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Posted November 29, 2010 by

Tips on Taking Advantage of the Holidays When Searching for a New Job

With unemployment at double digits throughout much of the country and with serious concerns about joblessness weighing on the nation, “job” shopping is a holiday priority for many. Even though a layoff or job change can put a real damper on one’s Holiday spirit, now is not the time to slow your networking and job search efforts.

Total Career Success, a career transition firm specializing in helping individuals transition to better jobs for better pay and advance their careers, encourages job seekers to use the holiday spirit to their advantage. Ken Dawson, CEO, shared, “A common misconception about the Holiday season is that business ceases when the festivities begin. The holidays are a social time, with parties, association functions and increased travel. Smart job seekers use these holiday events to reconnect with old friends as well as develop their professional and personal contacts. Networking during the holidays more than any other activity will further their job hunt and position them to be ahead of their competition come January.” He recommends the following tips to ensure success in holiday job searches:

  • Attend holiday parties and join the festivities. You can make excellent contacts, which may otherwise take weeks to uncover. Given that the number one reason people find new positions is a positive attitude, be sure your holiday spirits include being positive and upbeat about your future.
  • Be open about your job search and share information not only about what you are seeking, but exchange information you have gained which can benefit others. Remember giving is better than receiving, and in this situation it will create better results for you!
  • Use your holiday cards, hardcopy or electronic, to update your friends, associates and family on your current status. A note on a card is an upbeat way to get the word out. Then follow-up to personally exchange greetings and contacts.
  • If you’re going to be traveling, plan ahead, notify potential employers, and let them know you’ll be in town and would like to drop by. The out-of-towner has the psychological advantage over someone locally.
  • Don’t hesitate to network with potential employers during the holiday season. With many companies in the midst of budget planning, managers may have tips on positions opening after the first of the year. And with company activities slowing during the holiday, it can be an ideal time to call a manager who may be catching up in his or her office.
  • Don’t fall into the temptation to wait the holidays out by surfing the internet. Online job leads are most productive when integrated with your networking. And be careful when posting your resume on the internet – many online resume services are not secure. Be sure the internet sites on which you post your resume have a posted privacy policy.
  • Use the holidays to organize your job search. Do your homework, research companies, and be prepared for increased activity after the first of the year.

Sheryl Dawson, co-author of Job Search: The Total System, said, “Whether out of a job or anticipating the ‘axe’, you shouldn’t use the holidays as an excuse not to pursue new opportunities. Many job searchers make the false assumption that the holidays are a bad time to search. Rather than slowing down job search activity, step up the pace.” Following the techniques of Job Search: The Total System, job seekers can use the holiday season to organize their job search campaign, target companies, formulate strategy, establish their goals and develop an action plan. Dawson went on to share, “The holidays can actually be an ideal time to prepare your job strategy so you can enter the New Year confident of your ability to sell yourself. The goal is not to simply get a job, but to advance your career and get a better job for better pay and a better life!”

Dawson added, “Of course the holidays are a perfect time to make contacts. Job seekers shouldn’t think they’d spoil the fun by letting people know they’re looking for work. With a cheerful attitude and a professional approach, a holiday job seeker has a definite edge over those who wait until after the New Year. Most of all, constructive activity helps eliminate the temptation for the job seeker to get down in the dumps during the holidays. No one likes a party pooper! Stay positive, flexible and proactive. Remember, you only need ONE job so do not focus on the unemployment statistics. Rather, focus on what you have to offer an employer – your skills, competencies and value. If your industry is down and you must consider alternative careers or industries, concentrate on your transferable skills. There is a job or opportunity that is right for you.”

