Saturday, November 23, 2013

Layoffs Coming? - Catch the Signs -- They're There

As employees and job seekers thoughts turn to holiday plans, employers thoughts turn to rightsizing their organizations. Catch the signs!

It’s that wonderful time of year, when . . . . . the best present you could get would be a bright shiny job offer in your in-box if you're a job seeker, and a fat end-of-the-year bonus check if you're an employee.
It’s also that less-than-wonderful time of year when employers look at “rightsizing” their organizations for the coming year.  In “corporate- (and HR)-speak” that means looking ahead at the # of employees they pay and comparing that to the amount of work they will get paid for by customers.  It’s a pretty logical and simple formula.

Amount of work to be done = Number of needed employees.

● If there isn’t enough paid work to be done to support hiring, that = no hiring for job seekers.

● If there is too little paid work to pay the current employees, that = layoffs - if not now, then soon.

Don’t be caught unaware.  Catch the signs, albeit subtle.  Plan your next career moves, and job search moves now.  Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.  

For additional information and advice, click on the "Articles" tabs and refer to  You've Got the Job Now What? sections of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
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Twitter:  @AfterJobClub

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Postponing Your Search During The Holidays -- A Bad Choice

The Holidays are upon us - keep on searching!  You'll be glad you did!  
With the passing of Halloween, the holiday season arrives.  People's thoughts turn to the holidays --  plans, preparations, parties, travel . . . . . and with it, many job seekers thoughts turn to shutting down their job searches.  My advice --  don't do it!

A Bad Choice
As the holiday season arrives, many job seekers make a bad decision - to lessen, or shut down all-together, their job search with the thought that they will renew and resume their search in the new year.  Bad decision!  Why?  A misunderstanding of  how hiring happens.

Many job seekers mistakenly believe that employers stop hiring during the last couple months of the year.  Not true - My best and most poignant example is a client who received their job offer on the afternoon of December 24 - it was around 2:30 pm.

Sure employers become busy with not only holiday company events, but end-of-the-year tasks and requirements that must be accomplished before they can call it a year and go home for their own holiday break!  So hiring may slow.  But, if they have open positions that are critical to performance in the new calendar year, they will want to fill these before December 31.  With that hiring task behind them, they can hit the ground running on January 2.

Add to this misunderstanding of end-of-the-year hiring the fact that job searching is hard, and job seekers have a case for postponing their search until the new year.  If a job seeker has been working hard for months with no job offer to show for it, and feeling pretty discouraged, stressed, and even defeated, taking time off from your search during the holidays can seem like an attractive option. 

But, don't do it.  You will benefit by maintaining your search right through the holidays.  Here's how:
Continued benefits
So keep on searching right through the holiday season.  You will benefit by:
● Having a slightly more open field where the competition lessens due to the fact that many of your competitors will drop out of the race due to their mistaken belief that employers don't hire during the holidays. 
Maintaining your job search momentum and staying visible and current with you network  -- thus keeping your pipeline for leads and opportunities open and fed.
Continuing your follow-up on open positions and opportunities.  

Added advantages
(1)  Employers may have time to talk!  Throughout the year, many employers who just don't have the time to talk, or network, with you often find that their schedules slow a bit.  With their employees beginning to use their vacation leave ("use it or lose it") and others on travel, employers sometimes find "holes," or time, in their schedules due to the fact that they can't move forward on projects without the assistance of the absent employees.  So they may be able to talk by phone or even squeeze in a meeting with you.
(2)  Holiday get-togethers abound!  Take advantage of these opportunities to attend --  business cards in hand -- and get known! 
Friends, families, neighborhoods, and groups hold parties and events. 
Professional organizations and professional societies substitute holiday parties and networking events for their regular monthly program format.

A different twist
It is true that the holidays present a different twist on job search.  While hiring may slow, networking opportunities increase.  You can gain visibility and add to your list of network contacts.  Your challenge is to understand and act on these opportunities that the holiday season brings.  

If your search is well underway, it may be possible to achieve your goal and secure an offer by the end of the year.  If you search is recently begun, and you are not yet engaged in pursuing specific opportunities, it is less likely that you can generate an offer by the end of the year but you can advance your cause.

