatic illness that took you out of mainstream Life for a while. Start your own retraining regimen. (Maybe you already have but weren’t aware.)

It’s important to read everyday. Even the simple postings on social media are forcing you to read content, analyze it, and draw conclusions. Make certain real news is included in your diet of reading. Make certain you’re reading includes recreational content. Make certain your reading includes industry news that helps you recognize names of individuals as well as know which company merged with another – and which moved out of the state. Read.

Okay, so you haven’t been in school for a while. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to bury yourself in academic halls for another four to six years. There are continuing education classes offered that rely on not only being in a physical class room. There are online classes that can help you refresh your knowledge, remind you of techniques and tactics, and make you aware of innovations since you earned your degree. Maybe an online class or continuing education class of one hour in duration is the answer.

While we’re talking about school, there are some online universities that would like to add people who can teach a class. Investigate what their criteria for a course is. Since you have some time on your hands, you have time to research and outline your own course and present it – after you’ve done research on which universities are accepting new classes and what their terms are.

You’re blogging about your boring life and the travails of not finding things that are a match for what you have to offer. You’re taking your blogging skills for granted. Which platforms are you using? There are companies that need people who are skilled at using certain types of blogging platforms.

Then there’s technology. In addition to blogging, you may be capable of using software and applications with great ease. Maybe you’re even developing your own apps. Your cell phone is either an I-Phone or an Android, both of which use the tap and swipe methodology. You’ve probably ditched your stand alone and are now using a laptop. In fact, you’ve probably ditched your laptop and are now using a tablet (with wi-fi and double-sided camera). Are you getting some ideas yet about things you’ve been overlooking?

But we’re talking about actualizing new technology. We haven’t been talking about reinforcing existing knowledge. That’s fine. While you were “laid up”, situations arose wherein you could get involved in volunteer projects. Sure, they didn’t pay you dollars and cents for seeing your duties through to completion. But you were in charge of some aspect of the project or put your energies into fulfilling your duties. Volunteer projects can count toward maintaining skills and work experience.

In fact, that reminds me of a blog post that my colleague, Steve Levy, wrote about his being hospitalized. It was a time when hospitals didn’t allow patients to have access to the Internet. So Steve charmed one person after another and networked until he got permission to talk with the IT Department. They allowed him to have access to the Internet. His recruiting endeavors continued after a one day lapse. He gained new contacts at every rung of the hierarchy. I think he even picked up some candidates for some of his unfilled job orders. That post resonated with me in many ways.

There are many examples of unofficial things that are done that could be counted as applicable experience without straining to legitimize it. Too often we take situations for granted and miss the fact that they could be considered work experience. Too often we forget that what was done could have been a form of consulting. Just make certain you verify that interpretation before putting it forth without substantiation.

As for those continuing education classes, get your certificate that verifies your attendance and that you earned your credits. Then do some things in order to apply that refreshed, renewed knowledge. And then get out there and start networking so you can effectively market yourself.

Sponsored links:

 

February 25, 2014

Seniors Employer Finder

One feature of many job boards is to help a candidate search for the right types of jobs and to help them focus on jobs available in their area. Not many of them offer a specialty feature such as employers who are actively seeking those over 50. For that matter, not any of the ones I’ve seen offer special features or highlight opportunities for those with disabilities. But I digress.

I have found what appears to be a great job board and search engine that targets the over 50 demographic. It came in the form of an AARP email that talked about finding a job with better benefits. Then the web page talked about job search for those over 50 and best employers for that age range. And then the Nirvana Moment. It provided a link to the Best Employers Job Search Tool. There’s also a list compiled by AARP in association with Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) called the Best Employers for Workers Over 50 awards program. Since I found this resource in the Summer of last year, what I can do is send you to the 2013 Best Employers list.

It is “a biennial program that was started in 2001 and recognizes employers with exemplary practices for recruiting and retaining mature workers.” The award winner was How each employer was selected is worth a read. After learning that they submitted an application to be included in the list, the question that comes to mind is how many knew about this opportunity. And the next thing to ponder is (given that the usual response rate to surveys and calls to action is about 10%) how many actually participated in being considered. And yet another thing to think about is whether the list of candidates is growing in its existence and the extent or rate of the growth.