Posted November 23, 2010 by

Business, Engineering, and Computer Science 2011 Grads Most Sought After by Employers

Marilyn Mackes of the National Association of Colleges and EmployersEmployers are most interested in hiring new college graduates with bachelor’s degrees in the business, engineering, and computer science fields, according to results of a new survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Nearly 62 percent of the organizations taking part in NACE’s Job Outlook 2011 survey cited plans to hire accounting graduates. Other popular degrees at the bachelor’s degree level included:

  • Finance degree (57 percent of respondents);
  • Electrical engineering degree (53.5 percent );
  • Computer science degree (53 percent);
  • Mechanical engineering degree (53 percent); and
  • Business administration degree with a specialization in accounting, finance, and management (52 percent).

(more…)

Posted November 01, 2010 by

On Job Action Day 2010, Focus on Your Competencies, Interests, and Values

Thanks to the good folks at QuintCareers.com, today is Job Action Day and that means that dozens of career bloggers are contributing content to help job seekers worldwide find their next great job.

I’ve known Randall and Kathy Hansen of QuintCareers.com for a decade and they’re two of the smartest, thoughtful, and caring leaders you’ll ever meet. The creation and promotion of this event is a perfect example. They could create the same content that the contributing bloggers do, but the Hansens know that they can make a bigger impact by getting more people involved as many and probably most users of CollegeRecruiter.com do not overlap with the users of QuintCareers.com and the same goes for the other Job Action Day contributors. So by galvanizing dozens, they reach tens of thousands and perhaps even hundreds of thousands of additional job seekers.

But enough hugs and kisses. What content am I contributing to Job Action Day 2010? I’m going to focus on what I believe to be the three primary factors that job seekers should use when deciding what type of job to go after. Many, many job seekers — especially less experienced ones like many of those using CollegeRecruiter.com — don’t fully appreciate that their choice of a career path or a job within that career path should not be determined by how much money they can make or even what they’re good at. Rather, their decision should be driven by three factors:

  1. Competencies – What are you good at?
  2. Interests – What do you like to do?
  3. Values – What is important to you?

Too many job seekers look for work in an area that lines up well with one or perhaps even two of the above but not all three. When that happens, the result tends to be failure.

The job seeker may end up failing on the job because their skills don’t line up well with the work. In short, they just aren’t competent at what they’re trying to do. I’m taller than the average guy, but at a shade below six feet one inch and not terribly well coordinated, I’m in no danger of playing in the National Basketball Association. So even if I really love playing basketball and playing at the highest possible level is important to me, I’m not going to succeed if I were to try out for an NBA team.

Having a strong interest in your career path is equally as important. Someone who has immense talent (competencies) and values the contributions they can make on the basketball court may make an NBA team and perhaps even play well, but they’ll likely be frustrated and quickly disillusioned by their chosen career path if they don’t like the game.

Similarly, it is also important to value your career path. You may be highly competent and interested in playing in the NBA but if you don’t value the contributions that you make to the game or that the game makes to you then you’re going to be bored and quickly looking for the next best thing. You sometimes see this in young athletes that quit their game far too early. Many fans scratch their heads and wonder how someone with so much talent and who performs at such a high level can just walk away from all that fame and money. The reason is they don’t value that fame or money. Other things in life are more important to them and they should be given credit for recognizing that life is too short to spend years working at something that just doesn’t matter.

So when you’re looking at a job opportunity or even a career path, don’t just focus on your skills or what you like or what you care about. Focus on all three. It is often said that three’s a crowd but when you’re talking about competencies, interests, and values, three is a necessity.

Please check out these blog posts that are joining mine in supporting Job Action Day 2010:

You can also find Job Action Day 2010 posts on these blogs:

Posted October 29, 2010 by

Leading Businesses Launch Training Initiative to Prepare U.S. College Students and Young Professionals for the Workforce

Today, Business Roundtable and HR Policy Association announced the release of JobSTART101: Smart Tips and Real-World Training, an online course for college students and recent graduates that introduces the professional skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. Even in a time of soaring unemployment, a survey revealed that 61 percent of U.S. employers report difficulty in finding qualified workers to fill vacancies at their companies. JobSTART101 addresses the gap between employers’ needs and workers’ skills by helping students understand the real-life challenges and expectations of the workplace.

