Speaking as someone who has made the bad old job to worse new job transition (a.k.a. “frying pan to fire”), changing employers or jobs is not easy or simple to accomplish, whether or not you are currently employed.
But, there are smart ways to make the transition, and the foundation of “smart” is information.
Learn, before you “buy!”
Figure out what interests you. What would you enjoy doing to make a living? If you’re frantic to find a new job, you may be thinking I don’t have time for this!
I didn’t discover until the last semester of my senior year in college – when we did had our “student teaching” tour – that teaching history to high school students was NOT something I really wanted to to. Or, was good at doing. Yikes! Kind of late to make that kind of discovery. I should have done more exploring – talking to and observing high school history teachers in action – before I spent all that time getting trained to do that job.
Take the time to learn and to think about where you’re going before you get there. What if you hate that next job and need to start looking too soon, like I did? How did that save me time? [Read More...]
Most of us have many phases to our careers, from the typical entry level jobs through mid-career to retirement. In the 20th Century, this seemed to run in a predictable series of stages, and often involved working for the same employer, in the same industry or profession, for decades. Not any more.
Now, it is becoming increasingly rare for someone to have a smoothly-continuous career with no hiccups or periods of unemployment. Layoffs happen. Employers restructure or are gobbled up by someone else who moves the jobs to another location or shuts down divisions or functions.
Times Have Changed – Careers and Job Search Are Different, Too!
In the 21st Century, careers often don’t have smooth and predictable trajectories:
Whole industries disappear, like film-based cameras and Polaroid “instant” cameras.
Other industries transform into something new, like digital cellphone cameras and online news organizations.
Completely new industries appear, like search engine optimization, email marketing, and anti-spam/anti-malware software providers.
Established professions disappear, like offset printers and switchboard operators.
New professions appear, like online reputation managers, social media marketing specialists, and cellphone app developers.
The “Baby Boomer” generation, now in their 50′s and 60′s, have clearly postponed their retirement until “later” when it is, hopefully, more affordable, slowing down the career trajectories of the younger workers behind them.
When you were a kid, did you cross your fingers “for luck” when you were really, REALLY hoping something good would happen? Perhaps, you crossed your fingers as you were getting ready to ask someone out on a date, star in a school play, take your drivers’ license test, or as the teacher/professor was handing out the final exams?
And sometimes – perhaps often – those crossed fingers seemed to work.
But, then you “grew up,” and you stopped believing in crossed fingers because you knew that superstitions are dumb or, worse, useless. (And, anyway, crossed fingers are SO obvious!)
Guess what – maybe those crossed fingers weren’t so dumb! We do apparently “perform” better when we feel lucky, according to scientists and successful professional athletes. [Read More...]
Many job seekers have told me how much they hate networking for their job search. They don’t like meeting strangers, particularly when they (and the strangers) have “an agenda.”
They’d rather spend (waste?) time endlessly clicking on the “Apply” button on job boards than venture out into the scary world of “NETWORKING”!
My favorite networking story: I witnessed three people connect with new jobs based on one conversation. And the conversation happened at the viewing/wake before the funeral of a former colleague. Not your typical networking venue! Just a few people, waiting in line to pay their respects to a deceased former co-worker, and catching up with what they were doing. Bingo! Three job offers! In less than a week! [Read More...]
I attended the Fordyce Forum, a two-day conference of top independent recruiters (also known as “head hunters”). And it was a VERY educational experience! At the Forum, I was able to meet and interact with over 120 of these top professional networkers in action. And the activities I observed offer important insights for effective job search – and career – networking for the rest of us.
It’s important to notice that this networking, at a conference, was most definitely face-to-face networking. Not simply “following” someone on social media or “connecting” on LinkedIn.
This networking was very much “in real life’! Social media allows us to “meet” people on a superficial level, but the best way to connect, for most humans, seems to be face-to-face. Probably not constantly, but apparently at least once.[Read More...]
If your employer has recently begun laying off staff, time to pay attention to your salary continuation plan (and career self-preservation, as well). As anyone who has been through a series of layoffs can tell you, things do not generally improve.
A large study was done in the 1980′s that showed that once the layoffs began, the employer typically started a death spiral to out-of-business status. Similar recent studies have come to the same conclusion.
Having been laid off myself, in approximately the middle of an 8-year death spiral as my Fortune 50 (top 10% of the Fortune 500) employer disappeared taking over 100,000 jobs with it, I speak from painful experience about what I saw happen.
My recommendation if your employer has begun layoffs: head for the door as quickly as possible! [Read More...]
The convergence of competition and technology has created the “perfect storm” of elements to make a job search very challenging today. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to land a job now – more than 4 MILLION people are hired every month in the USA.
However, landing a job takes focus and effort. Understanding what is happening from the employers’ perspective will help you see how you can improve your techniques for a better outcome. [Read More...]
A recent study conducted by CareerBuilder indicated that NOT sending a thank you note will hurt your candidacy with over twenty percent (more than one in five) hiring managers. So, skipping sending a thank you note is potentially a high-risk practice.
Clearly, thank you notes, done well, can’t hurt your job search, and they may help you to succeed.
Hopefully, you collected business cards or wrote down the name, title, and contact information for every person who interviewed you. Together with your notes from the interview, the contact information you help you write a very effective thank you.
Now, here’s how to send thank you notes that support your job search and will help you become more effective. [Read More...]
For many job seekers, the references needed for a job search are something relatively trivial, a final administrative hurdle to get through – the last small detail before the job offer is made.
Unfortunately, few employers see references as trivial, with good reason, and apparently more than 50% of the time, references put an end to the job seeker’s candidacy. Here’s what a recent CareerBuilder survey of 2,500 hiring managers learned:
“Three-in-five employers (62 percent) said that when they contacted a reference listed on an application, the reference didn’t have good things to say about the candidate. Twenty-nine percent of employers reported that they have caught a fake reference on a candidate’s application.”
So, not such a trivial administrative hurdle apparently… [Read More...]
If you think of your job search as a sales process, and you really should because it is, one of the best times to try to make a sale is when the competition is not paying attention – or, at least, not competing with you as much as they usually do.
The Best Times to Job Hunt
Competition for jobs is the least intense two times of the year. And, those “slack” times are GREAT times to job search!
Most job seekers slack off during two times of the year. I’m not saying they’re slackers (although they might be), but I am saying that they are making wrong assumptions about what employers are doing during those 2 times.
As a consequence of lessening their efforts, these job seekers are costing themselves FABULOUS opportunities to connect with employers and probably extending their job search for longer, possibly MUCH longer, than it needs to be!