Some of the criteria for selection looks at whether the employer has “set outstanding examples through programs that help them retain, retrain, engage and recruit the older workers who will be increasingly crucial to their success and the success of the U.S. economy over the coming decade.” It’s so glad to know that seniors are valued for the long run. Another intersting criteria for making the list is innovative ways of attracting and retaining senior workers.

This is not some local yokel award. The search has expanded to include international companies. And they get into considering the more creative ways of not only attracting but also retaining these valued, seasoned workers. Many have the tendency to consider older workers not as viable for positions as the younger generations. It has been found that assumption is a myth that definitely needs to be dispelled.

It’s entirely possible to simply build a page of links. It’s much wiser to provide you with some of the more meaningful ones on this topic and allow you to explore in order to come up with some of your own ideas about how to show your appreciation of and keep your older workers.

Resources:

Sponsored Link:

The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today

 

April 8, 2013

8 Sites for Researching Employers

Filed under: Job Search,Recruiting Tips — Yvonne LaRose @ 3:39 PM
Tags: , , , ,

ITWorld tells us about 8 websites for researching your next employer. At the top of their list is Glass Doors. That site and I have some history that doesn’t need to be made public. However, I will take into consideration what others have to say about it and their impressions of it.

The most attention-grabbing comment on Facebook about Glass Doors was a recent one voice by Jason Buss, a recruiter in the Minneapolis area and diversity specialist, who complained that their algorithms are off by a significant amount for job search purposes.

Glass Doors sent him some job leads: “The results include a truck driver for TMC, a sales associate for PETCO, and a PeopleSoft systems administrator.” I gently teased him about the results by saying, “Well, I told them those were just the types of things for which you’re best suited, Jason. You mean we didn’t hit the nail on the head? You said you like to travel for work. You love animals. You’re good at talking to people and public speaking. And talk about analytical! You’re constantly poring over reports.”

Jason backed up his protest about using the site for job search by commenting on the positive. He said, “It may have info on researching employers but the algorithm for matching jobs really sucks.”

[Recruiter Tip embedded in this post.] It’s good for recruiters to kick the tires at some of these job boards and job sites. You need to know what they’re doing, what they’re dispensing in the way of industry intelligence, and how well they’re doing at pointing applicants in the right direction.

That being said, it appears Glass Doors is a good competitor with Vault as far as shedding light on business environment and such. And in that regard, it seems the other six sites named are also excellent for researching your next employer.

Sponsored Link: Vault Guide to the Top Government and Non-Profit Legal Employers (Vault Guide to the Top Nonprofit & Government Employers)

March 28, 2013

Tipping the Success Scales

Some people seem to have all the luck. They toss their presentation materials (resume, cover letter, work samples, portfolio, profile statement and URL, and so on) into the social stream (not to be confused with the jet stream of all the others zooming past in order to gain attention) and get snatched up in short order. “Well just how did that happen?” some will pout. “I’m just as qualified; maybe even more so. And I definitely got my materials delivered before that Johnny-Come-Lately!” Maybe you did. In fact, the time stamp says you were a full two days ahead of your competitor yet they got the tap for coming in to do a face-to-face meeting. Drat!

Patrick McFadden writes the Indispensable Marketing blog and indirectly explains this phenomenon. He calls it using power words or words that enrich. Patrick provides 50 power words in his enrichment post and then tells a reader that the 50 is not the exhaustive representation. Good point, too, I might add. While the list is fantastic, it doesn’t include the word “open” as one example of what could be included. Some other synonyms not in his list are words such as “alluring”, “receptive”, and “ready” but that doesn’t prevent them from being just as effective when it comes to delivering consistent results.

Actually, Patrick’s words are intended for those who are marketing their business – whether a service or a product. His intent was not to provide advice for job seekers. When you stop to consider the process that’s occurring, however, it becomes obvious that the principles are essentially the same because what’s being marketed, in the case of job seekers, is a basket of talents and skills they possess. Even freelancers and consultants need to pay attention to these power words and integrate them into their daily vocabulary (to get into the habit of using the words; to get into the mindset of those adjectives).

A word of caution would serve all of us well at this juncture. Marketo is a partner of About.com’s Marketing Channel. Marketo is offering a free ebook called 10 Tips for Successful Email Campaigns. Once you have that download on your screen, you’ll discover Marketo discourages use of some of Patrick’s 50 because when used in email, they become spam magnets and will prevent your message from being delivered.