The United States needs a well-equipped workforce that is prepared for the challenges of today’s job market. However, many college graduates do not have an opportunity to learn what employers expect and have not developed the professional skills that will help them succeed after they are hired.

“While our nation remains focused on job creation, it’s equally important to focus on ensuring that our workforce has the skills and training needed to succeed in today’s economy. Business leaders are concerned that many entry-level employees lack the communication and analytical skills that are necessary for sustained job success,” said William D. Green, Chairman and CEO of Accenture and Chairman of Business Roundtable’s Education, Innovation and Workforce Initiative. “JobSTART101 helps prepare new employees meet the challenges of the job market which is essential to building a competitive workforce.”

JobSTART101 is a first-of-its-kind course that’s free and available to college students and recent graduates nationwide. The course includes interactive components such as videos and course workbooks that cover topics ranging from how to communicate and solve problems to how to develop a professional persona that helps drive a career for long-term success. It is designed to be engaging and fast-paced, with the option for students to complete the entire course in approximately 90 minutes or tackle the six topical modules one at a time.

“A student or young professional who spends 90 minutes with this course will be a more productive employee and experience greater satisfaction in his/her first job without having to undergo extensive – and expensive – coursework or training,” says Alexandra Levit, an expert on business and workplace issues and the online instructor for JobSTART101.

Prior to today’s release, a group of college students provided feedback on the course. Six institutions participated in the pilot evaluation: California State University at East Bay, Coppin State University, DeVry University, Duke University, Northern Virginia Community College and University of Michigan. The majority of students reported that the course engaged their interest and included useful information and relevant examples that would help prepare them for situations they would face at work.

The need for JobSTART101 was identified by The Springboard Project – an independent commission of thought leaders convened by Business Roundtable – who recommended specific actions that would help Americans get the education and training they need to succeed in the evolving economy. The experts urged employers to better communicate workforce needs and expectations to students and increase American’s workplace readiness and competitiveness.

Posted October 19, 2010 by

Career Experts And Bloggers Unite To Help Job-Seekers In Third Annual Job Action Day

Job Action Day 2010 LogoAs the unemployment crisis slogs on, it’s clear that the new world of work involves far fewer full-time, permanent jobs with benefits than in the past. Job Action Day 2010, the third-annual initiative spearheaded by Quintessential Careers and being held this year on Nov. 1, addresses this new world of work by exhorting job-seekers to look at innovative ways to create opportunity. A cadre of career experts and bloggers are joining QuintCareers in helping job-seekers confront the new realities of the workforce on Job Action Day, held annually on the first Monday in November.

Some key indicators of this new world of work include:

  • Fifty percent of the workforce added in 2010 will be made up of one form or another of contingent workers, says the report The Emerging New Workforce by Littler Mendelson, P.C., which provides employment and labor-law solutions. “As a result,” the report states, “approximately 25 percent to as high as 35
    percent of the workforce will be made up of temporary workers, contractors, or other project-based labor. The numbers of professionals working in temporary or alternative work arrangements will continue to rise. Flexible work schedules and telecommuting will increase as companies turn towards practical solutions to efficiently complete tasks while retaining talented individuals.” [Similar sources: Freelance Nation: Why Permanent Jobs May Not Come Back by Charles Hugh Smith, DailyFinance; Need a job? Contract work could be new normal by Eve Tahmincioglu, MSNBC; One-in-Five employers to hire full-time, permanent staff in Q4: survey by International Business Times]
  • A looming skills mismatch is preventing some workers from obtaining jobs even as employers increase hiring. During the recession, employers had to make do with fewer workers, and those workers took on more functions. “Now, someone who hopes to get those jobs must meet the new requirements,” reports Christopher S. Rugaber in an Associated Press article. Technology has also added to the skills mismatch. [Similar source: The Stagnating Labor Market by Arjun Jayadev and Mike Konczal, The Roosevelt Institute]

“The workforce as we’ve come to know it will probably never be the same,” said Dr. Randall S. Hansen, founder and publisher of QuintCareers. “Job-seekers must develop a whole new mind-set to thrive in this new world of work. That’s why our 2010 Job Action Day theme is ‘Create Opportunity,'” Hansen said. “The theme has a double meaning; not only must job-seekers create opportunity, but we encourage employers and the government to find ways to create opportunity, as well.”

