Archive for the 'A New Career for a New Year!' Category

Great Place Jobs – Online Job Posting Site for Great Employers

I am happy to announce that I am the designated career advice expert for an online job posting site, GreatPlaceJobs.com. (Take a look at my blog at GreatPlaceJobs, where I will be sharing exclusive content.) Asher Adelman, the founder and CEO of eBossWatch and greatplacejobs.com calls the site, “the world’s first exclusive ‘great workplace’ job site to help people find jobs at award-winning employers.”

Asher notes, “For most people nowadays, it’s not enough for a company to pay you well but treat you poorly.  GreatPlaceJobs was designed for job-seekers who aspire to work at companies that care about their people as much as the people care about the company.”

What is special about GreatPlaceJobs? They only post jobs from specifically certified employers designated as “excellent” based on criteria such as having a culture based on trust, fairness, respect, open communications, recognition and camaraderie. When you search their database, you know that every organization represented has been scrutinized and/or has won awards as a high-quality place to work.

This is what the site says about itself:

  • Over 150,000 new jobs each month.
  • Only jobs at certified excellent employers are featured on GreatPlaceJobs.
  • More than 1,300 companies approved as great employers.
  • All companies are individually qualified and approved before being added to GreatPlaceJobs.

GreatPlaceJobs posts positions free for eligible companies. Job seekers pay a $20 membership fee for a 3-month subscription. Asher anticipates exploring many avenues to connect great employers with job seekers. Members will be the first to learn about potential opportunities. Learn more by clicking here.

So, looking to add an online site to your job search plans? Consider a site that screens the employers for you! Use your time wisely online: www.greatplacejobs.com.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need help with your hunt? Did you know we offer a resume consulting service? We advise, you write! Or, hire us to write your resume for you. Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

Lost At Sea? Career Search Strategies and Tips for Today’s Job Market

Can you believe it is already August? Before you know it, you’ll blink and it’ll be Labor Day, and the summer will really be over.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of good news in the employment sector. Rough waters continue to prevail, and many may be feeling lost at sea in a turbulent economy. Careerbuilder.com summarized the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released its monthly summary of job data for July 2008:

  • Unemployment rose from 5.5% in June to 5.7% in July.
  • There were 51,000 fewer jobs in July. Total job loss for 2008 so far is 463,000. That is an average of 66,000 jobs lost per month.
  • The most notable losses were in construction, manufacturing and employment services. The drop for employment services indicates far fewer companies are using temporary help.
  • The report also mentioned that teenagers and young adults who usually take on part-time jobs during the summer have had challenges in finding a job this year.

What does all of this mean to you?

It depends. If you work in one of the harder-hit sectors, it could very well mean that your job is in jeopardy, and you need to start thinking about what you will do if you are out of work.

I’ve written a lot about job seeking in a recession. Some links that might be useful:

You are still feeling lost in a tailspin of negative jobs data? You can’t focus on what to do next? Here is some advice from my friend and colleague, Walter Akana, Certified Personal Branding Strategist at Threshold Consulting:

Stop everything! Evaluate where you have been, what you most want to do and think about where you can do it. Walter suggests answering the following questions from the book Zen and the Art of Making a Living:

  • What work best reflects who I am?
  • Whom do I want to serve/work with?
  • What will I most enjoy doing?
  • To what will I be willing to devote myself?

To help evaluate alternatives and focus, Walter recommends creating a personal career alternatives matrix. List your ideal job criteria, interests and capabilities in the first column, and then three or four alternatives in successive columns. This exercise is designed to help you focus on getting on a track that suits you, which might be a very different track from the one you’ve been on most recently!

Take the plunge and look for a job! Still need a great resume? Some help to write the perfect cover letter? I’m here to help! Write to me.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Photo by Irish Sheep

New Job – Longer-Term Strategies

This week’s posts have offered tips for starting a new job. From first-day jitters to adjusting to company culture – how you manage your transition will shape your impact at your new job.

To top off the week, here are a few more tips to focus on for the longer term.

These are things to consider to help ensure your success in a new company down the road:

Start trying to figure out who is in charge. You may be surprised where the real power is in your new workplace. Maybe the receptionist holds a lot of authority. Who seems to make the decisions? The quicker you learn, the better off you’ll be.

