Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Phone Interviews Growing in Popularity and Complexity

Companies and recruiters are turning to phone interviews and asking in-depth questions to identify the best candidates from the large pool of qualified candidates who are responding to their job postings. What may have typically in the past been a brief phone interview with general questions has become an hour-long interview. Plus, potential candidates are expected to speak in detail about their work history, including providing specific project examples and statistics that demonstrate their strengths and successes.

To read more about phone interviewing and find tips that will help you prepare, click here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Evaluating Compensation: Higher Salary or Lower Salary with Benefits?

Given the state of the job market, many job seekers are willing to compromise on salary and benefits; however given the choice, should you accept a job offer from a company that has higher pay or one with lower pay that comes with benefits?

According to (a Forbes Digital Company), job seekers should look for companies that offer various benefit packages rather than those that offer a slightly higher pay but no benefits.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 70% of the workers surveyed in July 2009, were granted retirement and healthcare benefits from their employers. As part of healthcare benefits, those surveyed employers paid 82% of the cost of premiums for single-person coverage and 71%for family coverage. With healthcare costs skyrocketing, can you afford a job that doesn't offer healthcare benefits?

Investopedia also advises that your employment offer include a retirement package, unless the salary being offered is high enough to allow you to contribute regularly to a retirement fund.

Be on the lookout too, for companies that offer cafeteria plans that allow employees to choose a benefits package that best suits their life situation. For example, a single worker has different benefits needs than a married worker with young children.

Evaluating all the compensation components of any job offer will help you make a decision on whether a job meets your financial needs and/or goals. For other tips regarding salary and benefits, click here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Revive Your Job Search

If some time has passed and you’re not satisfied with the results of your job search, it may be time to rethink your approach. The Wall Street Journal covers this topic and offers tips, such as:
  1. Use a highly targeted job search approach
  2. Find leads to job openings that are not advertised
  3. Monitor news and trends in your target industry to identify potential job opportunities
  4. Learn a new skill and gain experience applying it by doing some pro bono work

To access this article and read more tips, click here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meeting Objections To Being Under-Or Over-Qualified

It is unlikely that your skill and experience will match up perfectly to the requirements in a job posting; however, it's important to determine if you are being overlooked for jobs because you are perceived as either under-or over-qualified. Although not an easy task, it is definitely possible to overcome either of these perceptions, but it requires networking and personal contact with someone on the “inside.”

To check out strategies for meeting objections to being viewed as under-or over-qualified, click here to read an article from The New York Times.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finding A Recovery-Related Job

According to the U.S. Government Web site,, one of the key goals of the Recovery Act is to create and save jobs, largely in private sector. For job seekers interested in resources that help inform and point to finding a Recovery-related job, click here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Could Your Next Job Be Working In Non-Profit?

If you’re motivated by the idea of doing work to better the world you live in, you may want to look to a career in the non-profit sector. If you’re used to the culture of the private business sector, you will quickly learn that non-profit organizations function differently, the most obvious being they rely on external donations for their main funding, their true measure of success is their impact on the community or people they serve, and their key decisions are typically made as a result of collaboration and consensus by board members and staff, and not that of one company leader.

The good news for job seekers coming from the for-profit business sector to the non-profit sector is that your skills are necessary and transferable. Skills such as project and people management are highly valued in the non-profit sector. These skills and your professional experience should be highlighted in your resume; however, it is equally important to demonstrate your genuine passion and experience in the non-profit world as well. Volunteering experience will stand out. If you don’t have much or any, you can definitely find a limitless number of volunteer opportunities. A good place to start is online at volunteer matching sites. Here’s a sampling of two:

And as is the case when searching for any job, do your homework on any non-profit organization you’re interested in pursuing—understand their mission, programs and funding sources.

Once you’re ready to search for non-profit jobs, tap into Career Transitions, click on “Find Jobs”, enter non-profit into the keywords search—and happy perusing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Working with a Recruiter to Find Your Next Job

Many people find working with a recruiter a successful strategy in finding their next job. Recruiters are paid by their clients, companies who have requested their services to find candidates for their job openings, and not by the job seeker.