Scenario 1:  Your search is well underway
If your search is well underway, and you are engaged in pursuing jobs for which you have networked or interviewed, you may be able to be able to turn the opportunity into an offer by the end of the year.  Be proactive in following up with the employer, offering to supply any additional information, to update them on additional credentials you have attained, to meet other members of the staff, or to inform them of your availability for a final interview.  Express your continued interest in and great enthusiasm for the firm and for the position.

Scenario 2:  Your search is just getting started
Just beginning?  Beginning your search activity near the end of the year will put you ahead of the crowd who plan to begin their job searches in the new year - a really popular New Years Resolution.  However, there is a lot of preparatory work in getting a search underway and these last couple months of the year are a good time for a job seeker to do that.  It takes a month or two to prepare your marketing materials, and begin to re-connect with your network as well as to gain referrals to new network contacts.  It takes time to get applications submitted.  In sales jargon - it takes time to open and feed the pipeline.  You can accomplish all this and more if you begin now.  And it means you will be well positioned to hit the ground running in the new year.

Continuing to maintain an active search, or begin one, during the holidays, makes good $en$e.

For additional information and advice, click on the "Articles" tab and refer to the Planning and Strategy section of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub

1/4ly update

1/4ly update

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bah-Humbug - Not Really, But When it Comes to Those Holiday Traditions . . . .

Spending money you don’t have
    on presents you don’t want to buy
          to travel to places you don’t want to go
              on entertaining you don’t want to do
Spending time you don't have
    with people you don’t want to see
         on holiday traditions you don’t want to continue
Spending energy you don't have
    on activities that take you away from your job search!

Welcome to the holidays – that wonderful time of the year when traditions “bind us” to doing what we’ve always done - even if we no longer want to do what we’ve always done.

I’ve heard from lots of job seekers over the years who feel trapped by holiday traditions that they feel compelled to participate in just because they’ve always done it.  When I ask them, “So why do you?” as often as not, they answer “It’s a tradition - we’ve always done it,” even if they really don’t like or have even come to resent holiday activities such as  . . . .
    ● Getting together every year on Thanksgiving with 23 people
    ● Hosting the annual neighborhood holiday block party
    ● Buying presents for 13.  It was OK when it was just your 4 siblings, but now with your siblings’ children, presents-for-4 has turned into presents-for-13.
    ● Traveling to St. Louis or Butte, or Mobile . . ., with 3 little kids on flights and presents in tow, to spend Christmas day with extended family since that is where they always congregate!
    ● or . . . well, you get the idea.

Stop it
My advice to those job seekers has been - "Stop it."  Stop doing those things that cause you to spend money, time, and energy you don’t have on things, activities, and people that will simply slow, stymie, thwart, or stop your search for a new position.   You can’t afford it!

Bah-humbug  --  Not really
This is not a case of “bah-humbug!”  It’s just being practical.  It is a case of examining what you truly want, but more importantly are able, to do for the holiday season, in light of the fact that you are looking for a job. 

Change isn’t easy, especially for folks who have long-standing expectations of you.  Here’s the thing:  If they truly have your best interest at heart - and not their own - they will accept and understand your decision - eventually.

Change doesn’t make you popular
Choosing to stop, or change your degree of, participation in long-time family or friends’ traditions is hard.  But, as a person looking for a job, you have the best excuse, actually a sound reason, to beg off of holiday events:  "You can’t afford it.  You don’t have the resources - the money, time, or energy - to participate this year - that’s it!" 

And, people will adjust.  Over time, family, friends, and acquaintances may come to accept, if not actually understand, that you are making a decision that is best for you, and your immediate family (if you have one),  at this time.  Instigating change rarely makes you popular, but it can make you happier when you are engaging in only those traditions or starting new ones that you really want, and can afford, to participate in.