Adds author Jay Block in an article published on QuintCareers.com that sets the tone for Job Action Day 2010: “A finite number of jobs may be available, but an infinite number of opportunities are waiting for people to tap into.”

On Job Action Day 2010, Quint Careers will disseminate information from experts on how to create opportunity*:

  • The Proteus Solution: Surviving and Thriving in a Transformational Workplace, by Jay Block, executive career coach and author, West Palm Beach, FL.
  • Create Opportunity by Targeting Companies, Not Jobs, by Laura Levine Labovich, chief career strategist, Aspire! Empower! Career Strategy Group, Bethesda, MD.
  • How Temp Workers Can Creating Opportunity for Full-Time Hire, by Maureen Crawford Hentz, U.S. manager of talent acquisition, development and compliance at OSRAM Sylvania, Danvers, MA.
  • Creating Opportunity in the Nonprofit Sector, by Heather Krasna, speaker and author of Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service, Seattle.
  • Breakthrough Belief Strategies to Bust Up Limiting Beliefs, Bolster Confidence, and Bring Opportunity to Your Doorstep! by Susan Whitcomb, author, as well as founder and president of The Academies, including Career Coach Academy, Job Search Academy, and Leadership Coach Academy, Fresno, CA.
  • Creating Opportunity by Financing and Budgeting for a Career Reinvention, by Randi Bussin, founder and president, Aspire!, Boston.
  • Career Myopia: A National Epidemic, by Kristin Cardinale, PhD, author of The 9-to-5 Cure: Work on Your Own Terms & Reinvent Your Life, Milwaukee, WI.
  • Getting Paid What You Are Worth — Especially in Today’s Recession, by Don Orlando, career coach and owner, The McLean Group, Montgomery, AL.
  • Are You a S.M.A.R.T. Worker? Five Compelling Career Strategies to Make You More Valuable, by Billie Sucher, Billie Sucher Career Transition Services, Urbandale, IA.
  • Accelerate Executive Job Search With Personal Branding: A Personal Branding Worksheet, by Meg Guiseppi, “the C-level executive job coach,” Andover, NJ.
  • Outsiders On The Inside: Creating A Winning Career … Even When You Don’t Fit In, by David Couper, author of a book of the same title, Los Angeles.
  • Creating Opportunity with Your Entrepreneurial Mindset, by Nancy Miller, LifeWork coach and director of the Center for LifeWork Design, Sacramento, CA.
  • Career Assessments: Tools for Lifetime Career Management, by Susan Guarneri, “the assessment goddess,” Three Lakes, WI.

Bloggers who plan to support Job Action Day 2010 with posts on or around Nov. 1 include*:

*subject to change

In addition, the Quintessential Careers family of blogs, including the Quintessential Careers Blog, Career Doctor Blog, Quintessential Resume and Cover Letter Tips Blog, and A Storied Career, will feature Job Action Day entries.

Posted October 14, 2010 by

36% of College Grads Wish They Had Picked a Different Major

A tight job market may have some workers pondering their educational paths and heading back to the classroom. According to a new survey, 36 percent of workers with college degrees said they wish they had chosen a different major in college. More than one-in-four (26 percent) said the market for jobs in their chosen field worsened from the time they entered college and when they graduated. This survey was conducted among more than 2,000 workers with college degrees between August 17 and September 2, 2010.

While more than half (56 percent) of all workers with college degrees reported they found a job in their desired career path within one year of graduation, others’ pursuits still haven’t come to fruition. Nearly one-in-five (19 percent) of all workers with a college degree still have not found a job in their desired field.

