Ready to be scared? In your lifetime you will spend 1/3 of your life at work. In other words, you will spend 90,000 hours working. That’s a lot of 40-hour work weeks. It is also the reason that you should maximize your career path and income. While 90,000 hours sounds like a lot of time, if you stay at your current company for five years (10,400 hours) and only see 2-3 percent increases in your salary, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table by not making a job change. If you make a job change, often you will recognize at least a 10 percent increase in your base compensation. If you make $40,000 and the new company offers you $44,000, that is $20,000 more over the next five years.
Since the recession, employees have been scared to leave their jobs for the unknown stability at other companies. Nationally, while unemployment is at the lowest level in 25 years, wage increases have been unnoticeable (2.6%) over the last few years.
“As an employee, you have more leverage in your career today than you have had in the last ten years!”
Even more interesting is the fact that more than 3.4 million people quit their jobs in April 2018 (BLS statistic) which is the most substantial amount since 2001. Quitting jobs is good for the economy since it means there is a confidence level allowing workers to leave a good position to get an even better one without worrying about being the “low man on the totem pole” or last in, first out if the economy suddenly shifts. This is also important because it means a tight labor market and wages have to increase. Employers can no longer ignore wage growth unless they want to lose great employees.
As an employee, you have more leverage in your career today than you have had in the last 10 years! It is how you use this new power that can mean thousands of dollars to you in pay and benefits in the future. Even though people are quitting jobs in record numbers to take perceived better jobs (the greener grass), I would like to suggest before you go out and quit, try this strategy.
If you have a good job but feel underpaid, you have options. You can go work at your competitor tomorrow for at least a ten percent increase in your salary or ask your current employer for a raise first. Ask for this raise before even filling out an application or going on an interview. Why? Because if you like your job, you have the power and this will allow you to understand how your company is addressing this tight labor market and more importantly your value to the company.
Consider these points:
1.If you ask for a raise and they don’t give you one (for any reason), it may be time to change jobs to a company that will.
2.If you accept a job at another company, when you put in your two-week notice, they will not be able to counter offer you. You should never take a counter offer in the first place, but by asking for a raise before you start looking will always put you in the driver’s seat. Accepting a counteroffer (a post raise) and blindsiding an employer will always have them questioning your loyalty. Ask for a raise first before interviewing.
3.Other companies that offer massive increases in salaries may have some skeletons in the closets. Bad bosses, long hours, inadequate technology, reduced benefits and the list goes on. If you like your current job, ask for a raise first.
4.If you ask for a raise, you may not only get money, but many people find out what kind of plans your current company has in mind for you.
90,000 hours. One-third of your lifetime. You have some leverage to make sure you can maximize all this time for the first time in years. Your current employer will let you know if you are in their plans.
Guest Bloger: Roger Lear, President of Orlando Jobs
5,647 was the number of applications I had submitted online, or at least that is how many it felt like. Fresh out of college and ready to start my career, I was in a new city and felt like I was banging my head against the wall searching for a job. Surely my spray and pray application method would pay off eventually, right? I did have a college degree after all. After several months of job searching without much traction, I stumbled upon the silver bullet of the job search: the informational interview. Whether you are just starting your career, like I was, are considering a new field, or are just seeking out a job, the informational interview is a great step to succeeding in your search.
My strategy for conducting the informational interview was four-fold. First, have a compelling reason for meeting with the person you contact. I was a recent college graduate who had just moved to the area and was interested in learning more about the local nonprofit sector. Your situation may be different than mine, but that does not mean you do not have a unique reason as to why someone should sit down with you. Maybe you are interested in learning more about a specific field or want to find out what it takes to be in your new contact’s position. Whatever it is, do not make it about the fact that you are job searching. Let that fact come out naturally. Mentioning it before you have even sat down will tie the person’s hands and make it tough to get appointments with people.
Second, keep it short. Only ask for 15 to 20 minutes of their time and was sure to keep that promise during the meeting. If the meeting goes longer, make sure it is on their terms and not because you forgot to keep an eye on the time. People are busy, so asking for only 15 to 20 minutes of their time makes it more manageable for them and more likely that they will meet with you.