Start some new traditions
It’s time to start some new ways of engaging in the holidays. Here’s how:
(1)  Think about what you really like about the holidays. 
(2)  Identify what you don’t like about the holidays, noting traditions you’ve gone along with but never really liked and don’t want to continue.  Get clear on your reasons why.
(3)  Talk it over with your own nuclear family or close friends with whom you will be spending the holidays.
(4)  List what you would really like to do - on your own, with your nuclear family, with extended family, and with your circle of friends and acquaintances. It's OK to answer "Nothing this year."
(5)  Examine your list and decide
     (A) What you want to do, and
     (B) What you can afford to do, - 2 different things entirely.  Base this on your resources – available time, money, and energy.
(6)  Now this is the hard part - Inform those family members, friends, and acquaintances whose expectations you will not be able to fulfill this year of your situation.   You might say, “You will not be able to participate this year due to your job search and your limited resources."  And . . .
    - The earlier the better.
    - Be prepared for arguments of why "you have to"  - by folks who want you to do what they want you to do!
    - Prepare and practice your response in advance - one that is not arguable.  One of the least arguable is: “I can not afford it this year.” 
    - Stand firm.  Use the broken record technique:  No matter what Aunt Susie or Uncle Stan says, your response is: “I can not afford it this year.”  “I can not afford it this year.”  “I can not afford it this year.”  Eventually, when they realize they can’t coerce you into doing things “the way we’ve always done them” they will get Your Message.

Enjoy your holidays!
Now focus your resources on what you actually want to do for this year’s holiday season, and enjoy your holidays!

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub

Everything's an Interview

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Build Your Resume While You Search

Build your resume while you search!  It makes good Sen$e.

After searching for a while, most job seekers come to understand that the more you tailor your resume for a position, the higher the chance that you will be seen as a possible candidate and contacted for an interview. 
  • This DOES NOT MEAN fudging experience or embellishing accomplishments.  We never do that! 
  • It DOES MEAN selecting and highlighting content in your resume (from your Master Resume) that reflects your experiences that match the employer's key requirements.
But did you know . . . . .
But did you know that you can and should continue to build your resume during your job search?

An active job search can yield some real benefits: You meet new and interesting people, develop network contacts that can become colleagues and even friends for life, see some interesting places, and learn a lot about yourself and your profession.  An added benefit  is that you can actually build or strengthen your resume while you search. 

As you apply for positions, network, target companies and study the work they do, interview, read ads for jobs, most job seekers learn a couple things:
  1. Fill the gaps:  They learn that they possess gaps in their ability to satisfy some requirements of the types of jobs they are seeking.  It could become apparent that they lack a key certification, are not current in a technology, are unfamiliar with a computer language, don’t have enough project management experience, could use another example of leadership experience, etc.  You get the point!
  2. Strengthen strengths:  Conversely, they come across opportunities to amplify a strength or capability.  For example, a network contact who chairs a professional association tells you he could use a volunteer with leadership and team building experience (that would be you) to pull together a project team and conduct a study of the competencies of the membership.  Or, you join a job search work team that focuses on the latest technology used in marketing analysis - your field.  Or, a friend at a consulting firm asks if you would take on a short-term contract for work she needs done.  You get the point here too!
Building your resume by gaining new experiences and adding new information about your professional growth during your search enhances your ability to be seen as a viable and desirable candidate and potential employee.

As you network, apply for positions, talk with employers, attend job fairs, participate in your professional association, interview, and attend conferences, you will learn the state-of-the art of your profession, i.e., what is current and trending in your profession?  As your learn about what makes you more marketable, and acquire new skills, experience, and competencies that relate to your profession, add these to the front page of your resume.  It illustrates to prospective employers that you are:
        1.    Keeping current in your field
        2.    Keeping your skills honed
        3.    Gaining new useful knowledge
        4.    Developing new skills and knowledge, that will benefit your employer

Here are some examples of activities that can be added to your resume as you progress through your job search. 
        ●    In addition to the obvious -- taking courses and classes  --   you can:
        ●    Write a white paper
        ●    Perform consulting services
        ●    Do short-term contracting
        ●    Volunteer using your skill set
        ●    Assist in a professional conference
        ●    Chair a committee in your professional association
        ●    Make a speech or presentation
        ●    Write an article
        ●    Offer a workshop

The list goes on as far as your creativity extends.

The key to building your resume while you search is to look for opportunities where you can gain skills,
information, and knowledge to fill a gap or strengthen a strength, and then turn these opportunities into services you can deliver or activities in which you can contribute to your profession and to your professional growth.

In other words . . . . .   Build your resume while you search!  It makes good $en$e!

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found the Articles tabs of the AJC--Career Strategy website, including:
Guidelines for Preparing an Effective Resume . . . A Step by Step Tutorial, Oct 4, 2012 
What is a Resume, August 28, 2012
-  Refer to A Resume Template in the Tools You Can Use section  of the AJC--Career Strategy website. ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path

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Twitter:  @AfterJobClub