More than one-in-four workers (27 percent) who graduated from college ten years ago or longer reported they still haven’t found a job related to their college major. Twenty-one percent said it took them three years or longer to find an opportunity in their desired career path while one-in-ten (12 percent) said it took five years or longer.

“The job market has been challenging for all workers, regardless of degree level, and has prompted many to think about learning skills for high demand and emerging jobs,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Many employers, particular in areas such as healthcare, engineering, IT and communications have open positions and can’t find skilled candidates to fill them. College students and workers considering going back to school should take note of areas with growth opportunities and more abundant hiring.”

Building new skill sets is a priority for more than one-in-ten (13 percent) workers who said they have plans to go back to school this year to make themselves more marketable.

Haefner offers the following tips for workers who want to pursue more education:

  • Talk to HR – If you’re currently employed, many organizations offer some type of learning program. Whether it’s classes taught on-site at your company, courses and seminars across the country or reimbursement for graduate school programs, your HR department can help you decide what is the best fit for your goals.
  • Leverage the Web – Sometimes, you don’t even have to leave your home to hone your skills. Many sites offer a wide variety of learning opportunities, such as CBInstitute.com, or consider applying to an online university.
  • Take advantage of local resources – Many local libraries and community centers offer classes in everything from basic Internet skills to foreign languages. Ask around your community to see what opportunities exist.
Posted October 13, 2010 by

5 Tips for Millennials Who Are Looking for Work Or Recently Hired

Alexandra Levit Alexandra Levit posted a great list of tips for Gen Y / Millennials at her Water Cooler Wisdom blog, along with a good description of each for those who want more:
  1. Focus on acquiring transferable skills.
  2. Use your initiative one small contribution at a time.
  3. Take charge of your own career path.
  4. Make your boss look good.
  5. Look for a mentor with a generosity of spirit who is just a few years ahead of you on the ladder, ideally in another department.
Posted September 27, 2010 by

Worst Resume Mistakes

With 14.9 million people unemployed in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pressure to get resumes in the “yes” pile is immense. Nearly half (48 percent) of human resource managers surveyed reported they typically review 25 applications or less for open positions. Thirty-eight percent said, on average, they spend less than a minute reviewing a resume; 18 percent spend less than 30 seconds.

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make that can take them out of the running is a lack of customization. Seventy-nine percent of human resource managers said they pay more attention to resumes that are tailored to their open positions.

When asked for the most memorable missteps they encountered when going through resumes, human resource managers and hiring managers reported the following:

  • Candidate put God down as a reference (no phone number).
  • Candidate listed her hobby as alligator watching.
  • Candidate claimed to be a direct descendant of the Vikings.
  • Candidate’s email address had “lovesbeer” in it.
  • Candidate listed “Master of Time and Universe” under his experience.
  • Candidate started off the application with “Do you want a tiger?”
  • Candidate specifically pointed out that he was not a gypsy.
  • Candidate’s condition for accepting the position was being allowed to bring his pet monkey to the workplace.
  • Candidate pointed out, “I’ll have your job in five years.”
  • Candidate sent a 24-page resume for a 5-year career.
  • Candidate put a picture of her cat on top of her resume.
  • Candidate declared himself the LeBron James of table games.
  • Candidate sent a video trying to hypnotize the HR manager into hiring him.

“While it’s important to stand out from the crowd, job seekers need to make sure their resumes catch hiring managers’ eyes for the right reasons,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Job seekers need to communicate their relevant experience and utilize keywords from the job posting, while customizing their resume for each and every position. Focus on what you can bring to the table right from the get go.”