Third, ask questions about them. Do not make it about yourself. You are there to find out more about them, their background, and the field they are in. Listening is an excellent skill to develop and communicates that you are genuinely interested in the person across from you. Plus, most people love to talk about themselves. Your ability to ask the right questions and actually listen to the answers will speak volumes about yourself without saying a word.
Finally, do not get out of that chair until the person you are meeting with has given you 2 to 3 more people with which to meet. In order to keep the ball rolling, you need to continually meet new people. In addition, with their permission, you can use their name as your compelling reason for meeting with your next contact, saying, “I recently met with John to learn more about the field, and he recommended I meet with you. Can I have 15 to 20 minutes of your time this week?”
Conducting informational interviews will expand your network and help you to learn about the community and industry you are pursuing. Not to mention getting out and meeting new people will boost your morale tremendously after sitting on the couch endlessly churning out applications to no avail. But how does it help you find a job? The people you meet with will have a pulse on the local job market and will likely know of openings in the field. If not, they will know somebody who does. Even though your meetings are not about the fact that you are job searching, it will likely come up organically. Even if it does not, you can reach out to your contacts later if you see they are connected to a position you are interested in for a reference or advice on your application.
If you are stuck in your job search, connect with people through the informational interview. Consider it a useful tool to add to your toolbox of job search skills. In my experience, limited as it may be, landing the right job really is all about who you know. The informational interview is a great way to quickly expand your network and gain some traction in what can be a difficult and discouraging job search.
CFEC Guest Blogger for Job Seekers in Central Florida:
Break Time: Don't feel guilty about taking a break from your job search!
It has been said that looking for work is a full time job in itself. And many of us have found that to be true. In fact, we could work overtime looking for our next opportunity! Many of us do.
The job search becomes all encompassing, including the worry and stress partnered with such an important quest. But just like when we work overtime in employment, we get burned out and less effective when we overdo the job search. We start getting lazy and rushed in our applications. And we are prone to depression because of the constant state of uncertainty and rejection. This scenario is not going to make us any more hire-able.
When we are working, we usually have set hours, pre-determined tasks, and goals to meet as productive employees. And we usually have no problem taking a well deserved coffee break, walk around the block, or even a day off!
Why not take these good habits and apply them to the job search? Take the time to organize your searching methods and plan your days ahead with a calendar. For instance: list out the websites to check daily; make yourself goals to contact people in your network; and update your social media sites weekly to keep your network informed of your status. In keeping organized, you feel a sense of accomplishment as you search.
Then after your "work" is done, take a break. Go for a walk. Clean the silverware drawer. Meditate. Volunteer. Do something that is unrelated to your job search at least once a day, whether it be 20 minutes or 4 hours. Don't feel guilty about taking a break. It will keep your mind and your life balanced, better preparing you to start fresh the next day. And more importantly, start that next job with a healthy attitude!
Human Resources Consultant
Permission to Grieve...but not forever
Job loss is significant. Grief is natural and necessary. Acknowledge the loss yet know this is a setback, not a permanent derailment of your value, your dreams, or your future. This too shall pass.
Recognize you may not be able to return to your former position for some time. This can feel overwhelming. It may be the opportunity to start down new paths, too.
Positive Steps you can Take
Identify your marketable skills. Make a list. Take an assessment if you struggle to understand how your skills translate into jobs in today’s marketplace. Focus on how well your skills align to open positions, rather than position titles.
Need more skills? The time to learn them is now, while you are waiting and searching. Pursue the certifications, learning paths, or degrees that you want or need for your next job.
Perfect that Pitch
Know your value and what you want in a job. Connect your skills, experience, and education to the way you use those to impact an organization.
Try formulating a power pitch:
I help [people/companies] by [what I do best at/am passionate about/have proven skills in] so that they can [improve/change/grow, etc.]. I am looking for [define your next career move - be brief but specific].
Prepare to Deliver the Pitch
Be able to verbalize your Pitch in any situation. Practice, Practice, Practice.
Practice your Pitch with a friend or former coworker until you can weave it into conversations and feel confident sharing it in any environment.