Ask questions, but keep your opinions to yourself. No one expects you to reinvent the wheel in your first week (or month!)

Volunteer to help. Be a hero – offer to do a job no one else wants to do. There’s no better way to win friends and influence people than by stepping up to the plate. An added benefit? If you wind up solving a big problem, your ability to influence the workplace goes way up!

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even if there are a lot of expectations riding on you, don’t start a new job expecting to make a lot of changes right away. Learn how things are done and why before you start implementing new policies. Demonstrate that you value what has been done before you got there, even if you plan to change everything! You’ll win a lot more friends with honey than with vinegar!

What tips have worked for you in starting a new job successfully?

Wish you were facing new job jitters? Take the plunge and look for a job! Still need a great resume? Some help to write the perfect cover letter? I’m here to help! Write to me.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

photo by decor8

Don’t Wait Until All the Berries Are Picked!

Picking Strawberries Again

photo by captpiper

Have you ever wanted to do
something but waited too
long and it was too late?

This happened to me this week. I had planned (by planned, I really mean thought about it and decided it would be fun) to go strawberry picking with my boys. Although it would be hot (really hot), the idea of having a productive day in the sun, resulting in lots of juicy, not-overly expensive strawberries seemed like a great idea.

To make a long story short, I waited too long. The strawberries are all picked over. It’s not even worth going now. But, blueberries are in season soon! You can bet that I’m not going to miss out this time. I’ve already penciled in a blueberry picking time – right as the season starts.

Blueberry picking
photo by eltjoport

Even the best intended plans sometimes go astray. My problem? I didn’t focus on my goal (mmm…strawberry shortcake, strawberry shakes, strawberries and cream…) and my idea never actually became a plan. When a job hunt is at stake, the results are more important than a lack of strawberry treats. A new job isn’t going to come knocking on your door any more than a bale of berries was going to start growing in my yard.

You need to plant the seeds –
make a plan to get things moving
in the right direction for your career.

Are you someone who planned for a “new career for a new year” back when the ball dropped and 2007 turned to 2008? If you are, I hope you aren’t letting someone else pick all of your berries! It’s hard to believe, but 2008 is almost 1/2 over.

If you haven’t focused on your hunt, you’ll be right where you started when 2008 becomes 2009.

What is holding you back from making a positive change in your life? Even if the strawberries are all gone, you still owe it to yourself to make sure you have a fruitful career! Keppie Careers can help by walking you through every step of your job hunt, from writing your resume to negotiating the offer: www.keppiecareers.com

Don’t Waste Time and Talent – Give Your Career A Jump Start

I want to tell you a story about someone I know. 

She is a stay-at-home mom who decided that, after years of living on one salary, it was time to make some money.  She knew that she had a very marketable skill, but hesitated to try to start her own business because there were so many things that she didn’t know how to do:  build a website, advertise, etc. 

She discovered secret shopping.  (For the unaware, there are companies that will pay you to go to stores and restaurants, evaluate the service and fill out an evaluation.)  Sounded like easy money.  She threw herself into secret shopping and went after opportunities with wild abandon.  She would even drive for miles at the prospect of earning $5 or $7 on a “job.”

Although her hourly rate was practically nothing, she did manage to bring in a quick several hundred dollars with persistence and hard work.  Despite her little windfall, my friend realized that she was wasting herself on secret shopping and that her time and talents would be better spent developing something with longer-term prospects (and a higher hourly wage).

She realized that she was letting fear prevent her from pursuing dreams that offered a better use of her skills.  Instead of running around checking numbers on the bottom of hairspray at drug stores for 20 cents a number (really!), she should invest the time, effort, energy and solid work ethic in something with real value.

So, after much soul searching and concerted effort to overcome her fear, she is now going after her own dreams with the same zeal that she used to earn several hundred dollars by secret shopping.  And, guess what?  She’s already reaping the benefits in spades! 

Are you wasting your time at work?  Maybe you’re not running all over town after a few dollars, but maybe you  realize that you are similarly “spinning your wheels” in your own way.  Don’t let fear prevent you from taking a new path.  Time is wasting!  You are the only one who can put one foot in front of the other.

