Tag Archive | "careers"

Busted: Holiday Job Hunting Myths

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the film, “Kramer versus Kramer,” Dustin Hoffman plays a desperate man.  Once a well-paid executive, he loses his job simultaneous to his wife’s unexpected filing for divorce and suit for custody of their only child.   She’ll get custody if he doesn’t prove that he can support his kid; he needs to earn a paycheck, and soon.  Smack in the middle of the holiday season, he discovers an opening in a large, reputable firm and attempts to apply for the position. Initially, he’s rebuffed by the company’s reps. They advise him that it’s Christmastime, when no firm hires and no firm grants interviews.

Driven and adamant, Hoffman’s character crashes the office party at the firm in question.  He delivers his resume and portfolio, telling the execs that his application for employment is good for 24 hours only; that they must “take it or leave it.”  Stunned by his nerve and impressed with his credentials, the employers offer him the job on the spot!

While we’re not suggesting that you crash a potential employer’s Christmas, Chanukah, or New Year’s Eve fete, we’ve offered this memorable scene from the film for a reason.  It illustrates the myth that too many job seekers labor beneath, the myth that employers do not and will not increase the size of their workforce during the weeks between Thanksgiving and the first of the following year.

Job hopefuls have bought into this myth for too long.  They’ve been told that companies are bogged down with end-of-year reconciliation and reporting of finances; they’ve been told that projects often wind down before the end of the year.  Although some of this information may be true, it is not true of every company, every department, and every job category/function.

Much like the human race, the job market is continually evolving.  Many of the hard and fast rules that once served as guidelines no longer hold true.  What is true, however, is that employers are often under the gun, at the end of the year, to fill their job requisitions (openings for positions via qualified candidates).

When the New Year kicks in, it often does so with new budgetary constraints — constraints that can impact the hiring process.  The job requisitions that were open before December 31, 2011, for example, may be closed come January 1, 2012.  Managers rush to fill those positions, because if they don’t, their departments will be understaffed and less productive in the coming year.

“Make hay while the sun shines” goes the old adage.  The sun is not shining upon this economy, by any means.  Why, then, reduce your chances of seeking gainful employment by buying into outdated, invalid myths about holiday hiring practices?   You can bet dollars to donuts that job hopefuls who are not clued into the truth will not be applying for jobs this holiday season.

So, get the jump on them.

Ensure that your resume and cover letter are compelling and truthful; ensure that they marry all the elements that employers currently demand with your specific skills and accomplishments.  And then, submit your career documents for those positions with which you are well suited.  Happy holidays, and happy job hunting!

Are You Passionate About Your Career?

Tags: , ,

Passionate About Your Career

In my more than twenty-five years in the career services industry, I have met many people who were unhappy with their careers.  The sources of their unhappiness, in some cases, may have been with the particular circumstances relative to their places of employment.  But, for far too many, their dissatisfaction rested with their actual position and job functions.  And, the dissatisfaction to which I have been a witness is not simply with one class or type of job, but runs the gamut from labor to professional and executive positions.


For most of us, our work or career represents a significant portion of our lives, in a typical week anywhere from 20-50% or more of its 168 hours are spent in preparing, commuting, and actually performing our job functions.  When you consider that sleep takes another 20-33% of our week, you understand that, for most people, more time is spent in career-related activities than in personal pursuits.


With so much of our adult lives invested in career, you would think that the primary consideration in selecting a career would be whether or not we would enjoy it.  The sad fact is that, for most people, our career choices are based either upon incomplete information or are purely accidental.  How many people who you know have been educated in one discipline and are working in another?  Similarly, how many people do you know whose initial jobs dictated their career paths?


Most of us choose careers at a time in our lives when youth and idealism sway our judgment.  Our knowledge of the career path selected and the actual job functions performed is usually fragmentary.  And, the education we receive, while preparing us with fundamental skills and knowledge, usually only hints at the job to be done at its conclusion.


Once in a particular line of work, leaving that line to pursue another is difficult and becomes increasingly so the longer we remain in a particular career.  Of course, people do change careers each and every day – but, at a cost.  That cost is usually economic, which may have been the reason for the career choice initially.  For someone young and unattached, that cost may be easily born.  But, for someone older with significant financial and familial commitments, the cost may be a significant barrier to changing into a more enjoyable career.


The career battle between economics and happiness is one that can spawn stress and depression, breakup relationships and marriages, and, in the most dire circumstances, lead to casualties among its participants.  It doesn’t have to.  People who are happy in their work generally outperform those who are not and receive greater rewards – although those rewards are not always financial.


For those people who feel trapped in a career they consider loathsome, plan an exit strategy.  Calculate the impact on lifestyle that a career change may bring and reorder your life to accommodate your switch to a more pleasant and rewarding career.  For young people considering a choice of career, find something about which you can be passionate or, at least, very interested.  If in pursuing this choice you find it is not what you expected, seek and pursue another alternative.


In life, there are no hard and fast timetables.  There is no rule as to when one’s formal education should be finished or when someone should be settled with home and family.  Live your life free of the boundaries that others would impose on you.  If you do, you’ll find happiness and peace.