Record yourself delivering the Pitch on video. Watching this video will help you learn to deliver your Pitch in a relaxed, authentic manner. If you are feeling brave, share the video and ask for feedback from trusted friends or associates.
Create Resumes that match Positions
That is right, resumes, plural.
Your resume is a living organism that should be changed to suit the job you are pursuing.
Align each resume to the job posting you have chosen. Summary and accomplishment statements, skills, keywords, and active verbs should align with (but not plagiarize) the description and qualifications of the position you want.
Of course, do not lie, always check your spelling and punctuation, and make sure the contact information is professional and correct.
Create and share your resume, profile, skills, experience, education, and your perfect pitch on appropriate Social Media platforms like Linked In. Share your pitch at in-person events and with family, friends, former coworkers. The more people who know your skills and the position you are in the market for, the better your chance of landing the job.
Lead with a serve. Do not forget to share what you have been learning with others who need help. Serve others and it will come back to you!
Prepare for success. Know the company - its mission, vision, values, and culture. Know the job and how your skills and experience align with what they are looking for. Know yourself and confidently prove you are the best candidate for the position.
For virtual platforms or video interviews:
- Secure a quiet, clean location if you can. If your family is nearby, alert them to the interview times and ask for quiet if possible.
- Test your technology before the interview. Make sure you download any necessary apps. And that they work on your device. Alert the interviewer as soon as possible if you hit a glitch.
- Test your lighting and the camera angle to ensure the interviewer can easily see your face and shoulders. If possible, use a laptop or tablet for the best experience. Use your phone if you must.
- Sit still and upright. Smile. Relax.
Employment and Training Specialist
Christian HELP Employment and Resource Center
Job fairs are a great way to network and land interviews. With so many jobs being posted digitally, it can be nice to get out and meet some hiring managers face-to-face. This allows you to set yourself apart from all of the online applicants and leave a lasting impression.
While job fairs provide a great opportunity to meet hiring managers in person, it’s still very important to bring copies of your resume. Below, we will provide a few tips on how to make your resume stand out for a job fair.
1. Print Your Resume on Quality Paper
First and foremost, you are going to want to print your resume on high-quality paper. Go to UPS or FedEx and print 10 - 20 copies of your resume to bring to the job fair. Ask the person who works at the store what kind of paper they recommend for printing your resume. They will usually recommend a thicker type of paper. If a recruiter or hiring manager has a large stack of resumes, yours will stand out. This will only cost you a few dollars more so it is well worth the investment.
2. Add Some Color to Your Resume
In a sea of black and white resumes, a little bit of color can really help your resume stand out. We don’t recommend adding ten different colors. We also do not recommend adding colors like pink, purple, bright green, yellow, etc. The colors should be subtle, such as navy blue or mahogany. By adding some color to your resume headings, you are more likely to draw the hiring manager's attention.
3. Try to Keep the Resume to 1-Page
Normally, resumes should range from 1 to 2 pages. However, at a job fair, it is easy for two page resumes to get lost. The second page could get separated from the first page causing your resume to look incomplete. Try to summarize your skills and experience into a 1-page resume to make sure all the information you want shared is safe and sound. If you must use a 2-page resume, make sure to secure the two pages tightly and include your name and contact information on your second page header.
4. Consider Bringing Multiple Versions of Your Resume
Depending on the job fair that you are attending, it might make sense to bring multiple versions of your resume. If you are attending an accounting job fair, you will probably only need one version focused on accounting jobs. But if you are attending a job fair that will have multiple jobs and employers present, it might be good to bring multiple versions. For example, if you are interested in both sales and finance jobs, you should have a resume that is focused on sales jobs, and another resume that is targeted towards finance jobs. General resumes typically do not work as well as targeted resumes. Be prepared and research the companies that will be in attendance at the job fair before you attend.