The primary focus of recruiters is to continuously find available jobs and then match candidates to fill these jobs. Recruiters are closely networked with an expansive base of employers—and have a pulse on not only the current available jobs but those becoming available in the future as well. This relationship recruiters have with their clients gives them insight into the corporate culture, the people who are doing the hiring, the company pay structure, career path and more.

Many recruiters specialize in a particular industry. To find a recruiter, you should start by asking those in your personal and professional network, as well as doing an Internet search for recruiters in your field and geographic area. Also be sure to have a current profile on LinkedIn, a social networking site for professionals, since many recruiters use LinkedIn to search for potential job candidates.

A recruiter will want you to submit your resume, and considering the number of resumes they receive, your resume needs to succinctly communicate your focus, core competencies/skills, and career accomplishments. It is wise to send them a quick cover note with a few points to outline the type of job you desire.

Keep open communication with your recruiter. You’ll interact with your recruiter to establish a relationship, prepare for job interviews they’ve lined up, but you should also plan to debrief them after an interview and keep them abreast of any career changes.

A good relationship with a recruiter can be very valuable—and can lead you to one or several jobs throughout the course of your career.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Refresh Your Online Resume

If part of your job search strategy includes posting your resume to various job boards, you may want to consider updating and re-submitting your resume on occasion. The reason for doing so is simple; the newest resumes appear at the top when recruiters and/or employers search and sort job board postings. It is important to note that if you have no new information to add to your resume, make at least a minor copy change, since some job boards will only return sort results with resumes that have been refreshed. Don’t miss an opportunity though to add new information, when you have it, to further enhance your resume, such as:

New skills: Computer, technical or specific to your occupation

Professional development: Training and/or certification, educational course work, industry conferences, etc.

Keywords: Add current keywords that are relevant to a particular industry or occupation—employers use search terms to identify suitable candidates

In general there is no exact answer to how often you should refresh your resume; suggestions range from weekly to every few weeks. You are in the best position to make choices about how and where to invest your time in your job search. This awareness of job board search and sort techniques is just another piece of information to factor in.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Company Culture Fit

Every company, no matter how big or small, has a company culture. In fact, one of the greatest factors in determining job satisfaction and possible career success is the ability to fit into a company’s culture. Company culture includes items like: a company’s values; the way in which business is conducted; how employees interact with one another; and the overall atmosphere. With so much weighing on company culture, it is important that you understand your personality and the type of environment where you’d do your best. Take this knowledge forward as you assess any company’s culture before accepting a new job.

Actions, Observations and Questions
Luckily there are some actions, observations and questions you can ask in getting a feel for a prospective employer’s company culture, such as:

•Use the Internet to do research on a prospective company—look at an annual report or news coverage for items like how they describe themselves, whether they speak to work/life balance, participate in community service activities, etc. Search to see if they’ve won any “best place to work” or other awards. Tap into a site like LinkedIn to search for people who previously or currently work for the company, and ask them to describe the company culture.

•Observe clues when you’re waiting for your interview or are in your interview such as: What is the demeanor of the workers—are they smiling or do they seem stressed? What is the dress code? If you walk past office space, do the managers’ offices exist amongst their teams or are they in big offices with closed doors? Does the interviewer seem prepared and able to provide a thorough job description and offer details about how the role is viewed within the company?

•Ask questions to both the interviewer and current employees like:
What is a typical work day like?
What type of person would be most likely to fit in and be successful in your company?
What is the average tenure for employees within the organization and group that I am interviewing for?
How are decisions made and what type of decisions might I be involved with?
Can you describe an experience of working on a policy, process or other change initiative? What was that experience like? Was there any resistance from management, your staff, or other employee groups?

In addition to all the above, don’t discount your own intuition. Remember, you’ll be spending your valuable time and energy with this company and its people—make sure this is how you want to spend it.