One word in particular is guaranteed to be counterproductive when seeking new opportunities and contracts – “free.” We’re not in the business of surviving off the land and being charitable to a fault. In the early days of The Net, tons (literally) and scads of stuff was free. We got really accustomed to that. But the IT bubble that burst back in 2000 taught us that exorbitant salaries countered with no price tag will eventually be the death of all things we like and admire. (I wonder if that works on weeds?) There’ll be a lot of people walking away with all that free advice and examples. You’ll be standing there watching the backs of those who received. They’ll be headed to the place where they can get the model made, the services delivered (on time), and getting paid for all that knowledge of yours that you so generously allowed them to convert to cash. And they’ll have paid someone else for the reaping of those benefits.

Don’t be too liberal with use the word “free.” Think “freely expand” or “generous benefits.” Do be free with use of the Indispensable Marketing words in your writing, in your networking, and in your normal vocabulary so that you convey the rich rewards of being associated with you.

January 11, 2013

Range of Opportunities

We’re told that job opportunities are increasing as we work our way out of the Bush Administration and continue into the second term of the Obama Administration. What’s unfortunate is the fact that many people think of jobs in terms of fast food establishments or entry-level office work and nothing else. Because it exposes us to employment settings other than those typicals, I really like the television show “Undercover Boss.”

In the show, either the owner of the business or a high-ranking executive in the company disguises theirself and works as an entry-level person in various capacities as they try to qualify for a position in the company. In addition to allowing the corporate side of the business to get an actual view of how things work and the conditions and standards that workers must meet, these undercover settings also allow the execs to see where the inefficiencies reside. There’s a means of seeing (and feeling) why X or Y doesn’t work. They gain a sense of what it may take to fix it. It’s no longer a situation of top dictating to the bottom[line] without an appreciation of what it takes to achieve those demands.

Okay, there’s more to the show than just the executives’ gaining a better insight into the real operations and the people who make the wheels turn. As the title of this indicates, the show allows viewers to start thinking about situations other than fast food and traditional office work. The show allows us to see the other parts of the company “inerds” and the range of job titles involved in that business.

Few of us have thought about working for a waste disposal company. But this show provides a view of various types of positions that are part of that type of business. Then there’s working for a moving company. The positions involve more than just the strong-man movers. There are also estimators and schedulers. Don’t forget the Claims Department! Then there’s working for a hotel as well as home care and assisted living support services.

What about a job in agriculture? Being a harvester or picker takes a lot. A conveyor belt is not forgiving. It runs at a certain speed and even though the belt is supposed to make the worker easier, the belt is also a task master. When it comes to making certain the job is done properly, those conveyor belts (whether for processing food or any other product) force the worker to be precise and deft. Not doing so means lost time, lost product, and lost profits.

It takes a special type of personality to do all of these types of jobs. Some of the workers have been with their employers for decades. It’s also refreshing that the employees are so willing to open their private lives to scrutiny and share some of their personal stories. It helps us realize that they definitely are struggling to make ends meet. In many instances, these people are working two jobs while supporting not just their nuclear family but generations of the family living under the same roof. This show allows viewers who are not too different from the ones who are employees of the companies to see what others are doing in order to survive. Viewers get to see how others are compensating in order to realize the American Dream.

There were two episodes that were particularly meaningful for me. One involved the 1-800-FLOWERS owners. We learned a lot about customer service and learning about customer traffic patterns and timing, serving customer needs unique to your location, innovation, and design.

The other episode that held a lot of meaning for me was about Hooters. Not only the viewing audience but the owner was appalled at one manager’s abuse of the servers. It’s difficult to even remember the things he subjected the women to so that they could be selected as the one to get time off due to over staffing for the day.

No doubt most people watch the show for the entertainment value and nothing more. However, there’s more to that show than mere entertainment. Obviously there’s editing so that we, the viewing public, don’t see the complete flow of what happened during the job. But we do get to do our research about that type of industry and what it would be like to work for that company in at least three different types of positions available there.

Sponsored Link: Exploring Future Options: A Career Development Curriculum for Middle School Students

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