5. Customize Your Resume for Specific Companies
One way to take your resume to the next level at a job fair is to customize a version of your resume for each company you are interested in. Most job fairs will announce what companies will be in attendance before the actual event. If you want to go above and beyond, create a version of your resume for each of the companies you are interested in. A great place to specifically mention your interest in the company is in your resume summary. You can mention something like “Passionate healthcare professional who believes in the mission of Anthem Blue Cross to improve the health of the people we serve.” By specifically calling out the company in your resume, they are going to know you are passionate about their company and their mission.
Find My Profession
"a leading resume writing and career coaching company. Founded in 2015, Find My Profession provides elite, personalized, and highly effective career services for professionals and executives around the globe."
“Employment Projections are forecasts of future employment levels for industries and occupations in Florida. The Long-term Employment Projections program provides estimates of current and projected employment by industry and occupation for eight years into the future. The projections also include rankings of the fast-growing industries and occupations in Florida. These data are produced for the state, Workforce Regions, and counties with employment greater than 100,000. Geographic Coverage: Statewide, Workforce Regions, and large counties. Frequency: Annually”
Employment Projections Data is provided by the Florida Department of Opportunity, and can be obtained by visiting http://www.floridajobs.org/workforce-statistics/data-center/statistical-programs/employment-projections
Picture this: You get a call from a Recruiter. They ask about your day, you have some small talk and then they ask about your resume or LinkedIn profile. The conversation turns into a discussion about an amazing role they have open with a great local company. You explain your experience, background, goals, aspirations and expected career path. So far, everything is a perfect match! The Recruiter relays the conversation to the Hiring Manager who loves the details and is impressed by your resume. Naturally, it’s interview time!
Whether you’re back on the job market after 15 years or you have been actively interviewing for weeks, it’s time to prepare!
First, Know your audience. Ask the Recruiter as many questions as possible about the client, hiring manager, environment, technology stack, internal workings, everything! The Recruiter is your eyes and ears into the environment you may soon be working in. Lean on them to develop an understanding to make the best first impression possible. Soft skills, interview flow and expectations of the client and company cannot be learned from a job description. Trust your Recruiter and ask them questions!
Second, Arm yourself with the basics. Hop online and read current news about the company and, if possible, the employees. See if you can find anything about current projects, recent acquisitions and even if there have been lay-offs recently and why. Not only research the company’s name, but Google important people in the company to see if they have been involved with initiatives. Knowledge is power. Use these discoveries as conversation points. It shows your interest and will help you have relevant questions and topics to speak about during the interview.
Third, Early is on time, on time is late and late you’re out. I can’t harp on this enough. It doesn’t matter if you’re meeting with someone from HR, a senior-level manager or the CTO of a company, someone is waiting on you. For an in-person interview, check traffic for that time of day in advance. Commutes for morning and afternoon interviews may be impacted by rush hour. For a phone or virtual interview, check your cell service or Wi-Fi and ensure your computer and Skype/Zoom/FaceTime account is up to date. I recommend checking these 24 hours in advance to allow you enough time to troubleshoot any issues. Make sure the interview from your side is as seamless as possible. Tardiness or technical issues may take up your interview time with someone who may not have availability to reschedule.
Lastly, Dress to impress, no matter the skill level, job title, length or seniority of a position. Your presentation is the first thing a Hiring Manager will notice, and putting your best foot forward can be the decision-maker between you and another candidate. No one will ever ding you points for dressing nicely for an interview. It shows respect for yourself, who is interviewing you and the company. Unless specifically instructed to do so, over dressing is always the way to go. First impressions are only made once.
Prepping for an interview is just as important as your skill set. Arriving to an interview dressed well, early and prepped with as much knowledge on the company and Hiring Manager is the next step finding you the best possible job match to compliment your lifestyle and career goals.
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6 Things to Make the Most at Your Next Career Fair
Standing out is never easy! At a career fair, it could be the key to your next big success. Whether you are in college and attending your first event or you have been in the industry for a while and getting back out there, you may have several questions on how to make yourself stand out over everyone in the crowd.
Here are six tips that can make your career fair experience top-notch!
1) Update, format, and print your resume. First and foremost, take the time to update and format your resume with your most recent job experience, education, and accomplishments. This includes updating your LinkedIn account to match your resume. Your resume is by far your most important tool. You may even want to ask a professional to critique your resume. Be sure to print at least 20 copies of your resume to bring with you to hand out.