_______________ 

When you work with Keppie Careers, you will learn how to overcome obstacles keeping you from making positive changes in your life.  We’re not just selling resumes.  We offer confidence, clarity and know-how!  www.keppiecareers.com

Good News for (Some) Job Seekers

In a Wall Street Journal Online  column, Carol Hymowitz suggests that, despite the fact that this is a tight job market during which companies will be laying off workers; many businesses will seek talent that they have not developed from within their ranks.  She notes:

Companies haven’t been grooming and training enough employees for promotions and now have a mismatch of talent for open positions. In the past, top managers would plan far ahead to fill a position. Today, every vacancy seems to be treated as unique — and even as a surprise, despite the long-term trend of frequent job changes by employees. “Workplaces are filled with frustrated people who want to advance but haven’t gotten training or broad enough experience,” says Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the Wharton School and director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. “In coming months, we’ll likely see companies laying off employees but also crying that they can’t find people with the skills they need.”

This may be good news for those thinking of bagging their job searches in exchange for sitting tight and waiting out the economic downturn.  If you have acquired the training and experience you need to position yourself to advance, this may be a good time to seek a new opportunity.

It also reminds us of a very important point:

Increasingly, employees are responsible for their own career trajectories.  Most managers aren’t sitting around thinking about how to help make you more marketable for promotions.  At the expense of becoming a broken record, YOU NEED TO DRIVE YOUR OWN CAREER BUS!  If you don’t seek training and opportunities, they may pass you by.

____________________

Keppie Careers will help you jump-start your job search:

www.keppiecareers.com

 

Interviewing Positively

Would you want to hire someone who trashed her former employer?  As the next and future employer, you might be concerned about your own reputation should bad blood come between you and the new hire.

No matter how much you hated your old boss or loathe your current supervisor, it is a BAD idea to let anyone interviewing you know about it.

Instead, try to put the situation in the best possible light if pressed and avoid discussing it if possible.  Negativity can only hurt you, so why go there?

__________________ 

Keppie Careers can write your resume and offer mock interviews to get you ready for your next opportunity!  Our mission:  to advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers.  Visit www.keppiecareers.com to see how we can support you in your job search.

Best Companies and Work Happiness

Fortune announced its Best Companies to Work for in 2008.  Based on employee surveys, Google ranked #1, probably as a result of their unique company culture, benefits and work environment.

What makes a great company?  Great pay and perks, training, job growth and flexibility are among the characteristics that employees appreciate in their work place. 

Free scuba classes, prayer and meditation rooms, free trips and free lunch are among some of the unique perks at some of the top 100 employers rated in the survey.

Even if your company or employer didn’t make the list, less tangible factors also make for a great workplace.  For example:

  • Mentorship,
  • Support for implementing innovative ideas,
  • Latitude to be creative,
  • Emphasis on promotion from within and
  • Support from non-micro-managing leadership.

Working with people whom you respect and like is another important, although intangible factor that influences your experience at work.  Although pay and perks are great, in my opinion, working with people whom you admire and enjoy being around may be the most important factor influencing a positive work life!  After all, many of us spend more waking hours with our work colleagues than our friends and families.

Feel free to share what makes a top workplace in your opinion!

Let Keppie Careers help you find a better job!
We advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers.

www.keppiecareers.com

Networking – Informational Interviewing/Getting Started

If you haven’t read my previous posts about Networking, click on NETWORKING in the Categories section to your right.

This is Part II of my post on Informational Interviewing. Read Part I to learn about this networking strategy.

How to get started with your Informational Interviews…
It is usually easiest to start with close contacts. Think about your network. Can anyone you know potentially put you in touch with someone who could provide useful information? Certainly consider using a service such as linkedin.com, which allows you to see the names of your contacts’ links and request introductions, but don’t forget your neighbors, relatives, colleagues and friends. Touch base with them to ask for suggestions of people to meet in a field you are pursuing.

Once you have a list of one or two contacts, e-mail asking for a meeting. Be sure to mention the name of the person who suggested you contact them. State that you would like to meet for coffee to ask for advice and information concerning their field or organization. Emphasize that you are seeking information, not a specific opportunity. (If you do this when you are employed, you have more credibility). In your e-mail, indicate that you will follow-up by calling them, and then do it!