Adapting to New Realities

Tags: , , , ,

Great Wall of China

Most of us raised in the post-World War II “fattened calf” years, and most of our children, could not have envisioned the current economic wasteland sweeping America from sea to shining sea.  Into this desert has strolled new opportunities; albeit, half a world and more away.


Overseas, labor and production costs are cheaper than their U.S. counterparts.   Cost savings have made emigrants out of U.S. manufacturers, creating jobs in Asian markets and particularly in China.  Meanwhile, construction projects and oil-harvesting endeavors are drawing job seekers to the Middle East. 


Technology is also emerging as a player in offshore economies.  Solid evidence of this is the explosion of MXit, an instant messaging technology developed in South Africa that runs on GPRS/3G mobile phones and on PCs and allows users to send and receive one-on-one text and multimedia messages to and from other users, as well as in general chat rooms. A boon to social networking, the new technology boasts 14 million users globally and in developing countries, most notably, on the continent of Africa.  That number evidences the ever-growing need for products and services that drive and support Information Technology.  And, according to the voices aired on MXit, many are practitioners of Islam.


What skills should those in the U.S. who are seeking jobs in these growing markets possess?


In addition to the obvious ones linked to the aforementioned industries, language is a factor.  While the ability to speak the native tongue is not, in every case, an absolute requirement, it is certainly an advantage.   Chinese and Arabic are the languages of choice.  Offering these two languages, American-based linguistic courses have grown by almost 127% in the period between 2002 and 2007.  Statistics issued by South Korea indicate that the number of people demanding to learn Chinese has doubled in the last few years.  If you are among those desiring to master new languages, you need not sit within the confines of a traditional classroom.  You can take courses online or purchase instructional training from companies such as Rosetta Stone.


In addition to the ability to speak and understand the tongues of these lands, job seekers require an open, positive attitude to adjust to new realities in strange new lands. 

Summertime and Your Job Search

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Summertime and the living is easy; that is, unless you happen to be unemployed and searching for a job.  In that case, you are tortured and your level of anxiety grows daily.

In job hunting and recruiting circles, it has long been axiomatic that the periods between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and between Memorial Day and Labor Day represent the least probable times of the year to secure employment.  And, if one considers the circumstantial evidence, that supposition rings true.  Since achieving employment today involves multiple interviews with decision-makers at various levels of the potential employing organization, opportunities to arrange these interviews in a timely fashion are limited by vacations, holidays, days off, and hiring manager preoccupation with non-business matters.

Yet, these times of the year do present more than just a glimmer of hope to the serious job seeker, because less motivated job candidates will often refrain from pursuing employment opportunities for the very reasons enumerated above.  This means that for those who either from desperation or design actively seek employment during these periods, there will be significantly less competition than during the traditionally more abundant job hunting seasons of the year.

To maximize opportunities during the summertime, as well as at all times of the year, job hunters require a plan to penetrate all areas of the proverbial job market, including both published and unpublished opportunities, and superior marketing materials in the form of resumes, cover letters, and follow-up letters.  With a viable plan to market themselves effectively and job hunting materials of impeccable quality, serious job seekers can utilize the summer season to their advantage in gaining job market exposure and securing employment while many potential candidates sit on the sidelines.

The Saga of the Traveling Job Candidate

Tags: ,

travelling-salesmanThe old cartoon of the salesman sticking his foot in the door of the house of the potential customer, and the harried homeowner struggling to push him out, has become an enduring and amusing icon in Americana.  Not so enduring has been the process of the job search, which has changed to keep pace with the economy, increasing demands upon productivity and technology.
Twenty or thirty years ago, it was possible for a job seeker to walk into a company and hand his or her resume directly to a manager with the authority to hire.  This scenario, however, has gone the way of housewives in starched aprons whipping up four-course dinners every night of the week.  Like the traveling salesman, today’s job candidate often finds himself locked out of the best employment opportunities.  Denied direct, face-to-face access to the hiring authority, the job hopeful must rely upon written documents to open the door for him.
Certainly, a resume is central to this objective.  Articulate and keyword-optimized, a resume should present the candidate’s qualifications, skills, and accomplishments – in essence, telling the candidate’s story.  However, without the opportunity to sit across the desk from the hiring manager, the job seeker requires an additional impetus to present his case.  Servicing a function much greater than the simplest of requests to peruse the resume, the cover letter can facilitate the presentation of his background and qualifications.
Where the resume should reflect as closely as possible the facts of one’s career, due to its introductory nature, the cover letter permits a more personal voice.  It enables the candidate to communicate more on a one-to-one basis with the prospective employer.  And, while it would not be prudent to reveal one’s love for skydiving or the music of Nine Inch Nails in this manner, the cover letter should suggest one’s work ethic as well as overall strengths.  To further pique the interest of the hiring manager, the letter may allude to its writer’s professional contributions.  Wading into the deepening waters of potential candidates, the job seeker who produces a well-crafted cover letter can assist employers in separating “the wheat from the chaff.”

Site Sponsors

Site Sponsors

Site Sponsors

RSSLoading Feed...

Live Traffic Feed

RSSLoading Feed...