2) Dress the Part. Before your resume is even in the employer’s hands, they are making sure your dress and professionalism matches their office standards. Pretend a career fair is the first interview. You wouldn’t show up in your sweatpants and sneakers, would you? Take the time and energy to look your very best!
3) Clean Up Your Social Media. Your social media accounts are easily accessible to future employers. Take the time to clean up your accounts and think, “Could this post ruin my chances of landing my next big break?” If so, I would recommend removing the old posts and not post any similar posts that may affect you in the long run. Less is best when it comes to social media.
4) Be Prepared. Your resume has been perfected, your outfit is primped and ready to go and your social media accounts are cleaned up. What’s next you may ask? It’s time to prepare yourself for the big day! Career fairs can be overwhelming if you are unsure of what to expect. First, do some research and find out which employers will be attending the event. Once you have spotted your top employers, prioritize them by most interest and know where they will be located. This will give you a solid game plan for the day.
Take the time to visit each of the employer’s social media platform(s), website(s) and know which position(s) they have available. This gives you the upward edge on what’s going on in the company and some talking points or questions you may have for them. Always have a pen/pencil and notebook handy to write down anything that may be important to your future with that company.
5) Practice the Pitch. You may only have this one shot to sell yourself to the employer. Career fairs are typically very busy and having a short but sweet elevator pitch is key to help you stand out. Your elevator pitch should only last 20 to 30 seconds. Do not “wing it.” Give your pitch some character (be you) but also be concise and confident.
6) Arrive Early and Interact. It’s the night before the big event and you’re excited but nervous. To help ease some of the nerves, take the time to map out your commute (be prepared for traffic) and know where you are going to park.
You’ve parked, arrived early and are walking through the door. Now it is time to interact with the different employers on your list and sell yourself with your elevator pitch. Be sure to ask for the business cards of your top employers (challenge yourself to get at least 5). While you’re accomplishing your game plan you see a booth that wasn’t on the list, but you instantly become interested. Step to the side, pull out your phone and do a quick search on the employer, then go visit. Even though sticking to a game plan is important, it is okay to do a detour.
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By #1 Best-Selling Author and Recruiter Scott Vedder
It’s always best to customize your résumé and explain exactly how your experience has prepared you for the specific qualifications listed in a job posting. That’s a key point I teach in my best-selling book, Signs of a Great Résumé. But what should you do when you’re attending a job fair where you’ll meet with lots of different employers? In a job fair setting, employers will know it’s nearly impossible for you to customize a cover letter and résumé for every single company in attendance. To quantify what makes you a great candidate for several prospective employers, you should showcase examples of your accomplishments and skills related to the most common requirements in your field.
Before you write your job fair résumé, search for online job postings roles related to the career you’re pursuing. Take a look at the qualifications that different companies require. You’ll likely find some common trends and frequently used terms which appear in job postings at several different companies. With this bit of research, you’ll be able to write a résumé that speaks for itself and a cover letter which addresses your qualifications to fulfill the most common needs of your desired career field.
Next, before going to the job fair, try to determine which companies will be represented. Take a look at the jobs these companies already have posted on their web sites. If there’s a specific opening for which you’d like to apply, customize a separate résumé and cover letter for that posting and bring it with you along with your job fair résumé. If there’s not one particular opening that appeals to you, consider how that company generally evaluates prospective candidates. What key words do they use in their job postings? What types of skills and leadership attributes do they value? What can you learn about their corporate culture and business priorities from their web site? Then customize a résumé for that company with those ideas in mind.
Consider making a list of the companies you know you want to approach at the job fair and write a customized cover letter for those prospective employers. Your cover letter should explain why you want to work for that specific company and can also indicate the general field for which you’re interested in applying. When you submit a customized cover letter with your job fair résumé, you’ll stand out from your competition. Remember, most other applicants, if they submit a cover letter at all, will be handing over form letters written “To Whom it May Concern,” and not to a specific employer.