You may be surprised, but most people will be willing to meet with you or speak on the phone. If, when you call, they refuse, ask if they can suggest someone else to meet so you do not lose the opportunity altogether.

The Meeting

Confirm your appointment and meeting place a day or two in advance. Arrive early and be prepared. Unlike a real interview, it is okay to have a list of questions. Use a professional writing tablet and pen. As a formality, ask if it is okay to take notes.

  • Have questions to ask and things to tell about yourself.
  • Know your resume and skills and accomplishments backwards and forwards.
  • Dress and act professionally.
  • Research – know what you need to know and what you do know! Don’t waste your time and theirs asking about topics that are clearly spelled out on their website, for example.
  • Bring your resume, and when the time seems right, offer it to ask for their insights and feedback.

Obstacles

  • Silences: refer to list of open-ended questions.
  • Lengthy answers – If you are benefiting from information, let them continue. If it isn’t relevant, or they seem to be rambling on, refocus the interview by stating that you don’t want to take too much of their time and ask a different question.

Follow-up

  • Always send a thank you note right away.
  • Always ask if they can suggest another contact.
  • Always ask if you can keep in touch and what is the best way.
  • Keep track and follow up with your network. If Sue suggested you speak to Bob, and Bob winds up hiring you, make sure that Sue hears from you before Bob mentions it to her! You don’t want anyone to feel that you “used” them – by following up and being appreciative, you’ll garner good will.
  • Organize your network and touch base regularly – once or twice a year. A holiday or new year card is one great way to be in touch. Forwarding information or a topical article occasionally to members of your network who might be interested is another great way to remind them about you and your interest.

Work your net! It’s the best way to find an opportunity!

www.keppiecareers.com

We advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers!

Recession Proof Your Career

Clearly, the U.S. economy has seen better days.  Justin Lahart wrote in The Wall Street Journal Online that a combination of debt, high food and energy prices and a weakening job market points to a troubled economy. 

I have written about these concerns…Numbers show that unemployment is at a 2-year high.  In December, the economy only added 18,000 jobs instead of the 70,000 predicted.  These are the worst numbers reported since August 2003.  U.S. News & World Report’s Best Careers for 2008 lists jobs with a positive growth outlook, but job losses will cut across many industries – from banking to Yahoo!

What can you do now if you think you may lose your job? 

Anita Bruzzese, columnist and author of 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy,  offered several tips for those concerned about their jobs in her blog, Protecting Your Job in Tough Times.  She suggests:

  • Getting connected by increasing face time in the office (including telecommuters).
  • Keeping in touch with contacts in other departments to get the pulse of your company’s situation.  If things look bad, you can start getting resumes out.
  • Network like crazy.
  • Stay on the cutting edge of your field and be ready to lead, as leaders and innovators will find opportunities.

Penelope Trunk, a columnist whose book and blog is Brazen Careerist, offers this advice to prepare for a bad job market:

  • Be a specialist, not a generalist, as a tight job market will allow employers to seek an exact match to their qualifications.
  • If you can’t list a few strong accomplishments for your current job, make something big happen now so you’ll have good fodder for your resume.
  • Consider graduate school.
  • Focus on the quality of your work and securing strong mentors.

All of these suggestions remind us that it’s not a good idea to wait for a crisis to plot our career path.  Networking, specializing, leading, finding mentors — none of these are things that can be done overnight.  We are so busy DOING our jobs, we don’t take the time to drive our own career bus, so to speak.

We should all consider this a wake-up call.  Plan ahead.  Network all of the time, not only when you are looking for a job.  Cultivate mentorships, both in and outside of your company.  Focus on how you can stay ahead of the pack in your field and be a leader.  Always have an up-to-date resume that you can confidently use at the drop of a hat should an opportunity arise.

Hopefully, if the next pink slip is yours, you will be able to see past the scary part of losing a job to the potential prospects.  Maybe, with hard work and effort, you will be able to find something that may be a better opportunity for you.  Much has been said on the power of positive thinking…Maybe now is a good time for that.

_____________________________________________________

Note:  Keppie Careers provides a toolbox of practical tips, useful advice, support and encouragement for job seekers.  Please let us know if we can help as you prepare for what look to be tough times for all of us.

www.keppiecareers.com

We advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers!


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