Haefner offers the following tips to get you started on your road to resume success:

  • Quantify your experience – Have you helped increase client business, made significant sales or increased team productivity? Make every effort possible to quantify these experiences so you can show employers how you’ve positively affected bottom lines in the past – and how you can hit the ground running at their organization.
  • Keep it professional – While it sometimes can be helpful to include personal achievements on your resume, leave off information that is too personal. Instead, focus on items that are business-related, such as volunteer work or membership in professional organizations. Also, make sure you leave emoticons, inappropriate e-mail addresses and cutesy fonts off your final product.
  • Make it easy to read – Avoid using large blocks of text. Use bullets to break up text and make it easy for hiring managers to zero in on important points. Avoid using ornate fonts that may cause formatting issues when sharing electronically.
Posted September 04, 2010 by

The Career Activist Republic

Career Activist Republic book by Peter WeddleOne of my favorite people in the staffing and employment industries is Peter Weddle the author or editor of over two dozen books and former columnist for The Wall Street Journal, National Business Employment Weekly, and CNN.com. He’s also the executive director of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, the only association for job boards like CollegeRecruiter.com.

Peter just published yet another book and this one is perfectly targeted to anyone who is considering striking out on their own by starting their own business, whether that business be a traditional one with physical premises, employees, and inventory or the type of business which has become far more popular over the past couple of decades: consulting. Peter makes the case the today’s workers aren’t becoming free agents like others have referred to them as but instead they’re becoming “freed agents” meaning their own career activists.

Peter’s new book, The Career Activist Republic, is based around three ideas:

  1. Every human being is a person of talent—they are endowed with a capacity for excellence which enables them to accomplish extraordinary feats at work.
  2. In today’s turbulent global marketplace, employers are no longer hiring even perfectly qualified candidates—what they want, what they need to employ is talent.
  3. That desperate need empowers every American to work for him or herself while being employed by someone else—to create the kind of security they can actually count on even in difficult times.

Have you lost faith in the American Dream? Read The Career Activist Republic and give yourself the tools to construct it for yourself.

Posted August 31, 2010 by

Older Workers Muscle Out Students for Internships

Competition for internships will be stiff this fall, as experienced/mature workers and college students vie for ways to get a foot in the door. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of employers report that they are seeing experienced workers, those with more than ten years experience, and mature workers, workers age 50 or older, apply for internships at their organizations. This is according to a CareerBuilder survey conducted among more than 2,500 employers between May 18 and June 3, 2010.

Regardless of applicants’ ages, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of employers said they plan to hire interns during the remainder of 2010 to help support workloads. Fourteen percent said they anticipate hiring paid interns, while 7 percent said they won’t be paying their interns. An additional 5 percent said they will hire both paid and unpaid interns. Fifty-three percent of employers said they plan to pay interns $10 or more per hour, while 5 percent said they will pay $25 or more per hour.

When it comes to responsibilities, employers reported the following tasks that interns at their organizations typically handle:

  • Hands-on experience related to their goals – 73 percent
  • Office support – 52 percent
  • Working with customers – 35 percent
  • Running errands – 23 percent
  • Office maintenance – 19 percent

“The last 18 months have reshaped internships as more than an experience-builder for college students. Now, they’re also a way for experienced workers to explore new opportunities,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Internships can act as an extended, full-time job interview and potentially lead to more opportunities for college students and for more seasoned employees. In fact, 52 percent of companies we surveyed said they are likely to hire interns as full-time, permanent employees.”

Haefner recommends the following tips to help land an internship this fall:

  • Get connected: When applying for an internship, ask family and friends if they know anyone who works in the field you’re interested in. As in any job search, an “in” at a company may help you land a job – especially if the company doesn’t have an established internship program.
  • Start your search now: If you think you’ll have time to do an internship in the fall, start looking as soon as you can. Visit sites like CollegeRecruiter.com for internship listings.
  • Be open-minded: Be open to a variety of different organizations, such as local charities or even small start-ups. Organizations with limited budgets are often especially receptive to the extra help an intern provides.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 2,534 U.S. hiring managers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non government); ages 18 and over between May 18 and June 3, 2010 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset of U.S. Employees, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 2,534 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.95 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.