In your job fair résumé and cover letters, be sure you use specific examples to quantify what makes you a great candidate in your field. Whether you’re attending a job fair or you’re applying for a single position, your résumé should always be full of !@$%, the Signs of a Great Résumé.
! - Any part of your experience that was "amazing!"
@ - Defining points, places, dates and things in your experience
# - Numbers that quantify and prove your past successes
$ - The dollar value of your contributions
% - Figures that easily show growth and results
When you write a résumé that’s full of !@$%, your résumé will speak for itself and you’ll be on your way to a successful job fair!
Scott Vedder is a Fortune 100 recruiter and the author of the #1 best-selling résumé book, Signs of a Great Résumé. Scott has taught thousands of students and job seekers in résumé workshops at high schools, colleges, universities and non-profit organizations across the country. Scott’s book has been endorsed as “Recommended Reading” by groups including the Central Florida Employment Council and the Central Florida Jobs Initiative. Scott has been recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management and has been featured as a career expert in nationally-syndicated newspaper columns, on international blogs and in dozens of live interviews on radio programs and television news. For free résumé and interview tips, visit http://scottvedder.com/freestuff.html
Are you being told you’re “overqualified?” Focus your résumé on exactly what the employer needs.
By #1 Best-Selling Author Scott Vedder
“I keep hearing I’m overqualified for jobs. What can I do?” The best way to overcome a perception that you’re “overqualified” is to focus your résumé and your interview on explaining precisely why you’re qualified for that particular job.
Your résumé should cite examples from your experience which showcase the results you’ve achieved. Be sure to include only the experience and skills which are directly related to the desired and required qualifications listed in the job posting. Don’t list lots of unrelated accomplishments, achievements and experience. By focusing your résumé only on the skills and experience called for in the posting, you’ll help an employer understand exactly what makes you a great candidate for the job. The employer will not be distracted by all the things you “could” do. Instead they’ll be pleased to see that you’ve got skills which are perfectly suited for their open position. When you connect your experience directly to the job posting, your résumé will speak for itself.
Be sure you use specific examples to quantify what makes you a great candidate for the job. I like to say that your résumé should be full of !@#$%, the Signs of a Great Résumé:
! - Any part of your experience that was "amazing!"
@ - Defining points, places, dates and things in your experience
# - Numbers that quantify and prove your past successes
$ - The dollar value of your contributions
% - Figures that easily show growth and results
A customized cover letter is also a great opportunity to explain why you’re a great fit for a particular job. You can address your level of qualifications in a cover letter by tactfully explaining why you want to work for the company, what you bring to the table and how your experience will enable your long-term success in the position for which you’re applying. When you customize your cover letter to the job posting and you write a résumé that’s full of !@#$%, your résumé will speak for itself and you’ll earn the interview you deserve.
So, why don’t employers higher the people who seem overqualified? Recruiters like me typically don’t want to hire candidates who will “take anything” just to get a foot in the door. Employers may be worried that candidates who possess significantly greater qualifications than are needed in a role will quickly leave a position if something better comes along. Both turnover (people leaving a company) and churnover (movement within a company from one position to another) can result in increased costs for employers. When employees leave, a company has to pay to train a replacement and the on-boarding of a new hire almost always creates a loss in productivity. Candidates who are perceived as overqualified can be considered a “flight risk” and as such might not be the best fit for a role.
When you explain to a recruiter exactly why you’re qualified for the open role and you clarify that you want that job for the right reasons, it will be easy to understand why you’re a great match. It’s ok to have aspirations for advancement, but you should only apply for jobs you really want and which you can imagine yourself performing for some time.
Scott Vedder is a Fortune 100 recruiter and the author of the #1 best-selling résumé book, Signs of a Great Résumé. He has taught thousands of students and job seekers in résumé workshops at high schools, colleges, universities and non-profit organizations across the country. Scott’s book has been endorsed as “Recommended Reading” by groups including the Central Florida Employment Council and recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management. Scott has been featured as a career expert in nationally-syndicated newspaper columns and on international blogs and he’s been interviewed live on dozens of radio programs and television news. For free résumé and interview tips, visit http://scottvedder.com/freestuff.html